Roar of the Iron Horse - Rail-Blazer of the Apache Trail (1951) 4h 20min · Western · 31 May 1951
Thanks to writer George H. Plympton (who was part of the writer's crew on both serials), Columbia's 45th serial is almost an exact remake plot-wise of Universal's 47th sound-era serial, 1940's "Winners of the West," with only some modifications in the character roles. The railroad is coming, and three different factions - landowner Karl Ulrich/The Baron and his henchies, led by Campo; railroad construction boss Homer Lathrop and his motley crew led by Scully and Irv; and a tribe of Indians led by White Eagle - have vested interests and reasons to stop the line's construction under the supervision of Tom Lane and his sister Carol. Undercover marshal Jim Grant and prospector Rocky are there to upset and hinder the raids by which ever band of malcontents is next in line. Stunt man turned star Mahoney doubled himself in most scenes, and his footwear throughout the serial was a pair of Indian moccasins rather then the usual high-heeled boots. That wasn't done to be unique as much as it was done to save time when to came to such stunts as jumping from and running on slanted roofs. Stunt men did not, as a rule, care much for doing roof-top stunts in high-heeled boots, or even transfers where a boot heel could get hung up. In some of the Durango Kid films, where Mahoney doubled Charles Starrett, the footwear on Durango sometimes magically changed in mid-air. Other than stealing the plot, Columbia did have the good grace not to use stock footage from the Universal serial. Most of it wouldn't have matched, and they had plenty of their own. - Written by Les Adams
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