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Rock Island Trail

1950 | 4:3 | Color | Quality: Excellent

Forrest Tucker

Adele Mara

Bruce Cabot, Adrian Booth


Constance Strong (Adele Mara) arrives at Rock Island for the competition between a railroad line, a steamboat and a stagecoach for a profitable mail contract. Constance befriends Reed Loomis (Forrest Tucker), the head of the rail line, but is engaged to Kirby Morrow (Bruce Cabot), the owner of the steamboat. The steamship industry knows a rail line across the Mississippi is a major threat to their business, and they will stop at nothing to sabotage Loomis' plans. Nevertheless, the rail line easily wins the competition and the rivalry between Loomis and Morrow turns white hot! Things get ugly in a hurry when Morrow grows to resent his loss of the contract, the construction of a rail bridge at Rock Island, and the budding relationship between Loomis and the beautiful Constance.

ROCK ISLAND TRAIL is loosely based on the real life exploits of Henry Farnam of New Haven, Connecticut. Mr. Farnam was a railroad builder and president of the Rock Island Line in the 1850s. He built the first bridge across the Mississippi at Rock Island and the bridge in the movie looks just like it. The steamship industry did run a boat into the bridge and burned it down. They then sued Mr. Farnam for creating a hazard, and in response Farnum hired Abraham Lincoln to defend the railroad. The railroad won the right to build the bridge as it was not a hazard to navigation. All these events are portrayed in the movie. Forrest Tucker had numerous leading-man opportunities following his breakthrough role in SANDS OF IWO JIMA. This was his first and arguably best. As Reed Loomis, he is persuasive as he attempts to raise money for his railroad expansion - but he is equally a worthy man of action as well. Great with a gun, his fists, and as he demonstrates in a memorable scene with Bruce Cabot, even a mop dipped in boiling soup (you have to see it). Adele Mara makes an appealing leading lady as always, Bruce Cabot is a sturdy villain, and there's great support from erstwhile Republic leading lady Adrian Booth and perennial sidekick Chill Wills. As action-packed as just about any Republic western, with one of the studio's strongest overall casts. Fast-paced and well handled by Joseph Kane. Turns up frequently these days on Encore's Western Channel. Recommended.

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