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An ex-con is thought to have killed a local rancher- town at lynching mode
kfo949415 April 2013
The episode opens up with Eban Muchen being awaken by someone in his house. He yells out at the shadow and is then shot multiple times. In runs his hired hand Volney Adams who finds Muchen dead. Someone then starts running from the room and Volney grabs him but the man is able to get away. The next day Lucas and Mark are riding out to Muchen's farm and find Eban dead and Volney sitting in a chair near a state of shock.

With Volney being an ex-con, he thinks that the people are going to blame him with the death. Sure enough it is not long before words spreads and people are in a uproar about the ex-con killing Muchen. People are already getting prepared for a hanging which also includes the hangman named Harold Tenner.

The episode is interesting from beginning to end. In fact it was so entertaining that the entire show seemed like it just began before the ending was approaching. Well written and nice word of film imagination made this even a better program. Good Show.
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The Rifleman: The Hangman
Scarecrow-8812 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Atmospheric opening has an old cattleman waking up to hear a thief in the night taking his money from a specific hidden spot in a brick wall, disrupting him and paying for it with his life. The windows down and the curtains moving, gloved hands pulling away the bricks and grabbing hold of the cashbox, the opening of the episode really kicks off with a bang…it also has a few bangs from a pistol shot towards Mr. Muchen (Ralph Moody), a beloved figure to the town, by that thief hidden in the shadows. A hired hand with a criminal, checkered past named Volney (good ole genre vet, Whit Bissell), hears the gunfire from the barn, rushes in to find his employer shot dead, fully convinced he'll get the hangman's noose even though he's innocent. What might just help poor Volney, someone who has rehabilitated himself and found love (Whit has a really nice, affectionate scene with Betty Lou Gerson's Ellie Aikens), is he scratched the thief with his finger nails after Muchen's killed. While a medicine man (Richard Deacon, who is fun as a rabble-rousing con artist, hawking his "juniper juice") stirs up the town into turning against Volney, just because of a regrettable past, the local hangman, Harold Tenner (Denver Pyle, known by us 80s kids from Dukes of Hazzard) starts building the contraption of death, as heat wave sets in, with Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) concerned that the locals will get so swept up in seeing "justice done", an innocent man might be lynched before he's given a proper trial. Michael Fox is a gabby town gossiper who can't wait to communicate the knowledge of Muchen's death to others.

I think the excellent start—Lucas and his son, Mark (Johnny Crawford), arrive at Muchen's to find Volney in shock, gradually rocking back and forth in a rocking chair—really kicks off the episode with great effect, but I think it ends a bit roughly. I think when you build a plot where a town is against an innocent man, and the innocent man isn't shown on screen as justified with those who were so easy to convict him before he received his due chance to prove his innocence aren't shown on screen as guilty of their efforts to hang someone so willingly. The medicine man should at least have been put in his place, with Micah lording over him with a justifiable contempt. Volney should have been shown leaving the prison with Ellie, relieved and deserved of apologies from all who were just ready to condemn him. At least Lucas finds the real culprit, calls him out, and doesn't allow him to just draw a gun and be put down without facing those in town who were quick to judge another without all the facts revealed. I think because of what is missing from the episode, it goes from a potential classic to just a good show. That isn't a slight against it. The limited running time certainly hurt the episode this go-around.
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Well done episode
gordonl5619 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
THE RIFLEMAN – The Hangman – 1960

Chuck Connors headlines this 1958 to 1963 western series that ran for 168 episodes. Connors is a world class hand with a Winchester rifle. This of course ends up getting him in no end of trouble.

A wealthy local rancher, Ralph Moody, hears something in the night. He goes to investigate and is shot to death. His hired man, Whit Bissell enters several minutes later and catches the killer, rifling through Moody's cash box. The killer clobbers Bissell and makes his escape. Though he never saw the man's face, Bissell did however manage to lose a few fingernails across the killers arm.

The law is summoned and the number one suspect is Bissell. Bissell had done time earlier in his life and maybe he is back to his old ways. Sheriff Paul Fix and Chuck Connors do not believe it. If Bissell was their man, he would have hot footed it away with the cash. Sheriff Fix has to arrest Bissell anyway just in case.

The townsfolk are not so sure about Bissell being innocent. They are being stirred up by a travelling snake oil salesman, Richard Deacon. Not helping matters is Denver Pyle. Pyle is the man the town uses whenever there is a hanging. He starts building a new gallows and Bissell has not even seen a judge yet, or been charged officially.

Connors decides to snoop around on his own. And what does he discover? The hangman, Pyle is the real killer and thief. Hence his wanting a quick trial or even better a lynching of Bissell. Pyle draws a belly gun on Connors, which of course causes Connors to reply with his Winchester. Pyle is clipped in the shoulder and dragged off to the jail-house. He is going to soon have a date himself with a, hangman.

Once again director Joseph H. Lewis handles the episode in a smooth and by the numbers way. (b/w)
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