CTVA - The Virginian 5.17 [137] "Yesterday's Timepiece"  18-Jan-1967

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5.17 [137]
"Yesterday's Timepiece"

Original NBC Broadcast - 18 January 1967
Universal TV
Executive Producer Frank Price
Produced by Cy Chermak
Teleplay by Sy Salkowitz
Story by Sy Salkowitz and Al Ramrus & John Shaner
Directed by Abner Biberman

(shown in the ride in)
Charles Bickford as John Grainger
Doug McClure as Trampas (not in this episode)
Clu Gulager as Emmett Ryker (not in this episode)
Don Quine as Stacey Grainger
Sara Lane as Elizabeth Grainger
James Drury as The Virginian

Guest stars:
Andy Devine
[Amos Tyke]
Stu Erwin
Audrey Totter
[Mrs. Archer]
and Pat O'Brien as Doc Ernest Bigelow

Complete Ending Credits:
Kelly Jean Peters as Elaine Potter
Robert F. Simon as Rafe Potter
Karl Swenson as Jonathan Archer
Russell Thorson as Toomey
Henry Brandon as Swift Wolf
Quent Sondergaard as 1st Man
Henry Wills as 2nd Man
and Bruce Bennett as Silas Graham
Theme by Percy Faith
Director of photography Enzo A. Martinelli
Art Director ... George Patrick
Film Editor...John Elias
Unit Manager ... Abby Singer
Assistant Director ... Roger Slager
Set Decorators ... John McCarthy and Ralph Sylos
Sound ... Ed Somers
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:
featuring Stacey Grainger, with John and Elizabeth Grainger,
brief appearance by the Virginian

Detailed Synopsis:
When peddler Amos Tyke makes one of his periodic visits to Shiloh, one
item in particular catches Stacey's eye. It's a gold pocket watch.
Some mysterious force has drawn him to the watch, so he buys it for
$20. That night he has a nightmare of the dangling watch, gunfire and
images of an Indian in warpaint and two little children.

The next morning at breakfast he asks to speak to his granddad, John,
in the study. Stacey shows him the watch and asks if it means anything
to him. John examines it and says, "For just a moment it looked like
the watch I gave your father years ago, but it couldn't be. You know
what happened to that watch." "I think it is, and so do you," replies
Stacey. John presses a button and the watch plays a tune. He pauses
and says, "Couldn't be. There must have been many watches made like
this." "That's my father's watch," says Stacey. "You mean you WANT
it to be your father's watch," replies John.

Stacey has a similar nightmare again that night. The next day he tracks
down Amos Tyke and asks him where he got it. Amos says he won it from
a man named Archer. "From Texas?" asks Stacey. "No, out Colorado way,
near Denver, little town called Las Animas," says Amos, who won it in
a poker game. Archer told him it was "worth a fortune in sentimental
value." Stacey starts to leave saying, "I was hoping you'd know more
about it." Amos asks, "Was it worth more than you paid me?" "It's
worth a fortune," Stacey replies, "in sentimental value!"

Stacey returns to Shiloh and tells John he's going to be away for a
little while, going "wherever this (watch) takes me." "Have you ever had
a dream, a nightmare, that keeps coming back to you?" he asks. John
shakes his head and Stacey adds, "Well, I have, ever since Mom and Dad
were killed." "Well, you had a pretty rough time of it, you and
Elizabeth, hidden in that storm cellar with all that shooting and yelling,"
says John. "You said it might not be his watch--maybe I just wanted it
to be. Well, I've got to find out and the only way I know how to do
that is to trace it back the way it came," says Stacey. John tells him,
"And if you do, you won't know anything more than what you now believe,
that it's his watch." "Maybe I will," replies Stacey, "You see, there's
something wrong with the dream; there's something missing from it."
"There's always something missing from a dream," replies John, "a face,
a place, a thing." "No, this is missing a heartbeat, if you want to
call it that. It's as if you chopped down a tree and you couldn't hear
any noise when it fell. I've got to find out what it is that's missing,"
says Stacey, who smiles and adds, "Maybe it's because I'm your grandson!"
John agrees to let him go and says, "I guess every man has the right to
look backward at least once; before he goes forward again."

Stacey travels to Las Animas, Colorado, where he drops in on Mr. and Mrs.
Archer. He shows them the watch and Mrs. Archer exclaims, "Jonathan Archer!
That's the watch that was stolen from you! Where did you get that watch,
young man?" Before he has a chance to answer, Mr. Archer tries to steer
Stacey out of the house so they can talk privately. Mrs. Archer won't
let them, however, and Stacey says that he's not returning it and explains
that he bought it from a peddler. "Well then, the peddler bought it from
a thief! Jonathan, call the sheriff!" huffs Mrs. Archer. Stacey reluctantly
tells Mrs. Archer that her husband lost it in a poker game. Jonathan admits
that that's what really happened and Mrs. Archer says, "I saved two years
for that watch. Bought it just before we moved here...shows you what he
thought of it--and me!" Mr. Archer says, "It's not as though I lost it
after I first got it. At least I had it for five years!" She says that
she bought it brand new and it came all the way from Boston. Stacey says
that if she bought it brand new, it couldn't be the same watch he was thinking
of. He hands it to her and asks if she's sure it was the same watch she
bought brand new. She puts on her eyeglasses, takes a closer look and says
that, yes, it's the same watch. She bought it from Potter's General Store
in Tulsa. Stacey asks how long she's been wearing spectacles and how long
she needed them before she started wearing them. Mrs. Archer is highly
insulted and Mr. Archer tells him that she's been "blind as a bat for years
only she wouldn't admit it." Stacey exits with the watch as Mrs. Archer
starts bawling out her husband for saying such a thing in front of a stranger.

We next see Stacey riding into Tulsa. He goes into Potter's General Store
and shows Rafe Potter the watch. Potter asks if he's looking to sell it.
Stacey asks if he's ever seen it before. Potter says no and Stacey tells
him it was a used watch that he sold as new. Potter insists that all his
watches come from Boston, but Stacey says this one came from Texas. Potter
doesn't like his accusatory tone and threatens to call the sheriff.
He calms down and says he likes the timepiece and will make him a good deal
for it. Stacey says it's not for sale and tries to grab it back. Just then,
a young lady enters from the back room and asks if anything is wrong.
"Just a little misunderstanding," Potter tells her and Stacey takes back the
watch as the girl looks on intently.

The next night, Stacey is bushwhacked on the street by two men. They are
looking for the watch but he doesn't have it on him. Afterwards, in his
hotel room, Stacey is lying on the bed when there's a knock at the door.
It's the girl he saw at the general store. He thinks she's in cahoots
with the men that ambushed him, but warily lets her in. She says that
the previous day he was in her uncle's store and showed him a watch.
She asks if she can see it. He asks if she's trying to do "her uncle's dirty
work" and accomplish what two men couldn't, namely take the watch from him.
Insulted, she starts to leave, but stops at the door and asks him if it plays
a song. He cautiously hands it to her and she presses the button to make
it play the tune. She turns her head and looks away. "Boy, your uncle must
surely want that watch pretty bad...He tried to buy it from me, a couple of
men tried to take it from me and I still can't figure out what you're trying
to do," says Stacey. "I'm trying not to look like a fool in front of a perfect
stranger," she blurts out, "but I shouldn't have worried about it because you're
just too self-centered and you're just too plain rude to care!" "And you're
in my hotel room holding my watch," he replies, " and very possibly putting on
a very good act!" "I wish I knew you better," she answers, "so I could dislike
you more!" Stacey pauses, smiles and decides to call a truce. He asks her
what she knows about the watch. She said that it used to be hers for as long
as she can remember. She was brought to this town by a father she never knew.
All she had were "the clothes on her back and this watch."

We next see the girl taking Stacey to an old house. "This was my home from the
time I was four years old," she says, "until my step-pa and step-ma died.
Then Uncle Rafe took me in." "You don't even know your real name?" asks Stacey.
"Well, the Cowans called me Elaine," she says, "that was real enough, I guess.
Whenever I asked who my father was, they said 'Better for you not to know,'
so I just stopped asking." "So you spent your whole life just going from one
set of step-parents to another, huh?" asks Stacey. "Oh, it's not that bad,"
she answers, "just a little bit shadowy. That watch, that's the only part
of my background I'm really sure of." She recalls how, as a child, she used
to sneak into Mr. Cowan's desk and make the watch play its tune; "It was my
secret time. I used to wear it in my pocket and pretend I was all grown up.
The watch was bigger then than I was. And as I grew, the watch got smaller,
and more important. And then it was gone." Stacey, still not sure whether
to believe this touching story, asks her if she ever asked about it after she
knew it was missing. "Mr. Cowan said he had it safe for me until I was grown
and he and my stepmother died before I found out where it was. I looked
through everything, but I never found it--not until you showed up," she says.
Stacey still has suspicions because of the fact that he was attacked, and
his belief that Rafe Potter was lying about not recognizing the watch.
They decide to confront Rafe about this and he finally admits that he did
indeed recognize the watch. Elaine's stepfather had brought it to him and
told him to sell it to someone who was going far away, so he sold it to the
"lady who didn't see so good," who was on her way to Colorado. He says
that the reason her stepfather wanted it sold was because she had stopped
asking about "who her daddy was" and, since the watch was the only real link
left between her and her father, he thought she might forget about him
completely if the watch was gone.

Since Elaine didn't know who her real father was, and since the only people
who knew, the Cowans, were now dead, Stacey figures he's run into a dead
end and is about to give up the quest. But Elaine has now had her interest
piqued and she urges Stacey to continue on with her help. He agrees and they
leave the store together. After they exit, two men enter the store from the
back. They are the two men who attacked Stacey the night before. Potter
pays them and tells them he still wants the watch.

We next see Stacey and Elaine sitting on the porch going through a trunk
containing some of the Cowans' personal effects looking for a clue to Elaine's
origins. She finds a family tree in the Bible, but dismisses for various
reasons the possibility of several of the entries being her real parents.
She comes to the last entry; "Elaine Cowan. Taken as daughter. That's me!"
"It had to be a relative," she adds, "Who else but a relative would come
riding out of the night, leave a child and have the Cowans take it in?"
Just then Rafe Potter comes out to take a walk. Stacey wonders about him.
"Put it out of your head, Stace. He's a good man," she says. Stacey asks
if her stepfather was so close to Rafe, why didn't Rafe know her true background?
"He said my step-pa never would say. I believe him." Stacey then brings
up the possibility that if Rafe, a close friend of the Cowans, took her in
when the Cowans died, maybe the Cowans originally took in Elaine from a close
friend of theirs instead of from a blood relative. This causes Elaine to
remember another letter in the trunk, this one from a Mary Lou Baldwin
addressed to the Cowans. The letter is one of farewell from Mary Lou to the
Cowans saying she is running off with a man but the Cowans will always remain
her dearest friends. "If I had a very best friend," says Elaine, "I might
take in her child." Stacey asks if there might be anyone around who would
remember the name of the man she ran off with. "Maybe Doc," she says.

Stacey and Elaine go to see Doc Ernest Bigelow, who is now retired except for
Thursday afternoons when he treats the local children's animals for free.
Between "patients," he tells them that Mary Lou ran off with a man named
Tyrell and that he last got a letter from her from Abilene, Texas. He doesn't
know if she ever had any children.

It's on to Abilene, as Stacey and Elaine stop by the Indian agent's office on
the reservation outside of town looking for information about Tyrell. The
current agent, Williams, whose office is a bit disorganized hasn't heard of
anyone named Tyrell being licensed to deal on the reservation, but then, the
reservation has only been there for nine years and Williams himself, only
for four. Elaine suggests to Stacey that they ask around, but Stacey says
the reservation is too big and "it would take weeks. Besides, the only way
your father could have gotten that watch was to have taken it from the
Indian who took it from my father." Stacey asks if he has any records of
a Comanche war 16 years earlier; specifically Indian raids between the North
Concho and Middle Concho Rivers. Williams finds in the records that the
raids were led by Swift Wolf, who is currently living on the reservation.
Williams leaves to go draw up some papers that will allow them to enter the
reservation. While he's gone, the realization hits Stacey that he may soon
be coming face to face with his parents' killers. Elaine asks if he's now
thinking of revenge. "I wasn't thinking of it. That isn't why I came,"
he says, "but here I am and there must be a reason for it." "Not to kill
someone. I can't see you doing that," she says. "All I can see is the
darkness of that cellar, and, up above, the ...," he replies, not finishing his thought.

The two ride out to see Swift Wolf. Swift Wolf is now graying, living in a
shack and complaining about the poor land he's forced to live on. Stacey
tries to bring up the subject of the Indian raids, but Swift Wolf refuses
to discuss the past. Elaine changes the subject to her father, Tyrell.
Swift Wolf says that Tyrell did indeed used to trade with them. He recalls
that he saw him as he was going away "after his woman had died" and had
suggested that he leave his daughter to live with them. When he didn't do
so, he thought Tyrell had taken his daughter with him. Elaine says that
he left her with another family. Swift Wolf then recalls that Tyrell had
sent them some grain "many seasons ago" but does not know what happened
to him after that. Stacey tells her there should be a record of the grain
shipment at the Indian agent's office. Stacey again tries to bring up the
subject of the Indian raids. Swift Wolf still doesn't want to talk about
it, but Stacey is insistent. Swift Wolf says he was responsible for the
raid, but Stacey doesn't believe him. "You would prefer a younger man and
stronger with two good arms and war paint? The time for that is past!"
says Swift Wolf. He starts to walk away but turns around and says that
they were only looking for horses, not for scalps and that they had left
a man and woman wounded, but alive. "My parents were dead!" hisses Stacey.
"A man-child and a little girl-child hiding," says Swift Wolf, "The man-child
standing over her to protect her, on his face a fierce expression. I spared
their lives to honor the courage of the man-child. Maybe I should have killed
him then so he would not come later to claim my life." Stacey pauses for a
moment and says, "I don't want your life." "It is well," replies Swift Wolf,
"You cannot bring back the dead; not yours, not mine!"

That night, while camping, Stacey has his nightmare once again. He sees the
watch, the cellar door, and the Indian he now knows to be Swift Wolf.
There's something new added this time, however. He sees a hand with an ugly
scar on its wrist grabbing the watch. He bolts out of his sleeping bag and
runs off to see Swift Wolf to check his wrists. When he doesn't find the
scar on Swift Wolf's wrist, it dawns on him that it was the white man, Tyrell,
who took the watch. It was Tyrell who had looted the house and killed his
wounded parents. Elaine, who has followed Stacey to Swift Wolf's shack, tries
to stop him from running off to find and kill Tyrell. "He's my father!" pleads
Elaine. "He doesn't mean anything to you but he means a lot to me!" answers
Stacey. She goes so far as to pull a rifle on him, but he manages to take it
away. "You want to come along with me in the morning, you're welcome to ride
along," he says, "but don't plan any long drawn-out reunions!" Later, while
he's sleeping, she sneaks away with both of their horses.

Stacey wakes up to find them gone and has to make a long walk back to the Indian
agent's office. He is sure this where Elaine came after taking off because she
would want to find out about the grain shipment Tyrell had made years before.
He angrily grabs Williams, the agent, and demands to know where she has gone.
She apparently had told Williams a story that Stacey was trying to force her
to marry him and she needed to find out from where the grain shipment had come,
so she could get away and return to the person who had sent it. Williams had
directed her to Silas Graham, a wealthy merchant in Houston.

Fortunately for him, she had left Stacey's horse behind at the agent's office,
so he rides off in pursuit. He's able to catch up with her only because her
horse has gone lame. She's not sorry for what she did, so Stacey starts to
ride off without her. She asks him to stay with her because she's scared to be
alone on the trail. He stops, checks her horse and discovers that it just has
a stone in its shoe. He repeats his offer to let her tag along but wants her
to promise there will be no tricks.

On the way to Houston, the now antagonistic traveling companions stop by a pond
for a rest. Apparently, Stacey has been giving her the silent treatment.
She tries to get him to open up by saying that's how she used to behave when she
was a little girl and boys would try to pull her hair. When this fails to
elicit much of a response, she talks of how this started out as a great adventure
of discovery and was nice while it lasted; "You know, through the years a girl
has a lot of fellows calling on her...later they even try to hold your hand or
kiss you and the goal is marriage. But with us, we're different. We had a
different goal. We had something more important than holding hands. It made me
want to hold your hand more than anything else in the world." "Stop talking
like that, Elaine. It's not going to change anything," he says. "Give me your
hand, Stace, please?" she says, offering her own hand. He reluctantly gives her
his hand and they embrace. "Let's walk away from this!" she pleads, "Let's go
back home!" "I can't," he replies. "Then I'll go with you," she answers,
"Whatever happens, it'll never be the same. You hurt me, Stace, you hurt both
of us!"

Stacey and Elaine arrive at the plush home of Silas Graham. Stacey asks him
about the grain shipment he had sent for Tyrell to the Comanches. Graham
remembers the shipment and says that that was his only dealing with Tyrell.
When pressed for more information, Graham is unwilling to give any, When
Elaine explains that she is Tyrell's daughter and Stacey asks if he has any
records of his business dealings with Tyrell, Graham excuses himself and goes
upstairs where Rafe Potter is waiting. "They don't know a thing," says Graham,
"Now why don't you go home? I'll take care of things from here on out." Rafe
tells Graham to please be careful and leaves via the back way. Graham returns
downstairs and is still reluctant to give them any information. Stacey says
he wants Tyrell for murdering his parents. Elaine says she wants to see him
just because he's her father. Graham says to her, "You realize that if you
find Tyrell with young Grainger here at your side, you won't have him very
long." Stacey jumps up and says, "You're not playing cat and mouse just because
you're curious. You know where he is, don't you?" A flustered Graham says,
"He's my friend. I swore I'd never tell!" "Where is he?" demands Stacey.
Graham says, "He'd kill me! Don't you realize that life means nothing to Rafe..."
"Rafe Potter!" exclaims Stacey. "You never suspected?" he says to Elaine.
"Never!" she replies. "The watch. That's why he wanted it. Because he knew
it would lead me to him!" says Stacey. Just then Rafe Potter enters.
He admonishes Graham, "That was very nice, Silas. And it would have worked,
too! One simple 'thoughtless' slip and I'm dead!" "Why didn't you tell me?"
asks Elaine. "Because it isn't so. He's your father!" says Potter, pointing
to Graham. Stacey tells Potter to roll up his sleeve so he can see if there's
a scar on his wrist. Graham says there wouldn't be much point in it, but still
insists that he's innocent of murder. He turns to Elaine and tries to make
excuses for not having come to see her. He says, "You know, it really hasn't
been easy in my life." He then pushes Elaine into Potter and grabs a gun, but
Potter shoots him down. Stacey checks the dead man's wrist and Graham is indeed
the one with the scar. "We were partners a long time ago. He looted, brought
me the stuff, and I sold it," says Potter. Rafe then goes over to console a
sobbing Elaine; "Elaine, don't cry for him!"

Back at Shiloh, Amos Tyke comes by again. He says to Stacey, "I hear you've been
down at Las Animas visiting the Archers...Mrs. Archer sure was mad at him but I
fixed it up right. Sold him a nice set of candlesticks for her birthday."
"That should have made her happy," says Stacey. "Oh, she's a right friendly
woman. She poured me some lemonade and we stayed up half the night visiting,"
says Amos as he takes some candlesticks out of the wagon. "What's that?" asks
Stacey, eyeing the candlesticks. Amos says, "Those are the candlesticks I sold
her. You see she held three kings and I was sittin' there holding..." "You
played cards with her?" asks Stacey. "Oh, she's a real friendly woman and she
plays a real game of cards, too, but she had those three kings...but I was
holding an ace high straight!" says Amos as Stacey walks away laughing. [rho]

The main lure of this episode is the presence of veteran actors Andy Devine,
Stu Erwin, Audrey Totter, Pat O'Brien and Bruce Bennett in roles that are little
more than cameos. But this is an important chapter in the history of the Grainger
family as we finally learn the story behind the fate of Stacey and Elizabeth's
parents. The performances of Don Quine, Kelly Jean Peters, Robert F. Simon,
Henry Brandon and the seasoned veterans are all excellent.

For all the power of the story leading up to it, I felt the ending was rather
abrupt and inconclusive. What's to become of Elaine? Is she going to forgive
Rafe Potter for his lies and deceptions, not to mention killing her father?
For that matter, is he going to go to jail for his past shady business practices? [rho]

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