The Passersby

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"The Passersby"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 4
Directed by Elliot Silverstein
Written by Rod Serling
Featured music Fred Steiner
Production code 4817
Original air date October 6, 1961
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Shelter"
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"A Game of Pool"
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series) (season 3)
List of The Twilight Zone episodes

"The Passersby" is the 69th episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Opening narration[edit]

As the episode starts, a group of Civil War soldiers are walking down a road as Rod Serling does his narration:

This road is the afterwards of the Civil War. It began at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and ended at a place called Appomattox. It's littered with the residue of broken battles and shattered dreams.

After some dialogue is exchanged by the Sergeant and Lavinia Godwin, Rod Serling resumes his opening narration:

In just a moment, you will enter a strange province that knows neither North nor South, a place we call—The Twilight Zone.


At the end of the Civil War, a Confederate Army Sergeant (James Gregory), apparently wounded in battle, walks down a road aided by a wooden crutch. He carries with him a dirty bed roll and a homemade guitar. As the Sergeant limps along he sees a house. Once beautiful, the house and yard show obvious signs of the war; there is debris in the yard, and a large, dead tree stands in front of the house. It had once provided shade for its owners; now it stands there as evidence of the former beauty of the property. This is the house of Lavinia Godwin (Joanne Linville), whose husband had gone off to fight in the war and whose bitterness towards the Union still survives.

The Sergeant, seeking water and a place to rest, receives permission from Lavinia to refresh himself at the well, and then to sit on a bench under the dead tree. The Sergeant plays his guitar, singing a song that Lavinia identifies as one that her husband used to sing. They talk while he plays the guitar, and watch as a steady stream of soldiers, both Union and Confederate, passes by the house and continue on down the road. The Sergeant learns that Lavinia has been very ill, and that Lavinia's husband was killed in the war. The Sergeant and Lavinia interact with others who are traveling on the road, both Confederate and Union soldiers whose conversation and behavior imply that they are more than just wounded men.

The Sergeant begins to realize that this is not a normal road, and these are not just wounded soldiers. He tells Lavinia that there is something down at the end of the road, and that he has to find out what it is. As the Sergeant turns to leave, Lavinia moves in front of him and tries to persuade him to stay. Suddenly they hear a man's voice singing a familiar song. The man is Lavinia's husband, Jud.

Jud tells her that everyone on that road is indeed dead—including her. The Sergeant, understanding now, moves off down the road, but Lavinia refuses to believe that it is true. Jud tells her that there is nothing left for him in that house. Insisting that she is alive, Lavinia pleads with Jud to stay. Jud refuses and continues down the road, disregarding her pleas. As he leaves, Jud tells Lavinia that he will be waiting for her at the end of the road. Lavinia cries out to her husband, imploring him to stay. Dropping to her knees on the now deserted road, she begs Jud to come back.

Then she hears a soft voice speaking to her and trying to comfort her. It is a lone passerby who turns out to be Abraham Lincoln. He tells her that he is the last man on that road. Frightened, Lavinia backs away from him, but finally she accepts her fate and runs to join her husband, who can now be seen waiting for her at the end of the road, shrouded in fog. Lavinia joins her husband there and they walk into the fog. They are followed by Lincoln, who walks slowly toward the end of the road. The entire stream of soldiers was every single casualty of the war, and Lincoln was the last casualty of the war itself.

Closing narration[edit]

Incident on a dirt road during the month of April, the year 1865. As we've already pointed out, it's a road that won't be found on a map, but it's one of many that lead in and out of the Twilight Zone.


Episode notes[edit]

The traditional folk song "Black Is the Color (Of My True Love's Hair)" is featured prominently throughout this episode.

Elements of the episode are re-made in an episode of the 2002 revival named, "Homecoming". In this episode, a soldier returns from Iraq to repair his relationship with his son. We find out that the soldier is dead.

The closing titles image is of the road upon which the eponymous passersby walk.

The radio adaptation of this episode starred Morgan Brittany as Lavinia.


  • 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

External links[edit]