A reclusive old man with an Apache bodyguard is wanted for a crime committed long ago. Randall tags along with an overeager bounty hunter to ensure the man is brought back alive as a favor to the Sheriff and the old man.

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Clark Daimler
Jean Howell ...
Juanita Hernandez
...
Juan Hernandez
...
Sheriff John Tatum
Dennis Cross ...
Charley Two Hawks
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Storyline

Josh is allowed by some Indians to use their village well, although they meet him in a very unkindly way. When Josh relates this incident to his old acquaintance John at the Sheriff's Office in Miles City, John tells him that he have met the Indian Charlie Two-Hawks and the half-breed Juanita Hernandez. Juanita and her father Juan Hernandez have lived 15 years with a tribe of Indians two days away from Miles City. They are very reclusive, and never visit the town. John is suddenly interrupted by the bounty hunter Daimler, who steps into the office and says that he overheard them. Daimler is convinced that the mysterious Juan Hernandez in reality is Don Diego Vasquez, who has been wanted 15 years for murder. There is a reward of 500 dollars for him - dead or alive - and Daimler is going to get it. Josh promises the sheriff to stop Daimler from killing Juan Hernandez. Instead he will bring the old man alive to Miles City for a fair trial. Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

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Western

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Release Date:

20 September 1958 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Quotes

Josh Randall: What was the bounty?
Charley Two Hawks: The thumb from his right hand.
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User Reviews

 
Bad Karma Bites Bounty Hunter
5 March 2016 | by (Omaha, Nebraska) – See all my reviews

Another excellent episode of the series, one that finds the spotlight shining brightly upon guest star Mort Mills as bounty hunter Clark Daimler. Daimler's merciless and mercenary bounty hunter allows Josh Randall to stand out as an atypical example of the ignoble profession.

Daimler has unearthed a fifteen-year-old wanted poster for a killer named Vasquez, whom Daimler believes is living in a nearby compound under the alias Hernandez. The story does have an unsettling amorality to it. Vasquez is a wanted murderer, yet he's cast in a sympathetic light compared to Daimler, who earns his living and provides a public service scouring the scum off the plains and points west. Daimler's modus operandi does shade towards the "dead" of "wanted: dead or alive," and Randall follows to ensure Vasquez gets a chance to stand trial for his crimes.

Nice touches that reveal character include Hernandez/Vasquez sipping his wine while Daimler downs it in a single gulp, just as he would a whiskey shot, showing what an uncouth character he is. Couple that with Daimler's boast that he has no qualms about killing women.

Why does Daimler panic at the sight of Randall approaching? Daimler had taken the Mare's Leg and thus Randall was unarmed. In an ironic twist, Randall's sudden appearance racing down the hill towards the compound inadvertently forced Daimler's hand. By all appearances and indications he was going to bring Vasquez back alive.

The dying Vasquez's mask slips, revealing a sadistic and spite-tainted soul beneath that thin veneer of civility. Earlier Vasquez placed a bounty of his own--on Daimler's gun-cocking thumb. And Apache Charley Two-Horse is intent on collecting. Such savagery was wince-inducing, and as despicable as Daimler was, mutilation struck me as a penalty outweighing the perceived crime.

Mills uses facial expressions to great effect throughout. I love the sidelong glance he gives to Josh after gunning down Vasquez. Even Josh knew to back away while the blood lust still surged in Daimler's veins. The story veers into TWILIGHT ZONE territory when Daimler glances around and sees a dozen or so Indians looking on, but when he glances up again a moment later they've all vanished. We discover where they went soon as Daimler is subjected to unrelenting psychological warfare to the point of utter collapse. A lesser actor would overplay these scenes, but Mills strikes the perfect balance. His dazed and confused countenance when Josh takes the reins at the end is another testimony to Mills' talent.

This was the first of Mort Mills' five appearances on the series and it is obvious why the producers kept bringing him back. My personal favorite Mills appearance is the upcoming "Eight Cent Reward" Christmas program, but no other episode allowed Mills the abundant screen time to display his talents as did his featured role here. James Burke also makes the first of his three appearances as Marshal Methuselah. No, not really, but at age 72 and boasting a wizened and weather-beaten face Burke is authentic as a world-weary Wild West lawman. He'll be back playing sheriffs, all differently named, in his later appearances.

At the 11:42 mark the camera pans across a crowd of Apaches, stopping on the arrestingly beautiful face of a squaw holding a clay pot. The actress is clearly not an American Indian and, alas, goes unidentified in the credits. By contrast, leading lady Jean Howell, described as a "breed" by Josh, looks downright matronly.

One of my favorite scenes in this episode is when the aging lawman enjoys a conversation with the young gunman over a couple cups of coffee. Samuel Peeples wrote this episode, and that scene foreshadows even if faintly THE TALL MAN, the 1960-62 series Peeples created starring Barry Sullivan and Clu Gulager as Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

Just as that later series contrasted its two characters, this episode did a fine job of showing both sides of bounty hunting and illustrating in Daimler why the profession suffered a tarnished image. Josh Randall will ride the trail to redeem that image in the ensuing 91 episodes, and it's a ride worth taking!


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