Search the Western Clippings Site

An Interview With…
        - Archives

Will "Sugarfoot" Hutchins
    - Archives

Do You Remember?
    - Northwest Passage
    - Father Murphy
    - Little House on the Prairie
    - Here Come the Brides
    - Circus Boy
    - Gabby Hayes Show
    - Davy Crockett
    - Young Maverick
    - Bret Maverick
    - Wagon Train
    - Death Valley Days
    - The Travels of Jaimie  McPheeters
    - Cade’s County
    - Guns of Will Sonnett
    - Cowboy in Africa
    - Sheriff of Cochise
    - Rin Tin Tin
    - Two Faces West
    - The Monroes
    - The Westerner
    - Daniel Boone
    - Whiplash
    - Riverboat
    - Zorro
    - Wild Wild West
    - Spin and Marty
    - Grizzly Adams
    - Buckskin
    - Stagecoach West
    - Dundee and the Culhane
    - Daniel Boone (Disney)
    - Andy Burnett
    - Swamp Fox
    - Texas John Slaughter
    - Black Saddle
    - Hondo
    - Man Called Shenandoah
    - Elfego Baca
    - Man Without a Gun
    - The Big Valley
    - Have Gun Will Travel
    - Laredo
    - Custer
    - Buffalo Bill Jr.
    - Iron Horse
    - The Outcasts
    - Sugarfoot
    - The Cisco Kid
    - Lawman
    - Lancer
    - Zane Grey Theatre
    - Laramie
    - Overland Trail
    - Range Rider
    - Pony Express
    - Union Pacific
    - The Rebel
    - The Dakotas
    - Tales of the Texas Rangers
    - Casey Jones
    - Colt .45
    - Wanted Dead or Alive
    - Alias Smith and Jones
    - Cimarron Strip
    - State Trooper
    - Bat Masterson
    - Bronco
    - Cheyenne
    - Destry
    - Sgt. Preston of the Yukon
    - The Tall Man
    - Hotel de Paree
    - Tate
    - Tales of Wells Fargo
    - The Deputy
    - Trackdown
    - Stories of the Century
    - Jefferson Drum
    - 26 Men
    - The Rifleman
    - Shane
    - Broken Arrow
    - Wichita Town
    - Rawhide
    - Adventures of Kit Carson
    - Shotgun Slade
    - Yancy Derringer
    - Law of the Plainsman
    - Adventures of Jim Bowie
    - Adventures of Champion
    - Tombstone Territory
    - Wild Bill Hickok
    - Gunslinger
    - Maverick
    - Brave Eagle
    - Hopalong Cassidy
    - The Outlaws
    - Judge Roy Bean
    - Fury
    - Man From Blackhawk
    - Mackenzie’s Raiders
    - Legend of Jesse James
    - Branded
    - The Lone Ranger
    - Frontier Doctor
    - The Loner
    - Whispering Smith
    - The Texan
    - Cowboy G-Men
    - Tim McCoy Show
    - Gene Autry Show
    - Boots and Saddles
    - Roy Rogers Show
    - Rough Riders
    - My Friend Flicka
    - Sky King
    - Steve Donovan
    - Californians
    - Restless Gun
    - Gray Ghost
    - Temple Houston
    - Annie Oakley
    - Johnny Ringo
    - Cimarron City

Comic Book Cowboys
    - Archives

Rangeland Elegance
    - Archives

Westerns of...
    - Archives

Heavies and Characters
      - Archives

The Stuntmen - Neil Summers
    - Archives

Western Treasures
    - Archives

Circus Cowboys
    - Archives

Radio Range Riders
    - Archives

Western Artifacts
    - Archives

Film Festival Fotos
    - Archives

Silent Western Reviews
    - Archives

Serial Report
    - Archives

Subscribe to Western Clippings


Western Clippings Back Issues

Daily Comic Strips
    - Page 1 (1910-1949)
    - Page 2 (1950-1979)

Sunday Comic Strips
    - 1907-1990


Miscellaneous Collectibles


Lobby Cards

Movie Posters


TV GUIDE ad for "Iron Horse".“Iron Horse”

Dale Robertson’s “Iron Horse” began as “Scalplock”, a Columbia Pictures made-for-television movie which aired on April 10, 1966. Robertson played dapper frontier gambler Benjamin P. Calhoun who won the Buffalo Pass, Scalplock and Defiance Railroad in a high stakes poker game in Kansas City. The problem, which set up the premise for the series, was that the railroad line he won was only partially built, 130 miles were needed to finish the connection to the Union Pacific, and the line was “broke…penniless,” owing some $500,000. Nevertheless, the flamboyant, self assured Calhoun, realizing the future of the West depended on the railroad, quickly acquired a competitor’s palacious private car, La Bonne Chance, and through faith, bluff, nerve and pure luck finagled his work crew into accepting stock in the BPS&D rather than back pay and rounded up a crew to help him finish the line: construction engineer Dave Tarrant (Gary Collins) (originally played by Todd Armstrong in the “Scalplock” movie pilot); former telegraph office worker Barnabas Rogers (Bob Random) as an engineer (with his pet raccoon Ulysses); and Swedish giant Nils Torvald (6' 6" Roger Torrey) as head of the construction gang.

Dale Robertson stands beside engine No. 3 in Jamestown, CA.

When “Iron Horse” went to series on September 12, 1966, much of the movie-pilot footage was re-used in the first episode, “Joy Un-confined”, in order to set up the premise for viewers who hadn’t seen “Scalplock” several months earlier. Dale Robertson told WC, “I liked the show after it got started but I grew to dislike it. The network didn’t seem to take an interest in it. It would have been a great series, as it was, it was just a mediocre show. They all had to get their finger in the pie.”

Dale summed up his abilities in a 2/4/67 TV GUIDE interview, “I can’t play no French drawing room comedy and I know it and Screen Gems knows it. I know exactly what I can do and I can do it better than anyone, and they know that too.”

Stunt coordinator on “Iron Horse”, Dean Smith gives high regard to Dale. Dean feels Dale is “a terrific man who deserves every accolade that comes his way.”

Sierra Railroad engine No. 3 was used in filming on narrow gauge rail at Sonora and Jamestown, CA. Coach No. 6 was dressed up as La Bonne Chance. Dean told WC when Screen Gems/Columbia built mock-ups of No. 3 and No. 6 for use in scenes filmed back at the Columbia Ranch they were mounted on rubber tires so they could be towed around the lot and set up on prefab rail sections anywhere the train was needed. The tires were then hidden by sideframes. A steam-generating unit provided “visual effects”. Additionally, Dean told us he not only stunt coordinated the series, utilizing “every stuntman in town” but Dean himself doubled “not only Dale but Collins and Random as well.”

When seen off the rail cars, Dale rode a great black gelding named Hannibal. Dale remembered for us, “He was a beautiful horse, but he had bad feet. I bought him about midnight at a place where he was standing in straw about two feet high. He was a good horse.”

"Iron Horse" cast. (L-R) Bob Random, Roger Torrey, Dale Robertson, Gary Collins.“Iron Horse” depicted the dedicated and determined Ben Calhoun’s problems in completing the line…obtaining right-of-ways, Indians, outlaws, freight contracts, workmen, lack of capital and much more. Two seasons, 47 one hour color episodes were aired on ABC, the first season (30 eps.) on Monday night from 7:30-8:30. But the network competition was tough on “Iron Horse” with the popular “Gilligan’s Island” and “Run Buddy Run” on CBS and “The Monkees” and “I Dream of Jeannie” on NBC. Lackadaisical ratings saw ABC move Robertson’s “Iron Horse” to Saturday night as of season two (beginning Sept. 16, ‘67) from 9:30-10:30pm, but again with a movie on NBC  and  “Petticoat Junction”  and  the 1st half of “Mannix” on CBS, the end of track was in sight for “Iron Horse” on January 6, ‘68.

Oklahoma born Dale Robertson, 89, died February 27, 2013, near San Diego, CA. Gary Collins (born 1938) went on to guest on hundreds of TV shows, but scant few Westerns. He died at 74 in Biloxi, MS, on October 13, 2012. Canadian Bob Random (born 1943) worked sporadically until 1990 and is now retired in British Columbia, Canada. Pocatello, ID, born Roger Torrey died of a brain hemorrhage at 47 in 1985.


top of page