A good Samaritan, a Professor driving to California to take up a new teaching post, stops at a gas station with an orphaned coyote cub and agrees to give a ride to a hitchhiker, Julie. He then learns that her father and brother seem to be included in the deal. Not surprisingly, this trio turn out to be con artists and thieves and the Professor has to be quick on his feet to make sure they get their comeuppance!Written by
Motoring back to California, with a slight hitch on the way
Hitchcock's personal favorite among his own films, Shadow of a Doubt, intersects in this episode with TV's "Petticoat Junction," insofar as the secondary male lead of the film, MacDonald Carey, matches wits against a very scrubby cigarette-bumming Edgar Buchanan here. A full-time career can be had just trying to track which Hitchcock film actors appear in which, if any, episodes of both this series and the shorter-lived but more cinematic "Alfred Hitchcock Hour" which followed it. Try a second career at comparing the similar settings of various episodes, for example, this one with another set on the sandy highways of the Southwest, "Escape to Sonoita," starring the very young Burt Reynolds, who faces more dangerous strangers than the freeloading "tramps" of this episode.
If you find yourself as annoyed and bored as the traveling professor (Carey) is with the excesses of the hitchhikers the supposedly pregnant daughter, the menacing son, and the old father (Buchanan), then just wait for the payoff of the ending. The coyote in the protagonist's nature emerges just when it's most needed!
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