CTVA - The Virginian 5.22 [142] "Melanie" 22-Feb-1967

The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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5.22 [142]

Original NBC Broadcast - 22 February 1967

Universal Television
A Division of Universal City Studios, Inc.
Executive Producer Frank Price
Produced by Joel Rogosin
Written by Stephen Lord
Directed by Abner Biberman

(shown on the ride-in)
Charles Bickford as John Grainger
Doug McClure as Trampas
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 Star
Victor Jory
[Jim Kohler]
Introducing   Susan Clark as Melanie Kohler

V142_VJory_SClark.jpg (80022 bytes)
(pictured above Victor Jory and Susan Clark)
Complete ending credits:
L. Q. Jones as Belden
Clint Howard as Tommy
Theme by Percy Faith
Director of Photography
Enzo A. Martinelli
Art Director . . . George Patrick
Film Editor . . . Michael R. McAdam, A.C.E.
Unit Manager . . . Abby Singer
Assistant Director . . . Donald White
Set Decorators . . . John McCarthy and Hal Overell
Sound . . . Melvin M. Metcalfe, Sr.
Color Coordinator . . . Robert Brower
Editorial Supervision . . . Richard Belding
Musical Supervision . . . Stanley Wilson
Costume Supervision . . . Vincent Dee
Makeup . . . Bud Westmore
Hair Stylist . . . Larry Germain
The Title "THE VIRGINIAN" by permission EMKA, LTD.

Series regular characters appearing in this episode:
featuring Trampas  and
John Grainger with Elizabeth Grainger, the Virginian,
Belden, Stacey Grainger.

Story: (bj)
John Grainger is waiting at the train station with Elizabeth and Trampas for
the arrival of his dear friend Jim Kohler (Victor Jory) whom he hasn't seen
in 20 years. Jim has brought his sophisticated daughter Melanie (Susan Clark)
with him. The young woman displays no emotion as her father helps her from
the train. Trampas follows Melanie's instructions of how to load the luggage
in the buckboard, and she thanks him by giving him a monetary tip. However,
not wanting to be considered a mere servant, when Trampas brings the bags to
the guest room he slips the coins back into her hand. It has been a long time
since Jim looked out a window and saw anything "green". He had built is own
"concrete mountain" in Chicago, has a thriving business, belongs to a club,
and has a lakeshore townhouse. But now he's considering giving that all up to
go back to ranching. Melanie joins them for a drink and toasts to "life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." She's heard that out West they "drink
something awful called red-eye." Jim, a little embarrassed with his daughter's
straightforwardness, explains that times are changing. Women want equality
and will be wanting to vote next.John states that women are already voting in Wyoming.
That evening Trampas, the Virginian, Belden, and Stacey are sitting outside
playing poker when Melanie approaches them. Belden wants Trampas to deal him
better cards this time. "Trampas. That's an odd name," observes Melanie,
"Do they call you 'Mister' Trampas or just plain Trampas?" Uncomfortable with
her presence Trampas answers, "just plain Trampas." Melanie inquires if she
offended him at the train station, but Trampas wants to shrug it off to keep
the incident from the other men and calls on his poker hand. Offended at his
refusal to discuss the matter, Melanie huffs, "didn't anybody ever tell you
not to call with anything lower than a pair of tens."
Early the next day Elizabeth and Melanie are riding when they encounter
Trampas and some other hands branding cattle. Trampas is heading off a
yearling on his buckskin horse. Melanie remarks, "That looks like fun."
Elizabeth explains it might look like fun but it's hard work and takes
a special kind of man and horse - a cutting horse. Liz calls for Trampas, and
he and Melanie exchange a few sarcastic words. When the cowboy gets off Buck
to check a calf that is being branded, Melanie takes her chance to mount his
horse and go after a cow. An irate Trampas jumps on Melanie's horse in
pursuit. Melanie's chase takes her down an embankment where she falls from
the saddle. Trampas exclaims that it was a miracle she wasn't hurt. Melanie
replies, "I've always wanted to be part of a miracle." Trampas is trying to
find the words to tell her exactly what he thinks of her and wonders where
the horses might have gone off to when a cougar appears ready for an attack.
After Trampas shoots the animal, Melanie's thoughts are only that a moment
ago the cat was alive and now it is dead without knowing the end was coming.
She apologizes for putting him to so much trouble, but the cowboy says that
they'd been after the cougar for months and it took her to get it in the open.
Trampas takes Melanie back to Shiloh, and after he lifts her from her horse,
their eyes meet and so do their lips in a momentary kiss.
The following morning the Graingers and Kohlers are having breakfast together
when Trampas interrupts to bring John the herd count. Trampas is noticeably
uneasy in the presence of Melanie and declines an invitation to join them.
John asks Trampas to get the mail in town. When Melanie follows him out the
door, Trampas explains that the kiss was an accident, just like her fall.
She wants to see Medicine Bow and asks to go with him. On the way she
confesses that she is more interested in him than the goings on in town.
Trampas tries to read her intentions, "Wealthy, spoiled Eastern girl comes
West, finds things kind of dull, stir up a little excitement, something to
tell her friends about back in Chicago." Melanie asks him why he kissed her.
Could it be "Hard working, hard-headed cowhand gets a little bored with
pretty little girls in calico. Meets wealthy spoiled Eastern girl, stir up a
little excitement, something to tell the boys back in the bunkhouse."
Unsure of the sudden attraction between the two of them, Trampas suggests
they find out. After Trampas gets the mail Melanie looks in the window of a
dress shop, reads some of the Medicine Bow Banner (all the news that's fit
to print and some that isn't), has lunch at Jessica's Restaurant (where she
tries Trampas' rare steak and he tries her well done), and (even though
ladies aren't allowed) makes a run into the saloon. Young Tommy (Clint Howard)
finds Trampas and drags him off to see his dog's new puppies. But one of the
pups is going to die because "Miss Ann" has too many in her litter, and it
keeps getting pushed away at nursing time. Melanie entreats Tommy that he
"mustn't let her die" and shows the boy how to give the puppy food from a
rag dipped in milk. Trampas wonders in admiration, "How many women do you
have bottled up inside you."
John has found a suitable ranch for Jim to purchase, but he senses that
something is wrong and asks if it has anything to do with Melanie. Kohler
tells him that the people she associates with in Chicago only want good
times. He wants her to see what real life is and be happy. Jim is relieved
to see Trampas and his daughter arrive back at Shiloh. John assures his
friend, "No reason to worry, not with Trampas." Melanie relates to her
father she had a "lovely day." Seeing the happiness again that had been
missing for months in his girl's face Jim states, "John seems to think a good
deal of Trampas." "He's different from any other man I've known," Melanie
sighs, "he's warm and gentle, intelligent." But when she tells him that she's
falling in love, Jim warns that he doesn't want her talking herself into
something just because she wants it. He reminds her of the stuffed dog he had
given her when she was a small child and how she had dreamed one night that
it was alive and talked to her. The next morning she tried to get it to talk
and when it didn't she cried for hours. She mustn't reach out to someone,
anyone, just to forget her hurt. But Melanie is certain that this time she's
found something real, and she's not going to let go of it.
John finds Jim sitting alone in the dimly lit study. As both are widowers,
Jim remarks that he and John have been alone for a long time. But John is
far from alone because he has his grandchildren, the ranch, and his work.
Jim replies that the only thing he has that matters to him is Melanie, and
he's concerned about her feelings for Trampas. "Trampas is a fine man,"
states John, "He was cut from the same bolt you were. I'd be proud to call
him my own son." Jim confides that Melanie is dying. He'd taken her to the
best doctors, and the last one gave her a few months to live if they stayed
in Chicago and maybe a year or two if they made the move to Wyoming. He can't
bear to see her hurt, especially if she's not really in love. John tries to
ease his friend's fears, "Whatever happens, Trampas won't hurt her" then
suggests Jim "give her freedom to live for whatever time she has left."
Melanie invites Trampas to join her for a picnic lunch. The cowboy tells her
there is a gate about a mile down the fence, but she jumps her horse over the
rails and beckons him to follow. Trampas is amazed that she had cooked the
meal herself, "Is there anything you can't do?" Between kisses, Melanie asks
Trampas about his family. Pensively Trampas relates how his mother had died
when he was a child and "I was raised behind my father's chair at the poker
table." They drifted a lot until they "tried to make a go of a little spread,
but it didn't work out." When his father died he was angry and hurt and went
looking for trouble. But "instead I found a home and a family" at Shiloh.
Melanie inquires where he goes from here. Trampas has plans for a place of
his own because a "man needs roots . . . a reason for living." Trampas'
philosophy of life is "it's like a mountain. You climb to a plateau, catch
your breath, take a look around and see where you are. Then you look up and
climb up to the next plateau" and don't stop till you reach the top. Melanie
would like to know, "what's up there," and Trampas answers her with a kiss.
The Virginian and Stacey are playing checkers when Trampas brings Melanie in
that evening. Stace asks if the Virginian thinks it's serious, to which the
Virginian replies, "Have you ever seen Trampas act that way before?"
Trampas would rather Melanie pay more attention to him than her book and asks
if it has anything to say about them. Melanie reads a portion of a poem about
time, "kiss the summer, weep the autumn, and remember me." Trampas has his
eye on a piece of land by Oak Creek, a nice place to build a house. He only
makes $30 a month as a cowhand (which she could "spend on one hat"). It might
take a few years to build the place up where he could bring in someone to
help her with the chores, but he'd "work hard" for her. Trampas asks Melanie
to marry him and is hurt by her refusal that it "just wouldn't work out."
Sure, thinks Trampas, it was fun while it lasted for a week or two but 30
or 40 years out here would be a lifetime. "Something like that," replies Melanie.
In her despair, Melanie begins throwing her clothes in a suitcase and
recounts to her father that Trampas had asked her to marry him. For a
moment she had almost said yes, but it was ridiculous for her to consider
marriage. Jim perceives that his daughter really does love Trampas and is
not just trying to find a place to hide, so why shouldn't she go after her
own happiness. Since she has so little time left, Melanie feels it wouldn't
be fair to Trampas. "Maybe time isn't important," councils Jim. "Maybe it's
what you do with that time." Unable to sleep, the woman goes to the bunkhouse
and pounds on the door. Awakened from his dreams, Belden answers the knocks,
surprised to find a woman outside. Melanie is anxious to see Trampas and asks
him, "Can I change my mind?"
Liz is making preparations for the announcement party and finds there are not
enough cups and saucers for 30 people. When her grandfather suggests she
borrow some, she complains that they won't match. John is amused at her
busy-ness and reminds her the party is three days away. "Men," sighs Liz.
John feels that Trampas has a right to know about Melanie's illness but
considers that no one really has the right to tell him but Melanie herself.
Wanting to be sure of Melanie's decision, Trampas questions if she is sure
she wants to marry him. For Melanie, Trampas is all she needs to be happy.
The cowboy gives her a cameo necklace that had belonged to his mother. It
was the only thing he had to remember her by. When he was a kid and felt
lonely he would fall asleep with it in his hand, and nothing had meant so
much to him - until Melanie.
Melanie is choosing a dress for the party when her father joins her to
suggest she tell Trampas she is dying - he'll have to know sometime,
especially toward the end when her eye sight begins to fail. But she will
hear none of this because she doesn't want Trampas to be like her, "listening
for the tick of the clock" and not being able to make plans. Jim expresses,
"He's the kind of man that can know the truth and live with it," but Melanie
can't live with him if he knows. She'd make the most of any time they have
Concerned for his daughter's well being, Jim offers to buy Trampas and
Melanie an established ranch for a wedding present. But Trampas wants to
start out on his own so that whatever they had would be theirs. Having begun
his marriage the same way, Jim understands then relates to the cowboy that
he felt robbed when his wife of nearly 20 years died. Trampas and Melanie
should make the most of every day. Trampas promises, "Every hour as long as
we live."
Trampas takes Melanie to Oak Creek where he shows her how he plans to build
their house. It will be small at first, but then in a year he'll add
another bedroom and then more in time. Someday it will be a big house.
Melanie feels the pain of missing out on having children, but Trampas
vows he won't let her regret marrying him. She wonders, though, if he'll
regret marrying her. "If it looks like it's not going to work out after 30
or 40 years I'll put you out," quips Trampas.
Trampas seems nervous about the big day, and John agrees that a man can get
edgy since marriage is probably the biggest step he will take in his life.
His wife (whom he considered to be very much like Melanie) died young, but
he was thankful for the time they did have together. "I don't have to tell
you how we all feel about you," John continues, "I'm happy for both of you."
At the announcement party Trampas and his friends wonder what is keeping the
bride-to-be. Upstairs Melanie is happily dressing and starts to put on the
necklace when her vision momentarily blurs. She regains her composure,
fastens the necklace, and starts down the stairs. But her eyesight dims
again. Trampas is eager to dance with her, but Melanie soon has to stop,
explaining that the music is a bit fast for her. While Trampas gets her
some punch, Tommy approaches and appraises, "you look like a queen." Melanie
inquires about the puppy, but Tommy has sad news, "Papa said it was her
time so there was nothing no one could do." When she has another blur of
vision Melanie declares to her father she needs a drink and takes the
liquor from his hand. John begins the announcement of the upcoming marriage
between the daughter of his oldest friend and "probably the best top hand
anyone could have," but Melanie breaks in and says there's been a "terrible
mistake." She and her father are going back to Chicago. Trampas wants to
try to change her mind, but she holds him off with, "You said it yourself -
it's a nice place to visit but not for a lifetime." Sure, the idea of
marriage to him had been "charming, appealing," but it just wasn't for
her. She needs "glamour, excitement, and life," and Trampas' little house
just isn't enough. Numb, Trampas leaves the gathering with the Virginian
and Stacey following him out of the room. Melanie exclaims, "This is a party,
where's the music?" As she starts to go back up the stairs she stumbles and
falls. Jim comes to her aid, and Melanie discloses, "Daddy, my time has run
Jim and Melanie are leaving Shiloh. Melanie notes, "What a lovely day. I was
sure it would rain. But then things never turn out the way you expect them."
The woman expresses, "You've been very kind, Mr. Grainger." "So have you, my
Dear," replies John then tells her that Trampas is in the stable. Melanie
says goodbye to Trampas and slips his mother's necklace into his saddle bag.
She wants him to know she's truly sorry but, trying to protect his ego from
further wounds, Trampas can only reply "the men are waiting for me." Out on
the range Belden asks Trampas if he has a pair of pliers. Trampas reaches in
his saddle bag for the tool and finds the necklace. (bj)
Writer Stephen Lord seemed to have a knowledge of Trampas' background,
remembering character and family information from 2.01 [031] "Ride a
Dark Trail" and 6.16 [165] "The Death Wagon."
Trampas describes how he plans to builds another house to his next intended
bride Peg Halstead in 8.11 [212] "A Touch of Hands." This one would be at
Dove Canyon instead of Oak Creek and would be just a one room cabin to begin with.
Clint Howard may also be seen in 4.23 [113] "Ride a Cock-Horse to Laramie Cross"

Victor Jory was a frequent guest star on the series. He was also
teamed with Doug McClure in 3.02 [062] "Dark Challenge," 6.09 [158] "A Bad
Place to Die," and 7.25 [200] "Fox, Hound and the Widow McCloud.," and was
the lead character in 4.25 [115]"The Return of Golden Tom." (bj)

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