The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
18 user 2 critic
A sympathetic sheriff and a callous con man are among the many who gather in a desert town on a hot day to see a man hanged for killing a child while drunk.


Douglas Heyes


Rod Serling, Rod Serling (created by)




Episode complete credited cast:
Thomas Gomez ... Peter Sykes
John Larch ... Sheriff Koch
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Gallegos
John A. Alonzo ... Luís Gallegos (as John Alonso)
Paul Genge ... John Canfield
Dorothy Adams ... Mrs. Canfield
Duane Grey ... Rogers
Jon Lormer ... Man (as John Lormer)
Andrea Darvi Andrea Darvi ... Estrelita Gallegos (as Andrea Margolis)
Doug Heyes Jr. Doug Heyes Jr. ... Farmer Boy (as Douglas Heyes)


In a dusty old-western town, a man's scheduled to be hanged, after having been found guilty of accidentally killing a child while drunk. His father begs for mercy, but the marshal, has no choice but to proceed with the sentence. Sykes, an odious salesman takes advantage of the situation by selling the desperate father 'magic dust', which he says will make the townsfolk take pity upon his son. Soon, the events provide for an unexpected conclusion. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

6 January 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dust See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The hollow-backed horse in the foreground beside the jail had a condition of a malformed vertebrae and weakness in the soft tissues than allowed the spine to sag called Lordosis. See more »


At the beginning of the show they are testing the noose and it drops next to Rod Serling. The rope is too long and the noose drops down next to Mr. Serling. See more »


Sheriff Koch: There are only two people here who have the right to ask for an eye for an eye. What about it, Mr Canfield?
Mrs. Canfield: No more today, John. No more!
John Canfield: He killed our child!
Mrs. Canfield: And part of himself while doing it. And he's suffered enough.
John Canfield: Sherriff Koch, there must be... there must be another hand in this, for the rope to break like that. Another hand. Maybe... maybe the hand of providence.
Sheriff Koch: You want to stop at that, Mr Canfield?
[Mr Canfield nods, and turns to walk away]
Man: John? We leave it like this?
John Canfield: We leave it ...
See more »


Referenced in Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Good acting in an otherwise poor outing
1 October 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This episode would have made a fine 30 minute film, but within the auspices of a show like "The Twilight Zone", a disappointment. That's because although the episode is well written and especially well acted, there isn't really that much irony or metaphysics--you know, that bizarre twist at the end. Yes, there is a twist but not at all as satisfying as you'd expect to see in this series.

The star of this episode is Thomas Gomez--a fine character actor who did tons of TV and movies over the years. Here he plays a truly nasty piece of work--a man who is eagerly anticipating the execution--a man who takes intense pleasure at the suffering of others. While most in the town are excited by the prospect, no one takes as much joy as Gomez. Additionally, he's a loud-mouth opportunist--a guy who not only sells the sheriff the rope for the hanging, but sells the condemned man's father some "magic dust" that will make everyone love and forgive his son.

As for this son, he's a guy in his 20s who was riding about drunk on his horse when he accidentally ran over and killed a child. The show very strongly pushes the audience to feel sorry for and forgive the man, though I wonder how much we would be willing to do either had this been a guy who killed a child today while driving drunk.

I don't want to spoil the ending but I'd just like to say that it didn't feel all that satisfying. But, Gomez's acting as well as the acting of the Sheriff and the boy's father were all very good so the episode is still worth seeing. However, this is far from classic and is quite skipable.

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