Union Pacific

Synopsis: One of the last bills signed by President Lincoln authorizes pushing the Union Pacific Railroad across the wilderness to California. But financial opportunist Asa Barrows hopes to profit from obstructing it. Chief troubleshooter Jeff Butler has his hands full fighting Barrows' agent, gambler Sid Campeau; Campeau's partner Dick Allen is Jeff's war buddy and rival suitor for engineer's daughter Molly Monahan. Who will survive the effort to push the railroad through at any cost?
Genre: Drama, Western
Director(s): Cecil B. DeMille
Production: Paramount Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins.
135 min

(man #1) Building a railroad that

long is somebody's crazy dream.

(man #2) It's a

wonderful age we live in.

[laughing] A railroad

from Omaha to California?

One might as well think of flying.

President Lincoln is for it.

(Smith) This is the

most monumental folly...

ever conceived in the mind of man.

In all this broad land of ours...

who wants this railroad...

that will start at the

outer edge of civilization...

and wander expensively

through the wilderness?

Who, I ask you, except a small group...

of money-grabbing financiers,

self-seeking politicians...

and fanatical engineers?

[senators chattering]

[gavel tapping] Mr.

President. Mr. President.

(President) Does the Senator yield

to the gentleman from California?

I am not done, Mr. President.

I would like to read...

from a speech by the late

Daniel Webster on this subject.

Delivered from this very floor.

"What do we want with this

vast, worthless area...

"this region of savages

and wild beasts...

"of deserts and endless mountain ranges?

"What can we ever hope

to do with 3000 miles...

"of cheerless rockbound coast...

"and not a harbor on it?"

[senators chattering]

Not a harbor on it?

[gavel pounding]

(President) Order! Order!

[snickering] Why, there's room

in the San Francisco Bay...

to float all the navies of the world.

[senators laughing]

His word against Webster's.

[all cheering]

Mr. President. Mr. President.

(President) Mr. Sargent.

Gentlemen. The learned Senator asks...

Who wants this railroad?

Well, I'll tell you.

This nation, crippled by

four years of war, wants it.

[senators chattering]

A great artery...

through which may flow the

gold and silver of the West...

into the empty treasuries of the East.

(Sargent) Grain and cattle

into a war-torn South.

And thousands of men

released from both armies...

want it for the work and

the wages it will bring.

And the merchants of the whole world...

who need a shorter route

to the Orient, they want it.

[senators exclaiming]

[gavel pounding]


I move you the adoption

of this railroad bill...

that shall bind us

together, East and West...

forever as one people.

[senators cheering]

[gavel pounding]

(Lincoln) Mr. Ames...

I want to take a ride

on this railroad...

the first thing after I

retire from the presidency.

(Ames) Mr. Lincoln had the

vision to conceive this railroad.

You gentlemen must have the

vision to help us finance it.

(Barrows) Frankly, Mr. Ames,

the only vision I can see...

is a lot of loose dollars

rolling away over those prairies.

Good day, gentlemen.

(Ames) But there's more than profit...

in the lap of this undertaking.

This railroad is the

future of the United States.

Along its rails, new cities will rise.

Is there not some danger

that the Central Pacific...

which is building east across

California, may reach Ogden first...

and keep you out of

the Salt Lake Valley?

President Lincoln wisely arranged...

that the Central Pacific will build

only to the California state line.

Here, where our tracks

will join with theirs.

General Dodge, uh...

as Chief Engineer of

the Union Pacific...

are you quite sure that a railroad

more than 1000 miles long...

can actually be built

through such a wilderness?

Yes. Yes. My brother Oliver and I...

are staking our fortune

on General Dodge's word...

that it can be done.

How much of your fortune, Mr. Ames?

We'll back the Union Pacific down

to the last shovel in our factory.

You're enthusiastic.

I promised Mr. Lincoln

to see it through.

Mr. Lincoln is dead. Well,

my promise to him is not dead.

Splendid, Mr. Ames, splendid.

I'm beginning to see a golden

harvest in these iron rails.

Then you are with us?

My hand on it.

(Ames) Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Barrows.

On the contrary, I am indebted to

you for showing me the fortune...

there is to be made out of Union

Pacific. Good day, gentlemen.

(all) Good day, sir.

(Barrows) Good luck, General Dodge.

Good luck. (Dodge) Goodbye, all.

Goodbye, sir.

Who is Barrows?

The biggest moneybag in Chicago.

He makes them and breaks them out there.

I never thought he'd join you.

What do you think would happen

if the Central Pacific...

should build all the way to

Ogden in the Salt Lake Valley?

It would bust the Union

Pacific higher than a kite.

Much higher.

But he said that Lincoln had

arranged for the Central to stop...

at the California

border. Lincoln is dead...

and there are those in Washington who

do not wish the Union Pacific well.

Can't both lines have

terminals in Ogden? No, Whipple.

You miss the point.

The Union Pacific has

authority to build only...

to where it meets the Central. Well?

And if the Central should

pass through Ogden first...

and meet the Union in the wilds

of the Wasatch Mountains...

Yes. Exactly.

The Union would have

1000 miles of track...

and a gopher hole for

its Western terminal.


We'll sell Union stock

short and buy Central.

We'll make millions, Mr.

Barrows. A golden opportunity.

Pure gold. Oh, yes. Yes, indeed.

But suppose the Union

Pacific gets to Ogden first?

It won't, Whipple.

I can assure you.

It won't.

(Rose) # They call me

the rose of St. Louis #

# The rose of this river town #

##[Rose humming]

Gentleman to see you, boss.

Mr. Barrows.

Bring in a bottle of

that extra-dry champagne.

Yes sir, extra dry.

Take a seat.

Oh. Rose...

# They call me the Rose of St. Louis ##

Sit down.

We ain't had the pleasure of

seeing you here before, Mr...


Interesting decorations.

Only one like it in St. Louis.

I suppose you brought the

idea with you from Panama.


This biography of yourself, written by

the best detective agency in Chicago.

What's on your mind, mister?

How's that partner of

mine doing? Very good, sir.

Mr. Campeau...

in the past, your operations

have always been, shall we say...

of a minor nature.

Do you think you could manage the

biggest gambling outfit in America?

Do you think you could

handle 10,000 workmen...

with plenty of money...

out in the wilderness?

Supplying them with liquor...

and any excitement the devil can brew?

Do you think you could keep them drunk

and discontented, month after month?

Go on.

Excuse me, Mr. Allen.

Mr. Campeau would admire to

see you in the other room.

Excuse me, gentlemen. Al. Al Brett...

take over.

It's your deal.

It means keeping your tent with its many

diversions at the end of the track...

as it moves West...

and selling the tracklayers all the

trouble they'll buy. You'll be protected.

What's the split? None. You take it all.

Including orders from me.

What kind of orders?

They will all add up the same. Delay.

Anything... I might say everything...

to delay the building of

the Union Pacific Railroad.

Why not?

Longer it takes, the more money I make.

Mr. Barrows, this is

my partner, Dick Allen.

Late of the Union Army...

but never late with a gun.

He'll be very handy, I assure you.

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Walter DeLeon

Walter DeLeon (May 3, 1884 – August 1, 1947) was an American screenwriter. He wrote for 69 films that were released between 1921 and 1953, and acted in one film. He was born in Oakland, California, and died in Los Angeles, California. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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