★★★★ January 6, 1961 Season 2 Episode 12
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
The characters do a good job of showing the listlessness of the town. It’s set in a miserable ghost town that doesn’t know it’s one. The townspeople have no future and they know it. Sun and dust are the only two things these people have and will ever know.
This is a powerful episode all about context. To break it down…a drunk young man (Gallegos) driving a horse and wagon accidently kills a child. Normally under Rod Serling he would be an automatic villain but in this episode the context is different. There is a gray area in this forsaken town. The twist comes suddenly and the episode is over and leaves you thinking.
The acting was superb in this… Thomas Gomez plays Peter Sykes…a despicable man. The worse kind of opportunist you can imagine. John Larch plays the sheriff who sees things for what they are and is one of the few sympathetic characters in this episode. He is depressed by the thought of Gallegos being hanged and believes that he does not deserve to be hanged but knows he has to do his job.
This show was written by Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
There was a village. Built of crumbling clay and rotting wood. And it squatted ugly under a broiling sun like a sick and mangy animal wanting to die. This village had a virus, shared by its people. It was the germ of squalor, of hopelessness, of a loss of faith. With the faithless, the hopeless, the misery-laden, there is time, ample time, to engage in one of the other pursuits of men. They began to destroy themselves.
In a dusty old-western town, a man’s scheduled to be hanged, after having been found guilty of accidentally killing a child while drunk. His father begs for mercy, but the marshal, has no choice but to proceed with the sentence. Sykes, an odious salesman takes advantage of the situation by selling the desperate father ‘magic dust’, which he says will make the townsfolk take pity upon his son. Soon, the events provide for an unexpected conclusion.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
It was a very small, misery-laden village. On the day of a hanging. And of little historical consequence. And if there’s any moral to it at all, let’s say that in any quest for magic, and any search for sorcery, witchery, legerdemain, first check the human heart. For inside this deep place is a wizardry that costs far more than a few pieces of gold. Tonight’s case in point – in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Thomas Gomez … Peter Sykes
John Larch … Sheriff Koch
Vladimir Sokoloff … Gallegos
John A. Alonzo … Luís Gallegos (as John Alonso)
Paul Genge … John Canfield
Dorothy Adams … Mrs. Canfield
Duane Grey … Rogers
Jon Lormer … Man (as John Lormer)
Andrea Darvi … Estrelita Gallegos (as Andrea Margolis)
Doug Heyes Jr. … Farmer Boy (as Douglas Heyes)
Nick Borgani … Townsman (uncredited)
Alphonso DuBois … Townsman (uncredited)
Richard LaMarr … Townsman (uncredited)
Frances Lara … Townswoman (uncredited)
Robert McCord … Lawman (uncredited)
Daniel Nunez … Townsman (uncredited)
Paul Ravel … Townsman (uncredited)
Armando Rodriguez … Townsman (uncredited)
Theresa Testa … Townswoman (uncredited)
Dan White … Man #2 (uncredited)