Those who want the inside story on Red China may be led astray by the ads for "Peking Express." Most of the "action" in this picture takes place inside a 1910 railroad car that might as well be standing in the Chicago stockyards. Joseph Cotten, cast as a United Nations doctor, wanders aimlessly up and down the aisle accompanied by equally aimless Corinne Calvert. Miss Calvert bites her tongue occasionally to express emotion and indicate that she's still alive.
Eventually we learn that Cotten is on his way to operate on a Nationalist general (Chung), but then he is kidnapped by a bandit general (Wan) and held as hostage for Wan's son (Wang or 'Young Wan'). As an added complication, Mrs. Wan is out to kill her husband in revenge for the murder of another son (Fang). At any point it's impossible to tell the Nationalists from the bandits, or the Fangs from the Yangs; apparently Joseph Cotten can't tell either, for the shoots them all indiscriminately as the picture ends.