Valley of the Shadow

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"Valley of the Shadow"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 3
Directed by Perry Lafferty
Written by Charles Beaumont
Featured music Stock from A Hundred Yards Over the Rim
Production code 4861
Original air date January 17, 1963
Guest appearance(s)

Ed Nelson: Philip Redfield
Natalie Trundy: Ellen Marshall
David Opatoshu: Dorn
Dabbs Greer: Evans
Jacques Aubuchon: Connelly
James Doohan: Johnson
Morgan Brittany (as "Suzanne Cupito"): Cissie Johnson
Sandy Kenyon: Fredericks (Gas Station Attendant)
Henry Beckman: Townsperson
Bart Burns: Townsperson
King Calder: Townsperson
Pat O'Hara: Townsperson

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Thirty-Fathom Grave"
Next →
"He's Alive"
List of season 4 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Valley of the Shadow" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

Reporter Philip Redfield (Ed Nelson) gets lost while driving with his dog on unfamiliar back roads, and stops in Peaceful Valley, New Mexico, to get food, directions, and gasoline. The gas station attendant fills his tank but is curt and claims the only restaurant in town is closed. Philip's dog leaps out of the car to chase a little girl's cat up a tree. The girl uses a strange device to make the dog disappear. When Philip confronts the girl's father, he pretends to go looking for the dog, then secretly uses the device to make the dog re-materialize.

Philip and his dog seek food at the town's hotel. Ellen, the proprietor, is as curt as the gas station attendant and insists they have no rooms available even though the keys to all the rooms are still on display at the check-in desk. Philip's suspicions are fully aroused by this time, but questioning Ellen about the residents' strange behavior gets him nowhere. He drives out of town only to run into an invisible wall which totals his car. A band of Peaceful Valley residents are waiting at the scene and take him to the town elders.

The town elders question Philip on why he came to Peaceful Valley and whether anyone knows where he is. They show him some of the technology they have, including a replicator which can produce any object given its molecular formula and a ray which can reverse any injury. The town refuses to share this technology, given to them by a "great man of science" from an unknown land and planet, until "men learn the ways of peace." Philip rebukes them for decreeing themselves the sole people capable of using these extraterrestrial gifts responsibly, and for squandering technology that could be used to cure all illness and end hunger. The town elders insist that if they shared the technology it would be used for weapons, and tell Philip that due to his chance witnessing of the device used to make his dog disappear, he must either stay forever in Peaceful Valley or be executed to preserve the town's secrets.

Philip is a complete prisoner in his new home, with the invisible wall placed to keep him from even leaving his yard. He becomes romantically involved with Ellen, and tries to make her realize her own lack of freedom, deducing that the town elders would not let any of Peaceful Valley's residents leave for fear that they would reveal the town's secrets. Seemingly persuaded that he cannot reciprocate her love unless she sets him free, Ellen disables the invisible wall and offers to drive Phillip out of town. He asks to make a stop at the house for the town's technology. To defend himself, he uses the replicator to make a revolver. Opening the door of the safe that holds the book of formulas sets off an alarm, and the three town elders attack him. He shoots them.

Once Philip and Ellen are outside the town limits, she shows him the "book of formulas" which he intended to share with the world is blank, and uses a device to de-materialize him. Ellen was a plant, Philip's entire escape a test. The town elders claim his decision to create and use a gun confirms their belief that the people of Peaceful Valley are the only ones fit to use the alien technology. Ellen confesses her involvement wasn't all a lie, implying that her feelings for him were real. The mayor then uses a device to erase all Philip's memories of Peaceful Valley.

When Philip awakens, he has just finished filling up his car at the Peaceful Valley station. He asks for directions and drives out of town, after having a strange deja vu experience when he sees Ellen, who has tears in her eyes.

Closing narration[edit]

References[edit]

  • 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]