RIVERBOAT: A NIGHT AT TRAPPERS LANDING (TV)

Summary

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 Americas, and he firmly declares that their leader, Lieutenant Devereaux, who was also killed, is not to blame. General Jacoby and Colonel Nicholson question Frazer and Rothgate, a businessman who explains that the local Sioux have been stealing his furs, leading, prompting the army to send a platoon of men to guard a nearby outpost, with Frazer serving as riverboat pilot. The dashing Devereaux arrives for his assignment and puts on an "un-militaristic display" as he bids a grand farewell to several women, and 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 too 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.

As the boat heads for Trappers Landing, Devereaux describes his colorful past in Paris and his brief consideration of joining the priesthood. Devereaux praises Frazer when he successfully navigates the boat through some treacherous waters, but they are all shocked to see that Trappers Landing has 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 selects ten of his men to pursue the natives, and they soon have a tense parlay with several of the Sioux. An unseen figure begins shooting at them, however, and several of Devereaux's men are killed in the ensuing chaos, much to his despair. He laments that the stolen furs were not worth their lives, and he deliberately pilots the riverboat into a sandbank. With the boat unable to move, the natives begin "picking them off one by one" in the night, and Thompson, aware that he is close to death, finally confesses 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 is enraged to realize that his men were killed as a result of the greed of a few "common thieves," and he resolves to head out after Woodley, who has 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 track Woodley to Pinewood Station, and the Sioux begin firing on them from within the fort. Woodley fruitlessly attempts to return the stolen money, and though Frazer urges Devereaux to abandon the thief and save himself by returning to the riverboat, Devereaux concludes that he cannot kill Woodley after all and is fatally shot as he attempts to save him. Frazer is saddened by his noble choice, and back in St. Louis, he 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.

Details

  • 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
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • 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