The town is outraged despite the fact that the buffalo hunters were trespassing on treaty lands and had killed Little Wolf's brother. Townfolk are fearful because the army is south on maneuvers. (The whole contingent of Fort Laramie?)
When Johnny reports to Marshal Troop that Cardigan's men are roughing up little Billy Bright who was once married to a Shoshone woman, Troop wastes no time in breaking it up. When Cardigan continues to insult Billy, he narrowly misses being taken out by a knife thrown by Billy.
Although Troop takes Billy over the the jail, he doesn't hold him. He sends him out the back door and tells him to get a horse from a half-breed horse dealer known as Blanket.
Johnny is amused when Troop tries to suggest that his release of Billy was just a rational choice as a mountain man would just as likely die on them if locked up. Johnny sees the compassion behind the decision and is chided for smiling and told to get to work with a broom. His grin broadens as Troop turns his back.
Dan is chided first by townspeople then by a town councilman over appearing to be sympathetic to the Shoshone. Troop does note that Cardigan killed Wolf's brother but otherwise doesn't bother to try to defend himself much. He always lets them know that they can always get a new Marshal, which of course always backs them down.
Billy Bright goes to see Blanket only to find that Cardigan's men have burned his corrals and killed his horses. They walk off together to seek refuge with the Shoshone. Billy tells Blanket that they could go to the marshal as Troop just saved his life. Shortly thereafter, Newt Whittiker reports that Cardigan and his men lynched Billy Bright.
When Dan goes out to arrest Cardigan, they are interrupted by Wolf and his war party seeking Cardigan as well.
Troop takes an arrow in the shoulder. The Buffalo hunters are killed. Wolf intervenes when a warrior puts a knife to Troop's throat.
Wolf sends Troop on his way. When Troop asks why Wolf is letting him go, Wolf responds that Billy Bright was his father.
We hated scenes like this as kids. All of us either identified with Johnny or had a crush on him and we didn't like it when he was treated like a kid. We thought Troop's response "No, one's enough" was totally insulting since what he was obviously saying was "one's enough if it's me but you wouldn't be up to it." Although we still think Troop's response could have been more tactfully phrased, we now realize that it made sense that Troop had a "presence" and the experience to handle things his new young deputy could not.
Although "the Indian problem" figured into only a handful of Lawman episodes, the Indians invariably were above the prejudiced town folk on the moral scale. Although the Indians were generally played by Caucasians or Hispanics and mostly stereotyped, they were certainly treated better in this series than in Peter's later series Laredo. The tension in this episode flows from the killing of a buffalo hunter by Shoshone Chief Little Wolf.
Johnny's on to Troop's kind hearted gesture
The usual suspects are worried Troop is on the wrong side
"You're under death sentence"
"Billy Bright was my father"
Noted Scene: Although we won't call this our favorite scene, it is one we take a different view of now than we did as kids. Johnny watches Cardigan's men roughing up Billy Bright in the Blue Bonnet. He turns from his viewpoint at the batwing doors and goes to the Marshal's office. After he reports what's happening, he notes that he would have gone in himself, but Troop told him not to. Troop says, "You did just right." As Troop starts to get on his coat, Johnny asks, "You want me to go along?" Troop answers, "No, one's enough."
NiteOwl Review: A decent enough story that takes a relatively high moral ground. Not on our "A" list.
Original air date Feb 8, 1959
Directed by Stuart Heisler
Written by Dean Riesner
John Russell as Dan Troop
Peter Brown as Johnny McKay
Murvyn Vye as Tom Cardigan
William Fawcett as Billy Bright
Lew Gallo as Weed
Howard Caine as Newt Whittaker
Michael Forest as Chief Little Wolf
Ted Jacques Lew Bush
Eugene Glesias as Blanket
Iron Eyes Cody as Scarfaced Brave
Official Peter Brown Fan Site