THE ROUGH RIDERS, from the fall of 1958, may have lasted only a single 39 episode season, but remained popular in syndication for years afterward. The setting is post-Civil War, with Kent Taylor's Union captain, Peter Whitney's Union sergeant, and Jan Merlin's confederate lieutenant joining forces for the long trek West to California, encountering kindly settlers and numerous bad guys en route. Episode 15 (Jan 15 1959), "An Eye for an Eye," features the grizzled villainy of longtime Western heavy Lon Chaney, as Ben Hawkins, patriarch of a quartet of Southerners laying claim to a valley where 'Hawkins blood' was spilled during the recently ended war between the states. Enter Major Steve Johnston (Richard Emory) and his wife Ellen (Allison Hayes), whose farm is located in this very valley, needing the help of the Rough Riders to keep the vengeful Hawkins clan at bay. They successfully manage to drive them off, but the old man refuses to give up the fight, nor allow any of his three sons to disobey his commands (repeating the title phrase, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth"). A satisfying entry that benefits from the formidable presence of the excellent Chaney, here teamed with lovely Allison Hayes, just coming off her iconic "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman," playing the tough as nails wife to a husband unable to speak due to wartime shell shock. It was also a reunion for Chaney and Kent Taylor, previously cast as brothers in Universal's 1945 "The Daltons Ride Again," the other two played by Alan Curtis and Noah Beery Jr.
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