The Twilight Zone: Season 1 Episode 16 The Hitch-Hiker

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

A woman driving from New York to Los Angeles keeps seeing the same hitch-hiker no matter how far she travels.

Series Index

The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)


Narrator - Rod Serling

Nan Adams - Inger Stevens

Sailor - Adam Williams

Mechanic - Lew Gallo

The Hitch-Hiker - Leonard Strong

Counterman - Russ Bender

Gas Station Man - George Mitchell

Flagman - Dwight Townsend

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Nan Adams watches as a Mechanic puts her spare tire on her vehicle. He asks how fast she was going when her tire blew and when she tells him, he is surprised she didn't crash and die. As she drives away, she sees The Hitch-Hiker staring at her and asking for a ride. Nan gets a new tire at the Mechanic's shop and after she pays she sees The Hitch-Hiker staring at her from across the street. She tells the Mechanic about The Hitch-Hiker, but when he looks, The Hitch-Hiker is gone. As Nan is driving she passes The Hitch-Hiker again and again. She stops at a diner in Virginia and asks Counterman if he gets many hitch-hikers. The Counterman tells her that it wouldn't make sense to hitch-hike in the area as there would be no where for them to get picked up at and it is a long lonely drive. While driving, a Flagman walks up to Nan's car and tells her that she will have to wait as there is construction ahead. As she is waiting The Hitch-Hiker walks up to her car and asks for a ride and Nan drives away. She ignores the railroad crossing warning and drives onto the tracks when she sees The Hitch-Hiker and her car stalls on the tracks. She barely gets it going again before the train hits her.

She starts to think that The Hitch-Hiker wants her to die. As she drives she continues to see The Hitch-Hiker over and over. As she is driving through New Mexico, she takes a side road and her car runs out of gas. She walks to a service station, but finds it closed. She starts yelling for help and the Gas Station Man opens his house window and tells her to come back in the morning. She tells him about The Hitch-Hiker, but he ignores her pleas and closes the window. A Sailor walks up behind her and touches her shoulder and asks her what she is doing out so late. She tells him that she ran out of gas and she offers to drive him to San Diego and the Sailor gets gas from the Gas Station Man. While they are driving, Nan sees The Hitch-Hiker and swerves to avoid hitting him. The Sailor tells her that he didn't see anyone and after Nan swerves the car wildly to try and hit The Hitch-Hiker, the Sailor forces her to stop the car. She tells the Sailor that she was trying to hit The Hitch-Hiker and the Sailor gets out of the car and runs away. Nan stops in Tucson and makes a call home, but is told by Mrs. Whitney that her mother is in the hospital from a nervous breakdown after she heard Nan died in an automobile accident. Nan walks out of the phone booth and no longer has any fear. She gets back into her car and The Hitch-Hiker is in the backseat and asks her if she is going his way.