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"Stories of the Century" Clay Allison (1954)

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"Clay Allison's got enough kills to start his own graveyard."

Author: classicsoncall from Florida, New York
15 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In my prior review of the Ben Thompson episode of 'Stories of the Century", I mentioned the fact that a prop used in that story also appeared in this one on Clay Allison. Part of the story here takes place in Cimarron, Texas, and on the way into town you see a sign on a building identifying the Mariposa Saloon. In the Thompson story, the Mariposa is located in Austin, Texas.

The story here involves both Clay Allison and his brother John portrayed by Paul Farber. In the role of Clay is Jack Kelly, who went on to become Bart Maverick in the popular TV show of the late Fifties/early Sixties. What makes this particular episode noteworthy is the fact that Railroad Detective Frankie Adams (Mary Castle) is cold cocked with a gun by John Allison during a payroll robbery! As she comes to, Frankie fires at the masked brothers with her derringer and is shot in the shoulder! I'm just not used to seeing women take this kind of beating in a Western!

Adams' senior partner Matt Clark (Jim Davis) decides to fake the news of Frankie's death during the robbery in order to track down and capture the brothers. He needs the cooperation of the doctor who treated John's own gunshot wound, and even though the doctor agrees, his testimony at the trial is questionable because he 'can't remember'. At which point, Matt brings in his 'dead' star witness, who identifies John as her assailant.

With John facing a death by firing squad, Clay Allison makes the save and rescues his brother. While on the run, they make their way to the town of Seven Rivers in the Pecos Valley. A posse organized by Matt Clark tracks them to Seven Rivers, about to celebrate the Fourth of July with a host of activities. In an entirely fictional wagon chase scene, Clay Allison is thrown from a wagon when it overturns, breaking his back and dying from his injuries the next day. Obviously this scenario was meant to parallel the real life Allison's rather mundane death when a wagon filled with supplies shifted it's load. In trying to catch a sack of flour, Allison fell from the wagon and his neck was broken when a wagon wheel rolled over him.

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