ABC 4 Star Television
“Somebody get me The Sarge!” Chuck Conners (as Lucas McCain) starred for five seasons of The Rifleman, blasting away on his customized Winchester 92 carbine to begin every episode. BTW, the above link (in blue) is a fascinating read — with details about the Winchester used in the series.
Anyway. Episode 159 of 168 seemed to have the most train scenes. Lucas and his boy Mark (played by Johnny Crawford) are riding the first train into Northfork (New Mexico Territory). It wasn’t until I started taking screen caps that I realized all the live train footage was lifted from other movies and stock footage.
Still, it was fun to try and identify the railroad bits — especially as locomotives and railroads would change from shot to shot (maybe they won’t notice…). C’mon, let’s check it out!
The episode opens with a short passenger train rolling through the desert (I can’t make out the locomotive except that the steam engine is producing a fine plume of smoke). Quickly, they cut to the churning drivers of a 4-4-0.
Mark is so excited about riding the train, he wakes Lucas up from his nap, as cactus pass by in the background. The passenger car interiors were obviously on a studio set with rear screen projection.
With a blast of the chime whistle, the train stops to pick up more passengers. Take a look at the water tower behind the station. We’ll see that again, later on.
Pulling into a station, the equipment is all lettered, “M.K.& T. R.R.” (Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, more commonly known as, “The Katy”). The engine is a 4-4-0, #18.
Could this be the former Virginia & Truckee #18 “Dayton” purchased by the studios circa 1937? First car is a Baggage – U.S. Mail – Coach #836. Second car is coach #720.
Engine change! There’s no mistaking the offset drivers of Sierra Railroad #3, a 4-6-0 built by Rogers in 1891. Indeed, approaching a cattle guard comes the Movie Star Locomotive dressed up for Petticoat Junction.
Riding backwards, Lucas chats up the visitors from Japan. Hikaru checks out Chuck’s carbine.
Whoa! It’s still Sierra #3 all right, but with a different stack and painted in basic black with just a “1” on the cab side.
Soto displays the cutlery in it’s case.
Yonder comes the train! Northfork denizens excitedly await the arrival, lining both sides of the track.
Most likely lifted from a movie, the arrival scene footage shows a 4-6-0 pulling two coaches. Although no number is visible on the engine, this is probably Sierra #3.
The travelers watch the townsfolk as the train comes to a stop. As they disembark from the studio cars, filmmakers cut back to the arrival movie scene of the train.
Well, hello there! On hand to greet the McCains are Sheriff Micah Torrance (played by Paul Fix) and saloonkeeper/Lucas-love-interest Lou Mallory [rahr-RAHR!] (played by Patricia Blair). Introductions are made all around.
They don’t appear in any train scenes, but I include these two guys purely for their wonderful leering smirks and alcoholic troublemaking. Bottom’s up!
Meanwhile, back at the depot, the train is ready to pull out. Moviemakers throw in some very cropped shots making identification difficult. It appears to be a 2-8-0 of some sort. On the tender, I can make out “Express” inside the circle and “California” at the bottom of the logo.
Back to the depot scene, the same equipment is departing that previously arrived in Northfork. Now we can clearly see the train is lettered Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Railroad change! Notice the water tower in the background is almost a perfect match for the one mentioned previously. I’m thinking it’s a prop, moved from location to location, a la Sierra Railroad.
This is the last train scene of our feature (@ 8:30 of a 25 minute episode), so I’ll be ending my review here. Thanks for reading and if you can shed some light on some of those railroad unknowns, leave a comment below. All Aboard!
If you’d like to watch the episode I reviewed, it is on YouTube:
Here’s what IMDb has to say about The Sixteenth Cousin:
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!