"Wagonload of Dreams"

(Original air date 01/02/67)

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The Barkley brothers fight nature and railroad thugs when
they help a farmer transport his crop by wagon

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Writer: A.I. Bezzerides

Director: Virgil W. Vogel



In town, Nick and Heath meet with Greek immigrant Bodos Gargos (Tige Andrews) and his brother Alexandros (Dennis Safren) who have come to ship their delicious peaches to the San Francisco market.

However when station master Steve Minter (Karl Swenson) informs him of the ridiculously astronomical shipping cost, Bodos flies off the handle and lunges at Minter whom he accuses of cheating an honest man to make a crushing profit. Luckily, Nick and Heath intervene before Bodos tears the place apart. Minter presses charges against the mad man and Bodos is hauled off to jail.

           

The sheriff (James Gavin) agrees to let Bodos go on Jarrodís promise to keep a close eye on the man. The Barkleys understand Bodosís frustration once they learn of the asking price for shipping the fruits by train. Jarrod intends to clear what he believes is a simple misunderstanding.

In his office, Minter explains to Jarrod that the shipping cost was calculated according to the season and that it is his job to insure that the railroad gets a fair share of any profit. Still Jarrod considers it a gross injustice and that Minter is abusing his position.

At the saloon, Jarrod suggests Bodos to accompany him to Senator Sam Bridgerís (William Mims) office to file a complain in person.

           

When Bridger sides with Minter on the issue, Jarrod attempts to sway his decision by stating that the railroad depends on farmers to stay in business and that contrary to what he might believe, they want fairness and not charity. Still Bridger wonít budge on account that the Western and Coastal is contributing heavily to his campaign.

Jarrod and Bodos return to the saloon where Nick is performing a Greek dance to Alexandrosís viola music to give everyone the bad news. But Bodos doesnít discourage easily. He proposes to transport the crop by wagon instead.

           

On their journey to San Francisco, Bodos tries his best to enliven his brotherís sagging spirits about this countryís bad blood by explaining the differences between their native land and America. Back home they were only allowed to dream, whereas in America they can make those dreams a reality, one of which is to build a profitable business selling peaches.

They come to a railroad crossing where Minterís top henchman Sam Potter (Paul Sorensen) warns them against driving onto private property. When Bodos asks his brother to slowly bring the team across, Sam lunges at him. A rifle shot is accidentally fired, spooking the horses that trample Alexandros.

           

Bodos rushes back to Stockton to bring his grievously injured brother to Dr. Merarís (J.P. Burns) office. While Bodos gives Jarrod his account of the accident, the doctor pronounces the young man dead.

At the cemetery, once the funeral over, Bodos swears to hold his promise to his late brother by continuing his journey to San Francisco no matter what the cost to other peopleís lives who dare stand in his way.

           

The next morning the Barkley brothers decide to accompany Bodos on his journey. This infuriates Minter who wonít have anyone get their crop to any market unless he approves it beforehand, and therefore orders Potter to do away with all of them should they trespass on railroad property.

When they arrive at the barrage, Jarrod suggests an alternate route, one of which will considerably extend their trip but wonít get them killed.

           

The harsh elements of nature accompany our four friends on their long winding road to San Francisco. First, the sweltering heat contributes to ruin some of the peaches; secondly, a rock slide blocks their path and thirdly the wagon gets stuck in the mud, all of which cost valuable time.

Meanwhile in Stockton, Senator Bridger pays a visit to Victoria regarding the matter of her sons defying the Western and Coastal. She is proud of her boys for standing up for individual rights and urges Bridger to follow in their footsteps and start calling upon his good judgement before the events force him to.

           

At night, while Bodos and the Barkleys are gathered around the campfire. Potter lurks in the shadows and spooks their horses in the makeshift corral. They wind up spending the remainder of the night searching for them but in vain.

Come morning, they bargain with a farmer (Harlan Warde) for the loan of a couple of horses. The man turns them down flat but has a change of heart when he learns that they are the famous men responsible for giving the railroad a hard time.

     

At night Potter and his men invade the foursomeís camp site and set their two wagons ablaze. Once the fire is extinguished, they discover that not all peaches were burnt to a crisp.

           

Despite their small cargo, they continue on until they reach their destination.

Days later, Bodos pays a visit to the Barkleys. There, Senator Bridger is happy to inform him that aside from firing Minter for exceeding his authority, the railroad will make full restitution for his lost. Thanks to his determination and the Barkley name, the traffic manager in San Francisco promises to review their policy on shipping costs.

           


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