Route 66/A Lance of Straw

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A Lance of Straw
Season 1, Episode 2
Airdate October 14, 1960
Written by Stirling Silliphant
Directed by Roger Kay
← 1x01
Black November
1x03 →
The Swan Bed
Route 66Season One

Guest Stars: Janice Rule (Charlotte Duval), Thomas Gomez (Andre Cabateau), Nico Minardos (Jean Boussard)


Plot Overview

Tod and Buz continue their journey south to seek their fortune as shrimp fishermen on the Biloxi Queen. They eventually catch up with the ship, which has moved on from Biloxi to the fishing village of Grande Isle, Louisiana. Upon arriving at the dock where the Biloxi Queen is moored, Tod discovers that his old friend Mark Chalmers is no longer the owner of the boat. In his place is the new captain, Charlotte Duval, a woman with a fiery temperment and a fierce sense of independence. Nonetheless, Tod and Buz decide to continue with their intent to join the shrimp fishing crew, despite rumors of a poor fishing season from the locals. Also throwing complications over the proposed fishing trip is the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Audrey to the region.

Tod and Buz wonder why they are the only men who seem willing to join up with Charlotte. They soon learn the reason from grizzled old local Andre Cabateau. Jean Boussard, Charlotte’s boyfriend (and captain of another trawler, the Conquistador) is intensely jealous of Charlotte, and has shown a tendency to beat up and throw in the water any man who tries to get close to her. Charlotte, in return, steadfastly puts off his proposals of marriage.

When Jean learns of Tod and Buz joining with Charlotte, he attempts to warn them off, saying that he will do to them what he has done to her other “suitors”. An unfazed Buz refuses to back down from him and promptly knocks the previously unbeatable Jean cold with one punch.

Taking the advice of Andre, Charlotte decides on a hurried departure because of the oncoming hurricane, which will give them a full day of good fishing. Charlotte, relying on an almost sixth sense to locate the shrimp, credits the influence of her father (who lost his life in a previous expedition) – both in life and beyond the grave – for her fishing ability.

Buz notes that Charlotte keeps a well-stocked library of feminist-themed books on board. She explains to him that she refuses to take a passive role in life after seeing firsthand what happens to women in a fishing community.

The next morning, Charlotte proves her ability as the two make a tremendous shrimp haul, just beating the striking hurricane. Meanwhile, The Biloxi Queen is able to weather the storm, but The Conquistador, Jean’s boat, founders. In the teeth of the hurricane, Charlotte comes to Jean’s rescue.

When the Biloxi Queen finally comes back into port, Jean and Charlotte reconcile, each admitting their own stubbornness. Charlotte, with nothing left to prove, agrees at last to finally wed him.

Tod and Buz leave Grande Isle much wealthier than they came in. As they drive away in search of their next adventure, they take one last look at the Biloxi Queen sailing in the harbor. Spread in the waters around the boat are the pages of Charlotte’s now discarded feminist books.


The title of the episode is taken from a line in Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew".

"A Lance of Straw" is apparently intended to be a direct sequel to the pilot episode "Black November", as the boys had stated in that segment that they were heading to Biloxi to work as shrimp fishermen. However, the dialogue of that epsiode (in addition to the title) strongly suggests that it was set during the month of November. Yet, in "A Lance of Straw", it is just the beginning of hurricane season.

Another serious chronological problem has to do with the hurricane itself, whose name is given in the epsiode as Audrey. The real life Hurricane Audrey happened in 1957, but "Lance" aired in 1960.