This was Cody’s first lead role in an episode. We get to see many sides to his character and know him a little better. It’s a lot of fun too.

The episode starts with a fantasy sequence. Cody is dressed in black and about to draw his guns in a showdown. He slickly kills not only the man that (presumably) called him out, but several other henchmen. A woman runs up to him, they embrace & kiss, she pulls a knife to his back but he senses it, grabs her hand and makes her drop it, kisses her, then shoves her aside. He strolls off throwing his marshal badge to the ground. It then shows him back in the bunkhouse reading a dime book called "The Man in Black".

CODY: "You know what I like about literature? The way it makes life so much richer, know what I mean?"
JIMMY: "You call that literature? "
LOU: "Jimmy’s right Cody. After what happened to him with that Marcus fella, you oughta know that that stuff ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of lies."
CODY: "You gotta do something between rides, ‘sides, it’s fun and it helps a man better himself. " "
JIMMY: "Lord knows you could use that."
"If it’s self improvement you’re after, you could try readin’ the Bible."
CODY:"I already read it."
JIMMY (to Lou): "He means he looked at the pictures.

Kid comes in from a ride, Lou rides out. Kid says that he hopes Emma is cooking supper ‘cos he’s starved. Buck tells him that Emma’s not cooking. It turns out that Jimmy is going to do it because Emma and Sam are going to a wedding out of town. They head off and Cody says to Sam "Now remember, when she catches the bouquet, don’t go shootin’ it out of her hand". Teaspoon makes the boys gather round and tells them that an important document has to be delivered to the under secretary of war in Fort Miles and asks which one of them is up. Cody says: "Excuse me Teaspoon but I believe that a job as important as this one should go to the bravest, best lookin’, best damn rider you got and I just happen to be available." He sets off on the run and Teaspoon tells him to watch his back. Cody tells Jimmy that he’ll bring him back a pretty little apron. Hickok hits Cody’s horse on the rump and it gallops off wildly. Teaspoon says: "Hickok, I normally don’t condone this sort of thing but he deserved it.

Cody goes to Fort Laramie to pick up the package and the adjutant tells him that a lot of lives are riding on him and he must deliver the message personally. He has a small run in with a soldier who expresses his disdain for the Pony Express.

Kid finds a baby girl at the station. There is a note attached. The mother has abandoned her and asks them to look after her. They boys wonder what to do with the baby.

Three soldiers ride up to Cody and say they have orders to take his document. Cody pulls his gun on them and they tell him he’s making a mistake. He says that it "ain’t the first".

Ike, Buck, Jimmy, Kid and Teaspoon are watching the sleeping baby.
Kid says: "With that (bald) head she kinda looks like Ike".
Jimmy says: (but she) "Drools like Cody".

Ben? comes in to check up on Cody and the delivery. Teaspoon asks him what it is. He tells him that it is a list of officers the army thinks have divided loyalties.

Cody continues with his ride and he hears gunshots. He sees a wounded man and comes to his aid. He shoots at the assailants and they flee. The man tells Cody that he must help ‘Bart’ & that he has to get Bart ‘out of there’ before the men get back. Cody looks to where the man is pointing and is confronted by a big grizzly bear stuck in a ravine.

Back at the station Teaspoon asks Jimmy what he is going to cook for dinner. Jimmy says he’s working on it. Teaspoon gives the baby to Buck to hold saying that she "won’t explode". Buck takes her but then yells "Teaspoon, I think she sprung a leak."

The next scene is back with Cody. The wounded and dying man tells Cody that Bart (the bear) is the only family he’s got and that he raised him from a cub after his mother was killed. Cody reassures him that he will get Bart out of the ravine. The man gives Cody his bandanna and says that as long as Cody wears it, Bart will treat him like family. Cody puts some logs down the ravine and Bart climbs up them. The man tells Cody to take care of him and then dies. Bart, grieving, stands up and roars and Cody. Cody tries to reason with him and says "I know what your thinkin’ and I didn’t have nothin’ to do with it." Bart goes and licks the dead man and Cody prepares a grave telling Bart that he knows what it’s like to lose a friend. Gunshots ring out. It is one of the trappers who were trying to kill Bart earlier. One of them comes up behind Cody and points his rifle at his back. Bart attacks and kills the man. Cody then gives an eulogy for Bart’s owner.
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
May this man’s spirit...
uhh... never rust.
Bart mourns over the grave. Cody asks him if he’ll be all right He sees Bart is bleeding but tells him it is just a graze and that he is going to be OK. He leaves but Bart wants to follow him. Cody has a little argument with him and Bart agrees to let him go once he gives the bandanna back. Cody tells him "It ain’t that I wouldn’t like the company Bart, it’s just that where I’m going, you’d only end up as bear stew". They farewell. (My note: Bart the bear and Stephen Baldwin are wonderful in these scenes. Stephen was not the only Baldwin Bart would work with, he later made a film with Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins called "The Edge" which is a fabulous film by the way.)

In an hilarious scene, Teaspoon and the riders try to change the baby’s diaper. Ike appears to have a talent for looking after her.

Cody is once again being pursued by members of the army. Cody attempts to outrun them. He gets up into the hills and takes a couple of shots. He shoots one of them (who does not die) and is himself shot in the arm (isn’t it funny how the riders are always shot in the arm or leg?) Cody creates a mini avalanche and thwarts a second man. He then rides down a practically vertical slope. He makes it but the soldier who tries to follow him goes tumbling down.

Cody arrives at an isolated house looking for a meal (we know this because he talks to his horse throughout the episode). The place appears to be deserted but a fire is burning. A wild looking woman creeps up behind him threatening to kill him. Cody overpowers her and tells her he is a Pony Express rider and doesn’t mean her any harm. He says he’d like to help her and asks her where her husband is. She points out the window and says he’ll be back soon. Cody looks outside and sees his grave. She has clearly lost sense of reality.

The three army men (none of whom died in the previous kerfuffle with Cody) are sitting around talking about the war and it is clear that the intend to stop Cody’s message getting through at all costs.

The woman explains to Cody that some claimers tried to run them off the land. Her husband resisted and they killed him. She says they keep coming back to run her off. Cody goes to sleep by the fire and he hears the woman crying in her bed. He asks her if she’s alright and she asks him to lie with her. He lies down beside her and she puts her arm around him. Gunshots ring out and there is an explosion. Cody shoots the claimers. A jug that the woman’s husband gave her smashes and she suddenly seems to accept what has happened because in the next scene she is cleaned up with her hair back. She gives Cody a horse (his horse has had it) and he asks the woman if she’ll be OK. She says she’ll probably leave the farm and go to Ohio. He says he’ll come back and help her. He asks her name and she tells him Mary-Lou.

The soldiers (not to be confused with the claimers who have just been killed) are still in pursuit of Cody. They see a young Indian woman washing in the river. They plan to rape her and start to rip her clothes off. Her tribe approaches and shoot an arrow, hitting one of the men. Cody rides up oblivious as to what is going on. One of the men (who is hiding from the Indians) sees Cody. A struggle ensues and Cody finally kills him. The Indians ride up and see what Cody has done. He is nervous for a minute but they salute him and ride off. It then shows the Indians killing the third (and last) soldier in a tortuous way (Bobbit style). We can now assume that the three soldiers who were chasing Cody are now dead.

Back at the station, the mother of the baby arrives to get her back. She explains that her husband died and her parents put her out and she thought Emma would understand. She says that her mother is now willing to help her out. She takes the baby back.

Cody finally arrives at Fort Miles in very bad shape. He hands the document to the under secretary. The secretary thanks him and throws the letter into the fire and tells him he was a decoy and that the real message was delivered the previous day. The soldier whom Cody had met on the stairs at Fort Laramie (the one who showed his disdain for the Pony Express) sees him and says: "Well, well, the Pony Express. What happened boy? horse throw ya? Cody decks him and then heads for home picking up Mary-Lou on the way.

The next scene shows that Emma has come back to the station. Jimmy asks her to not marry Sam. He says he doesn’t know how her heart would take it but his stomach would die. They look up to see Cody approaching with Mary-Lou. He introduces her and says she’ll be staying until the next stage. Teaspoon apologizes for Cody being a decoy. Cody says he had a job to do and he did it. Kid tells him that he missed some excitement while he was gone. Cody says that he’ll have to stick to books for his excitement.

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