"The Geneva Balfour Story"
Original air date Jan 20, 1964
Directed by Sutton Roley
Written by Ken Trevey
John McIntire as Chris Hale
Robert Fuller as Cooper Smith
Terry Wilson as Bill Hawks
Frank McGrath as Charlie Wooster
Scott (Denny) Miller as Duke Shannon
Michael Burns as Barnaby West
Robert Lansing as Judge Forbes
Peter Brown as Aaron Balfour
Sherry Jackson as Geneva Balfour
Official Peter Brown Fan Site
NiteOwl Review: We always enjoy seeing Peter Brown and Robert Fuller together and this appearance was no exception. They were both in fine form. Our only criticism about this episode comes from the ending. It seems implausible to us that Geneva's view on life would reverse so dramatically, from completely self-absorbed spoiled brat to loving wife and mother-to-be, as a result of a crying jag.
The seventh season of Wagon Train was the only one with ninety minute episodes in color. This episode marked the second of three Wagon Train episodes in which Peter Brown guest starred.
The story opens with wagon master Chris Hale describing the hardships to come (namely extreme desert conditions) for the wagon train passengers.
We are then introduced to passengers Aaron and Geneva Balfour. He once worked for his wife's father. Aaron wants to make it on his own, so he and pregnant Geneva are off to San Francisco and a new life.
Geneva, accustomed to a pampered life, doesn't understand Aaron's need to prove himself and is therefore less than enthusiastic about leaving the life she knows. Due to Geneva's temper-tantrums, Aaron is becoming ever more concerned about their unborn baby, so he asks Geneva to please calm down.
She responds by saying it is the journey that is dangerous to their baby not her.
During the night, another woman and baby both die in childbirth, which serves to convince Geneva the wagin train is doomed.
Geneva is overwrought when Aaron finds her and begs her to think of their baby and calm herself. Geneva puts Aaron's hand on her baby bump and angrily asks him if the trip to San Francisco is worth the price of his son. She then runs off, leaving Aaron despondent.
While everyone else is attending a gravesite service for the deceased mother and child, Geneva dreams up a plan to force the wagon train to turn back. She uses kerosene to set the supply wagon on fire. Noticing Geneva's absence at the funeral, Aaron returns to their wagon to talk to her when the flames get his attention. He rushes to put out the fire and orders Geneva back to their wagon.
As he treats Aaron's burns with axel grease, Coop senses that Aaron wasn't responsible for the fire. Aaron plays coy at first, but then says he must take the blame for Geneva, who he claims isn't capable of admitting her guilt. He's worried about the repurcussions to the baby if Geneva is ostracized. Aaron asks Coop to give his word he will keep Aaron's secret.
Chris serves as judge at Aaron's arson trial. Determined to protect Geneva and the baby, Aaron pleads guilty. Meanwhile, Coop corners Geneva and tries to convince her to do the right thing. He tells her it is unlikely she would be punished, being a woman and pregnant. The crowd at the trial, already aware of Geneva's bizarre behavior, begin staring her down and Geneva faints.
Geneva wakes up in her wagon completely detached from reality. She wonders away from the wagon train before emotionally melting down entirely. When it's time to leave, Aaron searches for her but can't find Geneva. He begs Coop to help him locate her. They eventually find her, hysterical.
In order to care for his ailing wife, Aaron elects to stay behind when the wagon train leaves. Desperately worried, Aaron makes small talk as Geneva stares into space. Unexpectedly, Geneva opens her blanket and invites Aaron to join her. In the spirit of reconciliation, Aaron starts telling Geneva he will get back for her everything she gave up for him. She shushes him by covering his mouth and says all she wants is to have their baby and to be a good wife to him.