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.



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

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Episode complete credited cast:
Josie Lloyd ...


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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Release Date:

8 November 1963 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode takes place in 1974. See more »


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


Major French: Now, I don't think any of you are going to die of radioactivity. I think if you're going to kick off, you're going to kick off either from malnutrition, or from being conned to death.
Goldsmith: If that's true, Major, at least it'll be a painless death.
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Featured in Limitless: Fundamentals of Naked Portraiture (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Doubt Vs. Faith
5 November 2014 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

James Coburn stars as Major French, who leads his marauding band of soldiers in a post-apocalyptic world ten years after its decimation. John Anderson costars as Goldsmith, who leads his group of survivors who have made the best of things in their area by obeying an old man in a cave, who has given them unfailing advice for their survival, but whom French is most suspicious of, since no one has ever seen this old man, and his doubt and dissent spreads to the whole group, prompting them to eat reportedly irradiated cans of food that Goldsmith tries without success to stop them, as the old man is indeed not what they were expecting, though still wise... Intriguing episode poses many interesting parables with religious faith, though the outcome here may seem obvious, at least it is still interesting, with good performances.

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