Once Upon A Texas Train 1988

Columbia Broadcasting System

Let’s take a ride on the Nevada Northern Railway! The star of today’s movie is NN #40, a 4-6-0, July 1910 product of Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Bringing up the markers, is wooden coach-combination car #06, acquired by NN second hand in 1909.

In this made-for-TV movie, #40 and combine garner about 4 1/2 minutes of screen time during the opening credits & de rigueur train robbery and shoot out. We once more see the little train as the picture wraps up…heading away from the camera this time.

Filming also features a brief cameo by Virginia & Truckee #11, “The Reno” during its residence at Old Tucson Studios. Thus, I’ll be skipping over the bulk of this 93 minute movie for some tasty steam locomotive goodness. All Aboard!

Here comes the Queen of the Rails towing her little combine with a good head of steam. As the coal-burning 4-6-0 passes, we get a view of NN combine #06.

The movie begins with the little train whistling along through the Nevada desert. As it passes the camera, we get our best side view of #06.

This combine has a rather interesting history. Originally built for the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1872 by Pullman, it went through a series of name changes: Lachine, Tulgela, and then Levis. Riding on six-wheel trucks, it was acquired by NN in 1909 and then converted into an outfit car in 1940.

For comparison, I include a Ron Healy photograph of #06 in the East Ely, NV yard.

Whether in telephoto with mountains in the background or rounding a curve towards us, NN #40 is stepping smartly along with copious amounts of steam and whistle talk.

The gunfight will take place at the Cherry Creek depot, also seen here from a NN Ry. archive photo (unknown photographer).

Reaching the depot, the train comes to a halt. The station may appear to be empty, but lawmen are in hiding. This looks like the perfect place for an AMBUSH!

Sure enough, two figures detrain from the rear platform. An outlaw has the conductor at bay. Hands up! Reaching the baggage compartment, the rest of the gang is pilfering the payroll strong box. But what’s this? A deputy has come out of hiding and….

Pow! The deputy gets off the first shot (hopefully he didn’t shoot the conductor). The gang returns fire, but soon realizes they’ve been out-gunned and surrender.

Cautiously, the posse emerges from the depot and advances towards the gang. This ends our train scenes for the moment.

15 minutes later, we find ourselves in Arizona. It’s night time and here comes the Reno (V&T #11) pulling former V&T wooden coach #19.

A lone figure waits in the gloom. Why, it’s Richard Widmark as Captain Hayes.

Stepping down from the coach is none other than Angie Dickinson as Maggie. She’s in town to complete a messy love triangle between lawman Widmark and one of the outlaws.

The rest of the movie lopped off HERE.

Parting shot! We’re back in Nevada as old #40 trundles away from the camera into the desert sage. Shortly thereafter the credits roll, bringing my review to a close.

Thanks to Larry Jensen’s Hollywood’s Railroads, Volume One for helping me to identify the Reno and coach #19.

If you’re interested, here is a very good bio of Virginia & Truckee #11 and her current status (she’s coming home to Carson City!).

Here’s what IMDb has to say about Once Upon A Texas Train:

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!



2 thoughts on “Once Upon A Texas Train 1988

  1. filmrailfan Post author

    Pro…Pro…provisions, yes they brought that.
    No dear, we rode on V&T #22 “Inyo”. V&T #11 “Reno” was recently returned to Carson City and will be restored to operation. We’ll just have to revisit!



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