20th Century Fox
Having won 4 Oscars, today’s movie is hardly obscure, but the use of three, count ’em THREE steam locomotives makes this a flick worth reviewing. Filmed on the Denver and Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) narrow gauge as well as an obscure Mexican 3-footer, there is a tasty selection of railroad hype to sink our teeth into.
D&RGW K-28 2-8-2 Baldwins 473 and 478 are the big stars along with some studio-constructed baggage cars and D&RGW replica coaches 330, 335, 336 as well as business car B-7.
The main actors? Oh, them. Paul Newman played Butch Cassidy with Robert Redford as The Sundance Kid.
Grateful thanks to Larry Jensen and his magnificent book, “Hollywood’s Railroads – Volume Three – Narrow Gauge Country” for being my go-to source for all-things-railroad in this classic Western.
So grab the dynamite and let’s go rob a baggage car or two. Stick ’em up!
There’s lots of leaping in this movie. Here we see The Kid jumping from car to car in the second hold up and making like a bird, bailing off the cab of #473 in the third robbery.
Oh, how I dislike make-it-look-old sepia tone movie prints. But that’s the hand we’re dealt in the opening credits during the first train robbery. Bear with me. It eventually goes back to color.
Filmed in Fall of 1968 east of Durango, Colorado, Butch and his “Hole-in-the-Wall” gang rob the baggage car AND the passengers. Not for long, however, as a posse comes ridin’ up to save the day.
Good chunk of the movie left off HERE
Ah, color again. That’s better. The Kid jumps onto the roof and makes his way up to the locomotive.
Nice 3/4 view of the single door baggage car placed in the center of the train for “a symmetrical look” and also ease of filming in either direction. This second train robbery was filmed on the Silverton Branch.
Leaping into action! Here comes the Kid making his way up to the locomotive cab to hold the crew at bay. “Hey, stop up by that gang there!”
Notice how unkempt the tracks are. At the time of filming, D&RGW was trying to sell off or abandon all of its narrow gauge lines. “Deferred maintenance” was the order of the day.
Cab side view of “Union Pacific” #473. Best view of “Overland Flyer” on the side of the tender.
Butch and the boys actually held up UP trains, thus the lettering seen on all the equipment.
A view of the coach and passengers; Whilst a henchman (I think it’s Ted Cassidy) readies some TNT, Kid and Butch discuss blowing open the baggage car.
George Furth, my man! Here playing the beleaguered company man Woodcock (great name for a man of his, err… stature). I fondly remember him from Blazing Saddles spouting, “Sheriff! Mongo’s back! He’s tearing up the whole town….”
KA-BOOM! Scratch one baggage car. “Hey Woodcock! You alright?” The thieves blow the safe and escape with the payroll.
Unimportant part of the movie left off HERE
Third train robbery. This is our best view of the locomotive in the film with the studio-supplied fake headlight and smokestack. An angry matron comes forward to express her displeasure at the hold-up.
Butch tries to talk the battered Woodcock into opening the door.
Having talked Woodcock out of harm’s way, the gang waits for the dynamite to go off.
KA-BLOOEY! Filmmakers used way too much TNT, blasting the balsa-wood baggage car to smithereens.
From another angle (sans fireball), the explosion sends the horsies galloping away and the payroll from the safe fluttering in the breeze. Some of the henches try to scoop up stray dollar bills.
What’s this? Another train is coming up fast on their six. Could it be?…
It’s the “Super Posse” train with its one baggage car churning through the weeds. The director gets all artsy-fartsy with crazy angles and back-lit shots of K-28 #478 (lettered as #473).
The whistle blows (note the “D & R G” cast into it) and the posse LEAPS from the baggage car on horseback. In no time at all, they have reached the hold-up train, passing B-7 (private car “General William Jackson Palmer”).
Meanwhile Butch and The Kid have taken it on the lam with the super posse in high speed horsie pursuit. Thus ends the D&RGW train scenes for the movie.
Both Katharine Ross (as Etta Place) and Cloris Leachman (as Agnes) portray trollops for the boys in this picture. Yawn. A Stepford Wife and Frau Blücher (horse whinnies in terror).
Still another hunk of the movie left off HERE
More of that damned sepia tone print BUT with a twist. It segues nicely when the trio head to Mexico, err… Bolivia. Let’s check it out:
First picture appears to be Northern Pacific Railway’s North Coast Limited (note N.P.R. #300 pulling the train). Check the NCL link above for the actual picture.
Second picture shows Nacionales De Mexico #779 Primera, a steel narrow-gauge open-platform 1st-class coach. Note Mexico has been painted over with “Bolivia”.
Third picture has the scene revert to color.
Fourth picture is at the “Santa Inez” depot. This is our only view of the third steam locomotive which I haven’t been able to identify. This scene was shot near Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico.
That’s all the trains for BC&TSK. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little tongue-in-cheek review. Blücher!!
Here’s what IMDb has to say about Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid:
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!
WOW, we got both D.O.D saying and Frau Blucher in the review, way to go dear! xoxo 😉