"We've Lost a Train"
(Pilot for Laredo)
According to our more literate friend Kat, this episode was set up as a western version of Dumas' Three Musketeers with Trampas as d'Artagnan. Trampas (Doug McClure) is sent to Mexico by way of Laredo to pick up a prize bull for Judge Garth. In Laredo he has run-ins with Texas Rangers Reese, Chad and Joe who all want a piece of him. Violence is averted when the Rangers are sent to locate an overdue train transporting gold. Trampas helps the Rangers rescue a baby, fight off Yaqui bandits, expose gunrunning Mexican soldiers and recover the stolen gold.

With the addition of some footage from the
second season Virginian episode "Ride a Dark Trail," about Trampas' life leading up to Shiloh, and a snippet from a first season Laredo episode, the pilot was released as the feature film Backtrack, mostly for the European market.
In the Laredo Pilot, the three rangers have a harder edge (and grayer clothes) than in the finished Laredo series. There isn't enough character development or background alluded to in the pilot to determine whether it follows the press release version. That version may have already been discarded. Chad sure isn't sporting a Boston accent or acting like a former West Point soldier. Joe certainly has a tougher persona, but there is no mention of Reese having been a Union soldier.
The Joe Riley of the Laredo pilot is closer to the tough characters William Smith would perfect in dozens of future roles including Falconetti in Rich Man, Poor Man. He mellowed considerably for the series. His demeanor in the pilot fits with the abandoned notion that his character was to be a gunfighter wanted in other states who sought refuge in the Texas Rangers.
By the time the Laredo series started both Reese and Joe had lost some I.Q. points to Chad Cooper, educated schemer and ladies' man whose education and charm weren't evident in the pilot. In the pilot, there wasn't much to distinguish him from Bill's character. Of course on his meanest day, Peter Brown isn't going to look as fearsome as William Smith, but in the pilot, both characters sported quick tempers and readiness to use their guns to settle small quarrels.
Reese Bennett in the Laredo pilot is less comical and something more of a leader than in the series. However, he is also ready to solve a small dispute with a gun, something that does not match the character described in the original press release version of the characters or the comical character in the series.
Only Captain Parmalee, whose appearance is brief in the Laredo pilot, remains relatively unchanged for the series (except for the reduction in the gray eyeshadow laid on a little thick in the pilot).
Doug McClure as Trampas
James Drury as The Virginian
Original air date April 21, 1965
Written by Borden Chase
Directed by Earl Bellamy

Regular Cast:
ames Drury as The Virginian
Doug MCClure as Trampas
Randy Boone as Randy Benton
L.Q. Jones as Andy Belden

Guest Cast
Neville Brand as Reese Bennett
Peter Brown as Chad Cooper
William Smith as Joe Riley
Phil Carey as Capt. Parmalee
Ida Lupino as Mama Delores
ernando Lamas as Capt. Estrada
honda Fleming as Carmelita
arol Byron as Winnie
al Baylor as Flake
eresa Terry as Estrellita
riscilla Garcia as Gaviota
uben Moreno as Yaqui Chief

Doug McClure, Neville Brand, Peter Brown, William Smith
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