Ever since he was young, Tom Tuckett has been sent to good schools and looked after by an unknown benefactor. When he joins the wagon train he feels he's about to find out who that is but it isn't who he imagined.
As a young orphan boy Tom Tuckett encounters a convict in the marshes. The man has the boy bring him a file which he uses to remove his chains. Later, a mysterious benefactor pays for Tom to attend some of the best schools including law school, become a gentleman, and join the wagon train to San Francisco where a job awaits him. He finds two friends are on the train - Miss Stevenson and the girl she raised, Elizabeth. Miss Stevenson was left at the alter leaving her with a lonely and cruel attitude toward life and love which she has passed to Elizabeth. Tom met Elizabeth when she was fourteen and has loved her ever since although she thought him to be "common". Nat Burikett surprises Adams at night. He is the cause of the many Indian drums they have heard. Tom believes Miss Stevenson is his benefactor but it is Nat, the convict wanted for treason for warning the Indians about an Army attack when he was a Lieutenant. Tom learns Elizabeth is going to San Francisco to marry as he leaves ... Written by
"The Tom Tuckett Story" is a retelling of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations", except that the names have been changed along with the locale. Pip becomes Tuck, Estella is called Elizabeth, and Miss Havisham is now Miss Stevenson. The Convict has become wealthy through fur-trading in Canada (rather than farming in Australia) and is also an acknowledged Friend of All Tribes of Indians. See more »
One of the only times I ever saw a credit on a television show saying they were acknowledging a classic was on this Wagon Train episode where the story of Great Expectations is folded into the western trek across the plains. As Ward Bond narrates at the beginning of the show, the story begins on the banks of the Kaw River where a young boy who grows up to be Ben Cooper helps a prisoner escape.
Ben arrives finding a wagon and driver already purchased for him on a trip to San Francisco where he has a job at a law firm awaiting. Cooper is under the impression that his good fortune, in fact all his good fortune is due to Josephine Hutchinson and her niece Louis Fletcher who are also traveling west. Cooper has had a fine education, good upbringing, a lot like young Charles Foster Kane on a more limited scale.
I won't go any farther except to say that Robert Middleton is Cooper's convict/benefactor and that the ending is a more happy one than Dickens wrote for Great Expectations. Middleton in fact turns out to be a man of conscience and principle who paid dearly in his life for acting on same, but also won the admiration of many. Ward Bond in fact counts himself proud to be an admirer.
Watered down Great Expectations, but still a good episode.
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