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A Long Time to Die


The grass is never greener on the other side and swapping lives is a dangerous practice. Unfortunately, a criminologist and an American Indian discover this too late as their swapped circumstances threaten to engulf them. One needs to depose before a tribal council and the other must do it in front of the Congress.



Air Dates

  • First Run - March 5, 1974
  • Repeat - May 28, 1974





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23 Responses to Episode 0051

A very good one, in my opinion. Ties the Theory of Relativity to Native American mythology. Good morality play, too, about having the courage of one's convictions. Morality play, science fiction, time travel.


Pretty weird story about a criminologist who is supposed to testify against a politician and an Amercan Indian from 200 years earlier who is facing a tribunal crossing paths and switching personalities "in the mist" and becoming totally lost in each other's eras and problems.


Two men with unmet obligations switch identities and thus add to their burdens.


This is Mystery Theater\'s attempt at interesting drama dealing with reincarnation. It just was a so-so story that I looked forward to ending. 2 stars.

Davy Joe

A criminologist and an American Indian swap lives and find they are unable to deal with their new and strange surroundings. One must testify before Congress, the other before a tribal council. Left me saying "So what?" Not a strong script.

Mack Counotche

A modern day 'mild mannered handwriting analysis expert' somehow switches brains with an ancient Indian warrior. Both are, in their own time and lives, undergoing great challenges and stresses. Neither know how to cope in their displaced time, in their changed lives.

Rommel Gibbs

Although I didn't care for this episode at all (just 2 stars), I do agree with Andy's comment that in some way, this episode paralelled a much more technical plot than your average Mystery Theater episode. Never-the-less, the story didn't sew up any loose ends and was poorly acted. Where exactly were the Native American Accents. Not the best.

Davy Joe

3 stars.... Starts off a little confusing but turns into a pretty good story. No commercials.


I loved this episode. Seems to have been a pretty divisive one, though.


I thought this was an okay episode, but not a stand out one. I thought Davy's comment about the accents interesting, but since they were speaking English I don't know if it was necessary. I don't believe it was a reincarnation episode as Davy mentioned earlier but a "transference of consciousness" episode (like Freaky Friday). I did find it interesting that both of them found someone who believed in them almost right away, also I found it quirky that the one thought to buy a bow and arrows to test the idea.


A morality tale which is easy to follow and fun to listen to. The drums make it clear when we are back in the Native American period. The lack of accents was explained (kind of).. One of my favorite RMT programs. I just wish there was 1974 news included so I could relive Nixons watergate troubles.


Good episode but the writing was a bit weak at points: "Do you want to go see the medicine man?" You mean Native Americans talked like 20th century Americans? That, and the fact that no American Indian 500 years ago would refer to themselves as an Indian.

Joe Mama

One of the characters Mandel Kramer portrays is called Running Beaver. He is called that consistently throughout the story, except in one place. At the 30:44 mark, he identifies himself as Running Bear. There is another character in the play known throughout as Red Bear.


Running Beaver and White Swallow. The writers were obviously having some fun there tho in the third act he proclaims himself to be Running Bear ( from the famous song perhaps?)

Les seabolt

I agree Les. I heard Arnold Ainsley refer to himself as Running Bear as well. I thought that it was a script error. I did find the names amusing, especially White Swallow! However, I can't recall the famous song you refer to. I thought it was a very entertaining episode.


Interesting story, but wish the Indians could have been more in character. Also the women asking if there were another woman, really. A time warp, to be taken from the past or future and placed into another time, not something to be eager about having happen to you. Miss the commercials and news.


One of the characters Mandel Kramer portrays is called Running Beaver. He is called that consistently throughout the story, except in one place. At the 30:44 mark, he identifies himself as Running Bear. There is another character in the play known throughout as Red Bear. Just an interesting little piece of trivia I thought I'd share...


I had noticed that as well. Not one my top 100 list for this story.


This one will strike many as silly from the plot description, but it builds up to a satisfying and surprising ending.


Not one of their best. This was a tale better told in under a half hour. Listening to those white guys trying to be Patomac Indians was painful at times.


It was okay till the ending. Just kind of ended. I would have rather heard more story at the end then the on and on about "Are you crazy?"


The premise is ridiculous and the story hard to follow….. and swallow. The character names were also pretty cookie-cutter (white swallow) hehehe. Probably one of Sam Dann’s worst by far. I give it a 2 out of ten.


"Doctor, I don't believe a word of it." Me neither. It's hard to generate tension when the premise is so ludicrous. The doctor providing the idiotic pseudoscience explanation does not make this easier to suspend disbelief. A little condescending misogyny thrown in on top because this writer will always paint women as nasty shrews, even if they're barely in the script like this nearly all male episode. (The unsophisticated depiction of indigenous culture goes without saying.)


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