THE HUNT – 1963 This is an episode from the 1963-65 series, KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER.
James Caan is driving an old beat-up wreck through some backwoods hill country. He is taking a short cut on his way to California. He hits a pothole and puts a hole through the car's oil pan. A few hours later, a jeep followed by several pick-ups full of armed men pull up.
Mickey Rooney jumps out of the jeep and sticks a revolver in Cann's face. "Who are you, and what are you doing here?" Rooney, it turns out is the local Sheriff. He and the armed men are looking for an escaped prisoner.
Cann explains the situation with his car and asks if there is a repair shop close. One of the men with Rooney, Bruce Dern, says he can fix Caan's car after they get the escapee. Cann climbs on one of the pick-ups and the chase resumes.
The posse soon corners the escapee and Rooney has the dogs set on the man. Caan watches in horror as the man is torn to pieces. He turns away and is sick. One of the men in the posse says that the dead man is the seventh killed during an escape.
Later that day while Dern is working on Caan's beater. Caan says that he thinks Rooney is a sadist and a murderer. Dern of course passes this info to his buddy, Rooney. Caan, not knowing when to shut up, now calls long distance to California. He tells his girl about what he has seen. Of course the local operator, Peggy Rea, is Rooney's kin and she also fills him in on Caan's call.
That evening, Caan hits the road in his just repaired auto. He however does not get far. Waiting outside town is Rooney. He stops Caan and searches his car. He has received a report of a stolen shotgun. Needless to say he pulls a shotgun out the back of Caan's car.
Rooney slaps Caan in the village cells on a charge of theft. There, Caan is soon paid a visit by Dern, who offers to help him escape. Caan knows a rat when he sees one and declines. Dern opens the cell door anyways and leaves. Caan sits as if nailed to the spot.
Outside, we see Rooney sitting under a tree with a rifle across his knees. Several hours pass and Rooney can tell Caan has no intention of playing his game. Rooney marches into the jail and cracks Caan in the head with his rifle butt.
When Caan regains his senses, he finds himself in the middle of the woods with baying hounds in the distance. Rooney intends to have his sport. Caan, being in better shape than most, hotfoots it away from the closing hounds.
He manages to cross a roaring creek and up some steep cliffs where only one of the hounds follows. Caan defends himself with a large rock and tosses the dog back in the water. He then heads further into the woods. He finally reaches a main road and jumps on the back of a passing big truck.
Several days later, Caan, along with a State Attorney and several large State Police arrive at Rooney's jail house. Rooney is told he is no longer in command as serious charges of murder have been made against him. His Deputy, Kelly Thordsen, is to take over.
Rooney, needless to say is less than amused with this turn of events. He pulls his pistol and fires at Caan. Deputy Thordsen yanks his own .45 and drops Rooney with two rounds to the chest. Thordsen has had enough of Rooney as well.
This is a very entertaining take on, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME.
The director was veteran television man, William Graham. The d of p was three time nominated, and one time Oscar winner, Lionel Lindon. His work included films such as, AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, HELL'S ISLAND, THE SCARLET HOUR, THE TURNING POINT, THE SUN SETS AT DAWN, QUICKSAND, ALIAS NICK BEAL and THE BLUE DAHLIA.
The story and screenplay were by John D. Black, Ed Waters and Robert Altman. (color)