The Elizabeth McQueeny Story

by Candace RichComment — Updated August 3, 2023

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The Elizabeth McQueeny Story
(ep. #3.5)

Written and Directed by Allen H. Miner

Produced by Howard Christie


Bette Davis as Elizabeth McQueeny
Maggie Pierce as Roxanne
Robert Strauss as the Count
Danielle Aubry as Maxine
Joseph Mell as Storekeeper
Marjorie Bennett as Woman
Phil Arnold, Lynette Bernay, Meg Wyllie

About This Episode

Bette Davis would do three star turns on Wagon Train. Here in Elizabeth McQueeny, and in the Ella Lindstrom Story (ep. #2.18) and the Bettina May Story (ep. #5.12).

Denny Miller reports that she was just as difficult as her reputation suggested.

“Everybody acted kind of afraid of her. In my first scene with her, I delivered my line. She then yells out – is THAT the way he is going to say his line? Loud so everyone could hear. The driector walked over and rather quietly said, well, yes, that’s his character. So she looked at me said – alright then, do it again!”

Miller continued, “In all the time I knew John McIntire, I only saw him lose his cool once. He was the most even-tempered person I have ever know. But Bette Davis got to him. I wasn’t on the set so I don’t know what the offense was, but he was furious, hollering and carrying on. I never saw him like that on any other occasion. She was just that kind of person. She riled even the calmest people.”

The Plot

Elizabeth McQueeny and her girls join the train, purportedly to start a girls school out West. But it doesn’t take long for all to figure out that they are really showgirls.

Along the way, a down and out fellow who calls himself “The Count” joins the train and hires on as McQueeny’s driver/assistant. As a subplot, a dancing girl, Roxanne, has fallen in love with a young passenger which of course makes his mother furious.

The real drama begins when this young fellow is found to have Spotted Fever, which quickly spreads to the rest of the train, including the Major. But much to everyone’s surprise, it is Elizabeth McQueeny and her girls who run the risks and tend to the sick.

In the big finale of this episode, McQueeny and her girls put on their show, with McQueeny dancing the part of Roxanne.

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Bette Davis
From TV Guide. Bette Davis as chorus girl. The Finale
Bette Davis
The formidable Elizabeth McQueeny with some of her girls. The actress is the equally formidable Bette Davis.
Bette Davis
The good and decent women of the train are less than thrilled.
Bette Davis

The Count, played by Robert Strauss, arrives and gets hired by McQueeny.
Bette Davis
Madame McQueeny and driver.
Bette Davis
A thoughtful McQueeny.
Bette Davis
Nobody will ever say of her wagon – “what a dump.”
Bette Davis
The Major, inside McQueeny’s wagon, tried to have a talk with her.
Bette Davis
McQueeny looks at Roxanne’s beau to discover he has spotted fever.
Bette Davis
Next, the Major is stricken.
Bette Davis
The Major is gravely ill.
Bette Davis
Roxanne is dead.

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