"Earthquake!"

(Original air date 11/10/65)

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An earthquake traps Victoria in a cave with a violent drunk
and a pregnant Indian

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Writer: Oliver Crawford

Director: Paul Henreid



Victoria rides up to the church where she meets with Father Nichols (Robert Karnes) busy plastering the many cracks in the wall. When he mentions the Thanksgiving dinner extravaganza they intent to prepare for the orphans, she hands him a generous contribution to add to the festivities.

A scruffy-looking wrangler named Tate (Charles Bronson) enters the place of worship and walks up to Victoria to confront her about Nickís decision to fire him for drinking on the job. Victoria stands by her sonís judgment, especially when it concerns the safety of other people on the ranch.

     

Suddenly the earth begins to shake and the ceiling comes tumbling down on Victoria, Tate and an Indian girl (Alizia Gur).

At the ranch, the family scrambles for shelter when the earthquake rocks the house. Heath and Nick hurry to get the men to help them send the horses loose.

           

Following the tremor, Tate emerges from underneath the debris and begins searching for survivors. A faint moan leads him to find a bruised Victoria and a second brings him to the pregnant Modoc Indian, Noami. They find themselves trapped in the cellar that Victoria remembers as being part of her husbandís old mine. All three survivors take a breather before searching for a way out through one of the many tunnels.

           

Nick and Jarrod ride up to the church to enquire about their mother and find Father Nichols trying to salvage artefacts amidst the rubbles. He informs the frantic brothers of Victoriaís presence at the church earlier but that owing to the fact that no bodies have been found, chances are she scurried out of the place before the ceiling caved in.

In comes Roy Snyder (Wesley Lau), manager of the local store, who asks about the Modoc woman. He finds an Indian necklace near the blocked entrance of the cellar that points to one possible conclusion.

           

However before assuming the worse, Roy, Nick and Jarrod ride over to the temporary shelter set up for the injured hoping to find the matriarch and the Indian save and sound. There the sheriff (Mort Mills) deputizes them to patrol the town and keep looters out.

Down in the cellar, our threesome locates a door blocked by a large barrel. Tate and Victoria combine their strength to move the hindrance, after which Tate succeeds in smashing the door down with a wooden beam. Victoria encourages the exhausted young woman to keep going, and Tate follows with some reticence and a much-needed bottle of wine.

           

At the ranch after assessing the damages, Heath and Audra ride into town where they meet with Nick and Jarrod at the tent. Audra is incensed by the lack of progress. Her anger rises to the point of hysteria that Heath attempts to allay.

           

A looter is brought in and is asked to empty his pockets. He pulls out a red purse that Audra recognizes as the one she gave as a gift to her mother. Nickís dark scold compels the man to reveal the location of his finding, but the sheriff is dead set against anyone returning to the church on account of its instability. The Barkley brothers wonít be dissuaded and after wowing responsibility for their own lives, they hurry over to the church with Roy in tow.

           

Down in the tunnels Naomi insists on being left behind for she doesnít want to live with a white manís baby. Her tribe kicked her out for having an affair with a married man whom Tate believes is the general store manager whoís been known to make midnight visits to the Modoc reservation. Furious Naomi runs away but Tate is quick to catch up with her.

           

At the church the Barkley boys settle to work on clearing a passage down to the cellar. Heath discovers a rock with tracings on it, leading him to assume there must be a mine nearby. He and Roy head on to the register office to look for land deeds or any other documents that can provide locations to mineshaft entrances. At Heathís suggestion, Roy goes to the Land Office with hopes of having better luck.

Meanwhile at the church, another tremor brings a few more debris down on Jarrod but luckily Nick and the men are able to squeeze him out from underneath.

           

At the Land Office Roy is caught trying to burn documents. Furious Heath pounces on him demanding an explanation as to the reason why he would destroy their only chance of saving the women. Roy explains that the Modoc girl trapped with Victoria tried to blackmail him with her child. He was on his way to tell her off when the earthquake hit. He didnít want to be accused of fathering a bastard.

The word sends Heath into a fit of anger. After venting his rage through a few punches, Heath shoves the man out the door and to the tent where he is faced to admit his sin to his suspicious wife Ann (Audrey Dalton) who has been privy to his little escapades to the Modoc reservation, among others.

           

Down in the mineshaft, optimism is waning down fast. Tate wallows in self-pity while plying himself with liquor and Naomi fights to keep awake, However Victoria is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. She proposes searching one tunnel and Tate, the other. However the man insists on choosing the shaft he will inspect, but his decision proves fatal. An aftershock brings the tunnel crashing down on Tate, burying alive.

           

Upstairs the tremor brings more debris tumbling down and dashes the menís hopes of ever finding the women alive. From his own experience Heath knows that mines number several shaft entrances, and that old timers who were around twenty years ago might be able to locate one. Nick raises the name of a ranch hand by the name of Jeb Wilson (William Fawcett).

However the old manís memory is kind of fuzzy but he does recall one opening they closed up near Billís Canyon. Heath sends men to ask Nick and Jarrod to bring dynamite, picks and shovels to that location.

           

Inside the shaft air is running out, plunging both women into unconsciousness.

Outside the men get busy clearing the entrance of the mine. The digging and shoving rouses Victoria who drags her weary body toward the sound. However Naomiís screams force her to double back and she finds her in labour. As the dynamite explodes, a baby squall pierces through the loud blast.

           

The Barkley siblings follow the newbornís squalls all the way to their mother. Unfortunately Naomi died at childbirth, but her baby finds a home with the Snyders.

           


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