"Brother Love"

(Original air date 02/20/67)


A charlatan faith-healer plans to swindle Audra and her friend


Writer: Jay Simms

Director: Virgil W. Vogel

Heath and Audra ride into town to find a self-proclaimed preacher Brother Love (Robert Goulet) spreading the word of God to a mesmerized crowd. As he distributes fliers to the town people, two men accost him, one lame the other mute. They implore Brother Love to heal them. He assures that they will be cured by the power of God tomorrow night at the meeting and thus invites everyone to come in number to witness the miracle.


He goes to Audra in an attempt to convince her to lend a hand to his crusade. Then he discreetly approaches the two handicapped who are in actuality his two cohorts, Mace (Gavin MacLeod) and Fludd (Strother Martin). He explains that the reason he refrained from performing his ‘miracle’ in the street was that he saw a golden opportunity to make thousands instead of measly hundreds by trying to convert the rich Audra Barkley.


Brother Love pays a visit to the saloon to preach a waspish sermon on the devil’s playground. That drinking and gambling will condemn them all to internal damnation, a lecture that leaves Heath apathetic.

After Audra bids farewell to her friend, seamstress Idanell Bowles (Carolyn Conwell) and her blind daughter Adrian (Debi Storm), she is accosted by Brother Love who requests permission to visit with her family in order to extend a personal invitation to attend tomorrow’s meeting at Swanson’s Grove.


Which he does the next morning but has no luck convincing Victoria, much less Nick.

Having failed with the mother, Brother Love tries his luck with the daughter. Having been informed by Victoria that Audra was on her way to the orphanage, he hides in the bushes and waits for the carriage to go by. Once Audra’s buggy comes into view, he shoots in the air to spook the horses, after which he rides off to her rescue by halting the team.

As expected, Audra is most appreciative. She invites him to join her and two orphans Ellen (Eve Plumb) and Josh (Mark Levy) on a picnic, during which he feeds her a tearjerker about his own wretched existence as an orphan.


At night, Heath accompanies Audra to the preacher’s gathering where they meet with Idanell who confesses to wanting to believe in Brother Love’s power of healing for her daughter’s sake.

Heath takes advantage of Brother Love’s boring sermon to take a nap. Once the crowd is under his spell, the preacher proceeds to heal the lame man. Heath is convinced it’s all a hoax but Audra remains sceptical.


Once the congregation leaves, Brother Love reports to his cohorts that he has cleverly managed to convince Idanell Bowles to give him $500 to cure her daughter’s blindness. He intends to convert Audra in order to swindle her for thousands, adding that he will gladly do away with her annoying brother should he stand in the way.

The next day, Audra is happy to inform Heath that Brother Love has consented to help Adrian. Heath makes another attempt to convince his gullible sister that the man is a fake. He recalls an encounter with a travelling preacher who approached him once with a promise of some fast money if he agreed to act as a shield for his act, and believes Brother Love is no different.

Minutes later, the preacher shows up at the ranch. When confronted with the subject of unholy practices, he admits sheepishly that he can’t and won’t compel people to have faith in his power of healing. Before leaving he gives Audra 10% of last-night’s earnings for the orphanage, a gestures that cajoles the girl into believing he’s the genuine article.


At the dinner table, Audra explains to her family that in all good conscience she couldn’t jeopardize Adrian’s chances at recovering her eyesight by sending Brother Love on his way. Heath and Nick both agree that their sister has been conned.

Concerned about the situation, Victoria asks Heath to prove this Brother Love a charlatan.


He rides over to the preacher’s campsite where he spooks the supposed deaf man by pretending he’s standing near a rattle snake.

Once the hoax is uncloaked, Heath orders Mace and Fludd to ride out of town. They lunge at him, threatening to kill him should he talk, but the young Barkley puts up a good fight and knocks them unconscious.


Back at the ranch, Audra is shocked at the sight of Heath’s battered face, bruises courtesy of Brother Love’s cohorts. He urges her to warn her friend Idanell to keep her purse close.

She rides over to the campsite where she threatens Mace and Fludd to expose them as scam artists. When they try to stop her, she falls and hits her head.


Brother Love is appalled by their action and orders them to disappear out of sight. Audra briefly regains consciousness only to discover that she is blind.

Concerned by Audra’s lateness, Victoria and Heath drive over to Idanell’s house to enquire about girl’s whereabouts. Much to their dismay, they learn that Audra never came by to warn her friend about Brother Love. Moreover, Idanell already handed the charlatan the 500$.


The guilt-ridden preacher opens his bible and sends a prayer to the Heavens for Audra’s recovery, asking forgiveness for his sinful ways.

Minutes later, Victoria and Heath show up. Before Brother Love has a chance to explain, Heath swings a right in his jaw. At that moment, Audra awakes. Her eyesight has returned much to everyone’s relief. A miracle she attributes to Brother Love’s prayers.


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