A gunslinger enlists Cheyenne's help to pay a debt to the family of his first man he killed, a man who was his friend.
Gunslinger Matt Reardon faces a bleak future after his gun hand fails him.
Cheyenne fights with Mike Fullerton over a gun.
Reardon intimidates three local toughs into leaving the bar.
Martha wants to kill Reardon before he kills her son.
|The Empty Gun|
|Season 3, Episode 12|
|Air date||Feb 25, 1958|
|Written by||Berne Giler, Lewis Reed, Harry Franklin|
|Directed by||Alan Crosland, Jr.|
- Add episode trivia and notable guest stars in a bulleted list here
Real World References
- The phrase, "Those who live by the sword die by the sword." mentioned multiple times in this episode is a paraphrase of Matthew 26:52.
Continuity Nitpicks and Errors
- Notice any? Add them here.
PlotThe scraping sound of a shovel on wet sand draws Cheyenne Bodie off the road to a morbid scene. A gravedigger is digging a hole for a corpse. Cheyenne is joined by a lone rider who admits to killing the dead man. The rider's name is Matt Reardon, infamous gunslinger.
Reardon and Bodie ride together into nearby Moundsville. Reardon asks Cheyenne to help him stay alive until he can finish some business. Cheyenne recognizes that there's something wrong with Reardon and the gunslinger admits what Cheyenne already suspects...his right hand is useless. Reardon can still shoot with his left, but no where near as fast. Psychologically and physiologically disarmed, Reardon doesn’t expect to live long. Cheyenne agrees to “ride gun” for him while he visits his old home town.
News of Reardon’s presence in Moundsville travels fast. Sheriff Frank Day approaches the two men at breakfast and orders the gunslinger to leave town. Reardon assures the lawman that he’s not there to kill, but he won’t leave until his business is done. He and Cheyenne ride out to a modest homestead where Reardon converses with Martha Fullerton. It’s been 12 years since Reardon killed her husband Ray Fullerton. Martha is terrified of how the gunslinger’s return will affect her only son, 17-year-old Mike. Reardon hands her a sack with $6,000 claiming it was the value of her husband’s share of the business. Martha doesn’t want money. She wants him to leave.Mike and Cheyenne enter the room and interrupt them. Mike recognizes Reardon and angrily goes for a gun. Cheyenne disarms him as Martha begs Matt to go. On their way out, Mike pelts them with the money and vows to kill Reardon, even if it means shooting him in the back.
At the hotel, Cheyenne confronts Matt about the tragic scene they just left. Reardon explains his fight with Martha’s husband was over money and he shot in self defense, the first of 20 men Reardon has killed. In the last month, the killing has plagued his thoughts and dreams, and resulted in the stiffening of his gun hand. Matt was hoping that reconciling with Martha would heal him, but no such luck.
Later, Martha visits Reardon’s room and points a gun at him. She wants to shoot him to keep him from killing her son, or keep her son from becoming a killer. Reardon begs her to pull the trigger, but she can’t. She again pleads with him to leave and exits. Reardon packs up and isn’t sure how to answer when Cheyenne asks him where he’s going.
On the street outside the hotel, Mike calls out Reardon. When Reardon gets up, Cheyenne punches him out then goes downstairs to talk Mike out of his vendetta. What he doesn’t know is Mike has recruited three other town low-lifes to kill Reardon. They’re staked out around the hotel and start shooting up the place. Cheyenne dives for cover as a recovered Reardon shoots at them from his window. They put the creeps down, but Mike escapes.
Sheriff Day and the townspeople surround Cheyenne, accuse him of murder and threaten to lynch him. Before they can get their hands on a rope, Reardon appears and orders that Cheyenne be let go. Keeping their guns trained on the crowd, the two men ride out of town.
On the trail, Mike rides into their path and demands a showdown. Matt approaches Mike, warning him that his actions will have severe consequences on the rest of his life. Mike shoots but Reardon keeps coming and taunting him, unaffected. He smacks Mike across the face and shoos him off. The young man climbs on his horse and rides away. He doesn’t see Reardon flinch and fall as Cheyenne catches him. Mike’s bullet hit home. Reardon swears Cheyenne to secrecy about the cause of his death and dies.
Cheyenne rides back into Moundsville under cover of darkness and visits the sheriff’s office with his gun drawn. Day wakes and tells Cheyenne that Mike came to him and confessed. Cheyenne hands him the money sack and charges him to deliver it to the Fullertons. He then rides out and watches over another grave digging as Matt Reardon is anonymously laid to rest. Cheyenne prays that he rest in peace.
"Nobody cares about a gunslinger’s comin’ or his goin’ away."
- - the gravedigger shares his opinion of Reardon's profession.
"Ever hear of a gunslinger livin’ to a ripe old age?”
"Well, if any of them did they’re hidin’ out."
- - Cheyenne and Reardon talk about his future prospects.
"If you have to come after me you better bring help."
- - Gunslinger Matt Reardon warns Sheriff Day.
"The grave is one wall you can't climb over."
- - Cheyenne Bodie tells Reardon he can't put a price on life.
"A man on the run is trying to get away from someone. Trouble is...I can't get away from myself."
- - Matt Reardon