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"Stories of the Century" The Doolin Gang (1954)

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"There's somethin' fishy about this!"

Author: classicsoncall from Florida, New York
5 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As "Stories of the Century" progressed deeper into their first television season of 1954, the episodes got weaker and weaker. Though nominally based on historical figures of the Old West, it appeared the producers were stretching to come up with viable bad guys to base their stories on. Bill Doolin was an American outlaw who formed a gang that robbed banks, trains and stagecoaches in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas in the 1890's.

The story presented here is almost certainly a work of fiction. During the robbery of a train station paymaster, one of Doolin's (Leo Gordon) henchmen is fatally shot, and giving the man up for dead, he writes a letter to the man's wife. Sarah Brinkley (Joan Shawlee) arrives in Ingalls, Oklahoma to collect her husband's share of the robbery money, but in the meantime, Railroad Detective Frankie Adams (Mary Castle) impersonates the wife searching for her 'missing' husband.

What's actually novel about this story, something I haven't seen before in any Western, has to do with not one, but two women actually getting knocked out by outlaws! A henchman named Red (Don Kennedy) slugs Frankie, and later on, Doolin uses a horse collar to knock Sarah unconscious! Apparently outlaws in the Old West didn't make allowances for the fairer sex.

However the resolution of the story here is rather weak. Bill Doolin is captured and sent to prison, and in an escape attempt he's shot and killed. A rather unceremonious ending to a rather weak episode.

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