Narrator: On the whole, the non-believers won the day. However, if the spacecraft had only landed a few miles further on, things might have been different.
Narrator: They live in a house of crystal pillars on the planet Mars. By the edge of an empty sea. In the evenings, when the Fossil Sea is warm and motionless, Mr. K sits in his room listening to his book.
Narrator: She cannot look at him. She thinks only of the tall stranger from another world. But outside is only the empty desert and the bright stars coming out on the black sky. And far way, the sound of water stirring, cold in long canals.
Narrator: The ship comes down from space. Without Wilder, without Spender. It has traversed the black velocities, encountering ancient moons, like a pale leviathan slipping through an otherwise-empty sea. It has come down from the stars, and the shining movements, and the silent gulfs of space. It is a new ship. It has fire in its body and three young men in its metal cells. The second expedition to Mars has arrived.
Edward Black: Your death will be painless, Captain.
Capt. Arthur Black: Why?
Edward Black: A proper question, Captain. We are not a violent people. The members of your first expedition were destroyed by a husband that convinced himself that jealousy of his wife was actually concern for his planet’s welfare. This is different. We are joining forces to destroy three lives. Why? Because we fear for our existence. We have seen your weapons. More, we have looked into your minds and seen the violence there. We have witnessed in your minds what your kind have done to Earth. How your society trembles on the verge of self-destruction, seeking to find a solution to its own troubles on other worlds rather than solve them on its own. We cannot permit that on our world. Forgive us, Captain Black. Once we were an honorable people. Now see the depth to which we have inextricably fallen. To murder out of fear. Forgive us.
Narrator: The Martians, still under the influence of the thoughts and memories they have taken from the minds of the Earth men, dig three holes and perform an alien ceremony on a strange and distance world. But slowly, very slowly, the thoughts and memories fade away like a long, dying echo. And the Martians go back to their own city of crystal windows and fragile towers. Shedding their human forms as nightmares fade into a new dawn.
Narrator: There was an eerie stillness when they first set up camp in the dry cold of the Martian night. Now they stand around the fire waiting... and wondering.
Maj. Jeff Spender: You know, a race creates itself for a million years, refines itself, does everything it can to give itself respect and beauty, and then it dies. Part in its own time, with dignity as it should be, but the other part... does it perish of some majestic affliction? No, it doesn't. It dies of a disease that does not kill the youngest child on Earth. It's like saying the Greeks died of mumps. Or the Roman Empire was decimated by athlete's foot.
Maj. Jeff Spender: I just believe in things that were done. And there were so many things done here. Streets and houses and books and big canals and clocks and places with names. Things that were used and touched for centuries. And I don't see how we can ever use them without feeling uncomfortable. Oh, we can change the names, but the old names will still be there. So no matter how we touch Mars, we won't be able to really touch it. See, that'll make us angry. We'll get mad at that and just rip it up. We'll change it to suit ourselves. And ruin it. Like we've ruined Earth.
Col. John Wilder: We're not going to ruin it.
Maj. Jeff Spender: No?
Col. John Wilder: No.
Maj. Jeff Spender: No? Us Earthmen have a talent for ruining things. If there are any Martians alive in those hills, they're going to grow to hate us.
Maj. Jeff Spender: This is beautiful. Just beautiful. (Briggs belches)
Sam Parkhill: Briggs is obviously moved.
McClure: Hey, Spender, where have you been?
Maj. Jeff Spender: I found a Martian.
Maj. Jeff Spender: I’ve been living in a Martian city in the hills. Learning to read their books, understand their art forms.
McClure: What are you talking about?
Maj. Jeff Spender: One day a Martian appeared and said, “Give me your boots.” And I did. And then he said, “Give me your uniform,” and I did. I offered him my weapon, but he said he had his own.
McClure: Are you crazy?
Maj. Jeff Spender: And then he said to follow him and see what happens. And he walked across the desert and he’s here right now.
McClure: I don’t see any Martians.
Maj. Jeff Spender: Don’t you? (shoots him)
Narrator: It was only then that Colonel Wilder fully realized what was going to happen. Men would come to the new frontier. They would come because they were afraid or unafraid, because they were happy or unhappy. They would come with small dreams or large dreams or no dreams at all. But they would come. And then what would happen to Mars?
Richard Matheson makes several substantial changes to Bradbury's original work, presumably to give it a consistent narrative. The most striking is that he takes Captain Wilder, a character from "And the Moon be Still as Bright," and incorporates him into the overall narrative, both in part 1 here, and parts 2 and 3. Wilder replaces characters in all of the subsequent short stories except "The Long Years," and is the "guiding force" back on Earth for the preceding two stories in this episode.
Changes from the short stories:
* The second expedition is dropped and the third expedition in the book becomes the second expedition in the mini-series.
* There are only three crewmen on the second expedition, while there are sixteen in the story.
* The fourth expedition in the book becomes the third expedition in the mini-series.
* Spender is an archaeologist in the short story. In the mini-series he is a military officer who may or may not be an archaeologist as well.
* The character of Hathaway is dropped from the Third Expedition story, although he appears in the short story (and will be mentioned as a member in part 3, "The Martians").
* Spender kills only three crewmen, while in the short story he kills six. Among them is a Cherokee crew member named Cheroke, who is dropped from the mini-series.
* The scene at the end of Wilder punching Parkhill for shooting Martian buildings is dropped.