"The Fallen Hawk"

(Original air date 03/02/66)


Heath is racked with guilt after a friend is paralysed
while breaking a wild horse


Writer: Ken Pettus

Director: Paul Henreid

Heath's old friend, Ward Whitcom (Peter Haskell), rides up to the Barkley ranch asking to borrow one hundred dollars to fix up his house. Heath is fed up of seeing Ward show up every time he needs money and intends on making him earn it by suggesting he tries to bust a wild bronco.

Ward is reluctant but gets on the saddle. Seconds later, the horse unseats him and gets thrown against a fence.


While Doctor Merar (Alexander Lockwood) examines the injured, Ward's wife, Nora (Marlyn Mason), shows up at the ranch to enquire about her husband's health. The doctor informs her that his legs are paralysed but that it should be a temporary condition.

Nick upbraids Heath for asking an inexperienced wrangler to ride an untamed horse. Seeing how Heath is already racked with remorse, he quickly apologizes.


At night, alone in the horse paddock, Heath intends to break the horse when Victoria shows up. She tries to appease his pangs of conscience by telling him that it was a mere accident, but Heath believes otherwise. That Nick was right, he never should have asked Ward to ride that bronco, but that he was annoyed at him always coming around asking for money.

Heath goes on to explain that he lent more than three hundred dollars to Ward because he felt sorry for the man who could never amount to anything. Victoria suspects Ward wants Heath to feel he owes him.

Later, Nora tells Heath that the doctor gave her the okay to bring Ward home. Even though Heath believes he should stay a while longer, she insists on returning to their house.

At that moment, Nick lumbers down the stairs and begins to sum up a list of chores, but Heath is far away, lost in his thoughts. Nick tries to reassure his tormented brother that Ward will be fine but Heath is not convinced.


Heath and Nick drive Ward to his ranch and help him inside the house and to his wheelchair. A bit embarrassed by the situation, Nick leaves, followed by Heath minutes after. Outside, Heath gives the hundred dollars to Nora but she refuses the money.

Ward peers at the pair through the window. He suspects the two of getting too close, so he provokes his fall in order to make Heath feel more guilty about his condition. As Nora wheels Ward to their bedroom, Heath lays the hundred dollars on the table and leaves.


Heath goes to the general store to pick up some supplies and rides out to the Whitcoms' farm to fix the loose plank on the floor, the one that supposedly made Ward fall off his chair.

As days go by, Heath continues to do some fixing up at Ward's place, arousing the man's suspicions that Heath and Nora might be falling in love.


Heath's absence at the dinner table fuels Nick's anger towards his brother. He throws a fit over the fact that Heath is neglecting his ranch work.

A man named Keel (Dennis Cross), shows up at Ward's place to claim the fifty dollars he still owes him, but is willing to forget about it seeing how he's incapacitated. Nora won't hear of it and gives him the money. Nora spurns Keel's advances and he forces himself on her just as Heath arrives to kick the man out.


On Sunday, Heath drives Nora to church and makes friendly conversation. At some point, she tells him to stop coming around the house for she suspects Ward is using him. Heath refuses, not while Ward is confined to that wheelchair.

In town, Nick drops by the saloon for a beer. Keel is sitting with two men, talking out loud about Heath, the half Barkley who's fooling around with an handicapped man's wife. Nick fumes and gets into a brawl to defend Heath's honor. Milt, the bartender (Harry Swoger), breaks up the fight by firing a shot in the air. With a split lip, Nick wobbles back to the bar and asks for his favorite medicine, a good glass of whiskey


Church deacon Mr. Pursey (Paul Comi) drops by the ranch to discuss Heath's behaviour with Victoria. Her son's escorting a married woman to church is considered improper and wants it stopped at once. Victoria is outraged and insists they forget this conversation ever took place or she will report this matter to Reverend Stacy.

Heath continues his fence mending at the Whitcoms' place while Ward stands by the window, jealously observing their every move.

Taking his seat back in the wheelchair, Ward invites Heath in for a drink. He laments over the fact that he'll never walk again, and that Nora and he can't depend on him forever. He tries to sell Heath on his scheme to invest in a timber company, and asks for five thousand dollars. Heath doesn't have that kind of money and won't ask his family for it either. Ward vindictively reminds Heath that he never asked to ride that wild bronco and that five thousand dollars is nothing compared to a new pair of legs.


Heath goes to his family for the money. Nick believes it's blackmail but sides with the others in giving Heath what he wants.

Ward confronts Nora about her love for Heath but she firmly denies it. She leaves the house for an instant but quickly returns to find Ward standing on his legs. He forbids her to tell Heath about his condition and when she insists, he grabs her by the arm and starts choking her. She falls unconscious.


Heath returns to Ward's place with the five-thousand-dollar check and wishes him the best of luck.

Ward stands from his wheelchair and aims his gun at Heath. Believing he killed Nora, he wants to make the sheriff think he shot Heath in a jealous rage when he found the two of them together. After feeling Nora's pulse, Heath tells Ward that she's still alive. When he gets closer to verify, Heath beats the gun out of him.

Days later, Heath helps Nora pack up her belongings for she's leaving her husband. Nora admits to Heath of being in love with him and that no matter how hard she tried to deny it, she couldn't. Down inside she wanted Ward to be the man Heath was.


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