It just so happens that General William Sheridan, from the Union army, is making an inspection tour in the area. His party rides near the McCain's ranch and Lucas invited them to stay for the evening. This however, is going to cause trouble for Blandon. With some Union officers right outside the barn, Blandon thinks about revenge for the wound that was inflicted and the pain suffered. But more will come out of this meeting when the General and Blandon have more in common that thought.
Royal Dano, who is a regular in western roles, does a nice job of making the story feel personal for the viewer. His acting only enhanced the episode and made for a much better watch. Even though the story had a rather 'fairy tale' ending, it still made for an entertaining show. There is much the viewer has to take for face value but the moral of the story comes though loud and clear. Another good show.
When a homeless man (Frank Blandon, played by Royal Dano) who hasn't had a bath in months shows up, Mark is repulsed, but gives him water. When Mark suggests he use the outdoor shower, the man suggests the boy is trying to insult him for his lack of cleanliness. Frank is similarly combative with Lucas, refusing to accept a few dollars' charity. Lucas hires him for $10 a month, and the man proves a hard worker, despite his handicap.
The handicap is an infected Civil War wound he's carried for over 15 years. It was not properly treated, and is not only a constant source of discomfort, but it smells. Mark (and to a lesser degree, Lucas) can't tolerate it. Mark even says "He's so ugly, I don't want to be around him." (This seems comic -- to me, anyhow -- as Royal Dano was a good-looking man.) In his anachronistic liberal fashion, Lucas suggests that their intolerance shows they have more problems than Frank does.
Another issue -- which isn't directly commented on by any of the characters -- is that Frank is at least marginally psychotic. Royal Dano gives a fine performance, striking the right balance between "cute"-crazy and threateningly loony (though leaning in the latter direction). For probably the first time in his life, Mark is faced with having to at least tolerate someone who isn't a danger, but isn't at all "likeable".
By great coincidence, General Sheridan and his entourage show up on some sort of inspection junket, and Sheridan sort-of remembers Lucas. Lucas is afraid Frank (a Rebel) is going to do something bad, which he does, pulling a Derringer on Sheridan. Sheridan defuses the situation in an intelligent and gracious fashion (which I found a little hard to believe), and no one is killed. The story ends with Frank hauled off for surgical treatment, which will presumably allow the wound to properly heal. It's not too icky (the ending, not the wound).
Definitely worth seeing, and more than once, as Hume's dialog flies by at near-optical velocity.
Without going into the end result, a wounded and maimed confederate soldier (Royal Dano) arrives at the McCain ranch and Lucas ends up hiring him for some jobs, something to help him along his way. Shortly after, Union General Sheridan arrives with his entourage, and sets up for an overnight stay.
Eventually a confrontation develops and the two former opponents talk of their prior meeting, something we didn't realize, and the story reaches a pretty neat conclusion, as Mark also learns a good lesson. This will become an episode you will watch again, the ending is so satisfying and perfect. It is one of the very best in the entire series.