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Cheyenne investigates a cattle rustling case that local ranchers and his old friend want to keep closed.

The Law Man
Season 2, Episode 5
Air date Nov. 6, 1956
Written by Lee Loeb
Directed by Walter Doniger
Episode guide
Previous
The Bounty Killers
Next
Mustang Trail

Episode Notes

  • Add episode trivia and notable guest stars in a bulleted list here

Real World References

  • Notice any? Add them here.

Errors and Continuity Nitpicks

  • The scene of Cheyenne returning with the sheriff's body was recycled from the season one episode Rendezvous at Red Rock.
  • During the saloon fight scene, everyone in the saloon is watching Cheyenne and Henley go at it, except the piano player who is still plunking away on the keyboard. 

Plot

Cheyenne Bodie arrives in the town of Sweetwater on the stagecoach. He’s working as an agent for the Cattlemen’s Protective Association headquartered out of Denver and is answering a call to investigate rustling in the area. Sheriff Stone tells Bodie that the rustling case has already been closed with the death of the suspect Pete Stocker, a gambler. Cheyenne recognizes Stocker's name and expresses doubt about the resolution. Local ranchers Harvey Sinclair and Cleave Hammer, the man who shot Stocker, encourage him not to waste his time on a closed case. Cheyenne thanks them and heads to the local cattle broker office where his old friend Matt Ellis is working.

Tenderface-thelawman

Cheyenne flinches at a tender spot while cleaning up after a fight.

Ellis warmly welcomes Cheyenne. Years ago he was a lawman in Tombstone, Arizona and Cheyenne served as his "tenderfoot" deputy. Ellis has since hung up his gun for the cattle business. Outside, Matt's son Buddy is waiting in their rig and invites Cheyenne to stay with them on the family ranch. Just before they ride out, they are joined by Ellis' sweetheart Julie Montaine, a singer at a local saloon. She offers Buddy some jelly beans, but he declines. Julie is hurt by his rudeness.

After dinner and some stories at his ranch, Ellis excuses himself to go back to town for some late-night work. Wanting to continue his investigation, Cheyenne soon goes into town as well. After a trip to the telegraph office and the bank, Bodie pauses to confront a man who has been shadowing him all evening. The man isn’t in a talking mood, so Cheyenne advises him to keep his distance.

In the saloon, Cheyenne joins Ellis at his table where he's enjoying Julie’s performance. Cheyenne then asks Sinclair and Hammer some questions about discrepancies between their cattle counts and bank records. They pressure him to leave the case closed and get out of town. Cheyenne gets up to leave and Sinclair’s foreman Bill Henley, the man who has been shadowing him all evening, picks a fight. Cheyenne punches him into submission with a little help from Julie and Ellis. After Julie takes Cheyenne to her room to clean up, Ellis corners Hammer and chews him out for having Henley attack Cheyenne, as it will only arouse his suspicion further. The two men are in cahoots in a cattle fraud scheme and Cheyenne's investigation threatens to blow it wide open. Ellis wants out of the deal, but Hammer threatens him to stay in.

Cheyenne heads out with the sheriff the next day to search the scene of Stocker's death. They come across Henley and others who are overbranding cows. Caught in the act, the rustlers rush away. Out of the bushes, Hammer fires on the pair just as they start to investigate. The sheriff is hit and dies. Cheyenne returns to town with the body and sends out a call for help to the closest marshal's office. But the message goes nowhere because Ellis has sabotaged the telegraph wire.

Still in the dark about his friend's scheme, Cheyenne finds Ellis in his office and asks him for help. Ellis refuses. His career with the law got him nothing in the end and he says he's done chasing down bad men. Cheyenne rides out to Sinclair's place to get help, but he finds the old man on the porch in a rocking chair, shot in the back and stone dead.

Hammerisshot-thelawman

Hammer meets his end while trying to escape.

The cowboy returns to Ellis' empty office and finds more clues to his bad deeds, including the place where Ellis hides incriminating documents and where he sabotaged the telegraph pole. Cheyenne knows for certain that his friend is up to no good. 

Ellis walks in and pulls a gun on Cheyenne. Hammer arrives behind him and encourages Ellis to commit murder so their scheme remains a secret. Conflicted, Ellis refuses to kill his friend and hands him a gun instead. As the bad guys are taken out, Hammer gets desperate and takes Buddy and Julie hostage. Ellis rushes him and is wounded. Cheyenne shoots Hammer dead as he tries to escape.

With his final breaths, Ellis asks Buddy to take care of Julie and apologizes to Cheyenne for the trouble he caused. Cheyenne confirms to Buddy that, in the end, his father still acted like a lawman.

Quotes

"Can’t be satisfied until you feel right about it inside."

- Cheyenne tells Matt why he can’t accept an easy solution to the town’s rustling problem.


"Your father's got a responsibility to raise you up right, and he'd like to be happy himself. Why don't you let him decide what's best?"
"We don’t need no women. It’ll change everything if she comes here."
"Might be for the better."

- Cheyenne and Buddy speculate on Julie’s joining the Ellis family.


"I learned a lot from you in the old days, Matt. None of it included runnin' from trouble."

-Cheyenne tells his old mentor he's not ready to quit.


"Part of growin' up to be a man is ownin' up to when you're wrong."

- Cheyenne teaches Buddy a life lesson.


"That gun is staying right where it is. I’ve no reason to put it on."
"The sheriff was a friend of yours, wasn’t he?”
"A good friend."
"A dead friend is reason enough."

- Matt Ellis and Cheyenne argue over taking action.


"Any self-respecting citizen is a lawman when his town is threatened."

- Cheyenne tries to convince Matt Ellis to help him stop the rustlers.


"I guess I’d rather be right than smart."

- Matt Ellis decides to switch sides.

Purchase Cheyenne Season 2

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

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