The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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"The Girl on the Glass Mountain"
Original NBC Broadcast - 28 December 1966
Executive Producer Frank Price
Produced by Joel Rogosin
Teleplay by Eric Bercovici and James L. Henderson / Story by James L. Henderson
Directed by Don McDougall
(shown in the ride in)
Charles Bickford as John Grainger (not in this episode)
Doug McClure as Trampas (not in this episode)
Clu Gulager as Emmett Ryker (returned to the ride-in in this episode but does not appear)
Don Quine as Stacey Grainger
Sara Lane as Elizabeth Grainger
James Drury as The Virginian
Tom Tryon [Howie Sheppard]
Pamela Austin [Donna Maguire/Sheppard]
Complete Ending Credits:
Hugh Beaumont as Jasper Maguire
Dorothy Green as Mrs. Maguire
and Brian Avery as Paul
L.Q. Jones ... Belden [recurring character]
Ross Elliott ... Sheriff Mark Abbott [recurring character]
Michael Greene ... Rail
Ed Prentiss ... Mr. Winner
Steve Raines ... Wingy
Myron Healey ... Blue
John Archer ... Connally
Laurie Mitchell ... Susie
[recurring character Danny the bartender, played by Frank Sully, appears unbilled;
and an unidentified actor plays "Mitch," the Kansas trailhand who urges Howie
to get into the poker game]
Theme by Percy Faith
Director of Photography Ray Rennahan A.S.C.
Art Director ... George Patrick
Film Editor ... Michael R. McAdam, A.C.E.
Unit Manager ... Abby Singer
Assistant Director ... Henry Kline
Set Decorators ... John McCarthy and Ralph Sylos
Sound ... Earl Crain, Jr.
Color Consultant ... Robert Brower
Color by TECHNICOLOR
Editorial Supervision ... Richard Belding
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:
Stacey, Elizabeth, the Virginian, Belden,
brief appearances by Sheriff Mark Abbott and Danny the bartender
While on a multi-ranch roundup, Stacey falls off his horse. He faces being
trampled in a stampede until top hand Howie Sheppard rides in and rescues him.
Afterward, Stacey remarks to the Virginian, "If ever there were a natural
born hand, it's Howie Sheppard ... Him settle down? I just don't understand it!"
"It's not hard to understand. Howie Sheppard's in love!" says the Virginian.
"Love? We fall in love every Saturday night! No use to spoil it by getting
married, is there?" Stacey jokes.
Because Howie has been telling everyone it's his last drive, the Virginian
asks him if he's set a date for his wedding. "Well, I don't know exactly."
says Howie, "Me and Donna, we've kinda talked around about it, but I haven't
told her pa." "You've told just about everybody else," says Stacey.
"Mr. Maguire takes a bit of working up to," says Howie. "Jasper Maguire's a
good man," points out the Virginian. "Oh, I know," says Howie, "But he may
not take too kindly to the idea of Donna marrying me." "Just as long as
Donna does, that's all that matters. I don't think you're going to have any
problem there," pipes Stacey.
Howie rides off to cut some Shiloh cattle from the rest of the herd. He
encounters a man named Rail leading some Shiloh stock "in the wrong direction."
Howie knows Rail from having worked on a neighboring spread, the Connally
Ranch. He suspects that Rail is trying to steal some of the Shiloh cattle,
but lets the matter drop when Rail turns them over to him. "I don't remember
you being so holy when you were riding for Connally," says Rail. "I looked
the other way maybe, but I never stole cattle," Howie answers.
After the roundup is over, Stacey and Howie go into town to attend a dance.
They stop by the saloon for "one drink" and Howie nervously suggests that
Stacey go along with him when he picks up Donna. "Howie, there are some things
a man has to do on his own!" says Stacey, "Now the Maguires are going to be
your in-laws, not mine, so you might as well just start getting used to them!"
Before Howie musters up the courage to go over to the Maguire home, the
Maguires have another visitor, Paul, who works for Jasper Maguire in his store.
He has stopped by to tell Mrs. Maguire that her husband is running late, but
he also hopes to see Donna, for whom he obviously has eyes. Mrs. Maguire
tells him that Donna is getting ready for the dance; "I'm sorry, Paul, but you
know how she feels about Howie." Donna comes downstairs and shows off her
dress that "came all the way from St. Louis." Paul gushes over her and makes
her promise to "save a dance" for him. Just then Howie arrives. Donna brings
him inside to say hello to her mother and Paul. Paul snidely remarks to Howie
that he saw him and Stacey Grainger going into the saloon, so he stopped by
for Donna "in case you didn't make it." As Howie and Donna head off for the
dance, Donna whispers to her mother to "promise to keep Daddy up till we get home."
At the dance, Donna tells Howie a story she read when she was little about a
"girl on a glass mountain." A princess was put on top of a glass mountain by
her father and he held a contest to see who could rescue her. A lot of men
tried, but the glass was too slippery and they couldn't reach the princess at
the top. "Well, why didn't she just slide down?" Howie asks. "She was waiting,
silly!" says Donna, "And finally, when the prince who really loved her arrived,
he rode straight to the top on his magic horse and ..." "And then what happened?"
asks Howie. "Then they got married and lived happily ever after," she says.
"In a saddle shop in Medicine Bow!" Howie cracks. "But first he had to talk
to her father!" she replies. "Yeah," says Howie, rolling his eyes.
Later that evening, Mr. and Mrs. Maguire are waiting up for Howie and Donna to
return from the dance. "I was hoping Donna would get over that cowboy while he
was away," Mr. Maguire says. "She's in love with him, Jasper," says Mrs. Maguire.
"In love with a saddle tramp!" harrumphs Mr. Maguire, "What kind of life is that?"
"I think Howie is ready to settle down, just like you did when we got married,"
she says. "I was already settled down. I had a business of my own!" Jasper
retorts. "You had a wagon and a mule. You should have heard my father talk
about you!" says Mrs. Maguire, "Something about a no-good scamp as I recall.
You were pretty wild. Maybe that's why I married you." Jasper Maguire chuckles
and Donna and Howie return home. Donna and Mrs. Maguire discretely leave the
room so Howie can bring up the subject of marriage with Mr. Maguire. Howie beats
around the bush for awhile but finally comes to the point and asks for her hand.
"You know, Donna's still quite young. She's got a head full of dreams," says
Jasper. "I'll try to make them come true, Mr. Maguire," says Howie. "You haven't
known each other very long," Jasper continues, "And even if you had, marriage
changes things. It's a deeper responsibility than what you think. I hope you're
ready for it, Howie. Stability. That's what Donna expects." Changing the
subject, he adds, "I have a good solid business. I'd always hoped to keep it
in the family." "Oh, I can understand that, Mr. Maguire," says Howie, "I've been
planning on opening a saddle shop. I've been saving for it, too. I even talked
to Mr. Winner over to the bank." Jasper sighs and says, "Well Howie, I won't
pretend I think you're the ideal husband for my daughter, but if she loves you
and you love her, I guess all I can do is wish you luck." They smile and shake
hands warmly. "Well, I guess that about settles it," says Jasper. "Settles
what?" asks Donna as she and her mother re-enter the room. "Helen," says Jasper,
"Not that it comes as a surprise, but Howie has asked me for Donna's hand."
"And?" asks Donna. "Well, I've seen you sewing on that wedding dress for weeks.
How could I say no?" answers Jasper with a laugh. Donna gleeflully hugs her
father and then Howie. "Welcome to the family, Howie," says Helen, giving him
a peck on the cheek.
Several days later we see Donna showing Howie around a vacant storefront she has
picked out. This should be a good place for his saddle shop and their living
quarters. Mr. Winner from the bank shows up and tells him that the down payment
they have discussed will be sufficient, but he'll have to make another $300 payment
after three months. The price seems rather steep to Howie, but Donna has her
heart set on it, so he says, "We'll take it."
After a bachelor party in the Shiloh bunkhouse, in which the other hands jokingly
give him an apron, the wedding finally takes place. On their wedding night,
Howie proudly carries Donna "over the threshhold" into their new home in the
back of the store.
The scene shifts to a couple of months later. Donna drops by Shiloh to visit
Elizabeth. Everything is going great. Howie's saddle business is doing so well,
he might have to hire an assistant. She's even thinking of looking for a house:
"It'll be a few months, but the way things are going, it's like a dream come true!"
Elizabeth admiringly comments on how much Donna has "tamed" Howie; "After all,
he grew up in the saddle and that's a lot different from town life. Doesn't he
miss it some times?" "No, Howie's changed," says Donna, "Just like I knew he would."
Back at the saddle shop, Howie is hard at work. Rail walks in. He tells him he's
no longer working for Connally. "You mean he caught you!" says Howie. "Well,
you might put it that way," Rail admits. He then tells him he wants to move on
and asks for a loan of $50. Howie turns him down, saying he has a bank payment
due in a couple of days and he's just barely going to make it. "Besides, you and
me were never THAT friendly," he adds. Rail then asks him to sneak over to the
saloon for a couple of drinks but Howie begs off because he has too much work to
do. "That wife of yours has really got you locked up! Too bad," says Rail, who
Howie takes a break from his handiwork and hears the whinny of some horses outside.
He sees some fine looking specimens being herded into a corral down the street.
He walks over to admire them and Mr. Connally walks up. "What do you think of
them, Howie?" he asks, "New stock from Montana. Finest around. I picked them
out myself." "I sure would like to throw a leg over one of them!" says Howie.
"Still got the itch, huh?" says Connally. "It's kind of hard to get over it,"
Howie admits. "When a man has seen as much sky as you have, a ceiling hangs pretty
heavy after a while," Connally remarks. He brings up the fact that he's fired Rail
and offers Howie the job as foreman. "You were one of the best hands I ever had.
As a matter of fact, I was thinking of offering you the job at the time, but you
signed off and went to work for Grainger," he adds. Howie's eyes light up because
this is the dream job he's always wanted, but, thinking of Donna, he comes back to
reality and turns him down, explainig that he has to think of his wife. "Jasper
Maguire's daughter?" asks Connally, "Why don't you ask her?" "I suppose I could
mention it, but ... you'd better keep on looking," Howie answers reluctantly.
That evening at supper, Donna is jabbering away, but Howie isn't paying any attention.
She asks him what he's thinking about and he tells her of seeing Mr. Connally and
being offered the job as his foreman. "I told him to keep on looking," he says,
"But, you know, it's funny. Being foreman of a spread like that. That's something
I used to dream about." Donna interrupts, "And now the job is offered to you and
you couldn't be less interested! It is funny!" "Yeah," says Howie, not so sure.
They're interrupted by a knock at the front door. It's Shiloh hands Belden and
Wingy. who have dropped by on a Saturday night to see if Howie wants to go over to
the saloon with them for a few drinks. Howie turns them down, but Donna tells him
it would be good for him to get out for a change. He again says no, telling Donna
he doesn't want to leave her alone. "Some other time, then," says Belden. On their
way out, Wingy tells Howie he's a little short on cash at the moment and will pay
him for his new saddle as soon as he can. Howie tells his friend to take all the
time he needs.
A day or so later, Stacey rides into town with some items from the Shiloh tack room
than need repair. He and Howie look on as a bunch of Kansas trailhands (whom Howie
used to ride with) ride in ready to whoop it up after a trail drive. Stacey notices
Howie's wistful expression and asks if he misses being out on the trail. "Maybe,"
Howie answers, "Being cooped up in this shop, I do get kind of restless sometimes."
"Have you talked to Donna about it?" Stacey asks. "Well, no, not exactly," he
replies, "I mean, I tried, but Donna being raised in town, she looks at things
different. It's hard to make her understand." "You'd better try, Howie," says
Stacey, "She's your wife. Keep it bottled up and you're going to explode."
Later, we see Howie counting the money he's earned. "Three hundred dollars!" he
says proudly, "Why, that's more money than I've ever had in my hands!" "My wealthy
husband!" Donna says admiringly. "Don't it make you just want to do something?" he
asks, "Go out somewhere? Go some place? How about San Francisco? We could stay
in one of those fine hotels. Eat in a fancy restaurant." Donna admits that the idea
is tempting, but there will be plenty of time for that in the future. Tomorrow he
has to see Mr. Winner at the bank. Feeling restless, he puts the money away and
decides to go for a walk. Outside the saloon, Howie runs into an old friend from
the Kansas trail drive. Howie offers to buy him a drink. Howie's friend accepts,
but says he can't buy him one in return because "I just lost all my money in that
poker game." "Well, I'll buy you two! You always were a lousy poker player!" Howie
Against his better judgment and despite warnings from the bartender about the card
sharp at the table, Howie finds himself drawn into the poker game; at first "just to
see how the cards are running." During the intense games that follow, Rail walks
in and observes. Finally, it's down to Howie and the card sharp (whose name is "Blue").
The stakes grow increasingly higher as the ante gets up to $300. Thinking he has
the "best poker hand I've ever had," Howie goes back to the store to get his money.
He bets it all on this hand, but, alas, Blue has an even better one that beats it.
Rail approaches the stunned Howie outside the bar and says, "Looks like you're a
loser." "All that money!" says Howie in disbelief, "All of it...Every dollar for
the bank and I lost it! All those months of work. Donna--what am I gonna say to
her?" "I guess you're in a bad spot. So am I," says Rail, "We both need money and
I know how to get it. Trouble is, I can't do it alone. But you and me together,
we could do it. We could do it easy." "Whatever it is, I don't want to hear about
it," says Howie, walking away.
The next day, Howie keeps his appointment with Mr. Winner at the bank, but has to
grit his teeth and tell him de doesn't have the money. "I don't understand. You've
been doing good business," says Mr. Winner. "What happens now?" asks Howie. "Well,
if you can't make the payment, the bank will be obliged to sell you out. I'm very
sorry, Mr. Sheppard," answers Mr. Winner. "Well, I guess that's it, then," says
Howie. "Isn't there something you could do?" asks Mr. Winner, "Perhaps talk to you
father-in-law. Jasper Maguire is not a poor man." "No, I couldn't do that," Howie
says, "But if I could just have some more time." "Time?" says Mr. Winner, "You must
understand, Mr. Sheppard. Personally, I'd be willing to grant you the extension but
the bank only manages the property. The owners will expect their money...Perhaps I
could convince them to wait five days, no more." "Five days?" says Howie, "I'll do
it! I'll get the money. Thank you, Mr. Winner!"
Howie returns home and lies to Donna that he made the payment. "Oh Howie, I'm so
happy!" she gushes, "Now it's all ours! And you worked so hard for it. It's an
occasion! We have to celebrate. Daddy will be so proud! I'll stop in and tell him
on my way back from Dr. Busby."
Howie drops by Shiloh looking for Stacey. The Virginian tells him that Stacey is in
Denver at a cattlemen's meeting. Belden walks over to say hello after bucking some
broncoes and remarks that "the bronc busters is earning their money!" "How many
you got to break?" asks Howie. "About twenty," says the Virginian, "One livelier
than the next!" "How much you paying?" asks Howie. "Five dollars a head," replies
the foreman. "How 'bout me tryin' 'em?" Howie proposes. "You?" says the Virginian,
"I thought your saddle days were over." "Well, I used to be pretty good," Howie
says. "All right, let's see how much you remember!" says the Virginian. Wingy
brings out a horse for him to try. Howie is able to stay on it for a few moments,
but eventually is thrown. He wants to get right back up and try again, but the
Virginian won't let him. "That's all, Howie. I don't want to send you back to
Donna in pieces!" says the foreman. "Howie, you're plumb out of practice!" adds
Belden. As Howie is leaving, Wingy tells him that he's quitting Shiloh and moving
back to Texas. "Uh, Wingy, about that saddle ...," says Howie. "That's why I was
comin' to town, Howie," says Wingy, "Look, I've got fourteen dollars saved up.
I'm gonna send you the rest." Howie thinks it over and says, "You keep your money,
Wingy. I've been meanin' to tell ya. That saddle, uh, well, it's a present."
Howie returns home, determined to finally tell Donna the truth, but before he can
tell her, she makes the startling announcement that she's expecting a baby! He
doesn't tell her his news and we are shown a montage of scenes of Howie hard at work
in the saddle shop trying somehow to make ends meet. Donna interrupts his labors
by showing him a house for sale that she's picked out in town. "It's just the kind
of house I've always dreamed of!" she says. "Donna, we can't buy a house. It's
crazy to even think about it!" Howie says, "It wouldn't work even if we could afford
it. I tried to explain to you I can't live like that! A house, and parties, and
dinners, I just don't know how! Even being cooped up in that shop all day long!"
Taken aback, she says, "But I thought you were happy in that shop!" Howie answers,
"When Mr. Connally offered me that job, I wanted to take it. I wanted to take it
real bad!...I tried, but I'm no shopkeeper. Thinkin' all the time about money and
business. I never will be!" "Of course you will, Darling," she insists, "I know
it's all still new to you, but it's a good life!" "It's not the only way to live,"
he says. "It's the way I want to live," she says, "Especially now with the baby
coming." Howie takes a long pause and says, "All right, Donna. If it's the only
way...You're still up on that glass mountain and I don't know how to get you down!
But I love you and I'll keep tryin'." He hugs her and walks away.
Later in the day, Howie hasn't returned and Paul drops by the shop. Donna is worried
about Howie's lateness and Paul volunteers to go look for him. "He might be trying
to win his money back," he says. "What money?" asks Donna. "Didn't he tell you?
I hear he lost a hatful on a poker game the other night," Paul says. Upon hearing
this devastating news, Donna at first doesn't believe him but finds out from Mr.
Winner at the bank that it is indeed true. "It's so humiliating!" she says later
that evening to her father and mother. "I know, Donna. I heard about it yesterday,"
says Jasper Maguire. "You didn't say a word to me!" says Helen. "I wanted to give
Howie a chance to work it out himself," says Jasper. "But I don't know where he is!"
says Donna, "Tomorrow's the last day. If he loses the shop, I'll leave him! I
can't live like a gypsy. I'm going to have a baby. I have to have a home!" Jasper
perks up and says sternly, "Donna, Howie Sheppard is a good man! Maybe he's a lot
better man than I gave him credit for being. He could have gone in with me, but
he wanted to make it on his own. And he's been working hard to give you everything
you've wanted; everything we've brought you up to want. He could have come crying
to me, but he didn't. And that makes me kind of proud of him. As for losing the
money, well, he's human. He's no knight in shining armor. He's your husband.
Maybe you should have tried harder to meet him halfway." "Donna's been a good wife
to Howie, Jasper. You can't blame her," says Helen. "I'm not," says Jasper, "I
blame myself. For giving you too much, Donna. For making things too easy for you.
For letting you grow up expecting to have everything just exactly the way you wanted
it. I spoiled you, Donna, and for that, I'm sorry. Now I'm going to tell you something
else. Instead of talking about leaving Howie, what you ought to be doing is thinking
about how you can keep him!"
Meanwhile, Howie has desperately turned to Rail, reluctantly joining him in his plan
to hold up a stagecoach. "Remember. I said no shooting!" says Howie. "Just as long
as nobody gets in our way!" replies Rail. Rail drags a log to block the trail and the
two men await the stagecoach with their kerchiefs drawn over their faces. When the
stagecoach stops, Rail orders the driver to throw down the box he's carrying that
contains a payroll. He tells Howie to see what he can collect from the passengers.
To Howie's surprise, one of the passengers is Stacey, who recognizes him despite
the bandanna covering his mouth and nose. "I don't know why you're doing this, but
you don't have to!" Stacey says, "I'm not going to let you do it. I can't...Why,
Howie? Tel me why!" "Everything went sour, that's all," says Howie. Rail, uneasily
eyeing this ongoing conversation yells, "He knows you!" and fires a shot at Stacey,
hitting him in the arm. Howie, in turn, shoots Rail and kills him. He then throws
down his gun and removes his mask.
Later we see Howie and Stacey in Sheriff Mark Abbott's office. The sheriff admits
that it's a "puzzling situation in the eyes of the law." Howie admits that he was
intending to rob the stagecoach, but the end result was that he prevented it by
shooting Rail. Since none of the passengers want to prefer charges, he's not going
to arrest him, even though Howie is "trying awful hard to go to jail." "You think
being locked up is going to solve your problems," Mark says, "Well, I'm sorry,
Howie, you're going to have to find some other way!"
"Satisfied?" Stacey asks after Mark leaves. "With what?" says Howie, "I've made
a real mess out of everything. I've lost the shop. Donna will never forgive me
for that." "You can start over again," says Stacey. "Nope," says Howie, "I'm
just not the man Donna wanted me to be." "You're the man she married!" says Stacey.
"I'm not the man she thought she married!" Howie says, "I tried to pretend, but
I guess that was my first mistake. I just can't live the way Donna wants me to."
"All right, then what are you going to do?" Stacey asks. "I guess Donna will move
back in with her folks. She sure won't want to stay on with me," Howie answers.
"I never thought you'd give up that easily, Howie," says Stacey, who then relates
a story of a yearling that wanted its freedom and, though unable to achieve it,
kept on trying, adding "Now I figure what you've got to do is decide what you want
and then you've got to go after it!"
Over in the back of the saddle shop, Donna is packing up and giving away some of
her wardrobe to Elizabeth. "There's so many!" says Elizabeth, "I'll never get a
chance to wear them all. Why don't you keep a few?" "I have no place to wear them,
at least for a while. Their yours, Elizabeth," Donna replies. Howie and Stacey
enter. "Donna, I've got to talk to you," says Howie. "Not right now, I'm in a
hurry," she says, "Are you going to help me with this suitcase?" She tells him
to pick up an additional suitcase and directs him to the buckboard outside. Donna
hugs Elizabeth and Stacey and bids them goodbye. She tells Howie to help her up
into the wagon and then tells him to join her. "Where are we goin'?" asks the
surprised Howie. "That's up to you," she answers, "Didn't you say something about
wanting to take that job at the Connally ranch?" A big grin breaks out on Howie's
face as he climbs into the buckboard and kisses his wife. The couple ride off
waving goodbye to Elizabeth and Stacey. [rho]
A rather mediocre episode that focuses on guest star Tom Tryon instead of the regulars.
When Stacey returns from the roundup early in the episode, Elizabeth runs out to greet
him with a big hug, a somewhat rare physical display of affection between the two siblings.
Perhaps she was lonely, because granddad John Grainger is nowhere to be seen.
At one point, Donna remarks that she's going to see Dr. Busby. This is a different
doctor in town than the one we usually see, Dr. Spaulding. [rho]
Guest Star Notes:
Tom Tryon may also be seen in 1.14 "The Man From the Sea," 6.04 "Star Crossed" and
9.09 "The Price of the Hanging."
Pamela Austin also appears in 2.06 "It Takes a Big Man." Though she has a lengthy
list of movie and television credits, she was perhaps best known at the time for
a series of television commercials for Dodge automobiles. "Join the Dodge Rebellion!"
Dorothy Green is also in 3.27 "Farewell to Honesty."
Hugh Beaumont will forever be known as the wise father, Ward Cleaver, on the classic
tv series "Leave It to Beaver." In fact, "Beaver" fans may enjoy watching Mr. Beaumont
in this episode dispense fatherly wisdom to Donna in the best tradition of Ward Cleaver!
He can also be seen in 6.18 "With Help From Ulysses" and 7.12 "Nora." [rho]
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Main Contributor for this episode: Robert Henry Ohlemeyer [rho]