(Original air date 02/02/75)


Steve joins forces with a tomboy to catch a cougar terrorizing a small town


Writer: Margaret Armen

Director: Earl Bellamy

In the desert of Kanab County, young country girl E.J Haskell (Jess Walton) spots a bear trap designed to capture the cougar that allegedly killed her father. To ensure its painful death, she proceeds to lace the metal clamps with poison. The local sheriff, Bob Elliott (Jim B. Smith), issues a stern warning not to tamper with the traps. He insists the animal must be caught alive. Then out of blue the feline leaps on the man, maiming him badly.


After visiting with Bob at the hospital, Steve agrees to pursue the SPCA’s work in protecting the cougar from the townspeople doggedly intent on killing the animal. Already a professional hunter has been called to join a group of local farmers. Although Oscar’s hands are tied in this matter he nevertheless expressly forbids Steve from getting involved but as expected, his warning falls on deaf ears.


Steve drives to Kanab County where he seeks the assistance of a mountain guide. The head of the Association of Farmers, Will Long (James Griffith), has misgivings about the government meddling in what he considers a private issue, but all the same directs him to E.J. Haskell. Steve is caught unawares by the guide’s gender and her hostility. She gives Steve the wary eye and after grabbing the money, she schedules a meeting place way out back, hoping he’ll get lost and decide to leave the hunting to her.

To her astonishment, Steve shows up at the rendezvous site ahead of time. E. J. comes on strong and flatly refuses to join his quest to capture the infamous cougar known as Taneha. But Steve is not easily deterred.


Once again she is floored by his ability to keep one step ahead of her. As she tries to dissuade him to embark on this expedition, a growl brings them to attention. Both follow the cry to the Morris Ranch where Steve arrives in the nick of time to save the owner Rafe Morris (Paul Brinegar) from Taneha’s deadly fangs. However instead of attacking Steve, the cougar merely scampers away.

E. J. aligns Taneha in her crosshairs but misses the shot courtesy of Steve’s swift intervention. Though grateful for her wanting to protect him against the wild animal, he asks that she sticks to her role of mountain guide and leave the hunting to him.


They get Rafe to his house to nurse his injuries. While obliged to Steve for saving his life, the rancher is intent on joining the hunters to kill the beast that’s been slaughtering his sheep.

On his way to town to seek a doctor’s care, Rafe meets with the farmers joined by professional hunter Bleeker (Bill Fletcher). He fills them in on Taneha’s whereabouts.


As Steve and E.J. camp out for the night they hear Taneha in the distance and Steve decides to go investigate. With his infrared lens he spots the entrance of a cave hewn out of rocks.

At her end, E.J. sets out to hunt the feline and in her foolhardiness, she accidentally steps into a bear trap, her foot and rifle getting caught. Seeing Taneha creeping forward, she fires warning shots into the air to alert Steve, which in turn reveals her position to the hunters. Steve dashes over to her just as Taneha runs away from her prey; her departure irking E.J. at being denied the opportunity to shoot the animal where it stood.

Steve fishes for information about the nearby cave that is likely Taneha’s lair. E.J. explains about the odd prehistoric drawings she found on the walls that led her to believe that the cougar is some sort of a demon, hence the reason why she wants it dead.

While tending to her ankle Steve learns the reason for E.J.’s boyish behavior. Her father wishing for a son, she tried to live up to his expectations by toughening up her image, including learning to kill animals, though her father merely captured them. The initials stand for Ellen Jane but adamantly refuses to be treated as a girl. She’s setting out to prove she can be one of the boys by killing Taneha.


The next morning a shadow crosses over Steve’s face. He and E.J. rouse in time to spot Taneha heading toward the hills. Both begin their arduous journey up to track the cougar. On their tail are the farmers and Bleeker who follow them to the entrance of Taneha’s lair.


Steve grabs his gear and notices that his tranquilizer gun is broken. E.J. confesses to the crime as she intends to finish the job her father started by killing the cougar herself. Steve argues that she’s obsessed with a legend that will eventually destroy her. He then enters the cave armed with only a net and a rope. His basic method earns him a deep gash in the left arm.


As E.J. heads out to get a rifle, she meets with the angry mob. She orders them to retrace their steps, firing warning shots at their feet to emphasize her threat. Defeated, they retreat.


Inside the cave, Steve carefully inches toward Taneha with a rope. After several attempts, he and E.J. manage to loop the rope around the cougar’s neck and casually steer the animal outside.

Once the animal safely in the hands of the SPCA, Steve informs Oscar of his wish to remain in Kanab County for a few days as he and Ellen intent on getting better acquainted.


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