Leaving New York City behind, Tod and Buz begin their search "to catch a star" and find themselves in a nightmare right out of "Bad Day at Black Rock." The unfriendly, suspicious, and ... See full summary »
Leaving New York City behind, Tod and Buz begin their search "to catch a star" and find themselves in a nightmare right out of "Bad Day at Black Rock." The unfriendly, suspicious, and violent residents of a tiny Mississippi town have a long-held secret--and they will kill to protect it. Written by
The original title of this pilot episode was "The Wolf Tree," which is what appears on Stirling Silliphant's 78-page script dated October 27, 1959. At the time, the series was to be titled "The Searchers." See more »
[speaking of Tod and Buz]
And I say they did it. And I say we gonna swing the pair of 'em higher than a buzzard can fly.
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The boys are on their way to a job with a shrimp boat owned by one of Tod's (many) old friends. (Route66 had come degree of continuity in their early episodes: this is the set up for their second episode). They get lost, go down the wrong road- this one is a dead end- and they crash. They need to get their car repaired to move on but no one will help them. Everybody just wants them to leave. The whole town is totally xenophobic. Tod and Buz find the only way out of their predicament is to get Caleb Garth, the richest man in town who owns everything and runs everybody's life to give the OK to help them so they can leave. While they are waiting for their car to be repaired, they find out the deep, dark secret that has kept the town a prisoner of a moment in the past for a generation.
Everett Sloane is excellent as Garth. George Kennedy has an early role as his chief henchman. The series inaugurates two trends: the heroes have to have a fistfight with somebody in almost every episode and there's a role for a young actress, playing older than her years. In this one it's Patty McCormack, famous for playing the murderous little girl in The Bad Seed, (1956). She was born August 21 1945 so she would have been probably 14 years old when she filmed this but in one scene Garth rips her dress to make it look like she's been raped. Kind of unusual stuff for 1960's television. But Patty will be back in a very different role 17 episodes later. Route 66 was off and running!
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