Christian Horn is member of an 1847 wagon train headed west. They are 1500 miles from St. Louis and are now in the New Mexico desert. Many in the wagon train are ready to turn back but Chris wants everyone to persevere. His son has had a fever for 11 days now and Chris goes off looking for water, only 100 yards or so from the others and suddenly finds himself in the present day. He can't quite bring himself to believe what he sees or where he is but those he meets believe he's a man from the past. The trip in time does have one positive outcome. Written by
Christian Horn, Jr. was born in 1839 and died in 1914. See more »
Christian Horn and his family are on a wagon train headed for the New Mexico Territory in 1847. The New Mexico Territory was established in 1850, on land that Mexico ceded to the United States in 1848. See more »
The year is 1847, the place is the territory of New Mexico, the people are a tiny handful of men and women with a dream. Eleven months ago, they started out from Ohio and headed west. Someone told them about a place called California, about a warm sun and a blue sky, about rich land and fresh air, and at this moment, almost a year later, they've seen nothing but cold, heat, exhaustion, hunger, and sickness. This man's name is Christian Horn. He has a dying eight-year old son ...
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A Twilight Zone episode with its signature juxtaposition of unassuming people unwittingly caught between the past and the present
This is a beautiful story, both rugged and gentle at one and the same time. Mr. Christian Horn suddenly emerges from his minimalist wagon train tended by a handful of hardy but weary and increasingly doubting companions. With women and children in tow, the troupe trudged toward the pre-Gold Rush California of 1847, en route from Ohio for the better part of a year, but still stifled by the vastness of the plains and deserts of the United States' western territories as they stood at the time. Also, burdened by hunger, his boy's critical pneumonia-like illness, and with water resources in remission, Mr. Horn, brilliantly portrayed by the highly studious Cliff Robertson who thoroughly researched his character's essence before the shoot, advises that he'll check out the sandy rim nearby for whatever glimpse of hope it may yield on the other side.
An early spot by the great John Astin (soon to become famous as Gomez Addams from "The Addams Family"), playing Charlie, one of Mr. Horn's compatriots, briefly reveals Astin's abilities as a serious character actor as he expresses reserved support for Mr. Horn's dogged persistence. As suggested by this episode's title, upon reaching the other side of the rim, Mr. Horn immediately, but unknowingly enters The Twilight Zone. With wits and courage backed by a quiet, wary intelligence, he begins to understand that which cannot often be grasped through one's ordinary perceptive mechanisms.
In another twist of characterizations, Ed Platt, best remembered for his rare (but long-running) comedic role as Maxwell Smart's (Don Adams) beleaguered, beloved Chief in "Get Smart" beginning four years later, plays his more typical character role here. He portrays the local doc who tries to assist a friendly café owner and his nurturing wife with the unexpected handful of a tattered man who arrives unceremoniously, and bewildered, on their doorstep. How that happened and what follows is unexpected, heartening, and ultimately fascinating in ways that typify "The Twilight Zone" at its best.
And it would be an error of omission not mention the power of the musical score, sometimes subtle, but pounding dramatically toward the climax, just before shifting musical gears once again, precisely on cue. The compositional phrasing provides an effective musical conduit through which the story-line best evokes its emotive content before transitioning back to a perfectly executed return to the introductory setting--except for it having now been duly altered by the Zone of zones.
This classic episode is among those that reveal Rod Serling's singular capacity to employ visionary dimension to his stories from either side of time's turbulent tunnel.
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