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The Deserter


A mountain man saves a couple and their infant who are stranded by a landslide in the Sierra mountains of California. While he is willing to help them survive, he refuses to guide them back to civilization.



Air Dates

  • First Run - February 6, 1980
  • Repeat - May 22, 1980





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2 Responses to Episode 1057

This episode will definitely go down on my list of favorites. It's such a sweet story not only of survival but also of being appreciative towards others - even in unpleasant circumstances and unfamiliar territory. A family of three are stranded in the mountains due to a landslide. They are rescued by a lonely old mountain man who makes splints for the husband's legs to enable him to eventually walk again. The man also makes a crib for the baby out of sticks. He builds them a shelter and brings them food and water. Despite the things this wonderful man does for the family, the husband is resentful and angry because the man won't show the wife how to get to town and get help. The wife, on the other hand, develops a friendship with the old man and lets him know how grateful she is to him for helping her and her family. The baby, of course, has the purest of feelings towards the old man and loves to be around him regardless of the circumstances. Eventually, the wife, Eve, comes to an understanding about why the old man is hesitant to show them how to get out of there. She's eventually able to convince him to help them get to town when her husband's angry attempts to force the old man to show them the way out failed. It's a wonderful example of love and kindness winning over anger, resentment and hate. After they've all been rescued, the old man receives hero status and is welcomed with loving and grateful arms back into society. The husband is finally able to express gratitude to the old man for helping them out - especially after learning that his legs healed faster than they would have without the old man's help. Because of this, he won't be permanently paralyzed, which he might have been without the splints and tough love from old man. We also learn that the family brought the crib made of sticks back home with them, and the baby prefers to sleep in that crib instead of his regular bed. I love the characters and their various portrayals of human emotions and reactions to their circumstances. I definitely recommend this episode to listen to and give it 5+ stars!

Angela Warner

John Lithgow stars in this play that details the traveling adventure of a young couple and their small child. The family climbs a mountain pass in their trailer only to find that their luck takes a serious turn.


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