You Can't Pin A Murder on Nevada


Week #2 of 3.


The original script is by Carlton E. Morse, copyright 1986/1992 with excerpts from the original

The synopsis is written by Brian Christopher Misiaszek, original material copyright 1999.

Episode 6: Monday May 22nd, 1944

SOUND: Clock Strikes 7

The announcer reveals that the scene has changed to the Cisco Jail in back of the Police Station. Nevada, is a pawn in the game of "Whoís going to own Cisco and its huge gambling and other easy money rake-off." Nevada, Jack and Soapy have just been escorted by the point of the gun by Police Chief Herrick to the station. Strangely, Herrick bypassed the jail cells, and instead led them inside his private office.

Chief Herrick, after seating himself behind his desk, and having the three sit across from him, questions Jack. Herrick is astonished to learn that Jack is a private investigator, working on behalf of Nevada to clear him of the murder charges. Chief Herrick suddenly realizes the rumor of Nevadaís rich gold strike is no baloney, and openly asks Nevada if he has filed his gold claim yet. As Nevada hesitates in answering, Chief Herrick adds that he has Nevadaís niece, Judy French, here in the Cisco County Jail, safe in protective custody.

JACK: Safe?

HERRICK: (Angrily) What do you think?...that babeís dynamite...if anything happened to Judy French, the big shots from Reno would descend on Cisco like a pack of wolves.

Soapy chimes in his agreement of Herrickís assessment of the situation. As someone who is more than a little fond of Judy, he is also knowledgeable of the political power and sway the French family has in Reno. They would do anything to prevent any notoriety to be attached to the family name, and had considerable sway to ensure it.

Jack tells Herrick that it was Boss Derby Stone who had told Judy French to get out of town. Jack also tells the surprised Chief that Derby Stone was on Nevadaís side and was helping him to keep out of the gas chamber. In return, Derby has enlisted Nevadaís aid to help him through this current power struggle.

Chief Herrick in turn tells a surprised Jack that it was a good thing that he, and not the City Hall gang, found them on the streets of Cisco. Herrick is still on Derbyís side, unlike the rumors heís heard about the City Hall gang making a power grab themselves.

SOAPY: Yeah...we was kindaí expecting some fireworks.

HERRICK: (Snorts) Fireworks...youíve have got Mob Action!

JACK: (Tense) Whatís that?

HERRICK: Thatís what I said! This town has gone mean...theyíd of mobbed you and strung the three of you up to the first tree they come to!

Chief Herrick tells the surprised Jack, Nevada and Soapy that he grabbed the trio in a "pretend" arrest in order to get them off the street as fast as possible, and that he at least was still Derby Stoneís man. The pretend arrest would also confuse the enemy, who may be thinking that the Chief is starting to side with the City Hall gang.

Herrick was also puzzled; it was unlikely that it was the Mayor or Judge Synder, the powers behind the City Hall gang, who were behind the latest atrocities. He wasnít sure if it wasnít a new killer gang trying to muscle in on Boss Derby Stoneís territory!

They head on over to the jailís womanís wing, and after going through a series of locked cell doors, Chief Herrick tells the officer guarding the door to the cell block to release Judy French. Judy soon arrives, astonished to see Nevada here in Cisco. Jack interrupts the happy reunion, and asks Judy the how and why of the events about her being here 

Judy tells a curious tale. She had intended to head on to her parentsí home to Reno, but had a disturbing incident on the highway there. A grey sedan with a dented bumper was parked by the side of the road, with two men waving at her motorcycle to pull over. She dodged the two, and looking back, saw that they were shaking their fists in anger as she sped on. She had headed back to Cisco for a quick bite before heading on to Reno, only a police car here had pulled her over, and the patrolman handed her a message before speeding off. She read it, and found an anonymous note. The not told her to go on to City Hall for a meeting with an unnamed friend who would be able to help her help Nevada keep out of the gas chambers at Carson City. As soon as she showed up, Chief Herrick picked her up and had her placed in an empty cell, telling her she was being held incommunicado.

There is a sudden interruption in Judyís story. A police officer arrives on the scene, and tells Chief Herrick about a manner of some urgency about some City Hall men. Murder, in fact! Herrick asks for the details, which the officer tells to all of them. Two men have just been found on the Reno road, both blasted into oblivion from a sawed off shot-gun at close range. They were found by a passing motorist who had stopped to see if they could help the occupants inside a grey sedan with a dented bumper parked at a lonely spot of the road.

Judy gasps. From the description of the car and the location, the shot-gun victims are the same two men who had tried to grab her earlier on that day!


Episode 7: Tuesday May 23rd, 1944

SOUND: Clock Strikes 8

The announcer recaps the story, setting the scene in the evening just outside of the isolation ward of the womanís section of the Cisco Jail, with Jack Packard, his clients Judy French and Nevada. With them are two important figures in the power struggle, Police Chief Herrick, and Soapy Cochrane, the latter being the mob boss Derby Stoneís lieutenant. Herrick has recently, though cautiously announced his loyalty to Boss Derby Stone, to the others. But Herrick is worried that the rest of the town is in the hands of the powerful City Hall gang, and if so, no pal of Derbyís is safe in Cisco.

Judy French recaps also her story of the events preceding Chief Herrick picking her up and keeping her cloistered in an empty cell. After leaving the Derby Stone ranch on her motorcycle, and heading down the Cisco highway towards Reno, she was waved down by two men with a parked sedan. She dodged past the cursing men, and after heading back to Cisco, she received instructions that ultimately led her to being picked up by the Police Chief, "for her own good." But the two men who tried to wave her down were also the same men found killed later on that same day from a shot-gun blast, at close range!

From detailed description Judy gave, Soapy identifies the dead men as Adams and Richter, both City Hall men. Or rather, little more than hired and muscled thugs. According to Soapy, they were "...two of the lowest forms of human critters...theyíll do anything..."

Herrick turns white at the news of the double murder, and Nevada curses softly under his breath. Jack is curious at the response, and when the Chief remains silent at Jackís questioning, Jack turns to Soapy and asks him why all the fuss is about.

SOAPY: (Drawls) You act as though it ainít important.

JACK: said yourself they were the scum of the earth...

HERRICK: But they are City Hall men...somebodyís killed City Hall men and that means the war is on!

Herrick finally voices his concern to Jack and the others. He is very worried that this incident will be the lit fuse--a lit fuse to the powder keg between Derby Stone and his former City Hall men. Grimly he straps on his revolver, and after telling the group over his shoulder that then can go, he heads over to the murder scene with his police officer.

Judy French is jumping with curiosity, pleading for Jack to tell her what itís all about. Jack speculates the two dead men tried to lure her into a City Hall trap. Perhaps they intended to kidnap her and her motorcycle, too. Only someone killed them; who?

Jack makes a decision; the jail would be their main base or fortress. Soapy is to go on to City Hall and figure out what is happening there. Jack will lock up both Judy and her uncle Nevada in one of the empty jail cells in the womanís wing for safekeeping. Even if the City Hall gang tried to mob the jail, they canít get at them. Despite Judy and Nevadaís protests, this is the plan adopted.

Jack and Soapy go outside the jail, and head across the twilight deepening public green towards the City Hall Civic Center. As they do so, a dark sedan roars quickly past the combination Jail/Police Station near them and squeals to a halt. Gun play starts, with a sudden fusillade of gun shots! One pot-shot from the car smashes the Police Chiefís window. With another squeal of tires, the dark sedan kites out.

As the sedan disappears down the darkening road, Jack spots something strange in the direction the car had come from, something that looked like a heaped pile of clothing in the fading light. Only itís not just clothing, itís a body, lying face down in the street, trailing a frayed length of rope!

SOAPY: (Breathing) A body...a manís body...

JACK: Manís body, my eye...itís a woman.

SOAPY: You mean those hoodlums ran over a woman...

JACK: She hasnít been run over.

SOAPY: But sheís dead...

JACK: Youíd be too, if youíd been dragged around by the neck behind an automobile...

They turn the body over to see who she is. They wish they hadnít...

SOAPY: (Horror) Maggie Steers...

JACK: (Tense) The Chiefís girlfriend?

SOAPY: (Softly) Yeah...the Chiefís girlfriend...(shrugs) he SAID all thunderation was gonna break loose over the Adams-Richter killings.

JACK: right he was.

SOAPY: And this is only the beginning...only the beginning.

MUSIC (Organ, "Valse Triste.")


Episode 8: Wednesday May 25th, 1944

SOUND: Clock Strikes 9

The dark sedan returns, as the duo are hunched over the mutilated body of Maggie Steers, and a spray of bullets shower the sidewalk about them! Dodging bullets, Jack and Soapy grab the body, and head over down a narrow alley. They lose the killer sedan, and the gunshots behind them soon stop as they run panting down the alley carrying their grisly cargo.

Jack and Soapy find a combination Red Cross Station and Morgue still open, with the night nurse on duty. The nurse is horrified, but efficient as they produce Maggie Steerís body. As she carefully re-drapes the body on a stretcher, she mentions in passing that, if the rumors flying across town are true, that the town is no longer Boss Derby Stoneís. The City Hall gang owns it now...

A siren wails, and there is a skidding of wheels outside the little Red Cross Station. It is Herrick with the morgue wagon, bringing in the bodies of Adams and Richter to the little morgue attached to the back of the Police Station. Jack breaks the bad news to Herrick, motioning the Chief to the covered stretcher.

HERRICK: (Shock) (Whisper) MAGGIE? They...they killed Maggie?

JACK: This is the body here, under the sheet...

HERRICK: (Snarls, low) Why the rat infested--

JACK: Hey wait a minute...where are you going?

HERRICK: (Angrily) Let go of my arm...

JACK: (Shrugs) Well, youíre the Chief of Police...

HERRICK: Chief of Police your grandmother...Iím a Killer...Iím out for BLOOD (lesser note) and Iím gonna get it....

With that grisly prophecy, Herrick runs off into the night around the corner of the building, not without first drawing his revolver. Jack canít stop him, but he waits a few moments before following. Outside he meets Weaver, the Assistant Police Chief, who has been impatiently waiting with the two bodies in the morgue wagon. He is confused and puzzled at why his boss has run off into the night with his weapon drawn. Jack and Soapy tell him that Maggie Steers has just been killed, and that Herrick has gone berserk. Weaver readies his own revolver and heads off after Herrick, with Jack and Soapy racing by his side.

They soon find Herrick leaving his office at the jail, an extra shoulder holster now strapped on. They see him run kitty-corner across the street towards the Civic Center. Disaster strikes! Herrick is caught in the headlights of the same dark sedan seen earlier that evening--he hesitates--and is viciously run over!

Soapy instantly fires his own weapon at the killer car, and smashes the drivers side window with a hail of bullets. The car suddenly veers its course, and runs up onto the curb and strikes a lamp-post, making a furious crashing noise as it stops. The silence is deafening...

As Jack, Soapy and Weaver silently eye the wreckage of the killer car, Jack rouses himself. He warns Weaver that he is now the acting Police Chief; what side of the struggle is he on?

As Soapy checks over the vehicle, Weaver dazedly tells Jack that he is with Derby Stone, like Herrick was, too. Rousing himself, too, he adds that heíd seen the warning signs that trouble was happening here in Cisco, and had moved his family off to Reno for safety days earlier. Soapy rejoins them; there are two men dead inside the car. No one else inside is alive...

SOAPY: Two dead on our side...four dead on their side...if we can keep up this way, weíre bound to win...

JACK: But thatís going to mean an awful lot of dead.

SOAPY: (Shrugs) Well, thatís what cemeteries are for!

MUSIC (Organ, "Valse Triste")

Episode 9: Thursday May 26th, 1944

SOUND: Clock Strikes 10

The clock strikes ten oíclock, and finds the scene set back inside the isolation ward of the womanís section of the Cisco Jail. The announcer recaps the horrible events of the last few hours, and Judy French and her accused murderer uncle Nevada, locked inside the jail cell for safety, fills in further information to the listener. They also speculate on how worried and upset Judyís parents would be if they only knew their daughter was in jail, or how Nevada was being used as a political football by the opposing mob factions of Cisco; the Derby Stone gang, and the City Hall gang. Everyone seems to have lost sight of Rudy McNamara's murder, Rudy being Nevadaís late partner. Judy speculates that their fabulous gold strike, "...a gold big as a manís thigh," may have set off the war..

Suddenly footsteps appear outside the cell where Judy and Nevada are locked in. They look up in alarm and apprehension; with a mutual sigh of relief, they realize it is only Jack and Soapy, back from their night of grisly encounters.

Jack updates the two of them of the ghastly fireworks thatís been happening in Cisco over the last few hours. He also insists that on getting Judy out of Cisco and into Reno. Weaver, now the acting Police Chief of Cisco, has promised Jack to provide Judy a prowl car and a driver to make sure she gets home safe and sound. Weaver was back at his new office, telephoning his orders.

After some half-hearted argument, Judy agrees to this plan. The quartet--Jack, Judy, Nevada and Soapy--head out through the jail, and onto the dark steps outside that lead to the parked patrol car at the foot of the steps. Itís quiet outside, and a streetlight casts long shadows from the car..

JACK: All right driver...(tense) (appalled) Wait in...wait, JUDY!

JUDY: (Horror) Heís dead...the driverís dead!

NEVADA: (Under breath) Holy jumpiní Jupiter...

JACK: Do you see what I see, Soapy?

SOAPY: Yeah...the street-lightís shininí right on him...

NEVADA: A sawed off shot-gun done that...

JUDY: (Whispers) Iím going to be sick...Iím going to be sick...

Jack and Soapy remove the dead policeman, and with Nevada acting as lookout with Judy, rush this new body over to the morgue, too. Nevada speculates the policeman was deliberately killed by the City Hall gang so Judy canít leave town. But something else worries Jack.

JACK: Oh...yeah...this shot-gun business...why was one of Derby Stoneís men killed with a shot-gun...

NEVADA: (Shrugs) Why not?

JACK: Because the last two men blasted with a sawed-off shot-gun were City Hall mobsters...

NEVADA: You mean thereís somebody killiní folks on both sides of the fence?

JACK: (Agrees) On top of all our other weíve got a sawed-off shot-gun fiend in our midst!

SOUND (Organ, "Valse Triste!")

Episode 10: Friday May 29th, 1944

SOUND: Clock Strikes 10

The chapter begins with the entire crew in acting Police Chief Weaverís spacious new office, inherited from the late Chief Herrick. Weaver is busy harassing Jack, stating that he is an outlander and an outsider, and that none of his interference or lip is wanted or needed.

This sudden change of spirit appears to Jack and the others that the Acting Chief is thinking of breaking with Derby Stoneís influence. Weaver hastens to reassure the group--Soapy, Jack, Nevada and Judy--that, "...that donít mean Iím teaming up with the City Hall gang." Somehow his words donít ring quite true to the others...

Judy pipes up the news that the police officer who was killed in the patrol car in front of the Cisco Jail was a City Hall man too, one who was only pretending to be one of Boss Derby Stoneís followers. Jack adds that their mysterious shot-gun wielder must have heard that the turn-coat cop had orders to drive to the Police Station--orders given by Weaver no less!-- and had planned to snatch Judy French and turn her over to the Enemy. Only this mysterious person stopped the snatch by blasting him!

WEAVER: (Uneasy) But who is this...this killer?

JACK: I donít know. But he knows you, Weaver!

WEAVER: (Uneasy) What do you mean...what if he does?

JACK: If he knew the cop was a traitor, the he knows youíre a traitor, too...

SOAPY: (Amused) Yeah, pleasant thought. Youíre gonna be the next sawed-off shot-gun victim...

Weaver is more than anxious and troubled. He is fearful. He announces to the group he has half a mind to lock them all up, convinced they are concealing the identity of this shot-gun killer. Judy starts to pipe up again, and wonít be silenced despite Weaverís threats to turn her over to the Juvenile Authorities.

Soapy, who has hinted he wants to marry Judy some time in the not too distant future, gets mad at Weaverís unchivalrous behavior. He starts to threaten Weaver, when suddenly his blustering aggressiveness is shockingly interrupted. BANG! A shotgun blasts its deadly discharge from the darkened hallway into the crowded room! Weaver falls to the ground, dead!

Judy screams and the others mill about purposelessly for a moment, until Jack takes charge. Jack wants to go out into the hallway and find the killer, but the others protest and hinder his efforts for a moment. Their delay buys the Phantom Shot-gun time enough to escape, and Jack soon dejectedly returns after a rapid survey of the empty hallway; the killer has ducked away out of sight. Judyís uncle mutters a summation of the situation under his breath:

NEVADA: ...a dad-rattled Guardian Angel with a sawed-off shotgun!

Jack makes plans with Soapy to cart this new body off to the morgue; Soapy heads out into the empty hallway to grab a stretcher. Judy is off in a corner of the blood-splattered office, her head in her arms, rocking herself. Nevada thoughtlessly goes over to open the office window to bring in some fresh air for his niece, when a rifle bullet zings past his ear, " a cactus hornet!"

Is it the City Hall mob? Nevada and the others donít wait to wonder before they drop to the ground. Jack grimly states itís dangerous for all of them, not just Judy, if the City Hall mob, or some other lynching mob gets to the Jail! Wondering what was taking Soapy so long, Soapy returns at that moment with a canvas stretcher. He and Jack place Weaverís corpse on it. As they are covering the body with a sheet, Jack tells Soapy of the sniper outside, as well as some of this other speculations. Why, Jack wonders, is the shotgun murderer playing the lone wolf, and is killing off Derby Stoneís enemies? Why is he acting, as Nevada puts it, like a, " Phantom Killer!"?

Soapy has no answer to these questions. He tells the others he saw no sign of the "Phantom Shotgun Killer" while he was out looking for something to carry Weaver out on. The coast being clear, the group decide to leave en masse, and take Weaverís body along with them to the morgue. There, they will figure out their strategy.

BANG! Suddenly, a rife shot breaks yet another window in the little office! While they are distracted, three armed gunmen leap into the room with weapons drawn! They are swarthy and wild eyed, but despite their grubby clothing and unshaved faces Nevada recognizes them.

NEVADA: Spanish Joe! I thought that the Federales were lookiní for you...

SPANISH: Si...they look...but they have no found me yet...(Tough) Do not move your hands any body (Up) Billy...Jose...this is as good a place as any for the execution. (Amused) policemanís office...good place for an execution!

SOUND (Music: "Valse Triste.")

This is the end of the second week--five episodes in total--of the ILAM serial, "You Can't Pin A Murder on Nevada" The third weeks' worth of episodes, or 5 episodes in total, follows.