Confederate Express

First Impressions:  A good episode if you don't mind watching as Jess gets on the wrong end of whoopin'.  A nice episode for spotlighting the caring relationship between Slim and Jess which is evident all throughout.     

The Story:  Matt Grundy is lounging by a lake smoking his pipe, and being watched by three men on a distant hill.  The three have been trailing Grundy and have finally caught up with him.  Rather than take a chance on losing him, they decide to shoot from there.  They open fire, but miss and Grundy speeds away on his horse.

A while later, Grundy arrives at a small homestead where he is unenthusiastically greeted by a woman with a little girl.  It turns out the woman is Grundy's wife whom he had deserted.  She is none too pleased to see him, but after he pleads, she allows him to stay on to help with chores.
The next day, Slim arrives bringing a basket of bread that Daisy has baked and has come to fix the corral gate.  Slim obviously only knows Mrs. Grundy by her maiden name.  The woman introduces Grundy, but does not tell Slim that he is her husband.  Grundy has already fixed the corral and makes it clear that Slim has no need to stay.  Slim politely excuses himself and leaves.

Shortly, Grundy spots his three pursuers on the skyline and hurriedly explains to Martha that he has to go.  She accepts his abrupt departure with indifference.  The three men pursue Grundy and cause him to fall and cut his hand.  He's soon back up and off, escaping again.

At the Sherman ranch, Slim has returned and he and Jess are trying to repair the axel on a stage coach.  They have it jacked up and propped on wood.  Jess goes under the stage to work on the axle and when he emerges, Daisy comes out with lemonade.
After a moment, they spot Grundy riding up.  Slim explains that it's the man he met at Martha's house, and Daisy is concerned with the man's injured hand.  They invite him in so she can fix it.  Slim is a bit suspicious of the injury and the fact that he just came from the widow's house.  Grundy finally explains that she is his wife and that he doesn't blame her for denying it- he hasn't exactly been a good husband.

Over dinner, Grundy also admits that he has been in prison, but he's paid his debt. This unneccessary confession sends up red flags, well, to everyone except Slim and Jess (God bless 'em).  He also allows as how there are three men chasing him, trying to take away the only chance he has of getting his precious wife back.  Which is?  A bank note for, I don't remember how much, but a lot of money.  He claims he got it by selling a mining claim and now he's come home to make everything up to his wife.  Unfortunately, the Kerrigan brothers are after him for the bank draft and won't give up until they get it.  He won't feel safe until he gets to town and puts it in the bank.

While the others are jawing around the table listening to Grundy telling war stories, Mike is getting nosey.  He's poking around in the canvas bag that Grundy carries, almost like a purse.  One thing in the bag fascinates Mike.  It's a small leather pouch. Grundy pulls it out and explains that its a powder that the Cheyenne put on their hunting arrows to fell a buffalo.  Knocks 'em right out (okaaaaaaay).  Mike is impressed with Grundy's stories of the war and living with Indians.

Just then, the three guys ride up and call for Grundy to come out.  Slim says he'll handle it and goes out to meet them.  He orders Matt and Jess to stay inside with Daisy and Mike, and then he goes outside.

Just as one of the three men, the Kerrigan brothers, begins to explain why they're after Grundy, a shot comes from the house, the Kerrigans return fire as they ride off and Slim hits the ground to avoid being caught in crossfire.  After the Kerrigans leave, Slim angrily asks who started shooting.  Grundy meekly admits it was him, but only because one of the Kerrigans was going for a gun he keeps in his boot.

He claims it's a trick he saw him use before.  Slim has no choice but to accept the explanation and thanks Grundy, who modestly dimisses it.  "As long as you weren't hurt."

Jess, obviously concerned for Grundy, and thinking Grundy just saved Slim's life, suggests that he wait to go to town and let Jess and Slim ride along with him. Grundy puts up a half-hearted protest, but concedes a little too easily.

A little later, Jess, Slim and Grundy are working on the repairs to the stage. During the course of events, the stage slips off its supports while Jess is underneath it. Grundy acts fast and slows the stage's descent so that Jess has a few extra seconds to get out.  Now Grundy has endeared himself even more.  Jess and Slim are in his debt and are determined to help him out with his bank draft and the Kerrigan problem.  They convince him to stay overnight and ride into town with them in the morning.

The next morning, Daisy and Mike say goodbye and the men ride for Laramie.  On the road, the Kerrigans once again try to stop Grundy.  In the gun battle that follows, a ricochet hits Jess in the cheek (no, not that cheek).  He's not really hurt, but it serves to make him even more angry at the Kerrigans, and more determined that they don't get away with stealing Matt's money.

The three finally arrive in town, only to find that Sheriff Corey is out of town and the bank is closed for remodeling and will re-open at two o'clock.  They decide that they'll get a room at the hotel where they can watch the street, and wait for the bank to open.  While Slim goes to stable the horses, Jess and Grundy go to the hotel.

In the hotel room, Grundy tries to tell Jess that he'll be safe now and they can go, but Jess wants to see it through.  On his way back, Slim spots the Kerrigans, but manages to avoid them and heads back to the hotel.

In the room Jess looks at the cut on his face in the mirror and then leaves the room to go get water to wash it out.  After he's in the hallway, he hears a shot from the room and rushes back.

Grundy says he saw a Kerrigan and they took a shot at him (yeah, right).  Slim comes rushing back and has to stop Jess from just going outside and blasting them all.  Slim convinces him that the two of them should go out looking for the Kerrigans while Matt waits in the room.  Matt protests, but Slim and Jess "owe him" and they want to do this for him (aw geez).

So, Slim and Jess go out, split up (mistake number...uh, I forget) and search the town.  Jess ends up going into a dark, deserted, store room place following one of the men he's after (Jess, what are you thinkin'?).
The one man is soon joined by the other two and of course they beat the stuffing out of Jess.  Well, the beating was just a tad Jess' fault.  See, they were trying to explain to him that Grundy was a con artist and was only here to rob the bank, just like he did in Sheridan, where they came from.  He also killed a bank employee at the same time.
Jess wouldn't hear any of it, and came out fighting.  So much for that.

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Jess hasn't come back and Slim is worried.   While he and Matt discuss it, the hotel manager knocks on the door.   He wants this trouble out of his hotel. Finally he tells Slim that Jess is outside in the alley, someone has brought him in. Slim rushes to the alley door where Jess is being held up by a townie. The man says some kids found Jess and that he'd "been beat somethin' awful." Slim takes Jess into the room and puts him on the bed.

Jess is pretty incoherent, but is mumbling about Grundy and Sheridan, and the bank.  Slim doesn't understand, but Grundy understands all too well.  Grundy gets Slim to leave to find the Doctor (mistake hell).

While Slim is gone, Jess wakes up a bit and wants Grundy to tell him if what the Kerrigans said about him was true.  Grundy won't admit to anything and all the while is taking his little leather pouch out and putting some of the buffalo sleep-eze on the blade.  He still needs a little time to carry out his plan and can't have Jess spilling the beans.  So, he shoves the knife in Jess (ewwwwwww!) and Jess passes out like a felled buffalo.

When Slim comes back with the Doctor, they're all puzzled as to why Jess just "went under all of a sudden".  After the Doctor examines Jess, he leaves to go get something from his office.  Also, Grundy gets set to go.  "You're not going after the Kerrigan's alone," Slim says.  Matt says he's just going to see if the sheriff has come back yet.  Slim stays with Jess.

Outside, Grundy makes a beeline for the livery stable, overpowers the attendant and sets the place on fire as a diversion.  He then heads for the bank.

Meanwhile, the Doctor has come back.
He suspects that Jess has been drugged, probably by the Kerrigans, and he gives him a shot of Digitalin to try to revive him.  (Don't ask me, I just writes 'em likes I sees 'em).  After a few minutes, Jess starts waking up.  Feeling relieved, and still worried about Grundy, Slim is about to leave Jess in the Doctor's hands and go out looking for Matt. Jess manages weakly to call Slim back.  He struggles, but finally manages to tell Slim that Grundy did this to him and that he's there to rob the bank.

Slim heads off to stop Grundy.

Outside, the town's people are trying to put out the fire.  Grundy comes out of the bank and Slim tries to stop him.  Grundy hurls a stick of dynamite at him and runs off.  Slim dodges the dynamite and still tries to stop Grundy.  Grundy gets off a shot that hits Slim in the arm, and then rides out of town.

Slim goes back to the hotel room to get the Doctor to wrap up his arm.  As they talk about Slim's theory that Matt will head to his wife's place, Jess struggles to listen. He pleads with Slim to wait until Mort gets back.  The Kerrigans couldn't stop Grundy and there were three of them.  Slim's reply is, "Then wish me luck, partner." Jess tries to get Slim to wait, but Slim is out the door and Jess is too weak to get up.

Slim chases Grundy at a full gallop.  Grundy has stopped to try to convince his wife to go with him.  She will have none of it, and suspects that he's done something. Matt gives up and rides on with Slim coming closer.  Matt stops and goes into an abandoned mine to try to make a stand.  As Slim catches up to him, Grundy throws another stick of dynamite, but Slim picks it up and throws it back.  The dynamite does it's job, and Grundy is down.
As he's dying, he pleads with Slim to not let the local people know about him for his wife's sake.  Also, he shows Slim a wanted poster of himself and makes Slim promise that his wife will get the reward.  Slim promises, and Grundy dies.

The tag finds Jess on his feet again as they say goodbye to the Kerrigans.  Apologies are made, all is forgiven and Jess informs Slim that he volunteered Slim to go help Mrs. Grundy paint her house next week.  That rascal Jess has got him agin'.

Annie's Favorite Moments:   Just about the whole last half of the show.  Hey, I'm easy.  Okay, okay, so you say this one is pretty farfetched, and our boys' behavior is just a trifle naive?   And your point is?

Jenny's Favorite Moments:
My favorite moment has to be the scene after Jess has been beaten up.  I love how worried Slim is about his friend, and his reaction when he finds out Jess has been hurt.  (Why he isn't concerned at all when Jess is missing during a tornado, I don't know).  Slim carrying Jess to the bed and hovering over him worriedly were very caring scenes.

Notes of Interest:    Matt Grundy is played by John Larch who was also in "Day of Vengeance" as Cabe Reynolds.

The Owie Factor:   Hoo bouy!  Poor Jess takes the brunt of the owies in this one. First he almost gets his legs amputated under a stage coach, then a ricochet hits him in the face, then he gets beat to a pulp by the three baddies, then he gets drugged, (and not a nice neat drug-in-a-drink kind of thing, but a shove-a-knife-in-you kind of drugging)  Then of course we have to give Slim his own bandaid for taking one in the arm.  He gets to spend yet another tag with his arm in yet another sling.

Annie's rating: Flawed, but wow. I love it on a lot of levels that have nothing to do with whether it's a good story, or good television for that matter. It's good Slim and Jess, and that's what counts in my book.

The Runaway



The High Country