Black Jack Ketchum is a wanted outlaw in two countries leading him to lie low at the Cullen Ranch in 1890's New Mexico. Matt and Frankie head to the area to stop the gang's activities and save young Eddie Cullen from a hangman's noose.

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Mary Castle ...
...
Black Jack Ketchum
Michael Hall ...
Eddie Cullen
Mitchell Kowall ...
Sheriff Bill Joad (as Mitchell Kowal)
Jean Inness ...
Mrs. Cullen
Charles Horvath ...
Dynamite Man
Zon Murray ...
Henchman Will Couver
Otis Garth ...
Andrew Stone
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Storyline

Black Jack Ketchum is a wanted outlaw in two countries leading him to lie low at the Cullen Ranch in 1890's New Mexico. Matt and Frankie head to the area to stop the gang's activities and save young Eddie Cullen from a hangman's noose.

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Western

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Release Date:

24 June 1954 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
"I wanna rob with you, just like Pa did!"
11 March 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I knew if I hung in long enough, Jack Elam would eventually show up in one of these 'Stories of the Century' episodes. Here he's Black Jack Ketchum, a New Mexico cowboy who took up a life of crime in the American Southwest. It wasn't mentioned in this story how he got his nickname, but ironically, he was incorrectly identified once as another outlaw using the name 'Black Jack', so the name just stuck.

The story here has Black Jack coming up with a novel way of getting his hands on some cash; instead of robbing a train he decided he would blackmail an oil tycoon into paying him off for not blowing up one of his rail cars filled with oil. It seemed like a pretty good ruse, but the first time he tried it, Railroad Detective Matt Clark (Jim Davis) interfered with his plans and the rail car was destroyed before the payoff could occur.

A side story involves the son of a former gang member who was shot and killed during a prior robbery attempt. Eddie Cullen (Michael Hall) wants to join up with Ketchum's outfit, but becomes disillusioned to learn that his father died when Black Jack sent him out to draw gunfire while he made a getaway. Something they don't teach you in outlaw school.

Detective Clark and oil baron Andrew Stone (Otis Garth) devise a plan with the local sheriff (Mitchell Kowal) to trick Ketchum into holding up a wagon train carrying oil intended to replace shipping it by train. When Black Jack goes for it, he's captured by a posse, arrested, and sentenced to death by hanging.

A Wikipedia entry on Black Jack Ketchum carries an interesting postscript to this story. When it came time for the hanging, the rope was too long and Black Jack too heavy, and the rope decapitated the outlaw! His last words according to the San Francisco Chronicle at the time: "Good bye. Please dig my grave very deep. All right, hurry up!"


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