Synopsis: The Stilwins are on vacation to an isolated beach in Mexico. Walking on a deserted jetty, Doug Stilwin gets his leg trapped under one of the logs. All attempts to move the log are futile and Helen Stilwin takes the car to get help. However, an escaped criminal kidnaps her. Will she be able to return to her husband before he drowns?
Director(s): John Sturges
Production: MGM
69 min

Vacation time in the United States

means traveling.

And traveling in the United States

is wonderful.

Fill your gas tank and hit the road.

The big rolling freeways

and the fantastic traffic patterns.

Monuments to a civilization

that moves on wheels.

There's a turnoff to everywhere...

... and you can go straight ahead too,

if you only know how.

Some people go to the mountains

or the shore...

... we packed two weeks' camping

equipment in a trailer and headed south...

... to a place I'd never seen.

And something happens to you when

you cross the border into another country.

It's exciting, even if it's only

the country next door.

Hello. Where do you going in Mexico?

We stay here in Tijuana tonight.

In the morning, we head south of Ensenada.

A fishing trip. Turista pass.

Born in the United States?

And you?

Thank you.

Tijuana is fun, like a carnival.

Strange people, strange words.

You name it, and they've got it.

It's a boomtown with tourists

for oil wells.

And if you want to build up

your sales resistance...

... well, this is the place.

Sombrero, seor?

- I never use them.

- No?

Shoes for the little boy?

- Post cards?

- No, thank you.

Spider? Very pretty. Look.

For the little boy.


- No, thanks.

- No?

Oh, horses, maybe. I know the man.

He make good deal for you.

Okay, boy. Just a minute.

Watch the camera.


That's it, boy.

It'll be a lovely picture, seora.

You'll like it, you'll see.

Well, it's duty free.

I'm saving money for you.

Every time you save me money,

you cost me money.

You just don't understand

the simplest facts.

- Sexish.

- The simplest facts.

But don't they catch cold?

- Oh, no.

- For the little boy, maybe?

No, he's getting a little too old

for that sort of thing.

Post cards? Very pretty.

South of Tijuana, the highway settles down

to a single winding tape of asphalt...

... and the country opens up.

You don't have to worry

which road to take. There's only one.

It's marked, "Mexico 1," and the sign

says, "Ensenada, 92 kilometers."

That's about 60 miles.

Say, honey... about putting the top down

after we get out in the country?

- Won't blow too much.

- Sure, it's a wonderful idea.

It was a little foggy

when we got to Ensenada.

But even with the fog

it has something...

... with its quiet harbor,

its little lobster boats...

... and a sign, "Bienvenidos."

That means welcome.

It's the place where you fill your gas tank,

check your tires. You'd better.

It'll be a long time

before you get another place to do it.

When you see a map, you see

what isolation you're heading into.

Tijuana, Ensenada up at one end,

and then 400 miles to La Paz...

... the only other town

at the other end.

In between, nothing but names.

Oh, picturesque names.

Mission Santo Toms,

Colonia Guerrero, El Rosario...

... but just names.

Ancient settlements and missions

no longer existing, ghost towns, ruins.

Below Ensenada, it's a road of dirt

and desolation.

A road of shifting sands

and bruising rocks...

... of quail that scoot

through clumps of cactus...

... and doves that rise in soft,

whirring clouds.

High adventure beckons

down this road...

... but never again will it beckon to me.

Turista pass.

Keys to the back.

You are Douglas Stilwin?

You are Mrs. Stilwin?

- This is your son?

- Yes.

He must be the boss, that fellow.

He's a captain,

or maybe even a colonel, I don't know.

Dad, what's going on?

Go ahead.

Say, Dad,

what was going on back there?

Well, I'll tell you, sonny. Somebody

probably lost a goat or a cow or something.

- Mexicans have a way of taking things big.

- Mexicans?

Why, you and Bobby acted as if you

hadn't seen a police car in your lives.

Oh, Mom, you always

treat me like a kid.

I wonder why.

- What was it really?

- Who knows?

Checking stolen cars, looking for contraband,

I don't know. What difference does it make?

- You could've asked.

- Never would've told me.

- How do you know?

- Four years in the Army. They never tell you.

Besides, I didn't want them to go

poking around in that zippered bag.

Why not?

Oh, Doug,

what did you bring this thing for?

- Is it loaded?

- Certainly not...

...but there's a clip of bullets in the case.

Helen, it's not a bad thing to have.

It is pretty desolate country down here.

You never know.

Never fired it once in the Army.

Thought we might pop off a can

or two, huh, Bobby?

You bet.

And maybe we'll need it for protection.

Who knows what perils

there are down here.

- Honey, we'll use it for target practice.

- Well, don't use me for the target.

What are you smiling about?

Nothing, nothing at all. I love you.

Well, I love you too,

but what are you smiling at?

Cut it out.

Will we get to the ocean in time

for lunch, Pop?

I hope so.

Gosh, we must have hit a nest

of rattlesnakes.

And they all landed in the radiator.

It's boiling again.

There's a place ahead

where we can pull off.

We'll get a chance to use

that five-gallon water can of ours.

- Well, that is...

- What's the matter, Mom?

Well, the fact is, it's empty.

What? Who was the vice president

in charge of the water can?

Doug, I'm sorry. I forgot to tell you

to fill it at the last service station.

Gee, Mom, you didn't forget?

Yes, I goofed off,

but it's really no problem.

Of course not. We'll probably run into

a 50-pump gasoline station any minute.

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Mel Dinelli

Mel Dinelli (born 6 October 1912, Albuquerque, New Mexico - d. 28 November 1991, Los Angeles, California) was an American writer for theatre, radio, film and magazines, usually in the suspense genre. He attended the University of Washington. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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