Dan and Johnny don't have to like Ford though, just keep him alive until they can get him on the next train out of town. When the train is delayed, the mob builds up steam.
Ed Kelly goes after Bob Ford at the Blue Bonnet where he's drinking whiskey. Dan intercedes and takes Ford back to the office. He lets Ford know he doesn't like back shooters either, but everyone's entitled to protection. He has Johnny take him to his hotel room until the train comes.
Dan is assured by Kelly's trail boss Stan Jackson that his men won't cause trouble. But when Dan gets back to town Ford is going stir crazy listening to the taunting song. And he needs a drink. When Dan goes to his room, a frazzled Ford pulls a gun on him. Dan decides Ford would be safer behind bars. With Ford safely in jail, Dan tries to talk the barkeep into closing until Ford gets on the train. He refuses, figuring he'd lose too much money. Kelly refuses to leave and keeps stirring everyone up.
The barkeep changes his mind too late when Kelly brings out a rope. Dan watches the men become a mob. He goes out to face them, trying to talk them down without any shooting.
NiteOwl Review: A decent enough episode but nothing outstanding. Another one that could have been, and probably was, rewritten for one of Warner's other shows. We liked the fact that there was no effort to glamourize Jesse James who Dan notes was a two bit killer.
Historical Note: Jesse James was killed, reportedly by Robert Ford, on April 3, 1882. As with many famous assassinations, there were rumors that Jesse had not been killed. There were news reports which reported various sightings and one newsreel suggested he did not die until as late as 1951. There were a number of grave sites in various states. Forensic science resolved the conflicts by identifying the body in the most likely grave site using DNA from the teeth compared to DNA from a known descendant of Jesse's mother. Other forensic investigation confirmed the cause of death was consistent with the news reports giving credit to Robert Ford. However, disputes about the deaths of famous people have a long shelf life and there are still efforts being made to prove that the man in the 1951 grave is the real Jesse James.
The 1882 assassination date would put Lawman chronologically a bit later than other episodes. In fact, the suicide of Robert's brother Charley Ford, which in occurred in 1884, two years after the killing of Jesse James, is mentioned in this episode. So if we were trying to pin dates on this show, this episode would be placed no earlier than late 1884. But TV writers never really worried about putting historical events in chronological sequence so we won't assume the historical date is meaningful here. Episode 15, "The Captives" was tied to the murder of Bill Hickok which occurred in 1876. In the pilot, Johnny is putting up a grave marker dated 1879 when Troop rides into town.
Bob Ford, who shot Jessie James in the back for a $500 reward, is an unpleasant, alcoholic target for many who saw Jessie James as a symbol of men who were victimized after the Civil War. When he comes to Laramie, Dan and Johnny have to protect him from a simmering mob, which gradually comes to a boil in response to drover Ed Kelly's relentless taunts and a guitar player in the Blue Bonnet Saloon who sings a song about the coward who shot Jessie in the back.
The guitar player who keeps
things stirred up with his song
Ed Kelly harasses Bob Ford
Even back shooters deserve protection
Johnny and Dan conflicted
Dan decides he would be safer in jail
Protecting the man who killed Jesse James
Preparing to catch the train
Original air date Nov 2, 1958
Directed by Stuart Heisler
Teleplay by William Leicester
John Russell as Dan Troop
Peter Brown as Johnny McKay
Dick Foran as Ed Kelly
Martin Landau as Bob Ford
Tony Romano as guitar player
Stuart Randall as Stan Jackson
Emory Parnell as Hank
James Lydon as Nat Davis
Harry Harvey, Jr. as Willy Davis
Cast Note: Classic western supporting actor Stuart Randall, the trail boss here, returned to Laramie as the sheriff when he joined the cast of Laramie as Sheriff Mort Corey in 1960. Martin Landau, who made numerous appearances in episodic TV was probably best known as Rollin Hand, the master of disguise during the first three seasons of Mission Impossible.
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