"The Firebrand," a Season 14 episode of "Death Valley Days," offers an account of clashes between Mexicans and U.S. soldiers during the aftermath of the Mexican War, when the United States took possession of California. The two lead characters here are Mexican landowners Pio Pico (Will Kuluva) and his brother, Governor Andres Pico (Gerald Mohr), who have been unfairly treated by Lieutenant Gillespie, the tyrannical Military Governor appointed to run things in the region. Against Pio's wishes, Andres leads a band of 80 resisters and scores a couple of military victories over the Americans before Pio's diplomatic efforts, aimed at appealing to Commodore Stockton and Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Fremont, begin to bear fruit. It's a rather talky version of events, with all battles and fighting action happening offscreen and the entire story related in indoor settings. Still, Kuluva and Mohr, as the Pico brothers, give lively and engaging performances and the script tends to favor the Mexican side. A postscript by host Ronald Reagan (who would be elected Governor of California just a few months later) describes the "Cahuenga Capitulation," the treaty which brought a peaceful end to the fighting.
I watched this episode when it aired on the Encore Western Channel on January 16, 2017.
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