Alfred Hitchcock Presents – And the Desert Shall Blossom (12/21/58)

ahpdesertblossom16Sheriff Jeff rides out to the Tom & Ben’s shack in the desert.  The town council is concerned about the two old coots living with no visible means of support.  They claim to be homesteaders but can provide no evidence of being farmers or prospectors.

Sigh . . . this is a pretty thin story that relies on a ludicrous plot-point and has a familiar ending.  There just isn’t much to grab onto here.

The Sheriff assures them that the town council just has their welfare in mind.  The fact that this beautiful location would be the perfect spot for a red rock spa resort surely plays no role in their decision, and is not mentioned here.  And where is this utopia where the government is so concerned about old people who pay no taxes and give no campaign contributions?

ahpdesertblossom13The Sheriff is on their side and just needs some evidence, any evidence that they are really homesteaders — say, growing a single crop or mining enough gold to sustain them.  The absurd plot-point is that they finally agree that if the geezers can grow a single rose bush that flowers, they can can technically be considered farmers.  Are we sure these guys aren’t making campaign contributions?  That kind of sleazy technicality is the essence of politics.

As luck would have it, they get a visitor.  A stranger’s car breaks down just in front of their shack.  The old guys tell the man — credited spoilerifically as Killer on IMDb — that the nearest town is 47 miles away.  They claim they can walk it in a day and a half which seems unlikely.  Killer pulls a gun and insists that they lead him to town.  Tom — or Ben, it really doesn’t matter — gets his hand on a pistol and shoots Killer with one of those AHP patented one-shot kills.  This series wounds less people than Jack Bauer.

ahpdesertblossom30One month later, the Sheriff comes by again looking for Killer.  He doesn’t find Killer, but the boys do show him a thriving rose bush on top of a burial plot-shaped mound of dirt.

In Alfred Hitchcock’s closing remarks, as usual, he assures the audience — and by audience, I mean FCC —  that the old fellows were caught and punished.  In an unusual departure, however, he actually says that after using Killer for fertilizer, they continued the practice with other criminals and innocent passersby.

That comment and the camaraderie of the guys are the only reasons to sit through this episode.  I rate it 17.5 out of Isaiah 35.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  No survivors.
  • Title Analysis: Very good.  Streamlined from the source, but still identifiable.  Even more on-point if you look at the original.
  • Killer played Chief Bell in The Thirty-Fathom Grave.

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