Rails into Laramie (1954)

80-81 mins | Western | April 1954

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Fort Laramie . As depicted in the film, in 1869, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote, and the first all-woman jury served in that state in 1870. According to Universal press materials, some scenes were shot in Mojave, CA. The LAEx review refers to star John Payne as "John ... More Less

The working title of this film was Fort Laramie . As depicted in the film, in 1869, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote, and the first all-woman jury served in that state in 1870. According to Universal press materials, some scenes were shot in Mojave, CA. The LAEx review refers to star John Payne as "John Wayne." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Mar 1954.
---
Daily Variety
19 Mar 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Jun 54
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Aug 53
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 53
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 53
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 53
p. 27.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 54
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
15 Apr 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Mar 54
p. 2229.
New York Times
13 May 54
p. 34.
Variety
24 Mar 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Laramie," words and music by Frederick Herbert and Arnold Hughes, sung by Rex Allen.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Fort Laramie
Release Date:
April 1954
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 14 April 1954
Production Date:
late August--late September 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
2 April 1954
Copyright Number:
LP3682
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
up to 2:1
Duration(in mins):
80-81
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16816
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the Wyoming territory Vuring 1869, Union Army Sgt. Jefferson Harder enters a casino and, within minutes, instigates a brawl. Just as he is thrown through the window, the soldiers sent by Gen. Augur to bring Jeff back to the fort arrive. Back at the fort, Argur explains to the hot-headed officer that the construction of the cross-country railroad has been halted outside Laramie by Jim Shanessy, who runs the town and wants the crew to stay and spend their money at his hotel and casino. It is only the threat of the blockade that convinces Jeff to take the assignment. He is further annoyed when his arrival in Laramie is met with dismay from the chief railroad engineer, Lee Graham, Judge Pierce and Mayor Frank Logan, who expected him to bring troops. Graham, Pierce and Logan grow more aghast when Jeff warmly greets Shanessy, his childhood friend. Jim is at first pleased when Shanessy offers him free board at the hotel, but when the businessman's henchmen, brothers Con and Ace Winton, deliver a two-thousand dollar gift, Jeff recognizes it as a bribe. In the lobby, Jeff agrees to meet later that night with Pierce, who is still suspicious of him, and then visits the ineffectual but good-hearted marshal, Orrie Sommers, and advises him to ready the jail cells. At the casino soon after, Shanessy introduces Jeff to his partner, beautiful Lou Carter, but Jeff spurns Lou's advances and returns the money to Shanessy. Shanessy, who remains friendly even after Ace threatens Jeff and is beaten up in return, invites Jeff to his home, hoping that Jeff's lingering feelings for Shanessy's wife Helen will keep him from pursuing his ... +


In the Wyoming territory Vuring 1869, Union Army Sgt. Jefferson Harder enters a casino and, within minutes, instigates a brawl. Just as he is thrown through the window, the soldiers sent by Gen. Augur to bring Jeff back to the fort arrive. Back at the fort, Argur explains to the hot-headed officer that the construction of the cross-country railroad has been halted outside Laramie by Jim Shanessy, who runs the town and wants the crew to stay and spend their money at his hotel and casino. It is only the threat of the blockade that convinces Jeff to take the assignment. He is further annoyed when his arrival in Laramie is met with dismay from the chief railroad engineer, Lee Graham, Judge Pierce and Mayor Frank Logan, who expected him to bring troops. Graham, Pierce and Logan grow more aghast when Jeff warmly greets Shanessy, his childhood friend. Jim is at first pleased when Shanessy offers him free board at the hotel, but when the businessman's henchmen, brothers Con and Ace Winton, deliver a two-thousand dollar gift, Jeff recognizes it as a bribe. In the lobby, Jeff agrees to meet later that night with Pierce, who is still suspicious of him, and then visits the ineffectual but good-hearted marshal, Orrie Sommers, and advises him to ready the jail cells. At the casino soon after, Shanessy introduces Jeff to his partner, beautiful Lou Carter, but Jeff spurns Lou's advances and returns the money to Shanessy. Shanessy, who remains friendly even after Ace threatens Jeff and is beaten up in return, invites Jeff to his home, hoping that Jeff's lingering feelings for Shanessy's wife Helen will keep him from pursuing his new duties. Later, Jeff meets with Graham, Pierce and Logan, and then, armed with their promise of complete authority, visits the railroad work site, where the men are drinking, gambling and sleeping. After Jeff knocks out the brawny foreman, the other men back away, allowing him to shut down the makeshift saloon. The next day, however, when Jeff posts notices that all the men have been fired and construction suspended, both the workers and the town merchants complain bitterly. Graham calls a council meeting, at which some merchants demand Jeff's court-martial but, after he explains that he can rid the town of gambling and alcohol and only those who want to work will remain, they agree to give his plan a two-week trial. Shanessy counters by refusing to grant workers credit, and when they gather into an angry mob, as he has planned, he easily convinces them to wreak havoc on the town and defeat Jeff's plan. Jeff, however, arrests Shanessy, and that night, Lou invites Jeff to her room and, explaining that no local jury will convict Shanessy, offers to help. A mistrustful Jeff kisses her but then leaves. At the jail, Shanessy talks Jeff into visiting Helen, and when Jeff later leaves her house, too attracted to her to stay, he is beaten and deposited into a railroad car by Shanessy's men. In the morning, Jeff's absence results in a mistrial. Shanessy then instructs the workers to burn down all the railroad camps, after which every arrest Jeff makes is dismissed by crooked juries. He then sends for backup troops, but Shanessy shuts down the telegraph and, anticipating that Jeff will travel to see Augur himself, creates a landslide that blocks all traffic. Graham, Pierce and Logan insist that Jeff rehire the workers, and when he refuses, they send Orrie on horseback to Cheyenne to order Jeff court-martialed. Soon after, Jeff discovers that Orrie has been killed on the trail, and Lou informs him that Shanessy is the culprit, but the only way to convict him is to construct a jury out of the Wyoming women who have just been granted the right to vote. Still skeptical, Jeff visits Shanessy, and when Ace pulls out a gun, Jeff shoots him and arrests Shanessy again. This time, Lou sits as foreperson on the female jury, and, to Shanessy's shock, they find him guilty. Jeff thanks Lou afterward, and although she first spurns him, he grabs her and she falls into his arms. The night before Shanessy's scheduled hanging, Helen slips him a gun, and with it he knocks out Jeff and races to Lou's, shooting her in the back. Jeff revives and gathers a posse while Shanessy commandeers a train to Cheyenne, not realizing that the landslide has just been cleared on the tracks, and a passenger train is headed straight toward him. Jeff rides to Shanessy's train, leaps on and shoots his way to the front. There, with the passenger train fast approaching, he knocks out Shanessy and reverses the train only moments before a collision. Weeks later, railroad construction has resumed, and Jeff reports to a recovering Lou that although he must return to the Army for six months, he will consider Laramie his home base. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.