Tod, still alone, is working in Apache Junction, Arizona at a dog racing track. When two men rob and kill the owner, Tod joins the posse trailing into the desert/mountains. The hidden ...
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Tod, still alone, is working in Apache Junction, Arizona at a dog racing track. When two men rob and kill the owner, Tod joins the posse trailing into the desert/mountains. The hidden reason for the crime eventually comes out and makes Tod wonder "can people only make themselves important at the expense of others?". Written by
The title quotation is most likely taken from the Canute Laws of 1016 (England) written to govern ownership of Greyhounds (one figures prominently in the episode). The law read that if a Greyhound was found within the forest "the master or owner of the dog shall forfeit the dog and ten shillings to the king." See more »
[Tod's inner soliloquy, heard as a voice over on the sound track]
What made me come along? Why was I afraid not to go? Was it because I knew this was a moment I'd learn something important? Was I afraid to face it for whatever it was? All right, so what did I learn? That people can only make themselves important at the expense of others? These killings - were they murders? Were they sacrifices, each to a private reason, each to a hidden God? Do people really think that if they go ...
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I'm really becoming hooked on the reruns of ROUTE 66 on ME TV. This episode, unfortunately, suffers from a rather muddled script, or one that was severely edited, as though producer/writer Stirling Silliphant had intended this story to be presented as two one-hour episodes. Instead, it was squeezed into one.
The opening sequences, in which two gunmen murder two other men, are rather cryptic about some of the characters, notably the General (John Anderson) and one of the murder victims, and there is a pointed exchange between Tod and a character called "Jeannie" (Barbara Shelley) which lacks a preface. They talk about Tod's real reasons for going with the posse in pursuit of the murderers, but what's not shown is Tod's previous conversation with Hank Saxon (Steve Cochran) about the need to find and kill the murders. It's only briefly mentioned, and then Jeannie disappears.
I suspect that the central message seems muddled because Silliphant, or whoever edited his teleplay, started out to make a statement about vengeance, then wound up downplaying the vengeful eagerness of Saxon to kill the murderers himself rather than bring them back for trial. The Sheriff (James Brown) alludes to that bloodlust, but, as Tod discovers, Cochran has other motives for wanting to kill the criminals. His desire for revenge is only a sham, but one that's accepted by the rest of the posse. The General also appears eager to shoot the criminals first and question them later, but he at least displays a bit of reserve and a brief willingness to take them alive. His violent intentions are more rational and public-spirited than Saxon's, but still vengeful.
Tod's big revelation at episode's end is, as presented, overwrought and out of proportion. He's appalled by the chaotic violence the murderers inflict in the opening sequence but even more appalled that "law and order" can only respond with vengeance and, thus, more violence. He sees that "an eye for an eye" can only lead to blindness, as they say. Unfortunately, it's an anti-vengeance (not so much anti-violence) message that's not very well conveyed in this episode.
And what's with the dog? They greyhound tie-in isn't very effective either.
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