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A town turns on the local sheriff after the death of a popular man.

Town of Fear
Season 3, Episode 7
Air date Dec. 3, 1958
Written by Berne Giler
Directed by Richard L. Bare
Episode guide
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Devil's Canyon
Next
Hired Gun

Episode Notes

  • The similar lynch mob scenario happens in the season four episode Riot at Arroyo Seco, with Cheyenne in the role of the sheriff.

Real World References

  • Notice any? Add them here.

Continuity Nitpicks and Errors

  • Spoken dialogue explicitly refers to Crowley's first name as Bob multiple times, but actor John Reach is listed in the credits as playing a character named "Red" Crowley.

Plot

Cheyenne Bodie rides into Twin Forks straight for the local sheriff's office. He's got a prisoner he wants to hand over, an outlaw known as the Durango Kid. Sheriff Sam Townley is a friend and, after Durango is locked away, the two men spend time catching up.

Townoffear-lynchmob-cheyenne

A lynch mob surrounds Sheriff Townley's jail.

Later, men of the town have a bit too much to drink and the troublemakers Bill Jenkins and Bob Crowley talk the others into lynching Durango. The mob assembles outside the jail demanding Townley release the Kid to them. The sheriff brandishes a rifle and orders his friends and neighbors to go home. In a moment of shouting and confusion, Crowley pushes his younger cousin Teddy Curtis into Townley's weapon. The rifle goes off, killing the rich, popular young man instantly.

The mood of the mob shifts from drunken shenanigans to outrage. They want Townley's neck in a noose and the mayor is forced to side with them. He appoints Jenkins temporary sheriff and has Townley arrested. The next day, Cheyenne speaks to Townley, the mayor and others to try to find out what really happened, but he doesn't get far. He learns Teddy's wealthy father Jed Curtis wants speedy justice. The deck is stacked against Sam.

Meanwhile, Jenkins has a meeting with the only other witness to the killing: Durango. The outlaw demands that Jenkins help him escape jail in exchange for his silence. That night, Jenkins and Durango stage a jail break, but the Kid only gets as far as the boardwalk. Crowley is waiting in a dark alley beyond and shoots him dead. As a crowd gathers around the body, Sheriff Jenkins thanks Crowley for his "help" in subduing the escaped prisoner.

Townoffear-jenkinsanddurangotalk-cheyenne

Durango tries to make a deal with Jenkins for his silence.

The town is abuzz with the pending trial of Townley. Cheyenne's attempts to find a witness of the shooting fail and his plea to Jed Curtis for justice is unheeded. He's running out of chances to help his friend escape the noose. However, he finds an unlikely helper in Teddy's widow, Marilee. Crowley has been threatening and propositioning her since her husband's death, and she's disgusted by him. She suspects Crowley and the new sheriff have something to do with Teddy's death, but she can't prove it. Neither can Cheyenne...yet.

Cheyenne sets his plan in motion. He and Marilee start a rumor that he's found evidence that will free Townley. Crowley and Jenkins start sweating at this news. Then Cheyenne purposely starts a chair-throwing, bottle-breaking brawl at the bar to get himself arrested. While in jail, Jenkins brings Bodie out of his cell for some coffee, conveniently leaving him alone in the room with a loaded gun in plain sight.

Townoffear-pushingjenkins-cheyenne

Cheyenne and Sam force Jenkins to tell the truth, or face the dark alley alone.

Cheyenne takes the bait, holds Jenkins at gunpoint and frees Townley. But they have no intention of escaping! Instead, they force Jenkins outside the office and demand that he tell them the truth of how Teddy was killed. Jenkins becomes frantic with fear as Cheyenne pushes him to the alley entrance. When he's shoved off the boardwalk, he yells that Crowley pushed Teddy into Townley's gun. Just then a shot rings out from the alley and Jenkins falls dead from Crowley's bullet. They had it set up to kill Cheyenne just like they killed Durango!

Cheyenne and Townley cover the alley and demand that the shooter give himself up. As the moon goes behind a cloud, Crowley makes a run for it. But another shot is heard and Crowley falls dead. Jed Curtis holds the smoking gun. He and Mayor Topper were watching from the other side of the street and heard Jenkins' confession.

With his son avenged, Curtis apologizes to Townley for the false accusation and mistreatment. Townley takes back the sheriff's badge and Cheyenne rides off to his next adventure.

Quotes

"Bob Crowley...He's moving in and Teddy isn't even cold."

- Mayor Topper notices something disturbing at the Curtis funeral.


"What if a jury finds Sam not guilty?"
"There's no jury around these parts that would free Sam if Curtis wants him hung."

- Cheyenne and Mayor Topper discuss the influence Jed Curtis has on the justice system.


"You dirty, double-crossing-"
"Save it."

- Jenkins tries the same song and dance with Cheyenne as he did with Durango, and doesn't get far.


"That was the hardest $500 I've ever earned in my life."

- Cheyenne had to bring in an outlaw, defend his friend against an entire town, interview witnesses, get beat up, arrested, and shot at for his $500.

Cheyenne Gallery

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