The Grave (The Twilight Zone)
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|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Montgomery Pittman|
|Written by||Montgomery Pittman|
|Original air date||October 27, 1961|
The episode opens as outlaw Pinto Sykes is ambushed by the men of the town in the middle of the street. Some time later, gun-for-hire Conny Miller arrives in town, ready to kill Sykes and collect his pay. He goes to the saloon where the men who hired him are gathered and is angry to learn that they dispatched Sykes themselves. Uneasy because of Sykes' deathbed vow and leery of Miller, the men—none of whom, clearly, would have taken on Sykes—dare Miller to make a midnight visit to the grave of Sykes, who, as he lay dying, had vowed to reach up and grab Miller if he ever came near his grave. Miller is told to stick a knife into the burial mound as proof that he visited the grave. Miller treks in the cold, windy darkness to the cemetery and, at midnight, kneels at the grave to plant the knife. As he attempts to rise, he suddenly falls back down...
The next day, the townsmen, accompanied by Sykes's sister Ione, visit the cemetery in the safety of broad daylight. They find Miller lying dead atop Sykes' grave, with his knife through his coat, pinning him to the ground. Steinhart says it's plain what happened: the wind blew Miller's coat over the grave, he stuck the knife through his coattail unknowingly, and as he stood up afterward, he mistook the pinned coat's resistance for the tug of Sykes. Being scared half to death anyway, he fell dead of a heart attack. Ione reacts with scorn: "From which direction was the wind blowing last night?" she asks. "From the south," one of the men replies. "Same as now?" she asks. They agree that it is so. As she stands in the spot where Miller would have stood before planting the knife, "Look at my cloak," she challenges them. "Is the wind blowing it across the grave?" It is not. As the wind blows, Ione's long cloak streams behind her, like that of the Grim Reaper. Ione laughs, chillingly.
- Lee Marvin as Conny Miller
- James Best as Johnny Rob
- Lee Van Cleef as Steinhart
- Strother Martin as Mothershed
- Stafford Repp as Ira Broadly
- Elen Willard as Ione Sykes
- Dick Geary as Pinto Sykes
- William Challee as Jason
- Larry Johns as Townsman
"Normally, the old man would be correct. This would be the end of the story. We've had the traditional shoot-out on the street and the badman will soon be dead. But some men of legend and folk tale have been known to continue having their way even after death. The outlaw and killer Pinto Sykes was such a person, and shortly we'll see how he introduces the town and a man named Conny Miller, in particular, to the Twilight Zone."
"Final comment: you take this with a grain of salt or a shovelful of earth, as shadows or substance, we leave it up to you. And for any further research check under 'G' for ghosts in the Twilight Zone."
End titles screen features Pinto Sykes' grave.
This is one of two episodes that was filmed during season two but held over for broadcast until season three, the other being "Nothing in the Dark".
- 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