Anne is just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world. She drives the Midnight Train, but it doesn’t go anywhere except around her small town, Angel Falls. Unfortunately, since it only runs once a day, it doesn’t make much money. Still, she’s determined to keep the train going since she inherited it from her parents, who both passed away in an avalanche on Christmas when she was seventeen.
Ralph is just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit. Somehow, he became a wildly successful businessman. He loves the city and hates small towns because of their close-minded mentality and lack of access to culture. On the order of his evil boss, he bought the Midnight Train that wasn’t going anywhere.
The week before Christmas, Ralph travels to Angel Falls to finalize the sale and firm up plans to turn the train into a shopping mall. He goes to the town bar for a peppermint eggnog and to look over the blueprints for the development. He sees Anne in the smoky room, which smells of pine and cheap perfume. He’s confused that people are still allowed to smoke inside but admires how Anne’s pretty hot for a small-town girl.
When she catches his eye, he thinks for a smile they can share the night and invites her to join him for a drink. But instead of falling into his bed, she goes on and on and on and on about how much the Midnight Train, Christmas, and Angel Falls mean to her. He tries to leave before she realizes he works for the evil businessman, especially as it seems there’s zero chance he’s going to get lucky. But she follows him and goes on and on and on, walking up and down the boulevard, their shadows searching in the light.
Ralph begins to see how lovely Angel Falls is with its colorful holiday streetlights and friendly, performatively diverse townspeople. Anne tells him how she’s been working to pay her bills, but nobody wants to ride the Midnight Train anymore. Everybody wants a thrill, like the one they get at the amusement park inside that mall an hour away. Ralph explains that’s precisely why Angel Falls needs its own shopping mall.
With tears in her eyes, Anne patiently tells him that the Midnight Train isn’t just a job—it’s a way of life. She’d pay anything to drive it just one more time.
“Anything?” he asks with a wink. For a moment, she doesn’t know whether to kiss him or slap him, but all the townspeople come by again, this time singing Christmas carols.
Ralph rolls his eyes at the singers, “Some will win, some will lose,” he tells Anne. “And some are born to sing the blues, like these mall-less small-town losers.”
Anne is appalled. She could have sworn Ralph was the man for her, despite every indication otherwise. But just when she’s about to send him packing, a Christmas star twinkles at her from the sky, and she realizes, whoaaaaaa, if she doesn’t stop believing, she can fix him, and he will eventually change.
The two, not quite strangers anymore, keep walking up and down the boulevard because there’s only one street in town. Anne is searching for something in the night. When they come upon the beautiful old locomotive, she begs Ralph to let her take the Midnight Train one more time.
He wants to say no, but with the Christmas lights and townspeople hiding somewhere in the night, he has to agree. After all, they’re all potential future mall customers. So it was then that the small-town girl and the city boy took the Midnight Train that doesn’t go anywhere.
As Anne drives, Ralph sees how happy it makes her, how happy it makes the townspeople, and how happy it makes… him. He’s finally found emotion in the night. He doesn’t want to keep working hard to get his fill. He doesn’t need a big paycheck to get his thrill. He needs love. He needs Christmas magic. Most of all, he needs the Midnight Train.
Ralph convinces his boss to stop the development plans and rip up the contract to buy the Midnight Train. He then decorates it with a thousand strands of twinkling lights and drives it into the center of the town’s annual tree-lighting ceremony. He leaps off the train, drops to one knee, and asks Anne to marry him.
She runs into his arms and says yes. The joyous townspeople encircle them, and everyone sings, “Don’t stop believing. Hold on to that feeling. Don’t stop believing, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”