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The Iron Horse

(silent 1924 b 133')

En: 5 Ed: 5

During the building of the transcontinental railroad a landowner tries to avoid the change to a shorter route with intrigue and murdering.

Abraham Lincoln (Charles Edward Bull) meets the surveyor David Brandon, his son Davy, Thomas Marsh (Will Walling), and his daughter. Brandon and his son head west. Three months later a white man dressed as a Cheyenne kills Brandon, and his son Davy buries him.

In 1862 a transcontinental railroad is planned, and President Lincoln approves. Miriam Marsh (Madge Bellamy) is engaged to engineer Peter Jesson (Cyril Chadwick). Workers come from China, and after 1865 from veterans of the North and South. Bill Cody brings them buffalo meat. A supply train is blocked and attacked by Indians. A man uses a telegraph wire and is shot down. Thomas Marsh tells Jesson to find a shortcut. The men have not been paid and want to quit, but Miriam asks them to stay.

Dancer Ruby (Gladys Hulette) is insulted and shoots a man, but Judge Haller (James Marcus) lets her go. Bauman (Fred Kohler) tells Ruby to lead on Jesson. She tells Jesson that her friends will pay him for not finding a shorter pass.

Pony express rider Davy Brandon (George O'Brien) flees Indians and jumps on the moving train. He remembers Miriam, and he tells her father that his dad showed him a shorter pass. Headquarters is moved from North Platte to Cheyenne. Friendly Pawnees guard the train. Jesson goes with Davy to look for a pass and tries to kill him by cutting a rope holding him over a cliff, but Davy falls into a tree.

Corporal Casey (J. Farrell MacDonald) has a bad tooth, and a barber pulls it out. Jesson tells Marsh that there is no other pass and that Davy died. Jesson also tells Miriam. Davy comes back and accuses Jesson of lying. Bauman tells Jesson to kill Davy.

Davy shows his notes to Marsh. Miriam asks Davy not to fight Jesson even though she no longer loves him. Davy goes to the saloon and apologizes to Jesson, who tries to shoot him. They have a fist fight, and Ruby tells Miriam. After Davy knocks out Jesson, Miriam rejects Davy.

Bauman goes to the Cheyenne chief and gets them to attack the workers. Davy has Casey move the engine back to headquarters to get soldiers. The men refuse to get on until they see the cattle that have arrived from Texas. The train goes back, and they fight the Indians. Davy sees that Bauman is shooting at them and fights him. He sees his two fingers and realizes Bauman killed his father. Davy kills him. Pawnees arrive and drive away the Cheyenne, but Sergeant Slattery (Francis Powers) is killed.

Davy and Casey take a stage to the Central Pacific and work with the Chinese. After a year the C. P. and the Union Pacific draw near and meet. On May 10, 1869 they celebrate the union, and Miriam invites Davy to her side. The golden spike is driven, and Davy sees their unity.

This early western dramatizes the history of the railroad that united the continent from east to west. The special interests of those with property who hope to profit from such public projects are not always exposed.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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