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"A Father For Toby"
NBC Broadcast - 4 November 1964
Executive Producer Frank Price
Teleplay by True Boardman
Story by Tom Seller
Directed by Alan Crossland, Jr.
(shown on the ride-in)
Lee J. Cobb as Judge Henry Garth
Doug McClure as Trampas
Clu Gulager as Emmett Ryker
Roberta Shore as Betsy Garth
Randy Boone as Randy Benton
James Drury as The Virginian
Guest Stars (names credited during ride-in):
Rory Calhoun [Jim Shea/AKA Jim Hansen]
Joanna Moore [Miss Ellen Lawrence]
Kurt Russell [Toby Shea]
Complete ending credits:
Walter Reed . . . as Mr. Collins
Bing Russell . . . as Earl Maddox
Harry Lauter . . . as Wade
Michel Petit . . . as Pudge
Jay Hector . . . as Arnie Mayo
Michael Flatley . . . as Mike
Charles Fredericks . . . as Harry Boardman
Hal Baylor . . . as Belden (L.Q. Jones usually portrays this character)
John Zaremba . . . as Carl Thomas
Frank Sully . . . as Bartender
Frances Morris . . . as Landlady
Patti Chandler . . . as Margaret
[Harper Flaherty (regular ranch hand Harper in later seasons) appears
uncredited -- notice him
at the outdoor contest with the boy on his shoulders who is battling against
Trampas and Toby]
Director of Photography
Benjamin H. Kline, A.S.C.
Art Director . . . George Patrick
Film Editor . . . Edward Haire, A.C.E.
Assistant Director . . . Jack Doran
Set Decorators . . . John McCarthy and Perry Murdock
Sound . . . Frank H. Wilkinson
Color Consultant . . . Alex Quiroga
Color by Pathe
Editorial Dept. Head . . . David J. O'Connell
Musical Supervision . . . Stanley Wilson
Costume Supervisor . . . Vincent Dee
Makeup . . . Bud Westmore
Hair Stylist . . . Larry Germain
The title "The Virginian" by permission of EMKA, LTD.
Series regular characters appearing in this episode:
Featuring Trampas with
Judge Garth, Betsy, the Virginian, Randy, Ryker, Harper,
and Danny the bartender
No one at the Medicine Bow Orphanage believes Toby Shea's tale that his
father is alive and will come to get him some day, so the boy "nominates"
Trampas "for the job."
At the Medicine Bow Orphanage, Judge Garth is sponsoring an elocution
contest on "The Greatest Man I Ever Knew." Abraham Lincoln is the choice
for one of the boys. The Judge comments that the speeches are getting
better every year and credits some of the improvement to the Superintendent
Mr. Collins and the new school teacher Ellen Lawrence (Moore). Toby Shea
(Kurt Russell) now takes the floor to tell of a man who
was a brave Indian fighter, and if Custer had listened to him he would have
won the Battle of Little Big Horn instead of getting massacred. This man
wasn't only the greatest man Toby knew but the greatest anybody
ever knew -- his father.
Even though Toby wins the $5.00 gold piece for his oratory, the
other boys don't believe a word of it -- especially when Toby declares his
father is still alive and will come to get him as soon as he finishes his
mission as a
spy for the U.S. Cavalry. Arnie calls him a liar, and the two
youngsters go at each other with their fists. Ellen breaks up the fight and
cautions Toby that people can
understand when someone exaggerates in a speech but there is such a thing
as letting the imagination go too far. Yet Toby still avows he has a
father who will come for him some day.
Jim Shea (Calhoon) is released from the penitentiary after serving his time
for robbery. His wife had died during his imprisonment, and all he wants
to find his son. But his two former accomplices Wade (Lauter) and Maddox
(Bing Russell) corner him and want to know where the stolen money is.
Jim holds by his claim
that he lost the bag while crossing a river and never
saw the loot again. The men doubt his story and pursue him, but Jim
manages to escape by hopping on an outgoing train.
Toby "won't stay where no one believes me" and runs away from the orphanage.
The next morning the lad is walking down the road when he is met by Trampas
who is heading to town in the buckboard. When Trampas starts interrogating
him Toby lies that his folks had just moved to the area, his name is Joe,
his father's name is Joe Lincoln, and he comes from a big family. Trampas
has his misgivings about it all and tells the boy that the horse is named
Ulysses (after President Grant) and he is really Robert E. Lee. He
then observes that the only place he knows of in the vicinity is an
and wonders if Toby might be running away. Toby jumps from the buckboard,
and Trampas chases him down. The youngster declares he hates it at the
orphanage and nods to Trampas' assumption, "and everyone there
hates you." The cowhand is curious about the treatment there -- does Toby
get too many spankings?
Is the food bad? When Toby has to admit the living
conditions aren't that terrible, Trampas appraises Toby isn't doing right by
the others at the school making them wonder where he is and all.
Toby agrees to return, but first he wants to go to town
with the cowboy -- he'd been in a saloon before and even tasted
beer. Trampas promises that
his next day off he will take him to town for a
sarsaparilla or two. Toby grills Trampas, "Are you married? Got any kids?
Ever fought any Indians? Ever won a medal?"
Trampas answers no to the first two queries but does affirm that he had a
run in with some Indians once and kept the arrowhead that had been dug
out of his shoulder as a "lucky piece" since he felt
himself fortunate the brave's aim wasn't any better. Toby asks to drive the
buckboard back to the orphanage, and before they arrive at the
gate he insists he'll go the rest of the way in alone. As Trampas waves
good bye, Toby tells the
other boys Trampas is his father but can't come in to
meet them because he is still on his secret mission.
While Jim Shea stands at his wife Mary's grave, the undertaker
gives him the woman's "private papers" which include a letter she had
written to Jim before she died. The
note reads that Toby was sent to an orphanage and Jim was not
to try to find him. Shea
next calls on the landlady who owned the boarding house where his wife had
been staying while she was ill. When asked if she knows where Toby might
be, the woman relates she didn't even know Mary had a son. But she does
remember that an envelope from the Medicine Bow Orphanage
had come for her a few weeks after she died.
Jim advises the landlady to tell no one else about their conversation.
At the ballroom in Medicine Bow Betsy finishes entertaining the gathering
singing. Trampas compliments, "That was real pretty."
Betsy replies, "Thank you, I dance well, too." Trampas
affirms, "What a coincidence, so do I." He has just taken Betsy out on the
dance floor when Mr. Collins, his wife, and Miss Lawrence
arrive. Trampas asks Betsy, "Do you know that girl?" Indeed she does and
will introduce him to her after their dance. But Trampas insists Betsy
introduce them now before anyone else
"hog-ties" her. When Trampas invites Ellen to dance, the woman
Betsy who shrugs, "That's all right, you can have him. Just don't believe
everything he says." Trampas quips, "That's Betsy. Always making jokes."
Ellen asks, "Have you known her long?" "We're old buddies," replies
Trampas. "I work for her father." While they are dancing Trampas learns
Ellen is the new schoolmarm and remarks that what he heard about her was
true -- a couple of
fellas had seen her at the train station and were going to try to convince
Mr. Collins they were orphans. His curiosity then turns to the subject of
Toby's welfare and if he'd been taking any more early morning walks. Ellen
realizes Trampas was the one that
brought Toby back to the orphanage. She relates to him that Toby had told
the other boys Trampas is his father -- when he isn't too busy
spying for the U.S. Cavalry. Although momentarily taken aback
"That crazy little maverick" and pronounces he now has
two reasons to go the orphanage -- first to straighten out
Toby and second to show her the countryside. Ellen remarks, "I thought you
said Toby was the 'crazy maverick'." Trampas continues to mouth off,
"Well, kids will be kids."
The next afternoon Trampas is shaving when Randy comes in and slams the
Trampas berates him for "shaking the building" and nearly making him
cut his throat. Randy wants to
go to town with Trampas so he can get his boot fixed, but Trampas declares
he's going to take out the teacher, and "as much as I like you Randy, two is
company and three's a crowd. Truer words were never spoken."
Randy "just can't see Trampas with a schoolteacher," but the
older cowhand retorts, "You don't have to, as long as she does."
As Trampas leaves, an amused Randy throws his boot at the door after him.
Shea arrives at the orphanage and makes inquiry about Toby. He tells
Ellen his name is Jim Hansen. He is just passing through the area and
thought he'd stop to check on the boy since he had known Toby's parents.
Ellen asks if he would like to see Toby, and though at
first reluctant, Jim agrees that he would. When the two are introduced Jim
smiles, "He has his mother's eyes."
Toby has no recollection of the man and
wants to return to his play. Jim comments that Toby seems like a "bright
boy." Ellen agrees, "Almost too bright," and recounts how Toby had
told everyone his father is a spy for the army. Ellen asks Jim if he
knows where Mr. Shea might be since the records did not indicate his father
was dead, only that he was missing. The man replies he lost track of
Shea a long time ago and had known his mother better. As Jim rides away,
Trampas comes down the road in
the buggy. Toby runs out to meet him and explain his plight. The cowboy
asks, "What are you trying to do, ruin my social life?" Toby pleads with
Trampas not to tell on him. He just had to have a father.
He told the other boys he did, and they would laugh him right out of the
school if they found out he had made it all up. Trampas agrees to go on
pretending with the
stipulation that Toby tell the truth about him in a week. Toby pulls
Trampas into the group of boys to show off his "pa".
The boys challenge Trampas that if he was with Custer
how come he didn't get killed. "Tough scalp," quips Trampas. They then
"Are you really a spy?" Trampas chides Toby for giving out secret
information then advises
since all of them are "loyal citizens" they should just forget what they
heard about him being an undercover agent. The boys want to see the
arrowhead "Geronimo shot him with."
Trampas displays it then announces he
had always intended to give Toby that "trinket" someday. Toby argues, "It's
your lucky piece" and offers to give Trampas his elocution medal in trade.
During this conversation Ellen joins the gathering, and as Trampas looks at
her he appraises, "I've luck enough." Wanting Trampas to
make good on his word, Toby is ready to go to town for sarsaparilla,
but the cowboy dodges his promise by explaining that Miss
Lawrence is coming along too because she'd gone to all the trouble to fix a
picnic basket. As the trio leaves for their outing, the boys now agree
they guess Toby was telling the truth after all.
In a picturesque country setting Trampas and Ellen are finishing up their
meal when Toby asks his "pa" to show him how to rope.
Trampas tells him to "quit that pa business" then gives him pointers on
building a loop and calls for him to run "be the calf." Trampas lassos Toby
then orders the youngster to go off and practice. Trampas returns to Ellen
and complains, "I'm not only
still his father, I'm the only living survivor of the Big Horn Massacre.
When that gets out they'll have to change the history books." Ellen
appraises it's all Trampas' fault that Toby is so "crazy about" him.
Trampas has other intentions for the rest of the afternoon than just
chewing on chicken bones and wishes
"a little of that would rub off on his teacher." She accuses
him of being impulsive, but Trampas proclaims if he
were impulsive he would have
kissed her by now instead of waiting to get to know her better.
As Trampas and Ellen draw close to each other Toby rides past on the
buggy horse and falls off. Trampas and Ellen go to his aid,
but the boy insists on getting back on the mount, reciting something he
remembered from somewhere, "nobody can be a
real rider unless he's fallen off six times and gotten on seven." Toby
continues his ride, and Trampas is again poised to kiss Ellen when she
tell him about a man named Jim Hansen who had come to the orphanage. Maybe
it was just her imagination, but she had a "funny feeling about him."
Trampas figures he's going to have a "funny feeling if Toby calls me pa" in
front of the ranch hands at the party the Judge and Betsy have
planned for the orphans. Then his third attempt at romancing Ellen is
thwarted when Toby appears from behind a
rock hooting like an Indian. On the way back to the orphanage that evening
Trampas wants to know what Ellen will be doing with her Saturday nights from
here on out. The schoolmarm hasn't made up her mind as yet and might need a
little persuading. Thinking Toby, who is "one tired happy kid," is sound
asleep in the back of the buggy, Trampas tries
once more to kiss Ellen. But Toby sticks his head between them
and asks if they are almost home.
Maddox and Wade trace Shea to his wife's former landlady whom they bribe to
inform them where Shea might be headed. Meanwhile, Jim stops by the saloon
in Medicine Bow while waiting for the train. As Shea reads again the note
from his wife saying that it would be best if he did not try to
find Toby, the Virginian comes in looking for hands. None of the cowboy
type respond to the request, but Shea does. The Virginian advises
him this is "cowhand work," yet Shea responds to not let the suit of
clothes fool him.
The foreman takes Shea back to the ranch and has Trampas set him up in the
bunkhouse. Trampas asks the man where he's from. "Here and there,"
replies Shea. Trampas notes, "That's a nice place. I spent a lot of time
there myself." Betsy comes
down to the corral and asks the Virginian why he wasn't at the dance. He
answers that he had paperwork to catch up on then
inquires if she had a good time. She did enjoy herself and had "the
bruises on my feet to prove it." The
Virginian chuckles, "dancing with Randy again." The foreman then
asks if anything special happened at the dance. Betsy sighs,
"Trampas met a new girl." That's not news to the Virginian since Trampas is
always meeting new girls. But Betsy goes on about how Trampas had
wondered where Ellen had been all of his life. Trampas returns from
settling Jim in the bunkhouse, and Betsy advises
him that next time he had a date he should "get regular
flowers -- wildflowers don't
last." She had found the wilted bouquet in the buggy. Trampas mumbles,
"Talk about spies."
The orphanage is a busy place as Wade and Maddox learn from Ellen that a
visitor who mentioned knowing Toby's parents had passed through recently.
On a "long shot," they ask Ellen to
describe him. Satisfied "Hansen" is their man, Wade and Maddox have
one of the boys point out Toby to them as they leave.
The Virginian asks Trampas how Jim is working out.
Trampas replies that he isn't a
top hand but he tries and other than that "minds his own business and
keeps his mouth shut."
The foreman approves, "Can't get into any trouble that way,"
and Trampas declares "Can't have
any fun, either." Jim would like to borrow a horse Sunday so he can do some
fishing, but the Virginian informs him there will be a kid's party that day
and all the hands are expected to be there.
At the Sunday get together Ellen sees Jim watching Toby
and mentions to him that she thought he was just
passing through. Shea remarks that the job had come up so he
thought he'd stick around for awhile. Toby is atop Trampas' shoulders
battling against Arnie who is riding Harper. During the big charge, Trampas
and Toby fall, and Ellen overhears Jim tell Toby to get back on since "no
one can be a real
rider till you fall off six times and get on seven." But Toby
bemoans that would be against the rules and turns to cheer
on one of his classmates.
The Virginian and Chip win the contest, then the foreman goes to mediate in
an argument over a marble game. Trampas is washing up
when Ellen approaches him. "I'll
never squawk again about how hard we work," groans Trampas. Compared to the
party a cowhand's life is "one long vacation with pay." Ellen tries to
report to Trampas that Jim had just told Toby the same saying the boy
had recited about being a real
rider, but Toby interrupts to grab the cowhand for the three-legged races.
Shea asks Toby if he'd like a partner, but Toby assures him he already has one. As they
are tying their legs together, Toby calls Trampas pa in the presence of
Randy. Trampas and Toby are the first to cross the finish line.
"You sure can run fast," Toby admires.
Trampas replies, "That comes from being chased a lot."
The party continues with
horseshoe throwing and a pie eating contest then ends with a group
sing-along. Ellen finally manages to tell Trampas about Jim's riding
advice and suggests that the man knows more about the boy than he's letting on.
In the bunkhouse Randy is complaining about his sore back, and
Trampas pronounces that next year the boys will be even bigger.
The Virginian comments that Toby had sure taken a "shine to" Trampas,
and Randy asserts that he still thinks Toby called Trampas
"pa." To Randy's amazement,
Trampas admits it was true. He goes on to say that Toby had been
making up stories about his father being a spy for the army
and how none of the boys believed him. So when he and Toby met one day
Toby "nominated me for the job." The trouble was that Toby began to
believe it himself. The Virginian observes that there is some resemblance
between the two of them.
Trampas baits Shea by avowing that if he was to get himself a ready-made
family he'd sure do better than Toby because he couldn't stand a liar. Shea
jumps to Toby's defense by hitting Trampas in the mouth. The Virginian
barks at Jim to go outside, and as Shea is headed for the door Trampas calls,
"Just a minute, Shea." The Virginian, Trampas, and Shea now
meet with the Judge. Jim maintains that
people are not understanding of men that have served time, but Garth
declares, although he hadn't been in
prison himself, Jim wasn't the only ex-con he'd ever hired. If Shea is attending to his work
there will be a steady spot for him at Shiloh since the Judge is
"not so much interested in where a man's been as where he's going." The Virginian can
understand why Shea wouldn't want to tell anyone he'd been in prison but
wonders why he didn't want to tell Toby he's his father. Shea insists he
does want to tell the boy, but first he wants them to get to know each other
better. Trampas agrees but suggests he inform Ellen since "she's half
guessed it already." As Trampas and Jim leave the conversation Betsy enters
the study to tell her father good night. The Judge asks her if
she thinks the boys had fun at the party. "Did they!" she blurts, "One of
them got so carried away I heard him call Trampas 'pa'." She's going to
have to remember to kid Trampas about it tomorrow,
but the Judge advises her to "just let it drop." Betsy questions
the request, and her father again appeals to her to "just let it drop."
"Alright," she agrees, "since you've given me such a good reason."
Jim is herding cattle when Maddox finally catches up to him and demands he
hand over $6000, the amount of
his and Wade's share of the stolen money. He expects the transaction to
occur the very next morning -- or Jim won't see Toby again. Shea
fears it will be impossible to get that kind of money so quickly, but when
Betsy bids him help the Virginian take a
newly recovered chair into the Judge's study he overhears Garth
tell the Virginian to cash a draft for $10,000 to pay for an
upcoming cattle purchase.
Trampas takes Ellen back to the orphanage after a night out with her while
it is still "the
shank of the evening." As they are standing on the porch the cowboy again
makes a move
to kiss her, but the school teacher's mind is on Toby and what he might do
when Jim tells him he's
his father. Trampas' pride is insulted by her question instead of kiss. He
reminds her that in the presence of a big moon a woman should be thinking
how she wishes a fella would kiss her goodnight, and just as Ellen's
romantic feelings are about to be rekindled
Mr. Collins opens the door with ill tidings that Toby is gone.
Trampas returns to the ranch to "pass the word." The bunkhouse is dark and quiet, but Jim is not
in his bed and there's light coming from the window in the Judge's study.
Trampas investigates and finds Shea about to open the cash box. Trampas
yells for the Judge, who appears in his robe, and Jim recounts how he needs
the money because his ex-partners, who had been "trailing" him ever since he
got out of prison, want $6000. They are holding Toby hostage and won't
release him until they get the money.
Trampas attests that he'd just come from the orphanage and Toby is indeed missing.
Garth asks Jim why he didn't just ask for help instead of stealing from him
then tells him to go ahead and open the cash box. To Jim's surprise, the
box is devoid of money. The cattle deal had fallen through.
The Judge demands to know where
Toby is being held and when the men expect the ransom. Jim is hesitant to
reveal the location. But the Judge appoints Trampas to take a note to the
bank authorizing the cash withdrawal and to bring the Sheriff's back
with him when he returns to the ranch.
In the morning Shea rides on ahead of the posse to the designated meeting place.
Maddox sees him coming and tells Toby he knew his "old man" would show up.
Toby confesses that Trampas was
not his real pa, he'd just made that up.
When Shea arrives with the money, he tells Toby he is indeed his
father, but the lad is reluctant to believe him. Shea hands over the cash and
wants to leave with his son, but Maddox plans to keep the boy hostage until
they can safely get away. Jim seems agreeable but then pushes
Toby out the door and tells him to run. Jim hits Wade and Maddox then
heads out the door to make his own getaway. However, Toby had stumbled
and is lying on the ground, and Jim stops to help the boy back
on his feet. Wade pursues them and shoots Jim before he can take cover
behind a boulder.
The posse is standing by, and Trampas' bullet brings Wade down.
Maddox is arrested as Trampas and Toby check on Jim.
Trampas expresses, "You've got quite a pa, Toby."
While Toby is packing his belongings, Trampas, Betsy, and Shea arrive
at the orphanage. Trampas relates he thought for awhile that Jim
would die from his injury, but the man assures him he had too much to live
for. Then, much to Trampas' relief, Toby joins them with "ready, Pa?"
The boys say good bye to Toby, and Betsy comments
to Trampas, "I guess that puts you on
the market again." Trampas shakes his head, but Ellen adds, "Come to think
about it, we've got another boy who seems pretty lonesome."
With that thought in mind, Trampas
decides he'll "have to look into it." It will give him a good
excuse to hang around the orphanage." (bj)
The dates on Mary Elizabeth Shea's tombstone read 1869 - 1883.
Betsy sings "I Love My Willie" (by Sy Miller) at the dance, making Trampas
and Randy a little uncomfortable when she turns the lyrics to "I love my
Trampas" and "I love my Randy" (another arrangement of this song was
recorded on the Decca Label LP "Presenting Randy Boone and Roberta Shore,
The Singing Stars of The Virginian")
"Press Along to the Big Corral" is sung by all at the group sing-along
(with Betsy laughing too hard to finish the chorus)
The going pay for ranch hands at Shiloh is "$1.00 a day and found" (free
food and lodging in addition to wages)
According to the Virginian, Shiloh Ranch is "a few miles south of town."
This may be referring to the beginning of the property line since in 1.04
"The Big Deal," as the foreman and Cueliar are riding in the buckboard,
the South American asks how far they still have to go to get to the ranch.
replies they had been on Shiloh for the last couple of hours. Trampas tells
the Lilleys in 1.05 "The Brazen Bell" that the Shiloh ranch house is 15
miles from town.
Trampas' advice for horseback riders is next time you feel like you're
going to fall, "keep loose. That way you won't bounce so hard."
James Drury rides a different Appaloosa in this episode. Although
similar in color and conformation to Joe, this horse has more of a Roman
nose and no brand on the left hip.
Now that Betsy is more mature, the banter between her and the Virginian
has changed from "you're the man I'm going to marry" and "yes, Ma'am,"
to "sometimes I don't know what you'd do without me" (when she
called for Jim to help him unload the chair) followed by the Virginian's
smug, "I do, too, but I guess that's too much to ask."
Even though Trampas has come a long way from the "use people up and spit
them out when you're through with them" mentality (see
2.01 "Ride A Dark Trail), he still can be rather inconsiderate of others
when he's set on getting something for himself (especially a date with a
woman). Betsy's feelings seem of no importance when he quite rudely demands
she introduce him to Ellen without first finishing their dance together. A
similar situation of inconsiderate behavior occurs between Trampas and Liz
Grainger in 5.27 "The Girl On the Pinto".
Judge Garth's philosophy of being "not so much interested in where a man's
been as where he's going" is put into words in this episode. It can also be
noted in action in the Judge's attitude toward Trampas in 2.01 "Ride a Dark Trail."
Looking for this scene?
At the dance Trampas and Ellen bump into another
couple, and Trampas says, "Hello Annie." The girl replies, "The name
happens to be Margaret." Then as Trampas and Ellen step out for a "breath
of fresh air," Trampas acknowledges, "Good to see you again, Margaret."
Margaret snaps, "Same here -- Fred."
Joanna Moore also guest stars in 1.23 "The Money Cage," 2.03 "No Tears For
Savannah," and 6.11 "To Bear Witness"
Harry Lauter (TEXAS RANGERS) also appears in 3.19 "Six Graves At Cripple
Creek," 5.20 "The Gauntlet," 6.03 "The Lady From Wichita," and 7.12 "Nora"
Bing Russell (Kurt's father) can be seen in 1.07 "Riff Raff," 2.15 "The
Invaders," 3.30 "We've Lost a Train," 4.26 "The Wolves Up Front,
The Jackals Behind," 5.06 "The Challenge" [bj]
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