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Lots of great and witty replies here.  I love them.

Art, yes there was a smell.  The smell of Chinese plastic wheels, trucks, axles, frame and body!

Just for fun, I'll probably buy that car the next time I go to the shop, for about 50 cents.

Then I'll post a picture of it, and that will be absolute, 1000% positive proof that open top cattle cars were used in the Old West, certified by the Chinese Communist Government!

As for longhorns, no it would have been impossible to dehorn  an entire herd of adult longhorn cattle rounded up in the wild.  Try to imagine the extreme danger, time, trouble and expense of doing this to hundreds of 1,000 pound wild bulls and adult cows  (yes, they had horns too).  The profit margin on each head of cattle was pretty slim, and so aside from the danger and time, the extra expense would have destroyed large portions of the profits.

Aside from tractor injuries, modern domesticated bulls are still the number 1 cause of death and injury to farmers today, and they definitely do not need a set of horns to kill you.  (Excluding of course deaths caused by long term exposure to herbicides, and falls.)   I remember about 30 years ago, my younger brother and I were dove hunting on a farm, and he shot a dove which fell into a nearby pasture full of angus cows.  He climbed over the barbed wire fence, walked about 40 yards into the field, and began walking back.  Out of the blue, and enormous black angus bull came barreling down the hill, straight for him, with intent to kill.   (Oops, they weren't all cows.)  He ran like heck, and just barely made it back to the fence and over the top, with about 20 feet to spare.  That was one mad bull!  (And one dumb brother.)



I just finished watching the longest and worse movie that John Ford ever made:  Cheyenne Autumn.  All firearms, uniforms and military accoutrements were period correct.  In the middle of the movie, a steam train pulled out of Dodge City with a cavalry troop on board.

AND THERE THEY WERE!!!     Open top cattle cars!  Loaded with hay and cavalry horses!

Now if a danged 1960's Hollywood Movie ain't proof, . . .  then nothing is!   :-)



It isn't apparent to me how accurate this Hollywood motion picture is... Seeing all that straw/hay on the car right behind the locomotive looks like a fire risk to me.

The good news is on your model railroad, you can do whatever you want. You can even have aliens abduct your civil war horses right off the open top cattle car and then discuss if aliens really exist or not instead of open top cattle cars.


I agree.  Often movies do their best to be realistic, but. . . on some things they have to take what they can get.   Cool looking steam engine though!

I was impressed that all cavalrymen had yellow uniform piping, all artillerymen had red piping, and all infantry soldiers had buff piping. You rarely see that type of detail in a movie.


Infantry is blue, not buff.

There undeniably were many open-top stock cars used in the 1860s.  There is no reason to think that those cars were all scrapped upon Lee's surrender; there was too much expansion in progress for any rolling stock to be wasted.  There is no reason to believe their use did not persist into the '70s and probably even the '80s.  There is no reason to assume that they made it into the Far West--or to assume that they did not--but they certainly were used in the West (Alleghenies to the Mississippi). 


The car shown up front in the picture is a flat car.  It is the car behind the locomotive, barely showing at the right side of the picture, that appears to be a cattle car.   In the movie, it comes chugging right across the center of the screen in close up, and you can get a good look at it. 

I think the take away from all of this is is that it would appear to be incorrect to say that "there were NEVER any such things as open top cattle cars."  Once can never say never.

And as Pallalin has indicated, one may be fairly certain that the burned out freight cars at the end of the Civil War were not promptly built right back to being freight cars.  Cobbled together cars with just good side rails were easily built, very very useful, and probably in wide use for several years, particularly in the War devastated Confederate States (which included both Texas and Missouri).

Pallalin, yep you are right.  Checked the movie again, blue not buff.


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