~Plot Synopsis~
Youthful locomotive engineer Johnnie Gray of the Watern and Atlantic Railroad has two loves in his
life, his train engine, which he has named “The General,” and his girl friend Annabelle Lee. On a
spring day in 1861 when Jonnie visits Annabelle in Marietta, Georgia, he learns that Confederate
troops have fired upon Fort Sumter and joins the throng of Southerns attempting to enlist in the
Confederate Army. When he is rejected because his skill as an engineer is deemed vital to the cause,
Johnnie attempts to enlist under various disguises. The recruiting officer finally ejects him, causing
Johnnie to exclaim, “If you lose this war don’t blame me.” When Johnnie is too upset to answer
Annabelle’s father questions about enlisting, her father assumes Johnnie is shirking his patriotic
duty. When Annabelle confronts Johnnie about enlisting, Johnnie tells her the truth, but Annabelle
tells him not to speak to her until he is in uniform. A year later, in a Union encampment just north
of Chattanooga, General Thatcher and his chief spy, Captain Anderson, make plans to sabotage the
Confederate railroad: They will enter the South posing as civilians, steal a train then proceed North,
burning every bridge along the way to cut off supplies to the southern troops. Union General Parker
will advance to engage the Confederates in a surprise attack on day they steal the train. Meanwhile,
in Marietta, Annabelle, who still shuns Johnnie, boards The General en route to visit her father, who
has been wounded in the war. When all the passengers disembark at Big Shanty for dinner, except
Annabelle, who is in the luggage car searching for her trunk, the disguised Union spies remove the
pin to the passenger cars and steal the engine and luggage car. While Johnnie chases The General
with a hand-operated car, the Union soldiers discover Annabelle and tie her up. Johnnie is than
derailed and continues on a penny-farthing bike until he reaches the Confederate encampment in
Kinston, where he convinces an officer to help him find the train. After Confederate troops are
loaded into several railroad cars, Johnnie leaves the station piloting an engine called The Texas;
however, he is so preoccupied with the chase that he fails to look behind him until miles down the
track, where he realizes that the troop cars are not attached to the engine. Deciding to fight for The
General alone, Johnny attaches a car with a canon he finds on the tracks. As he approaches The
General, Johnnie attempts to load and fire the cannon, but he accidentally jostles it in the direction
of his train. As Johnnie rushes to the front of the train to protect himself from the blast, the train
rounds a bend causing the cannon to fire at the Union soldiers instead. The Union soldiers, now
fearing for their lives, disconnect their last car in hopes of stopping The Texas. Johnnie spots the
slowing car and tries to switch it onto another set of tracks; however, the Union soldiers then drop a
log across the tracks,which derails the car. Johnnie, having just turned his head, is baffled when he
finds the car has suddenly disappeared. As the Union soldiers throw more logs across the tracks,
Johnnie runs to the cow-catcher at the front of the train and cleverly pushes the logs off the track.
At a changing station, the Union soldiers switch tracks to divert Johnnie, but Johnnie connects back
to the main rail. As the chase continues, Johnnie is so absorbed with cutting wood to feed his boiler
that he does not notice the hundreds of Confederate soldiers fleeing south as General Parker’s
victorious Union army advances. When he finally realizes he is crossing into enemy territory,
Johnnie abandons his train and runs into the woods to hide. During a rainstorm that night, Johnnie
sneaks into a home for shelter, but finds himself trapped under the dining room table when a group
of Union officers seat themselves to discuss their battle plans. Johnnie learns that Union soldiers
are planning a surprise attack for the following morning and that Annabelle is their prisoner. Later,
as the others sleep, Johnnie manages to escape the dining room, change into a Union uniform and
rescue Annabelle. They flee into forest, where lightening sends them running into each other’s
arms. The next day, Johnnie decides they must warn the Confederates about the attack. After
stuffing Annabelle into a sack, Johnnie loads her onto a freight car attached to The General and then
takes off towards the South. As Union troops began a chase, Johnnie helps Annabelle into The
General, then unpins the luggage car, thus hampering the Union car’s speed until they are able to
remove the car. When Johnnie leaves the train to move a crosstie, Annabelle, unable to work the
gears, runs the engine forward and backward, leaving Johnnie behind, until he finally catches the
train. As they reach Rock River bridge, Johnnie sets the bridge on fire to hinder their pursuers.
When Annabelle accidentally puts a burning log between Johnnie and the train, Johnnie tries to
leap onto the train, but misses the track and falls straight in to the water below. Upon reaching
southern territory, they rush to the Confederate headquarters, where Johnnie informs the
commander of Union plans and Annabelle is reunited with her father. Soon after, the Confederate
troops arrive at the bridge just as the Union soldiers attempt to drive the supply train over it. As a
car plunges into the water, the Confederate Army fires at the approaching Union troops who are
fording the river. Johnnie attempts to help by firing a cannon, but aims it in wrong direction. The
blast breaks a dam upstream, flooding the river and washing out a whole line of approaching Union
soldiers. Victorious, Johnnie returns to southern headquarters, where he is commissioned as a
lieutenant and thus wins the love of Annabelle. When passing soldiers salute the new officer,
Johnnie embraces Annabelle with his left hand, freeing his right hand to salute.  

Plot Synopsis from afi.com
Directed by:
Clyde Bruckman
Buster Keaton

Written by:
Buster Keaton  - writer
Clyde Bruckman  - writer
Al Boasberg  - adaptation
Charles Henry Smith  - adaptation
Paul Girard Smith - writer

Based on the novel Daring and Suffering: A History of the Great Railroad
Adventure by William Pittenger (Philadelphia, 1863).

Marion Mack ...  Annabelle Lee
Glen Cavender ...  Captain Anderson
Jim Farley ...  General Thatcher
Frederick Vroom ...  A Southern General
Charles Henry Smith ...  Annabelle's Father (as Charles Smith)
Frank Barnes ...  Annabelle's Brother
Joe Keaton ...  Union General
Mike Donlin ...  Union General
Tom Nawn ...  Union General
Buster Keaton ...  Johnny Gray
Henry Baird ...  Soldier (uncredited)
Joe Bricher ...  Soldier (uncredited)
Jimmy Bryant ...  Raider (uncredited)
Sergeant Bukowski ...  Officer (uncredited)
Capt. C.C. Cruson ...  Officer (uncredited)
Jack Dempster ...  Raider (uncredited)
Keith Fennell ...  Soldier (uncredited)
Budd Fine ...  Raider (uncredited)
Eddie Foster ...  Union Railroad Fireman (uncredited)
Ronald Gilstrap ...  Union Soldier (uncredited)
Frank Hagney ...  Confederate Recruiter (uncredited)
Ray Hanford ...  Raider (uncredited)
Jackie Hanlon ...  Boy Who Follows Johnny (uncredited)
Al Hanson ...  Raider (uncredited)
Anthony Harvey ...  Raider (uncredited)
Edward Hearn ...  Union Officer (uncredited)
Boris Karloff ...  Union General (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Hilliard Karr ...  Soldier (uncredited)
Elgin Lessley ...  Union General Who Gives Command to Cross Bridge (uncredited)
Louis Lewyn ...  Soldier (uncredited)
Jackie Lowe ...  Boy Who Follows Johnny (uncredited)
Billy Lynn ...  Soldier (uncredited)
Ross McCutcheon ...  Raider (uncredited)
Tom Moran ...  Raider (uncredited)
Charles Phillips ...  Raider (uncredited)
Red Rial ...  Raider (uncredited)
Al St. John ...  Officer on Horseback (uncredited)
Harold Terry ...  Union Soldier (uncredited)
Ray Thomas ...  Raider (uncredited)
Red Thompson ...  Raider (uncredited)
James Walsh ...  Soldier (uncredited)
John Wilson ...  Union Soldier (uncredited)
Jean Woodward ...  Undetermined Role (uncredited)
~The General~
~K27-74: Buster Keaton~
~Remaining Credits~

Production Company: Buster Keaton Productions

Distribution Company: United Artists

Producer: Buster Keaton
Executive Producer: Joseph M. Schenck
Producer: Joseph M. Schenck
Photographed by: Bert Haines & Devereaux Jennings
Film Editing by: Buster Keaton & Sherman Kell
Art Direction by: Fred Gabourie
Set Decoration by: Harry Roselotte
Assistant Makeup Artist: Bennie Hubbel
Makeup Artists: J.K. Pitcarin & Fred C. Ryle
Production Supervisor: Lou Anger
Production Manager: Fred Gabourie
First Assistant Director: Harry Barnes
Second Unit Director: Glen Cavender
Assistant Director (Oregon): Edward Hearn
Construction Foreman: Frank Barnes
Carpenter: Jack Coyle
Bridge Timber Crew: William Ernshaw
Production Buyer: Al Gilmour
Assistant Property Master: Mike Graves
Property Master: Bert Jackson
Bridge & Dam Construction: H.L. Jennings
Bridge & Dam Contractor: George E. Potter
Chief Draughtsman: Billy Wood
Special Effects by: Jack Little
Stunts: Buster Keaton
Stunt Double: Earl Mohan
Lighting Effects: Denver Harmon
Grip: Frank Barnes
Still Photographers: Dal Clawson, William Piltz & Byron Houck
Camera Operators: Elmer Ellsworth & Byron Houck
Chief Lighting Technician: Denver Harmon
Assistant Chief Lighting Technician: Ed Levy
Publicity Photographer: Melbourne Spurr
Assistant Camera: Harry J. Wild
Assistant Wardrobe: Bennie Hubbel & Fred C. Ryle
Wardrobe: J.K. Pitcarin
Assistant Editors: Harry Barnes & Sherman Kell
Technical Director: Fred Gabourie
Presenter: Joseph M. Schenck
Production Accountant (Los Angeles): Lou Anger
First Aid: Dr. Axley & Dr. Frost
Production Coordinator: Harry Brand
Unit Publicist: Harry Brand
Production Secretary: Betty Cavender
Technical Advisor: Glen Cavender
Assistant Production Coordinator: John W. Considine Jr.
Engineer: Jack Dempster
Script Supervisor: Christine Francis
Production Accountant (Oregon): Wesley G. Gilmour
Production Assistant: L.L. Graham
Production Assistant (Oregon): Bob Holmes
Location Manager: Bert Jackson
Chef: Ralph Land
Brakeman: Fred A. Lowry
Caterer: George E. Potter
Cook for Mr. Keaton: Viola Riddle
Assistant for Mr. Keaton: Willie Riddle
Wrangler: Dee Wright
Chief Mechanic: Fred Wright
Fire Fighter: Fred Wright

Length: 8 Reels
Runtime: 77 Minutes
Released: February 5, 1927
K27-42: Buster Keaton & Marion Mack~
~Marion Mack & Buster Keaton~