The Gabe Carswell Story

by Candace RichComment — Updated August 3, 2023

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The Gabe Carswell Story
(ep. #1.18)

Written by John Dunkel
Directed by Earl Bellamy

Produced by Howard Christie


James Whitmore as Gabe Carswell
Scott Marlowe as Jess Carswell/Little Eagle
Thomas Browne Henry as Chief Yellow Bear

Norman Willis as Wilkes
Sondra Rodgers

About This Episode

Gabe Carswell is often remembered because of the scene where Flint gets staked out, spread-eagled. But this episode carrys a powerful Wagon Train message which was ahead of its time.

The changing nature of the Indian way of life due to white over hunting of the buffalo is the central theme. Robert Horton as Flint McCullough addresses this in a speech (see audio clip below) in which he acknowledges that it may not be fair, but the Westward expansion is going to continue.

The Plot

Flint runs into old friend Gabe Carswell and his angry son Jess, who insists on being called Little Eagle. The young man is a half-breed who has identified completely with his Arapahoe brothers.But the Arapahoe lifestyle is eroding due to the lack of the sustaining buffalo. Gabe wants to take his son to California to begin a new life but the boy wants no part of it.

Flint and Gabe go to the tribe to talk to Chief Yellow Bear in an effort to avert an attack on the train. Although Flint offers the Chief everything but the wash basin in trade, the only thing the Chief wants is buffalo. McCullough promises to find a herd as an excuse to get out and warn the train of the impending attack.

Now Little Eagle is fascinated with McCullough’s new Henry Center Fire gun, which he will steal on more than one occasion. He recognizes that the weapon is far superior to anything the Indians have. He is an angry young man with an abiding hatred of the white man. So the first chance he gets, he tricks Flint and then attempts to kill him by staking him in the sun with rawhide ties.

Although Gabe rescues Flint and together they discover a herd of buffalo which satisfies Yellow Bear, Little Eagle cannot see past his anger and again attempts to murder Flint. Which sadly, Gabe is forced to prevent by shooting his own son.

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Robert Horton - James Whitmore
Flint runs across old friend Gabe Carswell and his son.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
Flint takes Gabe and son back to the train and listens to Gabe’s hopes for his son’s future.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
McCullough tries to offer the Indians goods from the train in exchange for safe pasage.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
Gabe, played by James Whitmore, remembers Flint as a young “carrot top” boy at Fort Bridger. At right, his son Jess prefers to be called Little Eagle, played by Scott Marlowe.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
Gabe explains that he knows the day of the Arapahoe life are over.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
But Chief Yellow Bear, played by Thomas Browne Henry is unswayed and demands buffalo.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
One minute the boy is all smiles…

The Gabe Carswell Story Photo

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
Gabe sees Flint’s horse and knows something very bad has happened.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
And the next minute he’s killing you, slowly.

Yes, Flint fans. I grabbed a couple more for you.

Robert Horton - Gabe Carswell

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
Carswell confronts his son, Little Eagle.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
After Gabe’s rescue, Flint attempts to convince the Chief that they have found buffalo.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
Little Eagle is dead.Robert Horton - James Whitmore
Chief Yellow Bear, as usual, is a real hard sell.

Robert Horton - James Whitmore
In the scene depicted at left and above, Flint and Little Eagle have a discussion about the inevitability of the white migration westward. Click below for an audio clip of this classic Wagon Train theme.

Robert Horton and Scott Marlowe
(Windows Media Payer)

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