Something for a Lonely Man (1968)

Dan Blocker, Susan Clark, and Warren Oats star!

Blacksmith, John Kilibrew founds a town where the railroad is supposed to stop, guaranteeing prosperity. Ten years later, there’s no train, and John is despised by all, except the town teacher, Mary Duren. Now, he has another big idea to bring success to the town. Will anyone go along?

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Something for a Lonely Man

Blacksmith, John Kilibrew is a big-hearted, loveable guy, an optimist looking for a better life. He convinces a group of easterners there’s big money to be made in California, especially now that the railroad is expanding to parts that were once remote. He maps their journey and finds the perfect location where he believes the railroad will make a stop, and with it will bring certain prosperity to all the townspeople.

They arrive west, build the town of Arkana, build their lives, and wait. And wait. And wait. In 1870, ten years later, the railroad, indeed, comes through, but the company relocates their stop to another area several miles outside their now populated town. Those who are financially and physically able to move, pack up, and leave. Those who are not able, stay, but they can’t contain their bitterness. They focus their anger on John, holding him responsible for their failed dreams. He may live and work in the town he founded, among neighbors he once communed with, but, now, he is, essentially, shunned.

Only one of the townspeople deigns to speak to him, Mary Duren, the feisty, though sweet and attractive schoolteacher. Seeking to gain confidence, John asks her to teach him to read, and as their relationship grows, and he begins to read and quote Ralph Waldo Emerson with ease, a hint of love develops between them. John, being alone for so long, doesn’t recognize that Mary’s interest extends beyond friendship, and knowing how the town feels about him, he’s very guarded.

One day, John is on the outskirts of town, and sees a large crate tumble from the passing train, into a deep creek. As it splashes into the murky water, the crate breaks open, and John gets a look at the contents—a new steam engine, one of the latest models, one that could bring Arkana and its people the prosperity John had originally promised.

Given his sullied reputation, no one steps up to help him retrieve this valuable cargo, even though it has the potential to save their town. Owing the bank well over $300, John doesn’t have the means to buy the mules needed to drag the engine from the creek, but still he’s determined to hoist the thing out if he has to do it with his own two hands.

One person believes in him—Mary. Together they decide to work side-by-side to rescue the submerged engine. A they devise a plan, little do they know, someone in the town has his own plot to profit from the sunken treasure, and he has the power to destroy John, once, and for all.