Luis Gallegos is scheduled to be hanged in a dusty western town after he was found guilty of killing a child while drunk. Gallegos' father begs everyone for mercy but the Marshal, who ... See full summary »
Luis Gallegos is scheduled to be hanged in a dusty western town after he was found guilty of killing a child while drunk. Gallegos' father begs everyone for mercy but the Marshal, who doesn't think the prisoner is a bad sort, has little choice but to proceed with the sentence. Peter Gomez decides to take advantage of the situation by selling the father his 'magic dust' that will make the townsfolk take pity on his son. Events provide for an unexpected conclusion. Written by
One of a handful of Twilight Zone (1959) episodes to have no overt supernatural or science fiction elements. See more »
There was a village, built of crumbling clay and rotting wood, and it squatted ugly under a broiling sun like a sick and mangy animal wanting to die. This village had a virus shared by its people. It was the germ of squalor, of hopelessness, of a loss of faith. For the faithless, the hopeless, the misery-laden, there is time, ample time, to engage in one of the other pursuits of men. They begin to destroy themselves.
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This episode would have made a fine 30 minute film, but within the auspices of a show like "The Twilight Zone", a disappointment. That's because although the episode is well written and especially well acted, there isn't really that much irony or metaphysics--you know, that bizarre twist at the end. Yes, there is a twist but not at all as satisfying as you'd expect to see in this series.
The star of this episode is Thomas Gomez--a fine character actor who did tons of TV and movies over the years. Here he plays a truly nasty piece of work--a man who is eagerly anticipating the execution--a man who takes intense pleasure at the suffering of others. While most in the town are excited by the prospect, no one takes as much joy as Gomez. Additionally, he's a loud-mouth opportunist--a guy who not only sells the sheriff the rope for the hanging, but sells the condemned man's father some "magic dust" that will make everyone love and forgive his son.
As for this son, he's a guy in his 20s who was riding about drunk on his horse when he accidentally ran over and killed a child. The show very strongly pushes the audience to feel sorry for and forgive the man, though I wonder how much we would be willing to do either had this been a guy who killed a child today while driving drunk.
I don't want to spoil the ending but I'd just like to say that it didn't feel all that satisfying. But, Gomez's acting as well as the acting of the Sheriff and the boy's father were all very good so the episode is still worth seeing. However, this is far from classic and is quite skipable.
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