The Long Way Home (Episode 5.13)

Executive Producer Frank Price
Produced by Joel Rogosin
Teleplay by Andy Lewis
Story by Ken Finley
Directed by Abner Biberman

C'mon! Fight me!

Episode scene:

Jim Boyer, an outlaw who is trying to go straight, is angry over losing a promotion, and accuses the Virginian of sabotaging him out of jealousy. He gets drunk and challenges the Virginian to a fight, but the foreman does what he can to avoid it, even allowing Boyer to shove him before he turns and walks out of the saloon. Boyer continues to hurl insults after the Virginian, calling him a coward, and finally turns on Trampas, who defends his boss and friend, and walks out of the saloon also. The other cowhands follow suit, losing all the respect they had for Boyer.

Quotation from the book (Chapter 35):

From somewhere in the rear of the building...came a movement, and Trampas was among them, courageous with whiskey...pouring out a tide of hate and vilification. Yet the Virginian stood quiet by the bar and many an eye of astonishment was turned upon him. “I’d not stand half that language,” some muttered to each other. Still the Virginian waited quietly, while the fools reasoned with Trampas. But no earthly foot can step between a man and his destiny. Trampas broke suddenly free.
“Your friends have saved your life,” he rang out, with obscene epithets. ”I’ll give you till sundown to leave town.”
There was total silence instantly.
“Trampas,” spoke the Virginian, “I don’t want trouble with you.”
“He never has wanted it,” Trampas sneered to the bystanders. “ He has been dodging it five years. But I’ve got him corralled.”
Some of the Trampas faction smiled. “Trampas,” said the Virginian again, “ are yu’ sure yu’ really mean that?”
The whiskey bottle flew through the air, hurled by Trampas, and crashed through the saloon window behind the Virginian. “Get out by sundown, that’s all,” said Trampas. And wheeling, he went out of the saloon by the rear, as he had entered.

Some people got all the qualities -- no luck!

Episode scene:

The Virginian and John Grainger are bringing the Shiloh payroll back to the ranch when they run into Jim Boyer carrying his saddle. He apologizes to the foreman for his behavior the night before and the Virginian says “We’re even up!” and offers him a ride. Boyer then begins musing aloud how some people with no special talent seem to have the luck to land choice positions, while others who can outperform them but have no luck end up “eating their dust like everyone else.”

Quotation from the book (Chapter 12):

[The Virginian asks Molly if she believes all men are born equal, and then tells her that equality is “easy called”]“I know a man that mostly wins at cyards. I know man that mostly loses. He says it is his luck...I know a man that works hard and he’s gettin’ rich, and I know another that works hard and is gettin’ poor. He says it is his luck...I look around and I see folks movin’ up or movin’ down, winners or losers everywhere. All luck, of course. But since folks can be born that different in their luck, where’s your equality? No, seh! call your failure luck, or call it laziness, wander around the words...and yu’ll come out the same old trail of inequality. Some holds four aces...and some holds nothin’, and some poor fello’ gets the aces and no show to play ’em; but a man has got to prove himself my equal before I’ll believe him.”

Additional comments:

  1. In this episode, the Virginian walks away from a fight with Boyer because the latter is drunk, certainly, but also out of respect for Boyer’s wife and son. And in the episode titled Another’s Footsteps he walks out on a showdown with the murderer he has been tracking because of his affection for that man’s family as well.
  2. It may be true that Boyer can outperform the Virginian at roping, riding and fighting, but it is not bad luck that keeps Boyer down. It is his impatience and pride that prevent him from advancing in life.

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(Compilation © 2002 by Alice Munzo. All rights reserved.)
(Additional scene and comment 2 added February 20, 2004)