When Wishbone and Mushy realize Hannibal is not safe they try to help. They are brought back tied up while Hannibal is tarred and feathered. Hannibal returns to Deadhorse and the men want to help him against Favor's better judgment.
Hannibal with the aid of Deputy Ef Wiley builds and tests the scaffold as Wihbone and Mushy buy and load supplies. As the Hammerklein boys and friends gather, Wishbone and Mushy try to protect Hannibal. The result is them being returned to camp tied up along with Hannibal who is tarred and feathered. The next day the stubborn Hannibal returns to Deadhorse to finish the job after explaining to Favor and the men why. Favor tells the men it is none of their business but they are determined to help Hannibal. The result is a potential showdown between the drovers and the Hammerklein friends and boys with several dying on each side. The Sheriff finally decides to do his duty and face down the Hammerklein side and carry out the Judge's orders. Jud, realizing his sons' lives are on the line, orders them to turn over their weapons telling them it is his turn to save them much as their mother had done before when they were younger. Written by
good start and idea, but implausible, and I was was disappointed in ending
I gave Part I a high vote because the story was so imaginative: the richest, friendliest, most powerful, most popular man in town does something that admittedly everyone in town would have done in his situation -- gun down the lowly card sharp who murdered his son. But a judge and jury convict him of premeditated murder and sentence him to hang, as a warning to others that you shouldn't take the law into your own hands! The condemned man (Jud Hammerklein, played by Broderick Crawford) professed not to be worried because he didn't think anyone in town would execute him, he being so popular and justified. I had to suspend disbelief, but I enjoyed the episode and wondered how this would turn out in Part II. I saw Part I on Friday and eagerly awaited Part II on Monday.
Well, they hung him, to my great surprise and disappointment! Among my qualms: (1) there were so many extenuating circumstances that I don't think Jud would ever be condemned to death in real life. A prison term would have been enough of a punishment to show that no one is above the law. (2) in real life there would be lawyers involved and disputed facts; the date of execution would not be so soon; there would be appeals; and there would be a pardon or commutation of sentence, especially for such a rich and popular old man, a pioneer. (3) if the out-of-town professional hangman would be scared away, there would always be another under guard, or Jud would have been moved out of town -- so much for Jud's idea that no one would execute him. (4) Favor and his men have to be the luckiest group alive. This is the umpteenth time that there is a potentially violent standoff of opposing armed forces at the end of the episode, and just in the nick of time Favor and his men are saved by the opposing forces coming to their senses and giving up! (5) are Jud's sons going to be jailed for attempted murder of the executioner? Never mentioned.
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