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"Long Ride to Wind River"
Original NBC Broadcast - 19 January 1966
Executive Producer Norman MacDonnell
Produced by Arthur H. Nadel
Written by Sy Salkowitz
Directed by Paul Henreid
(shown in the ride in)
Lee J. Cobb as Judge Henry Garth (not in this episode)
Doug McClure as Trampas (not in this episode)
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
John Cassavetes [Jonah MacIntosh]
Complete Ending Credits:
Pilar Seurat as Hapamawa
Michael Burns as Noah MacIntosh
Dub Taylor as Runty Bojohn
Carlos Rivas as The Indian Leader
Paul Comi as Abe Kempis
Richard Devon as Beamer
Maggie Mitchell as Liz Davis
William Fawcett as Chapman
Quinn Redeker as Benjy Davis
Walter Woolf King as Judge Plant
Victor Millan as The Indian Brave
Robert Karnes as Hobey Kendall
Bert Remsen as The Foreman
Ray Montgomery as Dr. Hadley
Hal Needham as Jaimie
Associate Producer James Duff MacAdams
Theme by Percy Faith
Director of photography Benjamin H. Kline, A.S.C.
Art director ... George Patrick
Film Editor ... Robert F. Shugrue
Unit manager ... Ben Bishop
Assistant director ... James M. Walters, Jr.
Set decorators ... John McCarthy and James M. Walters
Sound ... Richard Bertrand
Color consultant ... Robert Brower
Color by TECHNICOLOR
Editorial Dept. Head ... David J. O'Connell
Musical Supervision ... Stanley Wilson
Costume Supervisor ... Vincent Dee
Makeup ... Bud Westmore
Hairstylist ... Larry Germain
The title "The Virginian" by permission of EMKA LTD.
Series regular characters appearing in this episode:
featuring the Virginian, with brief appearance by Ryker (as Sheriff)
As Hobey Kendall displays some hides he has for sale to Liz Davis, the proprietess
of the general store in Medicine Bow, he at first flirts with her and then proceeds
to make some unwanted advances. Outside, Liz's husband, Benjy Davis rides up with
the Virginian after an evening of playing cards. The two friends bid each other
adieu and Benjy goes inside as the Virginian rides away. The Virginian hears a
commotion from the store, stops, goes inside and sees Benjy and Hobey fighting.
The Virginian breaks up the fight and takes a gun away from Benjy, who says he's
going to kill Hobey. After Hobey gets away, Benjy says, "I'll take my rifle back
now." The Virginian gives it back hesitatingly and asks, "Planning to use it?"
"Maybe," answers Benjy. "We've got a sheriff for things like this, Benjy.
You can swear out a complaint," says the Virginian, adding, "I didn't stand up
at your wedding for you and Liz to see your lives end up in grief. You can't go
looking for trouble like that." "A man put his hands on my wife! I'd say trouble
is already here without me looking for it," answers Benjy.
The next day we see the Virginian and Sheriff Emmett Ryker riding out to Hobey's
place where they meet up with Benjy, who has just left there. Ryker asks Benjy
to turn around and return with them to Hobey's so Ryker can speak to the two of
them. Benjy says that Hobey wasn't there but there was a "fellow there waiting
for him to come back." "Well, we'll keep that fellow company," says Ryker as
the three men head back to Hobey's. They find Hobey dead from a gunshot wound,
but no sign of the man that Benjy said was there. Benjy insists the man was there
and that his name was Jonah MacIntosh. Ryker checks Benjy's gun and finds a
bullet missing. Benjy says he shot at a coyote, but missed. Ryker arrests him
The scene shifts to the courthouse in Medicine Bow where the Virginian is on the
stand and reluctantly has to admit that he heard Benjy threaten to kill Hobey.
The court finds Benjy guilty and the judge orders him to be taken to the
territorial prison to be hanged. The Virginian visits him in jail after the
verdict is rendered and tells him how sorry he is and that it was a "rotten
feeling to testify against a friend." He asks if he needs anything and Benjy
says, "Yes. A man named Jonah MacIntosh!" The Virginian says that Ryker and
the posse combed the whole area and couldn't find anyone by that name. "Well,
he was there! It was him I talked to when I went looking for Hobey. I didn't
dream it!" says Benjy. He lays on the bed and adds, "A man spends his whole
life thinking about how to live right. When he gets in trouble, he keeps telling
himself, 'be truthful and be honest, they can't hang you for something you didn't
do.' But they're gonna!" The Virginian leaves the cell area and goes into the
other room to speak with Ryker. He says that Benjy said that Jonah MacIntosh
looked like a mountain man and that his pack saddle was loaded with beaver.
Beaver like to feed on quaking aspen and the nearest stand is in the Wind River
Range some 200 miles away. "You didn't look that far, did you?" says the Virginian.
"Well, I didn't go to Pennsylvania to look in the Appalachians, either!" says
Ryker. "Maybe you should have!" says the Virginian. He says he is going to go
to the Wind River Mountains to look for MacIntosh. "That's a long hard trip,"
says Ryker. "So's the walk to the end of a rope," replies the Virginian. "If
you find him, you'll make me look really bad," says Ryker, who adds, "but I'd
be real happy!" "Wish me luck," says the Virginian. "I'm wishing you speed.
Benjy doesn't have much time," says Ryker.
Out on the trail, the Virginian stops at a trading post where he cajoles information
about Jonah MacIntosh from the grizzled proprietor, a man named Chapman. He learns
that Jonah had indeed returned from Hobey Kendall's with a load of beaver pelts
that he didn't sell and that Chapman had bought them from him as Jonah returned to
the mountains. The Virginian rides on to the Wind River Range where he's first
observed and then attacked by members of Jonah's family. The Virginian states his
business but the leader, Beamer, won't allow him to pass. He threatens to kill
him if he doesn't go back to where he came from. The Virginian says there might
be a reward in it for Jonah if he has information. Beamer says he'll tell him about
it and if Jonah wants, he'll look up the Virginian back in Medicine Bow. The
Virginian coolly replies, "Don't see how you could do that, seeing as how you're
going to kill me right now, because I'm not going back!" "Could be you're lyin'
about why you're here," says Beamer. "Could be. Why don't you take me to Jonah
and we'll find out? You've got all the time in the world to pull that trigger,
but all the time in the world ain't gonna fix it if you make a mistake," answers
the Virginian. The Virginian wins this war of nerves and Beamer agrees to take
him to Jonah MacIntosh.
They take him to Jonah's compound and Beamer orders him to sit on the ground while
Jonah's younger brother, Noah, goes to fetch him. Jonah comes out and the Virginian
tells him he wants information about Hobey Kendall. He's been killed and Benjy
Davis has been convicted of the murder. He tells him that there's a reward for this
information. Holding the Virginian's gun, Jonah tells the Virginian to stand up
and come into the house to talk. Inside, the Virginian explains that Benjy is a
close friend of his and is going to hang. He asks Jonah straight out if Benjy killed
him. "Nope," answers Jonah. "Will you go back with me and testify to that?" asks
the Virginian. Jonah shakes his head and repeats, "Nope." "Guess that means you
killed him, huh?" says the Virginian. "I guess it does," answers Jonah.
Jonah, still holding a gun on the Virginian, summons the other family members into
the house. As they're filing in, the Virginian asks him why he killed Hobey. "That
man wasn't much good," answers Jonah, "He made me a proposition last year and he
didn't live up to it. I didn't figure to make trouble. I just figured to get my
hides back and sell them to old Chapman down the mountainside." When the entire
family is gathered, Jonah announces to them, "This man here wants me to go back to
Medicine Bow with him and 'fess up about that shootin' I told you about." The
Virginian says that an innocent man is going to die if he doesn't. Jonah says he
feels sorry for him but doesn't "aim to hang myself for a sorry feeling." He goes
on to say that he didn't kill Hobey "out of fun." He says Hobey started it and he
was just defending himself. The Virginian tells him that if it was self-defense,
he has nothing to worry about, so why doesn't he just tell the truth? "That didn't
help your friend any, did it?" says Jonah. Furthermore, now that the Virginian
knows the truth, he can't let him go. He'll regretfully have to kill him, too.
"That'll be two innocent lives, mine and Benjy's," answers the Virginian, "If
Kendall's killing was self-defense like you say it was, then you've got a good
chance to stay off the gallows. You kill me and let Benjy die, you're sure gonna
wind up there, Mister!" "Well, I guess I'll just have to take that chance," answers Jonah.
After supper, the family ties up the Virginian and places him in a lower bunk.
They plan on killing him the next day. Before retiring, Jonah comes in and repeats
that he's sorry they're going to have to kill him and asks if he wants anything.
"My throat's a little dry," says the Virginian. Jonah feeds him a cup of water
which the Virginian accidentally on purpose breaks. Jonah picks up the broken
pieces of the cup but misses one which the Virginian has hidden beneath his boot.
After everyone is asleep the Virginian retireves the broken piece and uses it to
free himself. He sneaks past the sleeping family members, grabs a gun and rousts
Jonah out of bed. Outside, the Virginian holds a gun on him and tells him to
saddle up two horses. Jonah replies, "You ain't gonna use that. You need me to
testify for your friend. The only reason I let you get this far was so you wouldn't
shoot up my whole family." The Virginian responds by knocking him unconscious
with the gun butt.
We next see the Virginian riding down the mountain with Jonah draped across a second
horse. Jonah pleads to be allowed to sit up and the Virginian agrees to let him to
do so if he promises not to try to get away. Jonah says his family will find him,
but they're on the wrong trail. The Virginian says they're going down the far side
of the mountain because he doesn't "want to trespass on Cousin Beamer's land."
He figures that by the time the others go down the right trail and determine that
they didn't go that way, they should have a "pretty good lead." Jonah tells him
to listen and they hear the barking of distant tracking dogs. The Virginian leads
him to a creek to throw off the scent and elude detection by the dogs.
That night while camping, they hear a sound in the brush. Jonah doesn't think it's
one of his boys. Instead, it turns out to be a lone traveler named Runty Bojohn.
He was purposely making noises so the Virginian would go investigate and he could
sneak into their campsite and steal their food. He says the others are camped out
four miles away. The Virginian at first thinks the creepy Bojohn is another mountain
man, but Bojohn says that he's a trapper and not one of "those people," but a
"gen-yoo-ine college grad-yoo-ate!" The Virginian relaxes a bit, laughs, and says,
"Bojohn, you're the biggest liar I ever met!" "Of course I am! But the hungriest,
too!" cackles Bojohn. "All right, Mr. Bojohn, but I'll hang on to your rifle just
the same," says the Virginian. Bojohn hands over the rifle and cackles, "Won't do
you no good. It ain't loaded!" The Virginian chuckles and tells him he's "the first
friendly man I've found on this mountain." "It comes from bein' ed-yoo-cated," says
Bojohn, "in college!"
Apparently, the Virginian has let down his guard too much, because that night, while
he and Jonah are sleeping, Bojohn takes the Virginian's gun and prepares to steal their
horses. The Virginian awakens and lunges toward him yelling, "You lying, thieving
old...". Bojohn trains the gun on him and says "Now wait a minute, young fella, if
you can't have respect for your elders, at least have some for this here gun!" The
Virginian tells him that without a horse, he's a dead man. "I'm sorry I have to do
this to you, son, but I've gotta make a living somehow. Hunger makes a man do a lot
of things he don't want to do. Even a college grad-yoo-ate!" Bojohn cackles. "I'm
not going to let you leave this camp!" hisses the Virginian. Bojohn points out that
he's left him a canteen of water and "even made sure that the prisoner was tied secure,"
pointing to a bound and gagged Jonah. The Virginian makes a move toward him anyway.
Bojohn shoots him in the arm and rides off. Jonah's family, who are camped out a few
miles away, hear the gunshot and begin to move. The wounded Virginian removes the gag
from Jonah's mouth. Jonah yells out, "Lyin' bushwhackin' varmint!" to the fleeing
Bojohn. He then notices the Virginian's arm and says, "You're hurt bad! Don't worry,
my family will be here pretty quick and fix that wound up." The Virginian half laughs
and says, "They will. And then shoot me afterwards." After cutting loose the bonds
around Jonah's feet, he orders him to start moving down the mountain. Jonah warns
the Virginian that with his injury, "you lose enough blood, one easy shove and down you
go." He adds, "If you're gonna die, you might as well die comfortable!" The
Virginian orders him to "keep moving down that mountain" as he uses his knife to try
to extract the bullet from his arm. Meanwhile, Jonah's family and their dogs are
The next day we see the Virginian and Jonah on foot come to the edge of a desert.
"You don't want to go out there," says Jonah, "That leads to the Great Basin." "That
leads to Medicine Bow...gotta see Benjy!" says the Virginian, who is feeling the effects
of the heat and his gunshot wound. He looks up at the nearby ridges. "Don't worry.
They're there!" says Jonah. "I don't hear any dogs," says the Virginian. "They don't
need 'em. They've found us!" laughs Jonah. With that, the Virginian shoves him to the
ground and puts the gag back in his mouth. "Make sure you stay quiet. One thing I've
learned from you, Jonah, about mountain people, is that when they talk you'd better
listen. If you say they're out there, they're out there!" says the Virginian, who lays
on the ground next to Jonah. He then yells out the nearby ridges, "All you MacIntoshes!
...I'm moving out into the desert soon. Jonah's going with me!" A gunshot hits the
ground close to them. "That won't do you any good!" yells the Virginian, "You fire one
more shot and Jonah's a dead man! No more shooting! I'll blow a hole in Jonah!" He
then discretely picks up a thin piece of rock and breaks it to make it resemble the
shape of a pistol. From the top of the ridges, Beamer, Noah and the other members of
Jonah's family observe the two men begin their trek across the desert. Noah wants to
fire on the Virginian right away, but Beamer warns against it saying, "I know you'd
be a good shot, but you'd better kill him the first crack or Jonah's a goner." He
adds that "it's mighty hot out there...They can't last long, especially being afoot."
He tells Noah to set up a camp back by some trees while he and the others follow
out of range. They'll be back later.
We next see a delirious Virginian talking out of his head to Jonah. Jonah sees a
chance to make a break, but the Virginian stops him and the two continue on. The
Virginian finally goes completely out of his head and collapses. Jonah again starts
to escape and the nearby Beamer and the others move in to make the kill when a group
of marauding Indians arrive on the scene. They put the unconscious Virginian on a
gurney and force Jonah to carry their loads on his back. Beamer and the others decide
they can't fight all those Indians, so they hold back and follow behind.
At the Indian camp, the Virginian is cared for by an Indian girl named Hapamawa, while
Jonah is forced to do slave labor by the other Indians. The Virginian befriends Hapamawa
and she develops a deep affection for him. He decides that the time is right to ask her
for some horses. To try to make her understand, he draws two figures and two horses
in the dirt along with an arrow pointing toward Medicine Bow, indicating he wants horses
for himself and Jonah so they can escape. Hapamawa erases the horses and the arrow,
draws a dress on one of the two figures, and calls them "Virginian" and "Hapamawa"
indicating that she wants him to stay with her. The Virginian regretfully tells her
via sign language that this cannot be. She takes him to the tribal leaders, who don't
speak English, and he attempts to tell them that he'll trade them gold for horses and
guns. They laugh at him and push him down. A sad Hapamawa comes to the rescue that
night, however, and releases him. The Virginian retrieves Jonah and some horses, bids
a sad farewell to Hapamawa and rides out.
Back on the trail, the Virginian leads Jonah in a circular route in an attempt to elude
the pursuers. As they near the camp that Noah MacIntosh has set up, the Virginian tells
Jonah to stop because he smells a campfire. The Virginian, who has been increasingly
learning the ways of the mountain men tells Jonah, "Sure I noticed it. You say us
mountain folk can smell fire long before we can see it? You'd have noticed it, too,
if you hadn't been so busy talking." "Seems that you're gettin' to be mountain folks
and I'm gettin' to be a ranch hand!" says Jonah. They approach the campfire cautiously
and find none other that Runty Bojohn holding a gun on Noah in an attempt to rob him.
Noah grabs a rifle and shoots him down, but not before Bojohn lands a shot on Noah.
Noah is badly hurt and the Virginian tends to him, but it is touch and go. That night,
Jonah tells the Virginian, "We've been havin' our problems, you and me, but I want you
to know I'm sorry it's you I have to fight with." "I was thinking the same thing,"
answers the Virginian. Jonah tells him he's a good man and thanks him for taking care
of Noah. He says, "Mountain families have to be close, Virginian. We don't have too
much to begin with. The land's poor. Life's hard. But it's ours. We make do. The
onliest way we can make do is to help each other. Brother to brother. Sister to sister."
"Things aren't much different where I come from," says the Virginian, "that's why I've
got to take you back with me." "I see what you mean," says Jonah, "I surely wish I
could help you out. I can't."
The next morning, Noah's fever is worse. A desperate Jonah tries to bargain with the
Virginian by saying he'll stay with the boy if the Virginian will go to Medicine Bow
and fetch a doctor. He'll take his chances with a posse. The Virginian thinks it over
and hands his rifle to Jonah, saying, "You go on back to Medicine Bow, yourself. I'll
stay here and take care of your brother." Jonah points the rifle at him and says,
"I could blow your brains out now!" "Yeah, you could," says the Virginian. "You're
the hardest man I ever met!" says Jonah, "If they end up hangin' me I'm gonna come back
and haunt you the rest of your days!" "Get moving!" says the Virginian. "Take care
of my baby brother, you hear me?" says Jonah, riding off. "I will," says the Virginian.
The scene shifts to Doc Hadley's office in Medicine Bow. The doctor is tending to Noah
while Jonah and the Virginian are anxiously waiting in the next room. Also present
are Sheriff Ryker and Liz and Benjy Davis. The doctor comes out with the good news that
Noah will be all right. Jonah thanks him, but the doctor says, "Don't thank me, Mr.
MacIntosh. If it hadn't been for the Virginian, your brother would have died on the
trail." Jonah slowly walks over to the Virginian and says, "You're the hardest man I
ever met!" The Virginian replies, "Seems to me you said that once before. Anyhow,
mountain boys have got to stick together!" as he offers his hand.[rho]
With its grandeur of scope and its simple, yet riveting story of respect, trust and
determination, this is one of the best episodes of the entire series. It is also one
of James Drury's finest performances. He runs the gamut of emotions from guilt, smugness
and anger to tenderness and even madness. Guest star John Cassavetes is excellent here
as well, and Dub Taylor and Pilar Seurat stand out among the supporting cast.[rho]
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Main Contributor for this episode - Robert Henry Ohlemeyer [rho]