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(TV Series)

(1972)

Plot Summary

  • The first of five episodes to deal with the real-life Wyoming Stockgrower's Association (which led to the Johnson County War of 1892 and inspired the film "Heaven's Gate," which changed many details of the story): two gunmen try to bushwhack Smith and Jones for being in league with "cattle rustlers" -- which in WSGA parlance, applied to anybody who owned fewer than 300 cattle. A small cattle rancher, who has tangled with the gunmen in the past, comes up behind them, surprises them and shoots them down in their tracks. He claims self-defense, but knows people will call it murder (which it is), so asks Smith and Jones to escort him, his wife, his partner and his cattle to Montana where he will be reasonably safe. WSGA "detectives" send out an armed party dedicated to killing the whole lot. When Heyes and the gunman are both critically wounded, Curry goes berserk and blasts away at them until they turn tail. Heyes survives (his comment about being shot in the head later became a tagline for "The Rockford Files"), but the killer dies -- and Curry figures out the truth. Now everyone has a moral dilemma.

    - Written by Peter Harris

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