A Little Learning (Episode 4.03)

Executive Producer Norman MacDonnell
Produced by Arthur H. Nadel
Written by Harry Kronman
Directed by Don Richardson

Don't you slide off those eggs!

Episode scene:

The Virginian is bringing a hen and her eggs to the pretty new schoolteacher in town. The teacher uses the time it takes for the eggs to hatch to teach the young ones to count.

Quotation from the book (Chapter 6):

Judge Henry’s ranch was notable for several luxuries. He had milk, for example. In those days his brother ranchmen had thousands of cattle very often, but not a drop of milk, save the condensed variety. Therefore they had no butter. The judge had plenty. Next rarest to butter and milk in the cattle country were eggs. But my host had chickens. Whether this was because he had followed cock-fighting in his early days, or whether it was due to Mrs. Henry, I cannot say.

She could teach them just as easy ... by counting those roosters outside her door!

Episode scene:

Trampas remarks on the attention the new schoolteacher is getting from all the men, “from what I hear, every man in town barring those that have wives or busted legs.” The Virginian comments that it’s perfectly natural, since she’s new and she’s pretty. When Trampas says there’s “a line a mile long” waiting to ask her to the dance, the Virginian replies “That many? Then one more shouldn’t matter.”

Quotation from the book (Chapter 10):

Two camps in the open, and the Virginian's Monte horse, untired, brought him to the Swintons’ in good time for the barbecue...
“Hello!” [Honey Wiggin] said, perceiving the Virginian. “So you’ve dropped in for your turn! Number - six, ain’t he, boys?”
“Depends who’s a-runnin’ the countin’,” said the Virginian, and stretched himself down among the audience.
“I’ve saw him number one when nobody else was around,” said Trampas.
“How far away was you standin’ when you beheld that?” inquired the lounging Southerner.
“Well, boys,” said Wiggin, “I expect it will be Miss Schoolmarm says who’s number one to-night.”
“Is there many?” inquired the Virginian. He was still stretched on his back, looking up at the sky.
“I don’t know how many she’s been used to where she was raised,” Wiggin answered. “A kid stage-driver come from Point of Rocks one day and went back the next. Then the foreman of the 76 outfit, and the horse-wrangler from the Bar-Circle-L, and two deputy marshals, with punchers, stringin’ right along, - all got their tumble. Old Judge Burrage from Cheyenne came up in August for a hunt and stayed round here and never hunted at all. There was that horse thief - awful good-lookin’. Taylor wanted to warn her about him, but Mrs. Taylor said she’d look after her if it was needed. Mr. Horse-thief gave it up quicker than most; but the schoolmarm couldn’t have knowed he had a Mrs. Horse-thief camped on Poison Spider till afterwards.”

Additional comments:

  1. Trampas’ comments about the schoolteacher and her suitors sound innocent and helpful, but in reality he is setting up his friend for a practical joke. Miss Perry has already agreed to accompany Trampas to the dance. When the Virginian, embarrassed, learns the truth and hears Trampas gloating about it to one of the hands, he orders the cow-puncher to repair some fence, knowing he will not get back in time for the dance.
  2. In both the book and the series, the Virginian is often successful with the ladies, and knows it.

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(Compilation © 2002 by Alice Munzo. All rights reserved.)