Stopover In a Western Town (Episode 2.10)

Executive Producer Frank Price
Written by Carey Wilber
Directed by Richard L. Bare

You said you needed a ride to town!

Episode scene:

A railroad bridge is down outside of Medicine Bow and the train is stopped until the bridge can be repaired. An arrogant passenger, Caroline, condescendingly expects the Virginian to get her to town, so he picks her up and transports her on horseback.

Quotation from the book (Chapter 9):

At six in the morning the stage drove away into the sage-brush, with [Molly] as its only passenger...They came to a river where the man bungled over the ford. Two wheels sank down over an edge, and the canvas toppled like a descending kite...Then a tall rider appeared close against the buried axles, and took her out of the stage on his horse so suddenly that she screamed.

Put it out ... that kind of wantin’ will get you hanged!

Episode scene:

The Virginian’s friend Tolliver has turned to cattle rustling in order to earn enough money to impress the eastern socialite, Caroline. When one of his men builds a fire because he wants coffee, Tolliver puts it out, afraid that it will lead a posse to them (which it does.)

Quotation from the book (Chapter 30):

“Yes,” said the prisoner, moodily. “I’m sitting here because one of us blundered.” He cursed the blunderer. “Lighting his fool fire queered the whole deal,” he added.

Was it worth this?

Episode scene:

The Virginian learns that his friend, Jeff Tolliver, is stealing cattle, and tells him to surrender to the sheriff. Jeff, not wanting to hang, forces his friend to kill him in a showdown. Caroline, who has been playing up to Jeff in order to make the Virginian jealous and win his affection, tries to explain her “good reason” for doing so, but is cut short by his angry question above.

Quotation from the book (Chapter 35):

“Good-by, then,” he said.
At that word she was at his feet, clutching him. “For my sake,” she begged him. “For my sake.” ...
He unclasped her hands from holding him, and raised her to her feet...And then...he was gone, and she was alone...
The Virginian gained a position soon where no one could come at him except from in front; and the sight of the mountains was almost more than he could endure, because it was there that he had been going to-morrow.
“It is quite awhile after sunset,” he heard himself say.
A wind seemed to blow his sleeve off his arm, and he replied to it, and saw Trampas pitch forward. He saw Trampas raise his arm from the ground and fall again, and lie there this time, still...
The Virginian walked to the hotel, and stood on the threshold of his sweetheart's room...“Oh, thank God!” she said; and he found her in his arms...

Additional comments:

  1. In the book, Steve turns rustler under the influence of Trampas, and is captured and hanged by his former best friend, the Virginian. After the hanging, the tortured Virginian tells his companion “You have a friend, and his ways are your ways. You travel together, you spree together confidentially, and you suit each other down to the ground. Then one day you find him putting his iron on another man’s calf. You tell him fair and square those ways have never been your ways and ain’t going to be your ways. Well, that does not change him any, for it seems he’s disturbed over getting rich quick and being a big man in the Territory. And the years go on, until you are foreman of Judge Henry’s ranch and he - is dangling back in the cottonwoods.”
  2. Of course there are lots of showdowns in the series, but this one was particularly reminiscent of the one at the end of the book, because Tolliver, like Trampas, is drunk, and a woman who is in love with the Virginian wants to stop it.
  3. In the book, the Virginian’s friend Scipio admires his prowess, exclaiming “You were that cool! That quick!” It aptly describes James Drury in every showdown sequence I have seen him in thus far. In You Take The High Road the Virginian teaches someone how to draw a gun fast and accurately by remaining focused and calm.


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(Compilation © 2002 by Alice Munzo. All rights reserved.)