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After nearly dying with a wealthy friend in a cave-in, Cheyenne learns the man left him a large estate and multiple enemies.

The Imposter
Season 4, Episode 5
Air date Nov. 2, 1959
Written by Tom Blackburn, Finlay McDermid
Directed by Lee Sholem
Episode guide
Previous
Trial By Conscience
Next
Prisoner of Moon Mesa

Episode Notes

  • The severity of Cheyenne's leg injury from the cave-in is evident as he walks with a limp for the rest of the episode.
  • This episode takes place during or after 1876, the year when Colorado became a state.

Real World References

  • Derwent's office address is 200 Colorado Block, Denver, Colorado which is a fictional address. There is a 200 Colorado Blvd in Denver which is a private residence.

Continuity Nitpicks and Errors

  • In the scene after he wakes from his injury, Cheyenne lies on the cot with his hands and arms at his sides. In the next wide shot his hands are across his chest, and then back to the close up they at his sides again.

Plot

After saving him from thieves, Cheyenne makes a friend in the wealthy and wild-living local legend Sam Magruder. Magruder appreciates Cheyenne's character and manliness and offers him a partnership on a mining claim. On a ride to the mine, they are shadowed by a young stranger who has been following Sam since the night before. They arrive in the hill country and enter the mine with lanterns and pickaxes. While the young stranger watches outside, a loud explosion sends a plume of dust from the entrance. 

Theimposter-blacksanto-cheyenne

A black santo doll hangs above Cheyenne's sick bed.

Cheyenne wakes sixteen days later with a head wound and his right leg completely immobilized. A strange woman is keeping vigil at his bedside with a hideous indian devil doll hanging above his head. The young man appears, explaining that he rescued Bodie from the cave-in. Magruder wasn't as lucky and perished in the accident. Cheyenne questions the man about the circumstances, going so far as to hold a gun on him for better answers. But the man knows the gun isn't loaded and rides off. In no shape to follow, Cheyenne must stay to recuperate in the care of the woman. 

Weeks later, Cheyenne enters the office of Magruder's lawyer Phillip Derwent in response to a newspaper ad asking for him by name. After some flirting, Derwent's secretary says that Cheyenne Bodie already showed up to settle the matter. Cheyenne is concerned that his identity has been stolen and hits the trail to find the whereabouts of this imposter. 

Derwent and "Cheyenne Bodie" are at the late Sam Magruder's ranch selling off the cattle and assets. Right before he died, Magruder named Cheyenne as his sole beneficiary in his will. Derwent has set up a fake Bodie, a nervous man named Bassing, to act as executor and liquidate the property. The enterprise isn't without its detractors. Williams the ranch foreman tries to negotiate a better severance for the ranch hands. Bassing tries to intimidate Williams into silence, but does a poor job of it when the foreman calls his tough-guy bluff.

Theimposter-derwentplots-cheyenne

Bassing is concerned that he has inherited Cheyenne Bodie's enemies along with his name, and Derwent is sick of his cowardice.

A stranger named Lionel arrives and warns Derwent and Bassing that he's heard of a plot to kill Cheyenne Bodie. Bassing hires Lionel on the spot to be his bodyguard and find this would-be killer. While moving in to the ranch bunk house, Lionel runs into Williams. Williams recognizes Lionel as the real Cheyenne and Cheyenne/Lionel recognizes him as the man who saved him from the cave-in. They come to a nervous truce since both admit to being on the ranch for reasons other than raising cattle.

Cheyenne/Lionel lets Williams know he wants to honor Sam Magruder's wish to find his only son and give him his inheritance. Williams believes Bodie is sincere and reveals that he is Bill Magruder, Sam's long-lost son. He didn't want to reveal his identity to Derwent and Bassing because he found evidence that the cave-in was a deliberate trap. He suspects both men of murder. Cheyenne/Lionel tells Williams to head to town and come back the next morning. Meanwhile, he spends the evening aggravating the nervous fears of his fake namesake by leaving him a mysterious note mentioning a 10 a.m. meeting. As icing on the cake, he tacks the devil doll to Bassing's door.

Theimposter-twobodiesfaceoff-cheyenne

The two Cheyennes face off.

It has the desired effect. The next morning, Bassing has had enough and begs Derwent to quit. The lawyer refuses. There's too much money to made and he threatens the life of his panicking partner. When 10 a.m. comes, Bassing goes outside to check the yard, quaking in his boots. The place is deserted except for Cheyenne/Lionel who is waiting for him. Bassing suspects that his bodyguard is the one making the threats against him. He begs Cheyenne/Lionel to spare him but in mid-confession is gunned down in the back by Derwent. Cheyenne/Lionel shoots Derwent dead.

As Cheyenne reloads, Williams arrives with his cadre of ranch hands but he finds the fight is over. He offers Cheyenne a share of the ranch but Bodie declines. He's got his name back and that's all he wants.

Quotes

"Nothing rots in this climate but men."

- Sam Magruder gets philosophical about the weather south of Colorado.


"Now look miss, where I come from they don't brand us on our backsides or tattoo us when we're born."

- Cheyenne isn't sure how he can prove his identity to Derwent's secretary.


"I wish you were Cheyenne Bodie. You'd make an interesting millionaire."

- Derwent's secretary is an unwitting admirer of the real Cheyenne Bodie.


"Did you see anybody out there?"
"Quiet as a coffin."

- The fake Cheyenne gets some disconcerting assurance from the real Cheyenne.

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