Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Cooper Dooper! Gary Cooper stars as Link Jones in this CinemaScope oater as a reformed outlaw heading to the big city to hire a school marm for his small town. His checkered past nearly catches up with him at Crosscut, Texas where he boards the train to Fort Worth.
Man of the West features just 21 minutes of railroad action at the beginning of the movie, but what a view! Sierra Railroad #3 and its consist are beautifully gussied up inside and out. Let’s climb aboard the train with Coop and see what happens.
Sierra #3 all decked out as the “Fort Worth & Chihuahua Railroad #3” for this picture, makes a water and wood stop. Bad guys are waiting nearby...
Dance hall girl Billie Ellis (played by Julie London) buys her ticket as Jones looks on; Link has never seen a train before and jumps back as #3 does a splendid job spraying him with exhaust steam.
Wiseguy Sam Beasley (played by Arthur O’Connell) chats up Link on the platform; The local sheriff thinks he remembers Link from all those wanted posters. Coop quickly gives him a false name and clambers on board.
Good view of the beautifully appointed coach interior. Note Julie London seated in the background; Link wrestles his carpet bag onto the seat.
Nicely-framed shot of the sheriff who still has his doubts about Link. Note the etched glass highlights on the windows; All Aboard!!
FW&C #3 steps smartly out of the depot. Note the mineral red baggage car in the background; Coop still having trouble getting his 6′ 3″ frame comfortable in the cramped seats.
Coming and going views of the #3 with Fort Worth & Chihuahua Railroad in gold on the tender.
Once more Sam Beasley foists himself on the bemused Link; Ever the social butterfly, Beasley enjoys a hearty laugh as Billie studiously ignores him.
Going away view of combine/baggage/caboose; Conductor announcing upcoming lunch stop at East Fork. Conductor requests all able-bodied men to detrain and help load wood into the tender of #3 (There’s even a sign to that effect on the rear wall of the coach).
FW&C #3 pulls up alongside the water tower; Good view of the four-car consist behind #3.
Beasley introduces Billie to Link…as the school marm he’s been looking for!; While the womenfolk chat, the men begin loading wood on the locomotive.
Coop helps load wood; Julie London strikes a saucy pose (rawr…RAWR!).
Hey, the sun came out! After getting the high sign from their accomplice on the train, the train robbers come out from the culvert and swing around back of the coach/caboose/baggage car.
Sierra #3 is framed by a trio of bandits; Backlit against a turbulent sky, Cooper takes a tumble down the embankment.
The engineer manages to get the train moving again as the fireman shoots at the outlaws from the tender; Link is left stranded as the train steams off into the sunset.
Cooper, O’Connell and London are miles from anywhere with no train due for another week. Must be a little-used branchline. Beasley’s got a bum ankle so Link escorts him down the track as Billie gaily steps past the water tower.
Thus endith the train scenes in Man of the West. However, I can’t resist including one more picture of the nubile Julie London in all her glory from a later scene. You Nurse Dixie fans will just have to stream this film to see how that all ends. Cry me a river!
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