James Garner is riding the narrow gauge rails of the Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) Railroad in this Western spoof follow-up to 1969’s Support Your Local Sheriff!
Train scenes in this film were brief, but feature 4 different steam locomotives, one of which I’ve not been able to positively identify. A big shout out to Larry Jensen whose “Hollywood’s Railroads, Volume 3” book helped me identify one engine used on the CBS Studio City (CA) lot.
As usual, I’ll concentrate on the railroad scenes in my review, even though the movie itself is great fun to watch — back when Tinseltown knew how to make an enjoyable, entertaining picture.
Let’s take a trip on the 3-feet-between-the-rails Rio Grande railroad. Highball!!
D&RGW #478, a narrow gauge K-28 class 2-8-2 Alco class of 1924, leads a short train of “Grande Gold” and silver coaches along the Animas River on the Silverton Line.
Helicopter shots of this train were used at the beginning and ending of today’s reviewed movie.
The opening credits feature a couple beautifully-lit views of D&RGW #478 and train.
The consist includes a center door baggage car, two coaches and private car B7 “General William Jackson Palmer” bringing up the markers.
#478 whistles as it steps across a lower-truss bridge in these sparkling back-lit shots.
This is my “mystery engine” crossing a trestle. Can’t tell the wheel arrangement (it’s very dark), but the consist has changed into a different baggage car and just two coaches. This may be stock footage from another movie.
Con artist and ladies man Latigo (played by James Garner) endures a major makeout session with Goldie (played by Marie Windsor) onboard their private car.
Goldie (along with her carload of prostitutes) is on her way to Denver to 1: Marry Latigo and 2: Set up a cathouse.
The champagne is flowing freely as we get a good view of the car interior. These scenes were probably filmed on a studio set, but…nice wood paneling!
After tucking Goldie in for the night, Latigo pays off the car’s crew to wake him up when they reach Purgatory…where he plans to escape the clutches of his intended. The cad! The bounder! Boo! Hiss!
Meanwhile at Purgatory depot, Station Master Ez (played by Henry Jones) awaits the Denver train due on time at midnight.
Locomotive #119 seen here is none other than studio-owned, ex-Virginia & Truckee #11 “Reno”. This engine had just been purchased by the Old Tucson Studios at an MGM auction, but had not yet been delivered to Arizona. Again, kudos to Mr. Jensen for helping me identify this iron horse.
As an aside, #119 was the number of the Union Pacific 4-4-0 that met Central Pacific’s “Jupiter” 4-4-0 at the Golden Spike ceremony, Promontory, Utah in 1869.
Sure enough, Latigo is awakened upon reaching Purgatory. He tips the crew once more and makes his way off the rear platform of the wooden passenger car.
As Latigo talks it over with Taylor (played by Harry Morgan), we see the coach is numbered 3472. Might be an old Virginia & Truckee coach purchased by the studio.
Huge swath of the movie left off HERE.
That’s Dynamite! Suzanne Pleshette (Hubba Hubba!) filches a stick of TNT whilst striking some VERY provocative poses. ZOWIE! Cherry Bomb Cheesecake!
Oh, I’ve seen THIS locomotive before! Check that impossible, over-the-top paint scheme. Lifted directly out of the 1969 movie, “The Good Guys and the Bad Guys“, comes Grand Mountain RR Line #577” (D&RGW #483 K-36 class 2-8-2 Baldwin in disguise).
The conductor lifts the ticket of (gasp) Swifty Morgan! (played by Chuck Conners). Swifty is coming into Purgatory to confront Latigo (who has been impersonating him). Funky looking luggage racks and other interior details in the coach.
Once more, #119 steams into the station and discharges The Rifleman from the coach. The station master tries to chat him up, but the stoic (and bald) gunslinger is a man of few words.
As Chuck twirls his six-shooter, we see just one word on the side of the tender: Denver. I’m thinking this locomotive was in a commercial or other movie and filmmakers just used the existing paint scheme.
Even MORE of the movie left off here…
Well of COURSE James Garner winds up with Suzanne Pleshette as he sets off in the same DRGW #478-led train heading to Denver. For an epilogue, none other than Jack Elam rides the steps of the B7 “Palmer” narrating what happened to the principal cast members.
The camera pulls back from Jack (hey, that rhymes!), the train turns the corner and the credits roll.
Hmmm…I really need to go back and watch the rest of this movie. I have tomorrow off, I think I’ll give it a good view. Cheers!
Here’s what IMDb has to say about Support Your Local Gunfighter:
If you have ANY information about this movie you’d like to share, please contact me at: Lindsay.Korst@gmail.com, or leave a comment. Thanks and enjoy the blog!
Boy, sure lots of kissing for a train movie 😉
With that many women of ill repute (a carload of hookers), it’s just inevitable…
That mystery train appears to reused footage of Inyo and three B&O passenger stock from The Great Locomotive Chase. That’s my opinion on the matter.