The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 4

The Passersby

Aired Unknown Oct 06, 1961 on CBS

Episode Recap

Near the end of the Civil War, Confederate soldiers are walking home and one of them, a tired Sergeant and troubadour, sees a woman sitting on her porch. He asks to get some water and she invites him onto the grounds of her burned-out estate. They talk about the War and he plays her a song. The woman, Lavinia Godwin, notes that her husband used to play the guitar but that he died in the war. She asks the Sergeant to play louder to drown out the sounds of all the men marching by... and so they don't have to hear her cry.

As the Sergeant cuts some wood, Lavinia sees a soldier, Charlie, walking by. Recognizing him, she runs out to him, thankful that he wasn't shot through the head like she had heard. Charlie says he's almost where he needs to be and all but ignores her as he continues on his way. As he goes, Lavinia picks up the cap Charlie dropped, noticing it has blood on it. That night, the Sergeant plays another song on his guitar and talks about how he went off to war as a boy to become a troubadour and a man. Lavinia remembers how her husband used to sing the same song and would have liked the Sergeant to meet him. She notes that the Yankees came and burned the place down and cost her her husband. The Sergeant suggests she leaves but the manor is all she has. She wonders what happened to the Yankee who killed her husband and thinks about the shotgun she has and how she'll shoot the next Yankee soldier she sees. The Sergeant doesn't want to hear any more about killing, and has had enough after the death of Lincoln.

A Yankee lieutenant shrouded in darkness rides up on a horse and asks for water, and the Sergeant seems to remember him. He thinks back and remembers how the lieutenant treated him after he was hit by an exploding shell. He goes to get Lavinia, who has brought out her shotgun and prepares to shoot the lieutenant. He invites her to be about it and she shoots him despite the Sergeant's efforts. The lieutenant doesn't seem to notice and the Sergeant remembers that he died that day when the shell exploded, blinded by shrapnel. He asks for water again and the Sergeant offers him a drink, which the lieutenant fumbles for. The Sergeant holds up his lantern to reveal the lieutenant's devastated face.

The next day, the Sergeant decides he wants to see what's at the end of the road that the Yankees and Confederates alike are marching along to see. Lavinia begs him to stay but is interrupted when she hears her husband Jud singing. She turns to see him in the yard and rushes to embrace him. Jud explains that he has to keep going and the Sergeant steps out onto the road. Jud explains that he died from a bullet and Lavinia died of a fever. She refuses to go and Jud says that he'll wait for her at the end of the road. After he leaves, another figures appears on the road: Abraham Lincoln. He encourages her to come with him and that they're both dead. Lavinia runs up the road to be with her husband and Lincoln follows; the last casualty of the War and the last man on the road.