The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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"Throw A Long Rope"
(no on-screen title)
Original NBC broadcast - 3 October 1962
Produced by Charles Marquis Warren (no exec)
Written by Howard Swanton
Directed by Ted Post
(shown on the ride-in) (all appear)
Lee J. Cobb as Judge Henry Garth
Doug McClure as Trampas
Gary Clarke as Steve Hill
James Drury as The Virginian
Jack Warden [as Jubal Tatum]
as Melissa Tatum
as Major Cass
Roger Mobley as Homer Tatum
Hal Bokar as Thody
Ted Knight as Skelly
Lew Brown as Garretson
Arnold Lessing as Mickey
Michael James as Chinook
(Richard Bull as Doc Spence and Charles Briggs as Soapy are uncredited)
Music Composed by
Director of Photography
Art Director George Patrick
Film Editor Danny B. Landres ACE
Editorial Dept. Head
David J. O'Connell
Set Decorators John McCarthy and Robert C. Bradfield
Color Consultant Alex Quiroga
Color Processing by
Consolidated Film Industries
Assistant Director Chuck Colean
Sound Corson Jowett
Makeup Leo Lotito. Jr.
Hair Stylist Florence Bush
The title "The Virginian" by permission of EMKA, LTD.
Series regular characters in this episode:
The Virginian, Judge Garth, Betsy, Steve, Trampas. Doc
Spence appears in one scene only.
*"Throw a long rope over a tall tree, and hang the rustler 'till dead"
~~so the saying goes in the territory of Wyoming.
"This is Fairfax County, in the state of
Virginia, I was born here. It's
peaceful, beautiful, and a long long way from Wyoming. Beautiful too in its
special way. Vast, proud, and lonely. It's my country now, Wyoming, but
not exactly a peaceful one.
It had happened before, in New Mexico where over a hundred men were killed
in 1878. In Montana, where scores more died only a few years later. And
now it was happening in Wyoming. Range war. The stakes were always the
same, cattle and land. And the opponents were the same. Big ranchers
verses farmers seeking open range to settle on them under the homestead act.
The cattlemen who came first and carved his vast rangeland out of the
wilderness saw himself facing destruction, as the homesteaders settled on
his range fencing him off from the grass and the water. The homesteader had
many names in the west, squatter, nester, and sometimes with truth~rustler.
The cattlemen struck back, fast and hard."
Judge Garth and The Virginian are at odds with
each other as the Virginian befriends a nester who narrowly escapes death by the rope.
With an ex-cavalry officer determined on exterminating all of the nesters, the Judge
stands undecided on which side he'll take. Wanting to protect what took him years to
build, he is not certain of which part of himself to follow, his heart~~or what he knows
is right, fully aware of the law of the land. And when the Virginian dares to question his
motives, wondering why there isn't enough room for both the big cattleman and the
homesteader to live in peace with one another, the Judge has more wrestling to do with
himself, knowing his answer will bring full support and no opposition at all since his
word is respected by the other ranchers. The Virginian goes on a 2-week journey into the
high country to find Sweede Torgeson, the stock detective, to see if he has found where 7%
of the cattle have disappeared to. Following the trail Trampas told him about up to the
Shiloh line-shack, the Virginian runs into a trapper who had seen the Sweede 2 weeks ago.
The Virginian continues on down to Benteen where he sees a corral full of cattle.
Following the Sweede's trail, he comes upon his camp and follows the buzzards to his
decayed body that had been shot. Upon his return to Medicine Bow, the Virginian speaks to
the unbending Judge one more time only to be met by the Judge's silence. Heading angrily
to the bunkhouse, the Virginian packs all of his guns and ammunition and heads to Jubal's
homestead to help defend him against "that lunatic" Cass and his followers. Even
though he has been lied to by Jubal, the Virginian continues to maintain his commitment to
what he believes, and is determined to stand firm against the cattlemen and the boss he so
lovingly is dedicated to yet dared to stand up against. When they hear the troops coming,
we still hear the concern in the Virginian's voice when he asks Trampas if the Judge is
with them. Is Judge Garth with them, or IS he the enemy? (ARL)
From the beginning of this episode I could tell it was a very powerful and intense
one. Going against the law of the land is not an easy decision to make. And to see the
Judge and the Virginian not in agreement with each other yet holding their own opinion is
fascinating because you can see the love~~the father/son relationship they have with one
another and the pain they must have felt as they labored against each other instead of
working together. (ARL)
This is my favourite episode from Season One. It's so well written and
acted, and it serves as a great introduction to the main characters. Do you
think it may have been intended as the first episode? (bg)
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Main Contributor for this episode: Andrea Lopez [arl]