CTVA - The Virginian 1.01 "The Executioners" 19 Sept 1962

The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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1.01 [--]
"The Executioners"

(no on-screen title)
Original NBC Broadcast - 19 September 1962

Revue Studios Production
Executive Producer Charles Marquis Warren
Produced and Written by Morton Fine and David Friedkin
Directed by David Friedkin

(shown on the ride-in)
Lee J. Cobb as Judge Henry Garth
Doug McClure as Trampas
Gary Clarke as Steve Hill
James Drury as The Virginian

Guest Stars:
V001_Hugh0Brian.jpg (50563 bytes)
Hugh O'Brian [ Paul Taylor (Newcome)]
Colleen Dewhurst [Celia Ames]

End Credits: (complete)
Pippa Scott as Molly
Roberta Shore as Betsy
John Larch as Sheriff Neil Brady
Richard Bull as The Doctor
Arnold Lessing as The Cowboy Guitarist
Audrey Swanson as The Mother
Tony Maxwell as The Boy
Barry Brooks as The Gravedigger
Jeane Wood listed as The Woman (not credited)
John Francis as the Onlooker (not credited)
Music Composed by Percy Faith 
(this opening episode does not say "Virginian theme-Percy Faith")
Director of Photography - Benjamin H. Kline, A.S.C.
Art Director - George Patrick
Film Editor - Edward Haire, A.C.E.
Editorial Dept. Head - David J. O'Connell
Musical Supervision - Stanley Wilson
Set Decorators - John McCarthy and James M. Walters
Color Consultant - Alex Quiroga
Color Processing by Consolidated Film Industries
Assistant Director - Edward K. Dodds
Sound - Corson Jowett
Costume Supervision - Vincent Dee
Makeup - Jack Barron
Hair Stylist - Florence Bush
The title "The Virginian" by permission of EMKA, LTD. 

Series Regulars in this episode:
Virginian, Judge Garth, Molly, Trampas, Steve, and Betsy
--all of the first season regulars were introduced in this episode
(although Molly would not appear after 1.14 "The Man From the Sea").

Brief Synopsis:
A stranger arrives in Medicine Bow to investigate the execution
of his father who was hanged after the local schoolmarm denied
having been with him on the night a woman was murdered.
Betsy turned 15 in this episode.

Detailed Synopsis:
The citizens of Medicine Bow come out for the hanging of Tom Newcome--a
disreputable man whose only alibi was having been with Celia Ames
(Dewhurst), the local schoolmarm, at the time a woman was murdered.  When
the teacher denies even knowing the accused, Tom is executed.  Neither the
Virginian nor the Judge show up at the gathering, suggesting a lack of
support for the decision to send Tom to the gallows.  Later that day a man
calling himself Paul Taylor (O'Brian) comes to town and begins inquiring
about the hanging.  After making a questionable first impression at Betsy's
15th birthday party (by adding a hangman's noose to his "gifts" of string
art), Paul is signed on to work at Shiloh when he exhibits his horsemanship
skills breaking a horse for the girl to ride.  Although he shows himself to
be an accomplished ranch hand, the Judge and local sheriff are
uncomfortable with Paul's demeanor and ongoing investigations.  Believing
that Tom was wrongfully hanged, Paul pretends to have affection for Celia
hoping to coax her into giving him the information he's looking for.  One
night in the school yard an inebriated Celia tells Paul that even though
she is attracted to him she loved Tom Newcome more.  When Paul reveals that
he is actually Tom's son, Celia admits that she lied about knowing his
father because she was "a woman who teaches children and therefore not to
be touched."  The Virginian and Molly, who had planned to spend a pleasant
evening riding, hear the school bell ring and get to the school house in
time to hear Celia's confession.  As Paul is leaving the sheriff arrives
and is told that the teacher had hidden the truth about Tom's whereabouts
on that night.  Paul, wanting to avenge his father's death but unable to
take it out on a woman or the whole town, threatens the sheriff.  The
Virginian steps in to prevent this, and Paul decides to take a measure of
satisfaction in the fact that the guilt Celia, the sheriff, and the people
of Medicine Bow would feel over executing an innocent man would have to be
punishment enough for them. (bj)

Memorable scene which is not included in the synopsis:  The Virginian,
Trampas, and Steve all want to court Molly the evening Celia reveals the
truth and try to outdo each other buying flowers to impress her.  While the
Virginian and Steve bring bouquets to her room, Trampas decorates Molly's
horse with flowers in hopes to be the one who woos her affections.  Molly
is impressed by her decorated mount but refuses to choose between the men.
As she rides off commenting on what a nice evening it is, the cowhands
decide to toss a coin to see who will enjoy her undivided attention.  The
Virginian "rigs" the toss and goes to catch up with Molly leaving Trampas
and Steve to find the coin Steve had dropped in the street. (bj)

On Characters:  
Although there may be discussion as to whether 1.03 "Throw a Long Rope" might
have been better suited as the premier episode of the series, in this story we receive our
introductions to the characters:  Steve and Trampas appear rather immature,
especially Steve who seems so naive when it comes to women that Trampas calls him a
"downy-cheeked kid."   Trampas struts a know-it-all attitude, and when
Steve wonders how he can consistently win the coin tosses, Trampas proclaims, "I
think winning, Boy.  I think winning." Trampas also thinks it would make a nice
picture to see the school teacher "dancing in the moonlight."  The
Virginian is portrayed as a man of conviction who didn't attend the hanging because
"a man's dying belongs to himself and any friends he wants close." He also looks
with insight into the coming events when he tells the Judge that hangings were meant to be
"an end to something, but no one goes un-mourned." The foreman sits solemnly in
the Medicine Bow Banner newspaper office as Molly comes in insisting she had to go to the
hanging because she ran a newspaper and had to report on it. We get a glimpse into their
relationship when there seems to be a wall between them until the Virginian turns her to
himself and tells her he didn't like the way they were talking to each other but didn't
know how to explain it to her.  Molly knows what he means, and the Virginian asks her
to explain it to him the next time he can get away from Steve and Trampas.  But the
foreman also has a sense of humor--When the Judge asks him if he knows what civilization
is, the Virginian smiles, "Sure I do.  I saw it coming through town on the way
back to Shiloh.  It's called a phosphate palace."   Judge Garth's
teenaged "daughter" Betsy (see 1.02 "The Woman From White Wing)" has
this to say about the trio--Steve was "pretty," Trampas was "funny,"
and the Virginian--he was the man she was going to marry.  We are first introduced to
Judge Henry Garth in his study as he converses with the sheriff who feels Garth's absence
at the hanging meant he thought they "did Tom Newcome wrong."  The Judge
wonders if the sheriff thinks his presence would have brought "dignity" to an
execution that became a "carnival with kids and lemonade."  He wryly states
that "civilization and progress" are "what's happening to the savage
land" and, after the Virginian's comment about the phosphate palace, notes he and his
foreman are both "men of a breed."   But above all, the Judge is
waiting for a time to come--"the time of dignity." Viewers are also introduced
to Shiloh.  As the Virginian, Trampas, Steve, and Betsy race for home, the boys pull
up their horses to look down on the ranch (a shot of the barn, bunkhouse, windmills, and
main house that would often be seen in later episodes).  Then the Virginian declares,
"It's a site.   Every time I have to stop and take a look." (bj)

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