"Caesar's Wife"

(Original air date 10/03/66)

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An elderly manís young wife is jealous of the attention her
husbandís son pays to Audra

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Writer: Harry Kronman

Director: Virgil W. Vogel



On the Marvin Ranch, young Will Marvin (Tim O'Kelly) is showered with congratulatory pats after breaking an ornery stallion. His father Henry (Bert Freed) bubbles over with pride and boasts about his sonís talents to his young wife Therese (Dianne Foster) who is obviously more interested in Willís body than his horse breaking skills.

           

Her obsession with the young man drives her to issue a warning regarding Audra Barkley who she pegs as a tease; an attribute that doesnít sit too well with Jarrod.

           

Later at the ranch Victoria asks Audra to drop by the Marvin ranch to run an errand but the young woman is a bit reticent, admitting to feeling awkward whenever she rides over there. She deplores the fact that Henry Marvin married so soon following his wifeís death. Something about his new bride Therese that bothers her.

She goes to the barn to ask about some spurs that the blacksmith Bert Seeger (Bern Hoffman) had promised days ago. Offended by his devil-may-care attitude Audra leaves him with a warning that he is quick to brush off. In comes Nick fuming over an incident involving a horseís shoe. He fires Seeger on the spot for his laziness and his drinking on the job.

           

Audra rides over to the Marvin ranch to drop Victoriaís package. There she reminds Will of their dinner date at the ranch; an arrangement that upsets Therese who expected Will to attend a dinner with their own special guests. She seethes over Willís acceptance of Audraís invitation over hers.

Late at night, Will finds Therese waiting for him in the living room. She politely reminds him of his responsibility to his family, especially to his father who thinks the world of him. She agrees to sweep this little oversight with the dinner under the carpet and seals the deal with a firm kiss on the lips that leaves him in shock.

           

In town after finishing loading up the wagon with Heath, Nick moseys on down to the saloon where he finds a despondent Will plying himself with liquor. As Nick tries to reason with the drunken boy Seeger emerges from the bar and threatens Nick to leave the man alone. The two men engage in a barroom fight that ends with Nick licking the floor with the disgruntled blacksmith. He then slings Will over his shoulder and carries him to the wagon.

           

He and Heath drive the boy home to his father who is disgusted at the pitiful sight before him. The brothersí teasing fuel his anger over his sonís inexcusable behaviour.

Therese assists Will up to his room where she tends to his need. There she attempts to make a pass at him that he is quick to snub. She begs him to love her the way she loves him. He loathes the fact that she could willingly betray his father of the sort knowing how much he cares for her. In a fit of anger she blurts out the secret of his adoption. She has proof of her allegation from a will that is kept under lock and key.

           

Later that evening, Will leaves the house to ride over to the Barkleys to ask for a job, fibbing about wanting to fly on his own, and that he needs a chance to prove her can make it without his fatherís help. Nick assigns him to Seegerís old job of blacksmith.

Jarrod follows Will to the barn to fish for information as to the reason that drove him to run away from home. He then learns about the shocking revelation that he promises to discuss with the boyís father.

The next morning Jarrod drops by the Marvin ranch to reassure Henry that Will is safe at the ranch, and that the adoption was the main reason of his running away. Henry is appalled by the news. He and Jarrod are the only two people who were aware that Will was rescued from an orphanage to be adopted. Before suspicions fall on her, Therese puts on a convincing act of the innocent soul who was in the dark about the situation, but Jarrod has his doubts.

           

Seeger rides up to the ranch to pick up some tools he left behind. During his short visit, Therese drops by to speak with Audra privately. They choose to have their conversation in the billiard room where Therese gets aggressive. She warns Audra to lay off Will at the risk of destroying his family. When Audra refuses Therese grabs a gun and trains it at her rival who quickly wrestles the mad woman for it.

           

Will hears Audraís cry for help and dashes to the house just as a shot is fired. Will is shocked to see Therese dead on the floor.

A hysterical Audra explains the situation and both mutually agree to an unfortunate accident. When Victoria drops in unexpectedly Will admits to killing Therese to take the blame off Audra.

           

Heath and Will drive Thereseís body home. With great difficulty the boy admits to accidentally killing his fatherís wife but Henry wonít believe he could have committed such a heinous act without provocation. He readily puts the blame on Audra for luring Therese into a trap; an accusation that Heath doesnít take too kindly.

In town, Audra, Victoria and Jarrod meet with the sheriff (Michael Harris) at his office where Seeger gives his account of the facts as he heard them. Victoria warns him against spreading false rumour at the risk of being evicted from this valley. In light of this new testimony the sheriff is faced with no other option but to order an inquest.

At the ranch Jarrod grills Audra on the details of the shooting. He suspects she is holding back and stresses the importance of being truthful for both her sake and Willís. She wonít reveal more than what she promised and suggests Jarrod to seek Willís testimony.

           

Out on the range Nick tries to wring the truth out of Will, Nick Barkley style. Thankfully Heath is there to rein in his big brotherís temper before he does the repentant boy serious bodily harm. As predicted Nickís harsh method fails to produce results, much to his brothersí frustration.

           

Will returns home to face his fatherís misplaced accusations against the Barkleys, blaming them solely for their hardship. He urges his son to admit the truth about shielding Audra.

Henry rides out the Barkley ranch with revenge in his eyes. He bangs on the door and charges in, accusing Audra of destroying his family.

           

Will defends her by reaffirming having pulled the trigger on Therese. Jarrod brings forth undeniable facts about Thereseís past life as a provocateur; seducing men to later turning them against each other in a duel to defend her honor. Henry concedes and returns home with his son.

Days later the two families have let bygones by bygones. Henry confesses to blinking the facts about Therese for fear of losing her, and is grateful that this calamity hasnít cost him his son.

           


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