RIVERBOAT: A NIGHT AT TRAPPERS LANDING (TV)
One in this series of dramas about the riverboat "Enterprise," her captain and crew, and their travels along the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers during the 1840s.
In this episode, Frazer returns to St. Louis after a disastrous mission in which many men were killed by Native Americans; he firmly declares that their leader, Lieutenant Devereaux, who was also killed, was not to blame. General Jacoby and Colonel Nicholson question Frazer and Rothgate, a businessman who explains that the local Sioux had been stealing his furs. The army had then sent a platoon of men to guard a nearby outpost, with Frazer serving as riverboat pilot. The dashing Devereaux arrived for his assignment and put on an "un-militaristic display" as he bid a grand farewell to several women. In the present, Sergeant Ned Bolger adds that, far from calming the tensions between his men, Devereaux actually engaged in brawls with them. Frazer argues that while he was skeptical about the lieutenant, he gradually changed his mind as Devereaux assured him of his determination to keep his men safe at all costs.
Again flashing to the past, Devereaux described his colorful past in Paris and his brief consideration of joining the priesthood while the boat headed for Trappers Landing. Devereaux praised Frazer when he successfully navigated the boat through some treacherous waters, but they were all shocked to see that Trappers Landing had been burned to the ground, with only Indian agent C.C. Thompson and Noah Woodley narrowly escaping with their lives. Devereaux, bewildered over the seemingly random attack, reluctantly selected ten of his men to pursue the natives; they soon had a tense parley with several of the Sioux. An unseen figure began shooting at them, however, and several of Devereaux's men were killed in the ensuing chaos, much to his despair. He lamented that the stolen furs were not worth their lives, and he deliberately piloted the riverboat into a sandbank. With the boat unable to move, the natives began "picking them off one by one" in the night, and Thompson, aware that he was close to death, finally confessed that he and Woodley stole from the natives, leading them to destroy the camp, adding that Rothgate knowingly engaged the army under false pretenses.
Devereaux was enraged to realize that his men were killed as a result of the greed of a few "common thieves," and he resolved to head out after Woodley, who had fled, telling Frazer about his own father's habit of engaging in petty duels and concluding that "his heritage is killing." Devereaux and his men tracked Woodley to Pinewood Station, and the Sioux began firing on them from within the fort. Woodley fruitlessly attempted to return the stolen money, and though Frazer urged Devereaux to abandon the thief and save himself by returning to the riverboat, Devereaux concluded that he could not kill Woodley after all and was fatally shot as he attempted to save him. Frazer was saddened by his noble choice.
Back in St. Louis, Frazer produces the bag full of stolen money and records that confirms Thompson's story, thus proving that Devereaux was not derelict in his duty. Satisfied, Jacoby and Nicholson place Rothgate under arrest. Commercials deleted.
- NETWORK: NBC
- DATE: 1959 7:00 PM
- RUNNING TIME: 0:49:32
- COLOR/B&W: B&W
- CATALOG ID: B:03103
- GENRE: Drama, action/adventure
- SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, action/adventure
- SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1959-1961
- Jules Bricken … Producer
- Felix Feist … Director
- Halsey Melone … Writer
- Elmer Bernstein … Music by
- Leo Shuken … Music by
- Jack Hayes … Music by
- Darren McGavin … Cast, Capt. Grey Holden
- Burt Reynolds … Cast, Ben Frazer
- Ricardo Montalban … Cast, Lt. Devereaux
- Peter Whitney … Cast, Noah Woodley
- Judson Pratt … Cast, Sgt. Ned Bolger
- Stacy Harris … Cast, Col. Nicholson
- Jack Lambert … Cast, Tony Walchek
- William Gordon … Cast, Joe Travis
- Dick Wessel … Cast, Carney Kohler
- Raymond Bailey … Cast, Gen. Jacoby
- R.G. Armstrong … Cast, Rothgate
- Morris Ankrum … Cast, C.C. Thompson