The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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The Old Man in the Cave 

In a post-apocalyptic settlement in 1974, the inhabitants' survival is dependent on the advice of an unseen man living in a nearby cave. This dependence is tested when a band of soldiers descends on their town.

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(teleplay by), (based on a short story "The Old Man" by) | 1 more credit »
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Josie Lloyd ...
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Storyline

Ten years after an atomic apocalypse, a small group of survivors manage to eke out a very difficult existence. They've managed to survive in large part due to the advice they receive from an old man who lives in a cave outside of the town. Goldsmith acts as the intermediary and the old man's advice on things like crops or the safety of a batch of old canned goods are usually correct. When four soldiers led by Major French arrive in the town, the social order is upended with the townsfolk attacking the old man's cave but not really prepared for what they find inside. Written by garykmcd

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8 November 1963 (USA)  »

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(Westrex Recording System)

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This episode takes place in 1974. See more »

Goofs

When playing the dead Major French, James Coburn's eyelids flicker. See more »

Quotes

Goldsmith: When we talked about the ways that men could die, we forgot the chief method of execution. We forgot faithlessness, Major French. Maybe you're not to blame. Maybe if it weren't you, it would have been someone else. Maybe this has to be the destiny of man. I wonder if that's true. I wonder. I guess I'll never know. I guess I'll never know.
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Justice!
11 December 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I realize that the other commentators took this episode pretty seriously. Indeed it is a political episode. It's about the baser elements of humanity. The soldiers representing the survivalist mentality, the townspeople the rabble, and the old man a manipulative, self righteous oracle. Everything plays out the way it should, with those who deserve it getting their just desserts. It is the forbidden fruit being put on the table in front of desperate men. I hope, in my heart of hearts, that this isn't what we would do, but, sadly, I don't think it's far from the truth. The whole business of these guys rolling into a weakened civilization is played out every day in parts of the world. As I speak, it continues in the Congo and other African nations and in Thailand. We can be our own worst enemies.


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