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The Iron Horse ()


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After witnessing the murder of his father by a renegade as a boy, the grown-up Brandon helps to realize his father's dream of a transcontinental railway.

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Cast verified as complete

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Dave Brandon
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Miriam Marsh
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Abraham Lincoln
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Jesson
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Thomas Marsh
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Sgt. Slattery
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Cpl. Casey (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Jim Welch ...
Pvt. Schultz / Pvt. Mackay (as James Welch)
George Waggner ...
Buffalo Bill (as George Wagner)
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Deroux
James A. Marcus ...
Judge Haller (as James Marcus)
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Ruby
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Reporter (uncredited)
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Cheyenne Chief (uncredited)
Danny Borzage ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
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Worker / Extra (uncredited)
Milton Brown ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
Thomas Carr ...
Rail Worker (uncredited)
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Miriam as a Girl (uncredited)
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Tony - Italian Worker (uncredited)
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Dentist-Barber (uncredited)
Elmer Dewey ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
John Webb Dillion ...
Tall Woodsman in Prologue (uncredited)
Thomas Durant ...
Jack Ganzhorn (uncredited)
Bob Fleming ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
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Chinaman (uncredited)
Jack Ganzhorn ...
Thomas C. Durant (uncredited)
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David Brandon Sr (uncredited)
Ed Jones ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
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Woman Who Wants a Divorce (uncredited)
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Gunfighter (uncredited)
Dick La Reno ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
Delbert Mann ...
Charles Crocker (uncredited)
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Hell on Wheels Bartender (uncredited)
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Davy as a Boy (uncredited)
Pat Moriarity ...
Rail Worker (uncredited)
Charles Newton ...
Collis P. Huntington (uncredited)
Herman Nowlin ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
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Dinny (uncredited)
Charles O'Malley ...
Maj. North (uncredited)
Jack Padjan ...
Wild Bill Hickok (uncredited)
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Old Chinese Railroad Worker (uncredited)
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Union Officer at White House (uncredited)
Vinegar Roan ...
Bit Role (uncredited)
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Gen. Dodge (uncredited)
Harold D. Schuster ...
Minor Role (uncredited)
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Cowhand (uncredited)
Chief White Spear ...
Sioux Chief (uncredited)
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Indian (uncredited)
Frances Teague ...
Polka Dot - Dance Hall Girl (uncredited)
Stanhope Wheatcroft ...
John Hay (uncredited)
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Gunman in Saloon (uncredited)
Chief Eagle Wing ...
Indian (uncredited)

Directed by

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John Ford ... (uncredited)

Written by

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Charles Kenyon ... (story) and
John Russell ... (story)
 
Charles Kenyon ... (scenario)
 
Charles Darnton ... (titles)

Produced by

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Kevin Brownlow ... producer
David Gill ... producer
Patrick Stanbury ... executive producer
John Ford ... producer (uncredited)

Music by

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John Lanchbery ... (1995)
William P. Perry ... (1974)
Erno Rapee ... (uncredited) (1924)

Cinematography by

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George Schneiderman ... (photography)

Editorial Department

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Nick Adams ... telecine engineer
Martin Gent ... on-line editor
Harold D. Schuster ... assistant editor (uncredited)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

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Edward O'Fearna ... assistant director (uncredited)
Frank Powolny ... assistant director (uncredited)

Art Department

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William S. Darling ... art department supervisor (uncredited)
R.L. Hough ... property master (uncredited) / props (uncredited)
Herbert Plews ... assistant props (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

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Burnett Guffey ... additional photographer (uncredited)

Music Department

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John Lanchbery ... orchestrator

Additional Crew

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William Fox ... presenter
Karl Malkames ... restorator
Harold D. Schuster ... production assistant (uncredited)

Thanks

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George Stephenson ... dedication: to the honour and memory of the Scottish engineer
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies

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Distributors

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Special Effects

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Other Companies

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Storyline

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Plot Summary

Springfield, Illinois. Brandon, a surveyor, dreams of building a railway to the west, but Marsh, a contractor, is sceptical. Abraham Lincoln looks on as their children, Davy Brandon and Miriam Marsh, play together. Brandon sets off with Davy to survey a route. They discover a new pass which will shave 200 miles off the expected distance, but they are set upon by a party of Cheyenne. One of them, a white renegade with only two fingers on his right hand, kills Brandon and scalps him. Davy buries his father... Years pass. It is 1862 and Lincoln signs the bill authorizing construction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways. Marsh is principal contractor and Miriam is engaged to Jesson, the chief engineer... Crews of Chinese, Italians, and Irish work to build the railway while resisting Indian attack. When the pay train is delayed by Indian ambush, the Italians go on strike. Miriam persuades them to return to work... Marsh needs to find a shortcut through the Black Hills. To finish on time, he needs to shorten the route by 200 miles. Bauman, the biggest land owner, wants the route to stay the same - through his land. Marsh has entrusted Jesson with finding the new route. Bauman has Ruby, a saloon girl, persuade Jesson to do otherwise... Davy, now a pony express rider, recalls his father's discovery. He sets off to find the pass. He goes alone, except for Jesson... Written by David Steele

Plot Keywords
Taglines THE WEDDING OF THE RAILS! ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST THRILLING HISTORICAL DEEDS--THE DRIVING OF THE LAST SPIKE FOR THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD (original ad - all caps) See more »
Genres
Parents Guide View content advisory »
Certification

Additional Details

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Also Known As
  • The Iron Trail (United States)
  • The Trans-continental Railroad (United States)
  • Le cheval de fer (France)
  • Das Feuerross (Germany)
  • El caballo de hierro (Spain)
  • See more »
Runtime
  • 150 min
Country
Language
Color
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $280,000 (estimated)

Did You Know?

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Trivia The kitchen staff for the film was made up largely of Chinese cooks. Some of them had been workers on the transcontinental railroad in 1869, the same construction project that forms the basis of this film. See more »
Goofs The locomotives and rolling stock are using knuckle-type couplers which did not begin wide use until the 1890's. In the 1860's era setting of this movie, the couplers in use would have been link and pin. This anachronism is understandable as the safety issue would have prohibited the use of the era appropriate link and pin couplers. See more »
Movie Connections Edited into The Story of Our Flag (1939). See more »
Soundtracks Blow the Man Down See more »
Quotes Thomas Marsh: [after he older Brandon has verbalized his dream of a trancontinental railroad] Poor dreamer - he's chasing a rainbow.
Lincoln: Yes, Tom - and some day men like you will be laying rails along that rainbow.
See more »

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