Original air date Apr 1, 1958
Directed by Montgomery Pittman
Teleplay by Russell Hughes
Will Hutchins as Tom Brewster
Paul Fix as the man
Peter Brown as Davey
Anita Gordon as Mary
Don Gordon as Ed Rowland
Robert Gothie as Frankie Wicks
Lane Bradford as Farley
Charles Fredericks as Chick
Morgan Woodward as Yates
Doye O'Dell as Jenks
Sugarfoot was one of the stable of Warner's productions which dominated ABC between 1957 and the mid 1960s. The likable Will Hutchins played affable, itinerant law student Tom Brewster. Although Tom was good with a gun when forced into it, he did not wear it as a matter of course, preferring to use a persuasive tongue, a self effacing manner and a rational mind to make his way through the American West. He made his living at a variety of jobs, interspersed with solving legal problems. As he said in this episode when asked if he knew anything about gunshot wounds, "I know a little about everything."
Cast Notes: Peter Brown's guest appearance in this episode was his last Warner's guest appearance prior to taking up his costarring role in Lawman. This role was a very nice version of Peter's best early career character, the boy becoming a man. He played other interesting variations on this theme in the movie Darby's Rangers, three episodes of Cheyenne, an episode of Colt .45, an episode of Maverick and even in Lawman itself. After Lawman, he played out this theme in episodes of 77 Sunset Strip, Kraft Suspense Theater, The Virginian and Wagon Train. Peter pretty much outgrew this type of character after Laredo in which he played the charming, manipulative, action hero Texas Ranger Chad Cooper. Paul Fix was best known to tv audiences as kindly Sheriff Micah Torrence in The Rifleman (1958-63). But he also had featured parts in dozens, maybe hundreds of movies and tv shows with an emphasis on westerns.
Tom Brewster happens upon the campsite of a solitary man in the midst of what looks like a suicide attempt. The man quickly pulls a gun on Tom. When the man gets lost in a fit of coughing, Tom grabs the gun. He then ingratiates himself with the man (who calls himself James Bradshaw) by cooking dinner and making coffee.
As they finish their meal, Davey Reeder (Peter) rides up and demands a cup of coffee. He comes off as a belligerent, smartass seventeen-year-old kid who thinks being a man means acting tough. He brags that he's off to join up with Ed Rowland's gang. He tries to start a fight when he thinks they're making fun of his ambition. He gives a demonstration of his prowess with his two six-guns although it falls a little short of impressive when he takes two tries to hit a tin cup on the ground. Tom and Bradshaw give each other the look of two adults recognizing kid stuff when they see it.
Davey decides to spend the night in their camp. He warns them not to try anything, because he sleeps "light and nervous." However, when his older sister Mary comes into camp and gets the drop on the sleeping men with her rifle, she laughs at their warning not to wake Davey that way because he has a quick trigger finger. Davey would sleep through a tornado. She proves it by pulling down his blanket and taking both his revolvers. He's as mad as a hornet when she wakes him up and tells him he's coming home. She's his guardian until he turns 21. Tom trips him when he lunges after her to get his guns. Pinning him against a rock, Tom tells him he sure needs a man around his house.
Seeing how sick Bradshaw is, Mary takes them back to her farm. However, inside she finds Rowland and his men who are waiting to meet up with a man who is planning a robbery, an outlaw with a big name. One of them, Frankie Wickes, has been shot. Davey is thrilled to see his hero Rowland. Bradshaw is watchful. Davey tells Rowland he wants to join up.
He talks big until he has to acknowledge that his sister came after him and dragged him home. What ensues is a little psychodrama in which Tom's patience and reason eventually turn events his way. Davey tries to ingratiate himself with Rowland and act like his sister's not the boss of him.
Rowland proves to be a bully who finally goes too far even for Davey when he forces his sister to dance with him and starts pawing her. Things eventually come to a showdown when Rowland gets bored and tries to force Mary to dance like a saloon girl. Tom managed to get Wicke's gun. It looks like he will have to draw against Rowland.
We learn that Mary was in love with Wickes and is angry that he ran off to join Rowland and then "brought his pack" to her home. Tom helps Wickes recover from his gunshot wound and convinces him he should turn himself in.
Suddenly the sick man in the blanket stands up and discloses his true identity. He's Frank James, the man Rowland has been waiting for. However, Frank is disgusted at Rowland, a lowlife bully. He's seen the contrast between Rowland's gang and the kindness and courage shown by Mary and Tom. He outdraws Rowland. Tom and Davey take care of the others. Frank, feeling better, leaves before the law arrives.
NiteOwl Review: Sugarfoot was a pleasant show with a likeable star. It rotated with Cheyenne its first two seasons. Bronco was it's third season partner during Clint Walker's contract dispute. All three rotated in Sugarfoot's last season and we liked them all. It aired at 7:30 so we were all able to watch it even on a school night. It was followed by Wyatt Earp for most of its run. It's a show that holds up well. Will Hutchins is a personable actor who toned down his exhuberant personality to play the easy going Tom Brewster. Peter Brown did an admirable job in his role as the alternatingly belligerent, childish, eager to please and finally brave Davey who in the end takes on Rowland to protect his sister even though he doesn't stand a chance.
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