“I hear you’re hunting for a short cut through the hills.”
A man (James Gordon) dreams of building a transcontinental railroad across America, but is brutally murdered by the villainous Bauman (Fred Kohler). Gordon’s son (George O’Brien) carries out his late father’s wishes, while simultaneously trying to avenge his death.
- Historical Drama
- John Ford Films
- Silent Films
- Trains and Subways
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that while this “John Ford classic holds up better than James Cruze’s The Covered Wagon, the other major western epic of the silent era,” it “too seems very slow… and not particularly original.” He notes that it’s a “tribute to the visionaries who realized that such a crazy project” as building a transcontinental railroad “was essential to our country’s expansion west”, and that “like many future, better Ford westerns,” it’s about “the men who sacrificed their lives so those who followed in their paths could have an easier time.” Ultimately, the historical elements of this silent epic are far more compelling than its sappy central saga of romance and revenge. Indeed, the film’s greatest strength lies in its powerful imagery of laborers hard at work; shanty towns cropping up along the tracks; and the “final railroad spike [being] driven home.”
- A powerful reenactment of the building of America’s transcontinental railroad
No, though it’s worth a look for its historical relevance.