First Impressions:    A pretty good season four "town" episode featuring Jess but with enough of the others to remind us that he does have a family at home. New pictures added at the bottom of the page

The Story:    Slim is part of a posse that is looking for killer, Joe Morgan. He is accused of killing Slim's friend, Griff so Slim is very hot to find Morgan. Morgan goes into some rocky hills near dark and against Mort's advice, Slim follows. Slim catches up to Morgan but Morgan shoots, causing Slim to fall and break his collarbone.

At home, Slim is recuperating and he and Mort are telling Jess, Mike and Daisy about Morgan and how he's still on the loose. Morgan has made friends of a lot of disreputable characters in town who will protect him. He's always been able to thwart the law's attempts to bring him in for various mis-deeds. Jess has to go out and work on some fences that are down, and Slim warns him to be careful because that's the same area where they lost Morgan the night before.

Jess is out working on the downed fence when he spots Morgan and goes after him. Jess catches up to him and there's some shooting. Morgan is killed when a bullet ricochets off a rock and hits him in the back. Jess takes Joe's body back to town to Mort. There he is confronted by some of Morgan's friends and by Morgan's girlfriend, Gladys, a saloon girl. All of them accuse Jess of being a backshooter and shooting an innocent man. Jess is perplexed until Mort explains that the man that actually killed Griff had confessed. Morgan was guilty of robbing Griff, but he didn't kill him. Jess is sorry, but can't change what happened. He tries to explain to Gladys but she'll have none of it. She knows that Joe's two brothers have been summoned and are on their way to Laramie to take care of Jess. She gloats that they'll do to Jess what she can't.

Mort says that every lawman in the territory have been after the Morgan boys and as much as he doesn't want Jess to be the bait, he's not above using Jess to get them. Jess agrees to help. He'll stay in town.

Jess feels bad about the girl and goes off to try to find her to explain things. The bartender at the saloon says she just went home to her house outside of town. Jess goes to the livery to get a fresh horse. In the livery stable (always a dangerous place for Jess), Jess encounters five of Morgan's friends . They want a piece of Jess and they bully the livery man to get a rise out of Jess. Jess naturally takes the bait and a mondo fight ensues. In the end, Jess is the only one standing, but unfortunately, he has broken his right hand on the face of one of his attackers.

Obviously in pain and favoring his right hand, Jess rides out to Gladys' house. He tries to tell her he's sorry about Joe, but she continues to blame him and to taunt him with Joe's brothers coming to get him. She tells Jess no one in the world cares about her now that Joe is dead and Jess will pay. Jess offers her all the money he has in the bank to help her out and maybe go home. She continues to insist that Joe was innocent and was going to marry her and was going to go straight. Jess warns her that the Morgan boys are dangerous, but she doesn't believe him. As he's leaving she notices Jess' hand and asks about it. He tells her about the fight. She's unsympathetic, but now she knows Jess is handicapped.

Jess goes back to town where Daisy and Mike have come in for supplies. Jess has to hide his injury and he and Mort don't let on that Jess is being stalked by the Morgans. Jess' injury is very apparent when Mike asks Jess to lift him into the wagon. He does it, but it causes him a lot of pain. Jess goes to the hotel to rest and soak his hand.

That night at Gladys' house, the Morgan brothers show up. Two more unsavory characters you'll never see. They bully Gladys and although she wants them to get revenge for her, she's afraid of them and put off by them. She lets them know that Jess' hand is hurt. They devise a plan to get Jess to come to them so they don't have to go into town. Gladys slowly begins to see the Morgans for what they really are and is now really afraid of them. She also finds out that her Joe wasn't all she thought he was either. He was worse than his brothers, but he had her fooled.

The Morgan brothers force Gladys to write a letter to tell Jess she changed her mind about the money he offered, and wants to see him. Meanwhile, Mort visits Jess at the hotel and tells him about a telegram he intercepted. The Morgans are due tomorrow. They don't know that they're already there. Mort is worried about Jess and tries to get him to sleep at the jail. Jess is hiding his injury from Mort too, and refuses, saying that he'll be fine and he'll rest better at the hotel.

The next morning while Jess is still sleeping, one of Morgan's town cronies slips the letter under Jess' door. Jess reads it and heads out to Gladys' house. Mort has already been lured out of town by false news that the Morgans have been spotted outside of town.

When Jess arrives at Gladys' house, the Morgans ambush him. He's able to hold them off with a rifle and finally is saved when Gladys grows a brain and shoots one of the Morgans herself.

The tag has Jess saying goodbye as Gladys is going to start a new life and open a ladies hat shop. Jess is grateful that she saved his life and she's grateful that he's helping her (presumably with the money). There's a little goodbye kiss and all is forgiven.

Annie's Favorite Moments:   I like the awkward scene in the hotel between Jess and Mort when Jess is trying to hide his hand from Mort. Mort leaves and then comes right back, surprising Jess as he's reaching under the bed for the pan that he was soaking his hand in.

As much as I disliked the Gladys character for her earlier behaviour, I did like the little goodbye scene at the end. It involved Jess, Gladys and the whole family. She kisses him right in front of God 'n ever'body.

The fight scene where Jess breaks his hand is the best. The man is a fighting machine.

Another thing I really like about this episode is the obvious friendship between Jess and Mort. Jess as much as says that other than Slim, there's no one he'd rather be with when he's in trouble.

Jenny's Favorite Moments:   Well, I'll start with all of Annie's moments above, with the favorite nod going to the Mort/Jess friendship.  Next to Jess/Slim and Daisy/Jess, this is my favorite relationship in the series.  I love their joking, yet deep comaraderie.  In addition, I also liked Jess' concern for Gladys.  Poor Jess.  I felt bad for him.  It wasn't his fault her boyfriend was no-count trash, but he still wanted to help her.  I was amazed that he was willing to give up his hard earned saved money to her (I certainly wouldn't have), but it was a sweet gesture.  Whatta guy...

Notes of Interest:    Guest stars are Denver Pyle and Lee Van Cleef as the two vengeful Morgan brothers and Faye Spain as Gladys.

The Owie Factor:    We get, instead of bullet wounds, two bone breaks in this one. Slim breaks his collarbone and Jess breaks his hand. Between the two of them, they might be able to change a lightbulb.

Annie's rating: I'm a sucker for a good Jess story, and this is a good Jess story. Sure, I'd like to see a bit more Slim, but in the fourth season, seeing them both onscreen together was a rarity. I'm happy with this one.

Glady's isn't too happy about Jess killing her boyfriend

Yup, Jess,it's broke

Jess and Blind!Mort

Jess tries to reason with the Harpy, uh, I mean Gladys

Jess takes it easy at the hotel while the bad guys scheme outside

Jess reads the note slipped under his door

Gladys has redeemed herself and says goodbye to the family, saving her special goodbye for Jess

Naked Steel



Protective Custody