(Original air date 10/31/66)


A crooked candidate for governor wrongfully accuses the Barkleys
of having stolen their land


Writer: Mel Goldberg

Director: Arthur H. Nadel

At the Cattlemen’s Restaurant while Nick conducts business with client Dave Sloan (Paul Sorensen), candidate for governor Joshua Hawks (James Whitmore) starts hurling insults and publicly accuses the Barkleys of growing goods on stolen land. Incensed Nick threatens the man to prove that his statement is true or to apologize. The heated argument ends up with Nick smacking Hawks in the face in front of witnesses, much to Frank Wesley’s (Sherwood Price), Hawks’s campaign manager, delight.


The next morning Nick makes front page. Jarrod tries to dissuade his short-tempered brother that slapping Hawks with a lawsuit for defamation is not the answer. On the contrary they need to remain quiet and not stir up more trouble so not to provide Hawks with more ammunition for his campaign.

Victoria believes that someone has to challenge him, stop him long enough to face up to the charges. Jarrod’s best advice is to ignore the man; that town people are not stupid enough to listen to those fabrications. He quickly changes his view when Heath informs them that men will not work on Barkley land unless they can prove Hawks’s allegations are false.


At the Cattlemen’s Hotel, Wesley warns Hawks not to revel in his exploit but Josh turns a deaf ear. In comes Joshua’s brother Dan’l (Strother Martin) with printed posters of him accusing Tom Barkley of having acquired his land illegally. Frank jumps down his throat for not consulting with him beforehand. They need to keep quiet about the allegations or they’ll be asked to prove them in court. ‘When you’re bluffing never put yourself in a position to be caught.’

Later on, Hawks makes a public speech before a crowd of farmers. When a man (Mel F. Allen) asks about his allegation that Tom Barkley stole his land, instead of elaborating on the question, Hawks asks Dan’l to pass out the flyers his campaign manager had strictly forbidden him to show in public.


Jarrod meets with Frank who swears he had no idea what Joshua was up to. Jarrod gives Wesley the benefit of the doubt but nevertheless wants a full retraction in tomorrow’s newspapers, but Hawks vehemently denies the request. He’ll relish going to court with the evidence he knows will crush the powerful Barkleys once and for all.

Jarrod has no other alternative but to fight the matter in court. He and his family will do everything in their power to clear the patriarch’s name. With that said, Wesley berates Hawks for going too far. He knows well that the Barkleys are as pure as driven snow; that he hasn’t been able to dig out any illegal transaction done in the past years. They can’t prove anything.

But Hawks won’t relent. He tells Wesley that perhaps he doesn’t have the guts to fight the good fight and that he should step out of the ring now and let him do his own battle. Unwilling to lose his job, Wesley agrees to try to dream up some documents that could buy them time.


Jarrod returns to the ranch with the news that Hawks is sticking to his charges. His suggestion is to form a committee that will impel Hawks to come forward with the evidence. The panel will review each of the charges brought against Tom Barkley. A law suit against Hawks would take to long and might even win him the governor seat.

In the meantime, clients are holding up their orders. They won’t deal with the Barkleys unless they are ensured the goods aren’t grown on stolen land.


At night a drunken Hawks starts making a ruckus in his hotel room. In the adjacent suite, Frank’s wife, Edna (Julie Adams) is at the end of her tether and pleads with her husband to drop the man’s campaign. He tries to make her understand that Josh is his ticket into politics; that he must bear and grin it now if they want a better life for themselves later.

Suddenly smoke is seen creeping from under the door. Wesley finds Hawks passed out on the couch with a fire out of control near the fireplace. The incident lures curious onlookers into the room, their presence providing Hawks with the perfect opportunity to throw the blame on the Barkleys, whom he accuses of having set the fire to destroy the evidence.


The next day, newspaper editor Peter Doolin (Harlan Warde) drops by the ranch to bring Victoria the news of Hawks’s allegation that the Barkleys started the fire in his hotel room last night. Appalled Victoria refuses to dignify this headline with a denial. Jarrod accuses Doolin of having embellished that so-called truth and deplores the fact that a respectable editor like him should rely on hearsay to write his articles.

Jarrod informs Victoria that to his dismay, people are starting to believe Joshua Hawks and that even Senator Palmer is having a great deal of difficulty gathering a sizeable committee.

Wesley and Hawks get into a slanging match over the situation that’s growing worse by the hour. The news that Josh sent word out to the ranch asking to meet with Victoria Barkley privately only adds fuel to Frank’s fire. This is the final straw. Wesley walks out.


Josh tells Victoria that he has no intention of dropping the charges and that he’ll fight them every step of the way. When the conversation stalls, he drops a bombshell on her. He once worked for Tom Barkley; breaking his back harvesting so that the man could put pretty clothes on his wife while the workers were given peanuts. He wants back what was stolen from him.

At the general store, Hawks’s brother Dan’l orders a case of dynamite. Using the pseudonym Jack Small, he pretends the merchandise is for the Barkley lumberyard, and that he’ll pick it up later. He leaves with three sticks of dynamite.

Back at the hotel, Edna is packing her suitcases for she can no longer stay with a husband driven by greed and power. Wesley knows Hawks is up to something when he admits to wanting to go to the extreme to win the case against the Barkleys.


Wesley follows Josh and Dan’l down the street to the courthouse and peeks at the men putting up the sticks of dynamite in the basement. Before he can run to the sheriff, Wesley is cornered and stabbed in the heart.


At the general store, Nick is troubled to learn from the clerk (Bill Quinn) that a Jack Small ordered a case of dynamite on their behalf. He would have checked his credentials had he left the store with the entire case, but not for just three sticks. Young store helper Steve (Larry Domasin) says he recognized the man who asked his brother to put up posters for Joshua Hawks.

At the courthouse, Hawks feigns concern for his campaign manager’s lateness in front of an impatient judge (Walter Woolf King). He drops a book onto the floor as a signal for Dan’l to ignite the fuse downstairs.


When Hawks excuses himself to have a look outside, Victoria shows up unexpectedly demanding to hear the plain facts and settle the matter once and for all. Nervous, Hawks insists on leaving the building but Nick stops up. When Hawks tries to shoot him, Nick quickly retaliates, wounding Hawks instead. He then urges Nick to take everyone out of the building before it blows.


Nick gets his mother out to safety before running back to the courthouse to get Hawks but it’s too late. The front doors blast open with the force of explosion, hurling Nick backwards. Inside Hawks is found dead under the rubbles.

Days later all charges are dropped. Jarrod brings home the damaging evidence Hawks had in his briefcase: all blank papers.


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