"A Time to Kill"

(Original air date 01/19/66)


An old college friend of Jarrod’s comes to Stockton to start his practice
but has other dark plans


Writer: Peter Packer

Director: Bernard McEveety

Lawyer Brett Skyler (William Shatner) arrives in Stockton and drops by Jarrod’s office to renew an old acquaintance. With a mere broken coin, Jarrod recognizes his dear friend from University and invites him to stay at the ranch while he looks for a place to set up his new office.

At the ranch, Brett is assailed with questions regarding his early days as Jarrod’s classmate. The Barkleys are most willing to help the unseasoned lawyer get his business off the ground, even if it means getting in direct competition with Jarrod.


Shortly after, Brett gets settled in his room and reveals a suitcase full of money. Before he has a chance to put it in a safe place, Audra enters with fresh towels and wishes him a good stay with the family.


Later on, Jarrod receives a visit from a secret service agent named Monroe (Frank Marth) who is chasing a ring of counterfeiters. He has reasons to believe Brett Skyler is part of that gang mainly because of the trail of fake bills left in banks of every town he’s passed through. Jarrod won’t hear such nonsense, convinced Monroe’s trailing the wrong man. The agent explains that people are known to change with time and therefore Jarrod can only judge the man based on hearsay and not actual facts.

Though he has no proof of any wrongdoing on Skyler’s part, Monroe swears he’ll stay with him and seeks Jarrod’s help in proving him wrong.


The next morning a disturbed Jarrod stops short of entering the dining room where Victoria, Audra and Skyler are eating breakfast. Instead he goes up to Brett’s room and reluctantly rummages through a travelling bag. Instead of money he finds a wrapped gift for Victoria.

As he heads out the door, another suitcase catches his attention. With a faltering step he walks over to it and to his horror finds the counterfeit money, thus lending credence to Monroe’s suspicions.


A dejected Jarrod meets with Monroe at his hotel to bring a piece of the evidence. An expert is in called to analyse the bill but finds it’s the real deal, which brings a smile to Jarrod’s face as he proved the agent wrong. With dripping sarcasm he suggests Monroe hightail it out of the town with his unfounded insinuations.

At night, the two friends step out in town and go to Jarrod’s office to get a drink. Jarrod casually broaches the subject of Brett’s whereabouts in the last few years, and arise Skyler’s suspicions when the questions start getting too technical. In turn Jarrod gets a disturbing thought when Brett announces that he has money to deposit in the bank. He then offers his friend to come into partnership with him, to therefore keep a close eye on him.


Jarrod introduces Brett to Luther Kirby (Robert Cornthwaite) the manager of the bank where Brett makes a subtancial $20,000 deposit. Brett adds that he’s willing to do regular business with the bank providing they have the facilities. Luther gladly shows him around the premises, including the vault filled with money, to which Brett takes very good note of the security surrounding it.

On his way out he makes a $200 withdrawal on his deposit. Outside while pretending to shine his shoe, he takes in the security system.


Later he rides over to a small cabin in the woods to report to his two cohorts, Clyde (James Griffith) and Ketchie (Jason Windgreen).

Clyde studies a bill from the withdrawal and smiles at the simplicity of the design that he can easily reproduce. Skyler warns them that putting the counterfeit money won’t be as easy as originally thought because of the sophisticated security system.

A remorseful Skyler shocks them both with the news that he won’t be part of the scheme. He did his part and now they will need to go at it alone. In all good conscience, he can’t deceive Jarrod. The Barkleys built the valley and helped the bank expand. They trust Jarrod as much as he trusts him. He’s not willing to destroy his close friendship.

Clyde mocks Brett’s emotions and his plans to go into partnership with Jarrod, stating that the mighty Barkley will use him as an errand boy.


At the ranch, Jarrod asks if Brett has given any thought to his offer. The man ponders what the job entails and when he learns that he’ll only be Jarrod’s assistant, Clyde’s words about ‘errand boy’ echo in Brett’s mind and thus politely turns down the offer, after which he excuses himself from the present company.

In the quiet of night, Brett meets with Ketchie near the bank. As he stands as a lookout, Ketchie works on the front door lock. Once inside Brett checks out the security system by the door.


Back at the ranch, Jarrod confides in his mother about the secret service agent who accused Brett of being involved in a counterfeit ring and that he was asked to help along in the investigation. He didn’t find a shred of evidence that could prove him guilty, though suspicions are gnawing at him.

Meanwhile at the bank, Skyler continues to inspect the premises for hidden wires. He follows them to the main circuit box behind a frame where he deactivates the alarm system.

As Ketchie gives him the first number of the combination, outside the sheriff (Michael Harris) makes his round. They hide behind a chair waiting for him to leave and go back to their work.


Once the last number of the combination is found, they open the safe and switch the counterfeit money with the real bills.

Brett makes a last inspection to ensure everything is in place before closing the safe and reactivates the security system. Then they sneak out of the bank.


The next morning Brett packs his suitcases and before he could bid farewell to the family, Jarrod offers him to take him as a full partner into the firm. Again Brett declines the offer saying that he’s leaving for Denver on the noon train.

Skyler meets with his partners at the cabin. Clyde offers to share the money now but Brett won’t hear of it. He begins stuffing the bills into a satchel with the firm intention to return the loot to the bank. Brett unsheathes his gun before Ketchie could pull out his own weapon. He then orders him to tie Clyde to the chair then Brett does the same with Ketchie.


Jarrod drops by the train station to asks about Brett’s departure and learns that he changed his reservation for the midnight train instead.

He meets with Monroe who admits Skyler is a manipulative genius as he’s careful to cover his tracks, leaving no evidence behind. But whatever he’s doing, the bank will suffer on account of it.

Then Jarrod goes to the bank to ask the manager if Brett came in for any withdrawals. He’s somewhat disturbed to learn of Brett's knowledge of the safe’s building material.


Back at the ranch Jarrod gears up with his gun as he prepares to face his friend. In town he watches Brett break into the bank and follows him inside, gun drawn. He surprises him as he exits the vault and orders him to hand over his gun.


Before he has a chance to explain, both are surprised by Clyde and Ketchie who unknowingly take the bag of fake money that Brett has just gotten out of the safe.

Brett discreetly trips the alarm with his broken coin, sending both thieves out the door in a rush.

However the sheriff is quick on their tail as they run down the street, killing Ketchie.


With a heavy heart Jarrod admits that Brett is the third member of the gang.

Monroe studies the bills and to his shock finds that it is indeed the counterfeit money. Brett is innocent, though he will be tried for his past crimes. Jarrod offers to defend Brett as his friend.


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