The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 7 – The Grave

A western themed Twilight Zone with Lee Marvin, Lee Van Cleef and Strother Martin, what’s not to like?  Lee Marvin is a bounty hunter named Conny Miller who comes home to find that the man he’s been hunting for months, Pinto Sykes, arrived back in town ahead of him and was finished off by an armed deputation of eight townsmen who opened fire on him all together.

The men tell Conny that before he died Pinto told them that Conny wasn’t really trying to catch him because he was afraid of Pinto.  And Pinto left word that if Conny ever showed up near his grave he would reach up and grab Conny.  Conny declared that he was never afraid of Pinto in life and he certainly wasn’t afraid of him now that he was dead.

Two of the men, Johnny Rob and Steinhart (played by Lee van Cleef) each bet Conny a twenty-dollar gold piece that he won’t visit the grave that night.  Another man named Mothershed (played by Strother Martin) said he would have bet against Conny too but he was out of cash.  Conny covers the bets and is about to leave when the men ask him how they will know if he really went all the way onto the grave.  It’s decided that he will stick a bowie knife into the earth and leave it there for them to see in the morning.

When Conny gets to the graveyard he meets pinto’s sister Ione Sykes who seems slightly unhinged and who laughs and tells Conny that Pinto is waiting for him.  She leaves and he heads for the grave.  At this point Conny is extremely jumpy and he pulls his gun when he hears something clanking in the high wind.  But he reaches the grave and plunges the knife into the grave.  But when he turns to leave, he seems to be pulled down onto the grave.

The next day the men are worried that something has happened to Conny.  They meet Ione who is going to place a dinner plate on Pinto’s grave as a memento.  When they get to the grave, they find Conny dead on the ground and are horrified.  But Steinhart explains it all as completely natural.  He theorized that Conny was very scared but managed to plunge his knife into the ground but as they could see he plunged it through the hem of his long coat and when he tried to get up, he felt the tug of the coat held by the knife and imagined Pinto was pulling him down and had a heart attack.  This seemed logical but Ione, who was wearing a long cape noted that the wind last night was the same as it was then and showed them that the wind couldn’t have blown his coat across the grave.

A very amusing ghost story with some of the best western actors of the time.  A-.