A blackmailer threatens to reveal some horrific information to an adopted teen girl about her real parents, unless her stepfather pays him off.

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(teleplay), (novel) (as Andrew Garve)
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Himself - Host
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Jim Mallory
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Linda Mallory
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Parker
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Locke
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Lt. Ames
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Capt. Garner
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Ben Kaylor
Terry Ann Ross ...
Barbara
Claudia Cravey ...
Anne Mallory
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Storyline

A discharged schoolteacher desperate for cash blackmails a happy family. He knows that their youngest daughter is adopted, & comes from a tragic background - her father killed her mother, then himself. The middle-aged couple love raising their daughters in the picturesque Appalachin mountains. The husband, a forest ranger, wants to shield the daughter from taunts and gossip. The smarmy blackmailer keeps coming back for more, so the husband mulls other options and their consequences. Then the blackmailer's accomplice is found murdered deep in the pines. Written by David Stevens

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Certificate:

TV-PG
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Release Date:

4 October 1962 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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A Brian Keith Showcase
30 May 2015 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

At this stage of his career, Brian Keith was one of the most interesting actors around. His squinty low-key manner could express volumes. He seemed made for Westerns, as Sam Peckinpah's authentic but short-lived series The Westerner (1960) amply demonstrates. Here he even dons a cowboy hat at intervals.

In this third series episode, he's a head forest ranger, Mallory, who's being blackmailed by two slimy no-accounts (Kellin & Coolidge). Seems his adopted daughter Anne's (Cravey) real father murdered the girl's mother, then killed himself. Now, Mallory will do almost anything to keep Anne from finding out the truth about her genetic parents. But what's he to do since the blackmailers have covered about every angle. Ranger Mallory amounts to an agonized role that Keith superbly finesses.

There's good suspense as we follow the various maneuverings, though the throttling episode in the forest appears too abrupt to be convincing. Perhaps most notable about this early entry is an ending that departs from the series's defining norm. The wind-up may be facile but still comes across as emotionally fitting.

All in all, the entry is made better by a fine central performance from the underrated Brian Keith.


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