Synopsis by Mark Deming
Superb black-and-white photography highlights this independent drama. John Lee (Peter Alexander) is the son of a Chinese-American father and a French mother, living in California shortly after World War II. John's grandfather was a Chinese laborer brought to America to help lay tracks for the Continental railroad, and John has inherited an obsessive love of trains. When John discovers that the short-line railroad that runs from Merced, California, to the Yosemite Valley is soon to be shut down, he persuades his father to back him as he takes over the line and attempts to restore it. John hires two experienced railroad men to help him run his new railway: conductor Robinson (Henry Gibson and traffic manager Skeeter (Michael Stipe). As he tries to put the Yosemite Valley Railroad back on its feet, he becomes romantically involved with a beautiful park ranger (Jeri Arredondo) and exchanges subtle flirtations with both Skeeter and his sister Wendy (Diana Larkin). However, his all-consuming interest in the railroad prevents these relationships from going anywhere, and his family begins to lose patience with him as he digs himself deeper into a business that seems doomed.
railroad, business, mechanic, multiracial, park-ranger, obsession, trolley-car