To portray James West's and Artemus Gordon's private train in the 1999 film production "Wild Wild West", Warner Brothers arranged with the Baltimore and Ohio Museum Railroad to rent the locomotive "William Mason" No. 25 from their historic collection. The engine (a 4-4-0 American) was built by Mason Locomotive Works in 1856 and is currently the oldest operating steam locomotive in the United States. Previous film appearances include its portrayal of the historic Civil War engine "General" in "The Great Locomotive Chase". It was restored to operating condition in the shops of the Strasburg Railroad in the spring of 1998 and shipped to Sante Fe, New Mexico for filming on location. It was returned to the museum in the fall of 1998 and was under steam in Baltimore, Maryland in April and September of 1999 still wearing its movie livery name "Wanderer".
The two cars of West and Gordon's Train were constructed especially for the movie. Total cost was reportedly 1.5 million dollars. Production Designer was Bo Welch, with Art Direction by Tom Duffield and Set Decoration by Cheryl Carasik. For the interior shots the cars were assembled on gimbals on a Warner Brothers soundstage with a blue screen backing up the windows for visual effects to be added in later. The sets were then disassembled and remounted on real railroad flat cars for use with the "Wanderer" on location in New Mexico. Extensive filming was done there with stars Will Smith and Kevin Kline. Later the train was shipped to Idaho for exterior filming with the second unit on the Grangeville Line of the Camas Prairie Railroad.
The "Wanderer" is loaded with secret weapons and devices as well as a laboratory for Artemus Gordon's experiments, inventions and wardrobe of disguises. Spinning pool tables and armchairs that disappear into the car's floor, hidden weapons racks and lamps concealing Gatling Guns are only some of the gadgets reported to be in "Wanderer"'s arsenal; all designed by Artemus Gordon.
The interiors were carefully crafted to recreate the splendor of the Palace Cars of the era. Designer Welch, Art Director Duffield and Decorator Carasik used the interior of George Pullman's own private car "Monitor" as a reference. Rich mahogany and other rare woods, beveled mirrors and custom woven carpets. fringes and fabrics all created an opulent atmosphere fit for a 19th century millionaire.
The Varnish Car features a parlor with banquette dining area and piano-bar, a galley for cooking, stateroom for sleeping quarters and a water closet with sink and commode.The Gramophone conceals the Telegraph Apparatus, and pulling one of the pool cues in the rack provides access to the Winch for the Trans-Carriage Egressor. The Laboratory Car contains an extensive workshop-lab, a wardrobe room as well as a stable compartment equipped with horse stalls and storage for Gordon's "Nitro-Cycle".
Two other trains were also used on location on the film. The ex-Virginia and Truckee locomotives No. 11 "Reno" (a 4-4-0 from Old Tucson), portraying Union Pacific No. 119, and No. 21 "J.W. Bowker" (a 2-4-0 from the California State Railroad Museum), as Central Pacific "Jupiter", were paired with cars from the Strasburg Railroad in Pennsylvania. Jim Clark served as Train Coordinator for the production, arranging for rail equipment and its transportation to various film locations.
Wild Wild West Edit
The Train is first seen when James West tries to catch up with it on his horse begging for Artemus Gordon to stop the train. West manages to get on board using the catapult gadget. He intends to start a fight with Gordon but Gordon does a dance and presses a button causing West to be hit by a mallet and falling on the pool table before it rotates to under the train. West retaliates by pulling on a lever that causes Gordon's chair to rotate under the train as well. The Train's engineer Coleman saves the two and warns that if they harm his train he'll dust them like dogs. Coleman then asks where they should head to and West tells him New Orleans.
In Gordon's quarters, he shows West the decapitated head of the murdered scientist Professor Thaddeus Morton, who was killed by a flying disk with blades around it in the Louisiana Wilderness. Gordon uses Morton's head attached to a projector to view his last consciousness before he died. The image shows General Bloodbath McGrath holding the disk in his arms after it had killed Morton. They use the image to see that he has an invitation in his pocket about a costume ball at Dr Arliss Loveless's mansion in New Orleans.
Later on West and Gordon discuss ways to enter the party and West claims that he wants to go kill McGrath as he suspected that he was responsible for the massacre at New Liberty Illinois. Gordon claims that the art of disguise is what they need to infiltrate he party in order to search for the missing scientists before they are forced to create something that will destroy the United States.
West and Gordon later realize through Rita Escobar's help that Loveless might be on his way to Utah where President Grant might be. They make Coleman take them there immediately and leave Rita behind as they can not give her a ride to her home in Texas. Rita however catches up with them by using the same catapult that West used earlier to get on board the Train. Rita asks to accompany them to save the scientists (one of whom is her husband) from Loveless. Gordon shows Rita the Wanderer's gadget a billiard ball and if you press the number it becomes a sleeping gas bomb effective in under three seconds. West also gives Rita something to wear while she sleeps. They also promise to watch over her although West calls Rita a distraction.
The next morning the Wanderer catches up to Loveless' train, but they lose the scientist when they pass through a tunnel. Loveless' train, equipped with huge hydraulic spider's legs, had been able to hide while the Wanderer passed it. Loveless' train then follows the Wanderer and opens fire on it. West tries to make use of "The Egressor" (a small rail-cart) that will allow him to board Loveless' train, but the cable attaching it breaks and he has to use Gordon's rubber rope. When one of Loveless' men attacks West, he uses a blade Gordon built into his shoe to kill the man. He stuffs the man's body in the train's smokestack, disabling it. Meanwhile, Loveless's henchwoman Munitia has stopped the Wanderer with a giant grappling missile. Rita now afraid to be re-captured by Loveless grabs a sleeping gas billard ball and locks herself and Gordon in a bathroom. When West boards the Wanderer, Rita assumes it's Loveless and knocks all three of them out with the billiard ball.
Gordon and West awaken and discover that their necks are fitted with the same magnetic collars that Morton had. Loveless has commandeered the Wanderer and uses it to travel to Spider Canyon after having Coleman held by gunpoint by Amazonia to force them to take them there. On the Wanderer, Loveless has a talk with Rita saying he has to confess that he's curious about how she winded up with Gordon and West. Rita tells him that if they seem so sure about how they would find him she thought if she stayed with them they bring her back to all her friends, she then tells him that she had "kinda missed" him. Loveless responds that kinda misses himself too as they have a drink with each other.
Gordon and West later escape their death trap and pursue Loveless all the way to Spider Canyon where they find the Wanderer and see Loveless's ultimate weapon an 80-foot tall mechanical tarantula, fully armored and powered by coal and hydraulics. When a large group of rocks blocks it from moving, the contraption shoots giant fireballs, which destroy the rocks.
After taking back their train, West tells Gordon that they should continue to pursue Loveless to Utah as he is using the giant spider to capture President Grant. West goes to the section of the train to flip a switch to reveal a hidden weapon rack and takes a shotgun. Gordon reads a book near his Nitro Cycle to develop a flying machine much similar to the Wasp that killed the tarantula. He thinks of using the Nitro Cycle as a wasp to pursue the spider but West shuts the idea down and they leave the train to use horses to travel to Utah to save President Grant.
After surviving his death at the hands of Munitia, West goes back to the Wanderer to discover that it has been ransacked, the weapon rack is empty and the quarters have been stripped of its parts. The only weapon left in the clothes rack is a single-shot Derringer hidden in a belt buckle which Gordon had shown West earlier when they were in New Orleans. West decides to use a disguise like Gordon to infiltrate Loveless's industrial complex where he later rescues Gordon, Coleman, Rita and the other scientists but Loveless escapes with President Grant.
Outside the Wanderer moments later in Utah Gordon and West regroup and, inspired by Da Vinci's flying machine and the desert wasp, formulate a plan to attack the spider using Gordon's Nitro Cycle outfitted with wings. Coleman reveals to them he is a U.S. Marshal like Gordon and gives them firebombs made from gunpowder, nitroglycerin, and 44-caliber primers.
Shortly after Loveless's death, back at Promontory Point, Grant tells West and Gordon that he's forming a new government presidential protection service called the Secret Service. West and Gordon are agents One and Two. He also takes the Wanderer to return to Washington, leaving West and Gordon to use Loveless's spider. Rita also reveals that Professor Escobar is not her father, but is her husband. West and Gordon ride the spider into the sunset.
- The sequences on both The Wanderer and Dr. Loveless' trains interiors were shot on sets at Warner Bros. The train exteriors were shot in Idaho on the Camas Prairie Railroad. The Wanderer is portrayed by the Baltimore & Ohio 4-4-0 No. 25, one of the oldest operating steam locomotives in the U.S. Built in 1856 at the Mason Machine Works in Taunton, Massachusetts, it was later renamed The "William Mason" in honor of its manufacturer. During pre-production the engine was sent to the steam shops at the Strasburg Railroad for restoration and repainting. The locomotive is brought out for the B&O Train Museum in Baltimore's "Steam Days".
- The scene where Dr. Loveless' train is raised on four girders outside of the train tunnel was all done digitally. A real train was used when it was finally back on its tracks and the girders going back inside the train, which was also done digitally.