"The Hunt" is the 19th episode of the third season of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in January of 1962. It was written by Earl Hamner, Jr., although it is based on a much older story. It starred Arthur Hunnicut as hillbilly Hyder Simpson and Jeannette Nolan as his wife Rachel.
Hyder Simpson is a man living in the mountain whose main pastime is hunting raccoons with his hounddog Rip. One day, while chasing a racooon near a pond, they fall in, only to emerge a few moments later. But, as it slowly dawns on Hyder (who isn't exactly sharp), they actually did drown in that pool, and are now exploring the afterlife. As they wander, they find a road with a gatekeeper, who says that he is the gatekeeper to heaven: and that if only Hyder will leave his dog behind, (dogs, of course, not being allowed in heaven), he can enter. But will Hyder give up his best friend for a shot at eternal bliss?
Anyone familiar with the story of Yudhisthira and his dog at the end of The Mahabharata (which probably didn't include too many of the episode's viewers at its original airing) can probably detect the twist to this story. Or, for that matter, anyone who saw the first season episode "A Nice Place to Visit". Like several other Twilight Zone episodes, this episode is more a fable than a story, based more on stock characters and a fairy tale plot rather than on actual dramatic tension. However, it is still a likable and interesting story.