The Virginian (1962–1971)
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Nightmare at Fort Killman 

TV-PG | | Western | Episode aired 8 March 1967
Stacey is shanghaied in Medicine Bow to take the place of a cavalry recruit. An inept officer allows two sergeants to keep up the facade that Stacey is a recruit while putting him through inhumane conditions to keep him quiet.



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Episode cast overview:
Emmett Ryker (credit only)
Elizabeth Grainger (credit only)
The Virginian (credit only)
Sergeant Joe Trapp
Les Crane ...
Captain MacDowell
Tom Beale
Private Martin
Wally Strauss ...
Company Clerk
Station Master
1st Non. Com.


Trampas drops Stacey at the Medicine Bow depot to leave on the 8:30 pm train to San Francisco to take papers to The Virginian. Stacey leaves his suitcase with the station master while he waits for the train. When he returns to get on the train, he is knocked out. When he awakes, he finds himself in an Army uniform at Fort Killman being dunked in a water trough after being drunk. He lands in the guard house in a cell with Private Martin. When two sergeants appear, he finds he was shanghaied by Sgt. Beale in Medicine Bow to take the place of an AWOL cavalry recruit named Thorn. Sgt. Beale expected his discharge papers to have arrived allowing him to leave before anyone learns who Stacey is. When they don't arrive as expected, the top Sergeant Joe Trapp is forced to help him. An inept officer allows the two sergeants to keep up the facade that Stacey is a recruit while putting him through inhumane conditions to keep him quiet. Meanwhile, at Shiloh John Grainger worries when he learns ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

8 March 1967 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Don Mitchell and Johnny Seven worked together on the NBC 1967 tv series "Ironside" Don co-starred for the run of the series, and Johnny became a semi regular. See more »

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User Reviews

Nightmare with black-and-white connotations
28 September 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I think Nightmare at Fort Killman gives us clues about the production model that Universal had in place when making The Virginian. In the previous installment, Doctor Pat, we have James Drury (The Virginian) and Clu Gulager (Ryker) appear in a starring capacity with a cameo by Don Quine (Stacy). In this one, the rest of the cast is used: Charles Bickford (John Grainger) and Doug McClure (Trampas) with Don Quine's Stacy featured as the central character. My guess is that after Don Quine did those quick scenes in Doctor Pat, he and the rest of the cast began working on the Fort Killman episode at the same time Doctor Pat was being filmed. Except for the train depot, entirely different sets are used and different directors are at the helm: Don McDougall for Doctor Pat and Abner Biberman for Fort Killman. Sara Lane (Elizabeth) does not appear in either of these two episodes.

Aside from the production model, this episode is worth discussing because of how it carries forward themes of justice as related to Stacy Grainger. This time, the Virginian is off in San Francisco, and Stacy is supposedly traveling to meet him, but he is shanghaied along the way. He is forced to endure harsh conditions at a military outpost. Both he and his grandfather will get caught up in the political cover-up that is occurring at the fort.

While I found some of the dialogue to be a bit over-dramatic (after all, we are supposed to see that Stacy is the victim of ruthless men), I did find the machinations of the guest characters rather interesting. At each turn, it seems as if Stacy will not beat 'the system' and escape, even with his grandfather's help. There is a great scene where Stacy does get away, but they come to get him at the Shiloh Ranch and he must go back and face murder charges (of course we know Stacy did not really kill anyone).

Eventually, good does triumph over evil and Stacy is released as a free man. But there are some setbacks along the way. A particularly poignant moment involves the death of a fellow black soldier that had befriended Stacy. While the previous episode, Doctor Pat, seems to advance the feminist cause, this one is likely inspired by the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In both cases, the production enables us to see more positive portrayals of women and blacks on television.

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