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In for a Bang Way out West
WeatherViolet22 November 2009
Trevor Hudson has spent many years forming a long career of penning Western novels from his Montana ranch. While working upon his final manuscript, "The Last Valley," Mr. Hudson passes, leaving his notes in a drawer in the desk of his study--or what can be found of them there.

His un-trusting survivors remain at the family homestead: daughters, unreasonable Maria Hudson (Michael Learned) and renegade Olivia Hudson (Barrie Youngfellow), and responsible son, Andrew Hudson (Don Galloway), who serves in the capacity of "adult in the room" during gatherings of this dysfunctional family.

But the self-serving Hudson family is all the more exemplified by Maria's constantly-transgressive daughter, the adulterous Cat Hudson Drake (Yvette Nipar), who travels to Hollywood to act in films, and for some strange reason is considered the other Hudson celebrity. Cat's unsuspecting husband, Barney Drake (Robert Klein), serves in the dual role of her Agent plus financial manager of the Hudson estate.

The ever-corrupt Custer's Creek County Sheriff Hank Masters (Steve Forrest) plays the family friend and adviser when it suits his schemes of "Shoot 'em up" Western style. He is welcomes to family gatherings with open arms and is right there on the spot when things go wrong, to make them all the worse.

It is into this world that young Editor Robert 'Bob' Jarrett (Robin Strand) is swept when the Trevor Hudson Literary Heritage Foundation appoints him to review the author's notes to comprise a finished draft of his final manuscript, by working on the spot in his Custer's Creek study, at the family residence. Robert, scrutinizing the master's notes, uncovers material which family members deem controversial and insist that he would abide by the original agreement, to preserve "Trevor Hudson's Legacy."

On the day of a reception to mark the issue of a U.S. Postage Stamp to commemorate Trevor Hudson, at an event outside Custer's Creek Post Office, Barney addresses the gathering, while Cat is missing. It seems that she has picked up hitchhiker Adam Perry (David Bradley), who somehow succumbs to her wiles, leaving her another means to blame the resulting affair on Barney.

Trevor Hudson Literary Heritage Foundation Executive Director Dorothy Westerfield (Georgia Brown) also attends the reception, after she arrives in Montana with Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), a friend and associate of Trevor Hudson, and a former instructor of protégé Robert 'Bob' Jarrett. They are also welcomed into the Hudson residence--or for the time being, at least.

That night, after Barney spots the shadows of Adam in Cat's quarters, the rifle-packing Olivia sees reflections of activity near the garage, and Jessica hears the breaking of glass coming from on the downstairs floor. By candlelight, Jessica, naturally, investigates what appears to be a break-in, and, also naturally, stumbles across a body on the premises, and discovering that the research is missing.

An investigation ensues, headed by Sheriff Hank Masters and Deputy (Jay Horton), as Doctor (Raymond Davis) pronounces the victim deceased. Dorothy Westerfield goes along with Maria Hudson's wishes to end the research, leaving Jessica on the outside looking in to the reason behind the murder in the dysfunctional household.

After Jessica is sent packing, she receives her sudden burst of logic and manages to convince Andrew Hudson to hasten across Custer's Creek with her because "There's going to be another murder!" before all is told insofar as "Trevor Hudson's Legacy" is concerned.

This episode marks the first of three acting appearances each for David Bradley and Raymond Davis, and one of three for Jay Horton. Georgia Brown and Don Galloway have unfortunately since passed.
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The legacy of Trevor Hudson
TheLittleSongbird19 September 2017
Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

There are better episodes from Season 5 and of 'Murder She Wrote' in general, but "Trevor Hudson's Legacy" is still a solid effort. There is not much to fault it, but personally was put off by Jessica's lack of remorse. Can understand the remorselessness of the perpetrator(s), that is not unusual for 'Murder She Wrote' at all though there are a fair share of feel-sorry-for killers too, but at this point this was out of character for the usually sympathetic Jessica.

On the other hand, the cast can't be faulted. Jessica Fletcher is one of Angela Lansbury's best remembered roles for a reason, while Michael Learned, Yvette Niper and especially Steve Forrest give terrific guest supporting turns. The mystery is engaging and twisty with a surprising ending, though the whole business with the broken glass was very much guessable early on.

Production values as always are slick and stylish. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

Writing is thoughtful, humorous and easy to like.

In summary, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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