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"A Flock of Trouble"

(Original air date 09/25/67)


An old peddler cons Nick into taking sheep as payment for a poker debt


Writer: Micheal Gleason

Director: Virgil W. Vogel

In town, an old scruffy peddler, Josiah Freeman, (Milton Berle) enters the saloon looking for a man named Barkley. Milt, the bartender, (Harry Swoger) points to a table where Nick is playing poker with two of his neighbours Carl Wheeler (Robert Fuller) and Dan Kelsey (Bing Russell). Following the introductions, Freeman joins in the game. He purposely discards his good hands in order to sign twenty heads of prime stock over to the Barkley brother he originally thought was Jarrod.

At breakfast, Nick paces the floor, waiting for Freeman to show up with his stock and turning a deaf ear to Jarrod's scoffing about having been conned.

Minutes later, the merry sound of bleating brings the family to the balcony where Nick's temper flares at the sight of a flock of sheep in the barnyard.


He barks at Freeman, arguing that he approved a note of transfer for cattle and not sheep. Unfortunately Nick's signature is valid and consequently the sheep are his to keep. When he asks for volunteers to help him round them up for the slaughter house, everyone pretends to have chores to tend to, leaving an aggravated Nick to chase after the 'walking varmints' as he so affectionately calls them.

Later, Nick is still chasing after his scattered flock when Wheeler shows up. He stresses the fact that neighbours may not take too kindly to the Barkleys branching out in the sheep business, but Nick assures him that he intends to get rid of them first thing in the morning.


At suppertime, everyone waits for Heath whose lateness is attributed to Nick's sheep that spooked half the cattle all over the range, costing them three days work. Faced with Heath's refusal to part with any of the ranch hands involved in the round-up, Nick grudgingly agrees to see Freeman about borrowing some of his sheepdogs.

Heath and Audra throw a joke on Nick about having made the stew out of lamb, which he doesn't find very amusing.


The next day, Nick drops by Freeman's place and offers him twenty dollars for the use of his dogs to gather his sheep, which he cannot provide on account of his own need for them. Freeman suggests a compromise: combine the two flocks and drive them through Barkley land. Nick refuses and stamps out of the house, leaving Freeman and his niece Gayle (Eileen Baral) to wonder if he'll ever change his mind.

Nick drops by the saloon to drown his problem but the bartender refuses to serve him, having been threatened that if he waited on a sheep man, they'd have his place ransacked. Nick calmly takes in stride the onslaught of insults from his neighbours until his patience reaches a boiling point. They engage in a brawl, ending up with Nick wiping the floor with all four. Battered and bruised, Nick teeters back to the bar to swig down his victory drink when Freeman shows up. Nick collars him and as he raises a fist to smack Freeman in the face, he collapses from exhaustion.


Nick regains his senses at Freeman's place where he learns how the old peddler by trade was compelled to branch out into the sheep business following Gayle's parents' murder. Right then, Nick has a change of heart. He agrees to Freeman's terms and offers to put them both up at the ranch for their own safety.

At the ranch, Jarrod chides Nick for having driven the sheep through town for everyone to see. Heath warns him about pushing his luck, that he's liable to start a range war, but Nick is unwavering. He refuses to kowtow, regardless of the fact that the entire valley is behind Wheeler and his gang.

Worried about the feud, Freeman goes to Victoria to state the reason for dumping part of his flock on the Barkleys. To him, the family was too powerful to have anyone question their decision, much less attack them, but even the strongest cannot alter a lifetime of hate and prejudice and for that he is sorry for all the trouble he's caused.


When Wheeler drives Audra home after their date, he tries to beguile her into convincing Nick to part with the sheep. She's insulted that he would dare suggest it and runs into the house, crossing paths with Nick who came out to have a friendly discussion with the stubborn man who won't be persuaded otherwise.

On the range, Freeman is guarding the flock when he hears gunshots. While Wheeler and other ranchers are gunning down the sheep, Kelsey comes up to Freeman and beats him to a pulp. As he's about to shoot him, Nick shows up.


The next morning, after a brief discussion with Gayle about remaining on the ranch awhile longer, Freeman decides to leave the property in his mobile emporium and drive out the sheep by himself, but meets up with Nick who is against the idea. Freeman is grateful to Nick for having stuck up on his behalf. However he won't be dissuaded. Therefore, he knocks an unsuspected Nick on the head with a frying pan and presses on.


Later, Heath and Jarrod find Nick on the ground as he slowly regains consciousness and inform him that Freeman and his sheep are off the property. The three brothers mount their horses to catch up to Freeman and arrive in the midst of a shooting.

They cease fire, but Wheeler continues to argue his point about raising sheep in a cattle country. Nick points out that the people of this valley have been living in a cocoon long enough, and that it's now time for a change.


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