When Bat catches his gambling casino partner embezzling money, he kicks the man out, telling him never return unless he brings $25,000 to buy Bat's interest in the business. The partner plans to get control of Bat's half by killing him.
In 1883 Bat returns early to Denver, Colorado to the casino "Bat's Master Place". He owns it with Shad who Bat rescued from a derelict life. As he enters the casino he notices Ellie Winters handling the gun check. She took over when the previous worker became too scared. Bat notices business is good but she tells him he needs to check the safe as she suspects Shad is embezzling from the casino. Bat goes upstairs to the office finding only a few dollars after Ellie said they had taken in over $2000 that day. When he confronts Shad, a fight breaks out with Shad pulling a knife but Bat's cane stops him. Bat tells Shad to return only when he has $25,000 to buy out Bat's half. Later, Mari Brewster a friend from several years back comes in looking a little ragged and needing help. Bat has her take over from Ellie at the gun check. Mari, unknown to Bat, is working with Shad her husband who is holding their son hostage. Shad wants the casino back and he has a plan to remove Bat - permanently. Written by
Unlike many of the Bat Masterson episodes, some of which bordered on the ridiculous, this one was grittier and the acting very good. The 'bad guy' (Tip McLure - Doug McLure's brother?) was very hate-able. Allison Hayes was her usual enchanting self tattling on Shad (Tip) and cooing non-stop at Bat.
In some other episodes the crooks were clumsy oafs, or went out of their way to make it easy for Bat to get 'em. In others, the plot was so thin you knew how the episode would proceed, and end five minutes into the show.
This story was more complex than most, and Bat seemed more believable than usual in this role of Saloon owner. I like the beginning when Bat rides into town, parks his horse outside the saloon, carries his luggage (saddlebags) into the building, and as half-owner/proprietor asks men gambling at the tables if everything is OK...in other words, Bat is asking his customers if they are satisfied with the facilities & saloon staff...which a real business owner would be likely to do.
Tip is intimidated by Bat as Masterson can outfight, outshoot, and outwit Tip in the blink of an eye. So Tip recruits 4 thugs to help take on Bat. These thugs are not the usual ineffectual fops. They are mean looking, snarly, gnarly, and eager to engage in mayhem.
Like I said, a more believable Bat, and cast in this episode.
Another commenter (thomas mckeon) felt Kathleen Crowley was not all that attractive...but I think she filled out her gambling hall costume quite nicely. Ms. Crowley was a former Miss America contestant (Miss New Jersey) and quite the babe..and an accomplished actress to boot.
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