An old man and a hound dog named Rip, off for an evening's pleasure in quest of raccoon. Usually, these evenings end with one tired old man, one battle-scarred hound dog, and one or more extremely dead raccoons, but as you may suspect, that will not be the case tonight. These hunters won't be coming home from the hill. They're headed for the backwoods - of The Twilight Zone."
Hyder Simpson lives with his wife and his hound-dog Rip in the backwoods. Mrs. Simpson does not like having the dog indoors, but Rip saved Hyder's life once, and Hyder won't be parted from him. Mrs. Simpson has seen some bad omens recently, and warns Hyder not to go raccoon hunting that night. When Rip dives into a pond after a raccoon, Hyder jumps in after him, but only the raccoon comes up out of the water. Next morning, Hyder and Rip wake up next to the pond. When they return home, Hyder finds that neither his wife, the preacher, nor the neighbors can hear him or see him—they seem to think that he and Rip are dead.
Walking along the road, he encounters a fence he doesn't recognize, and decides to follow it. Presently, both come to a gate tended by a man. Simpson asks him if he is Saint Peter. Explaining only that he is a gatekeeper, the man explains that Simpson can enter the Elysian Fields. Simpson is appreciative, but disheartened to hear that there is no raccoon hunting there, nor are there any of his other usual pleasures. When he is told that Rip can't enter and will be taken elsewhere ("up the road"), he declines and angrily goes on down the "Eternity Road" rather than enter the gate without his beloved dog. Simpson states, "Any place that's too high-falutin' for Rip is too fancy for me." Later, after stopping to rest, Simpson and Rip are met by a young angel whose job is to find and bring them to Heaven.
Simpson tells the angel about his experience at the first gate, commenting "Son, that'd be a helluva place without Rip!" The angel replies "Mr. Simpson, you ain't far wrong - that is Hell! Heaven's up yonder a piece," pointing up Eternity Road. When asked by Simpson why the gatekeeper at the gate to Hades wouldn't let him bring Rip inside with him, the angel explains that the reason Rip was not allowed in was because the dog would have been able to smell the brimstone and alert Simpson that something was wrong. The angel says, "You see, Mr. Simpson -- a man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the Devil can't fool a dog!"
The angel also tells Hyder that there will be a raccoon hunt in Heaven that night, "right after the square dance," and assures him that his wife, who will be coming shortly, will not be misled into entering Hell.
"Travelers to unknown regions would be well advised to take along the family dog. He could just save you from entering the wrong gate. At least, it happened that way once—in a mountainous area of the Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next week we offer you a Hollywood television cowboy who takes in several bills a week for killing off bad men. Mr. Larry Blyden portrays one of these phony balonies who always wins in the end. But in this little item he draws from the hip and realizes his opponent is smack-dab out of this world. We invite your attention to "Showdown with Rance McGrew", next week stagecoach sojourn in The Twilight Zone.