Locomotive 484 pulled the Dunn & Duffy Combined Circus circus across the Utah landscape in 1912 when it became a setting for a showdown between Boy Scout Indiana Jones and Fedora's gang over the newly unearthed Cross of Coronado.
The train was decorated to advertise the traveling circus, and contained a locomotive, boxcar with a clown image, freight car containing giraffes, several flatcars with circus supplies, the reptile boxcar, the rhinoceros car, the lion car, and a caboose with magician's equipment.
After stealing the Cross from Fedora and his men in a cave, Indy escaped on horseback across the countryside. Hoping to ditch his pursuers in their automobiles, he boarded the moving circus train near the locomotive. He quickly headed back toward the end of the train, passing the giraffes, and crossing the flatcar.
Inside the reptile car, Indy was pursued by Half Breed and Rough Rider, and when the ceiling-mounted crawlway broke, Indy came face to face with an anaconda. Scared by the snake, he fell into a vat containing a multitude of smaller snakes. He escaped from the reptile car, locking his two pursuers inside, and moved across another flatcar. They later escaped when Rough Rider shot out the lock.
Roscoe caught up with him on the roof of the rhinoceros car and attempted to attack him with a knife. However, the rhinoceros, agitated by a lantern that fell because of the rooftop fight, broke through the roof with his horn, eventually causing the fighters to back off.
On top the lion car, Indy avoided Half Breed by swinging on a water tower pipe, but ended up confronting Fedora. Scared, Indy fell back and broke through the roof of the lion car. The lion confronted Indy, but he found a bullwhip, which after initially nicking himself in the chin, he used to prod the lion back. Fedora and his men hoisted to Indy to safety with the whip, then proceeded to re-take the artifact.
Roscoe seized the Cross, but a snake hiding in Indy's sleeve wriggled out, scaring Roscoe. Indy took off for the last car, the magician's caboose, and Fedora kept his men back to prevent him from doubling back. Unable to open the caboose's back door, Indy chose to hide instead in a magic box. Fedora entered the car, and pushed open the box, revealing that it was empty. Opening the back door and looking out, Fedora witnessed Indy running to freedom on the tracks behind the train, and admired his pluck.
Behind the scenes
These scenes help illustrate four key developments in the life of Indiana Jones:
- His fear of snakes. Previously in the film, he shows no fear of a small snake threatening Herman, and confidently picks it up.
- The scar on his chin. Harrison Ford himself received the scar in a car crash. However, in some episodes of the Young Indiana Jones, Jones's scar is missing.
- His use of the bullwhip as an adventuring tool and weapon.
- The fedora he always wears.
It also highlights his skills at horseback riding, and his resolve that precious artifacts belong in museums.
The circus train scenes were shot on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which runs between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico.
The exterior scenery frequently changes from open desert landscape to forested mountains, as the chase progresses.
Railroad Model Craftsman ran an article on how to model the train in HO scale.