Roar of the Iron Horse - Rail-Blazer of the Apache Trail (1951)

Approved   |    |  Western

Roar of the Iron Horse - Rail-Blazer of the Apache Trail (1951) Poster

A railroad agent named Jim Grant opposes hard-nosed German, Karl Ulrich, called The Baron. Head of a strong ring in America, the infamous Baron was thwarted time and time again as he tried ... See full summary »


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24 May 2007 | dinky-4
| Tiring out at the end of the trail
The multi-chapter serial was beginning to fade away by the early 1950s, yet another victim of television, and -- not surprisingly -- "Roar of the Iron Horse" has a tired, worn-out quality to it. The stock characters have a hard time holding our interest and the plot they find themselves in -- building a railroad despite opposing forces -- seems so routine as to be lifeless. Having three sets of villains rather than one dissipates rather than intensifies the tension.

Jock (O')Mahoney does make a good hero but his appeal is hampered by a shortage of close-ups and a never-changing costume involving a buckskin-fringed shirt straight out of the Village People. This shirt, despite all the wear it's put through, never comes untucked or unbuttoned, never rips, and never shows a spot of dirt. What's more, it comes with a white scarf which is gaily tied around Mahoney's neck in every scene. One can sense Mahoney's brawny physique wanting to break free of this shirt and some he-man beefcake would have been warmly welcomed. In only one episode (at the end of Chapter Two) does Mahoney even get put into a real bondage situation. Indians capture him and tie him to a stake -- fully clothed, of course -- and set fire to the pile of wood under his feet, but just as his meat is about to be turned "extra crispy," he's rescued in a highly implausible fashion. Despite his sex appeal, Mahoney shows little interest in leading lady Virginia Herrick and has his best scenes with sidekick William Fawcett.

Why were westerns so often the weakest of the Saturday matinée serials?

For the record, the chapter titles for "Roar of the Iron Horse" are: (1) Indian Attack! (2) Captured by Redskins! (3) Trapped by Outlaws (4) In the Baron's Stronghold (5) A Ride for Life (6) White Indians! (7) Fumes of Fate (8) Midnight Marauders (9) Raid on the Pay Train (10) Trapped on a Trestle! (11) Redskin's Revenge! (12) Plunge of Peril (13) The Law Takes Over (14) When Killers Meet (15) The End of the Trail.

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

31 May 1951



Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Carson City, Nevada, USA

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