"To Catch the Eagle"

(Original air date 3/6/77)


Steve is sent to find two missing OSI scientists who disappeared on a sacred
Apache territory while searching for radioactive ore


Story: Peter R. Brooke

Teleplay: Judy Burns

Director: Phil Bondelli

OSI scientists Bob Marsh (Gerald McRaney) and Ian Swanson (Jim Stathis) are searching for radioactive ore on a sacred Apache land when they get trapped in a cave by Lone Bear, (George Loros) a member of the tribe.

Oscar briefs Steve on his mission. The tribe is fiercely opposed to the Army setting foot on their reserve, hence the reason he wants to send Steve instead. Steve wonders how far he can go without incurring the tribe's wrath. Oscar informs him that he'll be allowed to roam about freely, except in the forbidden zone where he suspects the scientists might be.


Steve meets with Chief Silver Cloud (Peter Breck) who introduces him to the rest of the tribe. He asks for a volunteer to guide Steve in the mountains but no one steps forward.

Iron Fist (Dehl Berti) is opposed to Steve's presence on their land, but proposes an arm-wrestling match with Lone Bear. If he wins, he'll get his guide.

Steve goes head to head with Lone Bear and naturally wins. Iron Fist is irate and challenges Steve himself but this time, with his left hand. Steve is uneasy and doubts his victory, but much to his surprise, he comes out the winner.


Lone Bear guides Steve to the area where the two scientists were reportedly last seen. Steve zooms in on a particular zone and notices a moving human form. She is Little Deer (Kathleen Beller), Iron Fist's daughter, whose horse has taken a bad fall. Lone Bear believes the animal is gravely injured and that he'll have to be killed. Steve offers to stay with the girl until Lone Bear comes back with help. He warns Steve not to stray until he gets back.

Steve begins removing the hindering rocks off the horse's leg and quickly, the animal gets back on his hooves. Little Deer is ecstatic and her anger towards Steve for beating her father at arm-wrestling begins to fade.


While Little Deer returns to the tribe, Steve wanders away and starts searching for a trail. He gets shot at by Iron Fist who tells him he's violated the sacred zone.

While keeping Steve at gun point, Iron Fist upbraids Lone Bear for bringing him near the cave where the scientists are trapped for if he rescues them , they will reveal to the rest of the tribe the location of the precious ore before they can sell it for their own profit.


Silver Cloud is mad at Steve for violating their laws. Steve explains he had no choice, that he has to find his friends before it's too late. Iron Fist says those men knew they were trespassing and therefore got what they deserved. No one can enter the forbidden zone, except the one man who is willing to try his luck at catching the eagle. Steve accepts the challenge unaware that he will have to undergo the trial of strength and courage. If he succeeds the three preliminary feats, he will be allowed to walk freely onto the sacred ground and be guided by the High Spirit until he captures the eagle. With no water or food, Steve will need to rely on his wits alone. A test of perseverance and bravery.

Silver Cloud summons the tribe counsel to discuss Steve's request. They all believe he's out to make a mockery of their ancient customs. However they admire his determination to save his friends, willing to risk his own life in the process. So they accept.


The first test: Catch a wild stallion. Silver Cloud releases a wild bronco and tells Steve that he must catch him and bring him back. Silver Cloud is confidant Steve will survive his first trial, despite the lack of water and food. Steve runs after the animal and succeeds in not only catching him, but breaking him as well, much to Silver Cloud's delight.


While preparing for the second trial, Little Deer sees Lone Bear and Iron Fist drench the tip of one spear with poison. Her father threatens her to keep silent.

Second test: The spear throwing. Steve dodges every single spear thrown at him. Upset by his failure, Lone Bear deliberately scratches Steve's right arm with the tip of the lance. Silver Cloud is outraged and severely reprimands Lone Bear for not respecting the ground rules.


The third test: Climb up a hill holding a two-hundred-pound totem underneath the arm in one-half minute. Once every member of the tribe has touched his back for luck, he begins his ascension. With his bionic arm and legs, Steve has no problem achieving the last task that allows him to set foot into the forbidden zone.


Steve picks up a tire trail on the ground and follows it. Little Deer tracks him down with the antidote to the poison she knows is coursing through Steve's blood. She sees him drink spoiled water out of pond and she hurries to warn him, but her horse gets spooked by a rattle snake andd runs off with the medecine.


At night, Steve begins having convulsions from the tainted water he drank earlier. As Little Deer tries to hold his flailing arms, she accidentally removes the bandana off Steve's cut on his arm and is frightened by what she sees.


The next morning, Steve reassures the scared little girl curled up behind a rock that he's very much human. How else would he explain the reaction he had to the spoiled water? She lets down her guard and follows him on his journey.

On their journey, they find a find that belonged to the two scientists, suggesting that they must be in the near vicinity.

When they reach the cave, the eagle awaits. Steve jumps in the air as the bird takes his flight and catches him.


He begins to remove the rocks blocking the entrance to the cave and reaches the two dying men. Iron Fist and Lone Bear catch up with him and they threaten to kill them in order to prevent them from revealing the location of the cave. Little Deer, who is now fond of Steve for treating her like a grown woman as opposed to a little girl, defends him.

While the two Indians discuss their plan, Steve throws a rock in their direction, knocking the gun out of Lone Bear's hands. Iron Fist has no choice but to agree to bring the injured men to the village.


A dance celebration is given in Steve's honor, during which Silver Cloud informs him that Little Deer is quite taken with him, and that he's earned the right to ask her hand in marriage. Steve is pleased but passes on the offer.  Video of Lee and Peter in French

After the dance, Steve is asked to bring the eagle outside where the bird is released by Little Deer to mark her coming of age. She is now considered a woman and has Steve to thank for.


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