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The Iron Horse (1924) - Plot Summary Poster

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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.

  • 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...

  • In Springfield, the surveyor Brandon dreams on building the first transcontinental railroad while his skeptical friend Thomas Marsh, who is a small constructor, believes he is nothing but a dreamer chasing a rainbow; their children Davy Brandon and Miriam Marsh are best friends. Brandon heads with Davy to the west, where he finds a possible pass for the railroad. However, a group of Cheyenne led by a white renegade kills and scalps Brandon; Davy, who is hidden, sees that the killer has only two fingers in his right hand. In June 1862, President Abraham Lincoln authorizes the construction of two railroads: the Union Pacific from Omaha, Nebraska, to West; and the Central Pacific, from Sacramento, California, to East. His old friend Thomas Marsh is responsible for the construction of the Union Pacific and his daughter Miriam is engaged of his engineer Jesson. After many incidents during the construction, Thomas Marsh is short of money and he needs to find a shortcut other than the original route through Smoky River. However, the powerful Bauman that owns the lands where the railroad should pass, bribes Jesson to keep the original route. When the grown-up Davy appears in the town bringing the mail, Miriam is glad in meeting him and he tells to Thomas that his father had discovered a pass through the Black Hills. Thomas assigns Jesson to ride with Davy to check the ravine, but Bauman convinces the engineer to kill the rival. Jesson cuts the rope that Davy is using to descent to the pass; returns to town and tells that Davy had an accident and died. However, when Davy returns to town, he discloses the truth and the situation of the engineer becomes unbearable. The desperate Bauman uses the two fingered renegade to convince the Cheyenne to war against the workers and Davy has the chance to meet the killer of his father. On 10 May 1869, the locomotives 116 and Jupiter meets each other in the intersection of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific.


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