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Bandits hijack a train, but along with robbing the passengers they intend to carry out a presidential kidnapping.

The Iron Trail
Season 2, Episode 9
Air date 1/1/1957
Written by Montgomery Pittman
Directed by Leslie H. Martinson
Episode guide
Previous
The Trap
Next
Land Beyond the Law

Episode Notes

  • Dennis Hopper stars as the young criminal Abe Larson.
  • Episode writer Montgomery Pittman also has an acting credit as the bandit Monte.
  • Cheyenne (Clint Walker) isn't wearing his trademark hat with the metal arrowhead ornaments in this episode. He could be wearing his dress hat, since Chev Jones describes him as being "duded up" or dressed up.
  • According to an article in the Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 1957 edition of TV Guide, the original script called for 6-foot, 6-inch Walker to kiss the 5-foot, 4-inch actress Dani Crayne. Crayne was put on a footstool to keep Walker from leaning over too far and looking silly. Unfortunately, the scene was cut from the episode.

Real World References

  • Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th president of the United States of America and led Union forces to victory over the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War.
  • This episode takes place in either 1876 or 1877. According to the script, the episode happened after Custer's defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 and during Grant's presidency, which ended in 1877.
  • Cheyenne mentions that he once saw Billy the Kid, aka William Bonney, aka Henry McCarty, the youthful and infamous outlaw who roamed New Mexico and Arizona. 

Errors and Continuity Nitpicks

  • When Mrs. Thatcher stabs Monte with her knitting needle during the holdup, his shout of pain happens the moment before she actually jabs him.

Plot

Rancher Will Cochrane has two special deliveries on a train headed out of Kansas City: $5,000 cash from the sale of his cattle and a mail order bride, Mary Ellen McSwain. He has trusted the safe transport of both to his to top hand, Cheyenne Bodie. Bodie, the bride and the money board the train with a crowd of colorful characters: a pair of eloping youngsters, railroad detective Chev Jones, an Army officer, an indian, a sewing supplies salesman, an elderly woman and a mourner accompanying a casket. While on the way, Cheyenne chews the fat with Chev and learns he’s investigating a series of train robberies involving a gang of young bandits.

Theirontrail-trainride-cheyenne

The passengers enjoy a peaceful ride...for now.

When the train stops so the crew can throw a switch, the mourner holds the passengers at gunpoint and the bandits attack. Cheyenne shoots the mourner and the passengers take cover. After a firefight, the bandits call for a truce and Chev goes out to discuss terms. They demand that the passengers and crew surrender or they will cause a rockslide that will bury the train.

The issue is put to a vote; Bodie leads the side who want to fight and Chev leads the side who want to surrender. The surrender votes win and the bandits take them all prisoner except for the elderly but fiesty Mrs. Thatcher. She pulls a gun and refuses to leave her seat. Cheyenne stops the bandits from shooting at her and enters the car. Knowing he’ll be searched, Bodie asks the woman to help him by stashing the $5,000 in her knitting bag. She agrees.

Outside, bandit leader Abe Larson introduces himself and reveals that he intends on kidnapping a special passenger on the next train coming down the line...President Ulysses S. Grant! The bandits keep the passengers in a corral while Larson brings each to his "office" for an interview. While waiting for their turn, the salesman tells Cheyenne that Mary Ellen isn't a lady at all, but a dance hall girl he saw once at a burlesque house. She sadly admits the truth and that she lied about her identity to Cochrane.

Irontrail-larsonstuck-cheyenne

Abe is pinned down when the prisoners try to escape.

Larson continues his interviews with the men. During Cheyenne's turn, Abe demands that he turn over the cattle money but his search of the tall cowboy turns up nothing. When he returns to the corral, Bodie demands to know if Mary Ellen told Larson about the money, but the bride-to-be pleads innocence.

Knowing that their lives and the life of the president are on Larson’s timetable, Cheyenne asks the indian passenger to help him with an escape plan. The man says he doesn't care about the fate of the whites and makes no promises to help. Willing to risk it, Cheyenne mouths off to Larson and tricks the scoundrel into letting him and a bandit named Red fight each other in a "man's fight". While the attention is on them, the indian passenger sneaks away from the corral.

In an apparent betrayal, Mary Ellen joins Larson and his men as they celebrate their future victory with some liquor. When she returns to the corral she slips Cheyenne a gun she stole from Red. Cheyenne immediately turns it on Chev. He accuses the railroad detective of working with the bandits and points to several clues he's collected: Chev leading the surrender vote, Chev's concern over the explosive-filled casket in the mail car, Larson's knowledge of the cattle money, and the other deputy shot in the back. Chev denies everything, but when Larson's men come to kill all of the male prisoners, Chev shouts a warning to them. A firefight starts and Chev is caught in it. Cheyenne and the prisoners run for cover and are joined by the indian passenger who has taken out the guard.

Irontrail2

Cheyenne's first attempt to stop the president's train fails.

Larson rides out to prepare the explosives that will take down the mountainside and bury the president's train. With some help from the army officer, Cheyenne mounts and rides after him. Cheyenne trades bullets with the bandits while Larson lights the fuse. There's no choice now but to warn the train so Cheyenne rides off. Larson's horse has bolted at the sound of the guns and he's stuck on the mountainside. He frantically tries to catch up with the burning fuse. To Larson's horror, the fuse has trailed underneath rocks and is out of his reach.

Bodie catches up to the train, leaps aboard and pulls the brake cord just before he's tackled by bodyguards. Just ahead, a massive explosion brings down the rock face onto the tracks. President Grant thanks Cheyenne for his assistance and asks for an explanation of the day's events.

Finally at their destination, Cheyenne introduces Mary Ellen to his boss. When Cochrane asks Cheyenne for his opinion of his bride, Cheyenne assures him that he's marrying a lady.

Quotes

"We don't want to kill us no old ladies...cuz I like old ladies."

Abe Larson doesn't want his boys shooting the elderly Mrs. Thatcher, even after she takes a shot at them.


"I saw Bill Bonney one time, better known as Billy the Kid. Saw the look in his eye after he killed a man. I saw the look in this boy's eyes just now. I'd rather face Bonney anytime."

- Cheyenne isn't fond of Abe Larson.

Purchase Cheyenne Season 2

Cheyenneseason2DVD150px
www.clintwalker.com or www.amazon.com

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