"The Loner" A Little Stroll to the End of the Line (TV Episode 1966) Poster

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A duster from Rod Serling
gordonl5625 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A Little Stroll to the End of the Street – 1966 This one is an episode of the 1966 western series, THE LONER. This 26 episode series was created by the legendary, Rod Serling, and stars Lloyd Bridges.

Bridges is an ex Union soldier who wanders the west taking work as he finds it. In this one, he is working in Texas as an US Marshall.

Bridges is sent to a small town to protect a fire and brimstone preacher, Robert Emhardt. Emhardt believes that a gunslinger, Dan Duryea, just released from a 3 year prison term is out to kill him.

Bridges arrives in the town and visits Emhardt in his rooms. Emhardt starts the conversation by offering Bridges $1,000 to kill Duryea when he hits town. Bridges wonders just what type of preacher he is dealing with.

He quickly discovers that Emhardt is making a good living off his sermons. He asks for cash for the Lord's work and the people give. Bridges tells Emhardt he is a crook, but that since he was sent to protect him, he will.

That night, Duryea rides into town and takes a room. He is standing at the bar sipping a whiskey when Bridges finds him. The two men share a bottle and talk about why they are both there.

Duryea seems to be suffering from a rather violent bout of coughing. Between sips of whiskey and coughs, he tells Bridges a story. He wants revenge on Emhardt for the death of his 18 year son.

His son, a follower of Emhardt, had talked the wanted by the law Duryea, into surrendering. "Do the time and come out a free man by the law, and in spirit." He told me says Duryea. "We rode into town so I could give myself up and we were jumped by the Sheriff and his men. They just started shooting and my son was killed. It seems Emhardt had convinced my son to bring me in so Emhardt could claim the $500 reward on me. I've waited a thousand days for this."

Bridges tells Duryea to just move on. He does not want to kill him if he makes a play for Emhardt. Just then, Bart Burns, steps up and goes for Duryea. Bridges gets the drop on him and gives him a bit of his gun barrel, breaking Burn's arm. It seems Emhardt had hired Burns to finish Duryea after Bridges refused.

Down the street we hear Emhardt's voice booming as he gives his nightly sermon. Duryea empties his glass, tips his hat to Bridges, then, walks out the door. When Duryea had gotten up, Bridges notices that Duryea's holster was empty. He was unarmed.

Bridges follows Duryea as he enters the tent where the revival meeting is happening. Emhardt's eyes go wide as he sees Duryea. He points at him and screams. "There! There is the spawn of the devil himself. He has come to stop me from the Lord's work!" Another hired gunman, Norman Leavitt, steps out and levels a rifle at Duryea. Bridges spots the move and drops him with a shot. Then Emhardt pulls a derringer pistol and shoots Duryea in the chest.

Bridges bends down to check on Duryea. Duryea says, "I have the cancer and had only a month anyway. This way I get even with Emhardt." Duryea smiles and then dies. Bridges grabs Emhardt and says, "You are under arrest for murder!"

This very entertaining episode was written by, Rod Serling. The director was Norman Foster. Foster's work includes, 6 Mr. Moto films, as well as the noir, KISS THE BLOOD OF MY HANDS, JOURNEY INTO FEAR and WOMAN ON THE RUN. Duryea himself would actually die of cancer 2 years later. (b/w)
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