This is a little off topic but does anyone remember the movie "Emperor
of the North"?
As a kid I caught this many times on TV but haven't seen it since then
and the recent interest in model trains has got me to thinking about it
again. Had to do a google search to refresh the character names again
(Amazon has it on VHS only but since I'm getting a book there I think
I'll get the movie too to get to the free shipping level).
It's a depression era movie with Ernest Borgnine playing a darn mean
train master named Shack who hates hobos to the level of killing them if
he finds any riding his train. His reputation is known throughout the
hobo community, but one hobo named A Number One (played by Lee Marvin)
announces he is going to try to ride that train and receive the title
Emperor of the North. A younger upstart hobo played by Keith Carradine
tries to ride his coat tails to fame.
I can remember Shack doing things to his train and cars to foil hobo
riders like loosening handles that they grab onto to jump on a moving
train, and using a pipe on a chain to lower under cars and chase out a
rider. And there is a vicious battle between Shack and A on top of a
boxcar involving a chain and an axe.
It was a fascinating movie, especially the portrayal of the hobo
community, how they would gather to talk about things, and the markings
they would put on trains so other hobos would know who had rode
Anyway, thought that may spark an old train movie memory. :)
- posted 16 years ago