Highway Patrol (1955–1959)
4 user
Dan Mathews is determined to find out why the residents of a small town are behaving suspiciously and anxious to see him leave.


Eddie Davis


Stuart Jerome (screenplay)




Episode complete credited cast:
Broderick Crawford ... Dan Mathews
Clark Howat ... Hank - Officer 1730
Kay Faylen Kay Faylen ... Jenny Crane
Don C. Harvey ... Rollie Sanders
Francis McDonald ... Charlie Barrett (as Francis J. McDonald)
Bert Holland ... Eddie - Gravedigger
Everett Glass ... Doc Taylor
Pual Hahn Pual Hahn ... Frank Wilkins


Dan Mathews stops for breakfast in the small, isolated town of Larchmont. He finds that the residents are unwilling to do any business with him (or even talk to him) and that they are obviously anxious to see him leave. Even the county medical officer is behaving secretively and gives evasive answers to Dan's routine questions. Dan decides to investigate further when an inquiry to headquarters reveals that local farmer Charlie Barrett was attempting to drive away in a stolen convertible. Written by Sam Spear

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Crime | Drama


Did You Know?


Matthews comments the plate on the convertible is from out of state, and when he calls it in he says it is an Arizona plate, indicating he is not with the Arizona Highway Patrol. Over the course of the series, the state where this was set was never named, however it is known it bordered Mexico due to instances where Matthews met with Mexican authorities or the border was shown. Most attribute it to California since that is where it was filmed, however in several instances various border states, including California, can be eliminated due to dialog. In this instance, the border state eliminated is Arizona. See more »


When Matthews calls in the tag number of a car, he's speaking into the wrong side of the microphone. You can see the hanger attachment. When he next uses the mic, he's speaking into the other side with the grille facing his mouth. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Much of a law enforcement officer's work is routine. On August 18th, the head of the Highway Patrol was making an ordinary inspection tour of outlying patrol stations. But the atmosphere in the isolated community of Larchmont was anything but ordinary.
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User Reviews

Desert Mystery
31 March 2012 | by telegonusSee all my reviews

Not quite highway noir, Desert Town is a tense, compact, very human focused entry of the Highway Patrol series. It feels at times like a small screen version of the feature film Bad Day At Black Rock, only it's shorter and doesn't have the time for much character development, so relies mostly on its plot, which is an intriguing one.

Chief Dan Mathews arrives in a desert town looking for breakfast in a small diner. The behavior of the woman who works at he counter and of the various other people he meets suggests that something is being concealed. The town-folk would rather Mr. Mathews mind his own business: not stick around, not ask questions, not look at license plates.

But Mathews is a law enforcement officer, and when he sees something that looks or feels not quite normal, not right, he becomes suspicious. This is his job. The only reason he drove into the town in the first place was to find a place that served breakfast; and before long, as the saying goes, one thing leads to another. While I wouldn't go so far as to say all hell breaks, as a result of Matthews' investigation of the town things will never be quite the same again.

A strong, slightly offbeat episode, it ramps up the tension nicely, and in the end it plays fair with the viewer. Written, acted and directed with admirable professionalism, Desert Town is about as good a TV half-hour of its era could be short of brilliance and inspiration. Just because it's of high journeyman quality doesn't make it a less than first rate effort for what it is.

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Release Date:

14 November 1955 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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