Night Gallery

Season 1 Episode 12

Clean Kills and Other Trophies

Aired Unknown Jan 06, 1971 on NBC

Episode Recap

At an isolated manor in the woods, big game hunter Colonel Archie Dittman and his 21-year-old son Archie Jr. meet with the family lawyer, Jeffrey Pierce. The colonel introduces his servant, Tom, and explains that he's the educated son of an African chief. When the colonel refers to him as a specimen, Pierce protests and the colonel says that Tom still carries amulets and is a pagan servant. Pierce says that he needs the colonel's signature on his trust fund for $2 million, but the colonel says that they can deal with that later. When Pierce asks about the colonel's "hobby," the colonel explains that he's hunted animals across the world. He dismisses Archie as an ineffectual alcoholic and lectures Pierce about the dangers of hunting tigers. Pierce asks Archie if he hunts, and the colonel dismisses his son as a spineless coward. When Pierce objects, the colonel says that Archie would give the money away to his charitable causes. The lawyer sympathizes with the boy, and insists that hunting is wrong if done unnecessarily. The colonel talks of the Maasai tribe and how they send their senior citizens out into the world, and then loads a rifle while explaining the tribes act on the instinct of survival. Pierce says that at least they kill for a purpose, and the colonel says that he kills for the purpose of proving himself superior.

The colonel turns to his son and asks Archie if he knows that he stands to inherit his father's wealth. When Pierce goes to get the papers, the colonel says that he's adding a codicil: Archie must kill an animal within 15 days, or the colonel will dissolve the trust. When Archie hesitates, the colonel says that any normal boy would have been thrilled to go on hunts, but his son fled at the son of gunfire. Pierce insists that it's none of his business, but the colonel says that he's not going to sign over the trust and asks what they can do to force him. When the lawyer says that Archie could sue his father, the colonel says that his son could never do it. He tells Pierce to go to bed, because in the morning they're going on a hunt. If Archie doesn't, the colonel will invest the $2 million in lousy investments and blow it away.

As the colonel goes upstairs, Archie yells at him, asking if he'll be satisfied if he'd kill a child. The colonel tells him that individuals are either hunters or the hunter, and Man is the only one who can choose. He dares Archie to shoot, and his son aims the gun. Tom stops him, and the colonel tells the servant to take Archie to bed. Pierce tells Archie that he doesn't have to kill a deer, and he'll send him to a first-rate law firm to impound the trust firm. Archie says that his father is 20th century man, and commits murder under a state-issued license. The colonel is the norm, not Archie, and Archie says that he'll try to shoot a deer because he has no other choice. He admits that he would have killed his father if Tom hadn't stopped him, and explains that killing a deer is better than patricide. Tom returns to the trophy room and Pierce follows him. Pierce admits he hasn't met the colonel before, and Tom says that he followed the colonel to watch over Tom... who will become another trophy.

Later, the colonel finds Tom in the trophy room, dressed in native garb and holding two tribal statues. Tom ignores the colonel at first, and then asks the colonel why he's chosen the next day for Archie to kill, after waiting for 21 years. When the colonel says it's his last chance to turn his son into a man, Tom says that it will do the opposite. The colonel asks what would have happened if Tom had refused to hunt, Tom says that he was trained to kill for food or protection, but never for sport. The colonel tells him to pray for good hunting weather and leaves, and Tom says that he's not what he's praying for.

The next morning, the colonel takes Archie into the woods and gives instructions on how to make a clean kill. They spot a deer and Archie aims and then hesitates. The colonel tells him to take the shot, and then slaps Archie in the head. The shot hits the deer, which runs off, and the colonel says that now they have to check the blood and see where it was hit.

Three hours later, Pierce comes downstairs as the colonel and Archie return with the deer. The colonel tells Pierce that Archie hit it in the lung, leaving it alive and in pain for three hours until they could find and kill it. Pierce insists that Archie tried, but the colonel dismisses his efforts. The colonel enters the trophy room and finds Tom waiting for him. The old man complains about the heat but Tom just watches him as the pain in his head increases.

A few minutes later, Tom emerges from the trophy room and sees Pierce as he leaves. The lawyer tells Tom to watch over Archie and make the son understand that the colonel was the true executioner. Tom says that the colonel has been duly punished, and warns Pierce not to go into the trophy room. The lawyer ignores his advice, and Tom says that he prayed to his gods that the hunter should know what it's like to be the victim. Pierce goes into the room, stares in horror, and then backs out. He asks Tom how, and Tom says that there are gods for whom vengeance is an art. Tom tells Pierce to take Archie with him. As Archie comes downstairs, Tom tells him that the colonel is in good company.

Once Pierce and Archie have left, Tom enters the trophy room and pours himself a drink. He offers a toast to the colonel: his head stuffed and mounted on the wall.