Original air date Nov 18, 1964
Directed by Maury Geraghty
Teleplay by True Boardman
James Drury as The Virginian
Lee J. Cobb as Judge Henry Garth
Doug McClure as Trampas
Clu Gulager as Emmett Ryker
Roberta Shore as Betsy Garth
Randy Boone as Randy Benton
Peter Brown as Craig Ryan
Leif Erikson as Charley Ryan
Whit Bissell as Whit Parsons
William Fawcett as Sam Elberry
Robert Colbert as Joe Barker
Roy Engel as Barney Wingate
Ollie O'Toole as Ray Masters
Judge Garth and Betsy bring a telegram to Charley Ryan at his played out silver mine which tells him that his son Craig has made the deal with some refiners to reopen the mine. Betsy grew up with Craig but hasn't seen him for four years since he left for college to study engineering. Charley is excited but a hint of trouble to come is fore-shadowed when he shows Betsy Craigs grade reports, top grades in everything but ethics and logic. Judge Garth is also skeptical about the terms of the contract. If the Ryans don't meet the quotas in a timely manner, they could lose the mine.
They meet Craig at the train and find him all business, no time for old friends. He's with a new partner, Whit Parsons. He tells his father to quit his menial town job. And he makes it clear they won't be hiring his father's friends to work at the mine. Parsons is bringing in his own crew. Craig refuses the Judge's offer to lend them some wagons. He doesn't want to start out hat in hand. It escapes Craig's notice that Betsy has grown up in four years. Three months later, the mine appears to be a busy enterprise. But Craig has to use his charm to placate the men who are a month behind in their pay so we know money and schedules are tight.
Craig's not happy when his father comes home from church with a bunch of friends from town. They are not made to feel welcome. Betsy invites Craig to a church social, but he doesn't seem interested. After his ungracious response to the town folk, Craig's combination of lack of ethics and lack of control over his partners starts to show. Then Craig tries to fire an employee and his partner reverses his order. They need pipe so they take a load from the store intended for Wingate, a local rancher.
A trapper who's been friends with Charley Ryan since Craig was a small boy is told he can't trap on their property any longer. When a conveyor belt breaks and they have to get some mules they have no money to pay for, they "drop by" Shiloh and mention they're on their way to town for mules.
While the mules are being gathered, Betsy convinces Craig to go riding. It's during their ride that Betsy learns why Craig is so driven to make the mine a success. When the mine looked to be played out before Craig left for college, Judge Garth didn't feel it was a good investment and no one would lend Charley the money to keep it going. Craig worked his way through college with his father's help from money made from menial jobs. Craig is now determined to make the mine a success for his father.
After the church social, Wingate confronts Craig about taking his order of pipe from the store. Craig is unrepentant. The next day Randy finds dead cattle by the stream coming from the Ryan's mine. The rancher's get an injunction to shut down the mine until there's a hearing. But Craig has a slick lawyer all ready to quash it.
When Judge Garth goes to the mine to complain about the water, Parsons maneuvers the valves so good water comes out of their outflow pipe temporarily. In the meantime, Sam the trapper gets drunk and heads off to assert his rights to trap where ever he wants. When he's found lying in the contaminated stream, the foreman brings him back to the mine. Craig wants to rush him to a doctor, but Parsons voices concern that if the water killed him, the mine will get closed.
Charley comes in on this conversation and is ashamed that Craig is even considering letting Sam die. Craig comes to his senses. Parsons tries to stop him and gets punched out for his trouble. However, by the time he stops at Shiloh for a fresh team, Sam is dead. Craig goes to the mine to shut it down, along with Judge Garth and others, only to be informed that Parsons has taken over. When Craig tries to stop him, he's shot.
In order to build a little suspense, the show goes to commercial and comes back to a funeral. However, as the camera scans the crowd, it finally ends up on Craig, sitting in a wagon with his arm in a sling. The funeral is for Sam the trapper. Apparently everything has ended happily. Charley's friends have invested in the mine, Betsy is going to take care of Craig while he recuperates and Craig has learned his lesson. Ryker tells Craig that Sam died as the result of a drunken fall. He wasn't poisoned by the water.
NiteOwl Review: A good "boy learning what it really means to be a man" story. Right up Peter's alley. It was rather odd seeing Peter in a part with no gun, only one scene on horseback, no roll and shoots and only one very brief fistfight. This was not an action story, but a must for a Peter collector. The Virginian fans might not be as happy because there's no Trampas, the Virginian was off to Kansas City on business and Ryker comes by only to serve the injunction and to tell Craig at the end that Sam was not poisoned. There's lots of Betsy and the Judge. Randy Boone also has a significant part, including a cute little diddy he and Betsy rehearse for the church social. Some of us liked Betsy even if she was something of "a mouseketeer visits the old west."
Cast Notes: Leif Erikson was probably best known to westerns fans as Big John Cannon on The High Chaparral although he was a frequent guest on other shows. Robert Colbert has a small background part here. Most of his guest roles were more prominent including a spot on Lawman. He was cast as Brent Maverick on Maverick after James Garner left but casting someone who looked like an imitation Garner was not a popular move with the audience. He was gone before the season was out. Colbert was Peter's roommate during part of his run on Lawman after Peter's divorce from Diane Jergens. Colbert was also a regular during the single season of The Time Tunnel (1966-1967) along with Whit Bissell. Bissell was one of the most familiar faces on tv and movie westerns as well as other genres. He was the leading guest on four episodes of Lawman and had a small role in an episode of Laredo. William Fawcett played hundreds of old geezers in both movies and television including four episodes of Lawman.
Official Peter Brown Fan Site