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Up River is the twelfth episode of TUGS.
One of the big tasks is logging, which under Captain Star’s held contract, the Star Tugs must take thousands of logs from downriver to the sawmills, Captain Star put Big Mac in charge of this operation.
A large log jam has formed, which Big Mac and Sunshine are finding difficult to overcome. Big Mac advises Sunshine to take care and warns him about the wet logs catching fire. Sunshine thinking hard, continues to ram, unluckily causing a chain-reaction which starts the logs to tumble down and trap him. Then Puffa, a good friend of the Star Tugs, arrives who puffs away to fetch help from downriver. Big Mac and Sunshine are concerned that the logs are heating up.
Meanwhile, Puffa races to find Ten Cents, once meeting him at another dock, he tells him all about Sunshine. Ten Cents rushes to the rescue.
Back at the log jam, Big Mac tries to shift the logs to free Sunshine, but fails after several attempts. They find that smoke is starting to rise from the logs. When Ten Cents arrives, Big Mac orders him to help try and shift the logs to get Sunshine out, which Ten Cents bravely does so, but to no avail. Then Billy Shoepack arrives with a load of dynamite. Ten Cents suggests that Billy set off a little blast to free Sunshine. Big Mac hesitates, stating that if Billy uses his dynamite, he would blow Sunshine up as well. In the end, Big Mac reluctantly grants Billy to setup his dynamite. The smoke continues to build up, and the logs are now well on fire. Billy sets up his dynamite. Upon countdown, up the logs go, and Sunshine is free. It is a very big bang though, which causes the whole jam to breakup. The logs charge downriver, breaking down some barges in their way and rolling down towards Uptown. When Puffa pulls up to the dock, Ten Cents tells him to warn Uptown, who steams off as fast as he can. The tugs set-off down the way.
It is difficult to puff along the icy rails, but Puffa pushes on. He whistles warnings all the way down the line, and soon arrives in Uptown Docks, where Top Hat, O.J., Littler Ditcher and Warrior are working. Puffa tells them all about the disaster about to hit the quayside. Warrior comes up with a plan to build a “dam” across the river entrance.
Once all are in place, including Little Ditcher, they prepare themselves for the logs.
The logs continue to charge along, demolishing a small quay along the way. Some logs are stopped by the wreckage, but many more still continue. Ten Cents, Sunshine and Big Mac still follow along.
At Uptown, the church bells are ringing to warn everybody about the floating logs. The logs begin to approach, but Warrior is on the wrong side of the dam. O.J. tells the tugs to rev their engines to try and push back the logs, diverting them. The logs glance off and takeout a factory due for demolition in spectacular, “explosive” fashion.
Ten Cents, Sunshine and Big Mac arrive to the others. Big Mac is worried about the factory, but O.J. tells him that at least the owner won't have to pay for the demolition. Warrior is called a hero, and the tugs head to clear up the mess.
- Ten Cents
- Big Mac
- Top Hat
- Billy Shoepack
- Little Ditcher
- Captain Star (narration only, mentioned)
- Boomer (cameo)
- The Goods Engine (cameo)
- Shrimpers (cameos)
- Hercules (deleted scene)
- This episode marks the first time Billy Shoepack moves his head and eyes, and has an alternate face mask; in his debut episode, "Trapped," his features stay immobile.
- This episode marks the final appearances of Billy Shoepack, Boomer, Little Ditcher and Puffa.
- This episode marks Puffa's first and only speaking role.
- Hercules and the Z-Stacks do not appear in this episode.
- This is the only episode to not feature any of the Z-Stacks.
- The Japanese title translates to "Watch Out, Star Tugs!"
- The Star Dock building can be seen in Up Town when Puffa arrives to warn the tugs.
- CITV developed a six-minute behind the scenes documentary for the series whilst this episode was in production, for their segment, "Movie Magic." This particular edition also covered the feature films "High Spirits" and "Erik the Viking".
- The truck Puffa was pulling was used in the second season of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.
- In the first scene of the logs after Billy Shoepack's explosion, a fly flies past the camera.
- Because of film cuts, the logs move when the factory explodes.
- Boomer (as a tug) can be seen working in the background in one scene, even though he was turned into a houseboat in "Jinxed."
- However, it is possible that this episode takes place before Jinxed.
- Warrior's body comes loose from his hull in one scene when the logs scrapes into him.
- The Goods Engine has Puffa's whistle sound.
- In the second close-up of Big Mac, the logs in the background suddenly split a few inches to the right, due to a film cut.