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. It 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.


Running low on gas on a deserted Georgia highway, Sheriff's Deputy, Rick Grimes drives his police cruiser past overturned and damaged cars toward a gas station. Rick's vehicle is blocked by abandoned vehicles and tents; the remains of a presumed makeshift campsite. Various corpses and garbage are seen throughout the gas station; a handmade sign hanging at the station reads "NO GAS".

As Rick is searching to be sure, 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 walks closer to her. "Little girl" 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 and he steps backwards, draws his .357 Colt Python revolver, and shoots her in the head.

The next scene flashes back to before the apocalypse. The scene begins with Rick and his partner and best friend, Shane Walsh in the police cruiser, eating hamburgers and fries. 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. "The difference between men and women?" Rick muses. "I would never say something that cruel to her, especially not in front of Carl."

Suddenly the cruiser's radio cracks to life, an APB from neighboring Linden County reports a high-speed pursuit in progress involving two armed suspects. Rick and Shane dump their food and rush to the scene. 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, the youngest officer, Leon Basset, 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. Basset sheepishly checks his Glock 17 while Shane suggests that it would be "kinda cool gettin' on one of them shows."

The car approaches, pursued by two more cruisers containing the Linden County Sheriff's Department officers. The vintage 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. "Holy shit," mutters Shane, his Mossberg 590 shotgun cocked as the officers descend on the vehicle.

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 9mm SIG-Sauer P228 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 one of the Linden County officers shoots him in the chest and kills him. "I'm alright!" Rick shouts, the gunman having shot his Kevlar bulletproof vest. Shane approaches Rick as he pulls himself off the ground.

"Shane, you do not tell Lori that happened! Ever!" Rick commands Shane after the firefight. His back turned, nobody notices a third gunman crawling free from the overturned vehicle. The man fires a .45 M1911A1 pistol and hits Rick in the side, where his vest does not protect him. He falls to the ground bleeding, and Shane shoots and kills the third man before rushing to Rick's aid. He begs for Rick to stay with him, barking at Bassett to call an ambulance, but Rick remains motionless.

Shane delivers flowers to Rick in the hospital, but Rick isn't fully conscious while Shane starts talking to him. Sometime 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, flops onto the floor and calls out for help, but no one comes.

He stumbles into the bathroom, guzzling 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.

The hallway's lights flicker and wires hang from the ceiling. He goes to the nurse's station and tries the phone: it's dead. He finds a set of matches while also looking for anything else worth taking from behind the desk.

A flickering light draws his attention, and through a doorway, Rick sees the ravaged body of a nurse missing most of her skin. His eyes can't believe what he's seeing and he backs away, confused and afraid. Continuing further down the hallway, he sees that the walls are covered in blood and 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 woman's hands, her fingernails dirty and broken, reach through the cracks and fiddle with the padlock and chains while numerous people start to reach through the cracks along with 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 and 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.

He wanders down the road in his hospital gown, spotting an overturned bicycle in a park. As he reaches for it, a mutilated woman — badly decayed, her legs and lips missing — turns and reaches for him, pathetically moaning and growling in. Apart from the woman's hands reaching from inside the cafeteria, this is Rick's first view of a walker. Startled by the mutilated woman, 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. "Carl, I found you", Rick mutters. "Daddy I got this sumbitch! I'm gonna smack him dead!" the boy screams. 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 the .38 Taurus Model 85 revolver in his face. "What's that bandage for?" Morgan asks him, cocking the gun and telling him, "You tell me, or I will kill you." Rick passes out.

He wakes up with his arms and legs tied to a bed. Morgan's son, Duane, stands guard with a baseball bat. "Did you get bit?" Morgan asks Rick stiffly, having changed his bandages though Rick's gunshot wound that has mostly healed. "Just shot, as far as I know," Rick says. Morgan checks his forehead and says if he had "the fever" it would have killed him by now, so he sets him free of the bedposts with a switchblade (but not before telling him that if he tries anything, he will not hesitate to kill him) and offers him a seat at their dinner table. They have canned beans. Rick recognizes the home that they are in as his neighbors', Fred and Cindy Drake's house, forcing Morgan to admit, "It was empty when we got here." He tells Rick not to look out the window because 'they will see the light'.

With Rick confused, Morgan begins to explain the story of the outbreak and the following days to a confused and disoriented Rick.

"I never should have fired that gun today," Morgan says. "The sound draws 'em. Now they're all over the street." Rick accuses Morgan of shooting a man in cold blood. "It was a walker," Morgan corrects. He adds that they get more active after dark sometimes.

Before they begin eating dinner, Duane insists that his father give a blessing. "Lord, please watch over us in these crazy days," Morgan says, and proceeds to explain to Rick that the man he shot would have tried to eat them. "One thing I do know, don't you get bit," Morgan says. "Bites kill", he explains, and then you become one of them. "The fever burns you out. But then after a while... you come back."

"Seen it happen," Duane adds solemnly. The trio talk about Rick's son, Carl, and Rick satisfies a lingering curiosity shared by Duane and Morgan as to what line of work would put someone in a position to be shot at. "Sheriff's deputy," Rick remarks. Morgan smiles and says, "Duane thought you were a bank robber."

A car alarm starts to go off outside and the trio turn off the lights. 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.

"She died in the other room on that bed," Morgan says, "I should have put her down. I just didn't have it in me. She's the mother of my child."

The next morning, Rick, wearing a white t-shirt and jeans (borrowed from either Morgan or Fred Drake), walks outside in a face shield, carrying a baseball bat. Morgan is teaching him how to kill walkers. "We're sure they're dead? I have to ask," says Rick, approaching a walker near the stoop. "They're dead." Morgan assures him. "Except for something in the brain. That's why it's gotta be the head," he says.

Morgan and Duane exit the house behind Rick, approaching a walker who slowly rises from a sitting position, leaning against the fence at the edge of the front yard. Rick swings the bat repeatedly at his head, beating the walker down until it stops moving. He quickly becomes fatigued, most likely from his still-healing gunshot wound.

After practice back at the house, Rick tells Morgan he thinks his wife and son are still alive. He found empty drawers in the bedrooms, he explains, and the family pictures and photo albums were gone. "Photo albums," Morgan laughs, getting emotional over the memory. "My wife, same thing. There I am packing survival gear; she's grabbing photo albums."

"They're in Atlanta, I bet," Duane offers. Morgan explains that the government was telling people to head to a refugee center there with military protection and food, before the broadcasts stopped. The Center for Disease Control — where they're rumored to be working on a cure — is also in Atlanta.

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, Morgan tells Rick that his family was headed to Atlanta. "The streets weren't fit to be on," he recalls. He explains that he and his son never got to Atlanta 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 gets a change of clothes — his sheriff's uniform and sheriff's hat — from his locker. He hands Morgan a rifle and some ammunition.

Loading the weapons into the trunk of his cruiser, Rick prepares to set off for Atlanta. Morgan says he'll follow in a few days, once Duane has learned to shoot, so Rick hands Morgan a walkie-talkie. But it has a low battery, and he tells Morgan to turn it on every day at dawn to make contact.

Morgan leaves Rick with a warning: "They may not seem like much one at a time," he says, "But in a group, all riled up and hungry? Man, you watch your ass."

The farewell is interrupted when Rick spots Leon Basset, a fellow police officer who has turned in to a walker. Basset claws at the chain link fence separating them, and while Rick admits he didn't think much of the young officer, he won't leave him like this. He shoots him in the forehead with his revolver, putting him down, before he and Morgan drive away from the sheriff's department in opposite directions.

Back home, Duane is covering the windows before dark. Morgan heads up to the attic carrying Rick's rifle he left him. He looks at old photo albums and pictures of his wife. Tearfully, he positions the rifle facing the street and begins shooting walkers. He commands Duane to stay downstairs when his son gets startled by the gun shots. "Come on, baby," he says, hoping the noise will draw his wife into view. But when she appears, he breaks down, still unable to shoot 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, unable to attack and satiate her endless hunger. "I'm sorry this happened to you," Rick says, shooting her in the head with his revolver and putting her out of her misery before he heads back to his car.

En route to Atlanta on Highway 85, Rick sends out a broadcast on his cruiser's CB radio. In a camp outside the city with an old man perched atop an RV with a pair of binoculars, a group of survivors receives the transmission. A young blonde girl in pink rushes to the CB, but can't get a reply through. Shane, Lori, and Carl are among them, but 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 Shane argues that venturing out is too risky. Lori walks off, fuming, and Shane goes after her. "You can be pissed at me all you want; it's not gonna change anything," he tells her.

Inside Lori's tent, Shane tells her that she can't run off half-cocked; 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.

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 duffel bag full of guns, making sure to grab the Grimes 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. "GOD FORGIVE US" is written in blood on the wall.

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 gets there, it's nothing like Morgan described it. Hundreds of cars trying to leave the city have burned out on the other side of the freeway. The road into the city is completely deserted.

He continues to ride in to the metropolis, devastated that he has no other leads on where his wife and son are located. He trots the streets on horseback, finding an overrun military blockade with more burned out vehicles. Two ravens are seen pecking at a dead animal. A few walkers along the way take notice of him, so him and the horse speed up. He looks back to see many more emerging from buses and alleys.

Rick catches the reflection of a helicopter passing by through a skyscraper. He speeds up the horse to try and follow it. He leads himself in to a horde of hundreds of walkers. He fails to escape as walkers swarm him. he topples off the horse as the walkers start to devour the horse. While the walkers are distracted from the horse, he manages to scramble underneath an abandoned tank. Walkers take notice of him and start to reach under and grab him from both ends of the tank.

Rick shoots several of them, but more and more keep coming. In desperation, he places the gun to his head. "Lori, Carl, I'm sorry," he states. As he is about to pull the trigger, he sees an open hatch on the floor of the tank and crawls inside just before the walkers can get to him.

As he sits in the tank catching his breath, he takes the gun of a zombified soldier and continues to search through his uniform for anything of use. The movement awakens him and as he turns to bite Rick, Rick freaks and shoots him in the head. A deafening echo reverberates inside the enclosed space of the tank. Dazed and disoriented, he makes his way to the top of the tank where the top hatch is open. He lifts his head out of the hatch to stop the ringing in his ears. He spots the bag of guns that he dropped, but there are too many walkers. They begin to take notice of him and climb the tank to get to him. Rick then closes the hatch, sealing himself inside.

Walkers are seen outside banging on the top hatch, devouring away at the horse while many more are making their way towards the scene.

Rick, unsure of what to do next, holds the soldier's 9mm Beretta 92FS pistol to his forehead, sweating. The tank's radio crackles. "Hey. Hey you, dumbass," a voice says. "You in the tank. Cozy in there?" Rick looks up, slowly lowering the gun from his forehead.

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.
  • First appearance of Lori Grimes.
  • First appearance of Carl Grimes.
  • First appearance of Glenn Rhee. (Voice Only)
  • First (and last) appearance of Summer. (Zombified)
  • First (and last) appearance of Lambert Kendal. (Unknown)
  • First (and last) appearance of Leon Basset. (Alive and Zombified)
  • First (and last) appearance of Jenny Jones. (Zombified)
  • First (and last) appearance of Duane Jones. (Alive)
  • First (and last) appearance of Mr. Siggard. (Corpse)
  • First (and last) appearance of Mrs. Siggard. (Corpse)
  • First (and last) appearance of Siggard's Horse. (Alive)
  • Last 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. The others being "Made to Suffer", "This Sorrowful Life", "Too Far Gone", "No Way Out", "A New Beginning" and "What Comes After".
    • This episode, along with "No Way Out" and "A New Beginning" are the only episodes to be directly adapted from the respective comic volumes of the same name. The other four 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 comics' Issue 1's publication 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]
  • 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 it's 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 waking up from a coma after being shot by a criminal on the line of duty is adapted from Issue 1.
  • Rick meeting Morgan and Duane in his neighboorhood 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 Bicycle girl is adapted from Issue 1.
  • Rick discovering the corpses of a couple who committed suicide at a farmhouse, as well as a horse in the barn, 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.


  • 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 truly 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
  3. Season 7 Press Kit

External Links

Episodes of The Walking Dead
Season 1 "Days Gone Bye" • "Guts" • "Tell It to the Frogs" • "Vatos" • "Wildfire" • "TS-19"
Season 2 "What Lies Ahead" • "Bloodletting" • "Save the Last One" • "Cherokee Rose" • "Chupacabra" • "Secrets" • "Pretty Much Dead Already" • "Nebraska" • "Triggerfinger" • "18 Miles Out" • "Judge, Jury, Executioner" • "Better Angels" • "Beside the Dying Fire"
Season 3 "Seed" • "Sick" • "Walk With Me" • "Killer Within" • "Say the Word" • "Hounded" • "When the Dead Come Knocking" • "Made to Suffer" • "The Suicide King" • "Home" • "I Ain't a Judas" • "Clear" • "Arrow on the Doorpost" • "Prey" • "This Sorrowful Life" • "Welcome to the Tombs"
Season 4 "30 Days Without An Accident" • "Infected" • "Isolation" • "Indifference" • "Internment" • "Live Bait" • "Dead Weight" • "Too Far Gone" • "After" • "Inmates" • "Claimed" • "Still" • "Alone" • "The Grove" • "Us" • "A"
Season 5 "No Sanctuary" • "Strangers" • "Four Walls and a Roof" • "Slabtown" • "Self Help" • "Consumed" • "Crossed" • "Coda" • "What Happened and What's Going On" • "Them" • "The Distance" • "Remember" • "Forget" • "Spend" • "Try" • "Conquer"
Season 6 "First Time Again" • "JSS" • "Thank You" • "Here's Not Here" • "Now" • "Always Accountable" • "Heads Up" • "Start to Finish" • "No Way Out" • "The Next World" • "Knots Untie" • "Not Tomorrow Yet" • "The Same Boat" • "Twice as Far" • "East" • "Last Day on Earth"
Season 7 "The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be" • "The Well • "The Cell" • "Service" • "Go Getters" • "Swear" • "Sing Me a Song" • "Hearts Still Beating" • "Rock in the Road" • "New Best Friends" • "Hostiles and Calamities" • "Say Yes" • "Bury Me Here" • "The Other Side" • "Something They Need" • "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life"
Season 8 "Mercy" • "The Damned" • "Monsters" • "Some Guy" • "The Big Scary U" • "The King, the Widow, and Rick" • "Time for After" • "How It's Gotta Be" • "Honor" • "The Lost and the Plunderers" • "Dead or Alive Or" • "The Key" • "Do Not Send Us Astray" • "Still Gotta Mean Something" • "Worth" • "Wrath"
Season 9 "A New Beginning" • "The Bridge" • "Warning Signs" • "The Obliged" • "What Comes After" • "Who Are You Now?" • "Stradivarius" • "Evolution"

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