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"The Profit and The Lost"

(Original air date 12/02/68)


Heath saves a gunman's life, unaware that he was hired to kill him


Writer: Richard Wendley

Director: Bernard McEveety

On the morning after a fatal shooting, the Barkleys attempt to convince guilt-ridden Heath that he acted in self-defence, but in vain. The young man believes otherwise.

He rides into town with Jarrod where he runs into the victim's irate father, Rance Kendell, (Bert Freed) who starts hurling threats against the young Barkley for cold-bloodedly gunning his son down. Kendell's foreman Bates (Mark Tapscott) warns the old man that he's no match for Heath Barkley, and that if he hurts him he should be prepared to reap the wrath of the entire Barkley family. Kendell has no intention of taking him on. He just wants him dead in a fair fight and to make certain the job is carried out properly, he sent for famous gunslinger Vern Hickson (Robert Loggia).


In Baker City, as he exits the sheriff's office after giving his account of a farmer's shooting, Hickson is surprised by the victim's sons Ned (Gordon de Vol)) and Paul (Jim Henaghan), who want revenge for their father's death. The sheriff (Bing Russell) breaks the tension between the two opposite parties by explaining to the boys that the lack of solid evidence prevents him from putting Hickson behind bars. Irked by this decision, the brothers follow Hickson out of town.


On his way back to the ranch after purchasing a horse, Heath is startled by gunshots. He rides onwards where he finds Hickson on the ground with a bullet in his arm. The vengeful brothers that luckily, he managed to liquidate before they finished him off had bushwhacked him. After learning of the man's identity, Heath feels somewhat reluctant to help, but nevertheless decides to camp out for the night to tend to Hickson's needs, much against his better judgment.

Back at the ranch, Victoria worries about Heath's lateness and fears Kendell may have hurt him.


Early in the morning, Nick outlines a route he and Jarrod plan to follow in order to locate their missing brother. As he describes the map to Victoria, Audra sees Heath riding in the distance. Nick mounts his horse to meet with the two riders and helps Heath get Hickson to the house.


The Barkleys feel uneasy of having to house a hired gunman, especially Nick who loudly voices his opinion that Hickson should be sent on his way. Although reluctant, they mutually agree that the wounded man reside at the ranch until he is well enough to travel. During his convalescence, Hickson tries to charm Heath's pretty sister who is quick to spurn his advances mainly because of his stubbornness in refusing to alter his way of life.


Once recovered, Hickson gets ready to leave. He thanks a frigid Victoria for her hospitality and asks direction to the Kendell place. Both Heath and Victoria react to the name.

Hickson meets with Kendell who remits him the agreed sum of $1000 to have Heath Barkley killed, but since the man saved his life, Hickson is having second thoughts about doing the job. However, money talks.


After learning that Hickson was hired to kill him, Heath meets with the gunman in the saloon to tell him that he has no intention to fight him. Hickson won't have Heath forfeit so easily and tries to needle him into a brawl to rile him up. Then he orders him to show up in town tomorrow at ten o'clock sharp for the duel.


Later, Heath drives Audra into town to the seamstress. While he's off running chores, Audra sneaks in the hotel and goes up to Hickson's room to plead for her brother's life. Though attracted to the pretty blonde, Hickson remains stonehearted. When he goes to the window and sees Heath in the street looking for his sister, an idea sparks into mind. He starts forcing himself on Audra and tears off her sleeve. The panicked girl flees and falls into her brother's arms. Hickson's plan worked like a charm. Heath is now crimson with rage and knows he will show up for the showdown tomorrow.


When her attempt at convincing Heath not to confront Hickson fails, Victoria goes to the hotel and offers to double the money Hickson was offered to kill her son. After listening to his pathetic story of how he became a gunslinger, she writes out a cheque for $6000 with his promise to ride out of town before tomorrow morning.

Hickson drops by Kendell's place to remit the $1000, saying that Victoria Barkley's offer was more enticing.


In the morning, Heath learns of his mother's deed and although he is utterly grateful for what she did, he strongly feels that he has to put an end to Hickson's bloody trails once and for all.

On his way to Stockton, Heath meets with Hickson riding out of town as promised, and challenges him to the duel, but Hickson refuses to draw on him.


Both men are unaware that Kendell is lurking behind bushes, poised ready to gun them down. Hickson picks up a shiny flashing object in the distance and in a split of a second, unsheathes his gun and shoots at Kendell, but not before the old man had a chance to pump a slug into Heath's side. Thinking Hickson is drawing on him, Heath pulls the trigger on the gunslinger who slumps to the ground.

Before heaving his last breath, Hickson gives the $6000 back to Heath.


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