"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY"

Written by

Edwin S. Porter

Story by

Scott Marble

1903



1 INTERIOR OF RAILROAD TELEGRAPH OFFICE.

Two masked robbers enter and compel the operator to get the
"signal block" to stop the approaching train, and make him
write a fictitious order to the engineer to take water at
this station, instead of "Red Lodge," the regular watering
stop. The train comes to a standstill (seen through window
of office); the conductor comes to the window, and the
frightened operator delivers the order while the bandits
crouch out of sight, at the same time keeping him covered
with their revolvers. As soon as the conductor leaves, they
fall upon the operator, bind and gag him, and hastily depart
to catch the moving train.

2 RAILROAD WATER TOWER.

The bandits are hiding behind the tank as the train, under
the false order, stops to take water. Just before she pulls
out they stealthily board the train between the express car
and the tender.

3 INTERIOR OF EXPRESS CAR.

Messenger is busily engaged. An unusual sound alarms him. He
goes to the door, peeps through the keyhole and discovers
two men trying to break in. He starts back bewildered, but,
quickly recovering, he hastily locks the strong box containing
the valuables and throws the key through the open side door.
Drawing his revolver, he crouches behind a desk. In the
meantime, the two robbers have succeeded in breaking in the
door and enter cautiously. The messenger opens fire, and a
desperate pistol duel takes place in which the messenger is
killed. One of the robbers stands watch while the other tries
to open the treasure box. Finding it locked, he vainly
searches the messenger for the key, and blows the safe open
with dynamite. Securing the valuables and mail bags they
leave the car.

4 THE TENDER AND INTERIOR OF THE LOCOMOTIVE CAB

This thrilling scene shows THE TENDER AND INTERIOR OF THE
LOCOMOTIVE CAB, while the the train is running forty miles
an hour. While two of the bandits have been robbing the mail
car, two others climb over the tender. One of them holds up
the engineer while the other covers the fireman, who seizes
a coal shovel and climbs up on the tender, where a desperate
fight takes place. They struggle fiercely all over the tank
and narrowly escape being hurled over the side of the tender.
Finally they fall, with the robber on top. He seizes a lump
of coal, and strikes the fireman on the head until he becomes
senseless. He then hurls the body from the swiftly moving
train. The bandits then compel the engineer to bring the
train to a stop.

5 SHOWS THE TRAIN COMING TO A STOP

Shows THE TRAIN coming to a stop. The engineer leaves the
locomotive, uncouples it from the train, and pulls ahead
about 100 feet while the robbers hold their pistols to his
face.

6 EXTERIOR SCENE SHOWING TRAIN.

The bandits compel the passengers to leave the coaches, "hands
up," and line up along the tracks. One of the robbers covers
them with a revolver in each hand, while the others relieve
the passengers of their valuables. A passenger attempts to
escape, and is instantly shot down. Securing everything of
value, the band terrorize the passengers by firing their
revolvers in the air, while they make their escape to the
locomotive.

7 LOCOMOTIVE.

The desperadoes board the locomotive with this booty, compel
the engineer to start, and disappear in the distance.

8

The robbers bring the engine to a stop several miles from
the scene of the "hold up," and take to the mountains.

9 VALLEY

A beautiful scene in A VALLEY. The bandits come down the
side of a hill, across a narrow stream, mounting their horses,
and make for the wilderness.

10 INTERIOR OF TELEGRAPH OFFICE.

The operator lies bound and gagged on the floor. After
struggling to his feet, he leans on the table, and telegraphs
for assistance by manipulating the key with his chin, and
then faints from exhaustion. His little daughter enters with
his dinner pail. She cuts the rope, throws a glass of water
in his face, restores him to consciousness, and, recalling
his thrilling experience, he rushes out to give the alarm.

11 INTERIOR OF A TYPICAL WESTERN DANCE HALL.

Shows a number of men and women in a lively quadrille. A
"tenderfoot" is quickly spotted and pushed to the center of
the hall, and compelled to do a jig, while bystanders amuse
themselves by shooting dangerously close to his feet. Suddenly
the door opens and the half-dead telegraph operator staggers
in. The dance breaks up in confusion. The men secure their
rifles and hastily leave the room.

12 RUGGED HILL

Shows the mounted robbers dashing down A RUGGED HILL at a
terrific pace, followed closely by a large posse, both parties
firing as they ride. One of the desperadoes is shot and
plunges headlong from his horse. Staggering to his feet, he
fires at the nearest pursuer, only to be shot dead a moment
later.

13

The three remaining bandits, thinking they have eluded the
pursuers, have dismounted from their horses, and after
carefully surveying their surroundings, they start to examine
the contents of the mail pouches. They are so grossly engaged
in their work that they do not realize the approaching danger
until too late. The pursuers, having left their horses, steal
noiselessly down upon them until they are completely
surrounded. A desperate battle then takes place, and after a
brave stand all the robbers and some of the posse bite the
dust.

14 BARNES

A life-size [close-up] picture of Barnes, leader of the outlaw
band, taking aim and firing point-blank at the audience. The
resulting excitement is great. This scene can be used to
begin or end the picture.

THE END

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