Night Gallery

Season 2 Episode 28

Dr. Stringfellow's Rejuvenator

Aired Unknown Nov 17, 1971 on NBC

Episode Recap

In an Old West town, medicine man Dr. Stringfellow and his assistant Rolpho sets up his wagon and beats a drum to attract the townspeople. Once a crowd has gathered, Stringfellow sells his rejuvenator, boasting that it's a cure for anything and everything. He offers it for $1.00 a bottle and sends his assistant out to sell the liquid, and notices a man watching him. Stringfellow goes into his wagon, looks out the window, and watches the man argue with his assistant. The assistant comes back in and Stringfellow asks what the man wanted, but Rolpho says all he did was ask how long they'd be in town. Stringfellow warns that most people have long tempers and are glad to run a conman out of town with some tar and feathers.

A man arrives at the wagon and explains that his daughter is sick, and there are no doctors in the area. He asks Stringfellow to look at her. When Stringfellow hesitates, the farmer offers him all of his savings and Stringfellow agrees to just look at her, even though it's not a matter of profit. He goes outside and looks at the girl, who identifies her suffering as abdominal pain. Stringfellow tells the farmer to give her the rejuvenator formula and assures him that his daughter will be fine in a week. He only takes a dollar for the rejuvenator and a small additional "honorarium." As Stringfellow walks away, a man named Snyder approaches him and says he was a former doctor. Stringfellow doesn't remember him, and Snyder says that the girl has appendicitis and her cause is hopeless. Snyder admits that he can't do anything, but insists that at least he only lies to himself.

Stringfellow returns to his wagon, where Rolpho is pouring colored water into rejuvenator bottles. The conman complains that they've traveled hundreds of miles for $9. Rolpho asks about the girl, and Stringfellow says that she'll be dead in 48 hours, so they'll leave after supper. When the assistant wonders if Stringfellow could do anything, the conman says the only thing left is resurrection, and he'd do it if there's enough money in it.

After the sun goes down, Stringfellow and Rolpho go to the saloon. Rolpho wonders how his employer can justify selling false rejuvenator to customers. Stringfellow says that his rejuvenator contains dreams that he sells to the hopeless. The man comes in and says that his daughter is getting worse, and Snyder tells him to give his daughter whiskey to kill the pain. When the man turns to Stringfellow, Snyder says that he's a medicine man who will do anything for cash. Stringfellow tells Rolpho to get another bottle of the rejuvenator, and tells the father that he's going to bring his daughter back to life. Once the father goes to get his daughter, Snyder asks why Stringfellow doesn't just bushwhack the father and steal his money, and Stringfellow tells him that Snyder can tell the father that he's doomed, but the father will believe Stringfellow.

The hearse takes the daughter away, and Rolpho tells Stringfellow. He admits that he failed, but that he would have been hailed as a legend if he had succeeded. As Stringfellow prepares to leave, a drunken Snyder says he'll always have people to rob, and makes anybody look like God next to him.

Stringfellow goes out into the street as the wind picks up, and sees the daughter sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of the general store. Astonished, he walks over to her and demands to know if he's facing a ghost or a resurrection. The girl says nothing, and Stringfellow says that they can be rich if he succeeded in resurrecting her. She gets up and then disappears, and the general store sign breaks off of its support and falls toward Stringfellow.

Later, Rolpho goes to the undertaker's parlor where Stringfellow's coffin is kept. The undertaker notes that the sign missed Stringfellow by a foot, and the medicine man died of a heart attack. Once he's alone, Rolpho tells Stringfellow that he's a fool, and ended up the dumbest of them all. He then throws a lantern into Stringfellow's wagon, setting it on fire. Snyder asks why he did it, and Rolpho says there was nothing in there worth anything... and nothing in the undertaker's parlor, either. The two of them share a drink as the wagon burns.

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