5x10 "Promised Land"

Leap Date:

December 22, 1971

Episode Adopted by: Brinsley
Additional info provided by: Brian Greene


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

TV Guide Synopsis
Leap Date

Name of the Person Leaped Into
Broadcast Date
Synopsis & Review

Project Trivia
Sam Trivia
Al Trivia

Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode

Miscellaneous Trivia
Guest Stars
Guest Cast Notes
Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap episodes
Say What?
Quotable Quotes
Best Scenes
Production Credits


Production # : 68110

TV Guide Synopsis:
Sam returns to his home town in the form of a young farmer who's joined his brothers in a bank holdup to recoup what been bilked from them. Neil: Dwier Brown. Sheriff Mundy: Arlen Dean Snyder. John: Chris Stacy. Al: Dean Stockwell.

Elk Ridge, Indiana

Leap Date:
December 22, 1971

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

Broadcast Date:
December 15, 1992 - Tuesday

Synopsis & Review:

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. 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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

The girl who asks Sam if he remembers her sister is 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'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.

Sam gets one last chance to hug his father who happens to be in town before he leaps!

Personal Review by Brinsley:

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).


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.


Project Trivia:
The Imaging Chamber door is never seen in this episode.


Sam Trivia:
Sam leaps into his hometown in 1971. His dad is still alive at this time.

Tom did survive the rest of the Vietnam War.

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.

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.

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.

Al's Outfits:
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.


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.

This was Gillian Horvath’s first script sale.

The Pierces are played by a real-life married couple who played another couple in the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally. See a video clip featuring them in the movie in the Guest Cast Notes section below.

Harker Falls is named for series producer Harker Wade.


Regular Cast:
Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett
Dean Stockwell as Al Calavicci


Guest Stars:

Dwier Brown as Neil Walters
Arlen Dean Snyder as Sheriff Clyde Mundy
Chris Stacy as John Walters
Jonathan Hogan as Gus Vernon
Elizabeth Dennehy as Beth Ryan
Kellie Overbey as Carrie Young
Lorinne Dills-Vozoff as Mary Walters
Elizabeth Rainey as Cindy Wilkens
James C. Victor as Carl Wilkens
Charles Dugan as Stanley Pierce
Marion Dugan as Lila Pierce
Jim Townsend as Deputy Martin
Daniel Engstrom as Willie Walters, Jr. (Mirror Image)
Scott Bakula as John Beckett
Kurt Andon as John Beckett photo double
Gregory Paul Jackson as Sam 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".

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".

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".

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:
Scott Bakula appears here in a dual role as Sam's father, 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 "Man in Suit" in the second-season episode "Good Morning, Peoria".



Say What?
When Sam is talking to his Dad, Sam's body double has very different features, especially his hair.

The same police car is seen in several shots in the episode. It's emergency bar on top of the car is a more modern one than would have existed in this time period.


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.

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)


Production Credits:

Theme by: Mike Post
Musical Score By: Velton Ray Bunch
Co-Executive Producer: Deborah Pratt
Co-Executive Producer: Chas. Floyd Johnson
Supervising Producers: 
Tommy Thompson, Richard C. Okie
Supervising Producer: Harker Wade
Producer: Robin Jill Bernheim
Created by: Donald P. Bellisario
Written by: Gillian Horvath and Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Scott Bakula

Executive Producer: Donald P. Bellisario
Associate Producers: 
Julie Bellisario, Scott Ejercito
Coordinating Producer: David Bellisario
Director of Photography: Robert McBride
Production Designer: Cameron Birnie
Edited by: Michael S. Stern
Unit Production Manager: Ron Grow
First Assistant Director: 
R. John Slosser
Second Assistant Director: Brian Faul
Casting by: Ellen Lubin Sanitsky, C.S.A.
Set Director: Robert L. Zilliox
Costume Designer: Jacqueline Saint Anne

Costume Supervisors: David Rawley, Katina Kerr
Art Director: Ellen Dambros-Williams
Sound Mixer: Barry D. Thomas
Stunt Coordinator: Diamond Farnsworth
Make-up: Jeremy Swan
Hairstylist: Andrea Mizushima
Sound Editor: Greg Schorer
Music Editor: Bruce Frazier
Special Visual Effects: Roger Dorney, Denny Kelly

Panaflex   Camera and Lenses by: Panavision

This motion picture is protected under laws of the United States and other countries. Unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.

Copyright 1992 by Universal City Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Some of the characters portrayed in this motion picture are based upon actual persons. Although some of those events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes, otherwise the characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Bellisarius Productions and Universal Television, an MCA Company

Ron Grow was the Unit Production Manager from season two through five. He begins speaking at the 14m14s mark on the video from The Leap Back 2009 convention:


Primp your bandannas, because we’re heading for the Promised Land!

Join hosts Allison Pregler, Matt Dale and Christopher DeFilippis to chat about Quantum Leap’s other Christmas episode, in which Sam finds himself in the middle of a bank heist back in his home town of Elk Ridge, Indiana.

Listen to The Quantum Leap Podcast on this episode here:

It’s a heartwarming holiday tale of multiple felonies, farm swindling, questionable sheriffing, and SCOTT IN THAT MAKEUP!

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