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Ward Bond had passed on when this episode of Wagon Train aired in 1961
and his spirit should be grateful he didn't have to appear in this, one
of the loonier Wagon Train episodes.
The Wagon Train has as a passenger Melinda Plowman who is traveling to an army post returning home to her father Sergeant Paul Birch. Unbeknownst to her, Birch has been seriously wounded in an Ute Indian attack, but he's hanging on to see his daughter. Legendary scout Noah Beery, Jr. and Corporal Robert Harland and Shoshone Indian friend of Beery Jay Silverheels are sent for her and they can take her over a mountain trail known as The Path of the Serpent. It will take two days as opposed to two weeks on the route the Wagon Train is taking. Terry Wilson goes along with the party.
I'm not going to go into the rest of the story because the dying Birch who's been abandoned at the fort all alone stays alive long enough to make a ludicrous bequest upon Plowman. You have to see it to believe it. Suffice it to say it causes some dissension.
Not even die-hard Wagon Train fans will like this one.
The previous episode about women on the Wagon train was so sexist. I usually just assign star rating and don't feel like the time consuming work of writing any type review. However, I've enjoyed the one or two people who seem to be reviewing the episodes. I'm doing a marathon watch of Wagon Train and I must agree with the other review here that this is another silly episode although the one about the women was even worse for me. This one was truly ludicrous. Everyone involved in this great western series must have gone nuts when Ward Bond passed away. I really miss him and realized with this episode and even more with the previous one how great Bond was for this show. Of course the whole series was inspired by the John Ford film Wagon Master which had Bond in it and is one of the great and most underrated westerns for my money. John McIntire was probably as good an actor as Bond and he held the show together pretty well but the episodes without Bond or McIntire are really weak. The Path of the Serpent would have been good maybe for the Mickey Mouse Club but for an adult western it's pathetic.
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