CTVA - Overland Trail #1.11 "Mission into Mexico" 24-April-1960

The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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[11]  "Mission Into Mexico"
Original NBC airdate - April 24, 1960
Stagecoach Productions

Opening Credits:
William Bendix [Kelly]
Doug McClure [Flip]

Ending Credits:
Directed by Tay Garnett
Written by N.B. Stone, Jr.
Produced by Samuel A. Peeples
Executive Producer Nat Holt
William Bendix
Doug McClure
Guest Star
Robert Loggia [Porfirio Díaz]
Barbara Luna [this episode was enjoyable due, for the most part, to the delightful
performance by Ms. Luna as Estrellita, the beautiful and spirited Mexican Patriot]
John Van Dreelen [French Army Captain Fortesque ]
Barbara Lord [Princess Teresa, Niece of Maximilian]
Rodolfo Hoyos
Ronald Hayes [Luke, Stage Hand]
Nacho Galindo
Lola Rios
Mike Mazurki [Juan, the stoic, non-English speaking Revolutionary]
Reuben Moreno
Dehl Berti
filmed in hollywood at revue studios
mca tv exclusive distributor
Director of Photography William A. Sickner, A.S.C.
Associate Producer  . . .  Frank Price
Art Director . . .  Ray Beal
Editorial Supervisor  . . .  David J. O'Connell
Film Editor  . . .  Irving Schoenberg, A.C.E.
Music Supervisor  . . .  Joseph E. Romero
Sound  . . .  Earl Crain, Jr.
Assistant Director  . . .  Ben Bishop
Set Decorator  . . .  Hal Gausman
Costume Supervisor  . . .  Vincent Dee
Makeup  . . .  Jack Barron
Hair Stylist  . . .  Florence Bush

Brief Synopsis: 
For "political reasons" Porfirio Díaz and a beautiful Mexican
girl try to convince Flip to kidnap a passenger on the Overland
Stage--Princess Teresa, niece of Emperor Maximilian, who wants Mr. Kelly to
take her to Washington where she planned to ask for assistance for her
uncle's regime. (bj)

Detailed Synopsis:
It's the French Occupation of Mexico and Porfirio Díaz (Loggia), as others
his country, wants an end to the reign of Emperor Maximilian.  The
Revolutionary has an important undertaking in mind and seeks the cooperation
of Estrellita (Luna), a spirited Mexican patriot.   Flip is to be
her "pigeon," but the modest girl questions her ability to meet a man in
such a manner.
Although Díaz assures her that she's a beautiful woman and would have no
picking up the young stagehand Estrellita is still reluctant until Díaz
asks if it would be too much to do for Mexico.  "For Mexico,
no," she firmly replies and is off to catch her bird.  Flip is in the bath
preparing for an anticipated night on the little town of Amity, Texas, when
Kelly comes in with the newest dispatch.  Reading aloud, Kelly finds that
they are
to be across the border at the Hacienda de Las Patitas the very next day to
pick up a passenger for a diplomatic mission.  Flip objects,
suggesting that he be replaced by another driver. But Kelly insists that,
since the request was signed by the Ambassador to Mexico himself, it was
their patriotic duty to cooperate fully with the government and adds a
little enticement by mentioning they should get a good night's rest because
Hacienda de las Patitas meant "the home of beautiful women."   Flip then
agrees to go with Kelly in the morning but did not intend
to let his bath go to waste that night.  Exasperated with the youngster
Kelly leaves, ignoring Flip's pleas to "hand me a towel, I've got soap in my
eyes."  Estrellita, who had been waiting in the hall, reluctantly takes
advantage of Flip's predicament.  Even though she provides the much needed
towel, telling him she heard his cry for help, Flip is aghast at the girl's
presence and insists she shouldn't be in the bathhouse.  He does, however,
happily make a date to meet her in an hour for supper.  While in the cantina
Flip, suspecting that their meeting was not by chance, questions Estrellita
as to what
she wants of him.  It is then she asks for his assistance in kidnapping the
Overland's passenger.  When Flip declines her
request Díaz steps in to tempt him to comply by offering him $500. Flip,
however, remains steadfast in his refusal, so Díaz, not wanting to chance
having the abduction plan
revealed, takes him into custody.  The next morning  Kelly wonders what's
keeping Flip but must get on the
road and takes Luke (Hayes), the driver from the Amity depot, along with
him.  On the way to Díaz's hideout Flip tries to escape by knocking the
Mexican from his horse.  The Revolutionary's foot hangs in the stirrup, and
he is dragged by his spooked mount.  Even though he wants his freedom Flip
can't ride
away from Díaz's dilemma and stops the runaway.  At the Casa de los Banditos
Díaz still tries unsuccessfully to persuade Flip to join his group of men.
Meanwhile Kelly meets the passenger--Princess Teresa (Lord), niece of
Maximilian, who wishes transportation to Washington to ask for aid for her
uncle's regime.  Though Kelly reminds her of the Monroe Doctrine
Teresa insists she must go.  Back at the hideout Flip guesses that Díaz is
not really a bandit.  Díaz confesses to be a patriot who, for political
reasons, must keep Teresa from fulfilling her mission.  Although Flip wants
no part in the kidnapping he and Díaz begin to gain respect for each other.
Not so with the sadistic desperado Carlos
who would just as soon kill the stagehand.  After rejecting Carlos' advances
Estrellita wishes to cool the
tension in the room by dancing, but as she finishes Carlos becomes enraged
at her attentions toward Flip.  A knife fight ensues. Flip manages to get
upper hand but releases the outlaw with the warning that next time he would
"lift his hair."  With Flip unwilling to abduct Teresa himself Díaz informs
him that he was going to help their cause anyway by
holding up the stage.  On the road the banditos attack the Overland,
shooting Luke and
several of the French escort leaving Kelly alone to transport the Princess.
Farther down the way Díaz puts Juan (Mazurki) in charge of seeing that Flip
out his orders.
Thinking that Díaz had gone and Juan could not understand him Flip stands in
the road yet
yells, "Don't stop, Kelly."  However, Kelly, seeing Flip's raised hands,
rein in the team. Díaz reappears and, after taking Teresa from the coach and
clothes with the stage-man, drives the Concord away to lead the French
escort, who had
regrouped after the attack, on a wild goose chase giving Juan the
opportunity to take the
Princess, Kelly, and Flip back to the casa.  Estrellita is pleased to see
Flip again, and though saddened to hear that Díaz had probably been
captured by the French,  bolsters her spirits telling the group, "Even
so, you must eat."  The girl also feels compassion for Teresa when Carlos
threatens the Princess for refusing his advances. The prisoners are secured
upstairs, but news comes that the French are searching every house for
Maximilian's missing niece.  Carlos decides they must leave (after
another glass of wine), and Estrellita asks "What will become of the
prisoners?"  Reminding him that Díaz had given his assurance that no harm
would come to any
of them she objects when Carlos, who is now in charge, says he will take
Teresa with them but kill her "gringo friends."  Fearing for their safety
Estrellita frees Kelly and Flip yet is reluctant to reveal the whereabouts
of the "political prisoner" until Flip inquires if
she believes Carlos will honor Díaz's promise not to hurt the Princess.
There appears to be
no hope for a getaway when they are tracked down but, as
the brutal Carlos raises his gun to shoot, Flip gets off a deadly knife
throw while Kelly distracts the bandit by running for cover.  At the
Hacienda Teresa is reunited with French Captain
Fortesque (Van Dreelen) who has sentenced Díaz to death for treason, much to
dismay of the Princess who wished the patriot to be freed because he had
been kind and was only doing his duty by detaining her.   Flip
wonders if there wasn't something they could do to help Díaz, but Kelly
replies they could not fight the French soldiers because they still
represented the Mexican government.  Estrellita now peeks through the
doorway with the message
intercepted from a courier which states the present administration of
Mexico had
fallen and  Maximilian's troops were ordered to surrender.  The document in
hand Kelly and Flip arrive just in time to put their coach between the
firing squad and Díaz.
As the executioners leave after listening to the decree Fortesque, believing
the order to be fake, vows to
kill Díaz himself.  But during the fight between them the Captain is impaled
on the knife he had thrown at the Mexican (which had missed its target and
was sticking through the stage door). Díaz tells Kelly that Teresa must
remain in his custody but would surely be pardoned by the now President
As Flip, Kelly, and Luke (who had apparently only been injured during the
bandito attack) leave the Hacienda Flip, knowing he'd been duped again,
tells the trickster Kelly that Patitas means "young ducklings." (bj)

Some historical information:
Porfirio Díaz supported the reform movement headed by Benito Juárez and in
1867, during the time of the French occupation, was instrumental in
the control of Mexico City until Juárez could resume Presidency.  In 1877
Díaz himself became President of Mexico.

Maximilian (Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph) from Austria was induced by agents
of Napoleon III to accept the post of Mexican Emperor as part of Napoleon's
plan for the creation of a puppet state.  Aristocratic Mexicans accepted him
and the Empress Charlotte, but he was strongly opposed by the Indian
revolutionary leader Benito Juárez.  Although he did much to beautify Mexico
City most of his attempted reforms went unrealized, and he could only rule
with support of French troops which was a violation of the Monroe Doctrine.
Juárez's resistance and the growing involvement of Napoleon caused the
withdrawal of military assistance.  In May of 1867 Maximilian was captured
by Mexican troops and executed despite protests from the United States and
other governments.

With this information,  there was little trouble putting fictional
characters Kelly, Flip, Estrellita,
Fortesque, and the banditos into this moment of history (except that the date
for the pickup at the Hacienda was April 12 instead of  sometime in the
month of May).  Princess Teresa,
however, is another matter.  There doesn't seem to have been a niece of
Maximilian's who wished to go to Washington.  It was instead the Empress,
the former Princess Charlotte of Belgium, who went to Europe in an
unsuccessful effort to obtain support for her husband's regime.  When
Maximilian was executed the Empress lost her mind and became known as "the
mad Carlota." (Sources for this information--Encyclopedia International,
Grolier, 1968, Volumes 6 and 11)

Some added actor biographical information:
On December 17, 1961 (after having met on the OVERLAND set in April, 1960)
Doug McClure and the lovely BarBara Luna became husband and wife.  According
to Ms. Luna, who graciously added her comments to my question confirming
this information, she and Mr. McClure were "formally introduced by Mike
Mazurki [who portrayed Juan in this episode] while lunching at the
commissary."  She also commented regarding Mr. Mazurki, "Isn't that one of
the better character faces ever?  Mike was a sweet man too.  When he
introduced Dougie and I, he said he knew this was going to be serious."
This marriage was the second of five for Doug McClure. (bj)

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