This is no way to run a railroad
J. Davis | Manchester | 01/03/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This production falls comfortably between poor and below average. The acting is only a little better than the plot deserves, the lead actors - Sterling Hayden and Barton MacLane - being let down by a poor script. The love angle to the story is indifferently supplied by Eve Miller.
The main "star" is the supposed railway, a military line under construction just before the outbreak of the American Civil War. Based loosely on the transcontinental railway that broke ground shortly before the outbreak of the War, the road in this film is intended as a supply line to the cavalry's western outposts. A rough bunch of Confederate spoilers makes several attempts to destroy it. Needless to say, they don't succeed. Actually, they didn't need to: the rails are laid in such a desultory fashion that it would have required the rest of the 19th century to finish the job.
The budget for this railway was even less than that for the movie. The small track-laying crew appears to have only one (little) locomotive and there's a lack of heavy lifting equipment. In one scene the engine and freight cars are blown up beyond repair in a narrow pass, blocking it. A short while later we see a maintenance crew rummaging around a few broken bent and twisted rails; the train has magically disappeared. The whole enterprise resembles a rather disorganized afternoon picnic, with none of the hustle and bustle of a genuine "end of track." There is much chucking about of dynamite, and that's another problem with this film: the stuff was not invented (by Nobel) until the War was over.
If you're looking for a western or a historical treatment of railways, skip this one."
Railroad goes West,must fight pre-Civil War Confederates
isaiah g cooper | Keyport,New Jersey-USA | 04/03/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Railroad moving West,just before the Civil War is beset by problems. Construction boss (Barton MacLane)recieves help from the head office in the form of chief engineer (Sterling Hayden).Hayden quickly goes against the raiders led by "Quantrill"(Reed Hadley and pre-Civil war confederates/ Average Western-B movie."
Good Movie, but Awful Movie Print or Transfer
Jim | Zionsville, IN | 02/13/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"From a content perspective, "Kansas Pacific" holds up pretty well.
I bought this print of the movie because it was the most expensive and hopefully, therefore, the best transfer. However, this DVD has (1) awful video quality (NO detail in shadows and very poor sharpness) and (2) poor audio quality (noisy and low fidelity). I had recently seen a FAR higher quality print of this movie on cable. It is hard to imagine that either of the other two DVD prints of this movie could be worse than this one."
Make this part of your trio!
P. M Simon | New Mexico | 10/14/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kansas Pacific is a surprising little film--about an hour and a half of modest production values and modest plot that comes off surprisingly well, despite some print damage marring the quality of the on-screen experience. Sterling Hayden (The Godfather, Dr. Stangelove) plays an Army captain sent out on the QT on the eve of the civil war. His mission to get the Kansas Pacific built to supply Union forts in the west is vital but brings him into conflict with KP boss Barton MacLane and daughter Eve Miller. The three must eventually team up to fight Quantrell's raiders, determined to stop the KP at all costs.
The acting is great, not only from the stars but from the small supporting roles like engineer 'Smokestack' and the KP police scout.
There's a trio of great 'build the American railroad' films out there and this is one. It lacks the awesome cast and direction of Union Pacific or the technicolor Randolph Scott in Santa Fe, but it holds its own. Indeed. Worth more than one watch."