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"A Little Learning..."
Original NBC Broadcast - 29 September 1965
Universal TV Production
Executive Producer Norman MacDonnell
Produced by Arthur H. Nadel
Written by Harry Kronman
Directed by Don Richardson
(shown on the ride-in)
Lee J. Cobb as Judge Henry Garth (not in this episode)
Doug McClure as Trampas
Clu Gulager as Emmett Ryker
Randy Boone as Randy Benton (not in this episode)
Diane Roter as Jennifer Sommers (not in this episode)
James Drury as The Virginian
(pictured above Albert Salmi with Susan Oliver)
Albert Salmi [Rafe Simmons] Albert Salmi Website
Special Guest Star:
Susan Oliver [Miss Martha Perry/aka Mrs. Bert Kramer]
Full ending credits:
Harry Townes as Cal Beesom
Bruce Dern as Bert Kramer
Alice Frost as Mrs. Kobey
Dub Taylor as Walt Cooper
Dave Willock as Hank Jessup
Craig Hundley as Kenny [Beesom]
Ed Prentiss as Warden
Bob Hull as The Townsman
George Kirgo as The Bartender
Jo-Carol Nadel as Cathy
Jimmy Lee Cook as The Blacksmith
Associate Producer James Duff McAdams
Theme by Percy Faith
Music Score Russ Garcia
Director of Photography Benjamin H. Kline, A.S.C.
Art Director . . . George Patrick
Film Editor . . . Edward Haire, A.C.E.
Unit Manager . . . Ben Bishop
Assistant Director . . . Chuck Colean
Set Decorators . . . John McCarthy and James M. Walters
Sound . . . Richard Tyler
Color Consultant . . . Alex Quiroga
Color by Pathé
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 regulars in this episode:
the Virginian, Ryker, Trampas (briefly),
Harper (sitting at table in bunkhouse)
The Virginian and Ryker try to keep the peace between some
heckling townsmen, a pretty new teacher's escaped convict husband,
and a man who wants some schooling so he can learn how to
read his mother's diary. (bj)
Rafe Simmons, a "gentle giant" of a man and friend of the Virginian, wanted
some education for the sole purpose of reading the journal of his beloved
mother, who was now deceased. His father, "Big Rafe", couldn't help him
there because he couldn't read, either. Young Rafe became the school's most
conscientious student in his sometimes impatient quest for this knowledge.
When the kind teacher gave him extra tutoring at her home, the townsfolk
started talking and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Bert, became obsessed with
jealousy. Among the heckling crowd was Cal Beesom, the barber, who taunted
Rafe so much about this imagined affair with the teacher that Rafe lost
control and sent Cal sailing through a storefront window. Now, Cal wanted
revenge. Cal and Bert joined forces and plotted to get rid of Rafe. Because
the young man was twice the size of the other men, they made sure the odds
were in their favor. Cal and Bert had the weapons and were waiting for him
that night in front of the teacher's house, where Rafe came running after
having been told by Cal's son Kenny that the teacher wanted to see him.
After catching him in a trap, they then led Rafe into a barn at gunpoint.
Cal was ordered away so Bert could take care of Rafe himself. Thinking it
was a gun, Bert took something from Rafe's holster. It was Rafe's mother's
journal. A fight ensued and, even though Rafe had no weapons, he held his
own in that fight. As they were rolling on the ground, Bert's gun went
off - right into Bert, killing him. The teacher heard the blast and
followed the sound into the barn to see what had happened. She found Bert
dead and Rafe standing over him, holding a gun and looking scared. She
wondered why he was there. He tried to explain to her that Kenny Beesom had
told him she wanted to see him, but she didn't know anything about the boy
or the message. They heard the townsfolk approaching, so she told him to
run. He did. The barn soon became crowded with men. The Virginian went to
the teacher and asked her what had happened. She told him about a boy
telling Rafe to come see her, an indication that he had been forced into
doing this. "Ask the boy!" she urged him. She knew Kenny would be the
prime witness. The Virginian then headed toward the Beesom house, where we
see that Rafe was trying to convince Cal to tell the sheriff the truth. He
refused. The Virginian then came in and Cal was trying to make sure Kenny
would deny his and his father's involvement. The Virginian then gently took
Kenny and calmly told him that, most of the time, we're to do what our
father tells us. Sometimes, though, we're not, especially when a man could
hang if we do. "He could hang?" Kenny asked. After all, Rafe had carved a
whistle for Kenny with his own hands. He wasn't bad. The Virginian assured
him that Rafe could, indeed, hang if Kenny doesn't tell the truth. After an
agonizing moment, Kenny said, "Mister? I'll tell the truth." And you knew
Rafe's life would now be spared. Cal stewed, Kenny put his head on the
table and cried, and Rafe sat beside Kenny and patted him comfortingly.
In the final scene, the teacher and the Virginian were getting ready to put
her on the train. Rafe was taking care of her luggage for her. He stopped
and said he wished she wouldn't go. She said she had to because people just
wouldn't understand. As Rafe then took her suitcases outside to the
carriage, the teacher picked up the journal she had found in the barn and
told the Virginian that Rafe's mother must have loved his father very much.
She then proceeded to read a portion of it that was expressing the writer's
great love for Gordon. The Virginian's heart sank as he murmured, "His
father's name was Rafe." Realizing what this meant and how devastating it
would be for young Rafe to know that about his mother, she reluctantly threw
the journal into the fire that was crackling in her fireplace. They then
left for the train depot. [clarice trettel]
Comments on Character Relationships:
The Virginian is putting a hen in a cage and tells Trampas
he's taking it to the school teacher so she can help the younger
children learn arithmetic by counting the number of
days it takes for the eggs to hatch. Trampas appraises she could
teach her students just as easy by counting the
"roosters outside her door." The Virginian explains,
"It's only natural she should cause such a
stir because she's new and pretty." "And smart," returns
Trampas, "I just thought I'd mention it in case you had any
notion to ask her to the dance" then bets the line of
men ("barring those who are married or have busted legs")
waiting to do so is a mile long. The Virginian replies, "That
many, one more won't make any difference." Trampas nods,
"That's right. Nothing ventured, nothing gained." When the
Virginian arrives at the school with the hen, Martha (Oliver) thanks
him but notes it wasn't necessary for him to have made a special trip.
The foreman confesses he was coming in to town anyway to ask
her to the dance. However, the woman is already "promised" and
wonders, "Didn't Trampas tell you"? A rather shocked
Virginian states, "No ma'am, I guess he forgot." On Saturday
afternoon the Virginian arrives at the ranch while
Trampas is filling a bathtub and overhears his friend telling
another hand, "So I said to him, 'nothing ventured, nothing gained,'
and he took to it like jam spread on honey. So he went
sashaying up to the schoolhouse door with the silly hen in its cage and
asked her to the dance. I'd give a month's pay to see his face,
'Thank you, Mr. Virginian, for asking me to the dance, but I'm
going with Trampas'." The Virginian joins the two men, and Trampas
adds insult by whistling while taking the water buckets into the bunkhouse
then singing, "I dream of Martha with the light blond hair." As he pours
the water into the tub, Trampas states, "Eight buckets boiling, three short
cold. Just right for a bath." The Virginian comments, "Might be kind
of cold by the time you get back." Trampas fears the worse when
the foreman tells him there is a lot of fence down on the North Fork.
The cowboy points to the calendar and reminds his boss
this is his day off, "That's what I signed for--every other Saturday, 3
p.m." "Except for a special reason," declares the Virginian as he proceeds
to explain he is short handed and Randy had especially asked for
Trampas' help on the fence line. Trampas voices concern that he won't
finish the job till late then mutters sheepishly, "I'm due in town in an
hour.I'm going to the dance--with the teacher."
The Virginian pretends to be
ignorant of that fact, "Well, you never told me, I'm sorry. Don't worry.
You might be lucky. Maybe she can't dance." Trampas
bemoans, "Who was going to dance." As Trampas leaves, the
Virginian takes advantage of the tub of hot water for his own bath.
Later, Martha is dressed and ready for the dance, but her escaped convict
husband (who is jealous and suspects there is another man in his wife's
life) arrives to pester her. He hides as Martha answers the door to the
Virginian's knock. When Martha is surprised to see the foreman,
the Virginian informs her, "Trampas won't be coming in from
Shiloh tonight." She inquires with concern, "He's not hurt, is he"?
The Virginian replies, "No, just his feelings, ma'am. He had to fix
some fence. It was an emergency." But she needn't be "inconvenienced"
by Trampas' absence because he has come to "offer his services" to
escort her to the dance. The joke between the Virginian and Trampas
now comes full circle when the foreman gets his comeuppance
(also perhaps Martha's way of protecting the Virginian from her
husband), "That's very kind, but I've had a raging head ache all day.
I couldn't bring myself to disappoint Trampas, but since I won't
be hurting him--I do hope you understand." (bj)
Susan Oliver also guest stars in 6.14 "A
Small Taste of Justice,"
7.09 "The Storm Gate," and 9.13 "Hannah"
Albert Salmi may also be seen in 1.10 "It Tolls for Thee,"
2.07 "Brother Thaddeus," and 6.16 "The Death Wagon"
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