#12 - "The Lady in Question"
Johnny wants to take up where they left off before she left town without an explanation. She says she left because she wanted to be somebody. Johnny shows her that now he is somebody, a deputy marshal. She lets him know she's no longer his girl. (Wasn't that obvious from her two year unexplained absence?)
Julie isn't thrilled to find that her inheritance is $37 and a gold watch. She's disappointed that she'll have to wait until the next morning to get a stage out of town.
As Julie is checking into the hotel, Hal Daniels, dressed like a tin horn gambler, rides up. She is clearly not happy to see him. Before they can exchange more than a few words, Johnny comes in and insists that Julie go with him in a hired rig for a picnic.
After they return, Daniels asserts a certain possessiveness. Although she told Johnny she had decided to stay with Dru instead of at the hotel, she lets Daniels take her back to the hotel. Dru, Dan and Johnny realize something is wrong.
Up in her room, he tells her no one else is is ever going to take her away from him. She wants to know why he won't marry her then. He uses an excuse he's apparently used for a long time. He'll marry her when he gets enough money to take care of her. But she knows that as long as he has his gambling habit, he'll never have enough money. He says his luck will change. She tells him his luck ran out that afternoon, implying that she's going to stay with Johnny.
When Daniels runs into Johnny on the street, he starts to bait him about being a kid with a man's badge. When he insults Julie, Johnny hits him. In the fight that ensues, Daniels pulls out a derringer. In the struggle, Johnny shoots Daniels. Then he leaves the body in the alley and goes for the Marshall. As Julie watches from the hotel window, a little boy runs off with the derringer.
When no derringer is found on the scene, Johnny is almost immediately put on trial for murder. He won't tell Dan why he and Daniels were fighting. He foolishly wants to protect Julie's reputation. None of the witnesses saw Daniels with a gun.
Dru is seemingly unsuccessful in persuading Julie to testify about Daniels. She claims she barely knew him. She insists she has a good reputation.
However, as the trial goes badly for Johnny, Julie appears and tells all. The little boy who took the gun is conveniently in the courtroom with his mother and the gun so Julie can point him out. For some reason, clearing Johnny requires Julie to imply that her relationship with Daniels was "improper" and he tried to kill Johnny because Johnny wanted to marry her.
When Johnny tries to persuade Julie to stay in Laramie, she answers him harshly, deliberately driving him away. As she boards the stage, Dan notes that she laid it on kind of strong. She responds "Well, he has to grow up sometime, doesn't he." Dan comments, "You helped him grow up all right...the hard way."
NiteOwl Review: Despite Peter Brown's rather spectacular success with women in real life, none of us remember him ever having an interesting romance on screen. Although, the few women in our group who watch soaps say he did have a number of interesting love lines in the five soaps in which he co-starred. Johnny McKay was younger and less sophisticated than Peter Brown. In his few story lines which even touched on romance, there was no chemistry. He was sort of an eager puppy waiting to be kicked by a woman clearly too sophisticated for him. In the three Lawman stories where he did have good chemistry with a girl "Chantay," "The Swamper" and "Conditional Surrender," he was the more experienced of the two and there wasn't actually a romance.
Cast Notes: Dorothy Provine was another Warners contract player and one of the more interesting of Warner's starlets. She costarred in The Roaring Twenties and The Alaskans where her singing numbers were often the high spots of an episode. Mike Connors, billed here as Michael, later achieved success in Mannix. Until then he played a lot of charming bad guys. He played a similar part in the Maverick episode "Point Blank" in which Peter had a small part.
Johnny interrupts Dan's shaving
to ask for an hour off
Johnny sees Julie for the
first time in 2 years
Johnny looks unusually naive
Julie looks sophisticated
Dru senses something is wrong
Johnny on the other hand is sunk into depression. He asks Dan if he's ever been in love so much it hurts. With no embellishment, Dan just says, "Yes." Then he gives Johnny the rest of the day off. He tells Johnny if he wants something bad enough, he'd better go after it. There have previously been hints of an important lost love in Dan's life. We learn a little more in episode 26 "The Gang."
Johnny seeks advice for the lovesick
Surprisingly, Dan obliges
Johnny won't take no for an answer
Off to a picnic in the country
"I'm not your girl anymore"
"Who are you to tell me that"
Hal is shot in the struggle
"How well do you know Julie"
The judge wants to know
what the fight was about
"Julie, you don't have to go"
Later, in Laredo he played a more successful and sophisticated Lothario but that show wasn't much on relationships of any kind so the only person he had any chemistry with on screen was William Smith. But Bill says off-camera, the set was littered with women hanging around to work on chemistry with Peter. It's hard to remember now what passed for scandal in 1950s TV. Was the fact that Julie had a relationship with a tin horn gambler so horrible that Johnny would risk prison or hanging rather than admit they were fighting over Julie? And we didn't like the fact that Dan just didn't come out and say to Johnny that he believed him when he said Daniels pulled a gun on him. We suppose that he did, but he never says it.
No one has heard from her since she left two years earlier. They only know of her arrival from the judge who settled the estate. Johnny is clearly more excited to see her than she is to see him. Dru greets Julie while Johnny fetches her luggage. Dru senses something is wrong. Julie tells Dru she won't be staying.
Johnny is all spruced up, wearing a tie and anxious to greet the morning stage. His old girl friend Julie Preston is coming back to Laramie after the death of her father.
Original air date Dec 21, 1958
Directed by Donald Crossland, Jr.
Written by David Lang
John Russell as Dan Troop
Peter Brown as Johnny McKay
Bek Nelson as Dru Lemp
Dorothy Provine as Julie Preston
Michael Connors as Hal Daniels
Harry Cheshire as Judge Trager
Stephen Jay as Jimmy Hines
Ann Stauton as Mrs. Hines
Official Peter Brown Fan Site