Judge Clay and his family join the wagon train. He has a reputation for cleaning up frontier towns, but his fanatical attention to the law sees him ostracized as often as he is praised. He must face this when his son must be tried by him.





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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Flint McCullough (credit only)
Judge Daniel Clay
John Cole
Frances Reid ...
Margaret Clay
Peter Helm ...
Ethan Clay
Jack Mather ...
Frank Lathrop
Carl Grant
Joe Martin
Judge Eli Brown
Mrs. Brown
Jean Inness ...
Nellie Lathrop


Judge Clay along with his family is being transferred - again - to a new frontier town. Known for his strict and usually harsh interpretation of the law his send off is less than friendly when the locals hang a scarecrow on his wagon. His wife and teenage son are affected by the bullying more than the Judge. Charlie prepares a lavish meal of his stew to welcome them but afterwards the Judge is confronted by members of the train led by John Cole about the harsh sentences given in some of his trials. The Judge's son, Ethan, has been reading the law with his father but begins to neglect it when John Cole's sister, Frances. shows an interest in him and he in her. John and Frances have already raised questions about being siblings as they don't look alike or act like siblings. Chris sees a problem developing between Cole and Clay but has no success in preventing Judge Clay from having to face trying his own son. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

21 February 1962 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Maximum Claude
26 August 2013 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

One of my favorite and best remembered Wagon Train episodes starred Claude Rains as a Javert like judge who is traveling west to accept a new judicial assignment with wife Frances Reid and young wet behind the ears son Peter Helm. Rains has a reputation of dealing out maximum sentences to bring and law and order to the untamed west. You do that inevitably you make enemies.

Rains is a strict father and is training Helm in the law. A few lessons on the facts of life should have been given to Helm also because he gets himself in quite a jackpot with Maggie Pierce 'sister' of Fred Beir who's been putting the needle to Rains ever since he joined the Wagon Train.

In the end it's John McIntire with a bit of an illegal search and seizure who finds the real truth. Today what McIntire did would be thrown out of court.

Claude Rains was never bad in anything and he's wonderful as the maximum sentencing judge who learns a little mercy on the Wagon Train.

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