CTVA - The Virginian 4.25 [115] "The Return of Golden Tom "  09 March 1966

The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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4.25 [115]
  "The Return of Golden Tom"

Original NBC Broadcast - 9 March 1966
Universal TV
 Executive Producer Norman MacDonnell
Produced by Joel Rogosin
Teleplay by Andy Lewis
Story by Joel Rogosin and Andy Lewis
Directed by Tony Leader

(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 (not in this episode)

Guest stars
Victor Jory [Tom Brant]
Linden Chiles [Ira Lom]

Complete Ending Credits:
Dee Pollock as Willie Cade
Jean Inness as Widow Hazard [This is incorrect. Her character was named 'Widow Crandall'] [rho]
Kelly Thordsen as Amos Coe
Don Keefer as Ross Tedler
Dee Carroll as Sarah Tedler
Larry Blake as Keel
Dennis McCarthy as Frank Swan
Ross Hagen as Carl Stacy
Med Flory as Red Ingram
Carole Kane as Ellen McKim
Marvin Brody as Fat Jim Potter
Kimberly Beck as Laura [called 'Laurie' in the episode] [rho]
Associate Producer James Duff MacAdams
Theme by Percy Faith
Director of photography Andrew Jackson
Art director ... George Patrick
Film Editor ... Michael R. McAdam, A.C.E.
Unit manager ... Ben Bishop
Assistant director ... James M. Walters, Jr.
Set decorators ... John McCarthy and James M. Walters
Sound ... Corson Jowett
Color consultant ... Robert Brower
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:
several brief appearances by Ryker (as Sheriff)

Detailed Synopsis:
The bartender is pointing to a picture hanging in the saloon recounting Medicine Bow's
biggest gunfight, which happend to have taken place in that very saloon. Outlaw
"Golden" Tom Brant gunned down Wesley Harkum and George Coe. George Coe's brother,
Amos Coe "got scared and run off." Brant's partner was Banty Cade, "already shot
and dying." Much to the delight of the bar patrons, the bartender points out the
actual postitions and tables of the men during the gunfight. In fact, Banty Cade's
grandson, Willie Cade, now works at the saloon sweeping floors. One of the most
interested patrons is St. Louis newspaper reporter, Ira Lom, who reveals to everyone
a copy of his newpaper that announces that Tom Brant has been released from prison
after 35 years. Lom is in Medicine Bow to report on "the emotions, the sentiment,
the excitement of this momentous occasion for thousands of readers," the occasion
being Brant's return to Medicine Bow. The bartender continues his story about Tom
Brant, recalling that he would toss a ten-dollar gold piece onto the street and watch
the children fight for it. Ross Tedler enters. Tedler's wife is Brant's daughter.
When the bartender tells him the news, Tedler replies, "My wife never set eyes on him.
She was born after he went to prison to a woman he'd already abandoned. He's got
nothing to do with us!" Lom asks if that statement is for publication and envisions
the headlines for the story he's going to write: "Ancient Outlaw Embraces Long-Lost
Daughter." Tedler hastily gulps down his drink and leaves. "He seems shocked," says
Lom. "Not half as shocked as Amos Coe's gonna be ... He's still alive and kicking.
He's a big man around these parts--cattle and horses," says the bartender. "I wonder
how he's going to feel knowing his brother's killer is walking around a free man,"
says Lom. "No tellin' what might happen!" replies the bartender. Ross Tedler races
down the street with the newspaper in hand. He's stopped by Amos Coe. Ross shows
him the paper. Coe reads it and silently walks away.

The scene shifts to the train depot several days later. Willie Cade has been meeting
every arriving train hoping that Tom Brant would be on it. Since Brant was his
grandfather's partner, Willie feels that this makes him "the nearest thing to his
partner now." Sheriff Emmett Ryker is also on hand to meet the train, for this is
indeed the day he is due to arrive. The Governor has asked Ryker to "keep an eye
on him." Ryker warns Willie not to have high expectations because Brant will be older
now. Ira Lom also walks up to wait for the train. Ryker tells him that he wants to
speak to Brant "quiet-like." Lom says that he's a "divided man." He "respects the
truth" but "truth doesn't sell newspapers" and he's been sent "a thousand miles to
perpetuate a lie." Willie retorts, "You're gonna see! He's gonna be everything they
say about him. He's gonna come back wearin' fine clothes, spending money and he'll
be just like he was--Golden Tom Brant. You'll see!" "One of us will surely see,"
says Lom.

The train arrives and the three men don't immediately see Brant detrain. "Maybe he
got off on the other side," says Ryker. Indeed, on the other side of the station, they
find a confused old man who cowers at the sight of them. "Are you him?" asks Brant,
"The man I'm s'posed to report to?" He removes his hat and says to Ryker, "Brant, Sir.
Tom Brant. My number is 032..." Ryker interrupts and tells him he doesn't need his
number. Willie introduces himself. Lom tries to get his feelings on returning and
tries to pump him about the location of missing gold, a story that was recounted in
a dime novel about his exploits. Brant shows signs of senility and is hazy in his
recollections. All he can recall as far as gold is an irrelevant story of how he and
Banty Cade once buried $40 and Banty went back and dug it up. "I thrashed him for
that," says Tom, "It was a long time ago. I guess folks make up stories. It was a
long time ago." Ryker whisks him away to get him a room at the Widow Crandall's Boarding
House. After they leave, Ira Lom says to Willie, "Well, I guess that's all it comes down
to after all. Golden Tom Brant! That's all that's left of him, I need a drink!" An
obviously disappointed Willie gazes down the street.

After Ryker helps him settle in at the boarding house, Tom looks admiringly at Mrs.
Crandall's chess set in the parlor. She asks if he plays. He replies, "Some. A man
in prison learned me. He died." She suggests that maybe they could play a game sometime.
"Oh, I'd like that," he smiles, "Maybe after I see my daughter?" Mrs. Crandall pauses
and says she knows his daughter and hopes "he doesn't have his heart set on ..." "I've
just got to see her, Ma'am," Tom interrupts, "She's all I got left. All I come back here

Over at the Tedler home, Sarah Tedler, Tom Brant'ts daughter, is complaining to her husband,
Ross, about her father's return to town: "Why should he even come around here? ... I live
decent! I keep my kids clean and dress them neat. And every Sunday I take them to church
and down on their knees! Every Sunday I see someone look at me and nudge someone else and
say, 'There's Tom Brant's daughter!'" "Didn't stop me from marrying you," says Ross.
"Ain't that a kind goodhearted thing for you to do!" says Sarah, who appears to be rather
shrewish, "And ain't we lived grand and rich ever since! Tom Brant's daughter and her fine,
successful ..." Ross interrupts to say that he saw him in front of his store today. "He
looks old, all used up, harmless," says Ross. "I don't want him coming around here!" repeats
Sarah. "Why should he?" asks Ross, "You're nothing to him either." He then tells her to
go look in on Ollie, their seriously ill child and make sure she hasn't awakened him with
her shouting. "He'll wake up anyway. It's getting worse!" she replies, "That's what the
doctor said. He's going to go right on getting worse and there's nothing ..." "Sarah!
Will you go take care of him?" yells Ross in exasperation.

The scene shifts to the saloon where an obviously inebriated Ira Lom brings in a bewildered
Tom Brant and introduces him to the crowd. Lom regales the crowd by reading passages from
the dime novel about Tom's exploits. After reading a passage about Tom's powers of
observation and his "keen eye," Lom mockingly tells the patrons that he found him "walking
in circles in the street!" "Leave him alone, all right?" says Willie Cade. Lom reads
another passage about how Banty Cade and a blacksmith named Taggart fought to the death
over an Indian maiden. "Taggart. I remember Taggart!" says Tom. Lom asks if the fight
was indeed over an Indian maiden. "No. It was a fry pan," says Tom, "Banty claimed that
Taggart stole it from him and he hit Taggart with a big stick with a nail in it!" The
crowd laughs at the story and Tom seems to be enjoying the attention. Willie tries to
take the book away, but Lom pushes him down. Lom takes Tom over to the painting on the
wall and begins reading sections dealing with the famous gunfight involving Tom, Banty
Cade, Wesley Harkum and the Coe brothers. Just then Amos Coe walks in. The crowd goes
quiet as Tom looks at him and says, "Amos Coe? It's been a long time, Amos!" Coe says,
"I spent all afternoon telling myself that you were nothing. But you are something.
You're an old foul taste stuck in my throat! I see you now, Tom. You ain't worth wihipping.
I don't know why you came back, but I'm going to give you two days to do your errands.
If you're still here on the third, so help me as God is my witness, I'll kill you!"

We next see Mrs. Crandall showing Tom the sights around Main Street. The town has changed
a lot over the years and he doesn't recognize most of it. He asks her if she remembers
a large tree down at the end of the street. She replies that the town has grown way beyond
that and the tree was cut down and used for firewood. "The stump's still there," she says.
Over at Ross Tedler's store, Ross is sending his daughter, Laurie, home. Mrs. Crandall
points out to Tom that that's his son-in-law and granddaughter. "There's a boy, too,
He's been poorly lately," she adds. "She sure is a pretty child!" says Tom. Mrs. Crandall
tries to send him back to his room while she goes shoppping, but Tom insists on making an
attempt to meet his granddaughter. As children always do, Laurie is distracted into making
several unplanned stops on her way home, but, even so, Tom fails to make a connection with

Back home, she is scolded by her mother; "I told you to come straight home! I raised you
to do as you're told! I don't want him to even see you! You're to stay home tomorrow and
the day after. Now go do your chores! I've got enough to bear. Your brother sick and no
use to me. Your father healthy and no use to me!" Out of the blue, Tom walks in. Sarah
tells Laurie to go fetch her father. She grabs a knife, looks at Tom and says, "Well now,
35 years afraid of you! I never should have bothered!" "Your little girl is pretty,"
says Tom. Sarah replies, "I used to be pretty! My father, they said he was a handsome man!
What do you want? ,,, You know what I want--Mr. Amos Coe to shoot you like a dog in the
street!" "I reckon I gave your Ma a bad life. And, and you ..." Tom says. "She was lucky.
She died!" screams Sarah, "I was raised by strangers! ... The orphanage! Thirteen years
old they bound me out to a hotel man. I made beds and sewed blankets. And every night
he came pawing at my door saying, 'Why should you care? You're Tom Brant's daughter!'"
"I thought to make it up to you," says Tom. "Make it up?" she screeches, "Oh, when Amos
Coe kills you, let them take me to where you're body lies because I want to spit!" Ross
Tedler enters and throws him out.

The next scene has Mrs. Crandall reading aloud to Tom from the dime novel. He chuckles at
some of the stories and tells her that they were embellished. Yet, he tells her he feels
he should try to live up to what the people expect, the image of him as depicted in the
book. To that end, one of the first things he does is buy a new set of fancy clothes.
He walks into the saloon wearing his new outfit and Ira Lom condescendingly invites him
to join his card game. Tom says he "couldn't do that," but takes the deck anyway and,
while telling a long-winded story, surprises the card players with his skill at shuffling
and dealing out winning hands. Tom then gets up and grabs hold of Willie Cade. Since
Banty Cade was his old partner, he slips Willie a ten-dollar gold piece, telling him to
buy some clothes. "Does wonders!" he says.

Later, at the Tedler house, we see that he has also given a gold coin to Laurie, for which
her mother is scolding her for accepting. Ross Tedler points out that he was in the store
today to buy some clothes and paid for them with ten-dollar gold pieces. Could there possibly
be more where they came from? Sarah cools down and ponders the possibility.

Stirring up more trouble, Lom shows up at Amos Coe's office and tells him that Tom Brant has
spent several ten-dollar gold pieces around town today. "According to legend," says Lom,
"Tom Brant robbed a gold shipment 35 years ago and he overpowered an armed guard of five men
hired to protect it ... I've done some research, Mr. Coe. It seems that you were in charge
of that armed guard. Now, I thought you might be wondering, just like I am, what happened
to that stolen money and where that (pointing to the coin) came from." He asks Coe what he
should write about him in his story. Is it true that he ran away from the gunfight? He says
he wants to give him a chance to correct the record. Amos Coe tells him to "get out" of his

Ryker gets wind of the story of the long-ago gold robbery and goes to the boarding house to
tell Brant that he is obligated to return the money. Tom counters that if he indeed stole
the money, he has since served a long sentence for it, and therefore can't be sentenced again.
"Well, I'll tell you, Mr. Brant, if you don't have money hidden, you've done a stupid thing,"
says Ryker, "You know a man named Ingram? Well, he's in town. He just sort of drifted in.
Carl Stacy? Frank Swan? Fat Jim Potter? They've all been drifting in." "Because of me?"
asks Tom. "Yes, because of you and your money!" bellows Ryker, "Mr. Brant, I've got a rule
of thumb--two or three gunmen in town, I can stay even. Four or five, it's doubtful. After
that, I'm in trouble. According to that, I've been in trouble since this morning! You're
the one that set this rumor going. You're the one that lifted the lid off the honey jar.
Now all the flies are swarming around!" Getting no response from Brant, Ryker gives up and
says, "All right. I haven't forgotten about Amos Coe, either. Don't you forget about him!"
After he leaves, Mrs. Crandall says she respects Sheriff Ryker and doesn't want to see him
in trouble. She asks Tom if he really has the gold hidden somewhere. He feigns befuddlement
and dodges the question, so she asks what he's going to do about Amos Coe. "I don't know.
I hope I don't have to do nothin'!" he says. They're interrupted by a knock at the door.
It's Willie Cade, here to show off his new duds. Willie tells him there's some new people
in town who "have your acquaintance" and would like to see him. Mrs. Crandall sighs as Tom
excuses himself and accompanies Willie to the saloon.

At the saloon, the suddenly popular Tom is approached first by Carl Stacy with a cattle buying
proposition, then by Red Ingram, who invites him to join his poker game, "but not for money,
of course!" Over at another table sit Frank Swan and Fat Jim Potter. "How are we gonna get
next to him?" asks Potter. "Here comes our answer now," says Swan, pointing to Willie Cade,
who has just donned an apron in preparation for starting work. Swan asks Willie if he was
related to Banty Cade. Willie proudly says he was and points to Tom Brant, noting that "Banty
was his partner." "Oh? I heard that it was the other way around," says Swan, turning on the
charm, "I heard that Tom Brant was Banty Cade's partner! My daddy knew both of them. There's
no doubt which man he valued highly." He invites Willie to join them for a drink later.

Ryker pays a visit to Amos Coe. Ira Lom is already there, again trying to provoke Coe into
confronting Brant. Ryker tells him he's "getting tired of all his questions." "Not my questions,
Sheriff," says Lom, "Life. Life asks the questions!" Lom exits and Ryker tries to tell Coe
that it was over long ago. Coe tells him that he is reminded of it every time he looks at that
picture in the saloon.

Over at the Tedler home, Sarah is browbeating her husband about his lack of financial success
over the years. She has changed her tune considerably in her feelings toward her father now that
she thinks he has money hidden somewhere; "I've got that revengeful spirit, and I ain't sure
that's right. I mean, after all, he's suffered, too. He's an old man now. If he wants the
feeling of having a family. I'm only thinking of his feelings! Either you go get him or I'll
go myself!" With a look of disgust on his face, Ross grabs his coat and goes out to get him.

Ross finds Tom in the saloon, sitting at Ingram's table. He "apologizes" for his earlier behavior
and invites him to "take a meal" with them. Just then, there's a disturbance elsewhere in the
saloon as Ira Lom walks in and takes offense at Willie sitting with barmaid Ellen, whom he regards
as "his" girl. Lom makes fun of Willie's new suit and goads him into a fight. With the patrons
cheering him on, Willie clearly is winning as Ryker enters and breaks it up. Ryker places Willie
under arrest even though Swan swears as an eyewitness that Lom started the fight. Tom Brant tells
Willie to go with Ryker and he'll pay his bail. "That boy just earned his spurs!" smiles Ingram.
Ryker sneers at Ingram and says to Tom, "I told you things like this would start happening! Tell
me, Mr. Brant. What more do you have planned for us?"

The next day, Swan visits Willie in the jail. Tom hasn't yet bailed him out because he is taking
a meal with his family. Swan attempts to plant the seed in Willie's mind that he's entitled to
half of Tom's money since his grandfather was his partner. Swan then pays Willie's bail.

Over at Tedler's, Sarah and Ross are being overly polite to Tom during their meal. Sarah even tells
Laurie to "give him a kiss." Tom asks about their sick boy and Ross explains that they need to
send him to a hospital in St. Louis but they can't go because Ross can't give up his job. Tom
suggests that Ross "chuck his job" here in Medicine Bow and get a new job in St. Louis, but Ross
doesn't want to take the chance. He instead wants Tom to invest in one of his business ideas, such
as a dray line to deliver goods from the railroads to the ranches, or an ice business, or a wire
company. "Well, if I had the money." says Tom, "It's stolen money, tainted money, they say.
Would you want that kind of money?" "I reckon it ain't so bad being stolen money, so long as it's
old money!" says Sarah, a bit too eagerly.

There's a knock at the door and Willie Cade enters, saying he has to talk with Tom Sarah has a
fit and she tells him he has no right to barge in. Tom tells her he's "deliberating" and leaves
with Willie. Sarah sends Ross after him. Willie tells Tom he needs money to get out of town.
Tom tells him if he does that, he'll have two charges against him Ross runs up to further plead
his case and gets into an argument with Willie. Mrs. Crandall arrives on the scene and "rescues"
Tom, but warns him that Amos Coe is looking for him and he has a shotgun. "Well, I reckon I'd
better wait for him in the saloon," says Tom, "It's what they expect of me." Over her objections,
he adds, "Widow, don't you fret yourself none!"

Over at the saloon, the visiting gunmen are knocking themselves out to earn Tom's favor. They've
cleared a space for the upcoming showdown and grant his request for a table at the end of the bar
and a deck of cards. While Tom deals out a hand of solitaire, Ingram offers him the use of his
pistol and suggests that afterward they can talk about that "little proposition I was telling you
about." "Put it there," says Tom. Ingram lays the gun in front of Tom and backs away. Carl
Stacy walks up and volunteers to do the killing for him for $500. Tom turns him down and Stacy
offers to lower the price. "Too cheap!" says Tom. Ross runs up and again tries to plead his
case. "How come you're so tied up?" asks Tom, "Sarah tied up in old grievances and you tied
up in her. Why don't you just pick out a thing and do it? ... You gotta stop making excuses!"
Willie walks up, knocks the chair out from under Ross, and tells him he has two horses out
back. They can leave and get away. Tom shakes his head and says, "Too late." "Then look,"
says Willie, "Afterwards. I've arranged with a couple of friends. If you kill him, Ryker will
come after you. You're going to need a place to hide. I know a place." "What couple of friends,
Willie?" asks Tom. "Mr. Swan. Mr. Potter," says Willie. "You ain't a bad boy, Willie. You
just make bad friends!" Tom replies.

A drunken Amos Coe walks in with his rifle pointed at Tom. He tells Tom to pick up the pistol
in front of him. After a long pause, Tom clasps his hands and says, "Amos, I got no intention
of it, whatever!" Coe shoots a hole in the picture and again tells him to "pick up that pistol!"
"Amos, who you tryin' to satisfy? Them? Look at their faces," says Tom, pointing to the onlookers.
"I'm aiming to satisfy myself! You killed my brother, Tom," says Coe. "Ain't you never wondered
even once about him, Amos, your brother?" asks Tom, "He staged that robbery, Amos, him and Wesley
Harkum. They got you and Dan drunk and the rest was easy ... The only hard part was afterwards here.
They saw Banty hurt. They wanted to run out and Banty shot Wes Harkum in the back and that started
things. Amos, how come you let 'em draw you in that picture? You'd rather have people think you
was lyin' here scared than off somewhere lyin' drunk and fearless?" "You had to come back, didn't
you?" says Coe, "You had to come back and stir things up! I ought to blow your head off!" "For
what, Amos? Your brother George? He wasn't worth it," answers Tom, "The money? There AIN'T no
money!" This causes a stir in the crowd. Tom pushes away Coe's gun; "Amos, take this thing out
of my face. And you come sit down here. Sit down, Amos. You're an old man and you're tired."
Coe puts down the gun and sits. Tom adds, "So am I, Amos. An old man!"

"Brant! You don't have that money?" yells Ross Tedler. "No," Tom replies. "Sure you do!" says
Willie, "I seen you spendin' it!" "Bags. Burlap bags. Prison labor," says Tom, "You stitch up
a burlap bag, you get half a cent to keep for your own. I earned over $300 sewing up half-cent
burlap bags. I come back here because I wanted some place for myself. But it wasn't no place.
I thought maybe if I acted the way people expected, then it would work. But all it done was to make
'em come grabbin' at me or buzzin' around at the smell of money or take notions, like you, Willie,
to be a big man like your granddad. Banty? He warn't a big man. He had a mean and ugly mind. I
seen him drag a crippled cat on a string just for the pleasure of it. And Ingram? Big man like him!
He got thrown out of Canada for knifin' a 16-year-old girl. And Carl Stacy--not bright like his
dad, but knows how to steal cattle. Like your friend Swan? He lives mostly off women!" "You want
to come with us, Willie? He's nothing!" says Swan. "You're right, Swan," says Tom, "Or you either!
You'll end up face down with your mouth full of dirt wonderin' where your luck went! Amos, I'm
sorry I took away your big show ... I'm sorry I can't play it out for you folks. Golden Tom Brant?
Nothin' left of him. Used up. Sorry!"

Ross Tedler returns home. He tells Sarah that there is no money. She starts screaming again, "Of
course he's got money! He's lying! You let him get away! He's got the money and we need it!" Ross
slaps her and says, "You've had that coming for a long time! Now get packed to travel. We've got
a sick child and we're taking him to St. Louis. I don't know what we'll do when we get there, but
the first thing is to go!"

Tom returns to the boarding house. Mrs. Crandall has heard what happened. Tom takes off his boot
and uses his knife to rip apart the sole. He extracts a piece of paper from the boot and hands it
to Mrs. Crandall. "Would you take this to Sheriff Ryker for me?" he asks, "It's a map, Widow. It
starts at that big tree I spoke of. You tell Ryker the box is about man-deep under a big flat rock."
"Then there IS money!" she says, "You humbled yourself on purpose! For Tedler's sake, for Willie's
and Amos Coe! You let them think..." "Widow!" interrupts Tom, "I've had a long day full of talk!
Now you deliver that like I told you! And meantime, if I feel like it, maybe, I'll set up a chess
game!" She smiles. Tom sets up a game and the episode closes.

This episode must surely win the prize for the least amount of screen time for the regulars. Ryker
is the only one to appear and even his appearances here are brief and not primary to the story.
This plays more like an episode of a Western anthology series such as "Zane Grey Theater" or
"Death Valley Days."

Like 4.12 "The Laramie Road" and 4.16 "Nobody Said Hello," this episode shows an ugly side of some
of the citizens of Medicine Bow. Egged on by visiting reporter Ira Lom, the bar patrons at first
look condescendingly on Tom Brant, then are eager to be his "friend" when they think the legend
might be true. Tom's daughter and son-in-law show an equally cruel side by first shunning him and
then "welcoming" him into the family when they think he has a stash of stolen gold. Amos Coe
wants to kill Tom for appearing in town and "stirring things up," even though the secret he really
wants to hide is that he was drunk and not even present during the gunfight. [rho]

Guest star notes:
Victor Jory and Jean Inness were married in real life. They played similar outlaw and landlady
roles in 7.25 "Fox, Hound and the Widow McCloud."
Victor Jory by himself can also be seen in 3.02 "Dark Challenge," 5.22 "Melanie" and 6.09 "A Bad
Place to Die."
Jean Inness by herself also appears in 5.23 "Doctor Pat" and 6.02 "The Deadly Past."

Linden Chiles can also be seen in 3.07 "Big Image...Little Man," 5.04 "An Echo of Thunder" and
6.02 "The Deadly Past." [rho]

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  Main Contributor for this episode -  Robert Henry Ohlemeyer [rho]