The Virginian (1962–1971)
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Ride a Dark Trail 

The Virginian relates the history of Trampas coming to Shiloh as he tries to calm a boy on a rampage. Trampas was raised by a gambling father who tried to reform him and Trampas' effort for revenge for the killing of his father by Garth.


John Peyser


Arthur Browne Jr. (story), E.M. Parsons (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lee J. Cobb ... Judge Henry Garth
Doug McClure ... Trampas
Gary Clarke ... Steve Hill
James Drury ... The Virginian
Sonny Tufts ... Frank Trampas
Royal Dano ... Faraway McPhail
Carol Byron ... Winnie
Buzz Martin ... Lon Mortison
Ross Elliott ... Sheriff Mark Abbott
Stuart Randall ... Daley
Charles Fredericks Charles Fredericks ... Fitch (as Charles E. Fredericks)
Carleton Young ... Judge Drucker
Richard Garland ... Deputy
Hal Baylor ... Flake
Dort Clark ... Sheriff


The Virginian tells how Trampas came to Shiloh as a flashback to another young man in a similar situation. Trampas and his father, Frank, lived as gamblers. When Trampas was arrested, his father promised the court they would start new lives as ranchers on a ranch he bought. Judge Garth came into town to buy cattle and horses and offered to buy cattle from Frank if they were healthy. Frank and his son unknowingly had rounded up mavericks which had hoof and mouth disease infecting his whole herd. When Frank learned the news he thought he was being conned and Judge Garth had to kill him in self-defense. Trampas learns what happened and that the man had a fancy gun with a big S on it (for Shiloh), so he goes after Judge Garth. They meet when Garth rescues Trampas from a river but Trampas does not realize who Garth is as he has lost the gun. When Trampas arrives in Medicine Bow his carefree way gets him into trouble with the law but Garth allows him to work off the fine. However, his less ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1930s to 2020s | See All (1) »










Release Date:

18 September 1963 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Revue Studios See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sunny Tufts, plays the part of Trampas' father in this episode. Tufts also appeared in the 1946 film version of "The Virginian", playing the part of Steve Andrews, a friend of the Virginian. See more »


Judge Henry Garth: Get fire camps out and do it quick or we'll be planting wheat on Shiloh.
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User Reviews

A father named Frank
25 August 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In this second season opener for The Virginian we have a flashback episode where The Virginian relates how Trampas came to arrive and work at Shiloh ranch. Although we don't learn what Doug McClure's first name of his character is, we do learn he had a father named Frank.

Sonny Tufts plays Doug McClure's father Frank Trampas. Doug's a chip off the old block. Tufts is a Maverick like roving gambler though not as good. And Doug with his charming ways has a future going nowhere fast. When a judge tells Tufts to get his kid out of a jail term he has to settle down he buys a small spread that hasn't been worked, but Doug just wants to party.

I won't go into it, but his lack of the most rudimentary knowledge about the cattle business gets him killed and killed by Lee J. Cobb in self defense of himself and an unarmed man. After which McClure goes after the killer of his father not knowing it was Cobb.

Another saloon scrape lands Trampas on probation at Shiloh ranch. All I will say is it takes another near tragedy for McClure to learn the meaning of the words 'work' and 'responsibility'.

James Drury turns out to be a role model for Trampas. I guess that's why they become the pals they are. Sonny Tufts turns in a nice performance as Frank Trampas who realizes too late he did a rotten job of raising a son.

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