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At first I did not understand why the writer chose to put a dog story right in the middle of an interesting plot involving a former gunfighter. But at the end of the show it became apparent that the dog, that use to be wild, had been changed much like the ex-gunfighter has changed. A brilliant work of fiction.
The main plot involved Howard Kane(Claude Akins) as a man looking for revenge for something that happened years ago in a range war. Howard was shot in the back by a former friend, Cole Maston, when Cole was offered money to get rid of Howard. So Howard has been looking for Cole for years and has finally caught up with his rival outside Dodge.
In the meantime, Howard has happened up, thanks to the wild dog, on a farm house that is occupied by a woman, Abelia Johnson, and her two kids. He stays out in the barn and starts to get smitten with the independent woman while he is looking for the exact location of Cole. And when he finds Cole will he be like the wild dog that changed or will he continue to be the wild gunman that will never settle down.
Claude Akins and Jacqueline Scott made a nice couple in this story about revenge or redemption. Even though the story did not end like we all expected- it left enough open for us viewers to hope things will one day be much better. Perhaps that is all we can hope for all of us. Nice show.
Note- When Marshal Dillon is talking to Howard at the Long Branch, he calls the man that Howard is looking for as Jack Cole instead of the name in the credits as Cole Maston.
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