The Virginian: Season 5, Episode 22

Melanie (22 Feb. 1967)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 13 users  
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An old and successful friend and his daughter from Chicago visit the Graingers. John is surprised when he learns they want to stay in the area. The high society daughter falls in love with Trampas who doesn't know about her secret illness.



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Title: Melanie (22 Feb 1967)

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Episode cast overview:
Emmett Ryker (credit only)
Don Quine ...
Sara Lane ...
Jim Kohler
Melanie Kohler


John Grainger's old friend, Jim Kohler, and his daughter, Melanie, come to Shiloh to visit from Chicago where he is a successful businessman. When they arrive at Medicine Bow, John and Elizabeth are there along with Trampas to meet the Kohlers. Melanie is highly educated having traveled around the world. When she gives Trampas a tip for handling their luggage at the railroad station, he returns the favor when she holds his hat as he drops her luggage in her room. Jim tells John that he is looking for a place nearby for them to move to but John senses a problem. Melanie and Elizabeth riding run into Trampas. Melanie steals Trampas' cutting horse but falls off. Trampas finding her is forced to kill a threatening mountain lion. He helps her home where a kiss from him leads to her going with a skeptical Trampas to Medicine Bow the next day. Very quickly a serious relationship develops between them as she lives life to the fullest. The result is Trampas asking Melanie to marry him. However... Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

22 February 1967 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Susan Clark
28 September 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Instead of reviewing this episode, I would almost prefer to review the lead guest star, a very young Susan Clark. Clark, born Nora Golding, is a Canadian actress who has gone on to achieve notable successes in film and television. While this appearance on The Virginian is not her first acting credit, it was her first significant role in Hollywood.

One has to understand that even after the studio system changed, companies like Universal, which owned and produced The Virginian, still put young actors under multi-year contracts. Susan Clark was one of those new young talents that Universal was grooming for success in a slew of projects and what better way to promote her and help audiences become familiar with her than to give her a pivotal role on an episode of this highly rated western.

Susan Clark's first feature film in Hollywood would not be released by Universal until July of 1967, about five months after the initial airing of this episode. Later, in the fall of 67, Universal would assign her a two-episode role in Ben Gazzara's hit show Run for Your Life. So her career was off and running. Other more prestigious projects like 'Coogan's Bluff' and 'Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here' would quickly follow.

But it is this very early appearance on The Virginian that is so fascinating to watch. Her performance is pitch-perfect as a society girl with a short time to live who invariably finds love with ranch hand Trampas (Doug McClure). She is required to play the role icily and then warmly as a woman who has decided to embrace what time she has left in order to live life to the fullest. The ending of this episode where she is forced to break Trampas' heart is well- acted.

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