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A family man will die on the gallows at noon unless Cheyenne can find the reason why he confessed to a murder.


Episode Notes

  • This episode is retold in comic book form in Cheyenne Comic Number 11 with Ty Hardin as Bronco substituted for Cheyenne.
  • Bonanza star Dan Blocker has a small role in this episode as Sam the deputy.
  • Nancy Kulp of The Beverly Hillbillies has a small role.

Real World References

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Continuity Nitpicks and Errors

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Plot

Cheyenne Bodie rides into town expecting to make a social visit to his friends the O'Neil family, but gets a nasty surprise when the deputy sheriff tells him Jim O'Neil is scheduled to be hung for murder. When Cheyenne visits the jail, Jim is happy to see the tall cowboy but tight-lipped about the crime he allegedly committed. Jim begs Cheyenne to leave things alone and ride out of town.

Wanting to help his friend, Cheyenne starts investigating and asks Judge McHenry about the case. The judge says he would try the case again if Jim would defend himself, but he refused. McHenry laments the changing times, including that the area is becoming a hot spot for opium trafficking. On a side trip in town, Cheyenne runs into rancher Duke Rhein and his nasty hirelings Flowers and Billy Bob. Bodie has to teach the men a physical lesson in manners.

When Bodie arrives at the O'Neil ranch, he's greeted with bullets. Neighbor Ike Thompson is watching over the spread and he isn't very friendly to visitors. Cheyenne puts Thompson at ease through gritted teeth and makes his was to the ranch house. Cheyenne greets his godchild Susie, her mother Mary O'Neil and their loyal servant Lonzo. After giving Susie the present of a music box, Cheyenne and Lonzo discuss Jim's situation. He is just as befuddled as everyone about Jim's guilt, but he suspects it has something to do with the secretive Rhein and his use of the O'Neil ford across the river.

Cheyenne visits the Rhein spread and, sensing nefarious doings, bluffs Rhein into thinking he knows about the opium trafficking. On Bodie's way back, Flowers ambushes him with an intent to kill. Some well-aimed shots from Lonzo's rifle sends the men running and snuffs out Flowers' lamp. Flowers says one strange thing before he dies...that Rhein doesn't know anything about opium. But if Rhein isn't the kingpin, who is?

At the O'Neil's dinner table that night, Bodie shows Mary and Lonzo a hollow ox horn that he found on one of Rhein's cattle, no doubt used for smuggling. Their meeting is interrupted by Thompson who convinces them to stay at the hotel in town to avoid violent reprisal from Rhein. Cheyenne visits Jim only hours before his hanging to ask more about the alleged murder. When the tall cowboy lets slip that he's going to be a father again, O'Neil becomes even more committed to silence. But then the worst happens...Susie is kidnapped from the hotel by unknown assailants as insurance that Jim won't talk until he's hanging at the end of a rope.

Cheyenne and Thompson lead groups of men who scour the town, but Susie's no where to be found. Time has run out for Jim. As Jim is led out to the gallows, the sheriff asks Bodie to enter a nearby saloon and silence the loud, obnoxious piano music. Cheyenne goes and makes the request, but as soon as the piano player stops he hears another tune, the one from Susie's music box!

Cheyenne rushes into the square with Susie in his arms as the noose is put around Jim's neck. Seeing his child is safe, Jim fingers the real murderer...Ike Thompson!

With the real killer behind bars, life can get back to normal for Lonzo and the O'Neils, thanks to Cheyenne.

Quotes

"What'll it be, Bigger-n-me?"

- A waitress gives Cheyenne a new nickname.

"Ya'll can't tell me the West ain't still wild!"

- Billy Bob heckles Cheyenne for carrying a doll.

"I'm sorry, judge, but there's a gentleman here to see you."
"What's his name?"
"Cheyenne Bodie."
"Heh, he's no gentleman. Send him in."

- Judge Roy McHenry disagrees with the hotel clerk about Cheyenne.

"Last I heard you were a deputy up in Wyoming country. What happened?"
"The climate didn't agree with me. Too much lead in the air."

- Judge McHenry and Cheyenne talk about the weather in Wyoming.

"One thing about a hanging, it brings a lot of nice people together. Better than a cock fight because the ladies can come too."

- Judge McHenry gets sarcastic about capital punishment.

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