"The Long Ride"

(Original air date 11/25/68)


Audra is mute after witnessing an entire family being slaughtered after which,
one of the killers pursues her


Writer: Fred Freiberger

Director: Virgil W. Vogel

With her friend Wilmer Hemut (John Harmon) Victoria visits the Millers family grave after that all three members were slaughtered by two outlaws who had designs on money they didn’t have. Wilmer explains that Audra who had been staying with the Millers witnessed the gruesome scene but that luckily she’d been hiding in the attic bedroom.

At the house, Wilmer’s wife, Grace (Rita Bell) explains that the shock caused Audra to withdraw, rendering her completely mute.


Victoria boards the Stockton-bound stage with three passengers. A young foolhardy Army officer by the name of Roy Sanders (Paul Peterson) who shows an instant attraction for Audra; a greedy businessman Jeb Lassiter (James Westerfield) who wouldn’t hesitate to snitch on a friend to save his skin, and gentleman gambler Henry Matson (Richard Anderson).

At some point, the surly stage driver Barney (Kevin Hagen) makes a halt to unhitch a lame horse from the team while the passengers stretch their legs and quench their thirst. With a team of only three horses Lassiter is worried about arriving late for his meeting in Stockton.


As they continue their journey they realize they have company. A lone rider (George Keymas) follows them at a distance. They agree to let him catch up to them so they can hitch his horse to the stage, but the rider appears to have other plans.

They check their ammunitions to prepare for a likely stage robbery. But with no gold on board, Lassiter and Matson mutually suspect each other of having antagonized the man with their dealings and is now seeking revenge. Another possibility is that he’s after the rich Victoria Barkley.


They come to a deserted way station and seek water from the well. They discover that the precious liquid has been salted, no doubt by their friendly stalker.

The lone rider makes his presence known with a few gunshots to draw their attention. He warns the occupants to hand him over the girl at the risk of all getting killed.

No one will acquiesce to his demand, all except one: Lassiter. He refuses to be gunned down on account of a stranger he just met.


Meanwhile in the kitchen, Audra reacts to a picture of the Stockton general store. Victoria seizes the opportunity to try to reach her but to no avail. Angry, Victoria tries to shake Audra back to reality but again her efforts come to a naught as the girl withdraws deeper within herself.

She wanders back to the dining room where she sits by Matson who entertains her with a card trick. Once Victoria explains the reason for Audra’s muteness they figure the man wants to silence the only witness to his crime. Lassiter hates for that girl to get them all killed. His only preoccupation right now is getting to Stockton on time to meet his mail-order bride.


In Stockton, Heath and Nick worry about the lateness of the stage. The clerk (Robert Foulk) suggests waiting a little longer, stating that the driver was most likely compelled to take an alternate route to get around a broken bridge.

In late evening, Lassiter takes over guard for Roy out on the front porch. Worried about saving his own skin, he creeps out to the stage, fills his canteen with the rest of the water then takes off on a horse. Barney is incensed. With two horses left there is no way they will reach Stockton and he is quick to blame Victoria for their misfortune.


In the morning as Barney hitches up the team, Audra wanders away. Luckily Victoria finds her just as shots ring out. She pleads with the killer to leave her daughter alone; that she cannot hear or speak and therefore is not a threat to him. Appalled by the scene before him, Roy charges after the outlaw but misses him.


They reach another way station. This one has been burned to the ground, no doubt by their stalker. Barney breaks down and decides to leave. To keep the troop together, Victoria offers $5000 to anyone who will get her and her daughter safely to Stockton. Roy agrees to stay but refuses payment; however gambler Matson accepts her offer. Barney reluctantly follows.


The journey continues until they come to a water bag hanging from a tree. All believe it’s a trick, but Barney is determined to get it. On the bag is a note ordering him to walk away or get killed. Barney willingly obeys, leaving his companions behind to fend for themselves.

Roy takes over the reins but they don’t get very far with only two horses pulling the stage. The lone rider is still on their tail. Young Roy suggests riding over the hills to lure the killer away. If he does follow him, Matson will have a clear shot at him.

As he rides out, a second gangster (Allen Jaffe) emerges from the shadows and puts a bullet in him.


Matson is outraged to discover that Victoria knew they were two murderers gunning for them. Outnumbered, Matson decides to ride out on the only horse left, leaving the women stranded.

Victoria takes Audra out of the stage and both head for the hills with the two killers hard on their trail. Victoria succeeds in injuring one by setting fire to tumbleweed.


When the second is aiming to kill her, Audra shouts out a warning. Victoria swirls around and shoots the man dead.


This horrific scene triggers a flood of memories for Audra. When Victoria slaps her back to reality she breaks down and cry.

Days later Victoria and Audra go into town to deposit $5000 in a trust for Roy’s family. They meet with Matson who fails to impress Victoria with his confession of guilt.


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