The Virginian: Season 1, Episode 10

West (28 Nov. 1962)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
7.6
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Trampas becomes involved with 3 good old fun loving guys. The four of them meet up with a gang of real bad guys. When Trampas and friends volunteer to go after the bad guys they get an awakening from the townsfolk.

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Title: West (28 Nov 1962)

West (28 Nov 1962) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Judge Henry Garth (credit only)
...
Gary Clarke ...
Steve Hill (credit only)
...
Steve Cochran ...
Jamie Dobbs
...
Lump
Allen Case ...
Sheriff Blade
...
Lucky
Russell Thorson ...
Richard Reeves ...
Munsy
Raymond Guth ...
Klotz
William D. Gordon ...
Blench (as William Gordon)
James Anderson ...
Otie
Hal Hopper ...
Joe
Leo Gordon ...
Jack Scratch
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Storyline

An older Shiloh ranch hand, Jamie Dobbs, enjoyed the easy times of the early west and involves Trampas in his attempts to revive that era resulting in bar brawls and jail for them. His old friends Lump and Lucky arrive in Medicine Bow wanting Jamie to go with them to hunt wild cattle in Arizona to fund their plans to travel further west and live in the style of the old west without a care. Trampas decides to join them but the group is held up by Jack Scratch and his gang in the southwest. When the local law and bank tell the group they can't help the men or provide them with supplies to capture the outlaw gang, Jamie and Lump take matters into their own hands and steal the supplies from the town. Although they successfully capture the gang and kill Jack Scratch, the local sheriff and townspeople try to arrest the men even after Trampas tries to explain the men had good intentions. Jamie, Lump, and Lucky, however, do not understand and cannot adapt to the modern concepts resulting in ... Written by Anonymous

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Western

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Release Date:

28 November 1962 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The Virginian narrates at the beginning that the year is 1897. See more »

Goofs

In the prior episode "It Tolls for Thee", which aired only one week earlier, the year as shown when the Virginian writes a receipt is 1884. In this episode, the Virginian narrates at the opening that the year is 1897. This a gap of 13 years but none of the characters have aged and Judge Garth still owns Shiloh. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Elegiac Western Descends into Farce
3 February 2015 | by (Omaha, Nebraska) – See all my reviews

The spotlight is squarely on Trampas this time around, with the Virginian appearing in only two extended cameos and Judge Garth, Betsy, Steve, and Molly not appearing at all.

Trampas has befriended an older ranch hand named Jamie Dobbs who loves nothing more than a good time. Jamie fritters away his wages buying drinks for the house and when the tab is higher than his bankroll, pulls a scam that puts him on the incoming end of burly Richard Reeves' fist. It will take Jamie ninety days to work off the damages accrued from the ensuing barroom brawl. And what does he do after those ninety days? Buy another round in the saloon, proving that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

And that is the point of this story, or, as the priggish Sheriff Thaddaeus Blade later declares while brandishing his copy of Darwin's Origin of Species like a secular revivalist: those who don't adapt to the changing times won't survive them. Enter Jamie's fun-loving friends Lump and Lucky who regale and seduce Trampas with stories of their wild misadventures looking for laughs in Tombstone, Dodge City, and points West. Soon the three friends and Trampas decide to leave the straight life behind and sally forth on a quixotic quest for the romanticized Wild West of their half-remembered youths.

Barely out of the chute the newly christened "Lucky Four" are held up by a band of outlaws. Jamie recognizes the leader as Jack Scratch, head of the Ace in the Hole Gang, once notorious bank robbers reduced to rolling aging cowpokes for nickels, dimes, and even their boots. Things sure ain't what they used to be, a message underscored when the fellows reach town and call on the sheriff to round up a posse. The new sheriff, a young, bespectacled, over-educated stuffed shirt passes on the posse in favor of completing the necessary paperwork.

The episode comes to a fork in the road: Make this a comedy about old cowboys in a West that has left them behind, or make it a serious reflection on changing times and those who don't change with them. Unfortunately, the show attempts to take a middle path with mixed results. Jamie, Lucky, and Lump are reduced to cartoon characters. Could real cowboys really be this dumb? Jamie thinks busting a friend out of jail is a good idea. And Lump can't understand why his requesting a bank loan at gunpoint is considered attempted armed robbery by Sheriff Blade and the townsfolk. Trampas is the voice of reason, relegated in this bunch to a voice crying in the wilderness.

The comedy is broad, like when Munsy gets thrown through a saloon window to the street, shakes his head to clear it, then gets up and rushes back in to carry on fighting. Or when Jamie tries to break Trampas out of jail and a resistant Trampas holds the cell door closed while Jamie and Lump try to pull it open. These are antics one would expect in an Abbott & Costello picture. Contrast that with the deadly serious scenes of the Lucky Four's showdown with the Ace in the Hole Gang, especially Lucky's confrontation with Jack Scratch. And the climactic ending with the Lucky Four surrounded by at least twenty shotguns and Jamie convinced it's all a joke. The mood swung too wildly between comedy and tragedy.

Trampas learned a hard lesson: The Wild West of the 1870s is gone, supplanted by 1897 with a West that is civilized and domesticated. Surely Trampas knew that about Shiloh, seeing his nouveau riche boss erecting a stately clock in the town square, pampering his spoiled brat daughter with an Italian silk canopy bed, and bringing in chamber music players from Chicago. But Trampas dreamed and he hoped, and he was soon carried away by Jamie's enthusiasm and conviction that somewhere "out West" lay an unspoiled and untamed town where one could whoop and holler every weeknight and twice on Saturdays.

Jack Beauregard, in arguably the greatest elegiac Western of them all, MY NAME IS NOBODY (followed closely by THE WILD BUNCH), disabuses his young protégé from notions of a mythical Wild West by declaring, "there wasn't any Good Old Days." It's sad but true, and were Jamie, Lucky, and Lump more than one-dimensional cardboard cutouts they would likely admit it too.

The guest cast is a strong one, with film veteran Steve Cochran as Jamie and the ubiquitous Claude Akins as Lump being the two standouts. Leo Gordon was dutifully menacing as Jack Scratch, though Scratch struck me as a slight role after having recently seen Gordon play a sympathetic character with real depth in the 1962 film THE INTRUDER. Allen Case, relatively fresh from playing THE DEPUTY, is good even if irksome as the very model of a modern-day lawman (Rick Lenz would play virtually this same character on HEC RAMSEY).

The ending with a sober and wiser Trampas riding back into Shiloh is strong and memorable and does much to correct the episode's missteps.


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