The Perfect Gift
A somewhat less than original story illustrating that old cliche' about when you save someone's life they belong to you. Everyone involved is as pure as the driven snow, but the sexual innuendos are just flying all over the place.
Two no-accounts are spying on a beautiful young Arapaho Indian girl, apparently bent on doing unkind things to her. They grab her and carry her into a wooden hut, knock her out and then set it on fire and run away. Slim rides into the village as the villagers are struggling to put out the fire, but seem at a loss as to how to rescue the girl. He takes his poncho, wets it and runs into the burning building and brings the girl out. (Gee, don't know why none of those big brave Indians thought to do that)
Slim recognizes the girl, Wynona, as the girl who was on trial last week for killing a man named Randy Cady. Slim was the foreman of the jury that acquitted her. Slim and the girl's Father, we'll call him Chico cuz we can't remember his real name, reckon that Cady's family are the ones who tried to kill Wynona. Even though she was acquitted, they still blame her for their brother's death. Chico and Slim can't prove it though because Wynona didn't see her attackers. Slim says he will go into town and report the incident. Naturally, Chico won't let Slim leave without his property, Wynona. Slim argues that he can't take the girl, but the Indians won't hear of it. She is shamed that Slim won't have her, so naturally, she follows him! Resigned to his burden, and with a storm coming up, Slim can't let her go back, so he takes her home with him.
At the ranch, Jess, Daisy and Mike are eating dinner and wondering where Slim is. Shortly, Slim comes in with a very wet Wynona (try to picture a 19th century wet t-shirt). Slim is embarrassed, but he introduces Wynona to the family. Daisy is aghast at the barbaric custom that makes Wynona Slim's property. Jess thinks it's amusing. Daisy relents and decides they can keep her for a couple of days, but then she is going to go see Wynona's father herself and straighten things out.
That same evening, Slim rides into town to see Matt Cady, the oldest Cady brother. He finds Matt in the saloon with his girlfriend, Tess. The other two brothers, Lon and Wayne aren't there, but Slim knows who was responsible for the fire and he exchanges threats with Matt and leaves.
Later, the three Cadys talk. Matt tells his less than smart brothers that the girl isn't dead and is staying at the Sherman place. He knows the whole town doesn't have to guess who started the fire at the Indian village. He has other plans for Wynona and Slim. He holds Slim responsible for Wynona being free.
The next morning, 4:30 AM to be precise, Slim is up early to make up the lost time he lost yesterday with the fire and gettin' a new woman an' all. Slim is surprised to find that Wynona is already up and has cooked him an early breakfast as if she knew that Slim would get up early. Boy, them Indian maidens sure have some mysterious powers. Later, Wynona also does all of Slim's laundry. As she's hanging his drawers out on the wash-line, Wynona has a visitor. A brave from the village rides up and looks longingly at her. She obviously has feelings for him, but doesn't go out to meet him or speak to him.
That afternoon, Slim comes home, dirty and tired. Just as he's telling Jess he could sure go for a hot bath, Wynona says his bath is ready (see? mysterious powers). She's got his bath all heated and drawn and just ready for him to shuck off and step in. Jess decides he wants one o' these gals for his own! Slim won't let Wynona stay and scrub his back and Jess teases him about going through life missing out on a lot of good stuff.
The next day, Slim drives Wynona and Daisy into town for some shopping. The Cadys confront Slim and taunt him about being a squaw-man and make some rather rude suggestions. They step outside and commence to fightin'. Matt Cady rides up and watches as his two younger brothers get the tar whooped out of them by Slim. Finally, Mort Corey comes along and breaks up the fight. Matt Cady apologizes for the public brawl, but uses the opportunity with half the town there to pontificate on Wynona and Slim's relationship and his motives for the jury letting her off, insinuating that Slim wants her for himself for improper purposes. (Our Slim? Mr.Clean? HA!)
It's another day, and Daisy has come to the Indian village to have words with Wynona's daddy. She tries to explain that it's indecent for Wynona to "belong" to Slim. The people in town think the wrong things. Chico is not bothered by the evil thoughts of others. He continues to insist that their laws do not allow for him to take Wynona back. It would bring great shame on them all. In the end, Chico one-ups Miss Daisy at her own game, and Daisy leaves without accomplishing what she set out to do.
That night, Wynona and Slim are in the barn with a new litter of puppies. They share a little romantic interlude as Slim realizes he is beginning to have feelings for Wynona (well, she is a looker after all, and our Slim ain't blind). He says that if she is to stay with him, then they should do it legally, and stand up in front of the preacher. Wynona tells Slim that she loves him, but only because it's what she knows he wants to hear.
The next morning, Jess is in the barn early playing with the puppies when he sees Wynona leave the house and go to meet the Indian brave from the village. She has a conversation with him as Jess watches and when the brave tries to drag her off. Jess intervenes and runs him off.
Jess makes Wynona tell him what that was all about. She finally says that she and Chicaro were pledged to marry, but it's over now that she belongs to Slim. She has a debt of honor and there is no room for love. She begs Jess not to tell Slim.
Later, Slim comes and tells Jess that he's going to ask Wynona to marry him. Jess is skeptical. He hints that there could be another man and that Slim doesn't really know anything about Wynona. He doesn't get around to telling Slim about Chicaro before Wynona comes and interrupts them. Jess stomps off, ready to let Slim make his own mistakes.
In town, Matt meets with his brothers in the saloon. In walks Chicaro and tries to trade a knife with the bartender for a bottle of whiskey. The bartender refuses to trade and he and Chicaro exchange words about his woman living with Slim. This angers Chicaro even more and he storms out.
Matt, hearing this, sends his saloon girl girlfriend after Chicaro with a bottle of whiskey. He's out back and she goes to him and gives him the bottle. He takes it and slugs down a few big ones. She tells him that if Wynona is worth having, she's worth fighting for and worth killing for. She goads him into going after Slim. Chicaro, drunk by now, rides out and heads towards the Sherman place. The Cadys follow.
At the ranch, Daisy and Mike are leaving for a visit to neighbors. Jess, Slim and Wynona are left at home. Slim asks Wynona again if she's happy here and if she really wants to stay. She says she is. As Slim takes her hand, Chicaro comes in and attacks Slim with a knife. It doesn't take much for Slim to knock him down, drunk as he is.
Jess recognizes Chicaro as the man Wynona is in love with. He tells Slim about their meeting earlier. Slim isn't surprised. He knew Wynona has been holding something back. Wynona still insists that she loves Slim and Chicaro has shamed her. Chicaro confesses that Tess gave him a bottle and put him up to this. Slim wants to send him and Wynona off together, but he refuses. Chicaro leaves and Wynona cries.
Outside, the Cadys are watching. They plan to kill Slim, Jess and Wynona and make it look like Indians did it. They shoot flaming arrows at the barn and set it on fire. Jess sees the barn is on fire and they run out to put it out. The Cadys start shooting and they're forced back inside. Jess makes a run out the back door to get to the barn. He tries to put the fire out while also trying not to get himself shot.
Chicaro hears the shots and goes back. While Jess works on the fire, Slim keeps the Cadys busy from the house. Chicaro saves Jess from being shot in the back by two of the Cadys. There's a fight and Jess and Chicaro are facing pretty bad odds. Slim comes out of the house to help and he too saves Jess from getting shot. One of the Cadys shoots Slim in the shoulder (where else?) which brings Wynona storming out of the house.
Matt Cady has the perfect opportunity to kill her, but Chicaro distracts him long enough for Jess to get off a shot and kills Matt Cady. Chicaro has now saved Wynona, so guess what? She now belongs to him as Slim so quickly points out. He officially turns Wynona over to the man she loves.
The next day, Wynona says goodbye to the whole family, tells Slim he is a good man, and rides off with her fella. Slim with his arm in the omnipresent sling, and Jess watch her leave. Jess, of course, has to make the inevitable always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride remark (guffaw). The end.
Annie's Favorite Moments:
I have to confess, there aren't a lot of candidates here. I guess I would have to say the scene where it's 4:30 in the morning and the alarm clock (not the rooster, for once) goes off (did they have alarm clocks back in 18-whatever?). Jess' bare arm reaches up and slaps it off. He's rather aghast that Slim has set it for so early, noting that Slim will have to make his own breakfast, before he rolls over and goes back to sleep.
I also like the brief little scene where Jess is alone in the barn, just sitting and playing with Mama-dog and her puppies.
There were more things about this episode that I didn't like than things that I did. Slim is just too squeaky clean- hey, can we say virginal? The plot is trite and cliche'd and the Indians were horribly stereotyped. This shoulda been an episode of Wild Wild West.
Jenny's Favorite Moments:   This one is easy for me.  I love the looks on Jess and Daisy's face as Slim is telling them how he came into possession of Wynona.  Despite the episode being somewhat predictable, I actually like this episode.  It was humorous.  Slim was his usual sweet wonderful just self.  And Jess was Slim's faithful, even if amused at times, friend.
Notes of Interest:
Nyah, can't think of a-one. Well, okay, two of our most frequent repeater guest stars are present. Playing two of the Cadys are John Anderson (Matt), and Russell Johnson (uh, one of the other ones).
The Owie Factor:   Ol' Slim catches a bullet with his shoulder, yet again.
I'm sorry, I tried to like it, I really did. Back in the early 1960's this may have been the most original thing to come down the pike in years, but today it's very dated and hack-ish storytelling. A rare low point for Laramie, story wise.