Route 66

Season 1 Episode 25

The Newborn

Aired Friday 8:30 PM May 05, 1961 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
14 votes
  • A story of the ambiguity and feelings of heritage, a good script, excellent cinematography. The sense of story does trump a realistic view of child birth.

    Tod and Buz become embroiled in the fate of a pregnant Native American woman on a ranch in New Mexico.

    This episode jumps right into it, Buz slugs his employer immediately after arriving at a cabin in the wilderness, seeming to have little time to digest the situation. Roman (Robert Duvall) already has proven to be sinister, as he's able to shoot a hawk from the sky with his rifle (rather than a shotgun) on the horse ride in and his love of guns and knives follows throughout the installment.

    The ranch's owner seems to have a harsh but brutal code of honor, and the script does a good job of making it more complex, as he wants his grandchild born but wants to reject any acknowledgement of its mother. The dialog also makes it plain that the men of the Ivy family are unapologetic in taking what they want, including the rape of the Indian mother at the hands of the dead son. On another note, it's kind of fun to see Buz and Tod take their argument of whether book knowledge or street smarts are more valuable to the issue of the birth of a baby.

    I like the conclusion at the peublo, shots of Native Americans interspersed with the demands of Ivy, and there is no real "answer" to the issue at hand. Sadly, what makes this episode dip for me is the death of the mother after the child's birth. It seems to come from nowhere despite the time spent on it.
  • Good plot idea and timely for American culture, but a little slow moving.

    The Newborn has potential; its plot line about a Native American woman who was raped and impregnated by a white rancher raises timely cultural issues and its sympathy for the victimized woman challenges preexisting American cultural mores. The episode also gives Tod and Buz an opportunity to take a moral stance and stick to their principals, which is in keeping with the show's tendencies.

    One other strength of the episode is its casting of the young Robert Duvall as an insidious ranch hand named Roman. It was a great role for Duvall in the early days of his career, and was followed by two later guest appearances on Route 66.

    These strengths notwithstanding, the episode could use some work in the speed and momentum of the story. At times, it felt tedious despite its engaging premise.