"Palms of Glory"

(Original air date 9/15/65)

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As the Barkleys prepare to wage war against the railroad, a young man arrives
at the ranch claiming to be Tom Barkley's bastard son.

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Writer: Christopher Knopf

Director: William A. Graham



In the middle of nowhere, two headstrong cowboys meet on a bridge. Neither one is willing to back his mount in order to allow the other to cross the small rundown pathway. As they draw their guns simulteneously, the wood underneath their horses breaks, sending both men into the water and on to their respective destination.

           

His his private train car, on his way back from San Francisco, Jarrod discusses the Coastal and Western railroad intentions to establish a route through the valley with one of their representatives. Crown, (Malachi Throne) a greedy man, is aggressively determined to carry out the project at all cost. Consequently, unbeknownst to Jarrod, he has hired a gang of browbeaters to intimidate the valley's landowners into selling their properties.

Their conversation is cut short when Jarrod notices a horseman racing against the train. He and Crown make a $1500 bet on whether he can beat the train. He does and Jarrod gladly takes the money.

           

The rider, a young wanderer named Heath, ambles through the woods where he comes across a tombstone erected in the middle of nowhere. He dismounts his horse and kneels beside it. On it is engraved the name of Tom Barkley.

Suddenly, a feisty cowgirl whips him. He manages to grab her whip and wrestles her for it on the ground. She is upset that he was trampling on the flowers she planted around the grave. She says that Tom Barkley was her father and the reason for the strange burial spot is that he was killed here.

Heath apologizes and asks direction to the ranch for he's looking for work. Audra tells him to talk to her brother Nick who handles the hiring.

           

Jarrod arrives home to find that his neighbours, Morgan (Melvin Allen), Swenson (Arthur Peterson) and Wirth (Dal McKennon) have already received notices from the railroad company to vacate their lands for a pitiless sum of $25/acre. Jarrod grimly informs them that the governor of California vetoed their motion to stop the project, and he suggests initiating injunctive procedures to give them time to way their moves. He assures his friends that nothing can be done until then.

Nick, however, differs in opinion with his older brother's tactics. Since the railroad owns every single courthouse, it's fight or nothing. Eugene (Charles Briles) is torn between the two different approaches.

           

Meanwhile, Heath rides up to the ranch and asks to speak to Nick for a job. Nick questions him about his past experiences and Jarrod tells him to hire the man. Nick bluntly replies that they are full, but Jarrod insists on account that Heath helped him win his bet with Crown. Nick is suspicious of the stranger, thinking he might be a spy hired by the railroad company.

At night in the barn, Nick gets into a brawl with the newcomer, insisting he states the true reasons of his being at the ranch. Outraged, Heath blasts out that he is Tom Barkley's bastard son.

           

Nick rouses the entire house with his hollering as tempers flare up between he and Heath. With Jarrod and Eugene present, Heath tells them how he came to learn of his biological father's identity from his dying mother a month ago. Nick harshly refutes his allegation and Jarrod offers him money to forget the whole thing. Heath spurns the offer by saying that he only wants what he's entitled to: a name, a heritage...a part of it all. Nick kicks him out and warns him to never set foot on the property again.

           

Audra and Victoria overhear the caustic conversation, but the matriarch closes back her bedroom door. Audra, however, is decided to get to the bottom of it and rides into town. There, she encounters drunken cowboys looking for a good time. She tries to whip them off, but with much difficulty. She is rescued by Heath who whisks her up to his hotel room. He tends to her wounds as she attempts to extract more information out of him.

           

She attempts to seduce him, to see if he would succomb to temptation, thus revealing his true identity as a cheat. Heath is not dupe, which makes Audra mad.

Brawlers spring into the room, hoping to have a little fun with the lady, but Heath steps in to defend the lady's honor. Sheriff Lyman (Len Wayland) burst into the room and puts a stop to the brawl and offers to escort Audra back to the ranch.

           

On the way back to the ranch, they spot a fire in the horizon. They ride out to the property which is completely destroyed by the blaze, no doubt ignited by the railroad's hired guns who threatened the owner, Swenson, who wouldn't sell.

           

Another rancher, Frank Sample, (Vincent Gardenia) said he received a similar letter. He refuses to surrender and asks his neighbours to join him in the fight. Despite the sheriff's warning, all side with him except for Jarrod who in all good professional conscience cannot go against the law.

           

The lawyer stands alone and ponders. Finally, he joins the resistance much to Victoria's relief but to the Sheriff's chagrin.

The sheriff begs them not to engage in any battle with the railroad, that they would lose and perhaps even pay with their own lives as Tom Barkley did.

           

Heath, who left the premises before witnessing his brothers take a stand, returns to the ranch to retrieve an article on Tom Barkley he had left on a table before leaving the valley for good.

As he grabs some apples on his way out, Victoria stands by the door and begins describing her husband to him. An imperfect man who made mistakes but never destroyed. Only built and gave life. If Heath were her own son she would tell him to be proud to be Tom Barkley's boy and not to allow anyone deny him his birthright.

           

Having taken Victoria's words to heart, Heath rides out to Sample's place to join his brothers and neighbours in a fight against the bullies. Sheriff Lyman makes a last plea for them to lay down the arms but the stubborn Barkleys refuse.

           

A fierce exchange of gunfires ensues, wounding and killing some men, including Jarrod and Semple. However they emerge victorious. Jarrod is first to step forward and offer Heath a cigar as an olive branch.

           

The next day, Nick vents his anger at Heath's allegations at the breakfast table and that if the blond wants to keep working on the ranch he will need to pull his weight. At that moment Heath breezes into the room and gloats about the work he's done since the crack of down, thus stealing Nick's thunder who clams up.

           

Both men take their seats at the table and reach for the same piece of steak. Again neither one is willing to let go. It's up to Jarrod to cut the steak in half so each can have a piece.

The tension broken, smiles are exchanged and Heath is now welcomed as a full member of the Barkley family.

           


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