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James Whitmore appears again in this tale of a Marshal that is
approaching the end of his stellar career as a person needing great
reward for his performance as US Marshal Seth Campbell.
When Floyd Stryder is broke out of jail by some of his kin, Marshal Campbell is called in with warrants to arrest the men. Six men agree to be a part of his posse that includes Heath and Nick and also includes Campbell's son.
When the posses comes up on the Stryders, they realize they are being fired upon with a Gatling gun. However Marshal Campbell tells the men to run straight into the gun fire. Much to the horror of Heath and Nick two of the men are killed immediately.
Marshal Campbell claims that Nick and Heath are cowards and tells the other man and his son to run into the gun fire. Heath knocks Campbell unconscious to save the life of the others. When Campbell becomes alert he accusing Heath and Nick of failure to obey an order. Heath and Nick are placed on trial for their lives as Jarrod will do his best to show that Marshal Campbell is unfit to command any outfit.
Even though this episode was nice done, when it came to the ending it seemed to happen too quickly. I wished the episode had lingered on the ending instead of an out-of-place arm wrestling scene in the middle of the show. A good show that had an almost too quick ending.
This Big Valley story has both Peter Breck and Lee Majors joining a
posse to catch the infamous Strider brothers. This case is really one
of bring them back dead or alive preferably the latter. One Strider was
in jail and a deputy was killed and sheriff Douglas Kennedy wounded in
But salvation is on its way with legendary US Marshal James Whitmore heading the posse. Everyone's thrilled to be riding with him except Majors who had a previous run in with him before he arrived at the Barkley ranch.
It turns out to be a bloody affair where the Strider brothers are killed with the cost of the entire posse as well including Whitmore's son Richard Evans. All that's left is a lot of dead bodies and the only live ones are Whitmore, Breck, and Majors with Whitmore preferring charges against them.
It all builds up to a Caine Mutiny like climax with Richard Long defending his brothers and breaking down Whitmore the way Jose Ferrer broke down Humphrey Bogart.
There's also a nice scene with Barbara Stanwyck and James Whitmore talking about their children. They have some history as Stanwyck tries to talk Whitmore out of his charges against the Barkley sons.
If you know The Caine Mutiny you know how this ends.
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