Railroad Detective Matt Clark (Jim Davis) and his assistant Frankie Adams (Mary Castle), investigate the stealing of a herd of horses belonging to the U. S. Cavalry. They learn that the ...
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With all the famous outlaws whose names became household words, I thought it a bit curious that the producers of 'Stories of the Century' would lead off with one about a woman. Just an observation, as this story about Belle Starr was a pretty good one. Starr is portrayed by B Movie stalwart Marie Windsor who's not the least bit subtle in her characterization of the female horse thief and all around bad girl. The wild feather in her hat was a bonus.
The story opens a bit comically as Belle catches her husband Sam (Ric Roman) losing fifteen hundred dollars in a card game and proceeds to steal it all back from the hapless players. Apparently Sam Starr was a shiftless sort who liked gambling and whiskey, though I couldn't tell which one he preferred - he got busted for both.
The series headliner Jim Davis is Matt Clark, Railroad Detective who often works with a female assistant portrayed by Mary Castle. Her character is Frankie Adams, and in this story it looked like Matt just happened to bump into her by accident working undercover in the frontier town of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Both it seems were on the trail of Belle Starr and a herd of horses she and her gang recently rustled.
Before this one's over, Belle and Frankie engage in a spirited cat fight in the dress shop Frankie's using as a cover. Had it gone longer it might have made my list of wildest TV and movie Western brawls, but Belle ended it unceremoniously by knocking Frankie out. Up till then though it was a spirited tussle.
If you've seen any of these Stories of the Century, you'll probably question like I do how it is that Matt Clark winds up in the finale of these episodes being central to the featured outlaw's capture. I guess the film makers must have thought it was a good hook for what was back in 1954 a new and hungry audience for exciting TV fare. It might not work as well today, but there's still some historical interest to the stories if you like this stuff. Even unrestored, the show has some decent production values that hold up well today.
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