Character information
Home Between Flat Top Tunnel and Glacier Gulch
Background information
Appeared in The Film
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"I make that herd to be at least a hundred thousand, maybe even a million. It's gonna be hours before they clear this track."
— Steamer commenting on the size of the herd.

The caribou are animals who appear in the 2004 film, The Polar Express.

Role in the Film

While Smokey and Steamer were fixing the locomotive's light, they notice something up ahead on the track and call out to Hero Girl, who was driving the train, to stop. She and Hero Boy get the message, but they have trouble agreeing on which lever was the brake. Hero Boy eventually pulls on what Hero Girl claims she was told was the brake and stops the train just in time to avoid crashing into a huge heard of caribou crossing the track.

Steamer points out that the herd must consist of a hundred thousand to a million caribou and will take hours to clear the track. The Conductor, Hero Girl, and Hero Boy head to the front of the train to try to help. Suddenly, Hero Boy slips and grabs onto Smokey's beard to avoid falling, making Smokey scream in pain. Everyone soon realizes that the caribou are able to understand Smokey's screaming, so the Conductor continues to pull on his beard to communicate with them. They eventually manage to convince the caribou to move off of the tracks, allowing the train to continue on.


  • The caribou are part of many characters who appear in the film, but not in the book.
  • The sounds the caribou make in the film are actually the sounds of elk.
  • Caribou are also related to reindeer, whom were also the animals of Santa's sleigh. They are also the same species, Rangifer tarandus. Along with the caribou, they also appeared on film but unlike the caribou, they also appeared and were also mentioned in the book as well.


Children: Hero Boy (Chris) Hero Girl (Holly) Know-It-All Billy the Lonely Boy Sister Sarah Gus the Toothless Boy Boy on Train Red Head Girl Little Boy Young Boy Steven
Adults: Conductor Hobo Smokey and Steamer Santa Claus Pastry Chefs Waiters Hero Boy's Parents Cook
Elves: Elves Acrobatic Elves Elf General Elf Lieutenant Elf Singer
Animals: Caribou Santa Claus' Reindeer
Toys: Ebenezer Scrooge Puppet Jack-in-the-Boxes Puppets