Yuma gets involved at a stagecoach station when prejudice toward a Chinese father and daughter becomes physical. He assists again as thieves attempt to steal a dowry for the daughter's arranged marriage.

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Episode cast overview:
...
...
Quong Lia
...
Quong Lee
...
Wyatt Cooper ...
Collins
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Al (as William Foster)
Joseph V. Perry ...
Bert (as Joe Perry)
Doris Wiss ...
Flory
Edward Schaaf ...
Ticket Agent (as Ed Shaaf)
...
Chu
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Yuma gets involved at a stagecoach station when prejudice toward a Chinese father and daughter becomes physical. He assists again as thieves attempt to steal a dowry for the daughter's arranged marriage.

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Western

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17 April 1960 (USA)  »

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(DVD)

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(Westrex Recording System)

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1.33 : 1
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Dixie
(uncredited)
Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Whistled by Nick Adams
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Johnny Yuma helps a Chinese father and daughter-in-distress
19 January 2016 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

"Blind Marriage" is a 1960 episode of the half-hour western TV series, "The Rebel," and is significant for its plot about Chinese characters in the old west and its casting of both Lisa Lu and Philip Ahn. Ms. Lu had appeared in about 31 TV western episodes in the late 1950s and '60s, and I've written here about two later western roles she had, in the "Day of the Dragon" episode of "Bonanza" (1961) and the "Pocketful of Stars" episode of "Cheyenne" (1962). Philip Ahn had played a Chinese doctor in Virginia City in the "Bonanza" episode and plays Ms. Lu's father here. Unlike those two episodes, Lu plays a more passive character here, buffeted by the aggressive actions of men seeking either to protect her or do her harm, not to mention her father's plans for her. The plot involves Ahn's attempt to take her by stagecoach to Sacramento for an arranged marriage with a man she's never met. He is carrying a large dowry, which makes him a target of thieves. Early on, the father and daughter are subjected to bigotry when they are denied passage on a stagecoach and bullied by two of its passengers. Johnny Yuma (Nick Adams), the "Rebel" of the title, is riding shotgun on the stage and comes to the aid of Ahn and Lu. In gratitude, they invite Yuma back to their home, along with two other seemingly sympathetic passengers, Young (Victor Buono) and Collins (Wyatt Cooper), and show them works of Chinese art, including a 500-year-old vase from the Sung Dynasty, and treat them to a Chinese meal. Yuma is even forced to learn how to use chopsticks, recalling a similar scene in a Japanese-themed episode of "Laramie" entitled "Dragon at the Door," which I've also reviewed here. In the course of the meal, Lu and Ahn discuss Chinese culture, including the whole concept of arranged marriages, which Yuma opposes, but which Lu defends. Ahn happens to describe China's psychological approach to making people divulge information and provides details of the famous Chinese water torture. Chinese is spoken multiple times when Ahn gives instructions to his servant (Spencer Chan).

Eventually, Young hires a stagecoach and offers to take Lu and Ahn to Sacramento, but makes clear there is no place for Yuma on it. Suspicious of Young and mindful of the dowry Ahn is transporting, Yuma decides to follow the stagecoach from a safe distance and is soon forced to intervene again after the stage is held up on the road. Before too long, he finds an opportunity to make use of the Chinese water torture on two of the plotters behind the robbery.

Given the half-hour format, we don't get the most intricate of plots nor the finer points of cultural exchange between east and west that we get in the other Asian-themed TV western episodes I cited. But it's always good to see Ahn and Lu in western episodes playing Chinese characters who are not stereotyped. This episode was directed by Irvin Kershner, who made his name 20 years later with the second Star Wars film, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. I'm posting this on January 19, 2016, Lisa Lu's 89th birthday.


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