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A 1950s Western Totally Predicted The Rise Of Donald Trump & It’s Scarily Accurate

These are crazy times we are living in. Before the 2016 election, most people probably did not expect that the host of The Apprentice would one day be the President of the United States or that any sitting President could so flagrantly break the law to achieve his power—and get away with it, too. But one episode of the 1950’s TV western, Trackdown, seemingly predicted the craziness of our current political reality with uncanny accuracy.

According to IMDB, Trackdown chronicles the adventures a Texas Ranger named Hoby Gilman, played by actor Robert Culp, as he hunts down criminals. The show ran from 1957 to 1959, but the episode in question, aptly titled “The End of the World,” was released in 1958.

As Alex Hirsh wrote in his now-viral tweet about the show, “The End of the World” is “about a conman who grifts a small town of suckers into building a wall.” Even crazier? The conman on the show doesn't just share the current President’s beliefs, they also have the same name: Trump. While such wild coincidences may seem too good to be true, the fact-checking site Snopes verified that the episode was indeed made 61 years ago, well before the current state of American politics.

A widely shared highlight reel of the episode reveals even more detailed parallels between TV Trump and President Trump. Not only does TV Trump encourage the townspeople to build a wall, but he also claims that he is “the only one” who case save them, mirroring then-candidate Trump who claimed in 2016 that only he could solve America’s problems.

In another scene, Ranger Hoby Gilman goes to see if the town sheriff can stop TV Trump from taking over the town. The sheriff demands proof of Trump's wrongdoing, to which Gilman replies, with incredulity, “it’s obvious.”

This exchange echoes the public’s growing frustration over President Trump’s imperviousness to punishment, worsened by the contrast between the ever-mounting evidence of shady dealings in his campaign and the agonizingly slow churn of law and bureaucracy.

The reel ends with Gilman confronting Trump, announcing that he’s under arrest. Though whether that part is just as accurate as the rest of it remains to be seen. 

Sophie is a college student studying English and American Studies. She likes to write as a form of self-expression and procrastination. Her work has appeared in Rookie Magazine, Clover Letter, and Screen Queens. Outside of writing, her interests include reading Gothic literature, playing guitar badly, and enjoying the great outdoors from the even greater indoors.
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