Go West 1940


Produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Go West! – One of the lesser-known Marx Brothers movies, featured a spectacular fifteen minute train chase to end the picture – filmed along the Sierra Railroad in California.

The Marx Brothers took their vaudeville act to the Old West with plenty of railroad action and all the usual Cowboy and Indian gags.  “Are you the Chief that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles in 39 hours?”

The real star was a Baldwin 2-8-0 steam locomotive, number 32, of the fictional “New York and Western Railroad” (NY&W) pulling a string of wooden, open-platform passenger cars.  Watch closely, as the engines used appear to change from shot to shot.


Groucho, Chico and Harpo “running” NY&W #32, in a mock-up of the cab.


Chico, Harpo and Groucho performing their schtick in the train station before heading out to the Wild West to seek their fortune.


Next thing you know, the boys have arrived at “Cripple Creek” behind NY&W 32; Chico takes a turn “shooting” at the local saloon piano.


Groucho appears on a totem pole; Harpo fashions a harp from an Indian blanket loom while the chief sits in on flute.

Much plot skipped over here.  Feuds!  Romance!  Stagecoaches!  Meh…let’s get to the train stuff.  There’s quite a bit packed into the last 15 minutes.


Harpo approaches the smokestack of #32 then gets a nasty surprise!


Hero and Heroine (John Carroll & Diane Lewis) try to flag the train, then wind up having to chase it down in a buckboard.


“Semaphore” stunt from top of a moving train; the bad guys try to uncouple some coaches while the boys leap from car to car.


The train is rolling along in 3 parts; Train back together again.


Here’s what happens when you put popping corn in the firebox; Harpo about to get snagged by a mail crane at Bennett station.


The bad guys have torn up the track!  NY&W 32 is “on the ground” with Harpo about to grab the bull’s “brass ring” (…naturally to the tune of “Here we go round the Mulberry bush”.)


Whilst off the rails, the train manages to run thru a house (note man repairing roof);  Pulling the house along, notice the logging locomotive-type drivers on the tender.


The bad guys lose their horses and wind up on the tracks…..POW!  After jumping into the creek, their wagon is blasted to smithereens by #32.


To feed the firebox, the boys have been stripping the train for wood.  Not much left as they roll along to the finale.


Groucho holds court on the pilot of Sierra RR #22; Harpo is handed the final (golden) spike while Chico looks on.

All-in-all, a very entertaining, little movie!  Keep your eyes out for little gems like the “shorty” baggage combine that would later appear with Sierra #3 in “Petticoat Junction”.  This picture is definitely worth an evening’s viewing with soda and popcorn.  Bring the whole family!

See what IMDb has to say about Go West:

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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