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A rescue attempt goes wrong when a squad of military prisoners under Cheyenne’s command tries to rescue sisters kidnapped by indians.

West of the River
Season 1, Episode 10
Air date March 10, 1956
Written by Kenneth Higgins, James R. Webb
Directed by Richard L. Bare
Episode guide
Previous
Rendezvous at Red Rock
Next
Quicksand

Episode Notes

  • Cinema on the small screen: This episode is a television retelling of the film The Charge at Feather River released in 1953. Some dialog, characters, situations and scenes in this episode were lifted from the movie.
  • The fringed doeskin shirt with laced collar most often associated with the character Cheyenne Bodie appeared for the first time in this episode.
  • This episode was retold in comic book form in Cheyenne Comic Book Number 2.

Continuity Nitpicks

  • In this episode, Cheyenne says that he was taken in by the Cheyenne when he was 10-years-old and left them when he was 18. This backstory conflicts with Cheyenne's personal history mentioned in later episodes.

Real World References

  • Notice any? Add them here.

Plot

Desperate father Edward McKeever has convinced the Army to help him recover his daughters from Kiowa kidnappers. However, Army scout Cheyenne Bodie thinks the mission is a fool's errand. The girls have been living with the Kiowa for five years and Bodie knows they aren't prisoners anymore. But Colonel Kilrain agrees with McKeever and orders Cheyenne to lead a team to retrieve the girls.

Westoftheriver-cheyennestopsfight

Cheyenne stops Baker and Ryan from fighting.

Unable to spare soldiers, Kilrain brings out men currently under arrest and offers them pardons in exchange for their service. Only one man volunteers so McKeever sweetens the deal with a $300 bonus, to the surprise and disgust of Kilrain and Bodie. Ten more men step forward. To add to Cheyenne's troubles, two of the volunteers, Private Ryan and Sergeant Baker, just found out they are involved in a love triangle with Baker's wife. The two men can't wait to get out into the open to either kill the other or let the Kiowas do it. 

Bodie and the men scout out the Kiowa village from a distance and sight one of the daughters wandering freely. Under cover of darkness, the men cut into a tepee, grab the women and rush back to the trees. The reunion between father and daughters is bittersweet. The eldest, Ruth, hates her indian captors but is afraid to return. Jenny has "turned Kiowa" and is the intended bride of Chief Tanaka. She hates her rescuers and the men have to tie and gag her to stop her from alerting the indians to their position.

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Ruth explains why she doesn't want to return.

Cheyenne questions Ruth about why she doesn't want to be rescued. She explains that she gave birth to an indian child who has since died. The young woman can't believe she will be accepted back into white society and begs to be allowed to return to the village. Cheyenne tenderly tells her that she isn't as damaged as she thinks. 

The trip back to the fort is treacherous. Their heels are constantly dogged by Kiowa scouts. One skirmish ends with McKeever severely injured by an arrow. Another results in the loss of their horses. Baker and Ryan continue to fight whenever Bodie turns his back. Then the dwindling water supply and Ruth disappear as the Kiowa circle their position in the rocks. Cheyenne tries to maintain control over his grumbling troops as these dangers mount. He sends Baker and Ryan off to bring help from the fort.

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Jenny tempts Morgan to set her free.

Jenny convinces a disgruntled Private Morgan to untie her with the promise that she will tell Tanaka to spare him. Once her bonds are undone she knocks Morgan out with a rock and grabs his gun. McKeever sees her sneaking away and sounds the alarm. She shoots him in the leg and climbs down but a misstep onto loose rock sends her falling to her death.

Meanwhile, Ruth appears with a fresh water supply and news that the Kiowa aren't watching the steep cliffside. Cheyenne and the men lower McKeever down over the cliff and then climb down themselves. 

Their escape is short-lived. Cheyenne has the men take defensive positions along a river bank. The mounted Kiowa arrive en masse and charge the line. The first wave is repelled by their superior firepower. As they reload, McKeever asks Cheyenne if he's changed his mind about whether or not the mission was worthwhile. Looking at Ruth, Cheyenne admits that he was wrong.

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The brigade prepares for attack.

The second attack by the Kiowa comes at the soldiers from all sides and they are overrun. Hand to hand fighting ensues. Cheyenne and Tanaka slash at each other with knives. Cheyenne manages to deal a mortal jab to the chief with his knife and sends him sprawling into the sand. With the loss of their leader, the Kiowa retreat. To cement their victory, the rousing sound of a cavalry bugle is heard in the distance as a mounted troop from the fort led by Baker gallops toward them.

Cheyenne takes Ruth's hand and leads the group out to meet the troops. The mission is over and Cheyenne considers it a success.

Quotes

"If your daughters have been with the Kiowas for five years, they're not prisoners anymore."

- Cheyenne lets Edward McKeever know the harsh reality of the situation.


"I'd like those new repeating carbines."
"Would you like my right arm, too?"
"No sir, just the carbines."

- Cheyenne's request for weapons riles Colonel Kilrain


"I don't blame you for trying to get your girls back, just for buyin' these men's lives for $300 a piece."

- Cheyenne


"There's nothing waiting for me back home, nothing but a lot of prim and proper women staring at me. Think any man would want to look at me now?"
"I don't know about the prim and proper women, but I'm looking at you and I like what I see."

- Ruth fears returning to society and Cheyenne offers her some comfort.


"If we get back and the men at home get to know you like I know you, there'll be a whole pack of 'em comin' round. Just save a place in line for me."

- Cheyenne pays Ruth a kind compliment

Purchase Cheyenne Season 1

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www.clintwalker.com or www.amazon.com

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