Farmer Fred Carter's series of apparently random potshots at passing cars draws increasing attention from Dan Mathews and his officers. When Herb Dunlap is killed by one of the shots, investigation reveals that the incident was murder rather than random vandalism. Dan learns that recently released ex-convict Jim Purcell had a grudge against the victim. Purcell is initially a strong suspect, but Dan finds that much of the evidence against him was "planted" by someone else. Dan turns his suspicions to Fred Carter when he learns that Carter also had a grudge against Dunlap. Carter attempts to flee when confronted with the evidence, leading to a gun battle with Dan and his officers in the heavily wooded terrain. Written by
This episode includes an exchange in which Fred Carter asks Dan Mathews why he isn't looking for juvenile delinquents, since the shots at cars are initially thought to be vandalism. Dan advises Carter that he'd be surprised how many "middle-aged delinquents" there are. The exchange is something of an "in" joke. The official ZIV writer's guide for this series stated in no uncertain terms that stories about juvenile delinquents would not be accepted and also stated that the storyline needed to make it obvious that any delinquent was an adult. See more »
Vandalism, in which acts of violence erupt suddenly without motive or purpose, poses an endless and dangerous puzzle for law enforcement agencies. But the case of Fred Carter was doubly dangerous; for this man used apparently pointless vandalism to mask a sinister motive and a deadly purpose. What appeared to be random sniping at passing cars was, in reality, a carefully constructed pattern for murder.
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