Wagon Train (1957–1965)
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The Lieutenant Burton Story 

A young lieutenant on his first assignment must face an overbearing, murderous sergeant who is determined to kill two deserters in cold blood. The sergeant wounds Chris thinking he is one of them and into a feud with Flint at the train.


William Witney


Ken Kolb (story), Steven Ritch (teleplay)




Episode cast overview:
John McIntire ... Christopher Hale
Robert Horton ... Flint McCullough
Dean Jones ... Lt. Burton
Terry Wilson ... Bill Hawks
Frank McGrath ... Charlie Wooster
Denny Miller ... Duke Shannon (as Scott Miller)
Charles McGraw ... Sgt. Kile
Ray Stricklyn ... Danny Maitland
Brett King Brett King ... Cpl. Ben Rawlings
Ray Baumann Ray Baumann ... Paul Timpkins
Robert Reiner Robert Reiner ... Thomas
Jenny Maxwell ... Susan Lane


Sgt. Kile and Cpl. Ben Rawlings are on a mountain peak when they see two men riding on a mountain trail in the distance. Kile takes a shot at the men wounding one of them which happens to be Chris riding with Duke. The Sgt. is part of a patrol under rookie Lt. Burton who is on his first assignment after arriving from West Point two weeks ago. Chris and Duke take cover thinking they are under attack from scavengers when the patrol arrives lead by Lt. Burton who apologizes for Kiles. The patrol is looking for two young men who deserted from Kiles' company. Lt. Burton tells Chris and Duke who realize Sgt. Kiles is running things how he would be lost without Sgt. Kiles who knows it since Lt. Burton is so new. The patrol moves on while Chris and Duke return to the wagon train. There they learn the two deserters were with the train for a couple days working to obtain supplies. They have left with instructions from Flint. The troop tracking the deserters ends up at the wagon train where ... Written by Anonymous

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Drama | Western








Release Date:

28 February 1962 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Revue Studios See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Brevet rank causes jealousy
7 February 2018 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

There's a question remaining at the end of this Wagon Train episode as to whether Charles McGraw might not have been such a bitter human being had he stayed an officer after the Civil War. McGraw plays a brutal army sergeant whose methods caused recruits Ray Stricklyn and Ray Bauman to desert. Now he's on a patrol commanded by Lt. Dean Jones who plays the title role in this story.

McGraw is so trigger happy he shoots John McIntire who with Denny Miller is riding back to the Wagon Train from a distance thinking they were his quarry. Of course when Dean Jones and the rest of the patrol find McIntire and Miller there's apologies all around.

The two deserting kids have been at the Wagon Train meantime and were helped by the people there not knowing of course they were deserters.

We learn the underlying reason for McGraw's issues is the fact he was an officer during the Civil War, but it was a brevet promotion. When the army shrank after the war was over, a lot of people reverted back to their ranks before the war. As did McGraw who was once again a sergeant. And he resents all the newly commissioned officers fresh from West Point like Jones who is on his first patrol command with this mission to bring back Stricklyn and Bauman.

The conflict with McGraw and Jones really drives this episode with some good performances from both. I still remember when McGraw says that the army should commandeer supplies quoting the military manual, John McIntire comes back quoting the Constitution about no quartering of troops in time of peace except with consent and he ain't giving it.

By the way I think the most famous example of people reverting in rank after the Civil War was George Armstrong Custer who was a general in the war, but reverted back to colonel when he was killed at Little Big Horn.

This is a memorable episode with a memorable climax. You won't forget Charles McGraw in this story.

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