Carson City is one of the best “building the railroad” westerns I’ve reviewed so far on this blog. And we don’t actually see any trains until 65 minutes into the picture!
What sets this film apart is a good story throughout along with dashing Randolph Scott (playing construction troubleshooter Silent Jeff Kincaid) opposite the movie’s love interest Lucille Norman (Susan Mitchell). Add Raymond Massey (Big Jack Davis) at his villainous, champagne-soaked best to the mix, and you’ve got a winner.
Let’s watch them build and then operate the railroad from the mines at Virginia City to the state capitol at Carson City, Nevada.
Construction is complete and V&CC railroad #22 whistles off for the first trip along the line.
This picture is loosely based on the building of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad in Nevada.
Someone’s been holding up the stagecoach between Carson City and Virginia City. Management in San Francisco is not pleased. It is thought a railroad might be a safer alternative. But…who to build it?
Looking like a tombstone is the arched window at the Central Pacific main offices; The big shots decide Jack Davis is the man for the job.
Randy Scott is fetched from a nearby saloon and shown the route to be taken.
Susan Mitchell (rawr-RAWR!) along with her boyfriend Alan Kincaid (played by Richard Webb) greets Randy on his arrival in Carson City. To further complicate this love triangle, Alan is also Randy’s half-brother and Susan still carries the torch of a schoolgirl crush on Randy from 10 years ago. Hot and juicy!
However, Susan’s dad (editor of the Carson City Clarion) is an old grump under the thumb of Boss Jack Davis and prints scathing editorials against the upcoming railroad.
Undaunted, Susan trots out to the construction site just as they’re setting off some dynamite; Randy gallantly pulls her into a small cave just in time.
Great shot of a rock drill being used in one of the tunnels; Dad’s still against the railroad…
Meanwhile, Randy is surveying yet another tunnel.
An unfortunate Mongo lookalike gets buried in a suspicious landslide — set off by Raymond Massey’s gang!
Nonetheless, Randy gets the job done and the first train is ready to roll from Carson City to Virginia City. For the rest of the picture, Virginia & Truckee #22, The Inyo, is the star of the show.
Well, this is uncomfortable. Randy Scott cheerfully wishes Alan and Susan well on their journey. Alan looks nonplussed.
Nicely lit view of #22 rolling through a cut; What’s this? Raymond Massey is on board. No doubt skulduggery is afoot.
Sure enough, Boss Jack uncouples the coach from the baggage car. Note the link and pin couplers!
Look out Alan, he’s got a club! Making a great face, Massey dispatches Alan with the coupling pin. That’s gonna leave a mark…; Next, the cad Massey shoots his way into the baggage car.
Hey! Where have I seen these clips before? You guessed correctly if you remembered the F-Troop episode, “Reach For The Sky, Pardner” – which would utilize many scenes from Carson City, 14 years later.
Spectacular smokey shot of #22 through a cut; The bad guys loot the train.
Randy to the rescue!; Striking a heroic pose, Silent Jeff whirls around to shoot down another henchman.
Good detail shot of the baggage car and tender of V&CC #22.
Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, newly-hitched Randy & Lucille board a train and are off to his next assignment.
Out on the rear platform, Jeff and Susan are in the clinch as the credits roll.
This movie was a lot of fun. Definitely a prop-up-your-feet-and-munch-popcorn flick for a rainy day. Raaaaaaaandolph Scott!!! Lindsay says, “Check it out!”.
Here’s what IMDb has to say about Carson City:
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