The sheriff of Bitter Springs feels he has lots of reasons to hate. When settlers from the south want to live there, he tries to take a black child he says they are just using for free labor but his reasons go much deeper than that.



(teleplay), (teleplay & story) (as Rik Vollaerts)


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Episode cast overview:
Major Seth Adams (credit only)
Sheriff Ben Courtney
John Ramsey
Phillip Pine ...
Marty Crane
Darryl Glenn ...
Nora Courtney (as Judith Ames)
Kay Stewart ...
Leona Ramsey
Reverend Butler
Mayor Storey
Tom McKee ...
Thomas Pope


Flint is taking the Ramsey and Pope families to an area near Bitter Springs to homestead. Flint expects problems because they are from Georgia and the Ramsey family has two orphan boys one of which is black. Sheriff Courtney has a bitter hatred for southerners and accuses the Ramsey family of keeping the black boy Daniel for forced labor. Some of the people in the town along with Flint try to change his mind but he is adamant about taking Daniel from them. Flint learns the Sheriff lost his first wife and a son he never saw in the war at Atlanta plus he lost the use of his right arm. Trying to stop the conflict the two boys decide to leave and climb into the high country with no supplies. The families and men from the town search for the boys and find them but it takes a surprising plea to the Sheriff to prevent further bloodshed. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

28 January 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Wrong Assumption
24 April 2013 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This episode of Wagon Train guest stars Stephen McNally in the title role in The Ben Courtney Story. McNally plays a sheriff who is a Union veteran with a crippled right arm who has a bitter hatred of southerners. Good thing the right arm isn't the one he shoots with.

Robert Horton leads a small breakaway party of people from Georgia who are leaving the train to settle in McNally's place that is led by John Larch. Larch and his wife have adopted two boys one black played by Darryl Glenn and a white kid played by Roger Mobley.

McNally remembering what the Civil War was about just assumes that young Glenn is being held in involuntary servitude. He demands that Larch give him up, but Larch won't do it.

It all gets nicely resolved in the end as somehow the friendship of the boys who have no race prejudice between them shows the adult a little something about living and let living and not holding on to a bad past.

Great episode with a valuable lesson.

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