Rawhide - a look at a classic episode of this television seriesThe episode being Incident at the Top of the World, an excellent episode

Starring...Also starring...

Whilst on the trail, Gil Favor is contacted by a military doctor from a nearby ghost town.

Someone approachesLet me shake your hand, fellaDr Gardner

Dr Gardner (played by Les Tremayne) asks for Gil to accompany him back to the military hospital as he has a patient there he is anxious for Gil to see. Reluctantly, Gil agrees.

Riding back to hospitalStopping outside the hospital signAn anxious look

There they meet Craig Kern (Robert Culp) who has been in the hospital since the end of the Civil War. Physically there is nothing wrong with Craig now, but during the war he underwent major surgery to save his life - he was giving strong medication to keep him alive, and now he is dependent on the medication (morphine). Before the war Craig was an experienced cowhand, and so long as he takes his pills regularly he can work for Gil.

The doctor warns Gil that if Craig does not take his pills on a regular basis then he can become irritable and violent - but that eventually he may be able to overcome his addiction and live a normal life.

Let's shake on it alsoAnn PowellCraig looking happy riding off

Gil agress to take Craig with him, especially as they are approaching a cold storm. Dr Gardner asks Gil not to disclose Craig's problem with the rest of the men, and Gil agrees.

On the way out of the hospital, Gil meets Ann Powell (played by Jan Shepard) who was Craig's fiancee. She asks Gil if she accompany them both on the cattle trail but is refused by Gil because with the storm approaching it will be too dangerous.

A cup of coffee round the fireHere's your pillCraig riding off

Back at the trail camp, Craig meets Jason Adams (Paul Carr) who is the younger brother of one of the men Craig served with during the war. At first things go along fine, with the trail cook, Wishbone (Paul Brinegar) looking after Craig's pills and dispensing them when needed.

Craig starts to suffer withdrawalCraig cannot sleep by the fire without another pillThe cold front draws closer...

Craig tries to cut down on his pills, going down from three pills a day to two, but he finds the adjustment difficult. The other men begin to question why Craig was hired when several times he goes off to find Wishbone for the pills leaving the herd in danger.

Meanwhile, the cold front approaches...

The herdAnn Powell turns upAnn tries to comfort Craig

Ann Powell finds her way to the herd and tells Gil that she is not leaving. With the cold front nearly on them Gil has little choice but to take her with them. Craig tells Ann that as far as he is concerned the man she was engaged to is dead and that there is nothing between them anymore.

Gil tells Craig to look after his own medication nowJason is willing to ride with CraigCraig tells Jason of his dependency

After attacking Wishbone for not giving him his pills when he asked, Gil gives him his medication and tells him to look after them himself from now on. All of the men saw him attack Wishbone and do not want to go out with him on the herd, with the exception of Jason. Craig tells Jason that he is dependent on the pills and asks him to take them and not give him more than one pill a day, no matter what.

Craig suffering from withdrawalCraig fires upon JasonCraig goes through Jason's jacket, desperate to find the pills

The following day the cold front gets worse and the men have to work continuously - eventually Craig is able to ask Jason for his pill - however Jason has deliberately left the pills behind at the camp. In a fit of violence Craig shoots Jason and goes through his jacket trying to find the pills.

Craig ransacks the wagon looking for his pillsAnn sees him and comes over...Ann looks on the ground at the discarded blankets Craig has thrown

Rushing back to the camp, Craig starts to rummage through the blankets trying to find his pills. Ann sees him and looks on the ground through the items that Craig has discarded in his rage trying to find his medication.

Ann offers Craig his pillsCraig starts to realise what he has done...Craig takes his pill

Finding them, Ann offers the bottle to Craig. In the meantime, the men come over to see what all the commotion is about.

Gil asks Craig what has happened to JasonFavor stops one of his men from hitting CraigCraig tries to come to terms with what he has done

Gil asks Craig why he left Jason alone to handle the heard - Craig replies that Jason does not mind because he has killed him. At this the rest of the men turn on Craig and start to attack him - Gil intervenes and explains the problem that Craig has with the pills.

Craig takes a horseCraig diverts the herdCraig is off his horse

Just at the moment the herd breaks loose and heads towards the wagons - Craig takes a horse and manages to force them away. Unfortunately he gets caught in the stampede and is thrown off his horse...

Favor checks on Craig's bodyAnn starts to cryCraig's lifeless body

Rushing over, Gil finds that it is too late for Craig.

Ann goes back homeGil is left to wonder

Ann heads back home, and Gil is left wondering if he should have left Craig back at the hospital....


This is not a typical RAWHIDE episode in that usually you see a lot more of Gil Favor, Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood) or Wishbone - however, wisely in this episode they all take a secondary role in the story to concentrate on the tragic tale of Craig Kern (superbly portrayed by Robert Culp) as a soldier who through no fault of his own becomes a morphine addict. Bearing in mind that this episode was made in 1960 it is interesting to note that very few shows today would handle the matter in such a calm and non-sensational manner.

Rowdy and MushyWishbone and Mushy

Eric Fleming was probably most famous for playing the character of Gil Favour in Rawhide, staying in the series for seven of it's eight years. Unfortunately Eric was drowned in September 1966 whilst shooting a scene for a movie.

Paul Brinegar played the cook, Wishbone. He died in 1995 of emphysema at age 77.

Clint Eastwood appeared in such films as Tarantula before landing the role of Rowdy Rates. It is not known what happened to him after the series ended....

Robert Culp is best known for playing Kelly Robinson in the tv series I Spy, although he has appeared as a guest star in many television series, including a memorable role in the Outer Limits.


Links

Thankfully there are now several links on this show since I previously checked. Among the best ones are:

Rawhide-L - Chat about the television show.

Rawhide! - an excellent site about everything related to Rawhide.

Shades of Grey - Rawhide - some very nice pages on the characters and history of the show.

Eric Fleming Homepage - More information about the life, death and career of Eric Fleming

Eric Fleming Information Base - this site also contains a lot of information about the actor who played Gil Favor.

Sheb Wooley played Pete Nolan in the series - this site looks at his life and work.

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