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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 2 E 59 A Hundred Yards Over The Rim

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This isn't The Oregon Trail anymore.

Rod Serling: "The year is 1847, the place is the territory of New Mexico, the people are a tiny handful of men and women with a dream. Eleven months ago, they started out from Ohio and headed west. Someone told them about a place called California, about a warm sun and a blue sky, about rich land and fresh air, and at this moment, almost a year later, they've seen nothing but cold, heat, exhaustion, hunger, and sickness. This man's name is Christian Horn. He has a dying eight-year-old son and a heartsick wife, and he's the only one remaining who has even a fragment of the dream left. Mr. Chris Horn, who's going over the top of a rim to look for water and sustenance and in a moment will move into the Twilight Zone."

Air date: April 7, 1961

It is 1847, and Christian Horn (Cliff Robertson) is the leader of a wagon train expedition from Ohio to seek a new life in California. The journey so far has been long, arduous, and perilous. Supplies are running low, morale is sagging, and to make matters worse, Christian's son has come down with a mysterious illness and has been battling a fever over the past week.

In search of water. Horn decides to explore a nearby hill a hundred yards away, but when he gets to the top of the rim, he spots a strange black road, traveled by giant wheeled monsters.

Where is Horn exactly, and how can he survive in this strange new world?


A Hundred Tropes Over The Rim:

  • Dramatic Drop: Mary Lou drops a glass of water when Chris says he's come from 1847.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Christian Horn is rather frightened by things such as automobiles, and is rather shocked to find telephone poles sticking out of the ground. He does, however, use modern penicillin to his advantage.
  • The Future Is Shocking: After arriving in 1961, Chris is shocked by the sight of a truck, which almost runs him over. He thinks that it is a monster.
  • Injun Country: Charlie, a member of Chris' wagon train, is worried about being attacked by the Apache as the expedition is approaching their territory.
  • Happy Ending: Horn gets back to his family in 1847. With the modern medicine he acquired from 1961, he cures his ailing son and carries on with the expedition with a renewed purpose. His trip to the future also gave him knowledge of nearby water and game, ensuring the expedition will survive.
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  • Newspaper Dating: Chris realizes that he is in the future when he sees a calendar dated 1961 in Joe's diner.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Chris leaves his gun behind when he returns to the past. As soon as he disappears, the gun suddenly decays as though a century had passed.
  • Stable Time Loop: Chris Horn's eight-year-old son Christian is dying of pneumonia in 1847. When he is sent forward in time to September 1961, Chris finds an encyclopedia which states that Dr. Christian Horn, Jr. was a pioneer in vaccine research for childhood diseases in California who died in 1914. After returning to his own time, Chris tells his wife Martha to give the boy a dose of penicillin that he obtained in 1961, which cures his pneumonia.
  • Time Travel Episode: A simple search for water sends Christian Horn to the year 1961, 114 years into the future.

Rod Serling: "Mr. Christian Horn, one of the hearty breed of men who headed west during a time when there were no concrete highways or the solace of civilization. Mr. Christian Horn, and family and party, heading west, after a brief detour to The Twilight Zone."