The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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Original NBC Broadcast - 20 January 1971
Universal City Studios, Inc.
producer john choy
written by james c. menzies
directed by don mcdougall
(shown in the opening sketch sequence)
stewart granger [Col. Alan MacKenzie] (not in this episode)
doug mcclure [Trampas] (not in this episode)
lee majors as tate
james drury as the virginian (not in this episode)
chuck connors [gustaveson]
katherine crawford [karen gustaveson]
scott brady [dolby]
jack ging [owen]
rudy ramos [the indian, aka "the animal" and "adam"]
edd byrnes as Alex Newell
special guest stars
andy devine [dr. houseman]
leon ames [judge fitzroy]
(pictured above - Katherine Crawford Chuck Connors Jack Ging, & Lee Majors)
Full Ending Credits:
james wainwright as boyd dewey
geo "shug" fisher as tinker
jay silverheels as spotted hand
larry levine 1st man
troy melton burt
theme ennio morricone
director of photography enzo a. martinelli
art director william j. kenney
set decorations perry murdock
unit manager ralph ferrin
assistant director lou watt
film editor albert j. zuniga
sound earl n. crain, jr.
main title design jack cole
titles and optical effects universal title
editorial supervision richard belding
costume supervision vincent dee
make up bud westmore
hair stylist larry germain
Series regular characters appearing in this episode: Roy Tate
On his way back to Shiloh after a long trip, Roy Tate hears gunfire in the nearby
hills. A man with a rifle (whose name is Owen) warns him against taking the trail
into Elgin, the nearest town, because of a "big hunting party up ahead" and he
"wouldn't want to see a stranger get hurt." Saddle-weary from his long ride, Tate
ignores his advice and rides on ahead anyway. Down the trail he indeed finds himself
caught in a hail of bullets. He dismounts his horse and angrily yells up into the
hills asking what's going on. Getting no response, he returns to his horse and finds
that someone has invaded his food supply. Hearing a noise in the bushes, he pulls
out his gun. He finds a young Indian eating his food and wielding an ax. "Hold it
right there!" says Tate, pointing his gun. As it's obvious the Indian hasn't eaten
for some time, Tate eases up and adds, "Don't be afraid. I won't hurt you. A
little hungry, are you? I've got plenty of food. You take what you need. What are
you? Kiowa? Shoshone?" The Indian doesn't answer and runs away. As he watches
him scramble up a hill, Tate sees that the Indian is the object of the hunters'
gunfire. Tate tries to help him, but the Indian thinks he's one of the men who
are after him and starts swinging his ax. Tate tries to assure him that he's not
one of the hunters, but the Indian doesn't seem to understand. Tate finally lassos
him with his rope, pins him down and ties him up. Up above them, the hunters are
joined by Gustaveson, a wealthy rancher, who tells the men they have the Indian
hemmed in and he can't escape. He hands them sticks of dynamite to use to "flush
that animal out in the open." Dolby, one of the men, questions the need for
dynamite. "I think it's only fitting and proper," Gustaveson answers, handing a
stick of the explosive to Dolby, "That powder belonged to my brother!"
The hunters start tossing the dynamite down on Tate and the Indian. "First class
sportsmen!" Tate says wryly as it explodes around them. Again getting no response,
he observes that the Indian doesn't seem to notice the noise of the explosions
and wonders if he is deaf. Tate stashes him in some bushes and rides on out.
He meets up with the hunters, who tell him that they're after the Indian for the
murder of Gustaveson's brother, Burt. "Which one of you's the sheriff?" asks
Tate. "We don't need the law to hunt a rabid animal!" says Dolby. "You do for
a human being!" says Tate. "Human being?" says Gustaveson, "You know how my
brother was killed? With an ax--his own ax!" Tate tells them that the Indian
is hiding by the creek bed down below, but declines to join them. After they
leave, Tate returns to the Indian in the bushes. He had lied to the hunters
about where he was.
Tate brings his prisoner to the sheriff in Elgin. He wants to ensure that the
Indian will get a fair trial. The sheriff tells him that it might have been
better had the hunters gotten him. He reluctantly locks him up and tells him
he'll have to see Judge Fitzroy about a trial. He also warns him that he may
"have trouble getting a room at the hotel" given the strong affection the town
had for the late Burt Gustaveson. Tate locates the judge in his dry goods
store, passing along the way a grizzled old "water witcher" with a willow stick
trying to sell his water-finding services to the drought-ridden local residents.
In his store, the judge is waiting on a female customer. Tate interrupts to
ask if the Circuit or Federal Court has jurisdiction for a murder trial. The
judge tells him that they would only if the local court waives jurisdiction.
Tate then asks the judge if he would be willing to waive jurisdiction so that
the Indian's legal rights would be protected. "That animal will get a fair
trial!" huffs the judge, although he leaves little reason for Tate to believe
him when he adds, "I knew Burt Gustaveson!" "But it could have been self-defense...
He could have drawn a gun on the boy," says Tate. The woman customer who has
been listening to all this chimes in, "My uncle never carried a gun in his life!
The day that he was killed, he was trying to deepen an old dried-up stream bed
so that the ranchers would have more water next year. While the other ranchers
were worried about a drought, my uncle was doing something about it! And not
because anybody asked him too, either. He was just always helping people
because that's the kind of man that he was!" She storms out of the store despite
Judge Fitzroy's attempts to stop her. "You just cost me a cash sale!" the judge
says disgustedly to Tate and points out that she is Karen Gustaveson, niece of
the slain man and daughter of the man he'd just met outside of town. Judge
Fitzroy promises that the boy will get a fair jury trial and directs him to Alex
Newell, the only lawyer in town.
Tate goes to see Newell and again raises the question of why the Federal Courts
wouldn't be involved because the accused is an Indian. "That only applies to
Indians living on the reservation," says Newell, acknowledging, "You seem to
know a lot about the law." "Not enough," says Tate. Newell tells him he won't
be able to handle the defense case, because he's already committed to being the
prosecuting attorney. When Tate asks where he can find another lawyer, Newell
hands him a list of all the attorneys in this section of Wyoming. "The nearest
one is three days ride from here!" notes Tate. As Tate leaves, Newell calls
out to him, "Thank you for telling me the boy had the ax. I may call on you to testify."
The next day, the District Court convenes in Judge Fitzroy's store. The judge
reads off the charges against him, but the Indian doesn't understand and looks
toward Tate in despair. Tate again objects to the Indian not having legal counsel
and asks for a postponement, but Judge Fitzroy tells him that "no defense attorney
in his right mind would ride all the way to Elgin to defend something like that!"
Gustaveson speaks up, asking the judge if he's going to "let this stranger run
your court? Now, we pay you for justice and in my brother's name, I'm going to
see we have it!" Karen Gustaveson, whose sense of justice has surprisingly been
stirred, speaks up, "I don't think that the court has a choice. The sixth amendment
is one of those laws and I believe it states that the accused will have the right
of counsel for his defense." The judge insists that he's not denying him his
sixth amendment rights and asks if anyone in town is willing to do so, to step
forward and take up the defense. When no one does, Judge Fitzroy bangs his gavel
and says, "Now, lets get on with it." Alex Newell, the prosecutor, also is
sympathetic to the defendant's sixth amendment rights and moves for a postponement
"so the prosecution can better prepare its case." The judge grudgingly grants a
five day postponement but only on the grounds that if Tate can't find a lawyer
to handle the defense, he will do so himself. "But I'm not qualified!" Tate objects.
"You haven't done too badly so far!" says the judge. Looking around the room and
then into the desperate eyes of the Indian, Tate says reluctantly, "I agree."
Tate indeed has no luck in finding anyone willing to take the case. "(There's) no
one (left) but you," says the sheriff. "But I don't even know his name or where
he comes from," says Tate. The sheriff suggest that he ride out and speak to Chief
Te-Tonka at the Shoshone reservation. He goes there, but instead runs into Spotted
Hand, a member of the tribal council, and finds no help forthcoming. The Shoshone
want no part of him and had banished the boy alone to a mountain top for "striking
other children" and other unsociable behavior. Tate, surprised and angry that the
Shoshone won't take care of one of their own, asks, "Can you at least tell me the
boy's name?" Spotted Hand ignores him and rides away. Tate calls after him, "Do
you know the white man's name for your boy? They call him 'the Animal!'"?
Tate returns to the jail to consult with his "client." He brings him some food,
but the Indian is still wary of him and doesn't realize that he's trying to help him.
Tate tries to draw out information from him, first by pantomiming and then by drawing
pictures of an ax. When this proves futile, he brings in the local doctor to examine
the boy. The doctor determines (after a struggle) that there is nothing visibly wrong
with the boy's vocal cords. However, by experimenting with a tuning fork, he determines
that he may be deaf, although he does get a response when the fork is held against the
bones near his ear. "It just might be that there's nothing wrong with the boy's mind
or his voice," says the doctor, "Could be that having never heard the human voice, it
makes it right difficult to learn to talk." Tate says, "Doctor, I have heard that
some deaf people have been taught to speak." The doctor shakes his head and replies,
"Mr. Tate, that would take some time. This boy's got a very short life expectancy.
I do seem to remember that the local school teacher did some work with deaf children
when she was a student at some fancy Eastern college. You might give that a try."
As it turns out, the school teacher is none other than Karen Gustaveson. When Tate
approaches her cautiously for help, she tells him, "It's one thing, Mr. Tate, to
expect a fair trial. That's common decency. But it's quite another to actually help
the man who killed my own uncle escape justice." "What kind of justice would it be
to convict that boy without hearing his side?" Tate asks. "You said he can't talk!"
she protests. "That doesn't mean that we can ignore his side of it," he says, "He
could be guilty because he's deaf? Or because his defense counsel is too ignorant
to help?" She looks away and says, "I thought he was rather ably represented at the
arraignment, Mr. Tate!" He replies, "It was you who quoted book and verse of the
law to that judge. It was you who got that postponement!" She asks him if he attended
law school. "I got my schooling in territorial prison," he says, "I like to have
read the print right off those law books, but it didn't get my sentence reduced one day!"
"Is that why you've taken such an interest in the boy?" she asks. "I know what it's
like having everyone think you're a crazy killer," he admits, "Feeling ignorant and
alone. Facing a know-it-all judge, not knowing what to do or say. Just standing there
being alone and frightened. But at least I could talk back even if nobody believed me!"
She shakes her head uncertainly and says, "You're asking me to go against my own family!"
"All I'm asking you to do is help a boy who may be innocent--help a boy who may not
have to go to prison!" says Tate, "It's bad enough for any normal man, but for him!
A boy who can't even hear or talk! They call him an animal now--in prison he'll BE an
animal, locked up in a cage for the rest of his life! Help me find a way to reach his
mind; to teach him a word. All I want you to do is get that boy to stand up in court
and tell them one way or the other...even with a nod of his head. Let him be a man
instead of what they call him!" Visibly impressed, she says, "I wish my class had heard
that! Counselor, would you accept a junior member into your firm?"
Tate takes her to the jail to see the Indian. Using the tuning fork to get his attention,
the two of them are actually able to make some slow progress in teaching him to respond
to "yes" and "no." "Good boy!" says Tate, patting him on the back, "Hey, we've got to
give him a name!" Karen thinks it over and says, "Adam!...It's from Milton, [quoting]
'The Angel ended, and in Adam's ear So charming left his voice, that he a while Thought
him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear'" "All right," says Tate, "Adam!" After
they've finished for the day and are leaving the jail cell, the Indian indicates he
wants them to leave the tuning fork with him. They're only too happy to do so and after
they leave, we see the Indian practicing with it by himself, a slight smile coming to his face.
Back at Gustaveson's ranch, Dolby gives Mr. Gustaveson the news that Tate and Karen have
been seen visiting the Indian in the jail. Furthermore, the sheriff (whose name is
Boyd Dewey) has seemingly been giving them almost "free run of the place." "My brother
isn't even cold in his grave and already Tate has half this town weeping for that
murdering animal!" says Gustaveson in disgust. Dolby suggests that they could burn down
the jail, but Gustaveson dismisses this idea because the sheriff "might take it
personally and drop a load of 12-gauge in your vest!" "We've got three of your hands
on the jury," says Dolby. "That's not enough for a hanging verdict," says Gustaveson.
Thinking it over, he adds, "Dolby, you tell ALL those jurors that if anyone votes
'not guilty' on Monday, they may never see Tuesday--not in Elgin!"
That evening Karen returns to the jail, where Tate is busy drawing pictures that he
hopes the Indian will be able to understand. "Is that supposed to be Adam leaving
the reservation?" she asks. "I just get paid for punching cows, not art drawing!"
he replies. She laughs and says, "You're full of surprises, Tate. In fact, I think
you're dangerous...to me! You had so much faith in Adam. You cared enough about
him to take on the whole town. A woman doesn't expect to find that in a man!" Uneasy
about where this conversation is heading, Tate says, "You know I spent ten years
behind bars. Maybe you ought to know why." She stops him and says, "Tate, credit me
with a little faith, too. I've watched you and that's all I need to know." Tate
and Karen enter the jail cell and show Adam the crude stick figures Tate has drawn,
one of them holding an ax, to which Tate points and says, "You!" He also shows him
another drawing of a stick figure on top of a mountain. "You, Adam," says Tate, "They
left you on a mountain top." This elicits a bigger response as Adam rises, looks up
and holds out his arms in bitter memory of that event. "Tate, why would they do that
to him?" asks Karen. "Adam fought with the other Shoshone children," says Tate,
"They probably laughed at him and that's the only way he could talk back." Showing
him the first drawing again, Tate asks him, "You, Adam. Did you hit the other man
with the ax?" The Indian nods affirmatively.
This cinches it for Karen. She had been coming around to thinking that the Indian
might be innocent, but now that he's admitted to striking her uncle with the ax, she
no longer wants to help. Tate suggests that it might have been self-defense or a
misunderstanding, but Karen is adamant that her uncle "wouldn't fight with a deaf boy."
"All right, say it was true murder," says Tate, "But isn't that boy still entitled
to a defense?" "Yes, he is," says Karen, "But not from me! I lived up to my part of
the bargain, but I can't be expected to defend the man who killed my own uncle!...
If family loyalty is prejudice to you, Tate, then I'm prejudiced and proud of it!"
Tate returns to his living quarters and finds that he's been locked out with his
belongings on the street. Undaunted, he goes over to the livery stable to bed down
for the night. He's followed into the livery by Dolby, Owen and some other of
Gustaveson's men. Dolby tells him that Sheriff Boyd Dewey witnessed the Indian's
"confession," so there won't be a need for any "fancy trial." "Saddle up, Tate,
you're riding out!" says Dolby. "I promise you the biggest, fanciest trial this
little old town of Elgin has ever seen!" says Tate, as a fight starts up. Tate is
badly outnumbered, however.
That night, Gustaveson stops Alex Newell in the street to press him about whether
"that animal" has any chance of getting off. "If Tate pleads not guilty by reason
of insanity, I'm not sure," says Newell. "We all know that's a crazy Indian in
there," says Gustaveson. Newell replies, "That's what I mean," and walks away.
Tate returns to the sheriff's office, sporting cuts and bruises from his fight.
Karen is there, too. Apparently she may have had a change of heart because she'd
been seen there earlier talking to Alex Newell, who lent her some law books "as
a legal courtesy." The sheriff tells him that "new rules" apply. He no longer
will be able to go into the cell and must do all his communications outside the
cell door because the prisoner is considered "too dangerous."
Later, Gustaveson and Dolby observe the sheriff outside the jail making his night
rounds. Gustaveson "suggests" to Dolby that someone start a fight in the saloon
for a diversion while someone else sneaks into the jail and releases the prisoner.
"No gunplay at the jail," Gustaveson warns, "But you know what happens when you
open an animal's cage? He runs, Dolby!"
Dolby waits around and finally sees Tate and Karen leave the jail. He sneaks in,
grabs the keys, unlocks the cell door and leaves. The Indian sees his chance and
makes his escape. When Sheriff Dewey discovers the escape, he seeks out Tate in
the livery stable and accuses him of arranging it. He doesn't believe Tate's
denial, even though Karen supports his story. When an angry mob gathers outside,
the sheriff tries to calm them down and set up a posse. While nobody is looking,
Karen releases Tate's horse (saddle-less at the moment) and sends it running into
the middle of the crowd, where Tate grabs it, jumps onboard and rides away into the night.
Outside of town, Dolby and Owen are waiting for the Indian to ride by so they can
kill him for attempting to escape. They mistake Tate for him, because he's riding
"Indian-style" without a saddle, and begin shooting. Tate eludes their gunfire
and manages to turn the tables and get the drop on them. The sheriff rides up
after having witnessed this and says, "Well, it looks like I'll have to get myself a bigger jail!"
Later, at the Gustaveson house, we see the Indian entering through a window. Tate,
who apparently has been tailing him, hears a scream and rushes in. Inside, the
Indian is making gestures toward Karen, indicating that he wants the tuning fork.
"Give it to him," says Tate. The scene picks up back in the jail cell, to which
Tate and Karen have returned him. Tate is again showing him his hand-drawn stick
figures of a man with an ax. This time they seem to be getting through to him,
as he mimes a struggle, swinging an ax and then running. He keeps repeating one
gesture, though, that has Tate and Karen puzzled: he holds out his two fists
about 10 inches apart and moves them sideways in unison. Tate continues to observe
him: "Adam knows exactly what he's trying to tell us...He's holding something...
Two sticks?" "The willow stick!" he says as it dawns on him, "The water witcher!
Adam's been trying to tell us the water witcher saw it! A witness, Karen!"
Karen thinks the water witcher has left town, but Tate recalls seeing him and his
mule up in the hills. Before running off to find him, he tells Karen that if
he's not back in time for the start of the trial to begin without him, using "all
your quotations, anything. Stall!"
Tate locates the water witcher (whose name is Tinker) up in the hills, but the old
man doesn't want to get involved, refuses to go back and fires on him. Tate tries
to appeal to his sense of justice by telling him that an Indian boy is standing
trial for murder. "I didn't see any murder!" It was only a fight!" yells Tinker
as he keeps on shooting. Tate finally "convinces" him by threatening to shoot his mule.
Back in town, Karen is doing her best to delay the start of the trial, resorting to
giving a speech on the history of women and the vote in Wyoming and why that should
qualify her to be the defendant's counsel. "I believe the court conceded that
point to you fifteen minutes ago!" says Judge Fitzroy, "Now, may we proceed?" Since
Tate hasn't returned, she asks for another postponement, but the judge refuses;
"Please, Miss Gustaveson! This court will not allow any more delays. Now if you
wish to remain counsel for this boy, you will proceed with the defense!...Now how
does the defendant plead?" "Not guilty!" says Tate, turning heads as he enters
with Tinker in tow.
Tinker testifies that he saw Burt Gustaveson plant some dynamite in an attempt to
deepen a stream bed when the Indian came by and stopped right on top of the lit
explosive. Burt frantically tried to call the boy off, but he didn't hear him.
He then ran up to him to push him out of the way, apparently forgetting that he
had an ax in his hand. The Indian must have thought he was trying to attack him,
so they struggled. Their struggle must have put out the fuse, but the ax fell
and struck Gustaveson on the side of the head. "I could see Gustaveson was hurt,
but he got up and staggered away," says Tinker, "the boy sees me, takes the ax
and lights out for the hills." "Then Burt Gustaveson tried to save the boy's life,
but Adam didn't know it at the time," says Tate, "Judge, this isn't murder. It was
a hard, cruel accident. The defense asks that the charges be dropped." "Alex,
how do you feel?" asks Judge Fitzroy. Alex Newell looks at Gustaveson, and tells
the judge, "The prosecution concurs."
As Tate prepares to leave town, a stagecoach pulls up. Gustaveson, Karen and Adam
walk outside; Karen and Adam to the stagecoach, Gustaveson to Tate. "It's been a
long time since I had to apologize for anything. I'm not sure I still know how to
do it," says Gustaveson, "I know you won't forget what I tried to do to that boy,
but I want you to know I was wrong. Anyway, I'd like to thank you for what you
did; for stopping me." He and Tate shake hands. Tate walks over to speak to Karen.
She and Adam are going to the University in Philadelphia, where Adam is going to
enroll in a program in which he will, hopefully, learn to talk. She's going to stay
with him long enough for him to get started, but supposes that when she gets back
in a month or so, Tate will be back at Shiloh. "Yes, I suppose," says Tate. "My
father put up most of the money for Adam's schooling," says Karen, "It was sort of
his way of saying he was sorry to the boy and I wish that one day you would stop
by and say 'thank you.'...We have pretty good cattle around here when it rains.
It might even interest Shiloh!" "I'll speak to the Colonel about it," says Tate.
She kisses him and leaves in the stagecoach with Adam. Adam waves goodbye, tuning
fork in his hand. [rho]
Notes and Observations:
Tate says he was traveling by himself because he was scouting a route North for a
trail drive coming up next month.
Tate gets to show off a previously unrevealed talent for the law. He says that he
spent a lot of time reading law books while in prison, although it didn't help
reduce his sentence. However, he knows enough to argue that the Indian's rights
are not being upheld and to attempt to present a case for the defense.
Judge Fitzroy, Karen Gustaveson and Alex Newell are suitably impressed by his legal knowledge.
The episode follows a similar theme explored earlier in "Run Quiet" (2.09) and
"Jacob Was a Plain Man" (5.05); that of a deaf-mute unable to defend himself when
accused of murder.
When Tate gives his moving account of having been in territorial prison for killing
a man, Karen asks if he was guilty. "Yes, I was," he confesses, "Not the in way (they)
said, but, just the same, I was." He later says that he "spent ten years behind bars."
The John Milton (1608-1674) passage that Karen quotes in naming the Indian "Adam" is from
"Paradise Lost: Book 8."
Guest star notes:
Lots of familiar faces:
This was the only appearance in the series by former baseball player Chuck Connors, of
"Rifleman" and "Branded" fame.
After a long absence, Katherine Crawford makes her fourth and final guest-starring
appearance. The wife of long-time executive producer (and later president of Universal TV)
Frank Price, she was previously featured in the memorable episodes "Say Goodbye to All
That" (1.18), "A Bride For Lars" (2.28) and "Felicity's Spring" (3.05). She's also the
daughter of Roy Huggins, pioneering television producer ("Maverick", "77 Sunset Strip",
"The Rockford Files", etc. and executive producer of most of "The Virginian" episodes
from the second half of season 1).
Scott Brady can also be seen in "The Storm Gate" (7.09).
Look for rotund, raspy-voiced Andy Devine in "Yesterday's Timepiece" (5.17).
Jay Silverheels, best known as "Tonto" in "The Lone Ranger", is also in "The Heritage" (7.07).
This was the only appearance by Rudy Ramos and veteran actors Leon Ames (the father in the
classic MGM musical "Meet Me in St. Louis"), Edd Byrnes ("Kookie" from "77 Sunset Strip")
and Jack Ging. [rho]
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Main Contributor for this episode: Robert Henry Ohlemeyer [rho]