Thursday, November 3, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 65: The Last Gunfighter

Sam Leaps Into:
Tyler Means, a senior citizen living off the legend of his former gunfighting prowess.

Avoid getting killed in a gunfight by his jealous former partner. 


Coffin, Arizona

Memorable Quote:
Yeah, but a man doesn't quit. A man just doesn't run away.  You see, you always told me that.  And now you're gonna run away. And the whole town's gonna know you're just a coward.  ~Stevie

It's great to see John Anderson featured, and he does an excellent job as the crusty old-timer.  Of course Anderson is well known around these parts as MacGyver's Grandpa Harry and as The American Adventure's Mark Twain, but did you know he also appeared in I-Man, a Disney tv movie that was Scott Bakula's first acting credit and also starred Countdown's Ellen Bry.

It's ridiculous that it's 1957 but all the townspeople dress and act like it's the 1860's.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Susan Isaacs, the actress who plays Sam's daughter, appeared as his sister-in-law in Heart of a Champion.
  • 12:32 mark -- is that John Wayne in the stagecoach?
  • It's amazing that more little kids don't see Al, like in this episode he's standing with Sam out in the street while the whole town is gathered around -- you'd think there'd be a few kids there who would spot him.
  • I don't like the "Stevie goes to the saloon to take on Knight and gets killed" alternate history because Knight seems like a decent guy deep down and so it's hard to imagine him shooting a kid.
  • It's ironic (and seemingly backward) that if Sam runs away, then that causes Stevie to pick a fight and get killed later in life.  You'd think that Sam not showing up to fight would give Stevie the message that fighting is not the answer.

Final Analysis:
Not my favorite episode, but it was an interesting angle and I was curious to see how it would end.  Ranking it 37 out of 65.


  1. John Anderson was also in the 80's tv mini-series "North & South" with Patrick Swayze.

    I've noticed that who can see Al is pretty much dependent on the plot. If they need someone random to see him, then they can.

  2. I could not get into this one at all. The only part I liked about it was seeing John Anderson, who I know has been in some other Westerns besides "North and South" as Highlander sites, cutting it up. He's really good in this role and the only individual scene of the episode that genuinely got me interested was Sam/Tyler and Anderson's character getting sauced and sharing laughs about their crazy times together, but with Anderson's character continuing to affirm that he had to kill him to spare his own honor, followed by his crack shooting based on Sam's doubts that he could still hit a target. This had to be one of John Anderson's last roles as he died later in 1992. He was only 69! I would have figured at least 10 years older than that and not just because I've always envisioned as Grandpa Harry, but the dude has some serious lines on his face and exuded the persona of a crusty old man. I wouldn't doubt if some hard living over the years contributed to that.

    Beyond that though this was a slow-moving trainwreck and mostly boring as hell. The setting was absurd for 1957 as you said and the entire plot with Stevie just never made sense at any level. I couldn't wait for it to be over. I'll rate this as my second to last episode in between "How the Tess was Won" and "The Portrait of Troian". Unfortunate script for John Anderson to go out on.

    1. Wow, second to last, didn't see that coming! Maybe if it would have had Brigitta Stenberg, Kim Zimmer and Traci Lords you would have liked it better.