The Hunt (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Arthur Hunnicut in “The Hunt”
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Harold Schuster|
|Written by||Earl Hamner, Jr.|
|Featured music||Robert Drasnin|
|Original air date||January 26, 1962|
|List of Twilight Zone episodes|
Hyder Simpson lives with his wife and his hound-dog Rip in the backwoods. Mrs. Simpson does not like having the dog indoors, but Rip saved Hyder’s life once, and Hyder won’t be parted from him. Mrs. Simpson has seen some bad omens recently, and warns Hyder not to go raccoon hunting that night. When Rip dives into a pond after a raccoon, Hyder jumps in after him, but only the raccoon comes up out of the water. Next morning, Hyder and Rip wake up next to the pond. When they return home, Hyder finds that neither his wife, the preacher, nor the neighbors can hear him or see him—they seem to think that he and Rip are dead.
Walking along the road, he encounters a fence he doesn’t recognize, and decides to follow it. Presently, both come to a gate tended by a man. Simpson asks him if he is Saint Peter. Explaining only that he is a gatekeeper, the man explains that Simpson can enter the Elysian Fields. Simpson is appreciative, but disheartened to hear that there is no raccoon hunting there, nor are there any of his other usual pleasures. When he is told that Rip can’t enter and will be taken elsewhere (“up the road”), he declines and angrily goes on down the “Eternity Road” rather than enter the gate without his beloved dog. Simpson states, “Any place that’s too high-falootin’ for Rip is too fancy for me.” Later, after stopping to rest, Simpson and Rip are met by a young angel whose job is to find and bring them to Heaven.
Simpson tells the angel about his experience at the first gate, commenting “Son, that’d be a helluva place without Rip!” The angel replies “Mr. Simpson, you ain’t far wrong – that is Hell! Heaven’s up yonder apiece,” pointing up Eternity Road. When asked by Simpson why the gatekeeper at the gate to Hell wouldn’t let him bring Rip inside with him, the angel explains that the reason Rip was not allowed in was because the dog would have been able to smell the brimstone and alert Simpson that something was wrong. The angel says, “You see Mr. Simpson, a man, well, he’ll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the Devil can’t fool a dog!”
The angel also tells Hyder that there will be a raccoon hunt in Heaven that night, “right after the square dance,” and assures him that his wife, who will be coming shortly, will not have any trouble with the Devil up the way.
 Cultural references
The story resembles a tale in the Mahabharata known as Yudhisthira’s final test. Located in the 17th parva, Yudhisthira refuses to go into heaven unless he can take his dog. Thus proving his loyalty, he passes the second test of three tests for heaven and the dog transforms into Dharma, or Dharmaraja, his father, who is the Lord of Death and Justice.
- Zicree, Marc Scott. The Twilight Zone Companion, Bantam Books, 1982. ISBN 0-553-01416-1
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090