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A Long Way from Home


Two buddies from Ohio enlist in the Union Army during the Civil War. They agree to stay together and look after each other in battle. But when the fighting gets hot and heavy, one cuts and runs while the other remains, mortally wounded. The consequence of that cowardice is dire.



Air Dates

  • First Run - June 9, 1978
  • Repeat - November 30, 1978





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24 Responses to Episode 0848

5 stars for this episode! The story of a broken mind and a troubled soul. Well performed by all cast members. Great adaptation by Arnold Moss. One of the best productions by CBS RMT.


Set during the Civil War, this program focuses on a couple of young men that entire the Union Army. One is killed in battle while the other is wounded while running from the fight. He enters the hospital but leaves on his on volition and is very confused.

Jack A.

Two buddies from Ohio enlist in the Union Army during the Civil War. they agree to stay together and look after each other in battle. But when thefighting gets hot and heavy, one cuts and runs while the other lie mortally wounded. The consequence of that cowardice is dire.


This is one of my all-time favorites and one that stuck with me through the years after hearing it when I was a kid.

Mr. Campbell

It reminds me of the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War; in the final episode, it shows newsreel footage of veterans of the battle of Gettysburg meeting in 1933 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the event. I am 38 so to me the Civil War seems like ancient history; so it is kind of odd to think that my grandparents were alive at the same time as some civil war veterans.


One of the best RMT's I've ever heard. A very sad, haunting, and insightful tale about the moral ambiguities of war, and about loss of innocence---about how war destroys lives . . . one way or another. The fishing scene with the body is an especially brilliant piece of writing, an eerie and compelling piece of foreshadowing that encompasses the themes of the story in one beautifully simple stroke. This is a gem of a short story and makes a terrific Mystery Theater play. PS: I actually don't think the ending is supposed to be a big mystery. Maybe just a little bit at first. But the fact that it begins to dawn on us pretty quickly what's going on, I think, actually creates a certain tension as we move toward the end of the story, as well as evoking a terrible poignancy. A great and skillful piece of writing.

Lady Crystal Palafox

I thought the story had excellent potential but ended up so so. It does a good job in demonstrating sad horrors of war, but unfortunately in an entirely predictable manner. This predictabilty occurs when the story veers off and attemts to be mysterious! I'm torn about this one. The themes are important and disturbing. Somehow the presentation, for this listener, did not live up to the stories potential. EG asks us about courage and cowardice after the first act. I certainly don't think we can absolutely call our main character a coward, He was panic struck when involved in his first battle and seeing his friend shot. His reaction was to run. He, and his shot friend, recognized there was nothing to do for the injury. If the story is trying to place an indirect "curse" on him for running then I think this rather inapropriate. This was a person of conscientious character and would likely have suffered far more with awareness and guilt vs being brain dead for some 60 plus yr. So what's the point? I wonder. It was an incidental consequence-being shot, I realize this. However, the story is built on the result of being shot. THEREFORE I WONDER IF IT IS TRYING TO REPRESENT SOME FORM OF PUNISHMENT. Again, without this incidental consequence the awareness would have been a bigger self punishment. So, it seems to be done for the sake of telling a story, and therefore limits the stories true potential. Drama-3.


I don't believe the author is trying at all to represent a form of punishment in our protagonist's mental condition. (Perhaps self-punishment, in the form of guilt feelings.)Rather, I think it's a sad illustration of what often happened to (and does happen to) boys who are too young to be faced with such things. That's why I think the fishing scene is so brilliant, as I mentioned before. It's a perfect metaphor. A pastoral, innocent scene: Two happy, clueless friends fishing and excitedly discussing joining up, when one of the boys fishes up a horror from beneath the water. This is especially great foreshadowing, considering that we later deal with his mental state, and that water is often used as a metaphor for the unconscious mind. And what do they do? They push it back beneath the surface. Well, what else can they do? It terrifies them. There are marvelous layers of emotional, and thematic, depth in this scene. Plus, I do think it's obvous he feels guilt, despite the fact that he couldn't have done anything for his friend. People often feel such guilt when a loved one dies. Guilt and helplessness. It doesn't make sense, anymore than war does, but it happens. This is a finely crafted piece of fiction, delicate, sensitive, and insightful. It's about ordinary people placed in extraordinary and terrible circumstances. It is not, I think, a story meant to be analyzed in broad, simple sweeps. As in any truly great piece of fiction, there is more to it than first meets the eye.


To our adult minds, the end might be a little predictable. But when I was 12 years old, I was completely blind-sided by the ending. I remember thinking about the story the entire next day and how powerful it was. I'm sure this was not the first episode I ever heard, but it was the most powerful I'd heard up until that time and it was THE episode that made me want to hear more. I hope you all like it.


Hi again! Don't you just love it when  it's one you've heard before? I do... it gives me a reason to listen again and re-analyze the tale in a new perspective. I really liked this one. It was simply and even a little predictable, but there was an alluring innocence about it that I enjoyed. The thing I would really like to point out though, is the production of this one. In most episodes, the ambiance is lit dimly beneath dialogue and mood. Often you'll hear doors close, birds chirping, or the range of car sound effects that are common on the RMT shows. But this one was especially gratifying. The production team paid special attention to the environment our character was put in. The sounds of the harmonica, the water splashing on the boat, dogs barking, the rushing and clopping of hooves, the rolling of the artillery cannons, the celebration with the band and all, and so on... Along with the rich narrative descriptions of the environment, this was one of the most immersible episodes I'd heard in a long time. Although the main character was someone I could somehow relate to, he was played a tad "over the top." But perhaps in the situation he was in (in the story), it was necessary to convey his inner struggle. Such a sad tale. Along with shows like, IN THE FOG, I can't help but feel such deep sorrow for those men and women who served their country only to be left with such horrible personal reminders of the wars and battles they fought. And though this may have been a fictional tale, the possibility that this actually could have occurred is what I found so becoming of the episode. 

Dwight C.

Interesting thing...Bierce was missing and presumed dead after going to Mexico to fight alongside Pancho Villa (in another Bierce/RMT episode "The D-mned thing", E.G. says he disappeared mysteriously), so Mr. Bierce apparently believed there were some causes worth fighting and going to war for. There are at least two other RMT episodes based on his Civil War works, "Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge", and "One of the missing". I'm guessing that Bierce knew there were indeed some very good reasons for fighting the horrific "Civil War" (here in northwest Arkansas there were some particularly tragic battles, and (which not everyone's aware of) accompanying guerrilla campaigns that left their mark on the people of the Ozarks plateau). On listening to this again, it does convey the sadness of war's aftermath, but I'm not sure it's an antiwar story. Without being able to convey my thoughts in more accurate terms, the moral of this story to me was: "Young man...war, like life, will usually never unfold as you fantasize it will. Know what you're getting into, and be prepared."


I'm not sure it's an antiwar story. I didn't see it as anti-war, or even a cautionary tale. I saw it as a story about the sad consequences of war --- any war and every war.

Dan Jacobs

The device the author used in turning it into some strange, over the top mystery is inferior to having our protagonist spend a conscious lifetime dealing with the same horrors we both recognize to be so destrucitve. I think the far out aspect dilutes the real horrors you described so well... I think you may be missing the point: The mysterious aspect that you see as sensationalism, I see, simply, as our protagonist's point of view---his mind is confused and forever lost. His life is unconscious. That's the whole point. It's not a concsious lifetime dealing with horrors. It's a life of confusion, of knowing you desperately need to be somewhere and never being able to get there. The author has used the best method possible for allowing us to understand this by making us see the world from the injured soldier's point of view---which, to us, is mysterious and confusing---no less so than it is to the soldier himself. Therein lies the horror, the drama, and the poignancy of the story. Yes, the narrative is designed to be eerie and mysterious, but I don't think it's all that over-the-top or far out. It is, in fact, a very creative and compelling way to tell a story. If it had been simply told straightforward as "the facts of war's horrors and how they destroyed a young man's life", I think the story would have been nothing more than a maudlin melodrama, a cliche. A USA Network TV movie. Guess we're just gonna have to agree to disagree on this one.


In the post Viet Nam-era I've gotten so used to stories that seem to be anti-military, etc. I get defensive, and did so when there was no need to here. I can understand how you feel. I feel the same way. I'm not anti-war and it is a touchy subject I'd just as soon avoid. There is so much romanticized about the Civil War, but as with any war, many people left that conflict with broken bodies and minds.

Zeus Kim C.

I found this tale to be a powerful and poignant sub-drama of the Civil War. The play explored the trauma suffered by a young soldier unable to cope with the stress of war. This may sound like a stretch but it reminded me of a section in a book by Dr. Oliver Sacks entitled, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat". In this book, Dr. Sacks relays the story of one of his patients who has lost his short term memory (alcohol related). He lived completely in the past and though he was introduced to new topics or new people, he was completely unable to remember them for more than a few minutes. As I said, this may be a bit of a stretch and I can't remember the fine details of the case study any more (ironic, huh?), but I recall how Dr. Sacks explained the look in the poor man's eyes as he peered into the mirror only to see the frightening sight of an old man staring back at him. I pictured the soldier in our radio drama experiencing a similarly frightening revelation as he was introduced to the reality the rest of the world sees.

Johnny M.

I agree with your comments on romanticizing the Civil War (or any war, for that matter). The columnist George F. Will was the first person a couple of years back that I heard quote from "Cold Mountain" (?) the line (paraphrased) "In war, I learned how frail the human body is against things sharp and hard". That takes any romantic notions right out of the picture for me. How many other Bierce stories were RMT adapted besides "The d-mned thing", "One of the missing" and "Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge"? I do believe there were others...I believe he wrote a very interesting Civil War tale adapted into the RMT called "Loser take all". What was interesting also was that his stories were adapted around real battles: "Loser take all" - The battle of Shiloh "One of the missing" - The battle of Kennesaw Mountain


Being a Star Trek fan, I knew who Arnold Moss was, in fact, the picture of him here is taken from the episode he appeared in, I think (the Conscience Of The King). I heard this on my local radio station, over thirty years ago, and was delighted to find it again. Clearly, a story like this could not be told on television, for obvious reasons. CAUTION: SPOILERS BELOW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . It seems the poor fellow (I\'m going to call him Bob, just to make things easier) in this story suffers from the same amnesia that Drew Barrymore\'s character did in 50 First Dates, namely his wound destroyed his ability to retain new memories. He remembers everything up to the point he was wounded in the back of the head, but can\'t keep memories of anything after. That fits what we see (or hear) in this story, in that he thinks only days have passed, instead of the 60+years that have really passed. I\'m guessing the doctor he meets works at, or as associated, with the hospital the fellow lived at. The doctor comments that Bob looks familiar to him, so he must have seen him at the hospital at some point. The doctor puts things together when he asks Bob his age, and Bob says he\'s nineteen. It\'s hinted that this is not the first time Bob has gotten out of the hospital. I wonder how many times he got out, looking to rejoin his unit in a war long over. Interesting that this time, when Bob gets out, he arrives at Nashville just as their commemorating the Civil War, with everyone in period clothing and such. It would have given away the ending had Bob seen modern (well 1920\'s era) clothes and technology (like automobiles). When Bob sees his reflection, an old man, and realizes the truth, he dies. I guess he had a heart attack from the shock (he was eighty-four years old, after all). The doctor says that Bob was the last of the Civil War veterans. That\'s not exactly true, there were some still around in 1938, when they attended the 75th Anniversary of the Battle Of Gettysburg. Reportedly, the last one died in 1959, he was over a century old, and had served in the Confederate Army. A good story.


From the "is this story anti - war?" comments above I get the impression that the life of Ambrose Bierce is as mysterious to some as was his disappearance. Bierce was a contentious man,cynical and misanthropic. He wasn't anti-war-he enlisted in the Union Army and served in the Civil War,seeing action at Rich Mountain,Shiloh,Pickett's Mill,Chickamunga and Kennesaw Mountain. He knew the horror of war firsthand and his stories ring with that grim knowledge and unsentimental experience. I don't believe those who served condemn or celebrate. They acknowledge,respect and survive.

Dale Haskell

I remember this episode when it first aired one night when I was in my early teens and heard it while alone in the house.

Brian Collins

The soldier in the hospital's being cared for by a medical officer & then, seemingly immediate afterward, finds himself wandering the countryside in the early AM, day of the week not given, & happens upon an elderly lady asking her 4 help & she looks at him, I think, like he has 2 heads coz it's in the 1920's when he finds himself wandering in the fields. He asks her if she was freed & she has no inkling what he's talking about. With all the time which has elapsed when he came "back 2 reality", in the 1920's, the uniforms WERE NOT like the uniforms of the civil war era. Things like this I pick up on & I think the play should've had that in the script 4 the sake of realism & after the encounter with the medical officer, the 1 thing I saw, as far as realism goes was that the man mentioned that the adjacent landscape had no telltale signs of any battles, no disturbance form exploding shells from neither Union nor Confederate forces. Being the 1920's there should be automobiles or at least the sight of 1's that are parked from being driven to the commemoration ceremony taking place in Nashville. In the play the man can't remember his name, but then again, his name is never given in the story & the hospital didn't have any record of his name. He finally figures out that he was @ the hospital much, much longer than what he thought when he sees his elderly reflection in a puddle from the previous night's rain. I think that the man has some closure now & can pass on. The "mystery" is solved. Very good story even if there are some holes in it.


I loved watching Care 54 Where Are You! On Nick @ Nite in the 80s. He was quoted as saying: "Voice work is the kindest thing that can happen to an old actor." (Though wasn't he a judge in "My cousin Vinny", long after the last RMT episode - think it was Mr. Gwynne's final role before he passed.)


I rate this episode ★★★☆☆ for AVERAGE. I’ll review what I enjoyed the most first and then finish off what I disliked. First, I enjoyed the cast: Kevin McCarthy (as William Gillette/Sherlock Holmes), Jada Rowland (as Pamela Watson), Russell Horton (as Jim Watson), and Carol Teitel (as the Tour Guide and Mrs. Hudson). Carol Teitel was terrific in her 2 roles. Jada Rowland is my favorite actress in the CBSRMT series and having her partner up with Russell Horton again, like many episodes before, was delightful. And Kevin McCarthy was entertaining, just like his performance as Sherlock Holmes in previous episodes before this one. Next up, music and sound effects. Dozens of dramatic tunes were used, but no suspenseful or chilling tracks were used to match the feel of being trapped in a castle. Sound effects of car engine running, tires screech, footsteps, tourists murmuring, sliding doors, cat meowing, howling wind, gong, lamp breaking, doors, cane hitting clothing, gun shot, tapping of the phone, drawing the curtains, carriage rolling up, pouring of drinking glasses, and doorbell were very supportive in this tale. Next is our Host and his narrations. E.G. Marshall’s Prologue focused on castles and our story takes place at a castle in New England. In ACT-1, meet Jim & Pamela Watson where one of them is a Sherlock Holmes buff. In ACT-2, knowing so little about William Gillette’s career and we get a sense that some actors like him can go too far to create an illusion of reality. In ACT-3, after the strange turn of events, our Host’s only explanation to the Climax is to mention a quote from a playwright about the 6th sense of the Imagination. In his Epilogue, he recommends CBSRMT listeners to take a tour of the Gillette Castle itself in Connecticut. Good recommendation, but no Resolution explained on what happened to our characters afterwards. And so, it comes down to the final segment: the Script. Elizabeth Pennell has written decent drama mysteries and even did the adaptations of #0605-JANE EYRE and #0643-WUTHERING HEIGHTS. But this story was Fair. So-so, I should say. I was expecting it to be a haunting mystery about a haunted castle with the Sherlock Holmes references. But instead, this story’s turn of events created massive questions to think about. Like, how did the Jim & Pamela Watson hear about this castle? Was Mrs. Hudson going through nightmare problems? Was William Gillette really dead? Was he putting on a show for his guest just so he can play Sherlock Holmes for fun? Did these 2 tourists actually travel back in time? Was the castle actually haunted? Was it really a nightmare? Was anything resolved after Jim & Pamela Watson escaped from the castle? There are so many fill-in-the-blanks in this, the episode’s title should be changed and call it “A Bad Case Of The Jitters” or “Elementary, My Dear Guests.” Tune in to this, if you like. There are better castle stories in the CBSRMT vault. SPECIAL BONUS: This episode has commercials of AMEX travelers checks, Bob Armstrong’s Diamond Center, “The Ritual” novel, CBS-News, First Federal of Gary, Radio Advertising Bureau, Jewel’s Discount Grocery Store, CBS-Sports News in Chicago, CBS-News on Election 1980, Susan Anton for Serta Sleeper Mattresses, and Smokey Bear Program. Until next time…pleasant dreams.


I rate this episode ★★★★★ for EXCELLENT. I'd think that Robert Barr would have been pleased of the adaptation of this by James Agate, Jr. It has intricate clues, it has peculiar motives, and it has a surprising twist in the end. And above all, it has a great detective in this: Eugène Valmont. Robert Barr’s character ranks up with Jacques Futrelle’s Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Another way to title this story would be “A Case Of Interest” or even “The Parisian Detective.” In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall starts it off by comparing one of the characters as a “Scrooge.” In ACT-1, the bloodline of the James Dudley Hills on their fortunes. As the plot thickens, we realize that not all clues were divulged in the first Act alone. In ACT-2, questions pop up. More importantly, they see the evidence clearly, but not recognize it. In ACT-3, quoting Sir Francis Bacon about suspicions and our main detective plays a waiting game. In the end, after discovering where the loot was hiding all along and discovering who else was related to the family, we learned a private post-mortem joke that money would bring out the worst in those with the least character. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall finishes it off with the comparison of the Midas myth - great wealth does not equal great happiness. Outstanding narrations. Sound effects of bells, footsteps, background noise at the police station, phone receiving line, seals, patrons murmuring, paper note, newspapers, doors, dog wincing, phone ringing, paper bills, intercom buzzer, emergency sirens, pulling off wallpaper were terrific. As for the music, great selection of dramatic tunes that moved the story forward. And let us not forget our amazing cast: Norman Rose (as Eugène Valmont), Russell Horton (as James Dudley Hill III and Inspector Graves), and Robert Dryden (as James Dudley Hill, Jr. and Elijah Browning). These 3 worked well together. Norman Rose, performing with a French accent, was very entertaining. This is one mystery story that CBSRMT fans should not pass up on. Until next time…pleasant dreams.


I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. I admire Murray Burnett’s work, particularly his adaptions of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But the story originally from Edith Wharton was better. The novelist’s ghost story had a Narrator without a name. In Murray Burnett’s version, we got a fashion designer that’s interested in the castle while the other male characters act persuasive and vulnerable. I was more interested in the mystery of the dogs and hope that they would play a bigger part to this tale. Other ways to title this would be “Dogs Of Kerfol” or “Strange Vendetta.” In our Host’s Prologue, that I had to find on other OTR websites, E.G. Marshall’s topic is about castles with ghosts. In ACT-1, meet our main character who’s interested in buying a castle. After digging into the story within the story, our Host points out the lifestyle differences of adultery from 2 different time periods. Our main character must’ve seen dogs or ghost dogs. After too many conflicts about pets getting killed in this story, E.G. Marshall mentions ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Was E.G. Marshall trying to advertise this non-profit organization into the episode? In ACT-3, he understands the reaction that our main character felt when reading the history book. When the story was over, E.G. Marshall stated that when he talked about this story to a psychiatrist and what was his take on this? Was E.G. Marshall talking about his personal life on this? Or was this something that Murray Burnett wrote for him? What’s even weirder, is the Epilogue. E.G. Marshall tells the world’s shortest horror story ever. It’s a classic, but it’s irrelevant to this particular story. E.G. Marshall wasn’t off topic with his narrations, but he could’ve saved the ASPCA mentioning, the psychiatrist moment, and the shortest horror story for other episodes. The music was OK, but the tunes for the chilling moments kept on repeating in every Act. Sound effects of birds chirping, bell ring, iron gate squeaking, footsteps, car tires screech, jewelry case, door knocking, howling wind, violin music, and unbolting the door were good. And of course, the sounds of dogs barking were helpful. And finally, our cast: Mercedes McCambridge (as Paula Randall and Anne de Cornault), William Redfield (as Herve de Lanrivain and Andre de Lanrivain), Ian Martin (as Baron Yves de Cornault), and Guy Sorel (as the Judge and the Gypsy). I like this choice of cast members. In fact, this was my favorite part of the episode. All of the actors were great. But it was Mercedes McCambridge, our leading lady, who was superb. Her performance in this reminds me of her performance in Ep. #0318-CARMILLA where she played 2 roles: The Narrator and the Woman who dealt with death. Fans of her would enjoy this episode. Check this one out, but also check out Edith Wharton’s original ghost story. Until next time…pleasant dreams.


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