"Shadow of A Giant"

(Original air date 01/29/68)

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Nick and Heath join a famed marshalís posse on the trail of outlaw brothers

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Writers: Sasha Gilien & Mel Goldberg

Director: Norman S. Powell



During a Sunday service in Stockton, the Stryker brothers Jeet (Rayford Barnes) and Luke (John McMurtry) stab the deputy on guard duty before sneaking inside the sheriffís office to break their brother Floyd (Ed Bakey) out of jail. Sheriff Madden (Douglas Kennedy) gets shot in the leg trying to stop them from riding out of town.

Soon, Heath and Nick lead a posse on the trail of the outlaw brothers. They stop at a way station where the manager Lee Haynes (Lee Kreiger) informs them of the arrival of renowned marshal Seth Campbell (James Whitmore) whoís agreed to lead the posse. The men are all excited at the prospect of riding with the famous lawman- save for Heath.

           

Hours later, Campbell shows up with his son Seth Jr. (Richard Evans). After deputizing the men he starts laying out a strategy that doesnít sit too well with Heath.

After being on the trail for hours, they set up camp for the night. The men gather around Campbell to hear him relate his greatest exploits. However Heath is not impressed. He reluctantly agrees to an arm wrestling match with Campbell and incurs the wrath of his travelling companion when he ends up winning.

           

During the bewitching hour, Heath and Nick are quick on the draw when they hear Campbell shouting orders to stay low. They find him arguing with an imaginary enemy. Seth Jr. explains that his hallucinatory episodes are due to alcohol and extreme fatigue brought on by a recent bout of pneumonia.

           

He tries to reason with his father that it would be best if he chose not to continue on the posse, but Campbell wonít have it. He refuses to believe that heís wash-up.

Nick agrees that a restful night is what Campbell needs to feel refreshed but Heath begs to differ. He recalls joining the famed marshalís posse five years ago and seeing the crazed look in Campbellís eyes when the outlaws surrendered. Heís positive the lawman needled the men into a fight on purpose so he could have a reason to gun them down, and wished he could have intervened sooner to stop the bloodshed.

     

In the morning one of the Stryker brothersí horse goes lame. Floyd sends Jeet to steal one from a neighbouring ranch while he and Luke unload the animal.

Up on the hill Jeet notices the posse drawing closer. He rides back to tell his brothers and they hightail it away.

           

Their fresh tracks lead the posse to a small ghost town. The men proceed circumspectly unaware that the brothers are hiding in the old church tower poised ready to shoot with a powerful Gatling gun. At first shot, Campbell gets fired up and orders the men to spread out to try to corner the outlaws. Heath vehemently argues that his strategy is pure suicide and suggests waiting them out instead.

           

After Owens (Fletcher Fist) and Wilson (Troy Melton) are killed, the others agree with Heath that itís best to wait till sundown. Campbell wonít have it. Heath has no choice but to stop his mad quest by knocking him out. Later despite his fatherís warning not to leave, Seth Jr. rides out to a neighbouring ranch to get help.

Hearing the constant gunfire echoing in the distance, Seth has a change of heart and doubles back.

           

Heath and Nick succeed in killing Jeet and Luke but Floyd is still in charge of the loaded Gatling gun. His blood boiling, Campbell decides to catch the remaining outlaw by himself. He gets on his horse and charges up to the church tower, gunning down who he believes is another Stryker brother before he gets his man.

           

After the slaughtering, they make the macabre discovery of Seth Jr.sí body. Campbell is furious. He blames Heath and Nick Barkley for his sonís death and once back in Stockton, he orders Sheriff Madden to arrest the brothers for murder.

Victoria visits with her old friend to plead with him to drop the charges against her sons. Campbell explains that they defied his authority, consequently leading to three deaths and one grievously wounded. Victoria warns him that her son Jarrod will do everything in his power to exonerate his brothers, even if it means destroying him. Fortunately for the insane lawman the only witness able to testify against him, Jess Curry (Stuart Randall), has just succumbed from his fatal wounds.

           

In the judgeís chamber, Jarrod tries to convince Dave Steigler (Walter Brooke) to throw this case out of court on the grounds of insanity. To prove it he intends to go back to the ghost town and recreate the shootout.

He and Steigler bring Campbell, Heath and Nick to the scene of the crime to have them describe the events as they happened. Campbell explains that as he charged up the church tower he shot another Stryker brother standing a few feet away.

           

When he points to the spot it suddenly hits him thatís where Seth Jr. had been found dead. He breaks down after realizing that he shot his own son.

Days later Heath and Nick are back at the ranch and looking forward to a dinner at the Claytons. Jarrod and Heath canít help trick their gullible brother into going out with a girl they know is an eyesore.

           


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