Canadian Pacific (1949)

Randolph Scott in Canadian Pacific (1949)

Scott's Railroaded Again

When the Canadian Pacific Railway grinds to a halt due to the Canadian Rockies Tom Andrews (Randolph Scott) is assigned to find a path through the mountains so they can complete the railroad. And having done that Tom retires so that he can marry his girl Cecille (Nancy Olson) except it is Cecille who learns that fur trader Dirk Rourke (Victor Jory) wants to prevent the railroad as he has the monopoly on the Indians. With Tom returning to the railroad to deal with Rourke he finds himself in danger and relying on woman doctor, Edith Cabot (Jane Wyatt), to save his life before once again returning to deal with Rourke once and for all.

I am sure if I could be bothered I could look through Randolph Scott's portfolio of westerns and find at least a handful of movies which see him working for someone building a railroad, putting in a telegraph line or some other significant system and having to deal with someone trying to sabotage it. And to be frank what get served up in "Canadian Pacific" is not too dissimilar to any of those other westerns with Scott playing the hero who puts himself in danger to defeat the bad guy who as equally typically is riling up local Indians to do his dirty work.

Nancy Olson in Canadian Pacific (1949)

The one real difference for me is the women in this movie and their relationship to Tom. On one hand we have Cecille, the small town girl who adores Tom and whose father turns out be working for Rourke. And then there is the educated Dr. Cabot who detests violence and gets off to a rough start when she first meets Tom attacking another man. Unfortunately whilst this triangle adds to the entertainment the rest of the western is so typical of the era and of Randolph Scott westerns that this ends up quite forgettable and anything but a homage to the creation of the Canadian Pacific railway.

What this all boils down to is that "Canadian Pacific" is just another Randolph Scott western delivering a slight variation of the sort of story that Scott had already done a few times. It doesn't mean it is poor or ot entertaining, just a generic forgettable western.