"Stranger in Broken Fork"

(Original air date 12/13/74)


After surviving a plane crash caused by a bionic malfunction, Steve wanders about
with amnesia and is harbored by a psychologist running a mental home


Teleplay: Bill Svanoe & Wilton Denmark

Story: Bill Svanoe

Director: Christian Nyby

While Steve is testing an aircraft for NASA, Oscar is called to the hospital by Dr. Wayne Carlton (Arthur Franz) who let's him know the results of Steve's last physical. They diagnosed a malfunction in his bionic arm, a short-circuit that can cause involuntary spasms and which will later affect the nerves of the shoulder and neck. In the early stage, he will suffer from amnesia shortly followed by death.

Dr. Carlton urges Oscar to bring Steve to the hospital as soon as possible so that they can address the problem before it becomes irreversible.

Sure enough, during flight, the spasms occur and Steve crushes the lever, sending the plane plummeting to the ground in the mountains of Utah.


He wanders aimlessly through the woods, in a complete daze.

On a peaceful country road, a car gets a flat tire just as Steve emerges from the bushes. The driver is psychologist Angie Walker (Sharon Farrell). She asks Steve his name and the place he came from, but he can't recall either one. He complains of blurred vision and wonders how he got to Broken Fork, a quiet little town of few inhabitants. With no wallet and personal ID, Angie suggests taking him to the sheriff's office.

Steve offers to fix her flat tire but unaware of his true strength, he breaks the wrench and blames it on the rust.


Driving down the road, Angie describes her work as a psychologist running an experimental convalescence home for patients who suffer from mental depression. She is testing a new method to heal the mentally ill by taking them out of a grim hospital and into the country wild. Unfortunately, she is often harassed by the locals who want to drive her and her patients off the property because they fear the boarders may be violent.

On the way, they make a brief stop at a grocery store where the owner, Horace Milsner (Robert Donner), threatens them to leave empty-handed. Angie decides to go elsewhere to avoid trouble but Steve won't hear of it. He grabs Milsner by the arm and hurls him against a shelf and leaves with the duly paid groceries.

Meanwhile, the Army has organized a search party to locate Steve's plane. Oscar is informed of its exact position in the center of Utah and there are no sign of any survivor.


At the home, Steve meets the boarders. They appear cold and taciturn, walking zombies idling the time away. Steve tries to be friendly but they just snub him, making it worse for the confused stranger who already feels out of place. He asks Angie to have one of her friends drive him to the sheriff's instead for it's obvious she can't leave her boarders on their own for very long. Angie explains that she has no friends and after what happened in town, she'd better drive him herself.

Bits by bits, Steve begins to recall his past but fears he might be remembering the bad and not the good.

Deputy Sheriff Corley Weems (Troy Melton) drops by with Horace who recently brought trump-up charges against Steve for theft and bodily harm. Steve proves he hasn't stolen the groceries by showing the receipt and pleads self-defence in the second accusation. Angie vouches for his story, saying Horace provoked him to violence.


While attempting to jog his memory with Angie's help, Steve begins having painful twinges in his shoulder and a sudden spasm makes him break a cup of coffee. Disturbed by this occurrence, Steve starts having qualms about his true nature and is now reluctant to go to the sheriff's office to find out who he really is.

Oscar and Dr. Carlton arrive on the scene of the crash and notice the crushed lever and conclude to the spasm theory. An Air Force Major (Eric Mason) says they combed the entire area and still no sign of Steve. He believes he ejected minutes before the crash and is somewhere around these parts.


Steve wanders around in Angie's backyard and looks up at the sky, which prompts a memory or two of his space expeditions. He meets with Thurmond (Bill Henry) a mental patient who refuses to utter a single word. Jodie, (Kristine Ritzke) a little girl whose house neighbours the convalescence home, walks up to Steve and bluntly asks him if he's crazy like the others. A pretty harsh word for such a young girl who is the only person in town willing to speak with Angie's boarders.

Instead of going to the sheriff like Angie promised, Steve suggests that they go on the usual picnic with the boarders. On the way, they are stopped by Horace and two of his men who warn them to get out of town for good. They intend to teach Steve a lesson he'll never forget but they are the ones being tossed about by the bionic man who overtakes them all by himself. Jodie, who had followed the pack, treats her friend Thurmond of coward for not helping Steve.

Angie is amazed by Steve's incredible strength and he's even more troubled by it.


Back at the grocery store, Horace fuels the locals' anger and they decide to bring in the heavy artillery in order to get rid of those mental cases once and for all.

Steve complains of sharp pains in his shoulder. Angie believes he might have been hurt in the fight. When Steve looks down at his right arm, he is horrified by what he sees. He panics, breaking a chair in the process, saying that a human being is incapable of such feats. Angry, he grabs his mechanical arm with his left hand and cuts himself. Angie smiles and reassures him that machines don't bleed and that he was probably fitted with an artificial limb.


Oscar and Dr. Carlton close in on Steve's whereabouts when they find a parachute in the lake. They stop at the local grocery store where the clerk gives them direction to Angie's house.

When Angie is finally free to drive Steve to the sheriff's office, Horace and his gang show up at the home, threatening them with weapons. They kidnap Steve to have him killed, but he manages to escape his captors and sprints back to Angie's place to free the others from being driven out of town.


Horace and his men catch up with Steve and begin beating him black and blue. Just has Horace is about to pull the trigger on Steve, Oscar and Dr. Carlston show up. Steve stares at Oscar and believes he knows him.

Dr. Carlton repairs Steve's arm temporarily until he can get to the lab for a full overhaul.

Outside, Steve pleads with the town people to cease the hatred and welcome Angie's boarders as able citizens and not lunatics. Jodie makes the first step towards peace by shaking hands with Thurmond.


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