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Walking Dead Wiki
Walking Dead Wiki
This article is about the TV Series episode. You may be looking for the Comic Series volume or the Assault episode.

"Days Gone Bye" is the first episode of the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the first episode of the series overall. It premiered on October 31, 2010. The episode's teleplay was written and directed by Frank Darabont.


Rick searches for his family after emerging from a coma into a world terrorized by the walking dead. Morgan and Duane, whom he meets along the way, help teach Rick the new rules for survival.


On a deserted Georgia highway, Sheriff's Deputy, Rick Grimes drives his police cruiser past overturned and damaged cars scattered blocking the road, making him stop. He gets out and takes a gas can out of the trunk. He walks past the remains of more wrecked and abandoned cars down a hill towards a gas station. Various corpses and garbage are spread across the gas station, where a handmade sign hanging reads "NO GAS".


Rick discovers an undead young girl.

Rick searches around, when suddenly, he hears something and ducks down behind a car. He catches a glimpse of the slippered feet of a little girl on the other side of the car as she picks up a teddy bear on the ground. He stands up and sees a little girl walking away, so he walks closer to her. Rick keeps calling to her until she turns around to face him. Her lips and right cheek have been torn away, exposing raw teeth and muscle.

Rick's face falls as she starts walking towards him, growling. She approaches faster as he steps back, draws his Colt Python and shoots her in the head. As her body falls to the floor, Rick lowers his gun.

About two months prior, Rick and his partner and best friend, Shane Walsh are eating hamburgers and fries inside their police cruiser. They joke about the differences between men and women. When the conversation turns to Rick's wife, Lori, he turns somber. He says that they've been fighting lately, and says that Lori accused him that morning of not caring about his family in front of their son, Carl. Suddenly, the cruiser's radio cracks to life reporting a high-speed pursuit in progress involving two armed suspects.

DGBTV TWD Images 001

Rick and Shane prepare to stop criminals.

Rick and Shane dump their food and rush to the scene. When they arrive, they lay down a spike strip and meet up with their co-workers, Lambert Kendal and Leon Basset. As they all wait for the car, Leon muses about their chances of getting on a police chase reality show. Rick tells him to focus, and worry about having a round in his gun chamber and the safety off.

At that moment, the car approaches, pursued by two more cruisers containing the Linden County Sheriff's Department officers. The car, with the suspects inside, speeds over the spike strip, shredding the tires. The driver loses control of the wheel and the vehicle flips off the road, rolling several times before coming to a rough stop upside down in a field.

Rick carefully approaches the overturned car. A man emerges from the vehicle and immediately starts shooting at the officers. Rick yells at him to drop his pistol, but the man shoots directly at Rick and hits him in the chest. Shane shoots the gunman, killing him as Rick falls to the ground.

A second man emerges from the vehicle brandishing a shotgun, but is also shot to death. Rick is revealed to be okay and injured having been wearing a bulletproof vest. He tells Shane to not tell Lori about what happened.

Wd101 00673

Rick is shot and bleeds out.

Meanwhile, a third gunman unnoticed by everyone crawls out of the car and through the grass. The man fires his gun and hits Rick in the side, where his vest does not protect him. He falls to the ground bleeding as Shane shoots and kills the third man before rushing to Rick's aid. He begs for Rick to stay with him, screaming at Leon to call an ambulance, but Rick remains motionless.

A while later, Shane delivers flowers to Rick in the hospital, but Rick isn't fully conscious while Shane starts talking to him. At an unknown time later, Rick awakens and responds to Shane's presence. He discovers that Shane is no longer there. The flowers have wilted and died, the beeping of the machines have stopped as has the clock; the room is empty. Weak, dehydrated and alone, Rick pulls himself out of bed, and falls onto the floor. He calls out for a nurse to help him, but no one comes.

Rick is able to get himself up, and he stumbles into the bathroom, drinking water directly from the tap, before he heads for the door. He opens the door and notices a gurney is blocking the entrance to his room. He pushes it aside and continues walking in the dark and disheveled hallway.

Days Gone Bye 1

Rick stumbles upon a barricaded door.

The hallway's lights flicker and wires hang from the ceiling. He goes to the nurse's station and tries the phone, but it's dead. He finds a set of matches while also looking for anything else worth taking from behind the desk. Suddenly, a flickering light draws his attention, and through a doorway, Rick sees the ravaged body of a nurse missing most of her skin. A horrified Rick backs away from this. Continuing further down the hallway, he sees that the walls are covered in blood with numerous bullet holes. A double door leading into the cafeteria has been chained shut, a message scrawled across in black paint: "DON'T OPEN/DEAD INSIDE." A pair of grey dishevelled hands reach through the cracks and fiddle with the padlock and chains, moaning and groaning as more fingers start to reach through the cracks growling. Terrified, Rick stumbles backwards.

He tries the elevator but it's dead, so he exits through a heavy door into a dark stairwell that reeks of rotting flesh. He chokes on the smell as he lumbers down the stairs, lighting matches until he finds the exit. A door opens to the back of the hospital into the loading bay. When Rick's eyes adjust to the bright sunlight, he sees hundreds of decayed, fly-covered bodies wrapped in sheets and arranged in rows and piles. He leaves the hospital and stumbles up a hill. There's a military helicopter, sandbags and other signs of a military cordon, but everything has been abandoned.


A mutilated walker tries to grab Rick.

He wanders down the road in his hospital gown, spotting an overturned bicycle in a park. As he reaches for it, the badly decayed body of a mutilated woman, her legs and lips missing, turns and reaches for him, pathetically moaning and growling in. Startled, Rick falls off the bicycle but regains himself a moment later, mounts the bike, and hastily rides away.

Rick bikes over to his home to find the front door open and the house deserted. Sobbing on the floor, he calls out for Lori and Carl, questioning if any of this is real or if he's dreaming. He heads back outside the house and sits on the steps. He spots a man stumbling down the road and waves his hand to try and get his attention. As he is doing this, a young boy creeps up from behind and hits him with a shovel. The boy's father, Morgan Jones, approaches the stumbling man Rick was waving to and shoots him in the head. He then proceeds to walk towards Rick and points a revolver in his face, demanding to know why his side is bandaged, but Rick passes out before he can answer.

Later that night, Rick wakes up with his arms and legs tied to a bed. The young boy, Duane, stands guard with a baseball bat. Morgan arrived and asks if he has been bit. Rick informs him that he has been shot and that is why he is bandaged. Morgan releases him from his bonds, but warns him he will kill him if he tries anything.

Rick recognizes the home that they are in as his neighbors', Fred and Cindy Drake's house. Rick then accuses Morgan of murder for shooting the man that Rick was waving to. But, Morgan implores that the man was a walker. He expresses dismay over firing that gun, as it draws more of them out. He warns Rick not to open the covers he placed on the window, as the walkers outside will see the light and be drawn to the house.


Morgan fills Rick in on what has happened to the world.

While they eat dinner, Morgan realises Rick is unaware as to what has happened, so he informs him as to what happened. During Rick’s time in a coma, the recently deceased suddenly began reanimating, and proceeded to devour innocent people, while turning others into walkers like them through bites. Eventually this resulted in a worldwide societal collapse where the walkers are now dominant. Morgan tells Rick about what happens if a walker bites you, stating that the resulting fever will burn you out, before you then die and reanimate as a walker. Morgan states he saw it happen, but refuses to answer who he saw it happen to.

A car alarm suddenly goes off, and Duane turns off the lights in the house, as Rick and Morgan peer out to the street through heavy covered windows and boarded up doors. The street is filled with walkers, drawn by the noise of the alarm. When a woman wearing a nightgown appears and walks up to the front door of the house, Duane runs away crying. Morgan comforts his son while Rick stares at the woman through the peephole at the front door. The woman looks around and tries to turn the door handle, but eventually gives up and wanders away. Morgan remorsefully tells Rick that the walker was his wife and when she died, he couldn’t bring himself to killing her and so released her to allow her to roam the streets.

Rick and Jones

Morgan teaches Rick how to kill walkers.

The next morning, Rick walks outside in a face shield, carrying a baseball bat. Upon finding a nearby walker, Morgan tells Rick the only way to permanently kill one is to destroy its brain. Rick approaches the walker and swings the bat repeatedly at its head until it dies. He quickly becomes fatigued, most likely from his still-healing gunshot wound.

Back at Rick's house, he tells Morgan he thinks his wife and son are still alive. He explains he found empty drawers in the bedrooms and the family pictures and photo albums were gone. Morgan laughs at this, mentioning that his wife was doing the same thing when they evacuated. Duane suggests to Rick that they could be in Atlanta. Morgan explains that the government was telling people to head to a refugee center there with military protection and food, before the broadcasts stopped. He also explains that the C.D.C. is rumored to be working on a cure.

Rick, Morgan and Duane head to the King County Sheriff's Department, where they luxuriate in hot showers thanks to a separate propane heating system. As they dress, Morgan tells Rick that his family were headed to Atlanta but he and Duane never made it because they got "stuck" after his wife got bit, and after she died they just stayed hunkered down at the Drake's home. Afterward, Rick packs a duffel bag with guns and changes into his sheriff's uniform and hat. He hands Morgan a rifle and some ammunition.

Leon dead K.U.

Rick puts down a reanimated Leon.

They head outside and start loading the weapons into the trunk of his cruiser. Rick prepares to set off for Atlanta, while Morgan says he'll follow in a few days, once Duane has learned to shoot. Rick hands Morgan a walkie-talkie and he tells him to turn it on every day at dawn to make contact. Before leaving, Morgan gives Rick a warning that sometimes the walkers can amass into a herd, which can prove dangerous if encountered unprepared. Rick then spots a reanimated Leon who claws at the chain link fence separating them. Rick admits he didn't think much of the young officer, but he won't leave him like this. He shoots the reanimated Leon in the forehead with his revolver, putting him down. Then, he and Morgan drive away from the sheriff's department in opposite directions.


Morgan struggles to put down his zombified wife.

Back at the Drake's house, Morgan is nailing the doors shut while Duane covers the windows before dark. Morgan then heads up to the attic carrying the rifle Rick left him. He looks at old photo albums and pictures of his wife. He then props the rifle up and proceeds to snipe several walkers in the hope of drawing his reanimated wife out. However, when she emerges, Morgan breaks down and cannot bring himself to kill her.

Rick returns to the park where he found the legless walker. He follows a blood trail for quite a distance to find her again, crawling helplessly. She reaches for him futilely. Rick apologizes to the walker for what has happened to her, and then remorsefully puts her down with a shot to the head.

AMC TWD Days Gone Bye

Survivors hear Rick's garbled radio transmission.

Later, en route to Atlanta on Highway 85, Rick sends out a broadcast on his cruiser's CB radio. In a camp outside the city a group of survivors receives the transmission. A young blonde girl, Amy, runs to the CB, but can't get a reply. Shane, Lori, and Carl are among the survivors, however, they don't recognize Rick's voice over the garbled transmission. By the time Shane takes over the CB controls and introduces himself, Rick has left the emergency broadcast channel.

Lori voices that she's been saying for a week that they should put signs up on the highway warning people away from the city, and volunteers to go on her own, but Dale and Shane argue that venturing out is too risky. Lori walks off and Shane goes after her. Inside her tent, Shane tells Lori that she needs to keep it together for Carl, who has lost so much already. Lori agrees and they kiss passionately, before Carl interrupts them, not seeing them kissing. Lori promises him she's not going anywhere and tells her son to go finish his chores. He runs off smiling.

Back on the road, Rick's cruiser runs out of fuel, so he abandons his car on the highway and heads out on foot with a gas can and the duffel bag full of guns, making sure to grab the family photo he keeps above his rear-view mirror and stashing it in his jacket pocket. He approaches a farmhouse looking for gas. He peeks in the window where he makes the grisly discovery that a couple had committed suicide with a shotgun. Their decaying bodies picked off by insects. Rick tries to locate the keys of the pick-up truck parked in their driveway, but finds a horse on their property instead. He saddles up and rides the rest of the way to Atlanta with the bag of guns slung across his shoulder.

When he arrives to Atlanta, he discovers that there is no safe zone like Morgan and Duane described. The entire city is laid abandoned with the streets littered with dead bodies and abandoned military vehicles. Several walkers take notice of Rick and proceed to follow him.

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A herd of walkers catch Rick off guard and devour his horse.

Suddenly, Rick catches the reflection of a helicopter passing by through a skyscraper. He speeds up the horse to try and follow it but ends up running into a large herd of walkers. He fails to escape and topples off to the floor as the walkers start to devour the horse alive. While the walkers are distracted, he manages to scramble underneath an abandoned tank. Several walkers notice him and begin to reach out at him from the underneath the tank.

Rick shoots several of them, but is quickly outnumbered by the walkers. With no other option, Rick almost shoots himself in the head, but stops when he notices an open hatch underneath the tank. He quickly climbs into it to escape the walkers.


Rick manages to hide inside a tank, but realises he's not alone.

As he rest inside the tank, Rick takes the gun from an apparent dead soldier inside the tank, but the soldier suddenly wakes up; he is a walker. Rick quickly shoots the soldier in the head, but is then disoriented by the loud gunshot reverberating inside the tank. As he recollects himself, he notices his bag of guns on the street. He opens a hatch on the top of the tank, but is quickly noticed by several walkers, who begin climbing on top attempting to get inside. He shuts the hatch, as walkers begin swarming the outside of the tank.

Completely surrounded by walkers; Rick, unsure of what to do next, decides to attempt suicide again by placing his gun to his forehead, but before he can do it, he is interrupted by a voice that breaks over the CB radio in the tank. "Hey. Hey you, dumbass. You in the tank. Cozy in there?" the voice says. Rick looks up and slowly lowers the gun from his forehead in relief.

Other Cast[]





  • First appearance of Rick Grimes.
  • First appearance of Shane Walsh.
  • First appearance of Morgan Jones.
  • First appearance of Dale Horvath.
  • First appearance of Amy Harrison.
  • First appearance of Lori Grimes.
  • First appearance of Carl Grimes.
  • First appearance of Glenn Rhee. (Voice Only)
  • First appearance of Jenny Jones. (Zombified)
  • Only appearance of Summer. (Zombified)
  • Only appearance of Leon Basset. (Alive)
  • Only appearance of Lambert Kendal. (Alive)
  • Only appearance of Duane Jones. (Alive)
  • Only appearance of Mr. Siggard. (Corpse)
  • Only appearance of Mrs. Siggard. (Corpse)
  • Only appearance of Hannah. (Zombified)
  • This episode is 90 minutes long, according to AMC's schedule.
  • The title of the episode, "Days Gone Bye", refers to the fact that many days have passed since Rick has been in a coma and that the old days before the outbreak are gone forever.
  • This is the first episode to share the same title of a Comic Series volume.
    • This episode, along with "No Way Out", "A New Beginning", "A Certain Doom", "Here's Negan", and "Rest in Peace" are the only episodes to be directly adapted from the respective comic volumes of the same name. The other eight used the titles for episodes that are not directly related to the source material from that volume.
  • Rick's awakening in the hospital room with no recollection of prior events is very similar to the opening of 28 Days Later, a British horror film released in November of 2002 in the United Kingdom, nearly two years prior to the Issue 1's publication of the Comic Series and eight years before the TV adaptation.
  • As Rick wakes up from his coma, he looks at the clock which reads 2:17, which is the same time seen on the clock when explosions are heard from the same room in "TS-19".
    • According to the first commentary track, 217 is a nod to Stephen King's novel The Shining.
  • It was revealed by Darabont that the pilot was supposed to be two hours long, but the script was split into two episodes instead.[1]
  • A few walkers seen in this episode seem to be more mentally adept than other walkers that are seen in newer episodes. The zombified Summer has somewhat the mental capacity to recognize and pick up a teddy bear, and the zombified Jenny was able to stare into the peephole of a door and attempt to turn the doorknob on the door to try and open it.
    • In Season 11, this is revealed as them being variant walkers that retain a greater intelligence than the vast majority of zombies.
  • The walker that Rick encounters in the tank at the end of the episode was portrayed by Sam Witwer. The original intention was to have a prologue in Season 2 which shows how Atlanta fell, how Witwer's character died in the tank and how Dale rescued Andrea and Amy amidst the chaos.
    • This never materialized since Darabont was fired from the show.
  • In a deleted scene, when Rick goes through the gas station at the beginning of the episode, the walkers from the abandoned cars were supposed to chase him.[2]
  • The tank that Rick climbs into is an obsolete British Chieftain, which was never used by the U.S. Military, visually modified to represent an M-1 Abrams, a common model used for films.
    • It's possible that the producers chose the Chieftain because it has a hatch on the underside of the hull, which the Abrams does not.
  • The abandoned UH-1 "Huey" helicopter is marked with the insignia of the 7th Squadron, 1st Air Cavalry Regiment, which was deactivated in 1976.
  • The song that plays at the end of the episode, as the camera pulls back from the tank to reveal the street covered in walkers, is "Space Junk" by Wang Chung.
  • Rick's home in fictional King County, Georgia is actually a house located directly across the street from Zoo Atlanta. In fact, when Rick exits the house, you can just see one of the zoo buildings through the trees on the other side of the street.
    • According to the first commentary track, King County is a nod to Stephen King's name.
    • Many of its locations were used for the movie The Blind Side, which features IronE Singleton (T-Dog).
  • The production took over "13 square blocks of downtown Atlanta" for the sequences shot in the city.[3]
  • When Rick wakes up in the hospital bed, and the circumstances he is in are unknown, it's similar to when Beth Greene wakes up in Grady Memorial Hospital in "Slabtown".

Comic Parallels[]

  • Rick being shot by a criminal in the line of duty is adapted from Issue 1.
  • Rick waking up from a coma months later in the apocalyptic world is adapted from Issue 1.
  • Rick meeting Morgan and Duane in his neighborhood is adapted from Issue 1.
  • Morgan explaining to Rick the events of the outbreak during his coma is adapted from Issue 1.
  • Rick taking a bag of guns from his police armory and giving a few to Morgan for protection is adapted from Issue 1.
  • Rick putting down a zombified girl in a park is adapted from Issue 1.
  • Rick discovering the corpses of a couple who committed suicide at a farmhouse is adapted from Issue 2.
  • Rick arriving at a desolated Atlanta by horse is adapted from Issue 2.
  • A herd of walkers surrounding Rick and devouring his horse is adapted from Issue 2.
  • The "DON'T OPEN DEAD INSIDE" sign is an adaption of the "ALL DEAD DO NOT ENTER" sign from Issue 8.

Episode Highlights[]

  • Rick Grimes stops at a gas station to get gas and kills a little girl walker by shooting her in the head with his Colt Python.
  • Rick and Shane get called to a high speed shootout, which results in Rick getting shot in the back by one of the culprits. This event sends Rick into a coma.
  • An unknown amount of time passes and Rick wakes up from his coma, only to stumble outside and find that something terrible has happened.
  • As he looks around, Rick is shocked to discover numerous undead people and corpses, including a bicycle walker.
  • Rick goes to his house to look for his wife and son but he doesn't find them and breaks down.
  • Rick meets Morgan and Duane Jones after they save him from walkers. They rest in the Drake House where Morgan fills Rick in on the state of the world. Morgan tries to put down his reanimated wife but cannot bring himself to do it.
  • The next morning, Morgan and Duane go with Rick to the King County Sheriff's Department to get guns and clean clothes. They also take a shower in the police department's shower room. After putting Rick's old coworker down, Rick and Morgan say their goodbyes.
  • As Rick rides to Atlanta after being told it's safe there by Morgan, he radios to see if anyone's out there, which is heard (albeit with a bad signal) by a group at a nearby campsite. Unbeknownst to Rick, the group contains his best friend Shane, his wife Lori and son Carl.
  • Rick ends up losing his bag of guns in Atlanta and has to hide in a tank when he and his horse gets overwhelmed by walkers.
  • An unknown survivor contacts Rick on the radio in the tank.


  • At the roadblock, Rick advises Leon Basset to check that the safety's off on his gun. However, the gun is a Glock, which has no true manual safeties. The only external safety is the trigger safety that is automatically disengaged when a finger squeezes the trigger.
  • During the gunfight near the start of the episode, Rick is shot just below his left shoulder, in the back. After he awakens in the hospital, and thereafter, he is shown with a bandage over his lower left abdomen with the positioning suggesting that he was hit lower in the side.
  • Rick is supposedly going south on I-85 going into Atlanta, but that is not the skyline of Atlanta you would see if you were heading south. The skyline is from Freedom Parkway, facing West.
  • When Rick first sees the horde in Atlanta and the horse goes on its hind legs in fright, to the back left of the screen, a walker can be seen sipping from a water bottle.


  1. "...just to slow the narrative down and dig into the characters more deeply, so it's not just plot-driven, event-driven stuff. You really want to drag these characters into the equation."AMC Darabont Comic Con Interview
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj4Kt0BJQyw
  3. Season 7 Press Kit

External Links[]