The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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"the price of the hanging"
Original NBC broadcast - 11November 1970
Universal City Studios, Inc.
executive producer herbert hirschman
written by frank chase
directed by marc daniels
(shown on the opening sketch sequence)
stewart granger [Col. Alan MacKenzie]
doug mcclure [Trampas] (not in this episode)
lee majors as tate
james drury as the virginian (not in this episode)
lew ayres [Judge Markham]
jane wyatt [Mrs. Lori Kinkaid]
edward binns [Dr. Benjamin Kinkaid]
patricia harty [Tracy]
special guest star
tom tryon [Sheriff Sam Tolliver]
full ending credits:
bo svenson as lonnie
pitt herbert fred
olan soulé conrad
larry j. blake clay
john mitchum davis
dorothy raymond mrs. markum
? Lincoln Demyan as Gannon (uncredited)
? Howard Culver as the Gunsmith (uncredited)
script consultant ron bishop
leo shuken and jack hayes
theme ennio morricone
director of photography william margulies, a.s.c.
(some nice close up action shots)
art director john t. mccormack
set decorations robert c. bradfield
unit manager henry kline
assistant director lou watt
film editor tony martinelli, a.s.c.
(to be commended for fitting all the flashbacks together)
sound theron o. kellum
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: Roy Tate and Col.
MacKenzie. Cecil Combs, who had portrayed ranch hand Cecil for several
seasons, was an extra seen in the saloon.
Tate brings a badly wounded MacKenzie into Concho, but the only doctor in
the town is sitting in jail scheduled to be hanged for murder the next morning.
Tate is adamant about getting help for the Colonel, who had been hurt while
saving his life during a trail drive, and insists the district Judge let the
doctor out under
armed guard just long enough to tend to his boss. A broken rib had
punctured MacKenzie's spleen, and Dr. Kinkaid (Binns) says he will operate
but can't guarantee the results. Judge Markham (Ayres) advises against
the operation saying the doctor is "grossly incompetent" and has made too
many "deadly mistakes."
Kinkaid tells Tate he had never been to medical school but learned surgery
during the Civil War, and when patients die it is because, sadly, medical
knowledge hasn't progressed enough to save them. The price of the operation
will be high--regardless of the outcome Tate is to give Kinkaid's wife
(Wyatt) $10,000 to secure her well-being after his execution.
Since he was drunk at the time of the shooting and couldn't remember what
he also demands Tate find out the facts behind the
death of the professional gambler he is accused of murdering. Saloon girl
Tracy (Harty), who was often with Gannon
while he played poker, remembers seeing a gun in the doctor's
hand after he and Gannon scuffled over a card game. But no
one, including Sheriff Sam Tolliver (Tryon), had ever found the weapon.
Kinkaid's wife insists her husband never carried a gun, and
Tate's probe into the mystery of the missing firearm
leads him to break into the Judge's house and search through a box for a pistol
he'd seen earlier when he had asked the Judge to temporarily
release Kinkaid from jail. As he opens the door to
another room Tate sees a woman lying on a bed staring into space. She doesn't
speak and only wants the doll that had fallen on the floor. Markham
returns, angry at Tate for snooping around and disturbing his wife
who's not been well since her daughter died while Kinkaid was operating on
her. The Judge insists the gun is his own and has it aimed at Tate when
Mrs. Markham appears.
The cowboy grabs the gun, and Markham goes to the aid of his wife.
After MacKenzie's surgery Tate gives the firearm to the sheriff. But, since
it's the respected Judge's word against his, he is unable to prove
it's the same one that killed Gannon, and Kinkaid is
returned to his cell. The next morning the
Colonel awakens just a little worse for wear. The doctor is taken to the
gallows at noon. The noose is put around his neck, and the Judge orders the trap to be
sprung. But Tate informs the sheriff he has some evidence that could prove
Kinkaid shot Gannon in self defense and asks the lawman to give the Judge
back his gun. Markham asserts this is indeed his weapon, one he
has owned for five years. However, Tate had bought an identical pistol from
the gunsmith during the night, and this make of firearm has been available
less than a year. Markham calls the people to remember how fair he had been
to them throughout his tenure.
Tate reveals the doctor had not been sentenced
to hang for killing the "tinhorn" but for the death of the Judge's daughter.
Markham asserts Kinkaid deserves to die because he had been responsible for
destroying his family. Sheriff Tolliver reminds the Judge he had
always been just in every case and this shouldn't be any different. Markham
realizes this truth and states, "When a man takes anything that personal he
loses his right to sit in judgement."
Comment: Lee Majors' Roy Tate was a perfect choice as the feature character
of this episode. This was an intriguing story made even more so by the
frequent use of narrated flashbacks in the action, character "mind moments"
(somewhat reminiscent of Clint Eastwood's Italian Western movies), and a
fitting score by Leo Shuken and Jack Hayes. (bj)
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