Existing scholarship contends that James Cruze's landmark The Covered Wagon (1923) and John Ford's The Iron Horse (1924) were notable for their American appeal, in particular their exploitation of contemporary nationalistic sentiment. Also noteworthy, however, is their centrality to contemporary discourse on cinema's potential function as a universal language. Rather than endorsing this type of procinema rhetoric, this article focuses on the adaptive strategies whereby these utopianist pretensions were constructed: context-specific reediting, elaborate promotional campaigns, and staged educational prologues. Reworking and reframing within globalized historical trajectories transformed these national epics into transnational histories.