"Franklin Story" is set in Hopeville, ruled with an iron fist by Ryder Kane (William Walsh, first of nine) and top henchman Red Lyman (John Vernon, first of eight). Waiting to ambush the evil pair is townsman Sam Barton (Len Ontkean, first of seven), prevented by Hawkeye's timely arrival, though his later incarceration by the corrupt sheriff (Les Rubie, first of three) soon results in his death. With his dying breath, Barton reveals to Hawkeye the hidden location of a letter written by his murdered brother detailing the crimes of Ryder Kane, who can then be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law once Benjamin Franklin (Stan Francis, first of three) makes his way from Philadelphia. We don't see Franklin until midway through the episode, which marked the debut of longtime veteran (and native Canadian) John Vernon, always an able villain as he shows here, but only in support of the bland Walsh. At least Ben gets a better showcase than George Washington does in "Washington Story."
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