"Boots with My Father's Name"

(Original air date 9/29/65)


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When Heath feels uneasy wearing his father's boots at a commemoration, Victoria travels to his
hometown to unravel the mystery surrounding her husband's affair with Heath's mother

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Teleplay: Mel Goldberg

Story: Mel Goldberg, Les Pine & Tina Rome

Director: Joseph A. Lewis



Youngest brother Barkley, Eugene (Charles Briles), arrives at the ranch for the unveiling of a statue in honor of Tom Barkley. He's asked to try on his father's favourite boots for size but same as his brothers, they don't fit. Heath enters the house to welcome Eugene and he asks the blond to put the boots on. As luck would have it, Heath's feet are just the right size. However, for some reason, Heath seems embarrassed and Victoria picks up on his uneasiness. She senses something amiss with her son when he says that he needs time to think about the offer.

Eugene rages against Heath's hesitation and Nick doesn't appear enthusiastic about it either.

           

On the auspicious day, Heath decides to attend the commemoration with the family despite his lingering resentment towards Tom Barkley he believes abandoned his mother. He brings the boots with him.

Once in town, Heath can't bring himself to wear the boots. He stops at a saloon to drown his sorrows in liquor. Victoria joins Heath and begins questioning him about his mother. He describes Leah to Victoria as a woman who is every bit she is: sweet, kind, beautiful and strong. He assures her that what Tom was to his mother, he was to Victoria. However, Victoria harbours serious doubts about Tom's true feelings towards her.

           

The matriarch travels to Heath's hometown of Strawberry. She stops at a general store to asks direction to Hannah James's place (Beah Richards), a devoted family friend who helped Leah raise Heath. Heath's uncle, Matt Simmons, (John Anderson) reacts to the name Barkley and hurries to tell his wife Martha (Jeanne Cooper) that the woman may be here to snoop around. And what if she discovers the truth about Heath's aunt Rachel's "accidental" death.

Victoria arrives at Hannah's house. The black woman mistakes her for Heath's mother for, apparently, the resemblance between the two women is amazing.

Victoria questions Hannah about Tom's relationship with Leah Thomson, wanting to know if her husband really loved her, but the woman remains evasive. Not getting anywhere with Hannah, Victoria asks direction to Heath's uncle Matt's place. The name frightens Hannah who warns Victoria not to go there.

           

Notwithstanding Hannah's warning, Victoria visits the Simmons. Matt's wife Martha, a spurned woman, contrives the story of them being entirely responsible for Heath and Leah's well being by providing for them financially. Victoria offers to compensate them for their trouble but not before they answer a few question on Tom and Leah's relationship.

Sensing that the Simmons are fibbing about Tom cowardly forsaking Leah while she was with child, Victoria says she will think about the money. Frustrated, Martha vindictively tells Victoria that her husband loved Leah dearly despite the fact that he had a family back in Stockton. Still, Victoria is not convinced and leaves.

     

Victoria returns to Hannah's house. There, she tells Victoria that Miss Leah never came looking for Tom Barkley. She found him in an alley beaten half to death and nursed him back to health. The attraction was instantaneous and that neither one wanted it to go that far. When Victoria asks if the Simmons were really instrumental in helping Leah as they pretended to, Hannah laughs saying that Martha Simmons never could take care of herself, much less anyone else.

Victoria senses that Hannah is frightened of the Simmons and the woman explains that she believes those shady characters are responsible for Heath's aunt Rachel's alleged accidental death down a mine shaft.

Hannah remits a letter to Victoria explaining everything about Tom and Leah's relationship.

Back in Stockton, the family worries about Victoria's absence. Heath has an idea of where she might have gone and quietly slips out of the hotel.

           

Victoria plans to return to Stockton with the letter but she finds her carriage gone. She enters the Simmons' place and asks that her wagon be returned to her. Martha threatens Victoria to write the $5000 cheque she promised them and only after will she be allowed to leave the premises. That if she refuses she might suffer the same fate as Rachel's.

Victoria starts to panic. She tells Martha that she has four sons who will be looking for her if she doesn't show up in Stockton. Victoria pushes her way out of the house just as Heath enters. She throws herself in his arms and they leave town together.

Martha goes to her lover, Phelps (Richard Devon), and asks him to have Heath and Victoria killed.

           

On their way back to Stockton, Victoria reads Heath Tom's letter to Leah. It says that he loved her very much and only wanted the best for her. He hoped she would marry and have a family like he did and that is why he couldn't stay with her. Tom ignored the existence of the baby she was carrying. Heath is relieved to learned that Tom Barkley didn't abandon her mother.

Heath and Victoria are ambushed by Devon. Both luckily dodge the bullet and Heath guns the man down.

They arrive in Stockton to find the statue of Tom Barkley unveiled. That despite the fact they missed the ceremony, they were both glad for this trip.

           


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