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"Night in A Small Town"

(Original air date 10/09/67)


Heath discovers that his friend, now marshal of a small town,
rules with an iron fist


Writer: Don Ingalls

Director: Virgil W. Vogel

On their way to Tucson for a horse Auction, Heath, Victoria and Audra’s stagecoach is stopped by a group of bitter ladies insisting that the driver (Chuck Robertson) take a saloon girl (Susan Strasberg) off their hands. She is Sally, happy to be going home and away from that angry mob.


They make an overnight stop in the small town of St. John where, out of the blue, Marshal Tom Wills (James Whitmore) challenges Heath to a duel. Victoria and Audra hold their breaths as the two men face each other with smouldering eyes.


Soon after Wills fires at Heath’s feet, the two friends break into a laugh and shake hands, much to Victoria’s relief who nevertheless chides Heath for pulling that stunt.


Following the introductions and an invitation to dinner, Tom catches sight of Sally alighting from the stagecoach. He marches up to the saloon girl to order her back where she came from for her kind is not welcomed in his little town, one he rules like a dictator. When Heath asks for a special favour, Tom reluctantly grants him his wish, but warns the lady not to parade around in the streets in her suggestive attire.

After Heath sets the luggage in her room, Sally leaves the hotel to go to the grocery store. As she crosses the street, she catches the eye of three young men. Two (Jim Galante and William Henry Lancaster) dare their bashful friend Lou Farrell (Doug Lambert) to go engage in conversation with the woman. He takes the bet and enters the store, but can’t bring himself to approach her.


To ease the tension, she makes the first move, offering him a piece of liquorice as they exit the store. His two friends are stunned but Wills is fuming and threatens Sally back to her room. When Lou steps in to defend her, Wills hurls him back against a beam where he hits his head and blacks out.


In the evening, Tom is shocked to see Sally joining the Barkleys for dinner. Even though she changed out of her saloon dress, he still pegs her for a troublemaker. He excuses himself on a pretext but keeps a watchful eye on the seductress from outside the hotel.


Following dinner, Heath joins Tom for a tour of the town, showing him his sizeable house, a gift from the people to thank him for keeping their town safe from outlaws.

They go into a quiet saloon where Heath is disturbed to learn that Tom has instituted a rule of a three-drink maximum allowed between 8:00 and 11:00. Tom explains that it's to encourage the men to spend time with their respective families. Whether they are married or not, all must abide by his law. There is no exception.

Lou Farrell’s friend comes in to get Tom to Dr. Moody’s (Lee Krieger) office where he learns of the boy’s serious condition.


On his way back to the saloon, he spots Sally disrobing in front of her window. He goes up to her room where he makes a pass at her. When she snubs his advances, he gets rough. Luckily Audra’s timely entrance interrupts his play. At this point Sally fears that the man won’t let her leave town alive.

Tom returns to the saloon to be confronted by the boy’s grieving father, Amos Farrell (Kevin Hagen) who threatens Tom with a rifle, but can’t bring himself to pulling the trigger.


Heath returns to the hotel where he learns of Sally’s aggression. She relates her version of the accident that involved the young Farrell kid, blaming herself for what happened. She insists on visiting her saviour.

Heath escorts her to the doctor’s office to see the boy. Amos is told to go home to tell his wife of their son’s condition.

Outside, Tom needles the grieving father into drawing his rifle on him to thus give him a reason to gun Amos down in cold blood. Heath witnesses the whole scene and strives to remain calm, knowing he could make mince meat with Tom if he so desired.


Instead, Heath escorts Sally back to the hotel where, after discussing it with Victoria, he suggests she spends the night in Audra’s room. Although scared stiff, she politely declines but he insists for her own protection after spotting Tom roaming the streets below.


Tom knocks on Sally’s door, unaware that Heath is hiding behind it. His malicious glee turns to surprise when he spots Heath and quickly turns back. The smouldering look in his eyes tells Sally that he is out to kill them both.


The next morning, Heath wonders about Sally’s disappearance. On a hunch, he goes to Tom’s house where he learns that Sally made a bargain with Tom to spare his life. Heath won’t hear of it and convinces her to come back with him.

As they walk away, Tom shows up, threatening to shoot Heath in the back if he doesn’t abide by his rules. Heath warns him not to push his luck, that he’s faster on the draw, but Tom won’t believe it. When he goes for his gun, Heath puts a bullet in his guts.


Back at the ranch days later, Heath and Audra are in the barn marvelling over their new acquisition in Tucson when big brother Nick waltzes in with a package for Heath. It’s a gift from Sally. A extremely long muffler that elicits a few laughs at Heath’s expense.


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