The first of five episodes to deal with the real-life Wyoming Stockgrower's Association (which led to the Johnson County War of 1892 and inspired the film "Heaven's Gate," which changed many details of the story): two gunmen try to bushwhack Smith and Jones for being in league with "cattle rustlers" -- which in WSGA parlance, applied to anybody who owned fewer than 300 cattle. A small cattle rancher, who has tangled with the gunmen in the past, comes up behind them, surprises them and shoots them down in their tracks. He claims self-defense, but knows people will call it murder (which it is), so asks Smith and Jones to escort him, his wife, his partner and his cattle to Montana where he will be reasonably safe. WSGA "detectives" send out an armed party dedicated to killing the whole lot. When Heyes and the gunman are both critically wounded, Curry goes berserk and blasts away at them until they turn tail. Heyes survives (his comment about being shot in the head later became a tagline ...
Did You Know?
Although this might have been a great Utah episode, apparently the script wasn't ready in time and the whole show (as well as those following, except for "Only Three to a Bed" and some of "What Happened at the XST?") were all shot back in California, presumably on ranches leased by movie studios. With less of a time squeeze than had been in previous seasons (due to several pre-emptions for "Kung Fu" specials), the show took a break in production after this episode was finished so the actors could promote the show on a tour. See more
Ordinarily, I wouldn't ask a question like this, but we're in business together. Like to tell me why bein' witnesses puts such a scare in ya? Well, I think I got it figured out. Either one of you Ben Thompson or Bill Longren? Hannibal Heyes, Wes Hardin? Kid Curry, Clay Allison?
You keep guessin', Marty, and we'll keep smilin'.