Denver and Rio Grande is a Technicolor western film, directed by Byron Haskin and released by Paramount Pictures in 1952. The film is a dramatization of the building of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, which was chartered in 1870. It was filmed in the summer of 1951 on location on actual D&RG track (now the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad) near Durango, Colorado.
The film's storyline is a fictional account based on two factual right-of-way struggles in 1878-1879 between the D&RG and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (here the Cañon City & San Juan RR): across the Raton Pass from Trinidad, Colorado to Raton, New Mexico, where an armed confrontation actually took place, and the "Royal Gorge War" over a route between Cañon City and Leadville, Colorado."
Filming began shortly after the release of Santa Fe, starring Randolph Scott. which interpreted the railroad war from the point of view of the AT&SF. Santa Fe, however, had been filmed in Prescott, Arizona, without access to the actual locations, and portrayed the D&RG as an honorable competitor. Both films followed an entirely fictional depiction in the 1950 western A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950), which was shot on the same Silverton Line trackage as Denver and Rio Grande.
Denver and Rio Grande features a spectacular head-on collision between two Denver and Rio Grande Western locomotives that were slated for retirement and scrapping, filmed July 17, 1951.