With "Stories of the Century", the episodes could wind up pretty close to being accurate or altogether fictional. This one errs on the side of getting most of it wrong, at least according to a Wikipedia search I did. Historically, Jack Slade pretty much operated on the right side of the law, but because he earned a reputation as a ferocious gunman, the numerous legends that grew about him were mostly false, and certainly unverifiable.
The story presented here has Jack Slade (Gregg Palmer) in charge of a Pony Express relay station, after killing the previous station agent in an altercation. He's then shown going through the mail pouches of an express rider, searching for correspondence that might reveal when large sums of money are traveling through the territory. Along with his gang, Slade organizes a twenty five thousand dollar payroll robbery aboard a stagecoach, attempting to disguise the effort as an Indian raid.
Railroad Detective Matt Clark (Jim Davis) devises a scheme to catch Slade by planting false information in a rider's mail pouch. When Slade unwittingly takes the bait, an Army cavalry troop is waiting to ambush Slade's gang and capture the outlaw. Clark also has a civilian posse at his disposal, and following the attack on the stagecoach, Davis allows the posse to bring Slade back to town to jail. What Clark wasn't aware of was that the members of the posse were part of a citizen's vigilante committee, who strung Slade up as soon as Clark was out of range.
Interestingly, the death of Jack Slade might have been the most accurate part of the story here. Along with his notorious reputation as a gunslinger, Slade also had a drinking problem, not noted in the story. After being fired from the Overland Central Stage Company, Slade went on a drinking spree in Virginia City, Montana and was lynched by local vigilantes for disturbing the peace. The date was March 10th, 1864.
Having watched almost all of the episode in the "Stories of the Century" series, I'd have to say that Jack Slade, of all the famous and infamous characters presented, was probably the only one who in real life would not have been considered an outlaw. But then again, he was no angel either.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?