A Hundred Yards Over the Rim
|"A Hundred Yards Over the Rim"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2|
|Directed by||Buzz Kulik|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Featured music||Fred Steiner|
|Original air date||April 7, 1961|
|“||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.||”|
In the year 1847, Chris Horn is the leader of a small wagon train from Ohio attempting to reach California. Horn's wife and young son Christian are riding in one of the group's covered wagons. Christian is dangerously ill, and the others advise Horn the group wishes to turn back, as they're almost out of food and water, and they lack medicine for those who are sick, like young Christian. Determined not to turn back, Horn sets off alone in a desperate search for water and sustenance, which he tells himself he'll find over the rim of a nearby hill.
Horn crosses the sandy rim and suddenly finds himself in 1961 New Mexico. He is perplexed to see power lines, a hard black road, and a large truck coming at him, horn blaring. As the loud, fast-moving "monster with a face" zooms past the unnerved Horn, he stumbles, accidentally firing his rifle and grazing his arm.
He comes to a small café and gas station, owned by Joe and Mary Lou. The friendly Joe gives Horn water and Mary Lou tends to his injury, offering him penicillin, which she explains will ward off infection. They ask where he is from, curious about his old-fashioned clothes and "antique" (yet seemingly new) rifle; they don't believe his story of traveling by wagon from Ohio. When Horn says he was looking for water, Joe mentions the location of a nearby water source, which also attracts game for food. Horn is then shocked to see the year "1961" on a wall calendar, and the couple is convinced the desert heat has made him mentally unstable.
Joe calls a local doctor to come check on Horn. The doctor finds Horn to be fit and seemingly rational, with only the implausibility of the man's biography giving him reason to think otherwise. He calls the sheriff as the appropriate authority to look after him. Meanwhile, Horn has found an encyclopedia containing a brief biographical entry for "Horn, Christian Jr., M.D.", who did great work with children's diseases in late 19th-century California. Horn proudly concludes this is his son, and believes that he's been brought to this place to save him. Taking the penicillin tablets with him, he bolts from the café and runs back toward where he came from.
The sheriff arrives, and he and Joe go after Horn, nearly catching up to him. Horn stumbles, dropping his rifle before scrambling back over the rim. There he sees the wagon train where he had left it, then looks back over the rim to find the territory unsettled, with no power lines or highway. After giving his son a dose of penicillin, Horn leads the party toward the water and game he'd learned of, and onward to California.
Meanwhile, Joe and the sheriff have returned to the café. Joe tells Mary Lou that Horn simply vanished; all they found was Horn's rifle on the ground where he dropped it. Looking at it, they see that it now shows the effects of more than 100 years of exposure to the sun, its metal corroded and its wooden parts falling to pieces at their touch.
|“||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.||”|
- Cliff Robertson as Chris Horn
- John Crawford as Joe (1961)
- Miranda Jones as Martha Horn (1847)
- Evans Evans as Mary Lou (1961)
- John Astin as Charlie (1847)
- Edward Platt as Doctor (1961)
- Ken Drake as Man (1847)
- Robert L. McCord III as Sheriff (1961)
- List of The Twilight Zone episodes
- "The Last Flight" - An episode from season one with a similar premise.
- Causal loop - Christian Horn learns that his son will become a pioneer in medicine during the turn of the century from an encyclopedia in 1961; he later returns to 1847 with a bottle of penicillin from 1961, using a few tablets to save his son's life and possibly giving Christian Jr. the chance to study the rest of the tablets before it was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0