Josh Stryker, a former U. S. Marshal, returns to Dodge City after fifteen years in prison for murder. His former deputy, Matt Dillon was the main witness who convicted him. Now Stryker is ...
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Josh Stryker, a former U. S. Marshal, returns to Dodge City after fifteen years in prison for murder. His former deputy, Matt Dillon was the main witness who convicted him. Now Stryker is torn between his hatred for Matt, his reconciliation with his daughter Sarah Jean, and the threat he faces from two outlaws, Jessup and Reager.Written by
When Josh Stryker returns to Dodge City after his release from 15 years in prison, he is a bitter man. Stryker was the former U.S. Marshal in Dodge, and Matt was his Deputy. Stryker was convicted for killing a ruthless outlaw that burned a house with a family inside. The family happened to be close friends of Stryker. It seems the outlaw taunted Stryker while admitting to burning the house. In a fit of rage, Stryker shot the outlaw three times. Matt witnessed the shooting and testified against Stryker, which led to his conviction.
Stryker has refused to admit his crime for all these years, and he blames Matt for giving what he considers false testimony. As far as Stryker is concerned, Matt betrayed him out of ambition.
Stryker also returns to Dodge with only one arm, as his left arm was amputated by a prison doctor. This adds to Stryker's sense of injustice over his circumstances.
Stryker's daughter still lives in Dodge, and now works at the Long Branch Saloon. Stryker settles in with his daughter, but he is still haunted by both his perceived sense of injustice, as well as a couple of fellow ex-cons that consider their prison-based comradery with Stryker can be used to their nefarious ends.
Once again, we have an outstanding cast. Morgan Woodward plays Josh Stryker perfectly. The viewer can see Stryker's torment, while also feeling sympathy for his situation. Royal Dano is outstanding as one of the ex-cons named Jessup. Dano could play sympathetic characters, goofy characters, and-as he does here-truly sinister characters. Joan Van Ark portrays both beauty and strength in her role as Stryker's daughter, Sarah Jean. We also even get a couple of scenes with the memorable Andy Devine.
(Watch for an uncredited appearance by Jonathan Goldsmith, who was performing during this time under the name Jonathan Lippe-his stepfather's name. Goldsmith was his birth name. Goldsmith had just appeared in the previous episode, "The Devil's Outpost." In this episode he appears in a flashback scene as the killer Stryker shot and killed. I wonder if he shot the scene for this episode at the same time he was shooting the previous episode?)
We don't get too many episodes that provide any Matt or Dodge City backstory. That alone adds to the interest in this episode. There is a lot going on in this episode, too. However, the story seems a bit slow and overly talky at times.
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