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What the Shepherd Saw


After seeing the brutal slaying of his master's beloved wife, a young shepherd must do everything in his power to prove he did not witness a single thing.



Air Dates

  • First Run - January 12, 1976
  • Repeat - June 8, 1976





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4 Responses to Episode 0415

A young shepherd is witness to a romantic tryst between a noble's wife and a sea captain and the end she puts to it. The noble enlists his help to entrap the captain and end, once and for all, the liaison.


Elizabeth Pennell did a nice job on writing the adaptation of Thomas Hardy's short story from 1881. All the characters & plot were both interesting, however, the climax & resolution both ended too quickly. The writing in this Drama-Mystery reminds me of Ep. #1391-PORTRAIT OF THE PAST and Ep. #0111-YESTERDAY'S MURDER; very attentive in ACT-1 and ACT-2, but not so much in ACT-3. E.G. Marshall made some good comments about this CBSRMT episode's topic on "the unpredictable", followed by the Stonehenge in Wilshire, England in the 18th Century. But it would've been great if he mentioned Thomas Hardy and his work. He has mentioned the lives of other writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry, Guy De Maupaussant, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Shakespeare, etc., but nothing on this particular writer. The music was okay, but it needed more. More suspense, more tension, more mysterious tunes to make you feel like you were there witnessing what was going on in the story. The sound effects of the howling wind, the sounds of sheep, hooves of horses galloping, tower bell ringing, and birds cooing did help though. More importantly, a job well done from our cast: Russell Horton (as William Mills: the paranoid shepherd), Marian Seldes (as Harriet: the Duchess), Ian Martin (as the cruel and jealous Duke), and William Redfield (as Captain Fred Ogbourne). Each of them played their parts to a T and they were very believable. If you're a fan of Thomas Hardy's writing, then check this episode out.


Episodes of the show generally benefit from strong source material, and this is no exception. It's worthwhile to note that the story and pacing are a little more "old-fashioned" than modern listeners might be familiar with, but if you don't mind the slow pace, the story has plenty of great moments-- with some unexpected developments and a satisfying resolution. It's also bolstered by solid performances and a strong sense of place. Excellent.

Matt Sandwich

I never read the original story, so I cannot compare it. However, the adaptation I thought was very good, if slow at times. The end did seem a little rushed, but I guess in an adaptation you may have to choose what you want to include and what you don't.


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