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Ep.4 - The Warrior

 
  Original Airdate: October 13, 1977
Writer: Joan Scott
Director: Ralph Senensky

Description:

  A 101 year old Cherokee man and his grandson trave to Walton's Mountain in search of a sacred burial ground.

Prologue:

  "Most of us tend to be convinced of the rightness of our heritage, our traditions, our way of life, until some event happens that shakes our deepest beliefs to their foundations. On a day in 1939 two strangers came to our mountain. As a consequence of their visit we were to learn that others had roots there which reached deeper than our own."

Synopsis:

 

Elizabeth is concerned about her goat Myrtle who has become ill. Two native men arrive while John and Elizabeth look over her goat. Joseph Teskigi, a 101 year old Cherokee man and his grandson Matthew who have come from North Carolina in search of something near Walton's Mountain. They ask if they can stay in the barn for the night. John lets them stay invites them to join his family for supper. They graciously decline the offer but Olivia sends Elizabeth out with some warm food for them. She stays with them in the barn for a bit and spends some time to getting to know them. The grandfather tells a story of when he was young and shows elizabeth a clay mug that he has had since he was a boy. Matthew says that there is a herb called Golden Seal that they can help her goat.

Matthew says that he is looking for their ancient Cherokee burial ground. He describes a place on the mountain that will show him the location of the burial site. Grandpa believes that he is talking about Indian Stone and offers to take the old man there in the morning.

Grandpa and Joseph go up the mountain in search of the Indian Rock. Joseph says that he has outlived 4 wives. They stop and rest and he tells the story of how he married his first wife.

Elizabeth and Matthew look for some Golden Seal root to help Myrtle. Matthew finds an arrowhead which indicates to him that his people did once live on this land.

Grandpa and Joseph carries on alone and finds a 12 foot standing stone with ancient Cherokee writing at the base that directs Joseph back to the Walton’s barn which he believes is the site of his family’s ancient burial ground. He says that the barn needs to be torn down. That animals have desecrated the site and that it needs to be purified. John immediately becomes defensive. Both men are unbending in their opposing stand and John demands that Joseph and his grandson leave his property.

He tells his grandson that the white man has told him where to live but they will not tell him where to die.

When Jason arrives home late from working at the Dew Drop Inn he discovers that the barn is on fire. He wakes up the family and they work to put out the fire. Joseph admits that he had set fire to the barn. He says that the sacred burial ground must be purified with fire and that he will be successful next time. John sends for the Sheriff which lands the old indian into jail.

Jim-Bob patches an old tire. Elizabeth asks if he can give her a ride to Rockfish. He says that he isn’t a taxi service. She makes a deal of $0.50 which will pay for an old inner tube he has been wanting. She goes to talk to Joseph in the jail cell. She says that she has never met an Indian before and that all of the things she knew were wrong and that he was not really any different than her.

Judge Thomas Parrish resides over the hearing. The judge allows Joseph to speak and he tells the story of how how his people were forced of their land by the settlers. He describes the Trail of Tears where 17,000 Cherokee where marched to Oklahoma but only 4000 arrived the rest died along the way. He just wants to be buried where his soul can rest on sacred ground. He turns to John and apologizes but then falls unconscious to the floor. Although he is taken to the hospital he dies soon later.

Elizabeth asks Grandpa if it is possible if their barn was once an indian burial ground. He says there is only one way to find out and he grabs a spade and starts digging in the middle of the barn. About 4 feet down he finds pottery, a skull and more bones. That night John notices that someone has returned to their barn and sees flames again. He runs inside and knocks Joseph away from a fire he has started. John believes that he has come to finish the job his grandfather started but he in fact was boiling the root that he found to help Myrtle the goat who is now on the road to recovery. John tells the young man that he was wrong and that they have discovered that the barn is the site of the old burial ground. He apologizes but then says that every burial ground begins with a single grave and that there is an unspoiled piece of land near the Indian Stone that would be a good resting place for his grandfather on the mountain.

John, Grandpa, Elizabeth help Joseph bury his grandfather at a site they choose on the mountain. Joseph sanctifies the site with words he was taught by his people. He breaks his grandfather's mug and drops the pieces on his grave. Elizabeth picks some flowers to place on the grave as well.

Epilogue:

 
  "Who owns the land? Only the land knows. We mortals are passers-by and our lives are but a brief moment in the great span of time and space. We are born, we live out our lives, and most of us do the best we can with it. But the wind is forever, and the rivers flow forever to the sea, and all the seasons of the weathers will come and go after we are gone. But the earth endures, the earth is eternal."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

 
 
  • Grandfather Joseph Tekigi is 101 years old. He has outlived four wives. His was first married at seventeen years of age. It was well known that the Cherokee's were good hunters and the first Indians with a written alphabet. One of their great chiefs, Sequoia, had the giant redwood trees in California named for him.
  • Richard Eastham who appears as Judge Parrish later plays the father of Paul Northridge, Erin's future husband, in the "The Lumberjack" (s9/ep19).
  • The Director Ralph Senensky writes about the making of this episode HERE.
  • This episode was filmed mostly on the exterior sets and locations. The few interior scenes were in the living room, the parents bedroom, the Sheriff's office/jail, the courtroom and the night time front porch scenes which were filmed inside attached to the interior living room set on the Stage 26 of the Burbank Studios.

Additional Cast:

 
 

 


Guest Stars: Ernest Esparza III (Matthew Teskigi), Jerado DeCordovier (Grandfather Joseph Teskigi) with: Richard Eastham (Judge Parrish), Tom Bellin (Public Defender Cross), John Crawford (Sheriff Bridges)

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