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A time machine snatches an outlaw from the Wild West of the 1880s away from the hangman's noose, and sets him into modern time.

Episode Info

Episode number: 1x26
Production Number: 173-3628
Airdate: Friday April 01st, 1960


Guest Stars
Albert SalmiAlbert Salmi
As Joe Caswell
Russell JohnsonRussell Johnson
As George Manion
Than WyennThan Wyenn
As Paul Johnson

Co-Guest Stars
George MitchellGeorge Mitchell
As Old Man
Jon LormerJon Lormer
As Reverend
Richard KarlanRichard Karlan
As Bartender
Fay RoopeFay Roope
As Judge
Joe HaworthJoe Haworth
As Television Cowboy
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


In 1880, cowboy Joe Caswell is ridden out of town and prepared for execution by hanging from a tree. When the reverend prepares to say a prayer, Caswell says that he doesn’t believe in prayer and tells the judge to make it short and get the hanging over with. When the judge gives him a chance to say any last words, Caswell says he would have done the same thing again. His victim’s father says that Caswell shot him in the back and hopes that Caswell will take a while to die. Caswell, unrepentant, tells them to get on with it. The judge says he’s an evil man and has one of the cowboys prod Caswell’s horse forward. The killer’s horse runs forward, leaving Caswell dangling from the noose... and then Caswell disappears, leaving an empty noose...

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Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
Commonplace, if somewhat grim, unsocial event known as a necktie party. The guest of dishonor, a cowboy named Joe Caswell, just a moment away from a rope, a short dance several feet off the ground, and then the dark eternity of all evil men. Mr. Joe Caswell, who, when the good Lord passed out a conscience, a heart, a feeling for fellow men, must have been out for a beer and missed out. Mr. Joe Caswell, in the last quiet moment of a violent life.

Old Man: Now, if that's all you got to say, I've got this to add. I'd like it to take awhile. I'd like you to feel it, Caswell. The more you kick, the more justice I figure there is in the world.
Joe Caswell: Well, I'll do a jig for you, pappy, just like a puppet.

George Manion: (talking into tape recorder) At 8:15 the subject appeared desperately tired so I put him to bed. After two hours, I've discovered the following. His name is Joseph Caswell. He tells me he was a trail boss on a cattle ranch in the territory of Montana. His last moment of recollection was November 14, 1880. He says he was riding herd when suddenly he blacked out. He awoke to find himself on the cot of my laboratory. He felt no sensations and only in the last few moments did he seem to have any grasp of what has occurred. There's one disturbing point. There are the marks of a rope etched deeply into his neck. He has no explanation for this. And I have one other observation, hardly scientific. I don't like his looks. I don't like the eyes, the face, or the expression. I get a feeling of disquiet. I get a feeling that I've taken a 19th century primitive and placed him in a 20th century jungle. And heaven help whoever gets in his way.

George Manion: Some things don't change. Ideals, concepts, things like right and wrong.
Joe Caswell: I know all about right and wrong. Once, there was a deputy sheriff in Dodge City, tried to beat the difference between them into my back with a wet rope. I know all about right and wrong.

Joe Caswell: Mister, you're just talkin' words! Justice, right and wrong. They sound good in this nice, warm room and a nice, full stomach, just a few feet away from a soft bed. They sound nice and they go down easy! But you just try them on an ice-cold mesa where another man's bread or another man's jacket stands between you and staying alive. You get in this machine of yours and you go back to where I was, and you talk about your law and your order and your justice. They're gonna sound different! Mister, I know your kind. Your clean face, your Johnny-come-lately dandies. You come out in your warm trains rolling over the graves of men like me! I just hate your kind!

Joe Caswell: What is that? Where's that music comin' from?!
Bartender: That thing? That's a jukebox, just a plain old jukebox.
Joe Caswell: It's just that I need some sleep and those things runnin' around!!
Bartender: Things?
Joe Caswell: Those carriages without horses and the lights goin' on and off and the noise! It's like thunder all the time!

Judge: Cut him down. Hurry up! Cut him down.
Old Man: That ain't Joe Caswell! That ain't the guy we hanged.
Reverend: Look at his clothes. What kind of clothes are they?
Old Man: Who is it?
Judge: This is not Caswell, Reverend. It's a stranger.
Old Man: What kind of devil's work is this?
Reverend: I don't know. I don't know if it is devil's work.
Judge: Did we hang an innocent man, then?
Reverend: I hope not. I pray to God not.

Closing Narration
This is November, 1880, the aftermath of a necktie party. The victim's name--Paul Johnson, a minor-league criminal and the taker of another human life. No comment on his death save this: justice can span years. Retribution is not subject to a calendar. Tonight's case in point in the Twilight Zone.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
EditorJoseph Gluck
Set DecoratorHenry Grace  |  Keogh Gleason
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorMerrill Pye  |  George W. Davis
Production ManagerRalph Nelson
Sound EditorFranklin Milton  |  Philip Mitchell
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
Assistant DirectorKurt Neumann
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