Flint meets Chris Hale alone on the prairie. Hale has just found his entire family massacred by Indians, and Flint asks him to join the wagon train. However, the company that owns the wagon... See full summary »





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Episode cast overview:
Major Seth Adams (credit only)
Mr. Hennessey
Jud Benedict
Frank McGrath ...
Nancy Rennick ...
Mrs. Stevens
Mrs. Hennessey
Wesley Lau ...
Charles Horvath ...
Boyd 'Red' Morgan ...
Wash (as Red Morgan)
Gabrielle des Enfants ...
Bonnie Stevens


Flint meets Chris Hale alone on the prairie. Hale has just found his entire family massacred by Indians, and Flint asks him to join the wagon train. However, the company that owns the wagon train has hired a new wagonmaster, Jud Benedict. Benedict is a ruthless and brutal tyrant who puts time above all other considerations, and does not care how many people are left behind or even die in the process of heading to the final destination as soon as possible. He has also hired unscrupulous gunmen to enforce this goal by brutalizing slower people, or anyone who stands up to him. It is revealed that Hale has also been a wagonmaster, but has retired from the job and does not ever want such a responsibility again. Still, people on the train are looking to Hale to stand up to Benedict. Written by anonymous

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Release Date:

15 March 1961 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Taking The Reins Of The Train
20 August 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This episode of Wagon Train was a milestone in the series long history. It introduced the character of Chris Hale as the new wagon-master of the show following the sudden death of Ward Bond.

The show had to some creative writing with other series regulars, Robert Horton, Terry Wilson, and Frank McGrath taking up the slack for the late Ward Bond for a few episodes. What eventually they came up with occurs in this episode.

The Wagon Train comes across the sight of an Indian massacre with a lone survivor who has just buried his and his brother's family. It's John McIntire as Chris Hale, a former noted wagon-master who had retired from the business and wanted to settle down with his family. That dream is now destroyed and with all his loved ones now suddenly dead, McIntire is understandably distraught.

Right after that however a new wagon-master arrives to takeover, sent by the Western Trails Company who had previously employed Bond. It's Lee Marvin and he turns out to be a regular Captain Bligh. Marvin quite frankly isn't interested in anything else other than speed. As he so eloquently puts it, if he can get a train to California fast enough, he can actually take two trains out per calendar year and double his salary. His salary and that of his men who are little better than outlaws, one of whom is character actor L.Q. Jones.

Of course Marvin ain't happy seeing McIntire on the train as he and McIntire have some history. All this sets up for the inevitable conflict and the Western Trails company gets a new and a good wagon-master for the duration of the series.

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