"Forty Rifles"

(Original air date 9/22/65)


Nick's former Civil War commander arrives in town and instigates the dissatisfied ranch hands
to rebel against Heath who is having difficulty being accepted as a true Barkley


Writer: Christopher Knopf

Director: Bernard McEveety

During a long mixed cattle drive, Heath spots three ranch hands dawdling. He orders them to return to work but they refuse. One of them, Barrett (John Milford), tells him that he takes orders from Barkleys only and that as far as he's concerned, Heath isn't one of them. Irate, Heath fires the man on the spot.

In town, Nick tells Heath to hire Barrett back for they need every available hand on this drive. Heath yields to his big brother's wish.

Noticing Heath's glaring embarrassment, Jarrod warns Nick to go easy of him. That unlike them who were born Barkleys, Heath has to adjust to his new name.


When Heath asks Barrett to rejoin the drive, the man flatly refuses. Tension mounts between the two, ending up in a fight during which an accidental fire is ignited. Heath exits the bunkhouse unaware that Barrett is unconscious inside.

A passing stranger on a white horse spots the commotion and dashes to Barrett's help. His name, General Wallant (Andrew Duggan), Nick's former Civil War commander. He is invited back to the ranch where he's introduced to the rest of the family.


Later that night, Nick apologizes to Heath for his behaviour towards him earlier, stressing the fact that he desperately needs his little brother's help on this gruelling drive. Heath accepts. Staring at Wallant's horse in the paddock, he tells Nick he's seen the animal in the last two weeks. Nick replies that it's impossible since the man said he was just passing through. But still, Heath harbours some doubts.

Meanwhile, in the bunkhouse, Wallant mingles with the hands, getting friendly with them. He pretends to be sympathetic to their frustration and refusal to be subservient to Heath.


The next morning, Nick outlines a route for the drive but Wallant proposes a different one, alleging that the lake on Nick's path is all dried up. Nick agrees but Heath remains dubious, even more so when Wallant accepts to join them on the drive.

Heath racks his brains in trying to recall where he's seen Wallant's horse. Victoria walks up to her troubled son out of the balcony and attempts to appease his mind. Heath finally remembers seeing the animal at Sample's place when they engaged in a fight against the railroad's hired guns. He was among them.


Back on the drive, a ranch hand shoots Nick. Heath catches up with him, but before he can say who hired him for the dirty job, he is coldly gun down by Wallant.

Wounded in the leg, Nick stubbornly insists on getting back in the saddle but the others convince him to have his injury taken care of. He therefore delegates the responsibilities to Heath.


Back at the campsite, Wallant strongly suggests riding out first thing in the morning, but Heath insists on staying on another day. The young Barkley wants to verify a suspicion on the supposed dried lake Wallant spoke of. Heath believes Wallant lied on purpose to make himself necessary to the men in case something happened to Nick. He's convinced Wallant planned it all.

At night, Wallants rides away from the campsite to meet with some men. Heath inconspicuously follows him to a cabin inside which he discovers boxes of weapons.


The next morning, Heath learns that Wallant sweetened the pot by offering the men a land of their own...to be their own bosses. Heath informs them that Wallant ordered Nick to be shot in order to get him out of the way. Wallant resents that accusation and fuels the men's anger towards Heath to a point where they corner the young Barkley in the cabin.


Wallant commands the hands to kill Heath, but when one of them is seriously injured in the shooting, they feel reluctant to carry out the order. Wallant goes ahead with his plan to kill Heath but the men don't follow.

Heath asks the lone gunman to lay down his weapon but Wallant refuses and fires; however Heath is quicker on the draw.


Following the tragedy, the men apologize to Heath and offer to go back on the drive. They unanimously agree to address him by his rightful name, mister Barkley.

Back at the ranch following the drive, Heath excitedly brags about his journey as first-time leader of the cattle drive. Nick can't help but feel a bit jealous.


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