TV Review – THE VIRGINIAN: JACOB WAS A PLAIN MAN (1966)

THE VIRGINIAN: JACOB WAS A PLAIN MAN (1966, USA) **┬Ż
Western
net. National Broadcasting Company (NBC); pr co. Universal Television; d. Don McDougall; w. Eric Bercovici; exec pr. Frank Price; pr. Joel Rogosin; ph. Enzo A. Martinelli (Technicolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.33:1); m. Jack Hayes, Leo Shuken; m sup. Stanley Wilson; th. Percy Faith; ed. George Ohanian; ad. George Patrick; set d. John McCarthy Jr., James M. Walters Sr.; cos. Vincent Dee; m/up. Bud Westmore, Larry Germain; sd. Earl Crain Jr. (Mono); tr. 12 October 1966; r/t. 73m.

cast: James Drury (The Virginian), Charles Bickford (John Grainger), Don Quine (Stacey Grainger), Sara Lane (Elizabeth Grainger), Aldo Ray (Jacob ‘Jake’ Walker), Alfred Ryder (Ketch), Robert Pine (Curley), Edward Faulkner (Packer), Peter Duryea (Nicky), Ross Elliott (Sheriff Mark Abbott), L.Q. Jones (Belden), Larry J. Blake (Barker), Harry Harvey (Bartender), Frank J. Scannell (Ticket Seller), Tim Donnelly (2nd Cowhand), Cal Bartlett (1st Cowhand), Stephen Burnette (Townsman (uncredited)), Ross Dollarhide (Townsman (uncredited)), Harper Flaherty (Harper (uncredited)), Joseph Glick (Townsman (uncredited)), Richard LaMarr (Townsman (uncredited)), Ted Mapes (Townsman (uncredited)), Clyde McLeod (Townsman (uncredited)), Joe Phillips (Townsman (uncredited)), Harry Raven (Townsman (uncredited)), Frank Sully (Danny (uncredited)), Jack Tornek (Townsman (uncredited)), George Tracy (Townsman (uncredited)), Harry Varteresian (The Angel (uncredited)).

(s. 5 ep. 5) Jake (Ray) who can’t hear or speak runs after he accidentally kills a man in a bar. He lands at Shiloh where his hard work results in a job. Stacey (Quine) seeing Jake can’t express himself decides to teach him to read and write but puts him in danger. Told in flashback, which has little dramatic effect on the story, this is a familiar tale of a misunderstood misfit with a disability and a heart of gold. For the most part, the story avoids dropping too deep into sentimentality, largely through the sympathetic performance of Ray as the deaf-mute on the run from a murder charge. There is a side plot about two ranch hands stealing heads of cattle from the Shiloh stock and their need to keep Ray from informing on them. The story is wrapped up all too neatly and without a resolution to the incident that started it and as such leaves the viewer unfulfilled.