Oh boy, another C picture from Lippert Studios. Yippie yi yo ki yay!
Don’t let the title fool you. The star attraction is a Virginia & Truckee steam locomotive and two car passenger train filmed in Nevada in that road’s last days of operation. I was able to find several color pictures of this movie train as well as extensive details about the engine.
Coming in at less than an hour run time (56 minutes, 47 seconds), there’s plenty of action including TWO Indian attacks and a motley assortment of passengers including dance hall girls, a man of the cloth, a wheelchair-bound, but nubile young woman and her elderly, straight-laced companion, a traveling corset salesman and various ruffians and rogues.
Is there really $250,000 worth of gold (GOLD!!) in the baggage car? Read along and let’s find out!
V&T 2-8-0 #5 leads mail-baggage #23 and combination car #18 in an establishing shot that will be seen repeatedly throughout our feature. Judging from the snow-capped mountains and arrow-straight track, (and a quick peek at one of my Larry Jensen books), I believe the location to be somewhere between Carson City and Minden, Nevada. Lots of pacing shots, so there’s undoubtedly a paved road paralleling the railroad.
It’s train time at the Albuquerque Depot (location probably Minden, NV). The conductor talks it over with the engineer about their run to Tombstone. The drummer checks out the invalid chick and her aunt as two chorus girls watch with amusement. Meanwhile, the doctor (left) chats it up with the parson and aunt/niece combo.
(I’m not going to bother with identifying the cast as it was so hard to tell many of them apart in IMDb.)
Conductor tells the telegrapher his doubts about the upcoming journey thru Injun country. Highball! Let’s get this show on the road.
Our first bit of comic relief is the drummer stumbling along trying to board the outbound train. Note the baggage door location on the last car.
First of many pacing shots. Snowy Sierra Nevada mountain peaks. Notice the last car baggage door has swapped ends.
“How do you do, Ma’am? — “Here’s my card!”
Certain of an upcoming attack, the conductor and baggageman prepare the rifles whilst back in coach, Auntie takes a belt of her “nerve tonic”.
Auntie has good reason to fortify herself. A fugitive from justice is riding up behind the train, boarding the rear platform to make his escape. Uh-oh. It looks like he’s been a naughty boy. Naturally, Invalid Gal takes a shine to him.
A little “day for night” filming technique finds our consist trundling through a grove of trees. Turn on the headlight!
Meanwhile on board, the corset salesman is prancing up and down the aisle hawking his wares to everyone’s amusement. Auntie has retired to the back platform where the Conductor suggests she lay off the sauce for a while.
Indians! Yep, the Apaches are on the warpath and here they come as some ranchers choose this precise moment to herd their sheep across the tracks, blocking escape. Circle the wagons!
Rifles are passed out and the passengers take pot shots at the back-screen-projected stuntmen. Who woulda thought a corset salesman was so handy with a rifle?
Finally the sheep are clear and the train pulls away from its pursuers. This seems as good a place as any to provide more detail about our locomotive and its consist. Between Indian attacks.
The above vertical picture comes from the Western Nevada Historic Photo Collection and I quote from their link: “The engine crew poses with Virginia and Truckee locomotive #5. This was the last engine purchased by the railroad. It was scrapped soon after the railroad ceased operation. By November 1950 the railroad was out of business, and the crew was running the locomotive to bring the last remaining equipment out of Carson City to Reno for sale or scrapping.”
The above color postcards I found for sale on Ebay.com. The first is #5 switching in Carson City and the second is cars #23 & #18 at the Carson City depot. It’s possible the two cars were photographed just before filming of this movie began.
This color view shows our movie train crossing a bridge from the American Rails website. I quote from their picture caption:
“Virginia & Truckee 2-8-0 #5, originally built for the Nevada Copper Belt Railroad in May, 1925 by American Locomotive and acquired by the V&T on February 15, 1947, is seen here leading a two-car passenger train (including a 40-foot mail/baggage car #23, built in 1923 by Pullman for Southern Pacific subsidiary Texas & New Orleans as well as combination car #18, built in 1890 by Barney & Smith) through Washoe Canyon near Washoe City, Nevada as it crosses Steamboat Creek on May 7, 1950. At 15 tons, it was the heaviest steamer on V&T’s roster. Al Rose photo.”
One last color image, also from the Western Nevada Historic Photo Collection. See above paragraph for description (yes, it’s the same view, just cropped differently).
Good chunk of movie left off HERE
Jeez Louise, it’s ANOTHER set of Indians/Outlaws attacking. Even the fireman gets into the act shooting at them from the cab. It’s partly an inside job as there are bad guys onboard who are after the gold.
Yaaaaah!! Invalid chick sees her bad boy about to be ambushed, let’s out a blood-curdling scream, and rushes to his aid. It’s a miracle! She can walk!
The attack is quashed, and everyone couples up. Miracle Gal gets her man (Bad Boy was actually a Good Guy in disguise), Dance Hall Girl #1 repents and winds up with the preacher, and Dance Hall Girl #2 snags the handsome doctor.
Gosh, that’s swell!
Here’s a link to the film I reviewed if you’re so interested:
If it’s still on YouTube, that is…
Here’s what IMDb has to say about Train to Tombstone:
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!