CTVA - The Virginian 6.25 [174] "The Decision" 13-Mar-1968

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6.25 [174]
"The Decision"

(working title: "The Price of a Star")

NBC Broadcast - 13 March 1968

Universal City Studios, Inc.
Executive Producer Norman Macdonnell
Produced by David Levinson
Written by Richard Carr
Directed by Darrell Hallenbeck

(shown on the ride-in)
John McIntire as Clay Grainger (not in this episode)
Doug McClure as Trampas
Clu Gulager as Emmett Ryker (not in this episode)
Don Quine as Stacey Grainger (last regular appearance)
Sara Lane as Elizabeth Grainger (not in this episode)
James Drury as The Virginian

Guest Stars:
Kenneth Tobey [Sheriff Dan Porter]
Monica Lewis [Emily "Em" Porter]
Steve Carlson [Deputy/Sheriff Frank North]
Ben Murphy [Wes Manning]

Full ending credits:
Lawrence Dane as Tasker
Than Wyenn  . . .  Morgan
Chuck Courtney  . . .  Carmody
Lew Brown  . . .  1st Cowboy
Harper Flaherty  . . .  Harper
Quent Sondergaard  . . .  2nd Cowboy
John Cliff  . . .  Yancy Man
(Dick Shane as Dick was seen briefly but was not given a credit for his
appearance in this episode)
Theme Percy Faith
Director of Photography Enzo A. Martinelli
Art Director  . . .  George Patrick
Film Editor  . . .  John Elias
Unit Manager  . . .  Henry Kline
Assistant Director  . . .  George Bisk
Set Decorations  . . .  John McCarthy and Ralph Sylos
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 of EMKA, LTD.

Series regular characters appearing in this episode:  Trampas, the
Virginian, Stacey (last regular appearance), Harper, Dick, and Cecil (who is never credited)

After his wife leaves him because she can't handle the constant worry that
he'll be killed in the line of duty Dan Porter (Tobey), the tough sheriff of
Mason City, gives up his badge to his easy-going deputy Frank North
(Carlson).  Emily (Lewis) has gone to Medicine Bow to be with her sister,
and Dan follows to try to reconcile with her.  He hires on at Shiloh hoping
to learn about ranching so he can buy a spread of his own and settle down to
an occupation his wife would feel more comfortable with.  Trampas is
fighting mad about Porter's presence because he's sure the lawman had
unjustly beaten and jailed him for disturbing the peace after he complained
about crooked tables in a saloon.  Wes Manning (Murphy), a young hand who
had signed on at the same time as Dan and bragged about his knowledge of the
cattle business (much to Stacey's good-natured ribbing), befriends the older
man and helps him with jobs around the ranch.  Trampas, however, takes
pleasure in Porter's blisters and aching muscles letting it be known that
he's watching him.  While in town Trampas sees Porter grab Emily to have a
conversation with her, and not realizing that this is his wife, pulls him away from her.
The Virginian breaks up the fist fight between them and
tells Trampas the reason that Porter is at Shiloh.  Trampas,
feeling that hitting the ex-lawman cooled off some of his anger and perhaps a
little ashamed that he had "poked in to a family quarrel" decides "the fight
is over" and offers to help Dan by teaching him the fine points of roping cattle.  Dan
takes Em to a house he has picked out, and Em says she could be very happy
there but wonders if he could be.  He assures her he is certainly willing to
give it a try to save their marriage.  Happily Em goes back to Mason City
to pack up their belongings while Dan leaves on a cattle drive.  On the
trail Trampas reports that the water has "soured" at the regular drinking
holes, so the Virginian makes the decision to take the herd to Mason City
hoping to find a buyer there.
Knowing the town Porter thinks selling the cattle
should be no problem because a regular broker lives there and only a
few herds go through the area this time of year.  Trampas asks if it will
feel strange to go back to his home as a cowhand instead of lawman, and Dan
confides he misses being a sheriff--he has a feel for it
like Trampas knows when to throw a rope.  "I guess any man misses what comes
easiest to him."  When they reach Mason City they find there are three other
herds and, with an over supply of steers, the buyer
isn't offering a fair price.  The Virginian is willing to settle for
$18 a head which makes Tasker (Dane), another trail boss, angry because
he doesn't want to sell for less than $20.  Tempers get out of control when
the men from the Yancy drive side with the Virginian.  As Dan is helping Em
take pictures off the walls Frank comes to ask him to help keep peace
between the drovers.  Dan would like to assist but tells Frank he had made his decision to
retire from being a lawman.  Frank goes alone to the saloon to stop the fighting cattlemen,
and one of Tasker's men shoots him.  Dan is outraged by Frank's death and
puts on the badge again to arrest Frank's killer and run the other drovers
out of town for the night.  Tasker is upset that his ramrod is being jailed
for trying to "protect" him and threatens Dan giving him 12 hours to release
his man.  Dan decides his place in life is as the sheriff of Mason City because he
knows the job and Frank had never learned all there was to being a lawman any more than he
could ever learn to be a rancher.  Since her husband has chosen to return to his
duties Em is preparing to leave again when Trampas takes Dan's
payroll by the house.  She explains to Trampas that Dan didn't know
how she felt about worrying that he could be killed, but the cowboy argues
that he had tried to understand her side of it.  The problem was not her
husband but the fact that she had never once thought about what it was like
for Dan--he had given up what meant everything to him for her sake.  As he
leaves Trampas coldly comments, "I can see why he picked the job over you."
Trampas and the Virginian back Dan up when Tasker rides in to town to free
his ramrod, and Dan is forced to kill the trail boss in self defense.  Em,
relieved that Dan wasn't injured,
comes out to meet her husband in the street and kisses him.  She looks over
at Trampas (who expresses his satisfaction) then she and Dan walk away arm in arm.

Character note on the Virginian:  Wes Manning told Porter that the Virginian
"is a great man to work for--he gives every man an even break."  As for
interaction between the Virginian and the Shiloh owners, when pressed to
tell his boss that he should hold out for $20 the Virginian made it clear
that he didn't "tell" his boss anything--he simply advised him.

Trivia note:  Monica Lewis also appeared with Doug McClure in the short
lived Western series "Overland Trail," portraying Mrs. Anne Michaels in
episode #16 "The Reckoning." (bj)

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