The Sliders land on the outskirts of a rustic Las Vegas and immediately come under fire by a roving gang of horseback robbers. When Colin is injured and separated from his friends, Quinn and Rembrandt set out to rescue him while Maggie plays their growing stack of bills by performing as a song girl in a local saloon. They quickly discover a plan to scare a group of homesteaders off their land, led by a corrupt sheriff, the vicious Mr. K — Kolitar the Kromagg — and the grandson of Ben “Bugsy” Seigel. Colin faces Kolitar off in a showdown the forces him outta Dodge and puts Las Vegas on the map as money, not fear, drives the populace of the land that’s been earmarked for gambling casinos.
A world where the mean temperature is closer to Ice Age than beach time.
Old West-style values are alive and well on a world where gun slinging never died and Las Vegas is about to become the haven of corruption and sin that we know today.
The Sliders rent horses, stay at the local hotel, eat, drink and are generally merry… as long as Maggie keeps packing them in with her beautiful voice.
As Quinn says, any number of factors may be responsible for the lapse in technological progression of this Earth. It’s also unknown how the East Coast is doing, although it’s pretty evident that the West Coast is undeveloped and therefore a ripe opportunity for the developers of casinos in Nevada to make a pit stop the whole family can enjoy. Las Vegas is to be such a stop.
In 1974, a recession hit the country like a ton o’ bricks (great, now I’m talking like that), telling most merchants that paper money was out and that precious metals and bartered goods were the way to direct commerce. There was a war about a decade or so ago, possibly a civil war, where General Norman Schwarzkopf was said to have been instrumental in wrapping up such an ugly little skirmish.
“It’s a western slide!” jokes Jerry O’Connell, who crafted the story of this episode. “I always thought of this show as a Western, but I went to NYU film so I pretty much over-analyze everything! Like I see Star Trek as a Western — Space the final frontier… parallel dimensions, the final frontier! We actually brought back a bad guy who’s a Kromagg — played by Reiner Schone, who’s a fabulous actor. He’s six foot eight, so he’s really imposing. I’ve never worked with alien make-up, I’ve never had to play an alien, but this is a guy who is such fun on and off the set, and he puts on this make-up and he just becomes this [villain].”
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“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” claims Chris Black of this episode, helmed by David Peckinpah. “It’s going to have horses and six-guns and dance hall girls, and we’ve got a great western backlot, and we’re going to do some stunt work on it, so David is very enthusiastic about it. He’s a fine director, and he has a bit of a western heritage in his family, because of his uncle.
“This was a story that Jerry wrote up in great detail and brought in and pitched to us, and quite often, your knee-jerk inclination is, ‘Oh no, the star of the show has something they want to do; what’s it going to be like?’ and in all honesty, I read this thing and said, ‘This is a great story!’ It was a wild ride, and David really fell in love with it and wanted to direct it, and Jerry, between his acting and directing duties, didn’t really have time to write it himself, so I went over the outline with him and got his input and then sat down and wrote the episode.”
Do the action-adventure elements of this episode spell a regression to the character-lite episodes of seasons past?
“I wasn’t around last season so I can’t speak to a lot of those episodes,” Black adds, “but from what I’ve seen, you’re doing things the wrong way around if you have the plots driving the characters not the other way around, so the characters are stuck in a tough situation and having to punch and shoot their way out of it because it was the only thing to do.”
|Teleplay by||Chris Black|
|Story by||Jerry O'Connell|
|Directed by||David Peckinpah|
|Music by||Danny Lux|
|Edited by||Casey Brown|
|Next:||My Brother’s Keeper|
“Way Out West” is a loving tribute to all the old westerns that ruled the media in the middle of this century. From Rembrandt declaring himself jumpier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs to Quinn’s laconic yups, this is as stereotypical a view of the Old West as you’re going to find.
The Sliders encounter an old foe on a frontier earth and uncover his land-grabbing scheme while searching for a wounded Colin.