“The Awakening” (4:05) – Roberta Shore Leaves ‘The Virginian’

Shore“The Awakening” (4:05) directed by Leon Benson, written by Robert Crean and broadcast October 17, 1965, was a turning point for The Virginian and marked the end of the classic early period of the show (1962-1965). When Betsy Garth (Roberta Shore) married former minister David Henderson (Glenn Corbett), declared “I don’t need Shiloh anymore” and left for her new home in Pennsylvania as a preacher’s wife a vital character in The Virginian departed. Shore, a dedicated Mormon, was written out the show at her own request to concentrate on her own real-life marriage.

Roberta Shore would be replaced with a short one season run by Diane Roter. Sara Lane as Elizabeth Grainger would actually appear in more episodes than Shore but would never match her acting ability. Shore’s departure was a major loss for the show and one-half of a double body blow in the unsuccessful Season 4 when Lee J. Cobb also departed. The Virginian would never be the same again although the arrival of the Grainger family at Shiloh Ranch in Season 5 would see a return to form for The Virginian.

(Full details including author interviews with Roberta Shore, James Drury, Randy Boone, Frank Price and Joel Rogosin can be found in my book “A History of Television’s The Virginian 1962-1971” published by McFarland & Co.).

The Virginian (James Drury) and Trampas (Doug McClure) relect on Betsy's imminent departure from Shiloh Ranch in "The Awakening" (4:05).
The Virginian (James Drury) and Trampas (Doug McClure) reflect on Betsy’s imminent departure from Shiloh Ranch in “The Awakening” (4:05).

24 thoughts on ““The Awakening” (4:05) – Roberta Shore Leaves ‘The Virginian’”

  1. The Virginian tells Betsy.that Trampas can’t be at her wedding because he blubbers at weddings….I think we all blubbered at this wedding…

  2. True Leta. I clearly recall my mother crying back in the 1960s when we first watched this episode. Betsy’s leaving was a major event for the show. I only wish Roberta had filmed a reunion episode in a later season. And thankfully Trampas did appear at the marriage. 🙂

  3. I was glad they wrapped up the main story about the miners in this episode early. That gave them the last 15 minutes or so of the ep to concentrate on the wedding, which was much more interesting.

    1. Yes Bob – the mining story was a distraction. The way they handled Betsy’s departure was poignant. Randy handing her his gift and Betsy listening to his singing in the bunkhouse from her bedroom window was memorable. Roberta Shore’s fine acting played a major part of course.

  4. I watched this episode for the first time this past Saturday (July 20, 2013), Just started watching ‘The Virginian’ last Sept. so I did not know this was Roberta Shore’s last episode. What a shock!! I was expecting her boyfriend to ‘have to go back east’ or to become a ‘traveling’ union spokesman for Wyoming miners. Was waiting for his goodbye speech in the last 10 minutes of the show. BUT NO !!! I enjoyed the episode but felt bad for Judge Garth and Randy at the end! Did Roberta Shore ever make any ‘guest appearances’ after this?

      1. Wow, I’m sorry to find that out! She was part of a ‘winning combination’ on the show!!! I’ll have to ‘google’ her and find out more about her career!! Thanks for all the info here about this episode! I enjoyed reading everything!!!

    1. I had never seen the episode where Betsy got married either and the Virginian was my favorite show. I had a manor crush on The Virginian.
      I was bummed when Betsy left because as a little girl, I always daydreamed about being surrounded by all of the handsome cowboys as Betsy was!
      Zowee! Lucky girl.
      Anyway, I’m glad to see that so many other people still enjoy watching is as well. I’m watching an episode right now! 🐴

      1. He became discontented with his role and wanted to return to acting on the stage and in movies.

  5. Thanks Kathy. Yes Roberta was a vital part of the original “Shiloh family”. I interviewed her for my book and she’s as friendly and bright in real life as on screen.

  6. Perhaps someone can help me out. I heard there was an episode where Trampas accidentally refers to The Virginian, as Jim (no doubt he said the actors name by mistake and that they forgot to edit it in post production). Would anyone know what season and episode number and/or title? From what I read, you had to be listening close to have caught it. I’d love to watch that one tonight.

    1. I had a book that was published in the 1970’s (don’t remember the name of it) that was a sort of encyclopedia of television shows. The entry for ‘The Virginian’ said that he was referred to as “Jim” in some early episodes. In all the eps I’ve watched since then, I’ve never been able to find such an instance.

  7. I recall hearing Trampas say “Jim” under his breath – but I can’t recall the episode. If my memory is correct it was a bunkhouse scene. No way was he called “Jim” in multiple episodes.

  8. Paul Greeen are anyone else for that matter, please tell me the episode where Roberta Shore sang the song “They’re hanging poor Billy tommorow”. It was kind of sad in one way and not sad in another way she sang the song. Any help would be appreciated.


    1. Amazon is selling a Season 4 boxed set Etolia. You can’t buy it individually. You may also see it on INSP network when they broadcast it again.

  9. The Virginian is played throughout the day and night on Direct TV INSP Channel 364. Betsy sang Hang Poor Billy in Season 2 Episode 7 “Brother Thaddeus”. I remember Trampas calling the Virginian Jim and I also remember Judge Garth calling him Jim but I don’t recall the episodes!

    1. This is a common misunderstanding, Sheri. People think they hear things they really didn’t. A good example is the 1976 hit, “The Boys Are Back In Town” by Thin Lizzy. I’ve heard that song many hundreds of times thinking that on the final chorus they were singing “the boys are back in town, Jim.” In fact, it was “the boys are back in town again.” I would bet the ranch that if you go back and review those episodes and constantly played back what Trampas and Judge Garth actually said, you will hear them say something that rhymes with Jim that made more sense to the dialogue.

    2. Thanks Sheri, I am going to ultimately find that episode and watched it. For, some reason it left a sad feeling with me.. I couldn’t figure out if the song was suppose to be funny or serious. I don’t know why I want to see Betsy sing that song again because “hangings are part of western movies or TV series I never liked.

    3. Sheri, thanks for the information about Season 2, Episode 7, where Betsy sang the song “Hang Poor Billy”. That song left me feeling very sad and strange for some reason. I don’t remember if it was suppose to be a sad song or a funny song. Why I want to see it again, is beyond me. I love Westerns but I never liked hangings in Westerns.

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