Scipio Gaines is an escaped slave who has been living among the Indians for years. When a government official shows up Scipio is prepared to giving up his freedom, not knowing much has changed in the ensuing years.

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
James Edwards ...
Scipio Gaines
Lisa Gaye ...
Tacilia - Healing Woman
...
Tall Rock
Valentin de Vargas ...
Running Wolf (as Valentin deVargas)
...
Dr. Ransome
...
Dart
Michael Hinn ...
Capt. Morris
...
Hill
Perry Cook ...
Miner
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Scipio Gaines is an escaped slave who has been living among the Indians for years. When a government official shows up Scipio is prepared to giving up his freedom, not knowing much has changed in the ensuing years.

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Western

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8 October 1964 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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1.33 : 1
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Unusual tale of white-Indian conflict in the Badlands
29 January 2017 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

"The Other White Man" is a Season 13 episode of "Death Valley Days" and tells an incident-packed story of conflict between Indians and whites in the pre-Custer Dakota Territory around 1875, when a treaty barred whites from entering Dakota land. In the opening, we see a Dakota Indian warrior, Running Wolf, kill a white gold prospector as he's threatening Tacilia, an Indian woman also known as Healing Woman, who has ordered the prospector off the land since he's violating the treaty. The Indian chief, Tall Rock, fears retaliation by the army and wants to try to make amends. Meanwhile, at the nearest fort, the commander bars a wagon train from traveling through Indian country, while Dr. Ransome, an Indian agent from Washington, D.C., heads out to visit Tall Rock to attempt to renegotiate the treaty to allow settlers to pass through. Dr. Ransome's guide is killed by Running Wolf and Ransome is wounded, but nursed back to health in the Dakota camp by Healing Woman.

At this point, fairly late in the narrative, the title character, "the Other White Man," is called in by Tall Rock to help get Ransome back to the fort and mediate with the whites. This man turns out to be Scipio Gaines, a black man and runaway slave who hates it when the Indians call him "white man," seeing him as no different from the white men he's fled. Gaines has been living among the Indians for many years and has had very little news from the outside world. He is fearful of any contact with whites because he believes they will return him to slavery, so he meets Ransome with great apprehension. I don't know why they opted to introduce Gaines so late in the story. I understand that they chose to focus on his peacemaking role in the conflict, and needed to show the buildup to that moment in some detail, but I would like to have known much more about his backstory other than what little we get in a conversation in the tepee between him and Ransome. It's certainly a worthwhile episode of this long-running series, and one of a small percentage of episodes focusing on nonwhites, but I think the writer gave Gaines' character short shrift.

Lisa Gaye is a white actress playing an Indian, Healing Woman. Valentin de Vargas and Rodolfo Acosta are Mexican-American actors who play Running Wolf and Tall Rock, respectively. Both had long careers in Hollywood. Don Haggerty, who plays Ransome, was a veteran character actor active from the 1940s to the '70s. James Edwards, who plays Gaines, was a prominent black actor active from 1949 to 1970 and best known for his roles in such films as HOME OF THE BRAVE, THE STEEL HELMET, THE JOE LOUIS STORY, THE KILLING, MEN IN WAR, BATTLE HYMN, PORK CHOP HILL and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. He is billed in the end credits here as a Special Guest Star, a distinction I haven't seen yet in any other episode of "Death Valley Days," perhaps intended as compensation for the relative shortness of his role in an episode titled after his character.


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