It’s 1869 and there’s trouble on the K. T. & C. Railroad. Building west from Laramie, construction has come to a grinding halt as the crews have taken to strong drink and the pagan delights of the saloons and other houses of ill-repute.
Jefferson Harder (played by John Payne) is brought in to clean up the town, kick some ass, and get the construction going again. Standing in his way is his old friend, Jim Shanessy (played by Dan Duryea) — the bad guy who profits from all the debauchery and naturally favors the status quo.
The picture stars TWO ex-Virginia & Truckee 4-4-0 locomotives: #22, The Inyo, and #18, The Dayton. Train scenes are sporadic at first, but the film finishes with a spectacular fist fight onboard a speeding work train as it rushes headlong towards an oncoming express train.
Surprise! Rails into Laramie features a THIRD steam locomotive. Filmed on the Universal back lot and disguised as V&T #22, is former Nevada County Narrow Gauge #5, a little 2-6-0 Mogul. This locomotive survives as a static display at the NCNG Museum in Nevada City, CA.