This is a very good Slim episode. It’s got a good story with just enough action to make it interesting.
Out in the fields, Jonsey has a team of horses hitched together with a rope tied to a tall tree stump. Andy watches as Jonesy tries in vain to get the horses to pull the stump from the ground, and he comments that it won’t work. Jonesy is sure that it will and he yells again at the horses. The rope snaps and the horses bolt, dragging Jonesy through the dirt on his stomach. He lets go of the reins, rolls a few feet and lays on the ground, unconscious.
Andy fills his hat with water and pours it over Jonesy’s face, reviving him. Jonesy sits up, holding his shoulder, and Slim comes running toward them. He asks what happened and Andy tells him that the team ran away with Jonesy. Slim tells Jonesy that he should have known better that to try and take out the stump himself, and Jonesy nods. Slim and Andy help Jonesy to his feet, and Slim says that he’ll get Jonesy to a doctor. Jonesy protests, but Slim tells Andy to hook up the buckboard anyway.
Slim drives a protesting Jonesy into town, but on the way they come across a wagon train stopped along the road. One of the wagons had broken a wheel and the blacksmith had been called out to fix it, but Glen, the wagon’s owner, protests that the smith’s price is too high. The smith says that out in the west prices go up because the materials cost more, but the Glen refuses to pay the smith’s asking price. Slim and Jonesy watch as the argument heats up, but when Glen shoves the blacksmith Slim jumps from the buckboard and breaks up the fight.
Two men, the wagon master and his second, Ross, run up to see what all the fuss is about, but by that time the fight is over. Slim helps the smith up from the ground and the wagon master asks if he’s all right and apologizes for the trouble. Ross growls that he doesn’t owe anyone an apology and Slim leaves, shaking his head. As Slim and Jonesy drive away Ross insists to the wagon master that the smith had tried to cheat Glen. The wagon master denies it and says that if Ross had been close enough to hear the argument he had no excuse for letting the fight get started. He warns the man to keep his hand away from his gun and Ross walks off, looking disgruntled.
Slim and Jonesy arrive in Laramie, but the doctor is out of town on a call. His daughter, Julia, says reluctantly that they can see her brother. The doctor looks at Jonesy’s shoulder and decides that it’s out of joint. He offers Jonesy a glass of whiskey and takes a healthy drink himself. Slim asks if he can take Jonesy back home immediately, but the doctor says Jonesy should stay in town for a few days. Slim leaves the office to get a hotel room and the doctor sets Jonesy’s shoulder
The blacksmith greets Slim and declares that he’ll never help them out again. He offers to buy Slim a drink. Slim agrees and they head over to the saloon. As the walk in, Glen Bentley and Ross ride into town. The second gives Glen his gun and encourages him to go after Slim.
In the saloon Bentley picks a fight with the blacksmith. They fight and Slim watches until Bentley draws his gun. Bentley points his gun at Slim and Slim is forced to shoot him. Ross calls for the sheriff, but is ignored. Bentley is taken to the doctor, and Ross quietly picks up the gun that Bentley had dropped and puts it back in his holster.
Slim and the blacksmith carry the wounded Bentley to the doctor’s office and Slim comments mournfully that he had only meant to hit Bentley’s shooting arm but the man had moved at the wrong time. Julia lets them inside the doctor’s office but tells them that her brother isn’t there. Slim asks where he might be and Julia says he’ll probably be in one of the saloons. Ross walks in and says that he’s going to go get Bentley’s wife.
Mrs. Bentley arrives at the doctor’s office and Julia makes coffee while they wait. Later that night the doctor comes staggering back to the office. They force him through six cups of hot coffee, and he has Julia help with the operation. Slim stays outside in the living room with Mrs. Bentley and she talks to him about where she’s from and where they were going. He promises her that Glen will be all right and tries to comfort her.
Slim tells her the story about the fight in the saloon, and admits that he was the one who shot her husband. The doctor comes into the living room and tells them that Glen Bentley is dead.
The sheriff has set up court in the saloon and Slim is on trial. All the witnesses say that Bentley had a gun but Ross insists that the man never owned a gun in his life. Slim says that he didn’t want to kill Bentley and that he’s sorry it had to happen. The sheriff decides that there is no need for a trial, but Ross is furious. Slim tries apologize to Mrs. Bentley but Ross tells him to leave her alone and calls him ‘window-maker’.
The doctor offers to watch out for Jonesy if Slim has anything to do, then returns to his office where despairs over the death of Bentley.
Slim is driving back to the ranch when he’s ambushed by a group of riders from the wagon trail, saying that since the sheriff wouldn’t do anything there were going to have their own trial. They tie him up and take him back to camp.
At the camp the wagon master Matthews tries to convince Ross that trying Slim is wrong, but Ross is set on vengeance. Matthews eventually relents and a trussed-up Slim is brought to trial.
Ross tries to present Slim as a hot-headed, no-good ‘trigger-happy saddle tramp’ and has nearly whipped the crowd into a hanging frenzy. Matthews offers Slim a chance to speak up for himself and he sticks by his story. Matthews gives the verdict to the jury and they pronounce him guilty and sentence him to hang.
That night Mrs. Bentley comes to talk to Slim and asks if the doctor could have saved Glen if only he had come sooner. Slim says that it’s something only the doctor could tell them and Matthews rides into town to have a talk with the doctor. Mrs. Bentley says that she doesn’t want to see Slim hang and she returns to the camp fire, leaving Slim alone.
In Laramie, Julia comes down the stairs in her robe, calling for her brother. She finds him in his office where he has hung himself.
The next morning the wagon train prepares for the hanging. Ross decides to hang Slim without waiting for Matthews to get back. Mrs. Bentley tries to get them to stop but Ross won’t listen. Matthews rides in just in time and tells them that the doctor is dead. He gathers the group around and tells them that the doctor would have been able to save Glen Bentley if he had been sober. Ross points out that they tried Slim and not the doctor but Matthews tells the group that not only does Slim have a ranch and relay station and is a respectable citizen but has also served as sheriff on more than one occasion. He also tells them that half the men of Laramie were looking for the doctor. He then goes on to accuse Ross of lying. Ross protests angrily but his excuses fall short of convincing the people. Matthews asks the people to change their verdict and they do.
Slim is turned loose and Ross is fired for his position as assistant wagon master. He mounts his horse and as he turns to ride away he draws his gun and shoots Matthews. As Ross flees, Slim grabs a rifle, springs aboard a horse and gives chase. Ross, unfamiliar with the country, rides into a dead end and lies in wait for Slim.
Slim is turned loose and Ross is fired for his position as assistant wagon master. He mounts his horse and as he turns to ride away he draws his gun and shoots Matthews. As Ross flees, Slim grabs a rifle, springs aboard a horse and gives chase. Ross, unfamiliar with the country, rides into a dead end and lies in wait for Slim. Back at the wagon camp Matthews, with his arm in a sling, tells Slim that he hopes the people of Laramie won’t judge every person on the wagon trail by the standard of Bentley and Ross. Slim assures him that they won’t and tells Mrs. Bentley that he is truly sorry. Mrs. Bentley accepts his apology and says that she intends to go on to her destination.
Back at the ranch Jonsey, sitting in his rocking chair, hastily puts his arm back in a sling before Slim and Andy ride up. Slim asks how his shoulder is and Jonesy says that it’s healing slowly and that it might be a week or two before it’s completely healed. Slim asks where Jess in and Jonesy replies that he’s inside scrubbing the kitchen floor and cleaning the stove. Slim comments with a frown that Jonesy’s got most of the chores taken care of, and Jonesy protests that he doesn’t like being cooped up any more than Slim does. Slim nods in acceptance, then seems to remember the bag that he’s carrying. He says that he and Andy had picked some huckleberries and tosses the bag to Jonesy. Jonesy catches the bag with both hands and Andy remarks to Slim that Jonesy’s arm had just gotten better all of a sudden. Jonesy declares that it’s a miracle and goes off to do the chores.
Kerri's Favorite Moments:
I love the bit at the end with the boys teasing Jonesy. He’s such a funny old fellow. I wish he’d stayed around longer. And the part where the doctor and the barber escort their invisible client out of the door is enjoyable as well.
Notes of Interest:
Rachel Ames plays Mrs. Bentley and also guest starred in the season 2 episode The Sound of Bells and later co-starred with Robert Fuller in the Wagon Train Episode, The Eli Bancroft Story.
Ross is played by frequent player, Ed Nelson.
The Owie Factor:
We had a fist fight, but no one was terribly damaged in this episode.