"The Secret"

(Original air date 01/27/69)

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Believing that his wife is having an affair with Jarrod, a rich man
sets out to ruin the Barkleys

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Writers: Sasha Gillien & Mel Goldberg

Director: Joseph A. Mazzuca



In Stockton, Jarrod bids farewell to Marcy Howard (Nancy Malone), a client who came to him with a personal problem. A few feet away a private detective, who has been shadowing them for several months, witnesses their emotional goodbye and takes note before wiring his boss with his latest finding.

     

At the Howard Ranch, Adam Howard (Simon Oakland) proudly teaches his young son David (Kelly Corcoran) how to shoot a rifle just as Marcy returns. Her story of a having visited a sick friend doesnít sit well with her husband, and his suspicion of an affair between his wife and Jarrod Barkley is confirmed in the telegram sent by his private investigator. He then announces that the family will take a trip to Stockton where he needs to conduct urgent business.

           

On a sweltering hot day, Jarrod welcomes the Howard family in town and plays it safe when greeting Marcy to avoid arousing suspicion. When Adam and David get the luggage, Marcy pulls Jarrod aside and arranges for a meeting to discuss Adamís likely motive behind this surprise trip to Stockton.

Mother and son go on a picnic to do some fishing. Jarrod rides in and suggests Davy that, due to the intense drought, he should collect rocks instead of trying to catch some fish; a ploy to get the boy from under foot long enough for Marcy to confide in Jarrod her fear that Adam is privy to their covert meetings, and that heís likely devising a scheme to ruin the Barkleys.

           

Out on the range, the cattle are dropping like ninepins as a result of the lack of water. Nick and Heath find it disturbing that the creek should be all dried up, unless their neighbour has decided to dam it up. They go investigate and meet with a few ranch hands who have erected a fence around their property. The Barkleys learn that the new owner, Adam Howard, has decided to dam up the creek to keep the water on his land.

Jarrod drops by the Howardsí hotel suite to discuss the matter with Adam who flatly refuses to accede to the lawyerís request for water for their dying cattle. Jarrod is bemused as to his friendís sudden change in behaviour, and is shocked when Adam lists names of towns where he and Marcy had been seen meeting in private. Jarrod vainly tries to prove Adam wrong about his assumption of an affair.

           

Back the ranch the tone rises between Nick and Jarrod when it is believed that Adamís actions are over a barney that somehow involves Jarrod. Irked by the lack of progress in this dispute, Nick decides to take matters into his own hands; an ultimatum that Jarrod forbids him to carry out for risk of adding fuel to the fire.

In town Victoria runs into Mister Slade (Bing Russell), the director of the freight lines, who regretfully informs her of his companyís refusal to ship their produce onto the market. Their boss, Adam Howard, has chosen not to honor their patronage this year; a resolution that Adam firmly stands by. When asked to state the reasons behind his decision, Adam simply suggests that Victoria ask his son Jarrod about his wife and the seventh commandment.

           

Later at the ranch, Victoria decides to broach that sensitive subject with Jarrod as he struggles to find a way to impel Adam to open the dam. Jarrod is reticent to discuss the matter but she insists owing to the fact that the ranchís assets are involved in the dispute. Jarrod yields under pressure and explains about his secret meetings with Adamís wife without entering into confidential details, but denies having had an affair with Marcy Howard.

Believing that he angered his father in some way, David brings him a peace offering to make amends. He noticed that his dad had begun to drift away from him; acting like he didnít want him around anymore. Davy wishes they could return home to a normal life. Marcy comes in to take the boy shopping and leaves her husband alone to reflect on his sonís wise words.

Nick pressures Jarrod into taking drastic measures to force Adam to open the dam. They cannot sit idly by for a judgeís decision while their cattle are dying.

           

In town Jarrod meets with the judge (Peter Brocco) in charge of the case to request that the injunction be granted, but the man states that a decision wonít be made prior to hearing both sides in court, which could take months. That statement irates Jarrod who hurls insults at the judge, as he suspect him of having accepted a bride.

Nick charges in Adamís suite and demands that the water be restored on their land. Again Adam is unyielding and asks his henchmen to throw Nick out of the room. Nick throws the first punch that triggers a fistfight, and maintains the upper hand until one crashes a bottle onto his head, rendering him unconscious.

           

Marcy and Davy return to the hotel to witness the three men dragging Nickís body downstairs. Angry Marcy sends David to his room to write a letter while she confronts her husband about his tyranny. She breaks down and confesses to having met with Jarrod on a personal matter. She was desperate to get rid of Davidís real father, a wanted man who was blackmailing her. Adam wonít swallow her story and storms out of the room with a rifle in hand. Marcy asks her son to remain in his room while she pretends to go out on an errand.

           

Adamís men drive to the ranch to drop Nickís body onto the Barkley property. Heath hurries to his brotherís side just as he regains consciousness. Nick goes on the warpath and threatens to tear down that fence delimitating the two properties. Heath is against the notion of violence but knows better than to reason with Nick when heís all fired up. Jarrod does try to block Nickís path but gets knocked out.

           

Minutes later Jarrod rouses to Silasís tender ministrations. As he gets ready to hightail it out in order to stop his foolish brothers from getting killed, Marcy rides up and explains what happened at the hotel with Nick. This is the last straw that brings Jarrodís blood boiling and he rides out to meet with his brothers as they get ready to face Adam and his armed men.

Out on the range, all three brothers amble on towards the fence in spite of repeated warnings.

           

As Adam aims his rifle at Jarrodís head , a buckboard drives onto the scene with little Davy at the helm. He runs to his father and pleads with him to end this quarrel. Adam explains that things occurred in the past that led to this confrontation, but the boy wonít hear about the past. All he wants and needs is his father to love him and to return home where they can be a family again.

           

Adam breaks down and orders his men to tear down the fence to allow the Barkley cattle to go through.

Days later a heavy rainfall has everyone smiling. A letter arrives from David informing of his parentsí wedding anniversary, and to expect an invitation in the mail very soon, to which he hopes the Barkleys will accept.

           


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