CTVA - Overland Trail #1.15 "Escort Detail"  22-May-1960

The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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[15]  "Escort Detail"*****
*Original NBC Airdate May 22, 1960
Stagecoach Productions

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

Ending Credits:
Directed by Lesley Selander
Written by B.L. James
Produced by Samuel A. Peeples
Executive Producer Nat Holt
William Bendix
Doug McClure
Guest Star
David Wayne [Lt. Adam King]
James Best [Frank Cullen, the Gentleman of the Cavalry Escort]
Miriam Colon [Aloka, Wife of Sioux Chief Crazy Horse]
Loren Tindall [the cowardly, womanizing Private John Sumpter]
Bartlett Robinson
Maurice Jara
Pat Hogan
Paul Clarke
Edw. G. Robinson, Jr.
John Marley as "Crazy Horse"
filmed in hollywood at revue studios
mca tv exclusive distributor
Director of Photography Bud Thackery, A.S.C.
Associate Producer  . . .  Frank Price
Art Director  . . .  George Patrick
Editorial Supervisor  . . .  David J. O'Connell
Film Editor  . . .  Edward Haire
Music Supervisor  . . .  Joseph E. Romero
Sound  . . .  Melvin M. Metcalfe, Sr.
Assistant Director  . . .  Carter De Haven, III
Set Decorator  . . .  Perry Murdock
Costume Supervisor  . . .  Vincent Dee
Makeup  . . .  Jack Barron
Hair Stylist  . . .  Florence Bush

Fearing for the their safety and being "about the best Indian Scout west of the Missouri" Flip goes along on a cavalry
detail to escort Chief Crazy Horse's wife (Colon), who has been in Washington as an ambassador of amity, back to her
village. The "Sioux Princess"'s desire is that Indians and Whites learn to trust each other and become friends, but
some braves from her own tribe try to prevent her from returning with a treaty since they still wish to do battle against
those who would take their land. Aloka's ideals and gentle heart are also challenged by a womanizing army private (Tindall)
and an Indian-hating officer (Wayne) whose motive for wanting to meet with Crazy Horse was not to promote peace but avenge
the death of his brother who had been killed in the Sioux "massacre" of Custer's troops. Aloka is continually met by Lt.
King's hostility when she suggests he try to understand her culture or convince him that her husband would keep a treaty
because he was tired of war and wished to save his people from further suffering. When the renegade braves attack, the
Lieutenant dutifully fights to protect the "squaw" who in turn screams to alert Flip that one of the Sioux was about to
ambush the officer. When King thanks her for saving his life Aloka replies, "You risked yours for me. It is the way of
friends." The woman's sincerity finally breaks through King's bitterness, and, upon reaching the Sioux camp, the Lieutenant
confesses to Flip that he had intended to kill Crazy Horse but now was not sure he could carry out his plan. The treaty is
signed with the Chief's assurance that "Once we fought, now it is ended between us." In a touching moment Aloka gives King
a parting token stating, "It is the custom of my people when a friend goes away to give him some gift with the hope he'll
come back." (bj)

Flip and Kelly are taking Aloka, a Sioux princess, back to her people. Peace with the Sioux depends on her return. [JB]
(Synd Rerun WLUK-11 Green Bay, WI Sat 28Oct 61 10:30 p.m.)

Historical background and other notes:
The time period of this episode would have been between 1875 (Battle at
Little Big Horn) and the spring of 1877 when Crazy Horse "surrendered."
Unless this was
intended to be the final episode there would seem to be a continuity error
with [11]
"Mission Into Mexico"
dating around 1867 and  "Most Dangerous Gentleman" (the last broadcast in
the series)
opening with the date 1873.  Of course many shows during the 1960's aired
their individual episodes as "stand alones" without the thought of the date
continuity found in soap operas and some of the more recent series.

Here again (as often is the practice in Western movies and Television shows)
we have historical figures
appearing in fictionalized stories about them.  Such would be the premise of
Crazy Horse sending his wife to Washington on a mission of peace (no mention
of an Aloka in the sources I looked into--perhaps a spin-off of Geronimo's
wife Alope?).
This Indian Chief, along with Sitting Bull and Gall, would not consent to
U.S. Government agreements and fought to protect his land from the
encroachment of White settlers, many who wanted mining rights to the area.
Despite the annihilation of Custer's troops, when Crazy Horse and his people
did ride into the Government agency in May of 1877 to agree to make war no
more, even some of the White military regarded him highly for his prowess in
It seems a few of the other chiefs became jealous of Crazy Horse's
popularity and spread rumors about his rebelliousness.  One source
("American Indians" Vol. 1, Consulting Editor Harvey Markowitz, Salem Press,
1995) stated that possibly Crazy Horse became doubtful of his decision to
surrender because he was aware of the Government's mistreatment of other
tribes, and mistranslations contributed to the uncertainty of the Sioux
Chief's intentions.  Therefore the decision was made to arrest and resettle
him on a distant reservation.  However, in September of 1877 he was mortally
wounded during the scuffle which occurred while he was being taken into
custody. (bj)

Also of mention:
Gary A.Yoggy in his comprehensive book "Riding the Video Range, The Rise and
Fall of the Western on Television" (McFarland & Company, Inc., 1995) p. 348
writes that the Association on American Indian Affairs found "Overland
Trail" "particularly objectionable"
in its presentation of the Indian image.  After watching the episodes prior
to this one I can understand some of the Native
Americans' feelings of being negatively stereotyped.  Since this was the
last episode
of the series with "Indian" appearances I wonder if this story might
have been an attempt to make a small amends for the previous treatments
(Flip's comment to Aloka that "Many people respect and honor you.")
I'm also wondering if the more positive characterization of an intelligent
and tender Native American woman as a person of dignity and the well-written
discussion on the philosophy of war and hopes for reconciliation in any way
appeased the A.A.I.A. or if
this story made matters worse due to its historical inaccuracy.

All that said, in my opinion, none the less this is a very poignant episode
about establishing understanding, trust, and friendship between nations as
well as a story of forgiveness for the atrocities that happen as a result of
war.  I wish it could have been so. (bj)

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