Johnnie Gray has two loves in his life: his engine and his girl, Annabelle Lee. The War Between the States begins with an attack on Fort Sumter, and Johnnie is the first in line at the recruitment office. But the enlisting officer rejects him (not telling him the reason: he is more valuable to the South as an engineer). Annabelle believes he didn’t even try to enlist, and she refuses to even speak to him until he is in uniform. Time passes and Union spies hatch a plot involving Johnnie’s engine, The General. Not only do they steal The General while Johnnie and the passengers are off the train having dinner, but they kidnap Annabelle who was still on board. Johnnie pursues The General in another engine, The Texas. Through various mishaps he becomes the Unionists’ sole pursuer. When the Unionists discover the train chasing them has only one man aboard, the long pursuit ends, and Johnnie barely escapes with his life. Johnnie is now behind enemy lines. He wanders the forest during a rainstorm then discovers a house, which he breaks into, grabbing what food he can. It turns out the Unionists who stole The General are using the house as a base of operations. While hiding under the dinner table, Johnnie learns the details of their next plot against the Confederates. More importantly, he discovers they have Annabelle Lee, whom he had never guessed was still on The General when it was taken. Johnnie manages to escape with Annabelle and take back The General. Now the Unionists are pursuing Johnnie, but if he and Annabelle can outrace them they can warn the Confederates of the Union’s latest plan.