On the way to Fort Hastings Flint is joined by his Sioux friend Curly Horse at a water hole as Flint is attacked by a Cheyenne brave. Traditionally enemies, the Cheyenne and Sioux may be working together. Curly tells Flint the Major's daughter Martha is still at the fort. Martha wants little to do with Flint partly because he left her plus she thinks he is a renegade white man because of his friendship with Curly Horse and the Sioux. A patrol led by Capt. Wade Forrest to whom Martha is engaged is attacked by the Sioux. He is wounded in the leg and hides while the other survivor Private Carpenter goes on foot to Fort Hastings for help. The Major decides to send Flint and Curly Horse to rescue Forrest. The Sioux have taken Forrest prisoner so Curly Horse goes to his camp while Flint returns to Fort Hastings. Flint finds everyone dead except Martha who is partly crazed. He is able to sneak Martha out but her actions lead to the Sioux capturing them. Black Panther wants Martha for his ... Written by
When Flint is shot at after returning to the fort, his knife is in his sheath. When he is shown going up the stairs to where Martha is, there is no knife in his sheath (he has his pistol out at this point, not his knife). When he gets to the top, the knife has re-appeared. See more »
Listen well. Torture to begin at daybreak on hot coals that are left...
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Robert Horton, playing frontier scout Flint McCullough, was stripped of his shirt and subjected to various tortures in three episodes of the long-running "Wagon Train" series. First came "The Gabe Carswell Story" in January of 1958 in which a vengeful Indian staked him out bare-chested, in spreadeagle style, and left him to slowly roast and dehydrate under the scorching-hot sun. (This came just one month after a shirtless Richard Boone suffered the same fate in a "Have Gun Will Travel" episode.) Then came "The Ruth Marshall Story" in December of 1959 in which -- after shooting an arrow into his leg -- Indians suspended Horton by his wrists, again bare-chested, and left him to dangle with his feet off the ground until he lost consciousness. Finally, in a December of 1961 episode titled "The Traitor," Horton was tied to the side of wagon and given 20 lashes with a bullwhip across his bare back by a sergeant in the U.S. Cavalry. Together these three torture sequences constitute perhaps the high point of homoerotic sadism during that entire era of television.
"The Martha Barham Story" offers a splendid opportunity to add a fourth torture sequence to this pantheon of pain. Horton, along with a U.S. Cavalry Captain played by the semi-handsome, well-put-together Mike Road, is captured by Indians. The word "torture" has already been used several times in the dialog and the Cavalry Captain has already been tortured, though we don't see this, by having burning torches applied to the soles of his bare feet. Now he and Horton are scheduled to be tortured to death at daybreak in some unspecified manner but it will clearly involve the use of fire. Yes sir, all that hair on Horton's chest will soon be set aflame! However, the Indians make the mistake of not securing their captives for the night before the torture. True, they leave Horton and the Captain barefoot inside a ring of fire on the assumption that even when the fire dies down, these men will be unwilling or unable to walk across the glowing embers on their bare feet. Ha! (No wonder Indians always come out second-best in these encounters.) Horton simply strips off his jacket and shirt -- thus giving us the requisite look at his bare torso, nicely gleaming with sweat -- so that he can tie them around his feet. He's then able to slowly, carefully walk across those hot coals carrying his fire-crippled companion. (Security was obviously not a high priority in this particular Indian village.) After all that build-up to an orgy of beefcake, bondage, and brutality, one can't help be disappointed that Horton emerges with nothing more than a case of mildly-toasted feet. Even his shirtless scenes, which come quite late in the episode, occur at night and thus aren't well-lighted. And then there's the matter of Ann Blyth, this episode's guest star, who plays an annoying sort of woman. We're told that she and Flint McCullough had once been an "item" but this seems merely a way to assure us that Flint McCullough is "straight" despite the tender way he carried the Captain across those coals on his well-muscled shoulders.
(Mike Road, who plays the Captain, never gets to take his shirt off in this episode, perhaps to avoid competing with Horton, the show's resident "beefcake" provider. If you want to see Road's bare chest, check out a "Sea Hunt" episode which he filmed at about this same time. In this episode, titled "Underwater Beacon," Road shows off his chest which is nicely thatched with hair, particularly over the sternum.)
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