"The White Lightning War"

(Original air date 11/23/75)


Steve is sent to investigate an illegal moonshine business in a small rural town


Writer: Wilton Denmark

Director: Phil Bondelli

The news of an OSI agent dying under odd circumstances while on assignment in the small town of Morgantown has Steve requesting to take the case in order to venge his friend’s death. A powerful man by the name of Beauregard ‘Bo’ Willis (Ben Hammer) is suspected of running an illegal moonshine business that government officials are keeping under wraps in exchange for brides.

After elaborating a scheme to wreak havoc in Willis’s enterprise and by the same token nail the men liable for his friend’s death, a bearded Steve drives to Morgantown where he meets with Willis’s right-hand man Kermit (Robert Donner) that he threatens to direct him to his boss’s hangout.


Steve meets with Bo Willis at the local bar to discuss becoming a partner in his illegal business. Willis snubs the proposition and asks henpecked Sheriff Weems (Hugh Gillin) to escort the stranger out of town. Instead Steve starts a barroom brawl, bionic style, that unfortunately turns sour. Bo discreetly slips a handgun to the sheriff with instructions to arrest the man for possession of an illegal weapon. As he’s hauled off to jail Steve begs Willis to reconsider his decision or suffer the circumstances.


Middy, the general store manager (Katherine Helmond), drops by the jail to bring Steve some sandwiches. She admires his guts for standing up to Bo Willis and his men, but warns him to stay out of his way or he’ll likely end up dead from a snake bite as it were the case for both her husband and the OSI undercover agent. Willis reigns supreme on the town and residents are cowering before him. He got that way by greasing government officials’ palms at the treasury department in exchange for their silence and protection. They allow him to run his illegal moonshine business providing he delivers the money.

Later Steve overhears a conversation between Willis, the sheriff and Kermit discussing their next deliveries. Once they have gone, Steve breaks out of his cell and contacts Oscar with the information and informs him that he may have found a possible ally in the local store manager.


From a safe distance Steve follows Kermit and his partner Johnny (Randy Kirby). After their first delivery, Steve destroys the client's stills and runs after the truck to meet their next destination.

He observes their tactics of using a tank truck to carry the merchandise, careful to fill a container full of gasoline to put on top in case someone should want to check the tank.


On the drive to the next delivery, Steve jumps on the tank and with one bionic thrust he punches a hole at the bottom of the two gasoline-filled containers, thus allowing the kerosene to mix with the precious moonshine.


Steve can’t help but chuckle at the client’s face (Red West) when he tastes his merchandise. Disgusted he refuses to pay Weems and Kermit the $50.000 owed on delivery. The two men already fear Bo’s wrath when they'll report the incident.


Meanwhile Steve returns to his cell before Weems’s arrival.

Just as predicted Willis fumes. They all suspect a coup from the bearded stranger’s gang who are out to destroy his business.

A call comes through from Washington high-powered lawyer Charles Quinten (Austin Stoker) asking to be enlightened as to the reason why his men weren’t paid on time. That money is needed to keep them tight-lipped about Willis’s illegal venture and threatens to deal with another businessman should Willis fail him again. He informs Willis of his arrival in Morgantown tomorrow to discuss the matter further.


Willis won’t have anyone wreaking havoc in his enterprise. He orders Sheriff Weems to free the prisoner and have Kermit stand in the shadows with a rifle ready to gun him down.

Steve finds it odd to be released in the middle of the night and quickly latches onto their game. Once his infrared spotted Kermit in the bushes, he whips the sheriff’s gun out of its holster and orders the shadow to lay down his weapon.


The next day Quinten meets with Willis at his villa to discuss the problem that he assures will be addressed as soon as he rids himself of the thorn at his side. To convince Quinten that he’s dealing with the best man for the job he proposes a tour of his distillery.

Meanwhile Steve goes to Middy to ask for her help in avenging his friend’s and her husband’s death. She reluctantly complies with his request and tells him about the men dying of snakebites under Bo Willis’s orders. She informs him of a haughty black man’s presence in town, whom she believes is from the treasury department.

Steve goes to Quinten’s hotel room to try to convince him to switch camp. The mighty lawyer will only deal with the true owner of the distillery, but is willing to do business with whoever might prove himself better that Willis.


Kermit and Weems catch Steve on the phone with Oscar. They take him into the woods where they drop him into a hole full of rattlesnakes. Steve plays the game, feigning pain at the bites.


When they turn him loose, he returns to their car and pretends to have a rattlesnake ready to thrust at them should they not reveal the location of the distillery. The two frightened men follow orders. After throwing their guns out the window they drive their passenger to Willis’s place of business.

Meanwhile Oscar drops by the general store to enquire about Steve’s whereabouts. All remain tight-lipped for fear of incurring Bo Willis’s wrath. Tired of being manipulated, Middy finally breaks the silence and guides the OSI men to the rattlesnake hole.


Quinten informs Willis that a man eager to take over his operation contacted him. Willis assures there is only one boss and will prove it when they get to the distillery. Horror strikes him when he sees that Steve has been doing a bit of remodelling.


Quinten is now convinced that Steve is best for the job. As he hands him over the new contracts to sign, Oscar and his men show up to put the cuffs on him. Steve is happy to hear that Middy has agreed to testify against Bo Willis and his associates to put them away for good.


Days later in Morgantown, all the ‘Willis’ signs are taken down. Middy is proud of what she’s accomplished with Steve’s help, and knows that her son will be able to make a go of his business once he returns from school.

She offers a taste of cider to the two men who are most eager to get happily ‘drunk’ on her ‘moonshine’.


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