CTVA - The Virginian 8.11 [212] "A Touch of Hands" 3-Dec-1969

The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
<Previous                     The Virginian                        Next>
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9

8.11 [212]
"A Touch Of Hands"

(previously numbered 8.10 [211] in this guide)
NBC Broadcast - 3 December 1969

Universal City Studios, Inc.
Produced by Norman Macdonnell
Written by John Dunkel
Directed by Tony Leader

(shown on the ride-in)(all appear in this episode)
John McIntire as Clay Grainger
Doug McClure as Trampas
Tim Matheson as Jim Horn
Sara Lane as Elizabeth Grainger
James Drury as The Virginian

Guest Stars (both with outstanding performances)
Michael Constantine
[John Halstead]
Belinda Montgomery
as Peg Halstead

Full ending credits:
Also Starring
Jeanette Nolan as Holly Grainger
Charles Seel  . . .  Happy
Harry Swoger  . . .  Mr. Markle
Ann Morrison  . . .  Mrs. Markle
Billy Mize  . . .  Bill Sawyer
Homer Garrett  . . .  Caller
Harper Flaherty  . . .  Harper
(Dick Shane as Dick appeared briefly but was not credited)
Associate Producers Robert Van Scoyk
                                 John Choy
Music Score Torrie Zito (music was quite fitting and added to the overall
atmosphere of this episode)
Theme Percy Faith
Director of Photography Enzo A. Martinelli
Art Director  . . .  William J. Kenney
Set Decorations  . . .  John McCarthy and Perry Murdock
Unit Manager  . . .  Henry Kline
Assistant Director  . . .  Richard Bennett
Film Editor  . . .  Larry Lester
Music Supervision  . . .  Stanley Wilson
Sound  . . .  Earl Crain, Jr.
Color Coordinator  . . .  Robert Brower
Titles and Optical Effects Universal Title
Editorial Supervision  . . .  Richard Belding
Costumes by  . . .  Helen Colvig
Makeup  . . .  Bud Westmore
Hair Stylist  . . .  Larry Germain
The Title "THE VIRGINIAN" by permission of EMKA, LTD.

Series regular characters appearing in this episode
Trampas, Clay, Holly,
and Elizabeth Grainger, the Virginian, Jim Horn, Harper with Dick and Cecil
seen briefly

Brief Synopsis:
In this poignant episode Margaret Halstead (Montgomery), who was sent back
East five years ago to live with her aunt while attending college, returns
to Medicine Bow for a visit with her father.  Trampas is pleasantly
surprised to see how much
she's changed since the "little old brat" who used to pester him at the
The homesick Peg can only think of the good times in the West she grew up in
and how she had
loved Trampas--"desperately."  Mr. Halstead (Constantine) had intended his
daughter stay
with him for two weeks, but Peg (who is spending most of her time with
Trampas) would rather not go back to college at all.  Taken by her beauty
and the crush she has on him Trampas starts cashing in a few too many of his
"days off."  Although her "schoolgirl notion of how grand it was and fine
and romantic" blinds Peg to the reality of the hardships of living in the
Wyoming territory she and Trampas make plans to be married and ride to Dove
Canyon to "pick out a piece of land"--much to the dismay and disapproval of
her ailing father who, because "trying to make a life in the West killed her
mother," feels his girl "is not cut out" to be a cowboy's wife.

The title for this episode comes from Peg's explanation of what it
is like to fall in love:  "...as if all my life I'd been groping alone in
the dark and then I reached out and touched your hand and suddenly I wasn't
alone anymore, and I'll never be alone in the dark again," and her
touching comment to Trampas when, realizing herself to be her "mother's
daughter," she decides to return East: "Dove Canyon will always be the
loveliest memory of my life--one brief, perfect moment.  And if we never
know love again, well, at least we will both have had that moment--a touch
of hands in the dark."
About regular characters and their interactions:  Trampas, as usual, doesn't
think clearly when a pretty girl is involved and, even though he had only
meant to make Peg's short visit pleasant for both of them, lets himself get
entangled in plans for marriage which escalate after his "powder pigeon"
pride gets deflated when Mr. Halstead tells him,
"I've got nothing against you, you're a decent sort, I always liked you.
But I got to tell you--stay away from my daughter...She don't figure on
marrying no cowhand...Stay away from her, she's not for you."  With the
camera taking advantage of Doug McClure's talent for subtle facial
expressions Trampas
gets another stab to his pride when, in front of the Shiloh men, Mr.
insists he take money as a payoff in exchange for a promise to leave Peg
alone and later when he looks to see if any of Halstead's hands had
witnessed Peg's rejection of him.  Trampas tells us a bit about himself and
what he wants of life when confronted with Peg's dreams of him being
successful and very rich and the Mayor of Medicine Bow and later maybe even
Governor by stating, "I'm a cattleman, plain and simple."
Even though her feelings were hurt when Jim, while in her company, described
to the Virginian that Peg was "the prettiest thing to hit Medicine Bow in a
month of Sundays" and how Trampas had strutted down the boardwalk with her
on his arm, Liz (in her sisterly affection for Trampas) put jealousy aside
and befriended the college girl.  She even fixed things at the dance so the
cowboy could "rescue" Peg from her escort for the evening.  Liz tried to
tell Peg there were some things about the West which weren't
"wonderful," and I would imagine she and Holly had second thoughts about her
marrying Trampas when Peg burned her hand on the stove and said it was
ridiculous to "work so hard for a silly loaf of bread" (she had been living
with an aunt who had servants) but then insisted she'd learn "if it killed"
her.  These actions of concern for Trampas' welfare and happiness are
consistent in character with what we've seen of Liz throughout her time at
Shiloh, and it was she who spread the word to the ranch hands that Trampas
was getting married.
The Virginian, ever ready to listen to his friend's wows, allowed Trampas to
take more than his share of days off
(reminding him he'd have to make them up later) but advised him to
think about what he was doing when Trampas decided to take Peg to Dove
Canyon against her father's wishes: "She's not a freckle-faced kid sitting
on the corral fence making eyes at you anymore. It's different now for both
of you...That freckle-faced kid might have been good for you.  I'm not so
sure about that girl from the finishing school back East. What I'm trying
to say is just be careful."
Although Jim was attracted to this girl, who was closer to his age than she
was to
Trampas', he didn't try to woo Peg away.  He and the other Shiloh hands
congratulated Trampas on his upcoming marriage and all wanted to be invited
to the wedding (which Trampas said was to be a "sober" one--but afterwards
all need a drink).  Harper even asked Trampas to name his first child
after him.
Clay Grainger had his misgivings about the wedding but kept them to himself
and agreed to
make Trampas a loan so the cowboy could build a nice house for Peg (with
pink wallpaper and a white picket fence) instead
of just the line shack the couple would otherwise have had to start out in.
Clay tried to talk Mr. Halstead (who was dying from  a heart condition and
wanted to make sure his daughter would be secure back East and not have to
face the
struggle of "trying to make something out of nothing" in the West) into
letting Peg and Trampas make up their own minds about marriage instead of
forcing them
together by forbidding them to see each other.  He assured Mr. Halstead of
Trampas' integrity with, "Trampas is my top hand.  I'd trust him with my
life.  I have on several occasions."  It is evident that Trampas was by no
means perfect, but Mr. Grainger's statement of trust and the show of
affectionate bonds with
the "Shiloh Family" confirms there's been quite a change from the young man
of 2.01 "Ride a Dark Trail" of whom the Virginian commented, "He's no hand,
that's for sure.  Can't tell if he ever will be" and "I can't keep anywhere
near a happy crew with him around.  He's a liar and a cheat..."  Although
there would be a brief romantic fling in 8.15 "You Can Lead a Horse to
Water" and an encounter with an old flame in 8.24 "The Gift" Peg's final
words to him seem even more poignant as sadly for Trampas Margaret Halstead
(whom he "never loved anybody more, I don't see how I could") would not only
be yet another lost love but his last "touch of hands" for the series.

Look for Michael Constantine in these other THE VIRGINIAN episodes:  4.11
"The Dream of Stavros Karas," and 6.16 "The Death Wagon."  Mr. Constantine
would also appear with Doug McClure in the 1966 theatrical movie "Beau Geste." (bj)

Another "destiny" episode in Trampas' life and also another of my personal favorites. (bj)

Return to The Classic TV Archive "The Virginian" Home Page

Return to The Classic TV Archive Western  Page
Return to The Classic TV Archive Home Page

Feedback  -  "The Virginian" Guestbook