The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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"the best man"
Original NBC Broadcast - 23 September 1970
universal city studios, inc.
executive producer leslie stevens
produced by glen a. larson
written by leslie stevens
directed by russ mayberry
(shown in the main title sequence)
stewart granger [Col. Alan Mackenzie] (not in this episode)
doug mcclure [Trampas]
lee majors [Roy Tate] (not in this episode)
james drury as the virginian (not in this episode)
desi arnaz [“El Jefe” Zaragosa]
james farentino [Pick Lexington]
katy jurado ["Mama" Fe Zaragosa]
complete ending credits:
mario alcalde as cristobal nieves
susana miranda as teresa zaragosa
margarita cordova as tia marguerita
rodolfo hoyos hernan
lenore stevens josefina
alex val chucho
david ceballos pepe
(no credit given for the boy Jefe didn't know who later was sitting on the back of Trampas' horse)
associate producer bill egan
music score david shire
theme ennio morricone
director of photography john m. stephens
art director george webb
set decorations perry murdock
unit manager frank losee
assistant director harker wade
film editor douglas stewart
music supervision stanley wilson (see music note below)
sound roger h. heman, jr.
color coordinator robert brower
main title design jack cole
titles and optical effects universal title
editorial supervision richard belding
costume supervision vincent dee
makeup bud westmore
hair stylist larry germain
Series regular characters appearing in this episode: Trampas
Echoes of gunfire are heard in the hills as Trampas is coached on the fine points of
the quick draw by his friend Pick Lexington. Trampas is bemoaning that he can’t seem
to get his speed plus accuracy “all together” when Pick suddenly turns to leave.
To Trampas’ amusement, Pick says he is going to his wedding. However, Trampas loses
the grin when Pick tells him his intended is 19 year old Teresa Zaragosa, daughter
of the “El Jefe” of San Ysidro, Mexico. Trampas knew the family because he’d
spent some time with them after he got cow fever pushing cattle down the Rio Grande
River. Pick wants Trampas to accompany him and be his best man. When Trampas
complains that it’s “clear to the border,” Pick offers to trade him pointers on
his fast draw. So the two head off for Mexico.
The townspeople recognize Trampas and are glad to see him again. Pick, however,
does not receive the same greetings. El Jefe wonders why Trampas and Pick have
returned. “For the ceremony,” Trampas replies. Seeing the trappings of festivity
around the town, he mentions that everyone must be excited about the big day.
However, it soon becomes evident that it is not a wedding they are getting ready
to celebrate - it’s Santa Anna’s birthday. And although Teresa gives Pick a
flirtatious look, Trampas senses his friend has yet to ask the girl to marry him.
In fact, Teresa’s mother Fe wants no part of Pick hanging around her daughter
because she would have Teresa marry El Jefe’s assistant Cristobal.
Trampas reluctantly agrees to be Pick’s go-between. Meanwhile, Cristobal is
asking the girl if she will consider marrying him. Trampas finds Teresa later
feeding the doves and reads the note that he had written for Pick asking her
permission to “plight his troth.” He then offers her Pick’s engagement ring,
but she wonders if Pick is “crazy” and refuses to reply because she “can’t
think of so many things at once.” Running to her aunt, Teresa asks if she can
keep a secret and then declares she has “two somebodies” who wish her hand
in marriage. Marguerita, however, does not keep the news to herself. She
informs her lazy husband Hernan who in turn recounts it to Mama Fe. Fe is
certain, though, that Teresa will choose the right one. But Teresa can’t make
up her mind.
Trampas is concerned there will a fight between Pick and Cristobal. Pick
assures him that if Teresa chooses Cristobal he will back off. But if the
field is still open, he intends to press on with his suit. When Trampas
voices his worry to El Jefe, the father decides to keep Teresa away from
both men by sending her to her grandmother’s. He will also take Pick and
Cristobal to the hills for a wild pig hunt to try to keep their minds off
While the two rivals are galloping after wild hogs with their guns blazing,
Trampas rides with Teresa toward her grandmother’s in San Mateo. When
Teresa’s horse becomes lame, Trampas puts her atop his own mount to continue
the trip. Later, as the pair stops for lunch, Teresa is considering between
Cristobal, whom she knows would take care of a family, and Pick, who would
be the type to take a wife to visit other cities. Unsure of a decision,
Teresa asks Trampas what she should do. Trampas suggests she take a nap,
but she cries, “Can’t you see my heart is breaking to pieces.” Trampas
advises that crying won’t help the situation. Instead of worrying about
it she should just let nature take its course. Teresa appraises that
Trampas is “very wise.” He’s also “kind and gentle and knows how to give
a woman a feeling of confidence.” Uneasy with the direction the conversation
seems to be headed, Trampas suggests they push on. Teresa remarks that it
won’t matter if they are late because her grandmother doesn’t know she’s
coming. “El Jefe knows,” Trampas replies.
Back in town, the two suitors argue over who actually shot the pig and who
is going to present the trophy to the Zaragosa family. Cristobal wants
Pick out of the picture, but Jefe admonishes him to stay away from Pick
as he and Trampas will be gone after the celebration on Sunday. However,
if Pick remains later than that, Cristobal is free to do what he wishes.
Trampas suggests that Jefe run him and Pick out of town before “it gets
too hot to handle.” Jefe assures him that he can handle his people.
Trampas just has to be sure he can handle his.
That night Pick and Trampas can’t sleep. Pick laments that being in love
is a worse pain than getting bit by a rattlesnake. Trampas can see how
his affections for Teresa could have such an effect, especially if he
“can’t get it all together” - that’s the way he feels about his quick draw.
But to Pick, one can’t “compare target practice to love.” Trampas makes
Pick promise that he won’t “blow up and let fly at Cristobal.” Pick agrees
that he won’t start a fight, but if Cristobal pushes he’ll push back.
Still unable to settle for the night, Pick leaves his friend to think on
the matter. It so happens that Cristobal can’t sleep either and has
been nursing a bottle of cognac. He hears a dog bark outside and goes
to investigate with his gun drawn and ready. But Pick is unarmed.
He berates Cristobal about the size of the gun he carries and mentions
how easy it would be to get rid of competition under the pretense of
shooting a prowler. Push then comes to shove. The noise disturbs El
Jefe and Trampas. Cristobal stands up from behind the wall with the
excuse that he had heard a coyote and thought it was after the chickens.
El Jefe is wise to the real goings on but allows the story from his
assistant. After Cristobal and Jefe leave, Trampas calls for Pick to
show himself. The angry cowboy accuses Pick of going back on his word.
It is now time for them to leave because Pick is disrupting Jefe’s
plans for his family. But Pick isn’t “looking for blood,” he’s “just
looking to get married.” Trampas tells him that if they leave it will
force Teresa to “declare her true feelings” one way or the other.
Pick reluctantly agrees but suggests Trampas stay to see which man
Teresa will choose.
Trampas informs Jefe that Pick has gone away to allow Teresa to make
up her mind about what is best for the family. When he hears it’s
official between Teresa and Cristobal, he and Pick will leave for good.
For Mama Fe, it’s already official, but Jefe states, “We will know by noon.”
Marguerita warns Teresa that having two men vying for her affection is
exciting, but people get killed playing games like that. She proposes
her niece tell Cristobal she will marry him because Pick had gone away.
Teresa consents to meet Cristobal at the dove cages at noon. But as
the girl continues grinding corn, Pick comes back and expresses his
love - he wants to marry her and have ten or twelve kids. Their lips
meet in a kiss, but then Teresa turns from him. Marguerita comes
across the scene. She rushes to Jefe and blurts out her sighting in
Trampas brings Pick his horse, with Pepe and Chucho sitting in the saddle.
He tells the boys to go and gives them licorice with the order not to
tell anyone they had seen them. As Pick sits on the ground with his gun
in hand, Trampas insists it is time for them to get out of San Ysidro.
Pick is being “immoral” - he can’t have Teresa so he’s “spoiling for a
gunfight.” But Trampas will not allow his friend to “kill or be killed”
- he’s going to find Teresa and demand she make up her mind. Unbeknownst
to Trampas, another boy had stayed on the back of his horse and overheard
their conversation. Trampas now notices him and sends him on his way.
Hernan asks the children where they had gotten the licorice, and they
whisper that Cristobal and Pick are going to have a gunfight. The
three youngsters then trot along the street telling others in town.
Trampas locates Teresa weaving rugs and charges her to make a choice
before there is a killing. When Teresa starts to cry, Trampas reminds
her that crying won’t help. But at the moment she’s not crying for
either man, she’s crying for herself. Trampas tells her to stop the
tears because they won’t help her either. Teresa appreciates that Trampas
is “strong enough to be gentle” and doesn’t have to prove he’s a man.
She feels safe with him and wants him to take her away. Trampas can
understand how she has trouble making a decision because all her life
her parents had made them for her. In a lot of ways she is still a
little girl. He likes her a lot, but liking isn’t enough, nor does he
"love" her enough to take her away with him. And he knows she doesn’t
love him in a “man to woman” way, but the love she feels for El Jefe,
“for safety, like a child.” The love she needs to feel is that of
taking care of a family of her own. Cristobal comes upon Trampas
comforting Teresa, and as Trampas tries to assure him that there is
nothing serious between him and the girl, Teresa informs Cristobal,
“I love him - like a brother.” Trampas leaves the two with “valla
con Dios” to work things out between them.
Trampas entreats Jefe for help to stop a showdown, but Jefe has released
Cristobal from his promise not to harm Pick. He has no "power to test
a heart," and "two can’t have one." The best man will win. Teresa
wouldn’t give her answer, so she must marry the one who lives.
Out in the street, Cristobal and Pick walk toward a confrontation. But
these are Trampas’ friends. He doesn’t want either of them killed, so
he comes between them. The men both want Trampas out of the way so
they can get on with their duel, but Trampas won’t move. As the men
cock their guns, Teresa runs into the street to stand alongside Trampas.
She is joined by Mama Fe, Marguertia, Hernan, and then others of the
town. Trampas calls, “Jefe, we need your help.” At this Jefe adds
himself to the human barrier between Pick and Cristobal.
The two men put away their weapons. The threat of a gunfight is over.
But Teresa still has to choose . . . [bj]
Looking for these scenes?
Trampas and Pick join the Zaragosa family and Cristobal for supper.
To the sounds of soothing guitar music, Pick and Teresa gaze across
the table at each other. Pick shows off the wedding ring he’d bought,
but no one seems to really understand the implication of marriage.
The chili peppers are passed. Pick puts one in his mouth and certainly
feels the heat from it.
Some boys are watching Trampas target practice. Trampas explains that
he’s not practicing to draw on a man. Shooting against people is “no good”.
However, shooting skill could come in handy if one comes across a rattlesnake.
At this he draws and fires his gun but misses the tin can he’d aimed at.
So he tosses a stick in the air and tells Pick to show them how he shoots
the head off a copperhead snake. Pick shoots up the stick as Teresa and
some other townspeople arrive and El Jefe and Cristobal ride up to see
what the commotion is about. Teresa is intent on making eyes at Pick.
El Jefe throws a rope in the air for Trampas to shoot at, but Pick shoots
it in half instead. Cristobal now makes an impression by shooting another
piece of rope in thirds. Trampas saunters up and takes an egg from a woman’s
basket. He throws it in the air then draws his gun and blasts the shell
resulting in splattered raw egg. He comments that it’s kind of messy and
maybe they should stick to ropes, but at least he hit it.
Comment on Trampas:
Trampas is concerned about getting his fast draw and accuracy put together
in this episode. What has happened to the man who, in the first 8 seasons,
could “make a six gun jump like a fist full of diamonds” (quote from 1.18
“Say Goodbye to All That”)? However, other than this blunder, Leslie
Stevens' treatment of Trampas was consistent with the earlier years.
I wish Stevens had continued with this development since, with the
exception of 9.13 “hannah,” Trampas’ character in THE MEN FROM SHILOH
seemed to be degraded for comedic purposes.
The song "Take a Look Around" - music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard
Maltby, Jr, and sung by Tim Morgon - was introduced in this episode.
However, Maltby and Morgon were not given credit until the music was
used again in Trampas' final appearance 9.17 "the legacy of spencer flats".
The lyrics to the song were essentially the advice given to Teresa by
Trampas to let “nature” decide in matters of the heart. The cinematography
during the song added greatly to the appeal as scenes of Trampas and Teresa
riding were shot into the sun. A portion of the song was also used while
Pick was leaving town after Trampas told him to give Teresa time to make
up her mind. More information on this music can be read on 9.17 
“the legacy of spencer flats”.
Stanley Wilson was credited as the music supervisor for this episode as
well as 9.04 "with love, bullets, and valentines," 9.08 "lady at the bar,"
and 9.11 "follow the leader." Mr. Wilson is not listed as the music
supervisor for 9.03 "jenny" featuring James Drury. This leads me to the
opinion McClure’s were some of the first episodes filmed since Mr. Wilson
died in July, 1970.
Note on Trampas’ new look:
This was the first appearance of Trampas with a controversial moustache.
When Trampas and Pick arrive in San Ysidro, El Jefe makes notice that
Trampas has a new horse and a new hat. Trampas now wears a black
hat and has indeed exchanged his trademark buckskin for a gray Quarter
Horse which, according to the “Horse and Show” magazine Sept.1970,
was called “Blue.” [bj]
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