While wintering a herd in the mountains, Cheyenne deals with rustlers, bickering trail hands, a mule and unrequited love.
Kelso's alliance with Stumpy Jack is revealed.
Cheyenne lets his beard grow.
Cheyenne warns the Dutchman.
Susan shields Cheyenne from her husband.
- Brandy, Clint Walker's regular horse for the rest of the Cheyenne series, makes his debut in this episode.
- Cheyenne has a beard for part of the episode, a facial hair first for the series.
Real World References
- Cheyenne uses four 1866 "seated Liberty" dollar coins to pay for his supplies at Armstrong's store, a sought-after and valuable coin in today's dollars. One rare version of the coin is supposedly valued at over $1 million. However, it is impossible to know if the coins used in the show were of this version because only the Liberty side of the coin is viewable.
- Tom Doonevan tells Major Early that he hasn't seen him since they "chased Banks back to New Orleans," probably referring to Union General Nathaniel Banks.
Errors and Continuity Nitpicks
- When the Dutchman saves Cheyenne from Kelso, he calls Cheyenne by his first name. Then a moment later he asks Cheyenne what his name is so he "can thank him properly."
An Army cattle drive has hit a snag: winter is coming before they can reach the end of the line in Canada. Owner Major George Early promises bonuses to volunteers who stay with the herd during the winter. The men consider the offer while he and Cheyenne ride into town for supplies. On the way, Early compliments Cheyenne's work and expresses misgivings about the character of his foreman, Kelso Prather.
They divert to investigate some smoke and run across the homestead of Early's old sergeant, Tom Doonevan and his young wife Susan. Tom is in the mountains hunting buffalo. While Early and Doonevan catch up, Susan shows Bodie her small flower garden of zinnias. Susan expresses her appreciation for the simple life she has with her husband as she looks longingly at Cheyenne.Cheyenne and Early reach the town of Deep Well and visit Armstrong's Store and Trading Post for supplies. The storekeeper tells them that an outlaw known as the Dutchman is in town with his gang. Early proactively seeks out this outlaw and warns him to stay away from the herd. The Dutchman appreciates Early's bravery and agrees to leave the cattle alone. Cheyenne tells the Major in front of the two men that he's going to stay the winter to protect the herd. On their way back to the valley, Cheyenne and Early find Kelso at the Doonevan homestead held at bay by Susan with a shotgun. Early shoos Kelso away and Susan rewards Cheyenne’s attention with one of her flowers.
At the camp, Early calls for volunteers. Kelso and a young hand named Bushrod step forward. The three men make their camp in a primitive shelter and parse out the work, but Kelso makes it obvious he has no intention of sharing the load. Cheyenne takes it in stride, but Kelso's attitude angers the young Bushrod. While Cheyenne is away, Kelso smacks Bushrod around, leading him to quit. Kelso rides into town the next day, buys a bunch of liquor and loudly complains about his living conditions. While there he makes friends with the Dutchman's second-in-command Stumpy Jack who lends a sympathetic ear to his plight.Cheyenne returns to the shelter and finds Kelso’s liquor stash, but no Kelso in sight. The lazy good-for-nothing has found his way to the Doonevan homestead and is drunkenly propositioning Susan. When she goes for a gun, Kelso forces himself on her. Cheyenne bursts in, punches Kelso and forces him to leave. Cheyenne gently consoles Susan just as Doonevan walks inside. The man threatens to kill him but Susan explains what happened and demands that Tom believe her story. Tom does, and thanks Cheyenne for helping his wife. The couple are planning to leave to follow the buffalo herd, but will return in the spring.
At the shelter, Stumpy Jack is giving Kelso some pointers on stealing cattle. Cheyenne pushes inside and threatens them with a shotgun. Jack and the Dutchman take off while Kelso drunkenly mocks Cheyenne for his clean-cut ways. When Kelso tries to attack Bodie from behind, the tall cowboy handedly wins the short fistfight and warns Kelso that he better not be there when he gets back.
Bodie is down to his last four dollars and rides into town to replace the supplies Kelso stole from him. Sensing his desperation, Armstrong offers to trade Cheyenne supplies and an “authentic" Spanish mule for his two horses. Cheyenne reluctantly agrees and bounces away on the back of his new mule he calls Mule. He reaches the shelter just as the snow begins to fall. Rather than leave the animal out in the harsh conditions, Cheyenne lets Mule come inside. The next morning, snow has covered the entire mountain valley. Cheyenne endures the harsh winter spending his days with the herd and his nights in the shelter talking to Mule.When spring breaks, Cheyenne sees smoke from the Doonevan chimney and rides down to visit. Tom barely recognizes him under his thick beard and ragged clothes. After he’s fed, washed and shaved, Susan comes inside to fit Cheyenne in a new shirt she's sewing for him. While he tries it on, her touch reveals that Cheyenne wasn't the only one who endured a lonely winter.
Cheyenne rides back to the herd, only to be ambushed by Stumpy Jack and Kelso. Cheyenne is shot in the arm and the torso, but the bullet that Kelso meant for Bodie's stomach lodges in the butt of his shotgun. He staggers back to Mule, rides to the shelter and puts Stumpy Jack and another rustler down with one blast from the shotgun. Unfortunately, Kelso was out of range. As the traitor prepares to shoot him, the Dutchman steps inside with revolver drawn. He shoots Kelso and explains to Cheyenne that Stumpy Jack and the others betrayed him. Now, a posse is on his heels. Cheyenne tells the Dutchman the fastest escape route and trades him Mule and food for his horse.
Major Early returns for the herd in the spring. He and Cheyenne pay the Doonevans a visit before leaving. Cheyenne gives Susan some zinnia seeds he harvested from her flower bed as a parting gift and they ride away.
"Can't ever tell what a woman will do next. Can you imagine having a mess of flowers in these wastes?"
"Flowers go with a woman, Major."
- - Major Early and Cheyenne discuss more than just Susan's flowers.
"A big man, huh? How tall do you stand, mister?"
"Can't say. I haven't measured myself since last week and I grow a little every day."
- - The Dutchman meets Cheyenne.
"Hello, hero. Don't you ever do anything wrong? You don't get tempted like other people, do ya? I wasn't gonna steal the herd, I was just tempted. But not you. You don't even get tempted."
- - Kelso complains about Bodie's clean-cut ways.
"I think the best thing for you to do is to pack up and leave, Kelso, before one of us winds up killin' the other. I can feel it comin' fast."
- - Cheyenne encourages Kelso to quit for his health.
"A man as high and mighty as you are will be right at home in Kingdom Come."
- - Kelso prepares to kill Cheyenne.