"The Good Thieves"

(Original air date 01/01/68)


Nick and Heath trail Jarrod’s assailants to a town where
the outlaws are leading citizens


Writer: Dan Ullman

Director: Joseph A. Mazzura

Under the cloak of night, two outlaw brothers, Davy (Russell Johnson) and Mark Dunigan (Charles Grodin) set out to rob the Wells Fargo Express in town when Jarrod unexpectedly walks in to enquire about a gold shipment from the Barkley mines. He finds peculiar the fact that Monty, the man who was to make the drop, failed to meet him at his office. The station agent (Norman Levitt) offers a rather flimsy excuse to explain his absence, much to Jarrod’s amusement.

As he turns to leave, Monty’s body hits the floor. Jarrod hurries to the man only to be shot in the back by Mark while Davy kills the clerk before he can reach for a weapon.


While Doctor Merar (Arthur Space) finishes with his patient, Nick and Heath nervously wait for news on their brother’s condition.

Sheriff Madden (Douglas Kennedy) shows up at the ranch hoping to get a description of Jarrod’s assailant. Victoria informs him that her son identified them as the Dunigan brothers who usually hang out in their home territory of Sunflower. Unfortunately the town is out of Fred’s jurisdiction. Seeing how the sheriff is strictly forbidden to cross state line to arrest the outlaws, Nick and Heath suggest riding into Sunflower to bring the brothers back to Stockton to face justice.


Nick and Heath ride into the Dunigan brothers’ sanctuary, a town where the two are highly respected citizens. They go to stable boy, Jerry Frye (Flip Mark), who flinches at the name Barkley; his belligerence evidence that the brothers’ presence in town is not welcomed.

After directing Nick and Heath to the marshal’s office, Jerry heads to the saloon to warn Davy and Mark of the Barkleys’ arrival.

At Marshal Moore’s (Sam Gilman) office, Nick and Heath sit through a pathetic speech of how the Dunigan brothers rid this town of poverty and violence, and that under no circumstances will he believe two strangers accusing him them of murder.


At the saloon, Nick and Heath wait for the Dunigans to finish their poker game before stating their business in Sunflower. Tension mounts to a point where the four men are ready to face off in a bloody duel.

The town doctor’s R.G. Landrum (Vinton Hayworth) steps in to plead with the Barkleys not to instigate violence in the peaceful town. Davy is first to forgive the brothers for overreacting and to show that there are no hard feelings, he invites them to attend his birthday party tomorrow night.


After retrieving a gun from a trunk in the barn, Jerry goes to the hotel to try to creep inside Nick and Heath’s room. Heath notices the doorknob move and yanks the door open, hurling the boy inside where he accidentally bumps his head against the bedpost. He came to threaten them to leave the Dunigan brothers alone once and for all.


They bring Jerry to Doctor Landrum’s where they diagnose a bad case of hero worship. After sending Jerry off with a warning to keep his nose out of other people’s business, the doctor admits to Nick and Heath that he like many others are terrified of going against the Dunigans. Like Marshal Moore before him he advises the Barkleys to forget their mission of revenge and leave town before there’s any bloodshed, for he suspects the Dunigans could go as far as killing to protect their unblemished reputation.

But Nick and Heath won’t be so easily dissuaded. They devise a plan to lure Davy and Mark into a trap. They wire their mother in Stockton with their wish to have five thousand dollars to purchase prized breeding stock.

This sudden need for cash to acquire stock they don’t need arouses Victoria’s suspicion as to the real purpose for the money, one she believes involves the Dunigan brothers.


On the afternoon of Davy’s birthday, Nick and Heath drop by the saloon to bid farewell and apologize for the mistaken identity. They explain their need to ride to a neighbouring town in order to make a sizeable purchase. The bait is set.

During the night they set up camp and wait for their prey to bite the hook. Seeing how their plan failed, Nick and Heath pack up and head back to Sunflower where they intends to follow through on Nick’s harebrained scheme of kidnapping the two brothers.


As the party winds down, Mark is surly at the thought of letting an easy five thousand dollars slip through their fingers. Davy assures his brother that it is for the best; that he had smelled a trap right from the start. Going after the Barkleys would have surely landed them in jail.

Drunken Mark wobbles out of the saloon, waving off Jerry’s assistance as he staggers to the stables where Nick and Heath knock him out and tie him up.


Worried about his friend, Jerry decides to go check on him. He suspects something’s wrong when he sees the Barkley brothers creep out of the barn. He goes back to warn Davy who goes out the back door. He and Jerry sneak into the barn to release Mark.

Heath and Nick worry that Davy might have left through another exit when they see all the lights going out inside the saloon. They suspect him to be in the barn. They get into a firing position before they issue a threat.


Davy’s desperate plan is to use Jerry as a human shield and create enough noise to rouse the entire town. Once they realize the Barkleys have shot the boy in cold blood they will hang them on the spot.

Gunfire erupt, ending with Davy shooting Jerry in the back and Heath putting a bullet into Mark’s shoulder. The town is outraged and prepare to hang the alleged murderers.


Luckily for Nick and Heath, Jerry regains consciousness long enough to point to his true assailants. An enraged marshal promises Mark and Davy that should the boy die they will face justice in Sunflower. If he lives he will personally escort them to Stockton to be tried.

Days later at the ranch Nick and Heath are delighted to hear Jerry will make a full recovery, even more so when they see Jarrod up and walking. Wicked big brother feels this is a good time to heed the doctor’s advice to get plenty of rest when Nick mentions a business deal that needs to be ironed out.


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