In Grover's Bend, a town with no lawman, the storekeeper telegraphs the Captain that a pacifist religious group which raises sheep is being bullied by a group of cattlemen. "The Peaceables" can't defend themselves because of their religious principles. Chad, Joe and Reese are sent to protect them (no Erik in this one), despite the fact that Reese has just thrown out his back lifting a beer barrel in a bar bet.
Pacifists rarely prevail in tv westerns. They are sometimes sympathetic characters helped out of trouble by the series hero or they can be comical characters, also helped by the series hero, but usually less sympathetic. Laredo most always took the lighter side of every issue. So the Peaceables, as represented by Delia Snilly and her father Ernest, were strident and comically out of touch with reality but still worthy of Ranger protection.
By the time the Rangers get to Snilly's sheep ranch, Reese is in serious need of bedrest. Ernest insists that they don't need the Rangers. If the Peaceables can just show the "high-spirited" cowboys the power of reason and brotherly love, they'll stop their "pranks" which include beating up Peaceables, cutting fences and running off stock. Chad and Joe head for town, leaving Reese to the tender care of Delia who bristles at Joe's advice that Reese keep his "hog leg" handy in case Garmes' men start trouble. Under the gaze of the lovely Delia, Reese seems ripe for conversion.
In Grover's Bend, Chad and Joe see Aces Brady and figure he's involved. After touching bases with the shopkeeper who sent the telegram, they find Garmes and Aces' gang in the saloon. While Joe and Chad let Garmes and Aces know the law is in town, Delia comes looking for them. She wants them to talk to Reese immediately, believing Reese will convince them that violence will solve nothing. When she walks into the saloon, it is apparent to Chad that Garmes is smitten with her, although she won't give him the time of day until he renounces his violent ways.
When Joe and Chad return to the Snilly ranch, they walk in on Delia and Reese singing a rousing rendition of "Tormented by the Flame." They're unable to talk any sense into Reese who is clearly besotted by Delia. They return in disgust to Grover's Bend where they reopen the jail. Delia goes into town with Reese, hoping he can show them by example where he has failed to persuade them with words. Reese, wearing the garb of the Peaceables, tries to reason with Aces Brady. In return he gets his hat set on fire and then a dousing in the horse trough.
Reese then tries to stop two of Aces' men from beating up the storekeeper who was seen taking the keys to the jail to Chad and Joe. However, his attempts to reason with them results in a whack on the head. Joe and Chad interfere and carry the two men off to the jail. On the way, two other men try to free the first two. All four get packed off to jail. While Chad and Joe eat dinner, they mull over how to stop Aces' gang from carrying out their threat to burn out all the Peaceables.
Chad and Joe decide that with four in jail, if they just round up the rest, Aces won't be able to carry out his threat. They gather up the first two for spitting on the sidewalk and defacing a public building. However, Aces figures out what they're doing and sets four of his men to fighting in the street while the rest wait hidden with rifles ready. When Chad and Joe come out of the jail, they're fired upon and Joe gets one of those ubiquitous shoulder wounds. The boys have enough ammunition for a couple of hours but after a little heavy gunfire, figure on a way to get Reese to abandon his newfound pacifism and come to their aid.
They get Garmes to come over for a talk, where he claims he's trying to get Aces to stop, but can't control him. Chad persuades him that Delia is really crazy about him but is disappointed in his lack of forcefulness. Chad tells him he should just go and grab her. Chad figures this will get Reese moving.
Unexpectedly, it is Delia not Reese that takes care of the amorous Garmes, with a cast iron frying pan. But it has the desired effect of galvanizing Reese into action. He takes the unconscious Garmes to town and creates a diversion. The gang is captured.
Delia admits to Chad that hitting Garmes with the frying pan gave her more pleasure than anything that had ever happened in her life. Chad reckoned how he thought she might like it if she gave it a try. Reese cannot fathom this turn of the tables. He suffered greatly to maintain the facade of a pacifist, but in the end, it's Chad that Delia is looking at with soulful admiration. He really begins ranting when Chad admits he was the one who put the idea in Garmes head to rile Reese into action. He stops when he sees the look of horror on Delia's face in reaction to his threats against Chad. She doesn't notice the smug look on Chad's face.
NiteOwl Review: This was one of the better second year episodes with writer, director and producer from the first year. It has Chad and Joe working as a team in a way not much seen in the second season. And enough Reese comic interludes to satisfy the Brand contingent. This is how we liked Laredo best, with Reese as a comic counterpoint to action dominated by Chad and Joe.
Cast Note: Barbara Anderson started the next tv season as a regular on Ironside.
Our Favorite Scene: As Chad and Joe are holding off Aces' gang, they start running low on ammunition. As Chad is reloading, he discovers he's running on empty. He casually reaches over and grabs a bullet off Joe's belt. That's camaraderie. (However, whoever was responsible for continuity didn't take note. Chad's gunbelt is full of bullets as he laughs over sending Garmes to paw Delia.)
Chad and Joe are not impressed with Reese's conversion to pacifism
As Chad and Joe try unsuccessfully to straighten out Reese's back, the Captain comes in with the telegram.
He has no sympathy for Reese's back pain. He assures him that a few days in the saddle with fix him up.
Leader of the Peaceables
His daughter, Delia
Snilly rails against Ranger ways
Chad and Joe confront Brady and Garmes
Reese tries peaceful ways
but is tormented by the flame
Chad and Joe reopen the jail
Chad and Joe start collecting the gang
They plot to get Reese back in action
Chad cons Garmes into thinking Delia likes him
Chad's idea works but not quite as he planned
Chad converts Delia to the less peaceable path
But what are friends for?
Original air date Feb 10, 1967
Directed by Ezra Stone
Written by Gene L. Coon
Neville Brand as Reese Bennett
Peter Brown as Chad Cooper
William Smith as Joe Riley
Robert Wolders as Erik Hunter
Phil Carey as Capt. Parmalee
Barbara Anderson as Delia Snilly
Malcolm Atterbury as Ernest Snilly
Edward Faulkner as Ed Garmes
Robert F. Simon as Mr. Tinker
Rick Roman as Aces Brady
Clay Tanner as Abe
Hoke Howell as Burt
Russ McCubbin as Harry
Rudy Vejar as Jack
Lennie Geer as Ben
David Leland as Clyde
William Henry as Sam
Official Peter Brown Fan Site