The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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Original NBC Broadcast - 21 October 1970
executive producer norman macdonnell
written by robert vanscoyk
directed by harry harris
starring (shown in the main title sequence)
stewart granger as col. alan mackenzie (does not appear)
doug mcclure (does not appear)
lee majors as roy tate (does not appear)
james drury as the virginian (appears)
joseph cotten [judge hobbs]
brandon de wilde [rem garvey]
anne francis [myra greencastle]
john smith [dee garvey]
agnes moorehead [emma garvey]
neville brand [sheriff wintle]
rod cameron [dunn]
as boss cooper
as nellie cooper
Ending credits (incomplete)
theme ennio morricone
director of photography enzo a. martinelli
art director william j. kenney
set decoration perry murdock
unit manager henry kline
assistant director les berke
film editor robert k. richard
sound earl n. crain, jr.
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 regulars appearing in this episode: The Virginian
The Virginian is mistaken for a hired gun named Boss Cooper and is sentenced
to hang for the murder of a farmer. He escapes the noose, and with the murdered
manís sons hot on his trail, must find the real Cooper in order to clear himself of the charges.
While sleeping peacefully under a tree, the Virginian is awakened by the sound
of stealthy footsteps. As he reaches for his rifle a shot is fired and a bullet
pierces the ground nearby. He turns to see six men bearing down on him with guns.
One of the men tells him he is being taken to appear before Judge Hobbs, the hanging judge.
Judge Hobbsí "courtroom" is a saloon and the sooner the trial is over, the sooner
everyone can have a drink. The Virginian tries to explain that he is the foreman
of Shiloh Ranch near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, and it can be confirmed by Colonel
Allen Mackenzie. Although the judge has heard of Shiloh Ranch and the Colonel,
he refuses to believe the Virginianís story. Instead, he asks young Rem Garvey
to identify the prisoner and Rem states emphatically "Heís Boss Cooper!" a
gunfighter who hires out to cattlemen to shoot rustlers. Rem claims the Virginian
killed his father, who was not a rustler but was an innocent farmer. The
Virginian protests his innocence but Judge Hobbs takes more "evidence" from Rem
and sentences the Virginian to be hanged-- immediately!
The stunned and frightened foreman is taken outside by the mob and a rope is
thrown over a beam outside the hotel. As the Virginian is brought up on horseback
and a noose is put around his neck, the judge brags about his hanging "expertise."
The Virginian asks for a chance to say his last words and as Judge Hobbs
laughingly turns to the crowd to mock his prisoner, the quick-thinking foreman
loops his tied hands around the judgeís neck, announcing that they will hang
together unless the judge gives him back his gun. Then, aiming his gun at the
judgeís head, the Virginian demands to be cut loose and escapes with several
people in hot pursuit.
That night, the Virginian appears on the doorstep of the widow Garvey to ask
her more about Boss Cooper, the man who killed her husband. She argues that
HE is Boss Cooper, but he presses her for a description of the man she saw.
She admits that it was her son Rem who saw the killer and not herself, and
offers the Virginian coffee. He sits at her table and while he closes his eyes
to rest, she pulls a gun from a drawer. He tries to convince her of his
innocence by explaining that a killer would not come to her house and sit at
her table. She seems to believe him and tells him what direction the killer
came from. As he rides away, she sobs in grief and frustration.
In the morning, Mrs. Garvey is serving breakfast to her sons Rem and Dee.
She and Rem ask Dee to stay and help run the place but he says he canít.
He makes derogatory remarks about his fatherís drinking, and excuses why
he canít stay. Unable to keep her secret any longer, she tells him of the
Virginianís visit and which direction he went.
The Virginian rides into Hellerton and comes into the local saloon looking
for information. Heís introduced to Myra, a saloon girl, and buys her a drink.
When he announces heís looking for his "friend" Boss Cooper, Myra leaves the
saloon and goes upstairs, and the bartender expresses fear. He says he doesnít
know Boss Cooper, but heís sure the gunfighter did not come through town.
He tells the Virginian to talk to the sheriff.
The sheriff is enjoying a big lunch and is annoyed at being interrupted by
the Virginian. After an exchange of angry and sarcastic words, he tells the
Virginian that he heard Boss Cooper had been there "going to and coming from"
a job, and that itís likely he visited Myra. The Virginian returns to the
saloon and confronts the lying bartender, who tells him itís better to be
safe than sorry. "Iíve known men who were both." says the foreman in reply.
The Virginian finds Myra in her room taking a bath. He hands her a robe and
tells her to get out of the tub or heís going to pull the plug, then turns
away to give her privacy. He insists that she tell him where to find Boss
Cooper and she says she will if heís ready to die. She directs him to a
shack at the edge of town. When the Virginian goes there he finds the shack
is empty but hears someone approaching. A shot is fired through the window
and the Virginian returns the fire hitting his mark. Itís the bartender and
heís been wounded in the shoulder. The bartender tells the Virginian that
he tried to kill him because heís afraid Boss Cooper will retaliate by burning
down his saloon.
So the Virginian returns to Myraís room for an explanation of why she set him
up to be killed, and finds her crying. She insists it was the bartenderís
idea, but then she says she loves Boss Cooper and doesnít want him killed.
As the Virginian is prying the truth out of Myra, the Garvey brothers ride
into town. They force the reluctant sheriff to tell them where their prey is.
Meanwhile, Myra tells the Virginian that Boss Cooper is married and has a
ranch outside a ways, on the Little Missouri. Suddenly she becomes fearful
and concerned that the Virginian might be killed. The foreman tenderly
tells her heíll come back through town to show her he is still alive. Just
then the Garveys arrive and the Virginian exits quickly out Myraís window.
But Dee Garvey guesses that Myra knows where heís going and turns threateningly
to get the truth from her.
The next day the Virginian cautiously approaches the ranch Myra told him about.
Heís welcomed by a pretty young woman who says she is Daniel Cooperís wife.
She invites him inside to wait for her husband. Meanwhile, the Garveys are
closing in on him. They find his campsite from the night before and Dee
Garvey wonders why would Boss Cooper set up night camp if he was so close to
his home? But-- he pushes the thought aside and continues to follow the
While the Virginian is waiting for Cooper to show up, Mrs. Cooper prattles
on about her wonderful husband and what a good provider he is. She tells
the Virginian sheís expecting a baby and that Daniel is going to stop traveling
to sell harnesses soon. The Virginian feels bad that she doesnít know the
truth about her husbandís real occupation and tells her itís the first time
he heard of a rancher selling harnesses.
As she chatters on, Cooper returns home. He spots the Virginianís horse and
knowing someone has tracked him down he cuts down the washline as a reason
to send his wife outside. Once sheís gone to fix it, he takes the Virginianís
gun and admits to being Boss Cooper. He thanks the Virginian for not saying
anything to Nellie, but tells him he has to kill him anyway. He removes the
bullets from the Virginianís gun and gives it back to him so as not to
arouse his wifeís suspicion.
Nellie returns with a basket of wash which the Virginian takes from her.
She remarks how nice Danielís friend is, and expresses the wish that more
people would visit. The Virginian says "Donít worry; thereíll be others
along after Iím gone." They enjoy dinner and exchange pleasantries. Then
Daniel says he wants to show his friend where heís building their new house
before he goes back to town. As they ride, Cooper tells the Virginian heís
"sick to death of killing, youíre the last." He plans to settle down to
Soon after, Rem and Dee Garvey arrive at the homestead. Rem expresses fear
that Cooper might kill them, but Dee presses him to continue and make Cooperís
wife a widow just like Cooper did to their mother.
The Virginian and Cooper continue to talk about Cooperís profession. The
Virginian brings up Niles Garvey. Cooper tells him Garvey was drunk and
didnít have a gun, two things that bothered him about his victim, but he
insists Garvey was a rustler. As they ride under some trees, the Virginian
shoves Cooper from his horse and gallops away, but Cooper shoots him off his
horse. The Virginian scrambles to hide and from somewhere in the trees he
taunts Cooper and tries to find out who hired him to kill Niles Garvey.
He tells him that Judge Hobbs tried to hang him in a case of mistaken identity.
While Cooper is trying to figure out where the Virginian is hiding, the
foreman drops down out of a tree onto the gunman, knocking him down with a
punch and taking his gun. But a voice from behind says "Drop your gun,
Cooper." Itís Dee Garvey!
The Virginian tries to convince the Garvey brothers who the real Boss Cooper
is, but they donít believe him. The foreman proposes they all return to the
cabin and let the wife identify the real Boss Cooper. To protect his wife
from the truth, Cooper admits to Dee Garvey that he is the gunfighter and
that Rem hired him to kill their father. Dee is visibly shaken by the truth
and Rem tries to convince his brother that what he did was right. Suddenly
the young man takes charge saying heís going to kill Cooper and the Virginian.
But Cooper grabs his gun and is gut shot by the boy, who then turns and runs
away. The Virginian wounds Rem, then tries to help Cooper, who is dying from
his wound. He asks the Virginian to bring him home.
Near the cabin, Cooper falls from his horse as his wife comes outside. With
his last breath, he tries to tell his wife that heís not the man she thinks
he is. The Virginian watches sadly from a respectful distance as Nellie
tearfully tells her husband she knows the real Dan Cooper and that he is
good; then the gunfighter dies in her embrace. [apm]
Throughout this episode, people are forced to re-consider their judgments
of others. The widow Garvey starts by hating the Virginian for killing her
husband but is slowly won over by his gentle insistence that he is innocent.
Myra tries to get the Virginian killed but then becomes concerned for his
safety. The sheriff resists helping the Virginian, but ends up trying to
protect him from the Garvey brothers. The Virginian assumes Boss Cooper
is a cold-blooded killer but discovers another side to the man when he
spends time with Cooper's wife. And Dee Garvey learns that his brother Rem
is not as innocent as he seems. [apm]
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Main Contributor for this episode - A.P. Munzo [apm]