Lawman Conny Miller rides into a small dusty town not long after the townsfolk have gunned down the man he's been tracking for four months. He feels like he's wasted that four months and someone bets him $20 he hasn't the nerve to visit the dead man's grave. He takes that bet and has little difficulty going to the grave. Leaving it however proves to be another matter however. Written by
Conny Miller's hat is called a "Campaign Hat" which can be traced back to the mid-19th century. Although made by many manufacturers, Stetson was a major producer of these hats. Soldiers found the middle crease of their hats to be impractical since it accumulated rain water and they started pushing up the center so it would shed water. Sometime in 1911, the Army adopted this style of hat as "1911 Hat, Service, M1911 (Campaign Hat)". Unofficially it had several names: "lemon squeezer", "mountie hat", "ranger hat", "drill instructor cover", "smokey bear", "the Montana crease", and several others. See more »
When Conny Miller first enters the saloon, and it shows him entering from the inside, you can plainly see a set wall directly behind him, instead of what should be the open space of the street. See more »
Normally, the old man would be correct: this would be the end of the story. We've had the traditional shoot-out on the street and the badman will soon be dead. But some men of legend and folk tale have been known to continue having their way even after death. The outlaw and killer Pinto Sykes was such a person, and shortly we'll see how he introduces the town, and a man named Conny Miller in particular, to the Twilight Zone.
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A tall tale all the way, The Grave is one of the best of the Twilight Zones, and surely the best of the western ones. The story revolves around the return of local bounty man Lee Marvin shortly after a group of townsman had taken turns trying to and eventually succeeding at gunning down a notorious desperado.
Aside from the awkward ending,--and I wonder how it could have been otherwise--the build-up is superb, as Marvin's character agrees on a bet to stick a knife into the desperado's grave to prove that he isn't a coward, hence the title. Three men in a bar had been suggesting that he was afraid of the dead man, in life and, perhaps even now, in death.
The tone of this episode is like a cross between Noir and horror. It doesn't particularly feel like a Twilight Zone, which works in its favor, as the story draws the viewer in and even amuses him a little with some barroom banter without any overt suggestion of the supernatural. That comes later.
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