A killer masquerading as a judge invites Cheyenne into his home for a game of cat and mouse.

Episode Notes

  • This is the last episode of season three.
  • Episode writer and director Montgomery Pittman recycled this script for an episode of Lawman in 1960.

Real World References

  • This might be considered a Christmas episode. Cheyenne spends Christmas with the Wards and is treated to familiar holiday items such as a Christmas tree, presents, eggnog and mistletoe (the last of which Lilac puts to good use).

Continuity Nitpicks and Errors

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On the run from a posse, a vicious criminal known as the Black Jack sets up a shotgun with a trip wire on the trail. The last surviving member of that posse, Cheyenne Bodie, sets off the trap, is shot in the back and falls from his horse unconscious. The Black Jack prepares to finish him off, but an approaching horse and rider scare him away.


Cheyenne explains his role on the hunt for the Black Jack to Granger.

The rider is local resident Lilac Allan who brings the groggy Cheyenne back to the ranch she shares with her sister Rose and her brother-in-law Granger. She hides him in the barn since they aren't allowed to have guests while Granger is away. Rose discovers them, ushers Bodie into the house at gunpoint and helps mend his gunshot wounds.

Just as Rose concludes the operation, in walks Granger Ward, a tough-as-nails circuit judge who is living a double life as the Black Jack. He demands to know what's going on. Cheyenne explains his joining up with the posse to chase the Black Jack before he was ambushed and shot. Granger believes his story and grants Cheyenne a reprieve. He is accepted as a guest, but not without some friction. Rose misinterprets Cheyenne's politeness as romantic advances and demands that he stay away from her, while Granger appears jealous of Cheyenne's friendship with Lilac.


Lilac and Cheyenne enjoy some Christmas cheer in the Ward household.

At their Christmas celebration, the mood is light and celebratory as the Wards exchange gifts. However, things turn serious when the gift Granger gives Cheyenne turns out to be his own revolver, taken off of him by the Black Jack while he was unconscious. Granger claims he acquired the gun in a trade with a stranger on the trail. Cheyenne is obviously disturbed and leaves the party abruptly.

After dinner one evening, Cheyenne and Granger talk about the judge's reputation as being quick to sentence men to hang. Granger declares it's his mission to punish stupidity and criminals often fall into that category. The topic then turns to the Black Jack. Granger expresses admiration for the Black Jack's "flawless" methods. Cheyenne disagrees and hints that the criminal may have left clues behind. After Cheyenne excuses himself, Granger tells Rose he suspects that Cheyenne is the Black Jack.

Entering the barn, Cheyenne finds Lilac waiting dressed up in the gown she received as a gift. She says she's in love and goes for a kiss, but Cheyenne cuts it short. He lets her down gently, explaining that he's grateful for her friendship but not romantically interested. Accepting of this, Lilac requests that he take her along when he leaves because she hates and fears Granger. Cheyenne acknowledges that there's a streak of evil lurking in the judge and agrees. On her way back to the house, Lilac is cornered by Granger and he forces himself on her. Cheyenne comes to her rescue and sends Granger into the snow with a powerful punch. Granger shrugs off the snowflakes and the defeat, warning the tall cowboy that his reprieve is over.


Cheyenne prepares a trap for anyone who might sneak into the barn.

Later that evening, Granger sneaks out to the barn with a gun. Cheyenne anticipated this and set up traps. Granger sets one off and Cheyenne quickly exits into the snowstorm outside. As they trade bullets, Cheyenne taunts the judge by telling him the clues that led him to conclude Granger is the Black Jack. Granger is enraged after he is wounded in another of Cheyenne's traps and runs out of the barn. Cheyenne captures him and forces him back to the house.

Rose is there waiting with a shotgun. Granger tells her that Cheyenne is the Black Jack and demands that Rose kill him. She refuses and reveals that she has known Granger's secret identity for months. However, she's more enraged by the fact that Granger tried to cheat on her with Lilac. When Granger moves to disarm her, she shoots him dead. The Black Jack's reign of terror comes to an end.


"No fun bein' clever like you are, is it judge, unless somebody knows about it? So you had to tell me just a little, but it turned out to be a little too much."

- Cheyenne tells Granger that he's figured out his secret.

"Will you ever learn that the world isn't as stupid as you'd like it to be?"

- Rose tells off her husband.

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