Randall learns "hate comes high" in a town whose people have hired a trio of killers to murder their fellow resident Randy Holleran, a sniveling drunkard whom Josh can't stand but has promised his father to protect.
When Josh rides into town and asks for Randy Holleran, he is mistaken by a local resident for one of the three men hired to kill Holleran. Ted Dawson corrects the man as Josh states he is there to protect Holleran, not kill him. He rides down the street to the office where Holleran is holed up with a bottle in hand and the pretty Bess Wilson trying to protect him. Holleran recognizes Josh who has promised his friend, Holleran's dad, to protect Holleran. The drunken Holleran refuses to use a rifle saying he doesn't know how. After sending Bess home, Josh tries to find help starting with Sheriff Jackson who says he will be busy making his rounds collecting taxes for days. At the telegraph office he finds the system broken. The city doctor who has no sympathy for Holleran either explains Holleran against people's wishes forced them to sell him the land he needed for a rail spur when a smallpox epidemic hit and he held up the delivery of medicine. Josh is left with Bess to protect ... Written by
No! It wasn't my fault! I couldn't help what I did. It's what's happened to me in my past. I've been sick all my life. My father never wanted me! It's not my fault!
Nobody has an easy time in this world, Holleran. Either you climb out of the muck and become a human being... or you die.
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This episode is a good example of how good, and varied, the writing was on the TV western. In this story, Josh isn't hired to bring back a killer for a reward but just to protect a friend's son who seems to be in trouble with the town.
"Trouble" is an understatement. The whole town wants "Randy Holleran" (Don Dobbins) dead, except his girlfriend "Bess" (Susan Oliver.) The town folks all hate his guts. Randy is sniveling, money-hungry young guy who bought up a bunch of houses in town so that a "spur" (railroad) would go through the town. The town residents didn't want it, but Randy used every "underhanded trick he could think of" to accomplish the goal, even if six innocent people had to die in the process. Now, the town has had it and has all chipped in to buy off three hired killers to do the greedy man in.
Why doesn't Randy just leave? Because his dad said something about staying for one year and receiving a lot of money for doing so, so Randy would rather face the gunmen than forfeit a big wad of cash. Another problem is that Randy wants no part of guns, only bottles of whiskey so he can drown his sorrows. He's a very unlikable whiner and even Josh has no sympathy for him, either. However, the always-justice minded Randall isn't going to stand back and see three killers gun down an unarmed man, either.
This episode has good close-up photography, almost reminding me of a Sergio Leone western. Many of the actors in here are familiar faces, men who acted on many a TV show in the '50s and '60s.
Overall, a very different and interesting show and a good example of why this 1950s western was top-notch. Kudso to Fred Freiberger, the writer of this episode.
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