Favor is taking a short but very tough route which the men question. Another trail boss John Cord tells Favor he is wrong. When Favor becomes sick, he asks Cord to take over but the men question Cord's motives.
Battling a drought, Gil Favor turns the drive off the trail onto badlands, to save time. But his drovers doubt Gil's judgment, especially after a more experienced trail boss John Cord who's passing by, advises against the rougher route. Gil, thinking he is suffering brain fever from an old Civil War injury, seeks the help of the stern, older boss, who is fleeing back home from an unnamed danger. Cord agrees to take over the herd to save the cattle but with no word from Favor about the change, the men and especially Rowdy question Cord's motives. The men quickly admit that Cord's strategy for moving the cattle is letting them make better time while easier on the cattle and men. However, when Rowdy learns Cord's plans for crossing the river, he suspects Cord is working with the Bates gang who want them to pay tribute to cross. In reality Cord has killed the leader of the Bates gang and they want revenge. The Bates gang spots Cord's ramrod in town who leads them to the sick Favor. The ... Written by
Takin' a herd north, you have to trail across nearly a thousand miles of the wrinkled skin of earth. Over terrain as strange and different as paradise above from the hot place below. Mostly its too rough or too steep, too wet or dry, too hot or cold, too windy, too lonely. But you take what comes and find a way to move the beeves on through. At least you try. My name's Gil Favor, trail boss.
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This is one of my favorite Rawhide episodes. I gave it 10 out of 10. I liked the way it revolved around the work of a cattle drive and not some bizarre fish-out-of water episode like aiding a traveling circus or some cute immigrant.
Two qualms I had though were (1) they never explained the predicament, dire choices that well, and (2) I didn't like the belligerent, arrogant, inappropriate comments instead of the men answering and fully explaining their concerns.
For example, in the beginning of the episode, Cord complains about Favor's decisions and route, and Favor logically asks, "Maybe you got a better way?" Cord ignores the question and insults Favor: "Surprised you are boss. I always heard you were a good cowman." And so it goes, men complaining about things and making suggestions, but the points are not threshed out. There are no direct replies; they talk over each others' heads.
I would have liked to know how Cord got them through the badlands to the river. He decided not to turn back. Earlier it was said that there was no trail in the direction Favor was heading.
One last small point. The Bates gang wanted 10-cents a head as tribute to cross the river. That came to $300, which to me (even in those days) was a small amount and perhaps worth it to avoid a gun fight. The cattle are worth $20-$40 per head. Favor is always giving cattle to Indians to avoid trouble, and strays are always running away with no big concern.
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