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Tony Lord
Meredith Lord
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Roger Gordon
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Clint Buchanan
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OLTL's Viki

The Old West

Tuscon Arizona, 1988

In a major storyline that spanned several months, Clint Buchanan traveled through time, landing in the Old West, circa 1888, and encountered Viki's great-grandmother, Ginny Fletcher. The soap spared no expense to present a story featuring authentic period clothing, stagecoaches, and gunfights. The scenes were shot on location in Old Tucson, an Arizona movie set that served as the site for several John Wayne westerns in the 1940's. Climactic desert scenes were also taped at Gates Pass, a protected natural environment in Tucson Mountain Park.

“I loved the Old West Story. I loved going out to Old Tucson, which is where we shot this. I've always wanted to ride around in a covered wagon – a stagecoach, I mean – and I got to. It was bumpy and very uncomfortable. But it was fun.”

Soap Opera Weekly's 100 Most Memorable Moments, September 30, 1997
#37-Clint goes Back in Time

One Life to Live and the Buchanan Family, gained a magnificent resonance, along with an enriching sense of backstory – way-back story – when Clint passes through a time warp and found himself in Buchanan City in the Old West of 1888. Many parallels were drawn between the characters of the 20th century and their 19th century counterparts. The story reached unique height of poignancy and appeal when Clint encountered the gentle, wise and loving Miss Ginny, a schoolmarm with a thwarted thirst for love, life and experience, who just happened to be the great-grandmother of his modern-day wife, Viki. Both characters were played, of course, by Erika Slezak, and in the opinion of many, it was one of her finest moments of characterization. “I had a special fondness for Miss Ginny,” Slezak said shortly after, “which was shared by the crew. They loved her, too.” Great pains were taken to give the Old West episodes a sense of reality, and atmosphere that set them apart from the present. “The costumes were built in authentic 19th –century style. I even wore old-fashioned foundation garments, which enhanced my feelings for the time and place.”

“The reason we extended the Wild West story was Erika was on vacation, and during this story it occurred to me that we should have Viki's great-grandmother on a stagecoach heading east to start her family; and come across Clint. Unfortunately, I had to wait several weeks for Erika to get back from vacation, and in doing so I think I stretched it too long, because it went from February till May. However, I think the story was a landmark for daytime. We shot it out in Arizona, and it was just fabulous.” Paul Rauch (former Executive Producer)

The Old West1888

Written by: Nanci L.

In February of 1988, Clint Buchanan suffering from blindness due to being shot, returned home to his ranch in Arizona. In an effort to prove to himself and everyone else that he could overcome his handicap, he entered a difficult 100 mile horse race through the deserts of Arizona. Unbeknownst to him his vengeful ranch hand George who was really the brother of his ex lover Maria, had put a drug into his horse's feed that would make the horse violent. His intent was for the horse to throw Clint and kill him. Clint was indeed thrown from his horse, and when he hit the ground, he also hit his head on a rock which knocked Clint out.

When Clint regained consciousness, he quickly realized that he was no longer blind, but could in fact see just fine. He looked for his horse, but could not find him. Being a little unsure which direction that he should take to get back to his ranch he just began walking. To Clint's amazement he walked into a dusty old time town, Buchanan City, that looked just like the Old West. In the middle of the street was two of the town's local citizens about to shoot it out in a showdown. One of the men looked strangely very similar to his own father Asa. Clint quickly realized that he somehow has stepped back in time to the year 1888 and was standing looking at his own wild west ancestors.

Buck Buchanan was the man who looked like Clint's father, and Buck's right-hand man, Cody Vasquez also had a striking resemblance to his own son Cord. Clint settled into his new life in the old west quite well, and began making new friends and acquaintances. He met Blaize the beautiful fiery redhead, and the straight-laced Miss Virginia Fletcher the local schoolmarm, who just happened to look exactly like his beloved beautiful wife Viki. Miss Ginny as her friends called her was Viki's great-great grandmother.

Clint enjoying his visit to Buchanan City, was also troubled as to why he was there in the first place. He met an old Indian by the name of Clear Eyes who explained to Clint that he was called there to help bring about peace between Farmer McGillis's clan and Buck Buchanan's family who had been feuding for years.

After a time Clint did indeed mend the fences between the warring families and he took great pride and deep satisfaction as he watched the two families enjoying their newfound friendship. During this same time, Clint had also started having feelings for Miss Ginny, and she also for him.

Clint Buchanan finds himself falling in love with Ginny.

Clint wanting to be honest with Ginny had told her about Viki and how much she reminded him of her. Clint fought his attraction to Ginny, but after a time, Clint felt that there was no hope for him ever getting back to his own time, asked Miss Ginny to become his wife. Ginny also sure that her relationship with Randolph Lord was over, and surprised that such a good man as Clint Buchanan would want to marry a prudish schoolmarm accepted his offer of marriage.

“That was one of my favorite stories,” smiles Slezak. “Ginny was a wonderful character to play because I could create her from scratch. She had a beginning, a middle and an end.”

“My favorite story. I loved it. I have this personal affinity for the desert. I am fascinated by the desert. I love it. I had never been to the desert until I went out there to shoot. And I was only there 18 hours. I arrived at 11 o'clock at night because we had terrible flight connections, and when I got up at four o'clock, in the morning and went to hair and makeup, I had essentially never laid eyes on it. I hadn't seen daylight. And at five o'clock in the morning we left to drive to Old Tucson, and I sat with my mouth open in the van. I was stunned by the beauty of that country. And the whole Old West story is totally wrapped in that kind, of feeling for me. I loved Miss Ginny -she was, my favorite character of all time. I truly loved her.”

Viki in the meantime was terribly worried about Clint. No one had heard from him and he had been gone for many days. A search of the desert around his Arizona ranch produced his horse, his blind glasses, and his cane all left deserted in the middle of the desert. Fearing for Clint's life Viki sent for Clint's brother Bo for emotional support.

Just when it looked like all was lost, Blaize Buchanan was hurled forward in time, and she sought out Viki to tell her that Clint had survived a time warp to the past, but that he needed Viki's help. Going against the advice of her family Viki had to find Clint and with Blaize's help went in search of him. Viki and Blaize with the help of Clear Eyes the old Indian, both found the wrinkle in time that allowed them to go back to 1888 and Buchanan City.

Viki walks into the saloon just as Clint and Ginny were about to exchange marriage vows. Clint turned and locked eyes with Viki and left his bride to be to be with his true wife Viki. Miss Ginny fainted at the sight of her "twin" looking great-great granddaughter. The happy reunion was clouded by the fact that Ginny was very hurt at the loss of her almost husband, Clint. Clint feeling very bad for her, tried to talk to Ginny and explain. Ginny feeling very ashamed allowed him to try, but it did not mend her broken heart.

Viki having a hard time believing it all, began talking to Ginny and the two became friendly. Viki help Clint realize that if they did not get Ginny and her former beau Randolph Lord back together that she, Viki would never be born. So the two set out on a successful mission of reuniting them.

Having set Randolph and Ginny back on the road to romance, and Buck Buchanan wanting to kill Clint for his part in hurting Ginny, Clint and Viki decided to set out into the desert to find the time warp. They found a cave guarded by Clear Eyes, and with his help and guidance, they were able once again step through the hole in time, back to their own time of 1988.

After Viki and Clint's unconscious bodies were found in the desert they were taken to the nearest hospital. Clint's restored eyesight continued much to his relief. Happy to be home again, Viki and Clint were at a loss to explain to friends and family what exactly had happened to them. Viki herself was not sure what to make of their old west adventure, and wondered if it hadn't all been just a fantastic dream.


From Soap Opera Digest
July 6, 1993

Erika Slezak: "I loved The Old West. I was allowed to have a character from scratch, Miss Ginny. And nobody played her but me. [Editor's note: Viki Buchanan was first played by Gillian Spencer. In a period of six months, I started her as a naive child who grew up. And we took this character and we made her complete. I loved her for that. It was the first time I had a real input into how she would be."

After I saw the first couple of scenes, I knew immediately what I wanted to do. [They] let me do pretty much anything, like the whole thing with no contractions. Miss Ginny never used contractions. This is a woman who will say every word that's written until the very end, when I snuck in one or two. Only the little boy who played Buddy called her Miss Ginny because she was a schoolteacher. Then everybody else started calling her Miss Ginny. Not just on the set. Actors would say, 'You playing Miss Ginny today?' I loved her. I know a lot of people hated that story but I loved it."

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