Wagon Train: Season 1, Episode 27

The Sarah Drummond Story (2 Apr. 1958)

TV Episode  -   -  Western
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 17 users  
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During a storm, Flint takes shelter at a farmhouse. He soon discovers the husband is refusing his wife the care of a midwife and before it's too late for her he needs to find out why.

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Title: The Sarah Drummond Story (02 Apr 1958)

The Sarah Drummond Story (02 Apr 1958) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
...
...
Sarah Drummond
Gene Evans ...
Jeb Drummond
...
Walt Archer
Lorna Thayer ...
Ethel Archer
Frank McGrath ...
Terry Wilson ...
Bill Hawks (credit only)
Grayce Mills ...
Mother Archer (as Grace Mills)
Debby Hengen ...
Molly Archer
Claudia Drake ...
Red Hawk's Squaw
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Storyline

Flint is sent to mail letters for the train and buy the Major gum drops. On his return trip a massive rain storm forces him to stop at a home to see if he can take shelter there. Jeb Drummond and his expectant wife Sarah agree to feed him and let him sleep in the barn for which he gives Sarah the Major's gum drops. The next morning when Sarah realizes the baby is coming, Jeb refuses her the services of a midwife. However, Flint goes after the midwife at Sarah's urging. The midwife is the wife of Walt Archer who leads the community in hating Indians due to the death of his father at their hand and the catatonic state it put his mother in. When the baby is born, it reveals that Sarah was raped by an Indian and that Jeb wants Sarah to give the baby to the Indians. Walt makes it worse by saying Sarah should have killed herself. Flint decides to intervene with Archer but what he uncovers accidentally is a life changing event for everyone. Written by Anonymous

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Western

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Release Date:

2 April 1958 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Sarah Drummond: What part of Back East do you come from?
Flint McCullough: All the way from St. Joe.
Sarah Drummond: St. Joe! Well, what d'you know about that? I'm from Springfield myself. Born and raised right there in Missouri.
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User Reviews

 
Tackling a tough and timely subject 55 years ago
16 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm giving this episode eight points just for tackling the subject. The show opens with a pioneer, Jeb Drummond, off to join a party of men to clean out a group of Indians that are menacingly close to the settlement. The man s wife Sarah, stays behind. An Indian, seeing that the husband has left, approaches the cabin. A short time later Sarah hears someone at the door. Thinking it is her husband she opens the door. She grimaces in terror and the camera cuts away. The implication is that the Indian rapes her.

The next time we see Sarah Drummond she is large with child. Now Sarah and her husband have been married eleven years and no children. She is raped by an Indian and - boom! - she's pregnant. Now it could be her husband's child but, the odds are against it. When the baby is born it is obviously the child of rape due to his Indian features. The neighbor, Walt Archer, who hates all Indians and had Sarah's husband go out on a raiding party in the first place the night she was raped is present at the birth and is disgusted at the sight of the child, saying Sarah should have killed herself before things got this far. Sarah's husband decides the only thing to do, given the feeling of the white settlers around them - and therefore the feeling of white settlers anywhere - is to give the child to a nearby tribe to raise. He has difficulty on this issue with Sarah because Sarah loves the child and wants to keep it.

Meanwhile, Walt Archer's mother, catatonic since a raid on Walt's home as a child where their home was burned and his father was killed, is shocked by the sight of blood on Walt's forehead, the result of a fist fight with the wagon train's Flint McCoulough. She speaks for the first time in maybe twenty years and finally blurts out what happened - a white man in the area burned their home and killed Walt's dad, not an Indian, as Walt has presumed was true all of these years.

Suddenly Walt is all apologetic to the Drummonds who are getting ready to pull up stakes and move to escape the shunning that Walt is responsible for. Walt basically says if he could hate all Indians all of these years because of what he thought were the actions of one Indian, then he would have to hate all white men because of the actions of one white man. Since that would be ridiculous, it made him realize his feelings were the product of racism, not just a desire to protect the community from the same thing that had happened to his family. The Indian woman who took the child from the Drummonds - at their request - returns him and says "you be happy now".

I'm spoiling this entire episode because the plot is beside the point. In fact Walt's racism is an issue separate and apart as to how a couple would feel raising a child of rape. How could the mother look into the eyes of a child as it grows, maybe eventually seeing the features of her attacker, and feel towards that child like she would any other child - be it her natural born child or one adopted? Of course, all Indians are not savages, they never were. But the one who raped Sarah was a savage for the reason that all rapists are savages, and for no other reason.

I saw this episode in 1978, and it was just amazing to me that such a complex subject was being raised and tackled in a 1958 TV series when pregnancy resulting from rape was just not talked about and was considered entirely "a woman's problem". If you ever get a chance to see this episode, give it a look. Outstanding work by everyone in the cast and kudos in particular to June Lockhart who played Sarah Drummond

  • pioneer, wife, mother, and rape victim. Highly recommended.



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