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"Wagon Train" Alias Bill Hawks (1963)

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Bad Day For Bill Hawks

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
4 November 2010

Terry Wilson as Bill Hawks whose role got bigger and bigger during the course of Wagon Train's run takes center stage in this episode with his name as part of the title. Wagon Train's biggest weakness was it had terrible continuity. Bill Hawks during the first couple of seasons had a wife who appeared in a few episodes. But her character of Emily Hawks was quietly dropped and she just wasn't mentioned again. After several seasons Wilson's marital status was bachelor.

In this episode we find he was a property owner and in fact gets a letter from an Indian he was paying to sit on the property and who lived in the cabin on the land. When Wilson arrives in town the Indian has up and gone, folks are drilling an artesian well on his property, and they're real unfriendly.

If you've seen the film Bad Day At Black Rock you'll have some idea about how the plot progresses. The ending isn't the same though, in fact it's something of a let down. Had they faithfully copied all of Bad Day At Black Rock it would have been a whole lot better.

Ed Nelson plays a geologist a good geologist, but a not so good character and the Robert Ryan of this episode. The Anne Francis part is done by Joan Freeman. The cowboy toughs are Cliff Osmond and Hal Baylor standing in for Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin. All are good in their roles.

Not one of the better episodes.

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