Runaway Train was released in 1993 by Soul Asylum and gave the rock band international fame. It also brought their album, Grave Dancers Union, to a multi-platinum success. It won a Grammy in 1994 and was number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video made its own impact. Tony Kaye directed the music video. In the beginning there are several different versions that give information on runaways in different nations.
It continues with three concrete scenes shown interspersed among the other images of the video. During the first verse, a child is shown witnessing his grandfather beating and eventually killing his grandmother, and running from their house in fear. During the second verse, a young teenage girl is pimped as a prostitute and is initially purchased by the aforementioned abuser. Later, she is dragged into a van by a gang, after which she is picked up by paramedics, having been raped and beaten.
During the coda of the song, a baby is snatched from his stroller by an older woman, with his mother running after the kidnapper's car. Throughout the video, pictures of injured and runaway children are shown. The chorus showed missing children pictures with their full name and how long they’d been missing for. When the music video was released, it helped to reunite 26 missing children with their families.