Image source: Wikimedia Foundation (
Download Movie [Video Format: MP4]
Movie Source: Internet Archive (

Danger Lights


You can find more information regarding this film on its IMDb page.

Danger Lights is a 1930 American drama film, directed by George B. Seitz, from a screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman. It stars Louis Wolheim, Robert Armstrong (actor), and Jean Arthur.
The plot concerns railroading on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, and the movie was largely filmed along that railroad's lines in Montana. The railway yard in Miles City, Montana was a primary setting, while rural scenes were shot along the railway line through Sixteen Mile Canyon, Montana. Additional footage was shot in Chicago, Illinois. The film was the first ever shot in the new George Kirke Spoor.


Louis Wolheim plays the boss of the classification yard in Miles City, Montana. The film opens with a landslide across the tracks in Montana, and a repair crew is dispatched to clear the tracks. Several hobos are lounging nearby and are put to work helping the repair crew. One of the hobos, played by Robert Armstrong, is discovered to have been a former railroad engineer who lost his job due to insubordination. He is given a new job for the railroad by the yard boss, but quickly falls in love with the boss's fiancée, played by Jean Arthur.
Jealousy grows between the two over the affections of Arthur with both of them attempting to win her in marriage. Things come to a head during a fight in the railroad yard between the two, during which Wolheim is hit by a train and injured. To save his life, Armstrong must transport him in record time to Chicago for surgery.


  • Louis Wolheim as Dan Thorn
  • Robert Armstrong (actor) as Larry Doyle
  • Jean Arthur as Mary Ryan
  • Hugh Herbert as Professor
  • Frank Sheridan as Ed Ryan
  • Robert Edeson as Tom Johnson
  • Alan Roscoe as Jim
  • William P. Burt as Chief Dispatcher
  • Jim Farley as Joe Geraghty
(Cast list as per AFI database)</>< name=RKO></>
The film's original release on 21 August 1930 by RKO Radio Pictures ran between 71–74 minutes in length, depending on the source used.< name=AFI />< name=Theiapolis></> A shortened release for television runs 55 minutes.

=Historically significant footage=

Danger Lights features rare footage of a tug of war between two steam locomotives, actual Documentary film footage of the activities in the Miles City yard, and what is believed to be the only motion picture footage of a dynamometer car from the steam railroad era in the USA. Similar footage may have existed in MGM's Thunder (film) (1929), with Lon Chaney, Sr. but that film is now lost film.
The portion of the film that was filmed in Montana was part of the electrified Rocky Mountain Division of the railroad, with the 3000 volt direct current trolley and the 100,000 volt alternating current "highline" plainly visible in several shots. Despite the fact that the railroad often touted the power and reliability of its straight electric locomotives, none are seen in the film.
In 1958, the film entered the List of films in the public domain in the United States due to the copyright claimants failure to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.<> See Note #60, pg. 143</>

Category:1930 films
Category:Films set in Montana
Category:Films shot in Montana
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:American films
Category:Films directed by George B. Seitz
Category:RKO Pictures films
Category:Rail transport films
William LeBaron

More Public Domain Movies