"The Way to Kill A Killer"

(Original air date 11/24/65)


Nick’s childhood friend discovers anthrax in his herd
while it is pastured on Barkley land


Writers: Judith and Robert Guy Barrows

Director: Joseph M. Newman

At the Cattlemen’s restaurant, while the Barkley brothers are having a celebration dinner in honour of Eugene’s return from Berkeley, Nick’s childhood friend Mariano Montoya (Martin Landau) walks in with a calf that he presents to the man who gave him his start in the cattle business. Montoya is grateful to Nick and the Barkleys for making his dream come true. He is no longer the thief they once knew but the town sheriff’s (Read Morgan) is obviously not sold on the Mexican’s new disposition.


They all ride out to Montoya’s camp to check out that prized herd. Nick proposes to move the cattle on the north pasture in order to fatten them up before the upcoming sale.

At night a party is organized to celebrate Montoya’s good fortune. After a heart-felt speech and the hand out of gifts to his benefactors, Montoya strolls the grounds with Victoria on his arm. They reminisce about the time he once was caught stealing a calf from the Barkleys. Instead of sending him to jail, Nick gave him the calf to start his own herd. Victoria saw in him a man of vision; determined to give his family a better life. She believed in his potential, hence the reason why she never said anything about the incident. Although grateful he doubts that a former Mexican thief will ever come close to achieving what the Barkleys have, including owning a thousand-dollar prized bull like Prince Oxford. But Victoria is convinced otherwise.


Rico (Rudolfo Agosta) interrupts their conversation by informing Montoya that he’s wanted back at the camp. He rides out there to find one head down with what Rico believes is anthrax. Montoya insists it’s trail fever and orders his men to bury the evidence.


Eugene confides in his brothers that a few hands have reported odd things happening over at Montoya’s camp; one most disturbing is the number of heads that appears to be shrinking.

Montoya’s men find another dead cow. They believe that the cattle is grazing on a pasture infected with anthrax, and that their best option is to drive the herd out of Barkley land to avoid losing anymore heads.


Nick and Heath ride out to the herd where they find it peculiar that the men should get ready to move out. Rico fibs about getting to the sale early in order to get a better price for the cattle but Heath and Nick don’t bite. As Nick goes inspect the herd he notices two heads down. He and Heath suspect anthrax. Nick orders the men to stay put until he speaks with Mariano.


Back at the ranch Heath informs Nick that Montoya’s men are moving the cattle out. Nick instructs a few hands to be spread around the pasture with rifles at the ready to keep the cattle inside the fence.

They all ride out to face Montoya who still refuses to believe his cattle is infected with anthrax. Nick is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but will not allow any animal past the gate until he considers them fit to leave the pasture. When he comes across another dead cow, Nick has no other alternative but to quarantine the herd despite his friend’s argument. Heath votes for putting down the animals in order to stamp out the epidemic before it spreads, but Nick won’t willingly bring himself to destroy what Mariano spent years to achieve.


Mariano raises Nick’s hackles by laying the blame on him and his infected pasture and won’t allow to be treated like a prisoner. With teeth set in suppressed fury Nick reiterates his order of quarantine, warning his friend that if any of his men are seen trying to get cattle through, his hands will shoot to kill.


Back at the ranch, Heath goes up to Nick’s room to discuss the problem. He can’t understand why Nick won’t give the order to put the herd down. Nick gives a sad account of how he grew up with a Mexican boy whose mother was hired as a cleaning lady for the Barkleys. Little by little young Mariano was allowed to play with him providing he was respectful of Senor Nick. Raising cattle was his goal in life. If Heath were in his place wouldn’t he steal and lie to cling on to that dream?

At the family gathering Eugene brings the subject of a vaccine against anthrax developed by Louis Pasteur. He storms out of the dining room after his brothers poke fun of his suggestion, but Victoria succeeds in dissipating her young son’s frustration by putting the blame on the strain that they are all under.


While Nick, Heath and their hands are in a standout with Mariano and his men, Eugene brings his teacher, Professor Hawthorne (Arthur Space), to the house. The old man explains that the Barkleys have nothing to lose and everything to gain by testing this new vaccine.

All three ride out to the herd and convince Mariano to allow the Professor to experiment on his cattle. He has a last-minute change of heart and instead, he suggests testing the vaccine on Prince Oxford. Victoria gives her consent, much to her sons’ anguish.


They put the prized bull in with Montoya's herd and wait for the anthrax to infect the animal. Once the bull is down, Prof. Hawthorne injects the vaccine. Later Prince Oxford is found dead.


Ridden with guilt, Montoya grabs the rifle and aims to shoot down his cattle but Nick stops him. At that moment the bull gives signs of life and slowly staggers to his feet. The vaccine proves effective much to everyone’s delight.


Days later, Montoya and his men are invited at the ranch to celebrate their first successful cattle sale. In comes Nick carrying Prince Oxford’s son that he hands over to Montoya to start his new herd.


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