"A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
"The year is 1847, the place is the territory of New Mexico, the people are a tiny handful of men and women with a dream. Eleven months ago, they started out from Ohio and headed west. Someone told them about a place called California, about a warm sun and a blue sky, about rich land and fresh air, and at this moment, almost a year later, they've seen nothing but cold, heat, exhaustion, hunger, and sickness. This man's name is Christian Horn. He has a dying eight-year old son and a heartsick wife, and he's the only one remaining who has even a fragment of the dream left. Mr. Chris Horn, who's going over the top of a rim to look for water and sustenance and in a moment will move into the Twilight Zone."
In the year 1847, Chris Horn (Cliff Robertson) is one of the leaders of a small wagon train from Ohio attempting to reach California. Horn's wife and young son Christian are in one Conestoga wagon of the group. When his son becomes dangerously ill, he sets off alone in a desperate search for water. Horn crosses over a high sandy hill rim and suddenly finds himself in 1961 New Mexico. He is stunned to see power lines, a seemingly endless hard black road, and a loud, fast-moving "monster with a face" coming at him. As the truck zooms past the unnerved Horn, he stumbles, accidentally firing his rifle and slightly wounding his arm. He comes to a small café with gas pumps in front. The friendly couple inside offer him water and help him with his injury. They ask where he is from, curious about his old-fashioned clothes and his "antique" rifle. When Horn is shocked to see the year 1961 showing on the wall calendar, the couple assume that the desert heat has made him mentally unstable. Exploring the café, Horn finds an encyclopedia containing a brief biographical entry for "Christian Horn, Jr.", a physician who achieved good works in late 19th-Century California. Horn realizes that this must be his son who is sick, and that it must be his son's destiny to recover from the illness and go on to help many others. However, during his time in the café, Horn arouses too much curiosity. A local doctor alerts the sheriff, but before the authorities can arrive, Horn runs back to the rim, narrowly escaping back to the wagon party and his son, holding in his hand a bottle of penicillin from 1961 that can cure his son's illness. He notices that he is no longer being chased and looks back over the rim to find unsettled territory, the power lines and highway vanished. After giving his son the medicine, he leads the party on toward California. The café owner had chased Horn to the top of the rim but had found only Horn's rifle lying on the ground. He returns to the café to report that Horn inexplicably vanished but that he brought back the rifle that Horn dropped. The rifle, now aged more than 100 years in the sun, falls apart at his touch.
"Mr. Christian Horn, one of the hardy breed of men who headed west during a time when there were no concrete highways or the solace of civilization. Mr. Christian Horn, and family and party, heading west, after a brief detour to The Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
We've told some oddball stories on The Twilight Zone, but none of them any more weird than next week's tale. Four men plan a heist having to do with the theft of a million dollars worth of gold bullion. At which point, according to plan, they take a brief vacation from reality and they spend it in a cave in The Twilight Zone. You may not understand it, but I have a feeling that once you turn it on, you won't be turning it off. Next week on The Twilight Zone, "The Rip Van Winkle Caper".
The stovepipe hat worn by Christian Horn was Cliff Robertson's idea.
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)