Director: Harold Schuster
Writer: Earl Hamner
Cast: Arthur Hunnicutt, Jeanette Nolan, Robert Faulk, Dexter Dupont, Orville Sherman, Charles Seel, and Titus Moede
Composer: Robert Drasnin
Air Date: 1/26/1962
Production Code: 4810
While hunting raccoons one evening, Hyder Simpson (Arthur Hunnicutt) jumps into a fast-moving stream to rescue his dog Rip. Upon returning home to a grieving wife (Jeanette Nolan), however, Hyder realizes that both he and Rip had drowned the night before. Thereafter, Hyder faces a difficult choice when navigating the afterlife with his best friend.
“The Hunt” is a moving tale of friendship, kindness, and relying on others to help overcome the hardships of life. Animal lovers young and old should therefore enjoy this offering, which benefits from a poignant twist in the final scene.
Though stereotypical in both appearance and manner, Hyder Simpson—an uneducated Southern man with a good heart—will no doubt stir the emotions of sensitive viewers. In one scene, for example, Hyder sacrifices his own life while attempting to save Rip from an aggressive raccoon and, upon nearing the end of his after-death journey, refuses to enter the gates of “heaven” due to a restrictive policy regarding dog ownership—demonstrations of loyalty that establish Hyder as a loving and sympathetic character, thereby compensating for his frustrating ignorance and inability to accept reality.
After drowning in the river, Hyder takes an inordinate amount of time to discover the nature of his predicament—an aspect that slightly hampers the pacing of this episode.
For using the everyday circumstances of a simple, down-to-earth mountain man to illustrate the spiritual conflict between good and evil, “The Hunt” should be commended despite its lack of theological soundness.
A heartwarming episode, “The Hunt” will appeal to those who enjoy The Twilight Zone for its delicate, family-friendly narratives. Sci-fi/horror enthusiasts, on the other hand, may wish to avoid this entry, which forgoes the creepy and bizarre subject matter of a typical series installment.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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