Murder, She Wrote: Season 1, Episode 21

Funeral at Fifty-Mile (21 Apr. 1985)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
7.4
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Jessica has to unravel the secrets and threats at the funeral of a friend in Wyoming.

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Title: Funeral at Fifty-Mile (21 Apr 1985)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
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Doc Wallace (as Noah Beery)
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Mary Carver
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Bill Carmody (as J. D. Cannon)
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Carl Mestin
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Tim Carver
Jeff Osterhage ...
Art Merrick (as Jeffrey Osterhage)
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Sheriff Ed Potts
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Sally Mestin
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Attorney Sam Breen
Brooke Alderson ...
Alice
Edith Diaz ...
Emma
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Hay-Soos
Archie Lang ...
Minister
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Storyline

Jessica attends the burial of Wyoming rancher Jack Carver with his family and fellow veteran friends. Family lawyer Sam Breen announces he died without finalizing his will, which would provide the sale of the ranch to his brother Tim Carver, so only daughter Mary inherits everything. Then turns up Carl Mestin, with his cheap tomcat wife Sally, waving a will making him general heir. He lies about saving Jack's life in Korea, and after a stormy night when the men went out to check the property he's found hanging in the barn. Gun-obsessed incompetent sheriff 'marshall' Ed Potts arrests Mary's fiancé Art Merrick without any proof, so Jessica investigates, gets Art free and digs up the past about the will, the axes several men had grinding against Carl and his killing... Written by KGF Vissers

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21 April 1985 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

William Windom who played Dr. Seth Hazlett in most of the series, and was in more episodes than any other person, appeared first as a guest star in "Funeral at Fifty-Mile" Episode: #1.21, as Sam Breen, a small town lawyer. See more »

Goofs

After the discovery of the body hanging in the barn, as Jessica climbs down from the loft the cables supporting the hanged actor can be seen, as well as there being no noose around his neck. See more »

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Who's Been Hanging around the Old Barn Lately?
9 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fifty miles into Wyoming from an unspecified direction or state boundary lies a ranching community which derives its name from the railroad or highway marker, "Fifty-Mile," to which a group of U.S. armed forces veterans travel to attend the memorial service for Jack Carver.

The widowed Jack is survived by his brother, Tim Carver (Donald Moffat), as well as Jack's only child, Mary Carver (Kathleen Beller), who has taken care of her father at the residence of the family ranch.

Local resident Doc Wallace (Noah Beery Jr.) and Attorney Sam Breen (William Windom) represent the Carver family, as they have served with Jack in the Army, in an outfit which has also included the arriving Bill Carmody (J.D. Cannon), as well as one Tom Fletcher, whose widow, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), arrives to ofter her condolences upon her first "MSW" journey into Wyoming.

(Note: "Frank" has since become the accepted name of Jessica's late husband throughout the remainder of this series. Whether she refers to him as "Tom" in order to trick a suspect into a confession, or because the back-story has yet to become established remains to be seen, but her reason to reference him as "Tom" remains unresolved here.)

Also inhabiting the Community of Fifty-Mile are Emma (Edith Diaz) and Hay-Soos (Efrain Figueroa), who help at Carver Ranch; Alice (Brooke Alderson), Office Assistant for Doc Wallace; Sheriff Ed Potts (Cliff Potts), county law enforcement officer; Art Merrick (Jeff Osterhage), Art Merrick (Jeff Osterhage), general store employee and fiancé to Mary Carver; and Minister (Archie Lang), who delivers the eulogy at the outdoor service.

Because Jack's will had not been finalized at the time of his passing, Attorney Sam Breen, who has been handling the family's legal matters, sees fit for Tim Carver to purchase the ranch and its residence, to provide Mary its proceeds as Jack's sole beneficiary, in order for her to begin her future with Art Merrick.

But before the service ends, Carl Mestin (Clu Gulager) and Sally Mestin (Stella Stevens) park a camper trailer upon the Carver property, claiming the land and the ranch house as their own, by presenting a will purportedly signed by Jack, falsifying Carl's saving Jack's life in Korea, at which he and the other veterans had been stationed during the War.

While Carl Mestin is determined to battle Mary and anyone else who stands in his way, Sally Mestin, naturally, acts very Stella Stevens-ish in her saloon-performer outfits and catty-like calculations in everything from arm-wrestling to evicting the entire community if she sees fit.

But during a storm that night, a body is discovered in the Carver barn, hanging by a noose, suspended from the rafters, after a team of horses flees through its open doors, knocking a bale of hay from beneath the victim's boots.

Sheriff Ed Potts investigates the incident in the aftermath of a series of threats, while Jessica instinctively measures the rope to determine whether the hanging stems from suicide or murder, and so Sheriff Potts arrests the handiest suspect, causing pleas for Jessica to uncover the truth behind the next "Funeral at Fifty-Mile."

This episode marks one of the last television appearances by Noah Beery Jr., a star of film and television star since 1920, when he began in the Silents as a child performer.

This also represents the first of three "MSW" guest starring roles for Clu Gulager, and the first of two "MSW" episodes each for Kathleen Beller, Jeff Osterhage, Cliff Potts, and J.D. Cannon, who began his acting career in 1960, and has since passed.

And William Windom makes his first of 53 series appearances here, before his run begins as the character of Cabot Cove Doctor Seth Hazlitt.


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