#17 - "The Brand Release"
A driverless wagon comes into Laramie carrying a wounded man. The doc says he'll make it. They ascertain he's from Riddle but can learn no more until he regains consciousness.
When the sheriff of Riddle comes into town with a hardcase deputy and asks after the owner of the wagon, Johnny clearly doesn't like what he sees. He refers them to Marshal Troop.
Troop tells them the man they're looking for (Ben Greene) is at Doc Russell's. (Little error there as doctor's name is Stewart.) They immediately shackle him up for transport until Dan intervenes. He insists they leave him until the doctor says he can travel.
Greene insists he bought the cattle he's accused of stealing from Gabe Dallas' foreman. His brand release is hidden in his house. Johnny comments astutely that someone's sure lying.
Dan sends Johnny to Riddle to find Greene's wife. However, when he mentions Johnny's errand to Sheriff Lang in William's hearing, Williams takes off for Riddle and brings Gabe Dallas and some men to stop Johnny from getting to the Greene spread. (Sounds a little careless on Dan's part.)
When Dallas sends Sheriff Lang to collect Green, Lang finally starts to develop a spine or at least he figures he'd be better off facing Dallas with Troop behind him than vice versa. He rides out to the Greene place but instead of trying to arrest Greene, he tells Dan he knows Greene is innocent. He was more interested in being sheriff than being honest so he went along with Dallas. Lang goes out with Dan to face them down.
Naturally the three on the side of right prevail despite having let the bad guys spread out and take cover. Troop hands the wounded prisoners over to Lang and tells him Riddle needs him.
NiteOwl Review: This was a mediocre episode as this excellent series went. Too many holes in the script for us. Greene's wife is missing and Dallas seems to know the reason, but Greene doesn't seem too frantic about it. Didn't like Dan just watching bad Chad Williams ride out obviously to tell Dallas that Johnny is coming. Greene was not the first victim of Dallas' on-going practice of selling cattle to newcomers and claiming they were stolen. Lang had a change of heart but he's still a co-conspirator with a clear conflict of interest. (Ok, we have too many lawyers in our video group.)
Our Favorite Scene: Not enough character interaction to have any stand-out scenes. We liked the bit in which Johnny is run out of Riddle by Dallas and his men. One of the men whacks Johnny's horse as though to set him on a gallop, but Johnny skillfully controls the horse and goes off at a controlled trot until he's far enough away that riding hell bent for leather looks like his own idea. (In the final shootout, Dan fired from a prone position but didn't do any kind of graceful drop, roll and shoot a la Peter Brown so no points there.)
They tell Johnny that Greene's wife is visiting relatives. They make it clear he's lucky they don't kill him.
Dan takes Greene back to Riddle himself. Greene retrieves his brand release from it's hiding place. Gabe Dallas shows up to cause trouble but Troop faces him down. He refuses to give up Greene.
Cast Note: R.G. Armstrong was a consummate villain who made appearances in virtually every western series, dozens of western movies and numerous shows from other genres.
Original air date Jan 25, 1959
Directed by Stuart Heisler
Teleplay by Oliver Crawford
& Edmund Morris
John Russell as Dan Troop
Peter Brown as Johnny McKay
R.G. Armstrong as Gabe Dallas
Russ Thorsen as Sheriff Lang
Lee Farr as Ben Greene
Stewart Bradley as Chad Williams
Phil Tead as Mr. Seymour
Zon Murray as Charley Bray
Tom Palmer as Dr. Stewart
Harry Tyler as Seth Billings
Official Peter Brown Fan Site