Quantum Leap (1989–1993)
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How the Tess Was Won - August 5, 1956 

Sam finds himself as a veterinarian who has to compete as a cowboy to win the heart of a cowgirl heiress.


Ivan Dixon


Donald P. Bellisario (created by), Deborah Arakelian




Episode complete credited cast:
Scott Bakula ... Dr. Sam Beckett
Dean Stockwell ... Admiral Al Calavicci
Lance LeGault ... Chance McGill
Kari Lizer ... Tess McGill
Marshall R. Teague ... Wayne
Scott Fults ... Buddy Holly
Sloan Fischer Sloan Fischer ... Dr. Daniel Young


Sam leaps into the body of a Texas veterinarian, Dr. Daniel Young who carries a torch for a local ranch owner's daughter, Tess McGill. She has a stubborn streak and refuses to marry any man who is unable to out-ranch her. She makes a bet with her Dad that she will give Young one week to prove he can be a better rancher than she is and if he does, she will marry him. Young's helper at the veterinary practice, Buddy, proves to be a bit of a surprise. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Did You Know?


Sam (Doc) and Tess dance to Hank Williams singing "Cold, Cold Heart" (1951). See more »


When Sam arrives home at the beginning, and the director's credit appears, a chicken is seen standing straight on the front steps' banister post. In the next shot, however, the chicken is suddenly nestling down comfortably, its feathers covering the railing. See more »


Al: Oh, well, almost all animals can see me. But you know, there must be something weird lookin' about me, because I seem to intimidate them.
Sam: Maybe it's your clothes.
See more »


References Bonanza (1959) See more »


Cold, Cold Heart
Written by Hank Williams
Performed by Hank Williams (1951)
See more »

User Reviews

How the Tess Was Won
19 January 2020 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

It is only Episode 5 yet Sam is so used to leaping about that he does not even bother looking at the mirror to find out what his latest body looks like.

Then again I reckon most of the audience never thought of it as well.

Sam leaps into a body of a country veterinarian Dr Young and has to take part in a competition to win the heart of the tough as nails cowgirl Tess McGill . It is 1956 so a tomboy like Tess is expected to get married and she picks the shy vet to compete with rather than any of the ranch hands.

Of course Sam flusters when it comes working a ranch. Al has other things in his mind and Sam cannot figure out the name of the bespectacled teenage lad who helps him out at the vet's practice. He is always strumming his guitar and singing a song.

It is a good punning title but nowadays there would be several issues. Tess is expected to wear a dress and get married. The lot of a woman in the 1950s. Also Sam finally leaps when he figures out the name of his assistant. A future that would take this young man on a doomed plane journey.

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Release Date:

14 April 1989 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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