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Night Freight

Night Freight(1955)

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Remind Me

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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World-weary businessman Mike Peters, who owns a short-line railroad that transports produce from central California to Los Angeles, is infuriated when his chief rival, trucking company owner Ed Haight, pulls yet another dirty trick to slow down one of Mike's trains. Mike's life is also complicated by his young, hot-headed brother Don, who works as a fireman on the railroad. When he learns that Don intends to marry Bamboo Club hostess Wanda Haycock, whom he met only a few days earlier, Mike goes to see her. Mike is very protective of Don, despite Don's resentment of his success, and suspects that Wanda is an opportunist. Their conversation is interrupted by a call from the railroad, and when Mike arrives at the yard, Don petulantly orders him not to interfere in his life. Realizing that Haight will try to sabotage his new "piggyback" operation, in which the railroad will carry pre-loaded trucks from the farms to market, Mike goes to see him, and they trade insults about Mike's former trucking business, which was destroyed by Haight. Mike warns Haight to play fair this time, then goes home, where he and Don quarrel again about Wanda. Telling Don that he can prove Wanda is fickle, Mike instructs him to meet him at the Bamboo Club later that night. Mike then goes to the club, where he aggressively flirts with Wanda. When he sees Don entering, Mike kisses Wanda, and Don angrily ends their engagement before storming out. Realizing that he was wrong about Wanda, Mike takes her to the apartment, where she confesses that she was more interested in a stable home life than in Don himself. Impressed by Wanda's honesty, Mike offers her a job as their housekeeper, and despite Don's disparagement, she accepts. The next day, the bank approves the railroad's loan but warns that unless the operation is an immediate success, it will have to be discontinued. That night, a drunken Don is approached by Haight, who offers him a job, which Don rudely refuses. On the day that the railroad makes its first piggyback run, a nervous Mike rides with engineer Kelly and is dismayed to see that someone has planted flares to slow down the train. Due to the delays, the train does not make it to market in time, and Haight's trucks sell their produce first. Fearing that someone inside the railroad leaked information to Haight about how to sabotage the run, Mike spends the next day questioning his employees but gets no information. Mike's partner, Richard Crane, warns him that if the next piggyback train is delayed, they will be forced out of business, and a despondent Mike confides in Wanda. She intimates that Don has been acting strangely lately, and after Mike dismisses her worries, he confesses that he has fallen in love with her. Although she is concerned about Don's reaction, Wanda admits that she returns Mike's affections. Before the couple can kiss, Mike receives word that a reported landslide has held up the train. When he investigates the scene, however, Mike learns that there is no landslide and again suspects Haight of sabotage. After the engineer reveals that he saw Don lose heavily at cards, Mike searches Haight's payroll books and learns that Don has indeed been working for the trucking company. When Don comes home that evening, Mike accuses him of allowing Haight to pump him for inside information and fires him, after which Don storms out. After Don subsequently confronts Haight, the trucker laughingly reveals that Mike was correct, and Don threatens to reveal all to the police unless Haight pays him a large salary. Fearing that she caused Mike and Don's falling out, Wanda packs to leave, although Mike asks her to stay and marry him. Wanda gently refuses, and later, confronts Don about his increased drinking. Meanwhile, Crane persuades the bankers to allow the railroad to make one last run the following evening. Mike decides to go, and when Wanda learns that Haight is pressuring Don to help him to cripple the train, she offers to marry him if he will help Mike instead. The next day, while Mike increases the security on the piggyback train, Haight anxiously awaits Don's arrival. When Don fails to show, Haight's dimwitted driver Louie goes to plant a dynamite bomb on the train himself. Don then arrives, and upon Louie's return, learns that Louie has accidentally planted the bomb on a munitions train. Learning that the explosion will cause massive destruction, Louie agrees to help Don find the bomb, and shoots Haight when he protests. Don calls Mike to warn him of the danger, then goes to the railroad yard with Louie. Although Louie is apprehended, Don succeeds in taking the munitions train out. At the last minute, Mike jumps aboard to help him, and the brothers work together to locate the bomb. After Wanda and Crane overhear a radio broadcast about the situation, they rush to the station, and are joined by Don and Mike, who have disarmed the bomb. Finally having proven to himself that he is worthy, Don happily accepts when Mike offers to rehire him. Don then refuses to hold Wanda to her marriage proposal, and after declaring that he has his own girl back at the bar, pushes Wanda into Mike's arms.