"Legend of A General" Part 2

(Original air date 09/26/66)

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Nick and Jarrod go to Mexico to free Heath who will be
exchanged for a Mexican general

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Writer: Ken Pettus

Director: Virgil W. Vogel



In Rio Blanco, Mateo and Heath get a new cellmate, a hard-core drunkard known as the town clown, El Payaso (Jose Gonzales Gonzales). After shoving the man in his cell Captain Chavez goes to Heath to reiterate his offer to set him free in exchange for information on Ruizís whereabouts, but the young battered Barkley refuses.

When Chavez returns to his post the sober man produces a butcher knife from inside his sombrero and hands it over to Heath, praising his determination to free the people from Diazís dictatorial regime.

           

Back at the ranch Audra informs Victoria and Jarrod that the Mexican consul Cortines told Vincente about the situation with Heath down in Rio Blanco. The General understands that the US government has a duty to comply with Diazís demand of extradition and that no senator can overrule the decision.

Nick and Jarrod contrive a plan to trick Diaz into believing that the exchange will take place. They intend to ride down to Mexico with two ranch hands who are familiar with the territory, and in turn Vincente will try to recruit some of his old compadres to join the fight for freedom.

     

Back in Rio Blanco, El Payaso draws the guardsí attention by feigning hysteria. One goes investigate the commotion and as he tries to calm the prisoner, he is thrust backward into Heathís grip. With a knife at his throat, the guard remains motionless, allowing Payaso to knock him out cold. The prisoners escape and threaten the other guards to drop their weapons.

           

Instead of complying, one chooses to reach for his gun but no sooner does his finger hit the trigger that Heathís knife dives into his guts. The ensuing shooting leaves the two remaining guards dead. The alarm is sounded but the prisoners manage to flee and part ways. Heath goes to the church where Father Estaban (Robert Karnes) offers him sanctuary atop the bell tower.

           

From his vintage point, Heath is allowed a clear view of the scene below. He sees Chavez and his men march toward the church to ask Father Estaban to search the premises. The padre denies them access stating that President Diaz would not take kindly to his men violating the sanctity of a religious establishment. Instead Chavez posts guards around the church to wait Heath out.

           

Down Mexico way, Miguel and his friends ambush the Barkleys in a last attempt to get to Ruiz. One of their hands is injured in the gunfight. Miguel promises to let them go providing they hand him Ruiz.

At the ranch, Audra and Victoria are paid a visit by US Marshal Ralston (Chris Alcaide) who presents them with an extradition order for Ruiz. His request falls on deaf ears as both ladies feign ignorance on the generalís whereabouts.

           

Itís a stalemate as both sides refuse to concede defeat. With one of the hands injured and in desperate need of medical attention, Vincente suggests riding alone to divert Miguelís attention while the second ranch hand rides out to fetch a doctor.

Inside the church, Teresa sneaks up to the tower to meet with Heath where she bids him a last farewell. What they shared lived and will die in Rio Blanco. At his request she promises to have a horse ready at the house tonight.

     

Ruizís plan works like a charm. When far enough, he dismounts and wait for the four men to ride past. He shoots one man down, thus forcing the others to retreat behind rocks. Soon Jarrod and Nick join in the shootout that ends in tragedy for Miguel and his men. Before dying he urges Ruiz not to return to Rio Blanco where President Diaz plans to execute him.

           

Heath plots his escape by having the padre pretends that he is him. The guards fall for the ruse, allowing Heath to slip away quietly. He reaches Don Alfredoís house where he is shocked to learn that Teresa sold him out to Chavez. Her father tries to convince her that she did right by agreeing to cooperate with Diazís men, but her heart says otherwise.

           

Ruiz, Jarrod and Nick reach Rio Blanco and stop by a friendís house Luis Morelos (Morgan Farley), a blind man that sadly informs them that all the good men have deserted Rio Blanco, thus leaving the three to conjure up an alternate plan to wrench Heath from Chavezís claws. Alerted by an hysterical woman that the army is coming, our friends sneak down to a secret basement and wait out the men searching the cabin upstairs.

           

There Nick and Jarrod discover kegs of black powder, an alternative to an army of men to bust their brother out of jail.

     

Disguised as a bedraggled Mexico gringo, Jarrod sneaks inside the church to remit a message to Father Estaban, who in turn conceals it in a bible to discreetly hand it over to Heath. The plan is all set. Heathís job is to sit tight and wait for the signal.

           

Atop the church tower, Father Estaban sounds the bell to create a commotion below, enough to bring Chavez and his men outside

Nick joins his brother in a similar disguise to avoid drawing attention to themselves as they haul a wagonload of hay down main street. From his cell, Heath observes his siblingsí every move.

           

Nick and Jarrod arrange it so that their wagon will break down in front of the jail. Once Jarrod has unhitched the donkey Nick lights up the fuse.

     

The powder kegs concealed in the hay explode, killing several of Chavezís men. The coast is clear to break Heath out of jail.

           

Outside Ruiz has his hands full shooting the last surviving members of Chavezís troup. As they ride out of town victorious, a wounded Chavez garners his last ounce of strength to shoot Ruiz off his horse.

           

Angry and hurt the boy decides to remain in Rio Blanco to pursue his fatherís endeavors while the three brothers head on home.

Later that night, sleep eludes Heath as his mind whirls with the events of the past few days. He canít help but feel responsible for Ruizís tragic death. Victoria explains that Vincente fought for people and not a political cause. He died doing what he believed in and for that reason his death was not in vain. It will pave the way for others to follow his example and eventually free the people from the despotic regime.

     


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