Clarence Miller escapes from the state mental hospital and heads toward a rural area. He becomes the primary suspect when local farmer Ed Burr is killed and his body is found severely mangled. Hungry and confused, he stops at the farm of Lucy Clifford and finds her willing to feed and talk to him. Dan Mathews and his officers converge on the area and find their search hindered by Milo Hobson, a shotgun-wielding friend of the dead man who matter-of-factly states that he has no intention of letting that "...homicidal maniac get off with an insanity plea." Dan learns of Miller's visit to Lucy's farm and he also learns that Burr actually died of a heart attack and that his body was subsequently trampled by livestock. He also learns that he has only minutes to find the confused young man before he becomes a victim of Hobson's shotgun. Written by
Chief Dan Mathews:
If you interfere with an officer, that's a misdemeanor. If you shoot somebody, that's a felony! Think before you do anything! Now, would you mind closing the door?
[closes car door]
You can't threaten me - I pay your salary!
Chief Dan Mathews:
You just got your money's worth in good advice!
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A farmer is found dead, presumably he has been murdered. At about the same time a mental patient (played by Anthony George) escapes from a sanitarium. Learning of this, a neighbor of the dead farmer is sure the mental patient has killed the farmer and sets off to find and kill him. Mathews of course tells the neighbor that there is no evidence that in fact the patient killed the farmer. Hungry, the patient goes into a farmhouse to find something to eat and the owner, an older woman, Lucy Clifford comes upon him. They get along and Lucy trusts the patient and doesn't believe he killed the farmer. Her faith is justified as it is learned that the farmer actually died of a heart attack. When Mathews tells the neighbor who had tried to kill the patient he says something along the lines of "so what if I had killed him; what good is he anyway
just a burden on the taxpayer." That's cold, but we hear similar (if
not quite so blatant) comments today. The one thing I wondered about is how likely is it that a woman alone would send Mathews off when a clearly mentally ill man was in her house? Most unlikely I would have thought.
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