A dangerous trip forces settlers to face their problems while Cheyenne battles with the Utah Kid and a Comanche chief.
Cheyenne questions Yellow Knife's courage after he threatens the cowboy under a flag of truce.
The wagon carrying the Owl River settlers crashes.
Billings considers riding out and leaving his wife and the settlers to their fate.
Cheyenne and Yellow Knife face off to see who will call for help first.
|Season 1, Episode 11|
|Air date||April 4, 1956|
|Written by||Dean Riesner, N.B. Stone, Roy Huggins|
|Directed by||Leslie H. Martinson|
West of the River
Fury at Rio Hondo
- Dennis Hopper guest stars in this episode as the Utah Kid. He also guest stars in the season two episode The Iron Trail as the bandit leader Abe Larson.
- In the scene before the Utah Kid joins the pioneer party, the Endicott buckboard suffers a broken axle and is abandoned on the side of the road. Then it appears perfectly fine in the next scene with Frank and Ella riding in it. Oops.
Real World References
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PlotCheyenne meets with a new employer, an Englishman named Jeffry Billings, who has hired him as a guide to lead settlers to the Owl River valley. They are joined by a young man named Frank Endicott who lives in the valley and is in town to meet his second cousin and fiancé, Ella McIntyre, for a marriage arranged by his mother. Frank is turned off that his bride-to-be appears older than he expected. While Ella is friendly and eager, he's less than thrilled.
After four days of travel Bodie expresses concern over the frail Mrs. Billings' fitness for frontier life, but Jeffry dismisses his concerns. On the seventh day, the group runs into a stranded young man who has run his horse to death. Billings welcomes him to the party. Cheyenne has obvious misgivings about the man, but doesn't object.Scouting ahead, Cheyenne comes across ominous tracks. No sooner does he return to the group when they're chased by a party of Comanche indians. In their haste, their wagon tips and crashes, forcing them to abandon their supplies. The settlers run into an abandoned way station to hold off the attacking Comanche.
Cheyenne asks the men to start a guard rotation, but the young man who they picked up isn't happy about Bodie being in charge. Cheyenne recognizes the man as the Utah Kid, who has a reputation for shooting up barrooms. The settlers take stock of their grim situation. They have no food and very little water. That night, Billings considers riding away and leaving his wife behind, but changes his mind. Meanwhile, Ella is enjoying her private chats with the wagon driver, Beef Simpkins.The next day, the Comanche taunt the settlers with food and water. Cheyenne and the others decide that sending out a rider for help is their only option. The men all draw cards to see who's the one to go. Kevin draws the ace high and heads out that night on his horse. The standoff at the way station continues the next day, with tempers flaring. Frank starts to lose it; he loudly blames Ella for their problems, declares there are no indians, rushes outside and has to be dragged back behind cover. Later, he apologizes to Ella but she calls off their engagement and gives him the ring.
The next morning they see that Kevin has been captured. Cheyenne raises a white flag and goes out to negotiate with Chief Yellow Knife, leader of the Comanche. Cheyenne calls him a coward and challenges him to a fight: the winner and his people get to go free. Knowing he's not much of a physical match for the strapping Cheyenne, Yellow Knife proposes a test of courage instead in the quicksand pit nearby. The first man to call out for help is the loser. Cheyenne agrees.In the meantime, Jeffry admits to his wife that the country has been much harsher than he expected and professes a new level of love for her. Frank gives Ella the ring back as a gift and tells her he plans on making his own way in the world instead of letting his mother make his decisions for him.
Cheyenne returns and tells everyone they must go out and leave their guns. The Utah Kid won't agree to this plan. Bodie asks the Kid several times to come with, but he forces Cheyenne into a showdown. Cheyenne shoots the Kid's gun and hat away, and the Kid marvels at why he's never heard of Cheyenne and his gunslinging skills. But he hasn't learned his lesson yet and goes after his gun again. Bodie is forced to kill him.
Outside, Cheyenne leads the settlers to the quicksand pit. He and Yellow Knife step into the muck and sink down until they both are chin deep, but neither one quits. Yellow Knife's people pull him out first, and the settlers pull Bodie out, too. Cheyenne acknowledges Yellow Knife's courage and the chief leads his people away peacefully.
Quotes"You don't realize what you've got here. While the whole world's going to Hades in a bucket, here a man can live the way men were intended to live. This is the last frontier."
- - Jeffry Billings describes his romantic view of the American West.
"I know what it takes to pioneer this country. A woman's got to be as strong as a man to survive out here."
"I suggest you let me worry about that."
"You're paying the freight."
- - Cheyenne's warning to Jeffry Billings goes unheeded.
Cheyenne: "Anybody like to say anything?"
Frank: "Uh, I guess he was the closest thing to a father I ever had. I'm sorry, John."
Utah Kid: "Hey, cut it short, will you?"
Mrs. Billings: "Amen."
- - The settlers hold the world's shortest funeral for John Pike.
"I've never had much luck when it comes to finding somebody. You know, a man gets said 'No' to just so often. Then it hits him. He ain't exactly catnip to the ladies."
- - Poor, lonely Beef
"I plugged the canteen. I'd be willing to take a chance at the waterhole."
"Nope. You wouldn't look too good without your hair."
- - Beef's idea to go for water during the Comanche siege is overruled by Cheyenne.