"Promised Land"

Leap Date:

December 22, 1971

Episode Adopted by: Brinsley


Back in his hometown of Elk Ridge, Indiana, Sam finds himself as one of three brothers who are robbing the town bank in order to pay off a loan. Sam must uncover the reason the bank lent money to these farmers who could not possibly pay it back, while trying to prevent the brothers from being killed when they try to escape.


Audio from this episode
Video from this episode
Score music


Leap Date

Project Date
Name of the Person Leaped Into

Music Artists
Project Trivia
Sam Trivia
Al Trivia

Al's Women
Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode

Miscellaneous Trivia
Kiss with History

Broadcast Date
Guest Stars
Guest Cast Notes
Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap episodes
Cast members who have passed away
Personal Review
Best Lines
Best Scenes
Say what? (things in the episode that make no sense)
Quotable Quotes




Leap Date: December 22nd, 1971.

Place: Elk Ridge, Indiana.

Name of the Person Leaped Into: Willie Walters, Jr.



Leaping in to find a gun in his hand and a cloth tightened around his lower face, Sam realizes he has landed in the middle of a bank robbery, with him as the robber. Or more precisely, one of the robbers, as Sam finds he is standing between two cohorts, a hotheaded young man and a timid teenager – his host's two brothers. What's more, something in the scene seems familiar to Sam, but his Swiss-cheesed mind prevents him from finding out what it is.

Al soon arrives to supply the answers, and Sam is shocked to learn that he has once again leaped home, to his hometown of Elk Ridge, Indiana, into one Willie Walters, Jr., the middle of the three Walters brothers, whose father, a local dairy farmer, has recently died. Left foundering in substantial and increasing debts to the local bank, the brothers and their widowed mother now face threats of foreclosure by the bank's young and cold-hearted manager, who has sealed his ears to their pleas for more time to pay a recent loan. Thus, led by hotheaded older brother and new head of the family Neil, the three brothers have stormed the bank to take by force the money they have no other way of getting.

However, their simple plan is soon complicated by the circumstances, as the frightened tellers they hold at gunpoint cannot give them the amount they demand – that much money is only stored in the bank's vault, and the manager, being the only one who knows the access combination, is out of town and is due back only hours later. While Sam tries to persuade Neil and the younger brother John to escape while they can, an alarm is raised and before long, the police are surrounding the bank. The brothers are forced to hold the three tellers and a couple of elderly clients as hostages.

Al reveals that the brothers are to be shot when they try to escape the bank, and tells Sam that Ziggy's nearly-certain estimate is that his mission is to lead the three in a safe surrender to the police. However, Sam has already become emotionally involved in the brothers' plight, and for good reason: as he tells Al, his own family later had to face the same threats of foreclosure and the same worsening working conditions, owning a dairy farm themselves before Sam's father died of heart attack, a few years later. Sam further reveals that he has always blamed himself for his father's death, having then already been gone to college and failing to be there to support and aid his father and family during such critical times. Like Sam, Willie too is a bright young man who had been sent by the family to college, and was therefore, like Sam, absent when his own father died and the trouble began. This in mind, Sam informs Al that he won't allow the same thing that happened to his own family to happen to Willie and his brothers. Despite Al's repeated objections, Sam decides to investigate the brothers' claim against the bank more thoroughly.

Sam's suspicions are confirmed when, by his request, Al conducts an inspection of the records to find that the Walters family, as well as several other families living in close neighborhood to them, have been deliberately pressured by the bank… and that in the very near future, a shopping center is to be erected exactly on the foreclosed land of these families' farms. Sam now has to negotiate with his hometown's old police chief to achieve a peaceful solution of the hostage situation and prevent the brothers' deaths; to escape the bank himself in order to find proof that the bank's conniving manager is intentionally stealing these people's lands; to deal with an outburst of violence as a frantic young man bursts into the bank to rescue his wife, one of the tellers, and gun down the brothers; and finally, to come to terms with his own burdened conscience for not having been there for his father when he needed him most, by making peace with Willie's family, who carry a grudge for him and silently blame him for the same thing. 


Songs / Music:

1. Christmas Carols (as part of the musical score):

- "Jingle Bells" – the traditional Christmas carol, played on chimes in the

background of the opening scene at the bank.

- "Joy to the World" – a very brief variation on the traditional Christmas carol in

the final scene.

2. Quantum Leap Theme by Mike Post.

3. Musical Score by Velton Ray Bunch.


Project Trivia:

No mention of the real Willie's condition or feelings in the Waiting Room. No mention of any special antics going on at the project in this episode. The IC door is never seen in this episode.


Sam Trivia:

Sam leaps into his hometown in 1971. His dad is still alive.

As added information to Sam's family story and relationships learned in "The Leap Home, Part I", we now learn that Sam has always inwardly blamed himself for his father's death, having at that time been already gone to college and thus not being there to help his father against the foreclosure threats that ended up taking away his livelihood.

Meeting an elderly couple whom he remembers to be the owners of one of the neighboring farms to his family's when he was growing up, Sam inquires after his loved ones. He learns that his older brother Tom, last met in "The Leap Home, Part II: Vietnam" in April 1970, on which occasion Sam changed history by saving his life, has ended his tour of duty and has recently come back home from the war. Sam also hears a story from the elderly woman about how his father once helped her when she was ill and her husband was away, driving her to the doctor and waiting there to take her back home.


Al Trivia:

No particular info about Al in this episode, or about any of his current preoccupations outside of the IC. At one point, he calls Gus Vernon a "nozzle" – his often-used term for uncaring, inconsiderate people of evil intent.


Miscellaneous Trivia:

For this episode's final scene, Scott has once again reprised his bonus role as John Beckett, Sam's dad, last met in "The Leap Home, Part I". Once again, doubles are used to stand in for both Sam and John for shots from different angles. The character of Sam's father was also briefly seen in the Pilot, played by another actor.

The girl who asks Sam if he remembers her sister is apparently Cindy Wilkens, the bank teller whose impulsive husband burst into the bank to rescue her when Sam was gone. When Sam returns, she sits crying in the corner with him lying in her lap, after he was shot by Neil.

Sam Leaps into Willie Walters, Jr., the middle of the three Walters brothers. The brothers' father, dairy farmer Bill Walters Sr., died in 1970, and left behind his three sons and their mother, Mary. Willie's older brother Neil was a "loose cannon" in his school years. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1969, but took a compassionate discharge a short time later, following Bill's death, to go back home and take charge of the family and the farm. Willie's younger brother is John, who is still in high school. He's a good kid and stays out of trouble. Willie himself is a bright, talented boy who "knows everything about everything". The family sent him to Indiana State University, from which he recently graduated as honor student. He has only recently come home, but was too late: his father died the previous year and the family farm is threatened with foreclosure, the family being a couple of months late to pay the local bank a loan of 37,893.19$.

Gus Vernon, the nozzle bank manager, was a couple of years ahead of Sam's brother Tom in high school. He ran for class president, but was disqualified for stuffing the ballot box.

The Pierces, Stanley and Lila, are an elderly couple living in close neighborhood to the Becketts. They have been married for 55 years now, and have lived in Elk Ridge since the year after they got married.

The bank tellers are Beth, Carrie and Cindy. They work for 2$ an hour, no benefits. Beth used to work at the Dairy Queen, and is in an advanced phase of pregnancy. Her father lost his own farm to the bank some time ago, so she thinks the brothers' cause is justified. She doesn't voice her objection to Gus's business tactics as she needs her job, but she won't agree to protect him if it came to that. Carrie is young and sassy. Rumor has it (if you believe Beth) that she has slept with her boss Gus to maintain her current job (however, notice her physical response to his being near her at the end). She and Beth often quarrel. Cindy, the third teller, has a younger sister of Willie Walters's age. This sister wore braces in high school and a still wears a patch over her right eye. Cindy herself is married to Carl, an impulsive young man who obviously cares for her very much.


Al's Outfits:

Al only wore one outfit during this leap: a bright yellow jacket with a burnished gold flower pin on the lapel, dark yellow shirt with large white imprints all over it, a leopard-spots necktie, bright yellow pants and gold shoes.



Writer – Gillian Horvath

Writer – Tommy Thompson



Director – Scott Bakula

First Assistant Director – R. John Slosser

Second Assistant Director – Brian Faul



Co-Executive Producer – Deborah Pratt

Co-Executive Producer – Chas. Floyd Johnson

Supervising Producer – Tommy Thompson

Supervising Producer – Richard C. Okie

Supervising Producer – Harker Wade

Associate Producer – Scott Ejercito

Associate Producer – Julie Bellisario

Producer – Robin Jill Bernheim

Coordinating Producer – David Bellisario


Broadcast Date:

December 15th, 1992.


Regular Cast:

Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett

Dean Stockwell as Al Calavicci


Guest Stars:

Dwier Brown as Neil Walters

Chris Stacy as John Walters

Jonathan Hogan as Gus Vernon

Arlen Dean Snyder as Sheriff Clyde Mundy

Lorinne Dills-Vozoff as Mary Walters

Elizabeth Dennehy as Beth Ryan

Elizabeth Rainey as Cindy Wilkens

James C. Victor as Carl Wilkens

Kellie Overbey as Carrie Young

Charles Dugan as Stanley Pierce

Marion Dugan as Lila Pierce

Jim Townsend as Deputy Martin

Scott Bakula as John Beckett

Daniel Engstrom as Willie Walters, Jr. / Mirror

Gregory Paul Jackson as Sam photo double

Kurt Andon as John Beckett photo double

Uncredited: Boy cook in diner, waitress in diner, people in diner, state police cops, and the man talking to John Beckett when Sam spots him in the street.


Guest Cast Notes:

Dwier Brown (Neil) also appeared in such movies as "House" and "House 2", "Field of Dreams", "Gettysburg", "The Cutting Edge" and more recently "Falling Like This", "The Zeros" and "Red Dragon". Also in his credentials are appearances on such TV-movies as "Copacabana", "Revenge on the Highway", "Deconstructing Sarah" and more recently "Intimate Betrayal" and "Rip Girls". His TV show credentials include guest roles on "ER", "Touched by an Angel" and "Ally McBeal".

Chris Stacy (John Walters) appeared among others in the movies "Mr. Destiny", "The Prince of Tides", "Matinee" and "Every Dog Has Its Day", as well as in the TV show "Flesh 'n' Blood", and in TV guest roles in the shows "Home Improvement" and The John Larroquette Show.

Jonathan Hogan (Gus Vernon) appeared in such movies as "Tattoo", "In Country" and more recently "Getting to Know You", "Hit and Runaway" and "Revolution #9". On TV, he has appeared in a recurring role in the show "One Life to Live", as well as in different guest roles in the several "Law and Order" shows.

Arlen Dean Snyder (Sheriff Mundy) appeared, among others, in the movies "Deadly Force", "Bird", "Internal Affairs" and "Running Cool", as well as in the TV-movies "Attica", "Night Partners" and "Wheels of Terror". He also appeared on the TV show "One Life to Live", and in guest roles in the TV shows "Designing Women", "Murder, She Wrote" and "MacGyver".

Elizabeth Rainey (Cindy Wilkens) also appeared in the movies "Book of Love" and "Follow the Bitch", as well as a guest role in the TV show "Picket Fences".

Lorinne Dills-Vozoff (Mary Walters) appeared, among others, in the movies "Impulse", "Double Revenge" and "Shining Through", as well as, among her TV-movie credentials, in "Acceptable Risks" and "Killer Instinct". On TV she has appeared in the show "Rituals", and in guest roles on "L.A. Law", "Melrose Place" and "Party of Five".

Charles and Marion Dugan (Stanley and Lila Pierce, respectively) appeared together in the movies "Jack the Bear" and "Brain Donors", as well as in guest roles on the TV show "L.A. Law". Charles also appeared in the movies "When Harry Met Sally" and "Beverly Hills Ninja", as well as in guest roles on the TV shows "Wings" and "ER", while Marion appeared in the movies "The Cable Guy" and "Matilda", and also in guest roles in such TV shows as "Frasier" and "Shasta McNasty".

Daniel Engstrom (Willie Walters / Mirror) also played in the movie "Fraternity Demon", besides his role as Sam's mirror image of Willie in this episode.


Guests Who Appeared in Other QL Episodes:

Naturally, other than his starring role as Sam, Scott appears here in a bonus role as Sam's dad, for the second time. The first was in the third-season opener, "The Leap Home, Part I".

Kurt Andon (photo double for Sam's dad in the final scene) also played one of the townspeople of Peoria in the second-season episode "Good Morning, Peoria".


Personal Review:

A nice and somewhat unique episode, in which Sam leaps back to his hometown once more and has to right a terrible injustice, knowingly and uncaringly inflicted upon several families of the town. The episode explores Sam's secret, longtime torment for not being there when his father needed him most, by making an analogy between Sam and his leapee Willie's similar lives. Sam clearly vents his long-repressed anger at not being there for his father on Neil, Willie's older brother ("…it wasn't my face he saw, it was yours"). Through the analogy, this frustration can be seen to be actually directed at Neil's equivalent in Sam's life – his own older brother, Tom. It is no coincidence that in this very leap Sam happens to learn that Tom has recently come home – *he* is now there for their father, when bad times are coming, while young Sam is gone off to college. The scene of Sam and Neil's confrontation brought below leads to a violent culmination as Neil gives outward voice to the reproaches of Sam's own troubled conscience, which causes Sam to strike him down in rage – quite an uncharacteristic act for Sam. Finally, however, Sam makes his peace with Neil (and thereby with Tom, or with his mother and sister) by choosing to turn to his and Willie's (or, again, Sam's and Tom's) love for their late fathers. Perhaps this eventual reconciliation with his longtime torment is the reason for Sam then immediately running into his father for what is probably their last meeting. Having freed himself of his anguish and self-blaming, he can now properly bid his father farewell (even though his assumed identity as Willie and Al's remonstrations somewhat restrain him).


Best Line:

Sam: Don't you see? In the end… it wasn't my face he saw, it was yours. And no matter what happens to me, no matter what I do for the rest of my life… I could never change that. That moment belongs to you.


Best Scene:

(The brothers have now held the bank for several hours, and the police haven't made any contact for some time.)

John (worried): You don't think they'll try anything funny, do you?

Neil (suddenly aggressive, loads his rifle): Yeah, I say we fire up a couple rounds, let them know we're still in here!

Sam: Give me this. (he wrests the rifle from Neil's hands)

Neil: Hey, give it back!

Sam: I'll give it to you later.

Neil (grabbing Sam): Hey, in case you haven't guessed, I'm still the oldest in this family!

Sam (angrily): Then why don't you start acting like it? (He shoves Neil away from him, then turns his back to walk away. Neil charges him from behind and shoves him forward)

Neil: You're so full of yourself, aren't you?! Big college boy comin' home to fix everything!!

John (pleading): Neil, don't!

Neil (yelling in rage): Why not?! Everyone knows Willie's the smart one!! (To Sam) What's it feel like to know everything about everything?!

Sam (more quiet, tries to end the quarrel): This isn't the time and the place, alright?

Neil: Why, you going somewhere?! (He shoves John, who's trying to break them up, backward)

Sam (angrily): Yeah, I am. I'm gonna go down there and let you cool off!!

(He turns and walks away. Neil makes a grab for him but misses)

John: Neil, come on.

Neil (yelling after Sam): Oh, that's it, run away!!

(Sam stops dead in his tracks)

Neil (deadly quiet): You're good at that, aren't you? I can't help but wonder if Pop might not still be alive if you hadn't took off the way you did!

Sam (upset by the words): That's enough!

Neil: That man lived for you!! John and I were his sons, but you were his life. And when he needed you most, you weren't even there.

Sam (agonized whisper): I didn't know.

Neil: Didn't know, or didn't care?

(Sam suddenly spins around and punches Neil in the face. Neil stumbles backwards onto John and they both fall to the floor)

Sam (shaking in anger): Don't ever say that again!

(Neil stares at him, stunned. Sam puts the rifle on the counter and storms off. Neil and John, still on the floor, stare after him)


Worst Thing about the Episode:

No serious disappointments in this episode. However, there is the minor credibility issue with having Scott play Sam's dad again, which in my opinion shouldn't have been done in "The Leap Home, Part I" in the first place, having added an unprofessional touch to an otherwise superb episode. Okay, so kudos for the truly magnificent makeup job, but the character never seems to become believably distinguished behind Scott's strained impression, when it could have been endowed a more independent presence by having another actor play it, rather than the one with whose voice and mannerisms we have become so acquainted. Back in "The Leap Home, Part I", they've been able to hire the same kid who had appeared for a single moment as young Sam in the Pilot, to play Sam's mirror image. Why then couldn't some actor have been found for the role of Sam's father, both in "The Leap Home" and here?


Say What? (Things that Make No Sense):

Does Sam have actual memories of his pre-leap life in the timeline on which he saved Tom's life? His anger at Neil can be seen to imply that he does. Of course, his frustration may not be directed strictly at the older-brother figure, but could be directed at Thelma or Katie as well, who were the last to be at John's side in the timeline where Tom was killed.

When Cindy Wilkens gives Sam a description of her sister, hoping "Willie" would remember her from history class, Sam's reply paints a somewhat cruel picture… the sister had a patch over her right eye, and Sam, even though he must not have actually known the girl as he wasn't really in history class with her, suddenly remembers that she was given the role of Captain Hook in the school's production of Peter Pan. I dunno, maybe the girl herself asked for the role, or maybe she was okay with laughing about her condition (whatever it was, it had to be serious – Cindy reports that her sister still wears the patch), but isn't it still a bit rude of her friends and teachers to give her that specific role only because she's unfortunate enough to be suffering from a condition that requires wearing a patch? Anyhow, to Sam's credit, he does look a bit ashamed at having brought up the subject of her role in the play.


Quotable Quotes:

(Al arrives and wants to have a talk with Sam)

Al: Uh, Sam, I think we need to take a trip to the little bank robbers' room.

Al: I know that you're sympathetic with the situation here because it's your hometown and all of that, but Ziggy says there's a 73.9% chance that if you surrender you'll leap.

Sam (stunned by the idea): Leap? Why would I want to leap, I’m home!

Al: But you're here to save the brothers, right?... so? You gotta turn yourself in! Right??... So?! Let's go!!... Right?! 

(Sam tries to comfort Beth, the pregnant teller, but ends up in the middle of a quarrel)

Sam: I'm really… sorry that you got mixed up in all of this.

Beth: That's alright. My daddy lost *his* place a while back. The way I see it, Gus Vernon has it coming.

Carrie (sharply): Beth!!

Beth: Well, he does! I don't know why you're always protecting that man.

Carrie: Because he's our boss, that's why, and we wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for him.

Beth (sighs): Some job. Two dollars an hour, no benefits (to Carrie) and you. I should've never quit the Dairy Queen.

Carrie (acidly): If you ask me, that's where you belong.

Beth (sweetly): Well, at least I don't have to sleep with the boss to keep my job.

Carrie (now enraged): You little bitch!!

Beth (still sweetly): Takes one to know one!

(They approach each other with violent intent. Sam quickly interposes between them)

Sam: Alright, ladies… please. (Sizing each other up, they return to their places) 

(Sam is running along the country road leading to Vernon's house. Al is waiting for him at the crossroads, calling him to hurry up. Sam finally comes to a stop next to Al)

Sam (breathless, wheezing painfully): I'm out of shape, Al…

Al: Yeah well, next leap maybe you'll leap into Carl Lewis or something, but right now, you gotta suck it up. 

(Sam has been surprised by Gus Vernon, who holds him at gunpoint)

Sam: Why'd you do it? How could you steal all those people's land?

Gus: What you call stealing, I call business.

Sam: Guess it makes it a little easier to sleep at night.

Gus (aggressively businesslike): I saw an opportunity, so I took it.

Al: What a nozzle! I'd like to grab his Adam's apple and pull it out through his nostrils.

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