Don Collier, Jock Gaynor and Barton Maclane are US Marshals in the OLK Territory. They must deal with all the riff-raff that blow their way.
Alfred Ryder, a quick man with a gun has annoyed his fellow area ranchers. He has put up barbed wire fences to block access to a public right of way. Barton MacLane sends his deputies, Collier and Gaynor out with a court order to take down the wire.
Ryder is not impressed with the order and blames his nearest neighbour, Edward Binns, for going to the law. He threatens to kill Binns the next time he sees him. He does however take down the wire.
The next day Binns rides up with a herd of cattle to move through the right of way. Waiting for him is Ryder, his son, Hampton Fancher, and several hired hands. Deputies, Collier and Gaynor are also on hand to make sure there is no trouble.
Ryder backs off and lets Binn's cattle pass. He will wait till the law is elsewhere before he acts. His son, Fancher, thinks his father has turned yellow.
Later that day, Fancher tells Ryder that he thinks Ryder is really a coward and all his talk of being a man is hooey.
That night, Ryder rides over to Binns place where he guns the unarmed Binns down. He then puts a gun-belt on the body and rides off. It will look like self- defence. Only problem for Ryder, is that there is a witness to the killing.
Binns' Chinese cook, H.T. Hsiang, grabs a horse and rides into town to report the murder. Collier and the boys ride out and put the pinch on Ryder. Ryder's wife, Vivi Janis, steps up and says that their son, Fancher, was also there and will swear it was self -defence. Fancher, without thinking, agrees. "The other man drew first."
As the court date draws closer, Ryder gives Fancher a note to deliver to a man several towns over. The man, Leonard Nimoy, is a hired gun Ryder has used before. He is to "take" care of the witness against Ryder.
Court day arrives and the deputies bring Hsiang over to testify. Nimoy, hidden on a nearby roof plugs Hsiang with a well placed rifle shot. No witness, no trial.
Ryder has a word with one of his hired men, Lane Bradford. He sends him to "pay off" Nimoy. Deputy Gaynor thinks something is fishy here and follows. Bradford meets Nimoy at a campsite out of town. He tosses Nimoy a wad of cash and then shoots him as he counts it.
Now deputy Gaynor pops out of the woods and tries to arrest Bradford. Bradford is not in a complying mood and the two exchange rounds. Bradford comes out on the losing end of the exchange and is killed.
Back in town, Ryder is released and hits the saloon to tip a few. Fancher refuses to have a drink with his father. He finally sees his father for the murderer he is.
Ryder follows Francher outside intending to belt him around. Waiting in the street is Binns' son, Robert Harland. Harland wants revenge and goes for his gun. Ryder beats him to the draw and drops him in one shot.
Collier and Gaynor arrive on the scene. Collier walks up to Ryder and says. "You going to shoot a US Marshall here in front of all these people? They will hang you for sure." Collier then grabs Ryder and dunks him in a handy horse trough. He then roughs him up and tosses him in the dirt. "Get out of town!"
A thoroughly upset Ryder, gets to his feet, then pulls on Collier hitting him in the leg. Collier goes down, but manages to return fire, killing Ryder. Problem solved.
A decent episode of a series I had never seen before this.
The director was vet western director, Jesse Hibbs. He did several Audie Murphy films, TO HELL AND BACK, RIDE CLEAR OF DIABLO, WORLD IN MY CORNER, JOE BUTTERFLY, WALK THE PROUD LAND and RIDE A CROOKED TRAIL, before moving to television.
The writer was well known noir writer, Daniel (Geoffery Homes) Mainwaring. OUT OF THE PAST is his most famous work.
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