Disney's The Great Locomotive Chase is a dramatic retelling of the actual Civil War events which inspired the Buster Keaton comedy The General. Fess Parker stars as James J. Andrews, the famous Union spy who masterminded the theft of an entire Confederate train. To accomplish this mission, Andrews and his cohorts pose as Kentuckians, board the train, and bide their time until they can pull off the robbery. Unfortunately for the Northerners, plucky young conductor William A. Fuller (Jeffrey Hunter, in the "Keaton" role), resentful that his train was stolen out from under him, pursues Andrews' raiders by foot, handcar, and locomotive. No matter what obstacles are placed in his way by Andrews' men, Fuller persists in his chase. Eventually captured, Andrews and his cohorts plan a daring escape, which serves as the film's pulse-pounding climax. Filmed on location in Georgia, The Great Locomotive Chase was well-received by audiences and critics alike. The lone dissenter was Buster Keaton, who felt that Disney made a mistake by turning the Southern characters into the "bad guys."
by Hal Erickson synopsis