CTVA - The Virginian 1.08 "Impasse" 14-Nov-1962

The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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1.08 [--]

(no on-screen title)
NBC Broadcast - 14 November 1962

Revue Studios Production
Executive Producer Charles Marquis Warren
Produced by Winston Miller
Teleplay by Donn Mullally / Story by Bernard Girard
Directed by Maury Geraghty

(shown on the ride-in)
Lee J. Cobb as Judge Henry Garth (not in this episode)
Doug McClure as Trampas
Gary Clarke as Steve Hill
James Drury as The Virginian

Guest Star:
Eddie Albert  [Cal Kroeger]

End Credits (complete)
Denise Alexander as Mildred Kroeger
James McMullan as Jess Kroeger
Robert Colbert as Miles Kroeger
Tom Skerritt as Eric Kroeger
William Phipps as Jock Wheeler
Jerry Summers as Eddie Milford
Quinn Redeker as Daniel Kroeger
Jeff Lerner as Sam
Jimmy Lee Cook as Fred
Leonard P. Geer as Spence
Virginian theme Percy Faith
Director of Photography - Lionel Lindon, A.S.C.
Art Director - George Patrick
Film Editor - Lee Huntington, A.C.E.
Editorial Dept. Head - David J. O'Connell
Musical Supervision - Stanley Wilson
Set Decorators - John McCarthy and Ralph Sylos
Color Consultant - Alex Quiroga
Color Processing by Consolidated Film Industries
Assistant Director - Carter DeHaven, III
Sound - William Russell
Costume Supervisor - Vincent Dee
Makeup - Leo Lotito, Jr.
Hair Stylist - Florence Bush
The title "The Virginian" by permission of EMKA, LTD.

Series Regular Characters in this Episode:
Virginian, Trampas, Steve

Brief Synopsis:
The Kroeger family has a disagreement with the Virginian,
Trampas, and Steve over the ownership of a herd of wild horses.

More Detailed Synopsis:
The Virginian has a deadline to meet--in ten days the Army is coming for the herd of mustangs he's driving from the hill country.  A wild stallion comes down off a bluff for some of the mares, and the Virginian and Trampas rope and tether him until they can get the other horses to an outpost corral.  When Steve wonders why the Virginian is in such a hurry since they still have plenty of time, the foreman mentions things that could slow the trip home.  Trampas reminds him not to forget about the Kroegers and jokes that he is looking forward to meeting them.   Their first encounter with the Kroeger family is not what the Virginian had expected.  When he and Trampas return to release the stallion someone else is already doing the job, and Trampas realizes it is a girl just as he is about to hit her. Angry that Trampas would ask why she cut their horse loose she blurts, "You'll find out who owns those horses!"  When Mildred (Alexander) returns home and tells her father about the incident, he scolds her and orders her not to speak to strange men again.   Hurt over the reprimand she remarks to her brother, "I can't help it if I'm not a boy."  As Cal Kroeger (Albert) comes to confront the Virginian about the horses, the foreman notices him and his four sons on a ridge and sends Trampas behind some rocks with his Winchester to keep a bead on the man in case he tried to start trouble.   The Kroeger boys ask their father if he is going to let the Virginian get away with taking the mustangs. Cal reminds them he'd allowed no one to before then mentions it sure was nice of the Virginian to have gone to the work of rounding up the broncos for them. Now face to face with the Virginian, Kroeger tells the foreman his family brought horses out of the hills every fall and the Judge was welcomed to buy them from him.  The Virginian makes note that the ponies aren't branded, and Kroeger contends he doesn't have to put his mark on them because he had staked out a claim in the hills 15 years ago.   When the Virginian discerns horse ownership is not the same as land or mineral rights, Kroeger retorts he owned everything around because he was there first.   Wanting to avoid a fight, Eric (Skerritt) suggests his father let the Virginian have the mustangs since there are plenty left in the area, but Cal asserts if he permits it this time then more men would follow looking for the same opportunity.  Jess (McMullan) wants to wipe out the Shiloh riders, but Kroeger informs him if they shoot his hands Judge Garth will have the place "crawling with lawmen."  Yet no one is to worry--there had been others who'd come to get horses in the past, but they had always found it is a long drive out of the hills and a lot harder than it looks.  The Virginian's first problem arises when Kroeger starts a landslide to block a watering hole.   Cal next scares off the drifters the Virginian had hired as drovers then burns one of the outpost corrals.  The Virginian, Trampas, Steve, and Fred (Cook) are the only cowboys left to manage the horses, but with all the problems the Virginian remains optimistic reckoning, "it's all down hill from here."  Trampas remarks, "You really had to reach to find that silver lining."  Stormy weather is on the way, and Kroeger meets with the Virginian to suggest they join forces to take the horses to lower ground before it snows then split the herd since "half of something is better than all of nothing." The Virginian consents, mainly so he can keep watch on the family.  Trampas is not very enthused about Mildred coming along, but Kroeger insists she's able to do a man's work and can cook for all of them.  That night Trampas is cutting himself a bed of pine bows and comes upon Mildred filling water buckets. He offers to carry them, but she's not agreeable to the idea. Trampas takes the buckets anyway, telling her it was not because she couldn't carry them but "the way I was brought up, when a gal's toting more than 50 pounds a gentleman's expected to give her a hand." Trampas inquires, "don't you ever smile" then trips and falls on purpose to spill the water.  Mildred laughs, and Trampas states it was worth it to prove she "couldn't always go around with a sour look on her face."  With Mildred and Trampas still giggling as they enter camp, Trampas asks Kroeger where he wants the buckets.  Cal takes them and dumps the water on the ground then commands Mildred to refill the containers and bring them back herself.  Trampas wants to punch Kroeger, but the Virginian pulls him aside and advises him, "It's his family, let him run it."  The Virginian is certain when they get down the mountain Kroeger will try to take the whole herd, but they'll be ready if he does make a play for the horses.   Trampas declares, should it come to shooting, he gets the "old man."   The Virginian tells Trampas to stay away from Mildred.  When Trampas mentions he just feels sorry for her, the Virginian "orders" him, "Feel sorry for her on your side of the fire." Kroeger notes since Judge Garth has means to buy anything he wants, why should he go to the trouble of sending his hands to round up wild horses. The Virginian agrees the Judge would purchase anything he thought someone had the right to sell.  However, the foreman still doesn't believe Kroeger can claim ownership of the mustangs.  One by one the Virginian tries to convince the Kroeger boys that their father is leading them into trouble and is probably not going to split the herd like he promised when they leave the hills.  Cal warns his sons that the Virginian is trying to turn his family against him and insists they remember the only people that can be trusted are your own flesh and blood.  One night when Trampas is on guard Mildred cuts down the corral pole so the broncos will run away. When Trampas confronts her she says she wanted the animals to escape because she'd "die" if anything happened to him. The girl discloses that she loves him, but he doesn't have to think much of the idea because she knows she's "ugly." Trampas appraises if she'd "get some female clothes and push a pretty in your hair, a man would feel proud to walk down the street with you."  Mildred questions his sincerity, so Trampas gives her a little kiss.  When she kisses him back Trampas breaks it off and tells her to return to camp before anyone misses her.  Mildred is crestfallen and declares she doesn't care if anyone kills her because she loves him and he doesn't love her--he was "just being kind."  Trying to encourage her, Trampas tells the girl she deserves more than just someone being nice to her--she rates parties and dances and flowers.  Mildred inquires if he'd court her if she lived in town, and Trampas replies he would try but she wouldn't give him a passing glance.  She assures him he'd be the only one she'd look at and asks him to kiss her one more time.  Trampas tells her to "save it, for when I come courting . . . when you can look me in the eye and know I'm nothing but a shiftless cowhand" and yet still feel the same way about him.  Jess sees them return to camp together and the next morning suggests Trampas help him look for strays.  While they are riding Jess ropes Trampas off his horse.   The two men get in a fight, and the Virginian arrives to intervene.  He brings Jess back to camp for Kroeger to discipline.  Jess insists Trampas "had it coming" because he "shamed" his sister. Kroeger wants his boys to "take care of Trampas." But Mildred declares, "Nothing happened to be ashamed of"--Trampas had just been "nice" to her, but none of her family would understand because "all you know is hate."  Kroeger tells his sons to get the Shiloh men's guns, but the Virginian charges no one is to take their guns "and no one lays a hand on Trampas." Kroeger is ready for a dispute but then figures it might be better to split the herd now and go their separate ways. There is a fork in the trail ahead, and the Virginian chooses the South route.  But Kroeger has a plan to reclaim all the horses and goes on top of a cliff to throw a blazing branch down on the trail.  However, when the Virginian sees the fire he tells his hands to drive the mustangs on through it.  Kroeger shoots Fred's mount out from under him, but Fred gets in a shot that knocks Cal from his perch.  He falls to the ground below and is trampled by the broncs.  The Kroeger boys decide it is time for everyone to take care of his own life and mention their father hadn't always been like that--sometimes they got along real good, but "he was just afraid to let go." Trampas had gathered flowers for the grave and tries to comfort Mildred by telling her sometimes things happen that aren't anyone's fault.  Mildred informs Trampas he doesn't have to feel obliged to come see her when she moves to town, but he affirms he wants to. (bj)

Notes on Characters:
  Steve is still portrayed as more of a green kid trying to show his capabilities.   He is the one to tell the first two drifters they weren't much as hands for leaving the drive and they'd better keep going after they collected their pay at Shiloh because he never wanted to see them again.  When the other two drovers also decide to quit, Steve tells them the Virginian is asleep, and he himself can't give them a pay voucher. As Steve informs his boss of the previous night's happenings and mentions he probably saved the Judge some money the Virginian says he'll be sure to tell Garth what a "good businessman" he was.  We also get insight into Steve's past when he declares, "I used to think I had it rough at home, but compared to Kroeger, my old man downright babied me."

Trampas is seen as more of a skillful and reliable cowhand.   However, he still appears to want to go the "easy way" (see 2.01 "Ride a Dark Trail") and asks the Virginian, "Whatever happened to the carefree lazy life of a cowhand I keep reading about?"  (The Virginian replies in his wry sense of humor, "Ask the man who wrote the book.")  As usual, Trampas seems inclined to believe he's capable of solving the problems of oppressed females and gets the Shiloh bunch in trouble by becoming involved with Mildred.

The Virginian is the ever competent "boss man."  Able to read Kroeger's intentions, he keeps up his guard and doesn't trust the man.  He deals with Kroeger's sons not only with the hope of getting them to disagree with their father's plans but also with a concern for their well-being.  As he attempts to convince the boys there are better things than what they are experiencing in the hills, we learn a bit of his philosophy of life when he tells Miles, "You can't fight the whole world unless you want to live like an animal.  That sure isn't my idea of living."  Aware that Trampas often doesn't think straight in his dealings with women, the Virginian wants to prevent more trouble by telling Trampas to stay away from Mildred. Yet he brings all the men together in what could have been a dangerous confrontation when he insists the Kroegers were not to hurt his friend. The foreman not only gives orders but takes them himself.  When Kroeger inquires why he came up to get the horses the Virginian replies, "because the Judge told me to."  Some other insight into his character comes when Trampas is upset that the Virginian hasn't done anything to stop Kroeger and notes, "I never thought I'd see you pushed and not push back."   To this the Virginian replies, "Sometimes you have to take what the Judge calls 'the long view.'"

There was one of those unrehearsed "moments" early in this episode when
the camera is focused on the Virginian who has just reined in his Appaloosa
horse after riding down a hill.  Amid the dust in the background Trampas
comes galloping his buckskin down the hill, and unable to stop on cue,
runs into the rear of the Virginian's horse.  Drury and McClure went
right on with their lines like nothing had happened, except the Virginian
let out a "waaaaa" after impact.  (bj)

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