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"Last Train to the Fair"

(Original air date 04/27/66)


A doctor treating train-passenger Audra for appendicitis meets with
enemies who reveal a secret from his past


Writer: Paul Savage

Director: Virgil W. Vogel

On this bright morning, the Barkley household is a beehive of activity as each member of the family oversees last-minute arrangement before catching the Sacramento-bound train to the annual state fair. Heath and Nick lay wagers on the shooting contest while Jarrod reminds Silas (Napoleon Whiting) to pack Audra's pickled cucumbers for the baking contest.

Nick barges into Audra's room to find his sister at the mirror, smoothing out her dress. He picks up her bags and hurries her up. As she follows him out the door, she is suddenly stricken by a painful stomach twinge that she manages to breathe away.


In the town hotel, Dr. Travers (Richard Anderson), a man on the run from enemies, gets word of a three-o'clock train bound for Sacramento. Eager to escape, he slips out the window seconds before two men, Mel (Chuck Bail) and his cohort Ford (Charles Horvath) burst in. They hurry after the fugitive to catch the train.


In the Barkley private car, a celebration is on. While Heath entertains the crowd with his dancing, Jarrod exchanges a few friendly words with friend Charlie Wellman (James McCallion) and his wife Cora (Nora Marlowe), and lay wagers with neighbour Abe Stullman (Hal Lynch).

Travers enters the car, looking for the smoking lounge. As he apologizes for his intrusion and turns back to leave, Charlie Wellman comes up to him to shake his hand, mistaking him for someone he once knew.


While swapping recipes with Abe wife, Grace, (Betty Harford), Audra is stricken with another painful twinge. Jarrod hurries after Dr. Travers while Nick and Heath keep a watchful eye on their ailing sister.

Travers asks that all passengers, save for the family, clear the car and to have Audra settle on the sofa.


When he goes back to his cabin to get his medical bag, Travers meets with Ford who informs him of the noose waiting for him a few miles up the track. Travers kicks the gun out of Ford's hand and quickens the pace down to the Barkley car.

Out on the platform, Mel grabs a hold of him. The two struggle until Travers hurls his assailant off the train. Soon, Ford lunges at him, but scurries back in when Jarrod shows up unexpectedly.


Travers's diagnosis of Audra's condition is a badly inflamed appendix. He asks Heath to fetch him some ice in order to bring the swelling down.

A bit later, while Audra floats on a laudanum-induced haze, Travers stresses to the brothers the importance of making good time to Sacramento. He agrees with Heath's suggestion to talk the conductor into cutting stops along the way for he'd hate having to perform surgery on a train.

Travers remains evasive to Jarrod's questions regarding the man he saw trying to strangle him. He's an enemy from a past that won't lay to rest.


When the train makes a brief stop at River Junction to drop off passengers, Heath hurries to the telegraph office to wire the hospital in Sacramento. Beside him is Ford who wires his people of his failure to nab Travers.

Jarrod stops the doctor from sneaking off the train, imploring him to remain on board for his sister's sake. When Audra cries out in pain, Travers agrees to stay in spite of himself.

Laudanum is now out of the question to deaden Audra's agony as Travers wishes to keep a check on the progress of the inflammation by the severity and repetition of pain. All sit and pray that her appendix holds out until they reach their destination.


A few miles up ahead, a posse is waiting to hang Travers. The leader, Aaron Moyers (Karl Swenson) has waited years to catch up to the man in order to avenge his wife's murder. He insists on having his son, Andy, (Tim McIntire) witness the hanging despite his friend Deakes's (Ken Mayer) advice to send the boy back to the ranch to spare him the morbid spectacle.

They receive Ford's telegram informing them that Travers is still aboard the train. Aaron decides to have him and Andy catch up with the train instead.

Jarrod offers Travers his services as a lawyer in hopes he can convince him to unburden his conscience. When Travers declines, Jarrod takes a seat beside his feverish sister to share comforting thoughts.


Moyers and his son manage to catch up with the moving train and climb aboard. With guns drawn, Aaron threatens the Barkleys to keep out of his way as he takes Travers of their hands.

He reveals the doctor's true identity as Lucian Keller, the outlaw who sacked an entire village and killed Moyers's wife and five others. Travers confesses: He served thirteen years for the crime, during which time he worked in the prison hospital and thereafter, continued his medical practice in small cow towns and gold camps. He served his sentence and had hoped Moyers would let it rest.

Audra's cries of agony divert the father's and son's attention, long enough for Nick and Heath to grab their guns.


Outside, Jarrod sees Moyers's men trying to catch up with the moving train, but in vain. Instead they opt for a short cut.

When Audra's pain reaches a peak, Travers has no other choice but to perform emergency surgery. He asks Heath to unhitch the wagon from the moving train, fully aware that this halt is sure to provide Moyers's men with an opportunity to catch up with them.

Travers asks Moyers to hold off his men for the duration of the surgery, after which he will willingly surrender.


Jarrod assists Travers with the delicate operation. Once done, Travers agrees to follow Moyers, but the Barkley brothers put their foot down. Andy seizes a gun and points it at Travers, but cannot bring himself to pulling the trigger. To him Keller is dead.

He pleads with his father to bury the past and to return to their ranch.


Later, the train returns for the Barkley car. Inside the wagon, Audra apologizes for her behavior during her ailment but her brothers assure her that she was the best patient any doctor could ever have.


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