The Virginian (1962–1971)
2 user

Experiment at New Life 

The Virginian hunting for lost Shiloh cattle finds the trail leads to the New Life commune. Not only is one of the leaders holding his cattle, it becomes clear he is holding two women hostage as well complicating the work of The Virginian.


Jeannot Szwarc


Lois Hire




Episode cast overview:
Stewart Granger ... Col. Alan MacKenzie (credit only)
Doug McClure ... Trampas (credit only)
Lee Majors ... Roy Tate (credit only)
James Drury ... The Virginian
Vera Miles ... Amelia Ballard
Sue Lyon ... Belinda Ballard
Ralph Meeker ... August Gruber
Chris Robinson ... Sandy
Michael McGreevey ... Toby Wheeler
Rex Holman ... Buck
Lyle Bettger ... Seth Wheeler
Woody Chambliss Woody Chambliss ... MacIntosh (as Woodrow Chambliss)
Meg Wyllie ... Mary
Kay E. Kuter ... Will


A young couple, Toby Wheeler and Belinda Ballard, are having a secret meeting when The Virginian rides by scaring them. Belinda is a member of the New Life commune but Toby is an outsider. Later, at his dad's house against the wishes of his father Seth, Toby tells The Virginian that the New Life commune is the only place in the area running cattle. The Virginian goes to the communal village of New Life, looking for a number of Shiloh cattle that have strayed. At the commune council meeting, the members agree to let him take his cattle back. After the Virginian leaves, however, the council makes another vote---to start "complex" or group marriage in the community, meaning that every woman will be considered married to every man. Given an unreasonably short time by the acting leader, August Gruber, to round up his cattle, the Virginian appeals to the widow of the commune's original leader for help, but when he learns of the new marriage rule he decides to help her and her daughter ... Written by rbecker28

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis










Release Date:

18 November 1970 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

New Life
19 May 2018 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This episode of The Virginian has James Drury wandering far afield looking for missing Shiloh cattle. He comes across his strays and far too many to have just wandered off in the cattle pen of a commune type settlement.

In the 19th century there were experiments in this kind of living where private property was limited if not abolished. Heading the group informally is widow Vera Miles, widow of the founder.

Strong man in the commune however is Ralph Meeker who is in charge of the cattle. He's a man who's seen this as a place to exploit to his advantage. He proposes common marriage and he wants Miles for himself and her daughter Sue Lyon to his bottom feeding sidekicks.

Lyon however loves an outsider Michael McGreevey who is the son of a farmer Lyle Bettger who is for once playing a normal person, not a psychotic villain.

James Drury proves to be their salvation and in addition to getting his cattle back uncovers a lot of nasty secrets.

Miles gets acting honors in this as a principled woman who is frightened by what she sees as a perversion of her late husband's teachings. With barely any dialog she and Lyons do wonders with facial expressions conveying the terror of facing off Meeker and his accomplices.

Fans of all the cast members will approve.

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