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Railroad Used in John Wayne Movie, "Rio Lobo?"

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Railroad Used in John Wayne Movie, "Rio Lobo?"
Posted by OT Dean on Sunday, March 31, 2019 12:26 AM

I've been watching John Wayne Westerns on DVD for the last several days and enjoyed the opening scenes of "Rio Lobo."  Yes, I know, the equipment is anachronistic, but aren't they all?  There's no way "Hollywood" is going to spend a fortune converting 20th century railroad equipment back to link and pin couplers and remove all the air brake equipment, but I usually just ignore the plot and enjoy the sight of steam locomotives pulling vintage rolling stock on light rails laid on sparse wood ties.  And that's my point here: I really like the old Mogul, despite its steel reinforced cab walls and AAR tender trucks--and the tracks, meandering through the woods and station scenes make me wish I'd been born rich instead of beautiful (Mom never failed to remind me I'd been cheated on both!) so I could be operating O scale equipment on hand laid track with Code 100 rails.

I WANT TO KNOW WHERE THEY FILMED ALL THAT WONDERFUL STUFF!  I tried and failed, as so often happens, with my internet searches, but can find no mention of the location, though I suspect it was in Mexico, possibly in Sonora.  Does anyone know?  I'd love to know the details (but I suppose additional photos are merely wishful thinking).  BTW, I still slo-mo and pause the railroad scenes in "McLintock!" for authentic details on boxcars and flats.

Deano

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, March 31, 2019 1:17 AM

 Most of it was filmed in Tucson Arizona. You can get that info from the Wikipedia page on the movie and from the IMDB entry.

 Did you mean Rio Bravo or Rio Lobo? OK, they and El DOrado are kind of all the same movie, but both the Rio movies were filmed mostly in Tucson. Big problem because Rio Lobo has gian saguaro cacti and it's supposed to be set in Texas, where they don't grow.

 Been a while since I last saw it, but are you sure it was a 2-6-0 and not a 4-6-0? So many Hollywood movies used Sierra #3, a 4-6-0 that they even call it the Hollywood Engine. That would be my guess.

                                     --Randy 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, March 31, 2019 8:26 AM

I don't know how accurate I would consider movie props to be, I'm sure it depends on the historical consultants, and what they feel would be accurate, or good enough, unless, perhaps the movie is based on that railroad, and it's operations, in which case the details would probably be more accurate to the prototype.

I kinda thought those Westerns all used the same equipment, maybe with different lettering, etc.

I think the movie Emperor of the North was the one of the first movies that I started to pay attention to the railroads details, and operations.

Mike.

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Posted by OT Dean on Monday, April 01, 2019 12:32 AM

It was "Rio Lobo," Randy, where John Wayne plays a Colonel in the US Army, guarding a gold shipment during the Civil War.  IMDb says it was shot mostly in Sonora, Mexico, and the loco was definitely a Mogul.  They did a good job with the engine itself, never showing the air pump, which was undoubtedly on the left side, showing it only from the right.  Of course, it was gaily decorated with red paint and had a box oil headlight and long stave pilot--without a coupling bar, though the tender and two cars sported slotted knuckle couplers.  What sort of surprised me was the tender rode on Bettendorf pattern trucks (leaf springs, of course), instead of the usual archbars or even Andrews.  The tender was flared on the sides and back, and had a wood pile hiding either an oil tank or coal pile, for the engine laid down a huge pall of black smoke while pulling a fairly steep grade. 

As I said, film producers can't rebuild railroad equipment back to link and pin couplers and remove, or successfully hide, the air brake equipment, but the whole 2-car train was quite well done compared to a lot of companies' efforts.  I was pleasantly surprised that they'd found such an antique loco for a movie made in 1969, which makes me suspect it was, indeed, done in Mexico, where some companies worked steam for quite a while.  BTW, the engine was worn to the point of the Johnson bar moving fore and back on each stroke and steam leaking liberally from the cylinder cocks--unless, of course, the weather was cool enough for an accumulation of condensation.

I'd sure like to find out some information on this line!  Remember the Tallulah Falls RR that stood in for the Western & Atlantic in Disney's "The Great Locomotive Chase?"

Deano

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, April 01, 2019 8:45 AM

Normally movie producers don't have their own railroad equipment to use. They go to an existing railroad or an operating railroad museum and arrange to use their equipment. As mentioned, Sierra RR's No.3 has been used in movies since the 1920's, and on TV at least as far back as the 1960's (Petticoat Junction). But a movie company doesn't own it.

It isn't unusual for a studio to build a non-working replica of equipment, like say the interior of a passenger car to use in interior shots for the movie, or a wood locomotive that is used in a wreck or for shots filmed on the movie lot rather than on location.

"Emperor of the North" was filmed on the Oregon Pacific & Eastern RR. It's a great movie, but does have a few historical innacuracies. The movie is set in the 1930's (the original story was from about 1900), but several of the freight cars used have post-war lettering. A low-drivered 2-8-2 is used on the passenger train (maybe the same one used in the freight train shots?). Still, overall it did a good job of capturing the time period.

Movies can do a great job of giving someone a sense of someone's personality, like "The Buddy Holly Story" or "Pride of the Yankees", but often play fast and loose with the facts and details. Some movie producers or directors have put a lot of effort in historical movies to get all the details right, but in general Hollywood is not a great source of historical info.

Stix
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Posted by rrinker on Monday, April 01, 2019 3:45 PM

 I had to ask which movie because your title says Rio Bravo but in the text you are describing Rio Lobo. It seems liek they WANTED to film it in Mexico but another movie was using the property so they ahd to move back to Old Tuscon for a lot of it.

 There's those that at least try to get it right, and then there's those that don't seem to care - Bing Crosby taking the Super Chief to Vermont comes to mind... 

 The other loco in the Great Locomotive Chase was V&T 22, Inyo, playing the Texas, For a while, that loco and a sister were owned by Paramount. The Inyo is also the loco most often seen in the original Wild Wild West TV series with Robert Conrad, and also starred with John Wayne in McLintock.

 Then there are the unintentional goofs - go watch the movie Ray about Ray Charles, fairly early on when they are driving from town to town in their car. It jumped right out at me, but my retired railroader ex father in law completely missed it.

                                  --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by M636C on Monday, April 01, 2019 5:23 PM

Since the Virginia and Truckee has been mentioned, I recommend "The Harvey Girls". I think most of the opening twenty minutes or so can be found on you tube these days, but I have the DVD.

The opening credits show a V&T train under way, then some scenes on mock-ups, a scene in the hotel and the big production number "Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe" where virtually the entire cast march alongside the departing train. I think the "Inyo" was used.

In the opening scenes, the passenger cars are Indian Red, but the mock-ups are yellow as were the same cars seen in the production number.

Peter

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Posted by MJ4562 on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 7:47 AM

rrinker

 

 Then there are the unintentional goofs - go watch the movie Ray about Ray Charles, fairly early on when they are driving from town to town in their car. It jumped right out at me, but my retired railroader ex father in law completely missed it.

                                  --Randy

 

Was that the one with the container train visible in the background?  Going by memory but there was a period movie released around that time that had a modern container unit train appear way in the background.

Just rewatched the scene in question from Rio Lobo and it's definitely a Mogul 2-6-0.  Quite a bit of artistic license to have the engine struggling that hard to pull one flat car and one caboose up that grade.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 8:23 AM

I recall a TV series (PBS I think?) on the Blues from maybe 10 years ago where in one part the filmmaker was using a hand-crank movie camera and black-and-white film to film scenes set in the 1920's. At one point, it has the Bluesman standing by the tracks as a train goes by - a train of 89' automobile cars IIRC.

Stix
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Posted by twhite on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 2:29 PM

That little Mogul was also used in the John Wayne movie THE TRAIN ROBBERS, and featured very prominently in the long and exciting train-robbery sequence in Sam Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH, where William Holden and company steal Army munitions off of a flatcar being hauled by the locomotive (this film is the first time I remember seeing the locomotive on screen).  I'm wondering if possibly the locomotive might be owned by the Old Tucson Museum, as most of the screen appearances seem to be either around Old Tucson or just south, in Mexico.  

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Posted by OT Dean on Thursday, April 11, 2019 12:33 AM

twhite

That little Mogul was also used in the John Wayne movie THE TRAIN ROBBERS, and featured very prominently in the long and exciting train-robbery sequence in Sam Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH, where William Holden and company steal Army munitions off of a flatcar being hauled by the locomotive (this film is the first time I remember seeing the locomotive on screen).  I'm wondering if possibly the locomotive might be owned by the Old Tucson Museum, as most of the screen appearances seem to be either around Old Tucson or just south, in Mexico.  

 

Tom, I'm familiar with that little Mogul, used in several of the John Wayne movies filmed, at least partially, at Old Tucson.  Its staggered driver arrangement is typical of lots of Moguls built from the beginning right up to the turn of the century (including the O scale model for which I've gathered parts, including a boiler/superstructure crafted by Pearce, of Pearce Tool fame), but the loco in "Rio Lobo" has a more evenly spaced arrangement, plus the trackage was running through hills and wooded sections, so I believe the footage was probably done on a road south of the border.  I was in hopes someone had seen reference to the exact line and equipment they used.  As Mork used to say, "Heavy sigh..."

Deano

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, April 11, 2019 8:42 AM

MJ4562

  That's the one. Ray and his pals drive under a railroad bridge (which had the correct railroad name on it, at least - not CSX or NS) in a 50's car and---boom, there's a modern double stack going across. Director probably didn;t bother with another take a few minutes later because "no one will ever know" Ah but SOME of us do!

                                     --Randy

 

 
rrinker

 

 Then there are the unintentional goofs - go watch the movie Ray about Ray Charles, fairly early on when they are driving from town to town in their car. It jumped right out at me, but my retired railroader ex father in law completely missed it.

                                  --Randy

 

 

 

Was that the one with the container train visible in the background?  Going by memory but there was a period movie released around that time that had a modern container unit train appear way in the background.

 

Just rewatched the scene in question from Rio Lobo and it's definitely a Mogul 2-6-0.  Quite a bit of artistic license to have the engine struggling that hard to pull one flat car and one caboose up that grade.

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, April 11, 2019 8:46 AM

OT Dean

 

 
twhite

That little Mogul was also used in the John Wayne movie THE TRAIN ROBBERS, and featured very prominently in the long and exciting train-robbery sequence in Sam Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH, where William Holden and company steal Army munitions off of a flatcar being hauled by the locomotive (this film is the first time I remember seeing the locomotive on screen).  I'm wondering if possibly the locomotive might be owned by the Old Tucson Museum, as most of the screen appearances seem to be either around Old Tucson or just south, in Mexico.  

 

 

 

Tom, I'm familiar with that little Mogul, used in several of the John Wayne movies filmed, at least partially, at Old Tucson.  Its staggered driver arrangement is typical of lots of Moguls built from the beginning right up to the turn of the century (including the O scale model for which I've gathered parts, including a boiler/superstructure crafted by Pearce, of Pearce Tool fame), but the loco in "Rio Lobo" has a more evenly spaced arrangement, plus the trackage was running through hills and wooded sections, so I believe the footage was probably done on a road south of the border.  I was in hopes someone had seen reference to the exact line and equipment they used.  As Mork used to say, "Heavy sigh..."

 

Deano

 

 Unfortunately there's not much available outside of where they filmed it (and that sems to be in dispute - as one source says it was done in Mexico and another says they STARTED in Mexico but another film was using the property so they moved production to Old Tucson. Which is it? And it would appear this is not a well known movie engine, there's plenty of information on many others that appeared in other films, but this one seems to be a one off, or at least not otherwise seen in other well known US films.

                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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