Basically, the production a super-western, cowboys and Injuns backgrounded by the epochal building of the Union Pacific. It’s a post-Civil War saga [from an adaptation by Jack Cunningham of an original by Ernest Haycox], with Henry Kolker enacting the banker menace who foments the sabotage that would favor the competitive Central Pacific.
Joel McCrea comes on the scene as a trouble-shooter. Barbara Stanwyck sustains the femme interest in a sometimes unprepossessing manner, which is chiefly the script’s fault rather than her own. Basically she more than impresses as the railroad engineer’s daughter.
The clash in realistic values comes through the pauses in the melodramatics between genial badman Preston and trouble-shooter McCrea. Preston does a standout job through a consistently affable albeit frankly renegade role.
1939: Nomination: Best Special Effects