"By Force and Violence"

(Original air date 3/30/66)


On their way to the cabin lodge, Heath gets pinned underneath the broken wagon and
Victoria's only hope of saving him rests in the hands of an escaped murderer


Writer: Peter Packer

Director: Virgil W. Vogel

Victoria and Heath are busy packing a wagonload of supplies to ride up to the cabin lodge and open it for the summer. On their way, the rear wheel hits a pothole and the wooden axle breaks, holding on by a thread.

Further down the road, they find a path still covered in mud from the spring thaw, which Victoria thought was already all dried up. They decide to chance it and flick the team to march forward. However, the wheels get stuck in the mud and the horses are helpless in pulling the wagon free.


Heath gets down to assess the situation and tells Victoria to whip the horses as he pushes. When he does, the axle splits in half making the wagon careen sideways. Victoria is thrown clear but Heath gets trapped underneath.


He suggests tying a rope to the wagon and around a tree and having the horses pull. Unfortunately, the rope soon wears away against the tree trunk and snaps, making the wagon fall back on Heath. Victoria is afraid to try anything else and tells Heath to hang on, that she will get Nick and the others to help.


On her way, she encounters a man in the bushes whom she begs to come help her. He refuses. Little does Victoria know is that the man is Harry Dixon (Bruce Dern), an escaped murderer, his feet still in shackles. He is pursued by two determined bounty hunters, Cort (L.Q. Jones) and Swain (Dean Stanton).

Victoria returns to Heath who informs her that the wagon is sinking. Desperate, she lights a lantern and asks him to hold on. The light from the lamp will keep him company in case she doesn't return before it gets dark. She kisses him and grabs a rifle. He begs her to hurry back.


Later that night, Victoria surprises Dixon attempting to break free from his chains. She now understands the reason for his not wanting to help her. She tells him to sit on the ground and she shoots his shackles apart. The shot is heard by the two bounty hunters who mount their horses and ride toward the sound.

Holding Dixon at gunpoint and with fury in her eyes, Victoria orders him to ride back with her. The fugitive scares her horse away but that doesn't dissuade the desperate mother who forces him to go on foot.

The two bounty hunters ride by Heath but unfortunately do not hear his cry for help.


Victoria continues to push Dixon despite their obvious exhaustion. With jealousy in his tone, Dixon rambles on about Victoria's desperation to save her precious angel boy, going to extreme as to put another man's life on the line. Heath and Dixon may be both about the same age, only difference is that he's a professional gambler wanted for murder, with a $500 reward for his capture, dead or alive. Victoria swears she will shoot him in cold blood if he keeps dawdling

Hours pass and Heath strives to keep alert by babbling on about his new home, his kin and how he should have checked the wheels before leaving.

Back at the ranch, Jarrod informs Nick that the sheriff told him about the escaped murderer on the loose heading east in the vicinity of the cabin lodge. Nick suggests they go up there and check it out but Jarrod believes Heath can handle the situation by himself.


Heath becomes more and more sluggish. A wolf approaches him . He manages to light up a piece a paper and throws it at the hungry animal that scurries away. He wails to Victoria to hurry up, that he can't hold on much longer.


Dixon believes they are going around in circles. He attempts to make Victoria doubt her mother's instincts by pretending they are lost, but Victoria is certain they are getting closer.

When the bounty hunters ride by, the sound of hooves creates a distraction and Dixon seizes this opportunity to wrench the rifle out of Victoria's hands. He continues his whining about his plight and how Victoria is asking the impossible to save her darling son. She asks why he hates Heath so, not even knowing him. He begins telling her about his own mother who wouldn't have anything to do with him. Victoria senses the man has been deprived of love and that's why he resents Heath for having a mother who cares about him.

Dixon tells Victoria to go but she pleads with him one last time to come with her. Finally, he yields and follows her.


When they reach Heath, they find him unconscious. They begin removing the excess baggage and as Dixon lifts the wagon, Victoria pulls Heath from underneath. Soon, they hear the sound of hooves drawing closer.

Dixon hides in the bushes while Victoria tends to her injured son who's now fully awake. When asked by the bounty hunters, Victoria replies that she hasn't seen anyone and they go on their way, refusing to help.

Dixon disappears into the woods and Victoria tells Heath about the gambler who played his cards for love instead of money.


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