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Cheyenne is forced to ride with an outlaw after they are both betrayed by his apprentice.

Ghost of the Cimmaron
Season 3, Episode 14
Air date March 25, 1958
Episode guide
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White Warrior
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Wagon-Tongue North

Plot

Doc Johnson, an infamous outlaw known as the Ghost of the Cimmaron, is explaining his plan to rob the Comanche bank to his gang and his apprentice, the Kiowa Kid. Their parley is interrupted when a tall, handsome cowboy named Cheyenne Bodie steps out of the brush and asks for a ride since his horse was maimed by a mountain lion. Suspecting Bodie overheard their plan, the outlaws force the cowboy to go along on the heist.

When the gang arrives in Comanche, Kiowa bails on the bunch as the townspeople open fire. The traitor has betrayed them all for the reward money!  Doc has mentored Kiowa too well in how to be a dastardly criminal. Doc and Bodie escape while the rest are killed or captured.

Johnson and Cheyenne hide out in a cave, but Doc's leg is shot up and he needs surgery. Cheyenne goes back into Comanche intending to get a doctor and visit the sheriff to clear his name. However, Kiowa has been telling tall tales about the tall cowboy to Sheriff Hex Short, saying that he's an outlaw who's been riding with Doc for years. Cheyenne has no choice but to go back to help Doc. He will have to wait for another chance to prove his innocence. Despite his injury, Doc is making plans to get revenge on the Kiowa Kid.

The pair find refuge in the backroom of Powder Kate Hannigan's laundry shop. The flamboyant Kate is an old friend of Doc's. She's willing to hide them for a price and if Cheyenne helps her with some heavy lifting. After a month of recuperating and washing steamy laundry, Doc and Cheyenne are ready to get back on Kiowa's trail. Kate tells them he was last seen in New Mexico, and she hints that Doc will find other family connections there as well.

Doc and Cheyenne take the stage to Tularosa where they stumble onto Doc's acquaintance Sheriff Kim Younger, who knows Doc by another name from another lifetime. Years ago both Doc and Kim were after the affections of a girl named Maude. Doc went on to a life of crime while Kim married Maude and took in Billy, the infant son that she and Doc had together. After Maude's death, Billy has known no other father but Kim. Now that he's reaching adulthood, Younger wants to keep it that way.

During supper at the Younger ranch, Kim mentions that he's worried about Billy running with the wrong crowd since the gold mining operation has brought a lot of young toughs to town. Billy arrives and Kim introduces him to Doc and Cheyenne. Just behind him is his business partner Nevada Jones, also known as the Kiowa Kid! Doc is dismayed to find that his treacherous apprentice is now partnered up with his son.

Kiowa meets with Doc and Bodie later and threatens them with exposure if they try to stop him from going straight. Bodie doesn't believe the Kid is reformed and suspects that he and Billy are involved in the recent payroll robberies at the gold mines. Doc takes great offense at Cheyenne's suggestion that his son might be an aspiring criminal. He takes a swing at Bodie and collapses against the tall cowboy, dropped by a heart attack. After resting, Doc accepts that Billy has likely been polluted by Kiowa's influence and asks for Cheyenne's help to save him. 

The two men ride out to Kiowa and Billy's headquarters and hold the pair at gunpoint. Doc offers to take Billy's place on another payroll heist Kiowa is planning. Ignoring Billy's protests, Kiowa agrees. As Cheyenne ties Billy up, Doc knocks him out with a gun butt. It's just the Kiowa Kid and the Ghost of the Cimmaron riding together once more.

Knowing that Younger has stationed his men in certain spots to protect the mine payroll, Doc leads Kiowa straight into the sheriff's guns. Sensing treachery, Kiowa shoots Doc in a back and tries to escape but he is shot and killed. As Doc lays dying, Cheyenne and Billy ride up. With his last moments, Doc tells Billy to return the payroll money secretly so he can avoid jail, but Billy doesn't like that idea. He wants to confess to his father and face the consequences.

Satisfied that his son is a better man that he is, Doc breathes his last. Billy and Kim wonder why Doc knowingly rode into a trap, but Cheyenne knows why. He respects Doc for helping put the son who will never know him back on the right path.

Quotes

"Pick up that knife. You're gonna take this bullet outta me."
"Why should I?"
"Cuz you're fulla the milk of human kindness."

- The criminal Doc Johnson wants Cheyenne to do some field surgery on his gunshot wound.


"You're not diggin' a well, you know!"

- Doc Johnson criticizes Cheyenne's surgery technique on his leg.


"Confessin' might be good for the soul but it's awful hard on the neck."

- Doc Johnson advises Billy not to confess to the payroll robbery.

Episode Notes

  • Add episode trivia and notable guest stars in a bulleted list here.

Real World References

  • Cheyenne says that he got "Kiowa's version of the Judas kiss", referencing the disciple of Jesus Christ who betrayed him to his enemies.

Continuity Nitpicks and Errors

  • Notice any? Add them here.

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