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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Serling's "Dust" is one of the more low-key episodes in the series, but one that sells its point -- about the power of love and forgiveness in the face of despair -- with well-drawn characters instead of one-dimensional caricatures. In a dying southwestern village anticipating a hanging, a sleazy peddler (Thomas Gomez) convinces the desperate father (Vladimir Sokoloff) of the condemned man that he has a magic dust that changes hate into love.
Although Serling could get preachy with his later episodes (the later, yet similar, "I Am the Night, Color Me Black" is a good example), the speeches in this story well directly out of the characters, particularly Sokoloff, whose anguish is palpable. Likewise, Gomez' actions are driven by greed and a general misanthropy, and John Larch's by an exhausted cynicism. The town's desperation is made manifest in the production design, and in the well-drawn characters.
Beware, however, of cuts of the show that edit out the last scene with Gomez and the children -- this scene is the true Twilight Zone twist, which ties the entire show together.
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