War Hero

War Hero

First Impressions:    An average episode without a lot of suspense, but entertaining enough. At least it took place at the ranch with the whole gang present.

The Story:    Jess is riding shotgun on a stage on which presidential candidate General George Barton is riding with his entourage and daughter, Lucy. In the woods are three men laying in wait to assassinate the general. Just before reaching the ambush, the coach stops and the general gets out. He takes one of the escort's horses and decides that he wants to ride the rest of the way to the Sherman way station by himself across country. He needs to get out and get away by himself for awhile. His escort, his campaign manager, Thorne and his daughter stay in the stage, and Jess takes off to follow the general and to protect him.

Meanwhile at the ranch, Slim and Mike wait for the coach. It arrives without the general and they are told what the general did. Slim assures the aide that Jess will take good care of the general.

The general has stopped at the lake and is boyishly enjoying himself skipping stones. Jess is anxious, but allows him his freedom. The general is not a man to be told what to do. The three men ambush Jess and the general at the lake. Barton is shot in the arm, but Jess scares off the would-be assassins.

At the ranch, Jess and Barton still haven't arrived and Thorne is put out. They have to meet some very important party men in town. Thorne takes the coach into town to mollify their supporters while a disapproving Lucy stays at the ranch to wait for her recalcitrant father. Slim is concerned for Jess and goes out to find Jess and Barton. Slim used to be one of Barton's officers in the war. When he finds them, Slim's first words to Jess are, "Where the blazes have you been?". Barton tells Slim rather delightedly about their little adventure and how Jess saved the day. They go back to the ranch, but Barton doesn't want to go to town to meet the party supporters. He wants time to relax and decide what he wants to do. He uses his minor arm injury as an excuse to move in with Jess and Slim, who are happy to have him.

In town, the campaign people are very unhappy with their candidate's individualistic ways. He rewrites speeches, won't toe the party line etc. They insist that Throne make the general read their speech as written or threaten to take him off the ticket. As he's leaving, Thorne meets the would-be assassins and it's clear that he was behind it, hoping that with Barton out of the way, he would be the party's nominee. He has changed his mind though and pays them off and tells them to cancel the contract. The assassins don't take Thorne's orders and decide to go ahead with their plans. One of them has a personal grudge against Barton.

Back at the ranch, Barton and Lucy settle in. Lucy is pestering her father to continue with his campaign and to do what the party wants him to until he's elected. Barton objects to the party trying to get him to soft pedal some of his positions and he balks at being told what to do. When they are alone, Slim and Barton talk about Barton's plans. Barton wants to test the politicos to see how much they want him for himself, not just his war hero image. Slim says he can stay as long as he wants.

Thorne comes back from town and insists on seeing the general. Slim won't let him in and butts heads with Thorne and his cavalry lackys. Jess comes and stands with Slim and they stand down the others. Jess teases Slim about being a big man with the next president, but the first lady (Lucy)won't let him near the whitehouse.

Lucy and Thorne agree that Barton has to read the speech the party wrote and she promises she will make him. Lucy finally convinces Barton to do what it takes to get elected.

The next morning, Mike goes fishing and Barton tags along unbeknownst to anyone else. Jess drives Thorne back to town in the buckboard, but they are chased down by the assassins. Jess climbs in the back to shoot at the riders following them, but gets shot himself and goes down for the count. Thorne stops the wagon and the assassins shoot him and then go off to find the general.

Meanwhile Slim and Lucy have also gone looking for Barton. All parties converge in the woods with the assassins getting the drop on Barton and Slim and Lucy entering the fray. Lucy has a sudden change of heart and finally realizes that her father has to be who he is and not a puppet. Slim saves the day and rescues the general. The newly rejuvinated presidential candidate, and his daughter say their goodbyes and go to Laramie for a big politcal rally, confident that even if he doesn't win the election, he will always be true to himself.

Annie's Favorite Moments:Hmmm, tough to call. I guess I'd have to say the scene near the beginning when Jess follows the General to the lake where he's skipping rocks. Jess tries to get the General to come with him, but finally gives up and just humors him. There's also a rather out-of-place fight-struggle-kiss-slap scene between Lucy and Slim.

Jenny's Favorite Moments:  My favorite moment isn't really a moment.  It's the ep itself.  I just like the overall idea of story.  This sweet old principled likeable general has a sorry daughter who is selfish and doesn't understand him and is against his political beliefs.  But then, the general decides to abandon his principles for this daughter because he does love her (even if she is a royal pain in the neck).  Then finally, the daughter realizes how special her father is and she changes over to his side.  I just enjoyed watching this broken sad disfunctional general/daughter relationship change into a united loving family.  Smack me, but I'm a sucker for this kind of family drama.  And it didn't hurt that the Jess/General moments in this were so cute.

Notes of Interest:    This is the last appearance of frequent guest star Lloyd Nolan. Of his many appearances, this is his only truly good and noble character. Charming too.

The Owie Factor:    Jess gets a graze to the head that doesn't seem to knock him down for long. He's out for a few convenient plot minutes, but jumps up and is ready for action again. In the end we are treated to a big white patch on his forehead.

Annie's rating: A good,likable if somewhat predictable story. Not personally engaging for Slim and Jess. They just provide the locale.

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