THE IRON HORSE
DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY JOHN FORD
FOX FILM CORPORATION
Information from IMDb
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
Written by David Steele
George O'Brien ... Davy Brandon
Madge Bellamy ... Miriam Marsh
Charles Edward Bull ... Abraham Lincoln
Cyril Chadwick ... Peter Jesson
Will Walling ... Thomas Marsh
Francis Powers ... Sgt. Slattery
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Cpl. Casey (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Jim Welch ... Pvt. Schultz (as James Welch)
George Waggner ... Col. William F. 'Buffalo Bill' Cody (as George Wagner)
Fred Kohler ... Bauman
James A. Marcus ... Judge Jed Haller (as James Marcus)
Gladys Hulette ... Ruby
Jean Arthur ... Reporter (uncredited)
Chief John Big Tree ... Cheyenne Chief (uncredited)
Danny Borzage ... Minor Role (uncredited)
George Brent ... Worker / Extra (uncredited)
Milton Brown ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Thomas Carr ... Rail Worker (uncredited)
Peggy Cartwright ... Miriam as a Girl (uncredited)
Colin Chase ... Tony - Italian Worker (uncredited)
Harvey Clark ... Dentist-Barber (uncredited)
Elmer Dewey ... Minor Role (uncredited)
John Webb Dillon ... Tall Woodsman in Prologue (uncredited)
Thomas Durant ... Jack Ganzhorn (uncredited)
Bob Fleming ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Willie Fung ... Chinaman (uncredited)
Jack Ganzhorn ... Thomas C. Durant (uncredited)
James Gordon ... David Brandon Sr (uncredited)
Ed Jones ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Tiny Jones ... Woman Who Wants a Divorce (uncredited)
Sid Jordan ... Gunfighter (uncredited)
Dick La Reno ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Delbert Mann ... Charles Crocker (uncredited)
Robert Milasch ... Hell on Wheels Bartender (uncredited)
Winston Miller ... Davy as a Boy (uncredited)
Pat Moriarity ... Rail Worker (uncredited)
Charles Newton ... Collis P. Huntington (uncredited)
Herman Nowlin ... Minor Role (uncredited)
John B. O'Brien ... Dinny (uncredited)
Charles O'Malley ... Maj. North (uncredited)
Jack Padjan ... Wild Bill Hickok (uncredited)
Edward Peil Sr. ... Old Chinese Railroad Worker (uncredited)
Jack Richardson ... Union Officer at White House (uncredited)
Vinegar Roan ... Bit Role (uncredited)
Walter Rodgers ... Gen. Dodge (uncredited)
Harold D. Schuster ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Tom Smith ... Cowhand (uncredited)
Chief White Spear ... Sioux Chief (uncredited)
Charles Stevens ... Indian (uncredited)
Frances Teague ... Polka Dot - Dance Hall Girl (uncredited)
Stanhope Wheatcroft ... John Hay (uncredited)
Leo Willis ... Gunman in Saloon (uncredited)
Chief Eagle Wing ... Indian (uncredited)
Charles Kenyon (story) and
John Russell (story)
Charles Kenyon (scenario)
Charles Darnton (titles)
John Lanchbery (1994)
William P. Perry (1974)
Erno Rapee (uncredited)
The VHS version published in Argentina by "Epoca Video Ediciones" was lifted from an Italian video version that, in turn, was lifted from a Paul Killiam print with the titles (except the original credits) replaced with Italian translations. "Epoca Video Ediciones", subtitled that print in Spanish and made an important mistake that they have never corrected: the film was originally released in Argentina as "El caballo de hierro" but they put "El caballo de acero".
During the title sequence before the film starts, a dedication is given to George Stephenson the father of the railway locomotive. Unfortunately it describes Stephenson as Scottish, when in fact he is an Englishman, born in Wylam Northumberland in 1781.
During the filming of a climactic gun battle, which took several days to film, the cast and crew awoke to find that an unexpected snowfall had blanketed the set. The crew, and most of the cast, set to work clearing the large set of the fresh snow, and amazingly were able to do so in about an hour.
When on location, the crew built a large town set in which many of the buildings had practical rooms. These rooms soon became living quarters, holding areas and storage space. The editing lab was set up in the post office set.
The production had it's own bootlegger. While doing a run one night, said bootlegger allegedly hit somebody with his car and killed them.
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.
In the final scenes of the meeting of the West and East Railways, the director used the actual engines that did meet on that day.They were the Jupiter and Locomotive 116. This is mentioned in the film captions itself.
This was the opening night film for the 15th San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2010.
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.
The Central Pacific steam engine used in the sequence of the 10 mile day was a coal burner, evident by the straight pipe smokestack. All Central Pacific steam engines at the time were wood burners with a diamond stack or similar smokestack.
The Union Pacific steam engine at the Golden Spike ceremony was the UP119, not the UP116.
A claim was made that the original Jupiter was used in the movie. After the Central Pacific Railroad was reorganized as the Southern Pacific, the steam engine was numbered SP1195, was converted to a coal burner and then sold to the Gila Valley, Globe & Northern Railroad in Arizona. Unfortunately, it was scrapped in 1906 for $1000, so it could not have been in this movie.
Beale's Cut, Newhall, California, USA
Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California, USA
Dodge Flat, Wadsworth, Nevada, USA
Iverson Ranch - 1 Iverson Lane, Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California, USA
Newhall, California, USA
Truckee, California, USA (hauling locomotive up mountain)
Wadsworth, Nevada, USA
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