The Iron Horse of Lucy Steele by Paul Zeidman | Script Revolution

The Iron Horse of Lucy Steele

In 1874, a fiery female train engineer relentlessly pursues the ruthless outlaw who has stolen her late father's locomotive to pull off the heist of the century.



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Rough-and-tumble train engineer Lucy Steele runs Engine 88, aka “The Fastest Train in the West”, with her best friend/mechanic/former slave Moses. The Army recruits them to pick up and transport the new Treasury Department printing plates to the Mint in San Francisco; a job for which they’d be very well compensated.

Moses dreams of using the money to leave the life on the rails and getting out there to see what life has to offer (“We survive so we can live.”), but Lucy is quite content with things the way they are. She plans to use the money for some much-needed repairs on 88.

The next morning, notorious outlaw Prentiss Nash and his gang steal 88 (with Moses onboard) with the intention of stealing the plates and printing a king’s ransom in cash for themselves - all before the government even knows the plates are missing.

Lucy will do whatever it takes to rescue Moses, get Number 88 back, and see justice done, so she enlists the help of famed bounty hunter Quentin Thursday.

Over the course of their travels, Lucy and Thursday manage to survive every obstacle the unforgiving frontier throws at them; from traversing raging rapids to escaping a pack of ravenous wolves to Lucy single-handedly rescuing Thursday from a band of bloodthirsty frontiersmen.

In a moment of quiet respite, Lucy reveals to Thursday that her father died when Nash and his gang tried to hold up Number 88 ten years ago. Running the train is her way of keeping her father’s memory alive, and with Moses the closest thing she’s got to family, she is adamant about getting both him and the engine back.

Using the stone arrowhead his wife gave him, and the tragic story of how she was abducted by outlaws, never to be seen again, Thursday teaches Lucy about needing to move on, even when it seems like you’ve lost everything.

Lucy and Thursday soon discover that Moses has left a secret trail of clues enabling them to track Nash to his hideout. A shootout leaves Moses and Thursday mortally wounded. We also learn Nash wants the plates not just out of greed; he grew up the son of a dirt-poor drunk and wants to ensure he never feels that way again. Nash threatens to let Moses and Thursday die unless Lucy helps him get the plates. She reluctantly agrees.

Lucy takes Nash and his gang to the remote spot where they ambush the Army train carrying the plates. Nash double-crosses everybody (including killing his own men) and escapes with the plates on 88.

Lucy makes the ultimate decision to pursue Nash and stop him once and for all. Upon catching up to the train, she wrestles the plates from Nash and sabotages her beloved 88, making it rocket ahead at breakneck speed towards a treacherous mountain pass. With plates in hand, Lucy jumps off just before 88 and Nash go over the side and crash into the mountainside.

Lucy awakens in the Army hospital to find Moses at her bedside. She accepts the fact that Number 88 is gone, and Moses reveals that Thursday died from his wounds. The Army has reclaimed the plates, and Lucy and Moses get the sizable reward for Nash and his gang. Moses is offered a job designing trains in Europe. He declines, but Lucy encourages him to go. She also receives a note from Thursday, but keeps the contents a secret.

Lucy and Moses share a heartfelt farewell before she rides a train off into the sunset.

Lucy delivers the arrowhead to a memorial Thursday made for his wife.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

winner - Western genre, 2019 Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices
1st runner-up - Action-Adventure, 2020 Creative World Awards
top 10 - Action-Adventure, 2021 Emerging Screenwriting
top 50 - 2020 Tracking Board Launchpad
2x top 10 finalist - Screencraft Action
semifinalist - Fade In Action
top 15% - Nicholl

Submitted: November 30, 2019
Last Updated: October 25, 2022

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The Writer: Paul Zeidman

Hi there. I'm an award-winning screenwriter based in San Francisco. While open to working in any genre, I'm always up for creating a ripping yarn that grabs the viewer and takes them on a rollercoaster ride of thrills and excitement. I love to craft a story that simultaneously showcases a character's emotional journey set amidst high-octane action sequences, along with a couple of jokes thrown in for good measure. I'm also a notoriously meticulous script editor and proofreader, with the ability to spot a rogue comma or misspelled word at a hundred paces (give or take 99 paces). When not writing, rewriting, or reading scripts, I enjoy watching movies, reading comic books, running somewhat... Go to bio
Manager: seeking representation

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