Danger Lights 1930


RKO Radio Pictures

This action/melodrama was filmed partially on location in Montana and Chicago along the CMStP&P Railroad (The Milwaukee Road).  The movie opens with a spectacular avalanche in front of a freight train.  Word soon reaches the division point and with the shop steam whistle frantically bellowing its alert, a wrecker train is quickly dispatched to clear the line


Workers hustle to climb aboard the wreck train.


CMStP&P crane clears the line.

Superintendent Dan Thorn (Louis Wolheim) at the clean up site discovers old rail Larry Doyle (Robert Armstrong) riding as a hobo.  Despite his gruff persona, Thorn is a soft touch, and quickly hires Doyle and puts him back to work.  A romantic triangle ensues when Doyle promptly falls for Thorn’s girl Mary (Jean Arthur).


Doyle takes Mary to the old Railroader’s Ball which included this incredible scene of two steam locomotives trying to shove each other backwards.

See what IMDb has to say about Danger Lights:

The movie shows quite a bit of Milwaukee Road steam operations based around their Miles City, Montana roundhouse.  There are also scenes in 16 Mile Canyon (further west in the state) with catenary above, although no electric locomotives appear in the picture.


Engineer Doyle hangs on as he extinguishes a hotbox fire on the locomotives’ trailing truck during its mad dash eastward.

Danger Lights finishes with a record run to Chicago with the ailing Dan Thorn on board.  Larry Doyle saves the day, gets Thorn to the brain surgeon in time, AND wins the hand of Jean Arthur!  This Milwaukee Road steam extravaganza should be in every railfan’s collection.

If you have ANY information about this movie, please contact me at:

About Lindsay Korst

Webmaster, Blogmaster, Ferroequinologist - Lindsay Korst works for a nationwide home improvement center after a 20+ year career supporting computer users. A resident of the Seattle area since 1976, he has had a life-long interest in railroads, particularly those in the Pacific Northwest. He is an enthusiastic participant in the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. He and his wife reside in Redmond, Washington.
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2 Responses to Danger Lights 1930

  1. “Danger Lights” is a true classic!


  2. Timothy j Oliver says:

    i have that movie its a classic


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