Alcoa Theatre

Season 1 Episode 13

The Tinhorn

Aired Monday 9:30 PM Dec 23, 1957 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Tinhorn
Jeff Carleton, a gambler joins a wagon train as a preacher to get out of a town where Jim witcher threatens to kill him on sight for cheating him at cards.

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  • A superb episode and strong storyline which deals with one of the major themes of film, namely that of a person's redemption. David Niven is cast as Jeff Carleton, a gambler who is looking for someone to kill him because he sees no purpose in life.moreless

    A superb episode made so by a strong storyline which deals with one of the major themes of film throughout its history, namely that of an individual's redemption. David Niven is superbly cast as Jeff Carleton, a gambler who is looking for someone who will kill him because he has lost all purpose in life. The episode opens in a saloon set in a town in the old west. Jim Carleton is dealing at a poker game when he is challenged and found to be cheating by Jim Witcher. Witcher persuades the bartender to give Carleton a gun and holster. Carleton is saved when the Marshal enters and escorts Carleton to the jail. Milbanks, a wagon train boss enters the marshal's office looking for a guide for the wagon train and also for a preacher for his mother who is dying. Carleton agrees to play the role of a preacher if he can use the wagon train as a means of escaping from the wagon train. On arrival at the wagon train Carleton reads to Granny the 23rd Psalm. After Granny dies he is persuaded to baptise the two sons of Wilma Trask, a widow. Morrow, Wilma's brother in law arrives back at the wagon train saying that he has not found a guide and tells the people of the wagon train who Carleton really is. The people of the Wagon Train turn again Carleton despite the efforts of Milbanks. In the morning Witcher arrives at the wagon train offering to be its guide if they will raise more money. Carleton interrupts and despite Witcher wanting to kill him instantly a bargain is made that the winner of one hand of poker will decide whether Witcher guides the wagon train for the original fee offered or for the original fee plus all the wagons. witcher agrees providing that there is a neutral dealer. Wilma is persuaded to do this and Carleton wins the hand. Carleton is provided with a gun but asks for a few moments before he draws against Witcher. He reads the 23rd Psalm. He beats Witcher to the draw but deliberately fires wide. Witcher recognising that Carleton could have killed him easily refuses to kill Carleton and agrees to guide the wagon train. Carleton is persuaded to join the wagon train for its entire journey serving as its preacher.moreless

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