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Tommy Karpeles is convicted of murder during the course of a train robbery and sentenced to life in prison when his estranged daughter, Sally, refuses to provide him with an alibi. Eliot Ness, trying to recover the money stolen in the robbery, comes to believe that Karpeles is innocent. Meanwhile, the real train robbers, Arnie Mendoza and Phil Collier, move to cover up loose ends with Sally.
Thursday December 29th, 1960
Special Guest StarsGuest StarsUncredited
On May 18, 1931, the Rock Island Special, a mail train, is stopped by emergency flairs on the tracks just outside of Hilldale, Illinois. Robbers wearing gas masks toss tear gas bombs onto the train. They shoot a railroad employee and make off with over a million dollars worth of negotiable securities. Three months later, Tommy Karpeles, a former big-time Chicago hoodlum, is arrested for complicity in the case. Though his two accomplices remained uncaught, Karpeles was convicted of train robbery and murder and sentenced to life in prison. ..Read the full recap
This is one of two episodes which deal with the subject of a train robbery. The other episode is Season Three's The Stryker Brothers.
Leo Penn's son, Sean Penn, and Vic Morrow's daughter, Jennifer Jason Leigh, would later co-star together in the classic 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Joseph Wiseman would return later in Season Two in The Antidote.
Vic Morrow would return in Season Three's The Maggie Storm Story.
Locations: Chicago, Joliet, IL
Murray Hamilton would return in The Troubleshooter, The Whitey Steele Story, and The Chess Game.
Karpeles: Five years. For five years I play it straight and they nail me on a bum rap.
Ness: Sure, Karpeles, you're as innocent as a newborn babe.
Karpeles: That jury didn't want evidence. They wanted a patsy.
Ness: (to Karpeles) I just wanted to look at the number one sucker of all-time. A guy who's rotting in prison while someone outside's sitting on a million bucks laughing his head off.
Mendoza: (about Karpeles) A man in for life for something he didn't do is liable to be annoyed.
Sally: Sometimes you disgust me.
Varsey: But not all the time, huh, baby?
Though the episode is set in 1931, a poster on the movie theatre window announces an upcoming movie entitled Escapades of 1933.
The train keeps a rollin' in this episode with excellent turns from Harold J. Stone, Madlyn Rhue, and Murray Hamilton that offset a somewhat average performance from Joseph Wiseman as the lead villain. Fortunately for us all, Wiseman would redeem himself a few episodes later in The Antidote.