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The Iron Horse (1924)

Passed | | History, Romance, Western | 4 October 1925 (USA)
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.

Director:

John Ford (uncredited)

Writers:

Charles Kenyon (story), John Russell (story) | 2 more credits »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George O'Brien ... Dave Brandon
Madge Bellamy ... Miriam Marsh
Charles Edward Bull Charles Edward Bull ... Lincoln
Cyril Chadwick Cyril Chadwick ... Jesson
Will Walling ... Thomas Marsh
Francis Powers ... Sgt. Slattery
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Cpl. Casey (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Jim Welch Jim Welch ... Pvt. Schultz / Pvt. Mackay (as James Welch)
George Waggner George Waggner ... Buffalo Bill (as George Wagner)
Fred Kohler ... Deroux
James A. Marcus ... Judge Haller (as James Marcus)
Gladys Hulette ... Ruby
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Storyline

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 ... Written by David Steele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

To Miss This Film Treat is to Hit Yourself a Blow in Self Denial That You Don't Deserve. (Print Ad- Appleton Post-Crescent,((Appleton, Wisc.)) 19 October 1925) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 October 1925 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Iron Trail See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$280,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$942,889, 31 December 1925
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A notation on a title card states that in the final scenes of the meeting of the west and east railways, director John Ford used the actual engines that did meet on that day, the Jupiter and Locomotive 116. This claim was, in fact, not true. Not only were neither of the engines the original ones, but one of the actual engines had been dismantled for scrap many years before. See more »

Goofs

Snow all over the girl disappears by the time she goes through the gate with her father. See more »

Quotes

intertitle: [Referring to Brandon] With his own hands he has driven the last spike - the buckle in the girdle of a continent.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD release of this film contains two different edits, one for the American market and one for Europe. The American release is 16 minutes longer than the European cut. The American cut is dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln while the European release is dedicated to the memory of George Stephenson. In the American release Fred Kohler's character is named Deroux while in the European cut his character is named Bauman. See more »

Connections

Edited into The Negro Soldier (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Blow the Man Down
(uncredited)
Traditional 19th Century Sea Chanty (1860s)
[Integrated into restoration score into divorce and going back to work scenes]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent (if old) western railroad movie
11 May 2005 | by bigdinosaurSee all my reviews

Since I live in Cheyenne, WY this type of movie really appeals to me. As all historians know, various towns along the route of this railroad (which coincides quite closely to interstate 80 in Wyoming) were made during its construction. Cheyenne and Rock Springs (because of its coal mining) were especially notable.

I had seen this movie several years ago and was delighted to see it being broadcast on the Turner Classic Movies channel. Perhaps they will re-broadcast it again in the future.

This movie, while not completely accurate historically, certainly gives an idea of the magnitude of the endeavor being undertaken. And it does feature a real locomotive which operated on the railroad during the period portrayed. Historical buffs definitely should not be swayed from enjoying this title simply because it may not strictly conform to history.

I won't go into the story except to say that the various sub-plots keep the viewer very entertained. This was a very well-done movie in my opinion. Acting was very good. And the cinematography was very impressive.

Fans of either westerns or silent-era films certainly should not miss this one.


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