Mike Karras was a small-time hood looking for a way out. He had committed a crime and the police were in hot pursuit. The fleeing criminal ducked down an alleyway only to find a dead-end. He assumed that his luck had run out but then he spotted an open window at the end of the alley. Karras realized this would likely be his only hope of escape and he desperately climbed through. Little did Karras know that his way out wouldn't lead him to safety, but instead...to the Twilight Zone.
Cast of characters
- Mike Karras: criminal
- Ed: police officer
- Ray: police officer
- Cheyenne tribe (various)
- Sioux tribe (various)
- US 7th Cavalry (various)
- US Cavalry bugler
- US Cavalry captain
- US Cavalry guard #1-#3
- US Cavalry stockade guard #1-#2
"Keeping one step ahead of the law is an old story for Mike Karras, a small-time hood! But this particular cops-and-robbers chase has something new in store for mike when he becomes involved in an old story of quite a different kind!"
In New York City, Mike Karras was fleeing the police, when he took a wrong turn and ended up trapped in a dead-end street. Just then, he spotted a window within reach and managed to crawl inside the unknown building, thus evading the cops. The room he found himself in was filled with taxidermied animals, arranged on display as though an exhibit in a museum. He had made his escape just in time. He could soon see the silhouettes of the cops in pursuit in the window he had crawled through.
Seeking safer turf, he ran farther into the building's interior and entered an area titled the American History Wing. He soon found himself surrounded by facsimiles of conquistadors, Native Americans, soldiers, patriots and pioneers in displays cordoned off by historical events such as the Boston Tea Party and the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill. One exhibit in particular had a sign reading "DO NOT TOUCH EXHIBIT" placed in front of it. Suddenly, Mike noticed two shadows in the hallway outside the room and despite the clear warning, the hood ducked under the exhibit's rope and hid behind a rock.As he waited for the policemen to pass him by, he heard a strange noise from behind him and was overcome with a strange sensation and a blinding flash of light! He stared in disbelief at the scene before him: a pioneer fort guarded by American cavalry!
He is quickly spotted by two of the regiment guards and questioned. Still in disbelief and confused, Mike floundered to explain the situation. He told the soldiers that he was unsure of how he had come to be there and that he believed he was still in New York. Imagine his bewilderment when he was told that he was no longer in New York, but in Montana!
The two soldiers grew more and more irritated with the stranger's bizarre story and finally took him to see the captain of the guard. Likewise increasingly agitated, the crook denied to answer any more questions and angrily demanded that the captain allow him to leave. When the Captain protested, Karras attacked the man, choking him. After a brief scuffle, Mike was escorted to the stockade to await the arrival of the general who might have a better idea how to deal with the odd fellow.
When the next morning arrived, Mike was told that the general had no time to see him, because he would be undertaking a surprise attack on the Sioux at their reservation. As the cadet leaned over to set down the tray containing breakfast, the prisoner knocked him unconscious and stole the man's uniform. Soon after, he climbed unto a horse and was able to leave the fort, blending in with the rest of the cavalry conveniently moving out.
Overjoyed with his escape from the fort, Karras began to plan his next move, which was to sneak off after the soldiers bedded down for the night. Sadly for Mike Karras, he never got that chance. Over a nearby ridge, thousands of Sioux and Cheyenne on horses appeared and with a war yell, began to rush toward the outnumbered cavalry regiment. Having realized that the troops were vastly outnumbered, the misplaced minor criminal from the 20th century went into a sort of shock. He frantically sought out the general to whom he had been promised a meeting in hopes that the man would somehow be able to help him set things right. He could see no other way out.Meanwhile, the two policemen had realized their quarry must have hidden in one of the exhibits in the American History Wing. They began to go through the exhibits one by one and were just about to call off their effort when Officer Ed spotted a familiar face. There, in the exhibit for Custer's Last Stand, was Mike Karras' dead body, dressed just as he was when they first had begun chasing him!
Response and analysis
The story was a demonstration of the old adage, "you can run, but you can't hide." In this case, Mike Karras was unable to escape the hand of justice. While he was able to physically outrun his pursuers, his bad karma never left him—following or perhaps leading him into the Twilight Zone.
Notes and annotations
- Sutter's Mill was the sawmill located in Coloma California at the bank of the American River where the first gold flakes were found which initiated the California Gold Rush.
- George Custer was appointed the rank of major general in the volunteer army during the Civil War, but his rank was reduced to captain upon joining the regular army at the end of the war. By 1866, he had become a lieutenant colonel and held this rank until his death a decade later. This makes it seem unlikely that he was the one that was referred to as "the general," although he was named as brevant general by his superior General Philip Henry Sheridan. Other possibilities for the identity of the general are General Sheridan, Brigadier General George Crook, head of one attack prong, or Brigadier General Alfred Terry, who was in command of Custer's 7th Cavalry. None of these alternate candidates are mentioned in the story, however, and the ending does seem to imply that Custer was perhaps the "general" in question.
- If the fort in which Mike Karras found himself is meant to be an actual historical fort, it seems probable that the fort was Fort Ellis. It appears to be the only Montana fort that was operational at the time and housed troops that participated in the Battle at the Little Bighorn.
- The soldiers pictured at the fort were all cavalry, based on the yellow color of their rank insignia chevrons. The guards at the stockade wore chevrons for corporal, the bugler wore a chevron for the rank of musician (specialist) and a rider at Karras' side while riding out of camp could be seen what appears to be an ordinance sergeant's chevron.
- Originally published in color
- Printed on newsprint, 10 pages
- Reprinted in The Twilight Zone (Whitman) 92 and Mystery Comics Digest 06
- "Journey Into Jeopardy", another comic story that involves George Custer
- Battle at the Little Bighorn, "Custer's Last Stand" in the Black Hills
Notes and references
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Sutter's Mill." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Version: May 9, 2009. Retrieved: June 19, 2009.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "George Armstrong Custer." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Version: June 18, 2009. Retrieved: June 19, 2009.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Battle of the Little Bighorn." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Version: June 18, 2009. Retrieved: June 19, 2009.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Fort Ellis." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Version: June 18, 2009. Retrieved: June 19, 2009.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Howard G. Lanham. "Dating United States Army Chevrons." Howard Lanham's Home Page. Version: 1998. Retrieved: June 19, 2009.
- Bob Klein and Mike Tiefenbacher. "The Twilight Zone no 1 (1962 series)." Grand Comics Database. Retrieved: June 19, 2009.