The Manions of America

Season 1 Episode 2

Part II

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Oct 01, 1981 on ABC
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Episode Summary

The story opens in Philadelphia in 1848, where after taking odd jobs, Rory finds permanent work at Rachel's uncle's gunpowder mill. Rachel travels to Philadelphia to stay with her aunt and uncle after her father dies. Her aunt introduces her to Caleb Staunton, a wealthy legal adviser and shareholder in the mill, but Rachel is only interested in Rory. An explosion at the mill leads to reforms, rebuilding of the mill, and financing of a shipment for Rory to buyers in the west that will bring top dollar - all thanks to Caleb. Meanwhile Deidre arrives from overseas with her baby brother, but they are separated. She is reunited with Rory and meets Caleb, sparking a relationship between them despite her common law marriage to Rachel's brother David. When word comes that David has died in India, the way is paved for Deidre to marry Caleb in a double ceremony with Rachel and Rory. But in an ironic twist, Rachel learns her brother is not dead and she hides this knowledge to allow Deidre to marry Caleb. But David eventually shows up to claim Deidre, leading to a duel between he and Caleb. David loses the duel but his life is spared and he travels with Rory out west to settle. Rory returns after the sale to find Rachel has just lost their baby during childbirth.moreless

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  • Alot of dramatic moments and buildup for the finale...

    This installment was filled with quite a bit of story - literally an epic amount of it - as two disparate European families slowly assimilate into the fledging U.S. society. The American in this group, the character of Caleb Staunton played with alot of reserve (perhaps too much so) by actor David Soul, acts as the glue and scissors that attempts to both bind and separate the battling families as they further interweave themselves and force change upon their perceptions of each other.

    In a somewhat unrealistic state of affairs, we watch as Rory moves up in the world by taking on the worst of the worst of duties and eventually being handed (albeit not without a lot of fighting, both physically and verbally and struggle) a business that will eventually prosper being in existence at the right place and the right time for the coming U.S. Civil War. This of course helps to give historical context to the story while the romance side is applied as an overlay to it.

    However despite Purl's and MacCorkindale's earlier charming storyline, their participation in this one, due to the circumstances of the story, forces both characters into a level of theatrics that IMHO detracts from the potential that they have and displayed magnificently in the previous episode. This due to the writing and introduction of conflict into the story by having Caleb court the put-upon Deidre and then force her to have to make a choice between him and David when she discovers that he had not died overseas while serving in India, thus resulting in his seeking her out to resume their relationship. Meanwhile, Mulgrew's Rachel is right on the edge of being written to be annoyingly interventionist, although it was established that much of what she originally tried to do was for others' own sakes. But perhaps this was more to build towards underscoring her growing manipulativeness as it was apparent that she descended from a family (most notably her aunt and uncle with who she is living) of manipulators.

    In any case, the hardships of these two families continues and this builds them up for the dramatic conclusion to come.moreless
Barbara Parkins

Barbara Parkins

Charlotte Kent

David Soul

David Soul

Caleb Staunton

Kate Mulgrew

Kate Mulgrew

Rachel Clement

Kathleen Beller

Kathleen Beller

Maureen O'Brian

Linda Purl

Linda Purl

Deirdre O'Manion

Nicholas Hammond

Nicholas Hammond

Sean O'Manion/Padric O'Manion

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