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Review: Cecil B. Demille's "Union Pacific" (1939) Starring Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck And Robert Preston; Kino Lorber Blu-ray Release

Review: Cecil B. Demille's

By Fred Blosser

In “Union Pacific” (1939), an epic Western produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille for Paramount Pictures in flavorful black-and-white, Union Army veteran Jeff Butler (Joel McCrea) is hired as a troubleshooter by the fledgling Union Pacific Railroad just after the end of the Civil War. In the 2021 corporate world, his job description probably would say “Head of Security.” Butler is an engineer by profession, but he’s traded his slide rule (or whatever engineers used in those days) for a pair of six-shooters. The Union Pacific is laying track westward from Nebraska to connect in Utah with the Central Pacific, as the latter proceeds eastward from California. Jeff’s duty is to make sure the Union Pacific stays on schedule, and that means no malingering or sabotage by the track crew. If the Union Pacific falls behind, the Central Pacific becomes top dog.

Jeff’s main problem

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