CTVA - The Virginian 8.14 [215] "Black Jade" 31-Dec-1969

The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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8.14 [215]
"Black Jade"

Original NBC Broadcast - 31 December 1969

Universal City Studios, Inc.
Executive Producer Norman Macdonnell
Produced by Paul Freeman
Written by Herb Meadow
Directed by Joseph Pevney

(shown on the ride-in)
John McIntire as Clay Grainger (not in this episode)
Doug McClure as Trampas
Tim Matheson as Jim Horn
Sara Lane as Elizabeth Grainger (not in this episode)
James Drury as The Virginian

Guest Stars
William Shatner [Henry Swann]
James A. Watson [Cobey Jade]
Jill Townsend [Roseanna]

Complete Ending Credits:
Timothy Scott as Frank Jugg
Charles Maxwell as Charlie Becker
Wayne Storm . . . Herman Jugg
Ken Renard . . . Chief Iron Hands
Harper Flaherty . . . Harper
Associate Producers
Robert Van Scoyk
John Choy
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 . . . Les Berke
Film Editor . . . Richard M. Sprague
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, the Virginian, Jim Horn, Harper, and Cecil

As the Shiloh cowhands near the end of a cattle drive Cobey Jade (Watson)
drives up to the camp desiring to purchase a steer.  He entertains the men
with songs and talk about his plans to set up a hotel in his town called
Times where no one will have to pay for lodging but the poor will
be held in honor while the rich will have to wait in line.  His music
delights the drovers but spooks the cattle into stampeding.  Two steers are
killed, and the Virginian has one of them put in Jade's wagon.  Jade offers
his silver watch as payment.  The Virginian refuses to take it--he just
wants the man and his loud instrument gone--but Jade insists he won't take
charity so the foreman tells Harper to put the time piece in the cash box.
Because it still has the picture of the man's wife in it Trampas recognizes
the watch as the one he had given to a friend who had saved his life back in
Texas.  He is sure Barney would have removed the photo if he had sold it or
lost it in a poker game and fears Jade might have stolen it.  Trampas heads
for High Times and finds essentially a ghost town.  When questioned Jade
maintains he bought the watch from a railroad detective, but Trampas won't
believe him and insists on taking him to the sheriff to be jailed until
he can find out what happened to Barney.  Jade is convinced that most of
the problem is Trampas is racially biased and thinks Blacks can't be
trusted.  Soon some Indians show up, and one of them takes Trampas' rifle
from his scabbard offering to kill the cowhand with it for making "bad eyes"
at their friend.  Much to Trampas' dismay Jade gives the rife, along with
all his ammunition, to the chief as a gift to use for hunting game.  But
after Jade explains that he had dropped off the steer at the reservation
because the families had no meat and he sees some children in the wagon
Trampas is able to be a little more sympathetic to the Indian's plight.  The
children are invited inside the hotel for a "cultural lesson" as Jade
teaches them gospel "freedom" songs.  Sarcastically Jade mentions that
Trampas would probably like to wait outside to keep an eye on his horse
because "everybody knows Indians can't help stealing."  But Trampas, wanting
instead to watch Jade, joins the group.  The chief gratefully gives the
musician a gold nugget.  Jade doesn't want to accept it until Trampas asks
him if he's the only one who was allowed to have pride.  As soon as the
Indians leave Trampas becomes adamant again about turning Jade in for
stealing his friend's watch and now adds that he could also have him
arrested for "selling" firearms to the Indians.  At supper Jade tells
Trampas he had taught the children the music so they would know that
"life was given to be more than sweat and hunger."  He also says that he had
claimed possession of the ghost town and even drawn up a town charter with
such rules as "no chair can be higher than another chair."  Trampas mentions
that there was "no realness to it--it's all in your head."  For Jade,
"That's the whole point.  It's there.  It's mine.  It's private, happy, and
mine like a tune you hum to yourself and make up as you go along."  And the
best part is "nobody can ever take it away."  About this time some Southern
country hicks who are running from the law appear looking for the gold
mining town one of them had remembered as being there.  Swann (Shatner)
needs a
doctor to tend to the bullet wound in his arm, the others want to eat and
drink, and Roseanna (Townsend) just wants a bath.  Disappointed that there
isn't much to the town, the men tell Trampas and Jade to empty their pockets
and, when they see the nugget, press Jade to tell them where the rest of the
gold is.  Roseanna, dissatisfied that Swann had lied about taking her to his
plantation, tries first to get Trampas to help her and then ridicules
Charlie with threats that she will tell everyone about his lack of manhood
unless he takes her away from there.  Swann feels the only place for Blacks
is in the role of servants and has Jade whipped in hopes of getting the
information on
the whereabouts of the gold.  When Trampas ignores orders to stay put and
goes to the kitchen for some grease to rub on Jade's wounds the men tie him
up and put him in a shed outside.  Charlie leaves, probably because he
doesn't want to face the others, and Swann, who is still in need of a doctor
and some liquor, sends Frank and Herman to look for him.  Soon
the Indians return and ride in a circle around the hotel (reminiscent of
circling a wagon train) as Swann and Roseanne shoot at them with rifles.
Jade had taken apart the piano, which had been damaged by gunfire earlier,
making the excuse that he was going to fix it.  But instead he uses pieces
of the wood and wire strings and makes a bow and some arrows which he shoots
at Swann to get him to surrender.  As he unties Trampas Jade is again
that he had bought the watch from a railroad detective.  Relieved to be free
and considering all that Jade had been through Trampas finally consents to
believe him.  When he hears the gunfire Herman decides to return to High
eager for a fight, but Trampas stops him saying, "I like Indians."  After
another song by the children Trampas and Jade pack up Swan and Herman to
turn them in to the sheriff.  Trampas expresses regret that much of Jade's
work had been destroyed, but Jade reminds him, "They only spoiled what is
wood and iron.  Nobody can take away what I got in my head."  As they leave
Swann asks Roseanne to play up to Trampas so he'll let them go, but she
refuses saying he was going to jail and she was going home to her Papa.

Looking for this scene?
While Jade is singing at the cattle camp, Trampas
decides to take a dip in the river. He had stripped down to his long johns
when the stampede starts. Trampas heads for cover in the trees while the
swarm of animals runs past and then mounts his horse to help turn
the herd. Harper wonders, "What've you got on there?" Trampas
replies, "What does it look like I've got on?" Harper states,
"It looks a lot like your drawers." The next morning after the cattle
are settled down, the men are riled at Jade for starting the stampede.
Trampas, still only in his long johns, rides up and expresses his
displeasure about having to chase cattle in his "under drawers."
Trampas threatens, "I ought to..." but Jim steps in to cool things
down by giving Trampas his hat which he'd left behind
during the commotion. Trampas then walks off
in a huff without taking his anger out on Jade. (bj)

As a purely personal opinion I feel this episode started out well
but deteriorated rapidly with the arrival of Shatner and his group of hicks.
It seems to me the matter of prejudice and greed could have been better
handled if this bunch had been a little less ridiculous (as Roseanne
commented to Swann, "Every time you open your mouth a fool looks out").
Perhaps it was written or directed in this manner to play down some of the
tension or even add a little humor to the situation.  To be fair, I watched this show
 several times but still failed to see anything in it that should have been a laughing matter.
 Instead I found these people rather annoying and very much a detraction to the story
line.  Compare Swann with William Shatner's brilliant dramatic performance
as Luke Milford in episode 4.04 [094] "The Claim." (bj)

Western TV Series note:  William Shatner and Doug McClure would team up
again as Jeff Cable and Cash Conover in the short lived series   "Barbary Coast" (Paramount/ABC)(1975-76)

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