Air Date: 11 March 1969
Director: William Hale
Written by: Barry Oringer
Dennis Cole as Bobby Cooper
Shelley Fabares as Melissa Harper
Jelly arrives at the ranch with a stranger and his many pieces of luggage, Moroccan leather bags, we are informed. This is Mr. Harper, giving orders as to who should and should not touch his “valise”. Harper is wearing a rounded hat, suit and tie, has a mustache and an attitude. Jelly explains that he isn’t the official suitcase toter: “Around here, everyone pitches in.”
Harper: “Are you contradicting me? I happen to be a guest in this house.”
Jelly: “And I’ve never seen a noisier guest.”
JH: “I may decide to have you fired.”
Jelly: “Well, don’t you worry about me. But if you want anything else done around here, I suggest you ask for it nice and polite. Some of the boys got real mean tempers.” Jelly picks up two bags as Murdoch comes out the door: “James”.
ML laughs, smiles: “Good to see you.” and comes over to give the man a hearty handshake.
JH: “Good to see you old friend. Listen, if I am to spend one minute in your house, I expect you to fire this servant.” He points at Jelly.
ML is bewildered: “That’s not a servant–that’s Jelly! The best horse wrangler and all around hand I’ve got, plus a good friend. C’mon Jim, let’s go in the house . . .” Harper is surprised, Jelly is smug. They head inside.
Inside: the boys! Johnny is wearing his pink shirt, black jacket, usual pants. He picks up a gun belt, evidently Scott’s, since he hands it to his brother. Scott is wearing his tan checked shirt, black pants. They walk over to the doorway.
ML: “Well, here he is, my old friend from Boston, Jim Harper.”
ML introduces the boys: “My sons: Scott Lancer and Johnny Lancer.” They each shake hands with Harper. ML urges Harper to come on in, they’ll have a whiskey, “then get down to brass tacks.” Harper is fanning himself with his hat, mops face with handkerchief. ML turns, pours a drink, gives JH a glass. “Sit down, Jim,.” ML says. “Well, what’s the story?” ML perches on the edge of a desk/table. The boys come over, JL crouches near ML’s feet, Scott stands behind Johnny.
JH: “Its my daughter, Melissa. She’s uh . . . Getting married.”
SL: “Congratulations . . . I guess”, he says uncertainly. JL turns and looks up at him, Scott shrugs.
JH: “She’s marrying a gold miner. My daughter Melissa—do you understand what I’m saying?”
JL: “No, not exactly.”
SL sits on the table now, Harper sits down on a couch or chair so that he’s back to us, facing the Lancers.
ML: “Maybe you’d better start from the beginning.”
JH: “Well, she wanted to spend the summer with her Aunt Kate in San Francisco, studying music at some institute. No, I should have known that this was going to lead to trouble, because anything that originates in the unconventional mind of my sister always leads to trouble. Especially with a girl like Melissa.”
SL: “What’s Melissa like?”
Harper starts to say something, then pulls out a photograph of Melissa. Camera shot of Shelley Fabares in period costume. He passes the picture to ML, who looks at it and sends it on to Johnny. Scott looks over his brother’s shoulder.
One of them comments that “She’s a beautiful girl”– I think its Johnny.
JH: “My daughter was meant to stand beside a Hah-vahd lawya. Not a whiskey swilling illiterate with dirty fingernails who doesn’t know a table fork from a pick ax.” SL folds his arms, JL responds: “That describes a lot of good people I know.”
JH: “I’m sure. And I’m also sure that they would be unfit companions fro my daughter.”
SL, glances at ML: “You were saying something about a gold miner.”
JH: “He kidnapped her! And right now, she’s up in some lawless hole in Humboldt county and this villain is going to force her to marry him!!”
SL: “Well, it seems to me that’s against the law.”
JL, over his shoulder to Scott: “Like he said, there’s not much law up there.”
JH: “She’s a prisoner, she’s helpless and lost. She’s a frail and delicate creature.”
ML: “Well, Jim, you’ve had a long journey, you’re tired, why don’t you rest for a while and we can discuss it further at dinner.” He escorts Harper out.
As they walk to the door, JH says “I need your help, Murdoch.” and ML replies “You’ll get it.” Then he addresses one of the hands–”Walt, will you show Mr. Harper to his room.” Harper leaves.
ML come back into the room, JL says : “I don’t blame her for wanting to go to San Francisco. Or any place.”
SL: “If he means to chase her into mining country, he has a job on his hands.”
JL: “Well, for her sake, I hope he never finds her.”
ML: “He won’t have to. You’re gonna do it for him.”
ML: “You heard me. You leave tomorrow morning.”
SL just looks stunned.
JL: “Oh, no, Murdoch. I got a . . we’ve got a cattle drive coming up.”
ML: “I can spare you.”
SL: “What for?”
ML: “To help out an old friend. I know he’s hard to take, but he gave me help when I needed it.” Johnny turns away. ML continues: “This ranch wouldn’t even be here without him, as a matter of fact, your mother“–he gestures to Scott—-“you wouldn’t be here without him.” Scott looks down and smiles at that. Johnny turns back to ML.
JL: “This is crazy, I mean, how are we gonna find that girl–that’s mining country, its another part of the world.”
SL: “He’s got a good point.”
JL: “Murdoch, we’re not going.” SL obviously agrees, he straightens up a bit to show support for what Johnny has just says. The boys look determined.
So does ML. He downs his drink. Turns to look at them.
Next scene, Scott and Johnny on horseback. Johnny in his usual outfit, black jacket over pink shirt. Scott in same tan shirt, with the blue cropped jacket we like.. They ride up to a building and dismount. Looks like the same scene as in YV!!!
Inside the saloon. JL is holding a rifle, butt end up, uses it to hold the swinging doors open so that Scott can enter behind him. He gives a long look at one of the saloon ladies. SL has his gloves on, his rifle, also butt end up, resting on his right shoulder.
JL speaks to the barman–”Can we get a private room?” Meanwhile SL is smiling (big smile) at someone we don’t know who. He isn’t wearing his jacket, his saddlebags are slung over his shoulders.
Barguy: “Mister, in this town, a private room means less than 4 people to a bed.”
SL takes out a roll of money. “Well, then, how about the presidential suite?” he asks as he passes a bill over his shoulder. He rolls his eyes when he has to pass the guy a second bill. Barguy directs them to the top of the stairs, room #3. They head on up.
Enter the room, two beds.
JL: “Yes sir, money will buy everything.”
SL: “Not bad, not bad.”
Each heads to a bed, smiling at each other. SL lies down, JL stands at the dresser near Scott.
JL: “Well, now what?”
SL: “Well, I’m gonna take a bath. Then sleep for a day or two. Then I’m gonna go out and find me a nice Chinese restaurant.”
JL is combing his hair in front of the mirror:
SL continues, still lying down with his hands behind his head: “Have a little won ton soup.”
JL: taps Scott’s stomach with the comb: “And an egg roll.”.
SL: “ahh–a little chicken with mushroom . . .
JL, now with both hands on Scott’s torso and bouncing him on his bed: “Egg foo young.”
SL laughs, JL tells him he’s gonna get a couple of dates, go to that musical show tonight.
SL: “And if we should happen to run into Melissa Harper, so much the better.”
Johnny goes over to his bed, shucks his jacket and starts to remove one of his spurs when the door opens and two strangers walk in. Johnny stands up as the first guy crosses the room to another door and shuts it, then goes back across–Johnny tries to tap him on the shoulder as he goes by: “Hey, something I can help you with?”
A second guy has entered. Scott is sitting up now, first guy who had gone out, comes back in and shuts the door. He says : “Hey, who are these guys?’
JL: “I’m Johnny and this is my brother Scott.’
SL: “And you’re in our room.”
First guy laughs: “You hear that, brother Crocker? We’re in their room.”
SL: “That’s right.”
Guy leans over the foot of Scott’s bed: “In that case, why don’t you just pay us 3 dollars?”
JL: “$3? What for? Look, I mean, you want $3, you go down to the bank and get it“–he gestures with the spur he’s holding in his hand.
Guy: “You shouldn’t have said that boy.”
SL: “Why not?”
JL: “Yeah, why not?’
Second guy: “Don’t you know who we are?”
Second guy: “We’re the Cooper brothers.”
JL: “The Cooper brothers, well what do you know about that, huh?” Scott starts to applaud, while looking at the Coopers. He still has his gloves on.
JL: “The Cooper boys are in town, well, what do you know about that?” He starts jumping up and down on the bed. “Scott, the Cooper boys are in town–hey what is that, is that some kind of new variety of mule?”
Both of the Coopers look at Scott—-the he gets hit out of the frame.
camera in the saloon itself for the Big Fight.
A couple of random bar patrons are hoisting Johnny up in the air and depositing him on the bar, when Dennis Cole walks in. Everyone seems to be having a good time. Scott shakes his bangs out of his eyes and goes over to Johnny who is seated on the bar. JL grabs Scott around the neck, both of them smiling like this was a lot of fun. Bobby Cooper (Cole) is criticizing his brothers.
BC: “You’re disgusting, my own brothers–one day before my wedding and you still act like a pack of animals.”
Crocker Cooper: “Oh, brother Bob, we’re just having a little fun”–he speaks with his head between the Lancer boys, who do not appear to hold any sort of grudge against him.
BC, to the Lancers: “Gentlemen, I hope you’ll accept my apologies.” JL shakes his hand, so does Scott. JL: “Sure”. BC: “Name your drink.” JL: “How ‘bout whiskey?”
Johnny and Scott are each handed a glass. JL is about to drink when BC proposes a toast. “To me and my .. uh, my beautiful bride Melissa.”
The Lancer brothers exchange significant looks before they each polish off their own drinks. JL, appreciatively: “Whoooo—then he gets belted by Bobby Cooper and sent over the bar. Scott is evidently also getting punched, although off camera. The two of them end upon the floor.
BC, with a gun in his hand: “That’s for picking on my uh, my little brothers.”
JL to SL: “That was a low blow.”
BC: “Well, we found it amusing.’
CC: “Hey Bobby–let’s paint ‘em.”
Harmon Crocker; “Yeah the old paint job.” Everyone else in the bar also appears to think that this is an excellent idea–the barguy hands over a paint can with a brush sticking in it–its yellow paint. Scott gets it first, then Johnny. Everyone laughs.
back in the room, Johnny at the sink, under a blanket, white socks showing, he’s getting cleaned up. We hear footsteps coming up the stairs. Door opens, its Scott. He’s got his hat on and is carrying a few things. Johnny is drying his hair with the edges of the blanket he’s wearing. His pants and pink shirt are still hanging up.
JL: “You get the stuff?”
SL: “ I did, and I also found a clerk who likes to talk.”. He tosses a coil of rope onto the bed. “The wedding’s set for tomorrow night.” Scott puts some other items on the bed., takes his saddlebags off of his shoulders. “Half the town’s going to be there.’
Johnny pulls his pants down from the ceiling: “And the girl?”
SL: “They’re keeping her pretty well hid til the wedding. Clerk says she’s a real beauty. Course he’s never seen her. But he’s heard stories.” While he’s speaking, he’s assembling and then extending a telescope and looking through it. “Ah, yes.”
Meanwhile, JL has been putting on his pants under that blanket. He looks up at Scott, but doesn’t say anything. We can see that his hair is pretty damp still.
SL: “Now the claim’s about 15 miles from here. We can get started any time–” JL is now trying to put on his shirt–”any time,” SL repeats.
JL, pulling on shirt: “You just want to ride on in there, get the girl with Cooper and his buddies hanging around? Just like that, huh?”
SL: “Sure, why not? You know what’s the trouble with you?”
JL: “No, what’s the trouble with me?’
SL: “You don’t read enough. You know what Emerson said?”
JL just looks at him.
SL: “Our strength lies in our weakness.”
JL: “What’d you go buy all this stuff for?’
SL: “You can’t have too much of a good thing.”
SCENE 5 At the Mining Camp
Finally we see Melissa–she’s carrying a laundry basket and heading towards a clothesline. She’s taking items off the line, and when she moves a quilt, guess who is standing behind it. She gasps in surprise,
MH: “Who are you?”
JL: “I’m Johnny Lancer. This is my brother Scott.”
SL: “Your father sent us to take you home.”
MH: “My father is in Boston. You don’t look like any Boston gentlemen tome.”
SL: “Your father left Boston two weeks ago he’s at our ranch in Morro Coyo.”
MH: “What does he look like?”
JL: “Well, your father, he’s something else. He’s about my size. Rugged looking, in a big city sort of way. Mean tempered, talks a lot.” (Johnny looks at Scott, SL smiles at him.) “And he thinks anyone who eats beef with a salad fork ought to be deprived of his citizenship.’ SL laughs. JL, to Melissa: “That right?”
MH: “Yes, that’s Father, all right. How do you plan to do it?”
SL: “Well, as quietly as possible. If not, we’re willing to make a little commotion.”
JL: “But that’s up to your boyfriend. He don’t like us too much.”
MH: “Listen, he’s expecting his laundry in a few minutes, and if I’m missing, he’ll have his men all over the country side after us. But tonight, the boys are throwing a big stag party in town. So come and get me then I‘ll be in the big tent, the one with the decorations.”
JL: “All right.” She slides the quilt back into place.
Back at the ranch, we see Harper’s pacing feet on ML’s carpet.
ML: “I figure if you straightened out that pacing, you’d be in Humboldt County by now.”
JH: “They’ve got to bring her back, Murdoch, they’ve just got to bring her back.”
ML: “If humanly possible they will. You gotta believe it.”
JH says that he knows and his telegram will help. ML questions this–JH explains that he sent a telegram to Melissa to tell her that ML’s boys were on the way.
JH: “I wanted her to know that they were different from those Pinkerton men I sent.”
ML: “You already sent Pinkerton men?”
JH has negative comments about the Pinks–worthless, gutless, “they take a few blows and run away with their tails between their legs.”
ML: “What are you telling me? How’s you know where to send a telegram?”
JH: “I knew, Murdoch. Now there’s nothing really bad about Melissa, she’s just . . . Stubborn.”
ML: “I need more answers than that, Jim. Was she kidnapped or wasn’t she?”
JH: “Of course she was kidnapped. In almost every sense of the word. A helpless young girl like that, what does she know about love?”
ML is startled by the word: “Love?”
JH: “Physical young animal comes, sweeps her off her feet. How do you expect a child like Melissa to contend with that?”
ML: “I don’t know about her, Jim, but if you’ve led my boys into a trap, you’re going to have a lot to contend with.”
At the camp. Its night–the boys are sneaking around in the dark while ominous background music plays. Johnny at the opening of the tent says “Melissa?”;
MH: “In here.”
JL, enters with SL behind him: “What’s it so dark in here for?”
MH: “it’s a kerosene lantern, you have a match?”
JL holds up a lit match, sees Harmon Cooper with a rifle.
HC: “Go ahead, light it”. Johnny lights the lamp, we see Melissa with Bobby Cooper’s arm around her. Melissa is smiling.
BC: “You sure do have a way of not minding your own business.’
JL removes his hat. The camera is on Scott, standing behind Johnny’s shoulder:
SL: “You know, Brother it just could be that we were misinformed.”
BC: “Well, what do we do with them?”
HC: “I say, let’s beat ‘em up, like we did those Pinkertons.”
Crocker Cooper is there too: “No, no . .Beatings too good for a man that ‘d steal another man’s woman. You know, I think we ought . . Let’s trample them with a herd of bulls.” JL raises his eyebrows at this.
BC: “What we gotta do is teach ‘em a real lesson.”
MH: “Bobby, can’t we just let them go? I don’t think they meant any harm, I just didn’t want there to be any shooting over me.”
BC, places his hands on her shoulders: “We gotta make your pa realize that he can’t keep sending men to break us up. Now you realize that’s true, don’t ya?” Now we can see that there is yet another man in the tent, he’s seated at a table drinking coffee.
MH: “I guess so, but I just get so scared inside sometimes, I don’t know what’s right.”
BC: “We’re right.” He kisses her. “Marshall, why don’t you take our . . Our gentlemen friends into town and keep ‘em locked up until after the wedding. By that time we’ll have thought of something real good for ‘em.”
The Marshall gets a last sip of his coffee and escorts the lancers out. The coopers laugh, MH doesn’t look very happy. JL puts his hat on sort of over his face as he exits.
Scene 8 (in jail)
We see the Marshall seated playing solitaire.
We hear Johnny’s voice: “Marshall, I can’t stand being in this place now will you let me out? “ Marshall turns to look as JL gets louder: “I mean, I have no business being in here. If it wasn’t for him and my father we wouldn’t even be in this place, ain’t that right Scott?’
Scott is lying on the bunk, with his feet up on the wall. “Hey Marshall, can’t you do something about the noise around here?’
JL knocks his feet off of the wall. “Get up and do some thinking about how to get us out of here, that’s what you ought to do.”
Scott sits up on the bunk: “If you’re so smart, why don’t you use your head instead of your lip and get us out of here?”
JL: “You know, one of these days its gonna be my pleasure taking you apart Scott”- -he points his finger at him while he speaks.
SL: “You know what the trouble with you is?”
JL: “What is it?”
SL: “You worry too much . . .worry all the time, you’re worse than an old maid.”
JL: “Is that right?”–he slugs Scott, who gets right up and punches him back. The Marshall stands up. The old guy in the next cell says “use the chair”, Scott says “thanks” and smashes it into the bars above Johnny’s head.
The Marshall goes into the cell and the boys punch him together. The old guy cackles. Scott and Johnny exit, grabbing their gun bets as the pass through the office. They look out the door, the street are deserted.
JL: “Everyone must be out at the wedding.”
SL: “Let’s lead the horses out, its quieter.”
JL: “What difference does it make, we’re heading south, we’ll be out of here before they can catch us.’
SL: “Oh, no, no. We’ve gotta go back after the girl.”
JL: “Oh you ain’t learned nothin’ yet.”
SL: “Look, Murdoch said come back with the girl, so we come back with the girl.”
JL: “She don’t want to come back, I mean, you saw her, she’s no more of a prisoner than we are.”
SL: “She’s young, she doesn’t know what the man’s really like, after tonight, its too late.”
JL: “That’s her business.”
SL: “Not until she’s twenty-one, its not. Now are you coming with me or ahn’t you?”
SL: “Well, then ride back to the ranch and tell Murdoch I’ve been delayed.” He leaves. JL thinks for a bit, makes a frustrated sound and follows Scott.
SCENE 9 Back at the Mining Camp
There’s a party going on. Lots of noise, gunshots, whoo hoos. Melissa is in the tent, combing her very long hair. Harmon Cooper is with her, telling her how pretty she is. Melissa says nothing in response, even when he tells her she’s just about the prettiest woman he’s ever seen.
Harmon tells her that Vivian was almost as petty, mentions her pretty legs, nice soft pretty arms . . . Melissa rolls her eyes and asks ‘Was she your girl?”
HC: “No, Bobby always got the best ones. Nothing left for anybody after he got through.’ Then he explains that Bobby’s old girlfriend, Vivian is dead : “Didn’t Bobby tell you?’
BC enters: “About what?’
HC: “Nothing, Brother Bob, I just dropped by here to pay my respects to my future sister-in-law.” HC exits.
MH: “Why didn’t you tell me?”
BC: “I was afraid.”
MH: “Afraid of what?’
BC: “That you’d turn away from me”
MH: “Well, who was she?’
BC: “She was going to be my wife.”
MH: “Well, what happened?’
BC: “She was a school teacher, the only one there was. We grew up together in the hill country in Arkansas, came here. There was an epidemic, typhoid, she had to take care of the children who got sick, got it herself.”
MH, looks sad: “How long ago was it?”
BC: “Four years ago.”
MH: “Did you, um, love her very much?”
BC: “We were, um, just going to be married, she died the day before the wedding.”
MH: “Oh Bobby.”
BC: “She was the only decent woman I’d ever know, til I met you. I guess I don’t deserve that kind.” He puts his hands on her shoulders. “I love you. I was afraid to tell you. If you say that you don‘t want me, I‘ll understand.”
MH: “Oh Bobby, you don’t ever have to be afraid of me, no ever.” They embrace.
Crocker barges in, to tell about a challenge–for Bobby –to a hog wallering contest.
BC: “Ain’t that a fit interruption.”
Outside–private conversation between Bobby and Harmon. Harmon is afraid that Bobby might be sore at him. Bobby says he ain’t sore, but that Harmon should stay away from Melissa. He accuses Harmon of telling her about Vivian. HC denies it.
BC: “Stay away from Melissa or I’ll kill you just like I killed her.”
BC starts with his hands on his brother’s shoulders, but then they find their way around his throat–BC throws HC against the tent. Bobby then strips off his jacket so that he’s attired in a sparkling white shirt and he dives into the pig pen with another man and a rather large pig.
SCENE 10 The Boys
Johnny is climbing up some rocks with a white cord. Scott is seated, looking through the telescope.
JL: “What’s going on?”
SL: “They are wrestling –a pig.”
JL: “You don’t have to be so sarcastic.”
SL: “Well, then, forgive me. Actually they’re out there in tie and tails rehearsing to Mendelssohn’s wedding march.” (While he says this, we see on screen the small circle of the telescope view with the pig chasing in progress.)
JL: “You know, I hope we’re doing the right thing.”
SL: Well, Emerson says . .
JL: “Emerson’s back east, minding his own business.” He lights the fuse.
Alternating scenes between the fuse burning and the pig wrestling festivities until there is a big explosion. Every one runs to see what has happened–except Melissa. BC tells her to get inside the tent.
She goes inside where the boys are waiting. JL is standing, he moves to block the entrance once she’s inside. Scott is lounging on the cot, he jumps up and grabs her around the waist. She does not scream.
Meanwhile, at the site of the explosion, the Coopers find nothing. BC is still very muddy. They decide to return to the party. BC goes to the tent, Melissa is gone.
The Marshall shows up: “They broke out, the strangers who were after your girl.”
BC: “Marshall, keep the party going. I’ll be back with my bride. Harmon, Crocker, let’s go.”
Its dark. Three riders on horseback.
SL: “Come on, Johnny. I’m bushed. This place looks fine.”
JL: “Its your party.”
Melissa is on horseback, her horse is led by SL. They dismount, JL is standing next to Melissa. He tells her to come on. SL follows after them–they go inside an old building, it may be a barn. SL lights a match and looks around, while behind him JL is lighting and hanging an old lantern. SL puts out his match.
SL: “Something bothering you?”
SL: “I’ll have a look around outside.” He exits.
MH to Johnny: “You and your brother fighting?”
JL, picks up a bedroll. “He’s got his ways, I’ve got mine, Melissa.”
MH: “Well, how are they different?” She is wearing a cropped fitted jacket over a fullish skirt, nice length. She has her hands behind her back and is smiling
JL: “The whole deal about you, we just don’t see it the same, that’s all.”
MH: “how do you see it?’
JL: “I think a person’s got a right to lead his own life, do what he wants.” Johnny takes his hat off, stands facing her with hands crossed in front of him and holds his hat. She is facing him, still with her hands behind her back.
MH: “So how come you’re keeping me a prisoner?’
JL: “You’re not being kept a prisoner. Your father did my father a favor a long time ago, so we’re repaying it by bringing you back, that’s all.”
MH: “You, uh, you don’t like me very much, do you?”
JL: Oh, now what do you think, after that trap you led us into?”
MH: “yes, I know you think I behaved very badly. You think I should have told you from the very beginning that I was not going to go with you. I thought it was kind of funny, leading you on like that, but I was wrong, and stupid. And I’m very sorry about it.”
JL: “Well, what can I say?” he shrugs.
MH: “Well, I’d like you to say that you’re not angry with me any more.”
JL: “I’m not angry with you any more.”, He says this with virtually no tone to it, then he smiles. “You know, I never was. But I sure don’t trust you.’
She turns away from Johnny: “Well, I never asked you to have anything to do with me. You know, if I’d been using my head, I would’ve told Bobby to shoot you the first time you came around.”
JL, who is seated, back against one of the posts supporting the barn. “Oh, now there is a different tune“–he points at her–”Which one’s right?”
MH: “Well, what do you care”” She turns away from him, then back to face him. “I didn’t mean what I said, I didn’t want Bobby to hurt you. No matter what you do, well, I can’t help how I feel.”
JL: “How do you feel?’
MH doesn’t answer right away, she comes over to him and kneels beside him. She removes the rifle from his hands, places her hands on his shoulders and gives him multiple kisses.
JL: “Your father sure painted a different picture of you.”
MH: “yes, well, little girls do grow up you know”. She keeps kissing Johnny.
JL: “Not gonna work.”
MH–reacts, draws away quickly, makes some non word sounds–she’s angry. “All I want is to be with Bobby.” She walks away again–then turns back to him.
MH: “Why couldn’t my father just let me be happy?”
JL: “Maybe when you get back to the ranch, you can talk to him, tell him how you feel.”
MH: “Oh there’s no chance of that. My father’s idea of life is marrying into the oldest family in Boston and not doing a thing that anybody can ever criticize.”
JL: “And what’s your idea of life?”
MH: “Being free. Being the woman I am, good or bad. Loving the man that I love and raising my children to breathe the fresh air of the whole outdoors. I won’t be buried alive in some corner of Boston. I want the whole world.”
JL: “That’s a tall order.”
MH: “yes, but is it any more than you have?”
JL thinks about this: “Well, I guess not “. . He stands his rifle against a post: repeats “I guess not . . “
MH: “Johnny, please , please let me have a horse and ride out of here.” She goes over to him, places her hands on his shirt and kisses him.
JL: “I can’t.” She slaps his face. He grabs her and kisses her. She goes for the gun, he grabs it and pushes her to the ground. He stands there holding the rifle. “You sure are something, Melissa.”
The next morning: Its daylight and through the slightly ajar barn door we see the Cooper brothers arrive. Inside, Johnny is sitting up asleep and MH is nearby on the floor. Scott is sleeping on the other side of the barn, also seated. One of the Cooper brothers–Crocker–appears above him.
Melissa stirs, looks up, sees Crocker and his weapon, says “Johnny”, warning him just as he is about to be shot. He rolls and fires at Crocker. Scott is also immediately awake with his rifle in hand. Both the Lancers start shooting up at Crocker and Harmon. MH goes outside–after firing and pumping his rifle repeatedly, SL follows her. Bobby is out there, behind an old wagon; he calls her name. Scott is behind Melissa, he also says her name and she appears to duck. Scott shoots and Bobby and Bobby goes down. Scott and Harmon are still shooting it out inside the barn–SL grabs Melissa and escorts her towards the horses–she’s still saying “Bobby”. He has her sit in front of him on his horse, he’s holding the reins for JL who exit’s the barn still firing at the Coopers, then turns and runs, climbing a fence to get on board his animal. They ride away. We see that Bobby has been hit in the thigh of his right leg.
SCENE 12 Back at the ranch.
Jelly makes his second one minute appearance, he’s standing in the doorway and sees the boys ride up. MH is seated in front of JL on Barranca.
Jelly: “Just in time for Supper.”
SL: “That’s fine with us. We’ve been eating on the poor side the last couple of days.”
An unknown hand comes up and holds Johnny’s horse while JL helps MH dismount. MH steps forward, with her hands grasping the bottom of her short jacket.
MH: “So, this is Lancer.”
JL: “Well, there’s more. You get way up there on the top of that hill, it’s as far as the eye can see.”
MH: “There must be a lot of places to be alone.”
JL: “I’d like to show ‘em to ya.”
MH: “No. . I don’t want to see any place I can’t have.”
JL: “You know Melissa, I was wondering . . . Back at that barn, why you called out to help me.
MH: “Does it make a difference?”
JL: “It might.”
MH: “When I was a little girl, my father used to take me to the Boston zoo. And I would look at all of the animals in those tiny cages; now they didn’t hate their keeper or want to see them hurt. . . Out here, I guess that’s kind of hard to understand.”
Of course the cages thing is gonna pull at JL’s heartstrings again. Also he wants to hear that MH called out to him because she cares for him, but no, he’s just like one of the zookeepers. He’s not going to be feeling too good about that analogy!!
The door opens and ML comes out with Teresa behind him, MH and JL turn. We can see SL on the right side of the shot as Ml says: “Well, well, you certainly took your time getting here.” Teresa comes out from behind him and embraces SL; he hugs her back. When he’s speaking, ML is looking at MH and JL, not at Scott who is to his left.
SL: “It was such a nice trip, it would be a shame not to relax and enjoy it.”
Johnny comes over to Teresa, she KISSES him. SL is in between; he gives Teresa, then Johnny some sort of look, could even be saying something to T, but JL’s head blocks our view.
ML, to MH: “The last time I saw you, your father was bragging about you reading news stories in the Boston Herald . . You must have been all of three.” Scott is standing with one arm on the post, Teresa has placed her elbow into his side and appears to be leaning against him somewhat, Johnny is standing to the side, his head is down. SL might possibly put his arm around T, its hard to tell.
MH: “Is my father here?”
ML: “Sure, sure, he missed you.”
MH: “Hello, daddy, its nice to see you.”
JH embraces her, she hugs him back. He says “come on” and they turn towards the house. Teresa goes with them, saying she’ll show MH to her room.
ML: “uh . . See ya at dinner.” ML and SL watch the Harpers and T leave. Scott begins to remove the glove from his right hand.
ML: “Well, you did a good job, how’d it go? Any problems?” SL is still looking at his gloves, JL just looks down. SL has the right glove off and places it on his gun.
SL: “Well, aside from getting beaten up a couple of times, hit on the head, thrown in jail, shot at . . No, no real problems.” SL and JL are not looking at each other.
ML: to Johnny: “What about you son, something bothering you?”
JL: “No, like you said, we did a good job.”
ML: “Well, you don’t seem very happy about it.”
JL: “I don’t like kidnapping women.”
ML: “What are you talking about?”
JL: “You know that story that Harper told you, about her being a prisoner–a bunch of malarkey.”
The camera has been tight on the faces of JL and ML, now it expands. Scott is standing looking at the ground between them, right hand on hip. ML is facing Johnny, also with his right hand on his hip.
JL: “She wanted to marry him.” SL looks up at this, JL glances at Scott when he says this.
ML: “I know, but she’s under age—” SL rests his hand on his gun.
JL: “Oh, fine, well, just leave it at that.” JL walks away. Scott looks down again.
This is interesting interaction. SL is NOT about to tell Murdoch that Johnny didn’t want to bring Melissa back. He lists all kinds of problems, but not the one that he had with Johnny. SL for sure doesn’t tell tales. He also doesn’t interrupt or add anything to what Johnny has to say. I like that the director had SL and his careful non-reaction included in the scene. When ML echoes exactly what Scott had said earlier–that MH is not 21 yet—Johnny gives up. Its two against one and he isn’t going to fight. Makes you think that its two to one against him quite a bit. Its also interesting that when ML asks what’s bothering him, he first denies that anything is, then spills it immediately.
ML, to Scott: “Well, what have you got to say?’
SL shakes his head: “Nothing”. He gestures, pointing at the departing Johnny: “He’s got his notions, I’ve got mine.”
ML: “Well, could I hear your notions, if you don’t mind telling me .. “ a bare hint of a smile from ML.
Great close up shot of SL face, hint of a smile from him too: “I think Johnny’s in love, but too stubborn to admit it. He’s been wild and free most of his life. The girl caught him in the soft spot . . .I just hope he can handle it . . .that’s all. I’m gonna get cleaned up.”
He goes inside.
Johnny is sitting outside the front door, on the ground. James Harper comes out.
JH: “I missed you at dinner, Johnny.”
JL: “Na. . I found something earlier in the kitchen.”
JH: “Oh–I understand that you and Melissa became quite close on the way back. This the horse you were riding?” He’s wiping his neck with a handkerchief when he comes out the door–then he walks over to a still saddled horse.
JL: “Whatta you trying to say?”
JH: “Well, I couldn’t help noticing that you have only one sleeping bag.”
JL gets up: “Are you kidding?”
JH: “It may seem stuffy to you out here, but our society has very definite standards.”
JL: “Boy, is that all you can think about–your standards? Your daughter’s safe, Harper.”
JH: “Well, I’m grateful, but ah, we do have rigid barriers.”
JL: Laughs—“rigid barriers huh . . .they more like cages?”
JL walks away, JH is left standing there with his hands in his pockets.
JL: whistles—outside Jelly’s window–he says Jelly’s name. Jelly comes out–he’s on camera again!!
JL: “I don’t want ya askin’ any questions–I want ya to saddle up a horse . .get provisions ready.”
Jelly: “Ready for what?’
JL” “I’ll meet you at the north barn in 10 minutes.”
He goes inside the house. Melissa is standing alone in the semi-dark looking up at a painting of two women with a parasol. Doesn’t look like the kind of painting I’d expect to see in the hacienda. MH looks sad.
JL stands behind her: “You father’s goin’ back to Boston tomorrow. Wanna go with him?”
MH: “I want to be with Bobby.”
JL: “Yeah, that’s what I figured.” He sighs.
“Why don’t you go change your clothes–I got a horse waiting for you.”
MH: she’s happy!! “Johnny!!” He motions her to go with his head. He looks uncertain after she leaves, lowers his head and sighs.
So JL helps her go back to Bobby. Not what you’d expect if he’s in love with her himself, unless we are supposed to view this as a noble sacrifice on his part–which it could be except that we know that Bobby is NO GOOD. Since we know this, we can’t view JL as being noble or sweetly concerned about MH’s happiness, we know that this is just NOT GOOD. PLUS he’s sending her off alone in the night????
Immediately its daylight and we see Jelly AGAIN! at the pump and trough washing up. Then ML looking out the window at Jelly, turns to the inside of the room and addresses Johnny_: Why did you do it, Johnny?”
SL: somewhat heatedly for him–”After all we went through to get her here.” He’s putting on a gun belt.
JL: “She never wanted to be here.”
ML: “That’s not for you to decide.”
JL: “She has a right to be with her man.”
SL: “Her man is a grade A candidate for the hangman, Johnny how could you—–
ML cuts him off–”Not now, Scott–we’re wasting time–” ML and SL turn to leave, then ML looks back at Johnny: “I told you before that I owe somebody a debt and I‘m gonna make sure its paid. Are you coming??”
Johnny follows the other two, reluctantly..
We see the three Coopers–they may still be near that barn where JL, SL and MH spent the night.
Melissa rides up. Harmon says “Look who it is, Bobby.” and goes over to grab the reins of her horse. Bobby has a bandanna ties around the top of his right leg, he’s walking very stiffly.
MH: “Aren’t you going to help me down?”
He just looks up at her.
MH: “Aren’t you glad to see me?”
BC: “Crocker says that he had the jump on him—you warned him”. Bobby really looks NOT happy when he says this.
MH: “I didn’t know what I was doing—- it was all happening so fast. Besides, Johnny was trying to help me, he never wanted to take me in the first place.”
BC: “That didn’t stop him from shooting at us. Melissa you’re gonna have to learn a lesson—he reaches up and pulls her roughly off of her horse.
Harmon grabs her–”Now wait a minute, Bobby ain’t gonna do nothin’ to you–except maybe what he did to Vivian . . “
MH: “Vivian!” She tries to run.
Crocker: “Yeah, Bobby had to teach her a lesson too–he beat her so bad one time she never did get up from it”.
Harmon grabs a few strands of Melissa’s hair and sniffs them, then he’s grinning like a fool.
BC: “No one makes a fool of me, Melissa–not Vivian, not you—
She keeps saying his name “Bobby”–can’t believe this is happening.
Quick shot of three horsemen–we assume it’s the Lancers, no close-ups though.
Then back to MH tied to a tree–Bobby is stiff-leggedly walking over to her. He has a short piece of cord in one hand, intends to hit her with it. His two brothers are watching. Melissa says his name once more, in an imploring tone. “Bobby”.’
The Lancers arrive!!! Crocker runs over to the campsite for a rifle
Three on three, BIG FIGHT. Scott tackles Harmon first. Johnny is near Melissa, he has Bobby. ML must be punching Crocker. Two Coopers are down, one rides away, must be the one that SL was fighting. He walks over to Melissa, he’s adjusting his hat and hair. Johnny is already beside her, untying her.
ML: “How ‘bout it young lady? You ‘bout ready to go back to Papa?”
MH: “Yes, yes I am, thank you.”
JL puts her jacket on her shoulders.
Back at the ranch: in the Great room Melissa and Murdoch are in the foreground conversing, while we see Johnny and Teresa seated at the dining table facing us, SL must be in the chair back too, and Harper is at the end of the table to Scott’s right. Amazing to me that they have this huge house and the books, sofa dining table etc are all in this one room. Now Murdoch has referred to his “study” from time to time, but I think that his desk may even be in here as well!!
MH: “I don’t think that I’ll ever be leaving Boston again.” Both MH and ML are holding wine glasses. JH: gets up and approaches them: “Murdoch, I want to tell you that you have two very fine young men here.”
ML: “Well, thank you, Jim.”
JH: “And I want to um, tell you how much I appreciated it.”
SL: “It was our pleasure, Mr. Harper.”
MH: “Even getting thrown into jail?”
JL: “Didn’t mind that so much . . .gave me a chance to meet you.”
JH: “Well, if you ever find your way up around Bawston, you’ll always be welcome at the house” He reaches out and puts his hand on JL’s shoulder. “Of course, Melissa’s gonna be very very busy. I’ve got a full schedule arranged for her.” He gestures with his glass.
Harper’s Bawston accent is much more pronounced in this scene–must be the wine. He sort of invites the Lancers/Johnny to visit in Boston, but then hastens to outline how busy Melissa is going to be. So he really doesn’t want them showing up, and I suspect, he especially doesn’t want JL to be there. Again, the writers have evidently forgotten hat Scott is supposed to be from Boston also, since it would be natural for some comment to be made to him about this.
SL is standing to Harper’s right, JL is on his left. SL smiles at this comment and looks down at the floor. He has his hands in his pockets. JL grins too.
MH: “You have?”
JH: “Uh huh, I arranged it with the Dean. Why, you’re going to be able to catch up on the things you missed in elocution and classic ballet. “
ML looks down at Melissa.
JH: “And then there’s gonna be poetry reading with Mrs. Siddons, needlepoint with Miss Carter, all those things that a young lady, a proper young lady should know upon preparing to assume her proper place in a truly civilized society.”
ML: “Civilized, Jim?”
JH: “Oh, well, no reflection on your very picturesque life here, but it is lacking in the social graces. ” Turning to Melissa.__”Oh, I have surprise for you. You have an invitation to the next debutante cotillion. And I’ve arranged for young Harroway to escort you–he’s the son of one of the oldest families in Massachusetts.”
Melissa turns away. “He’s a pimply faced snob with half the brains of a mule.”
JH: “What dear?’
She turns back: “Nothing, Daddy.”
JH: “You know, I’m gonna make it up to my little girl for all the time she’s lost. . . “ He reaches out and touches her chin.
MH: “I . . Would you all excuse me please.” She leaves the room and JL follows her immediately, while JH continues talking.
JH: “You know, actually, Murdoch, this whole experience hasn’t been all bad for Melissa, just been the uh, right amount of misfortune, you know, to teach her where her true happiness lies.”
ML: “Be right back Jim.”
JH: “Sure.“ ML leaves, SL follows him. Teresa is left holding a bottle of wine.
JL to MH: “Hey Melissa, you don’t have to do what he says—” he grasps her arms.
Ml and SL come outside, Johnny lets go of her as she says “Johnny, don’t worry about me.”
ML: Melissa, if you could go any place, any place in the whole world . . Where would you choose?’
JL is in the foreground, SL is behind.
MH: “I’d go to San Francisco with my Aunt Kate. I’d be free without all of this misery. “ She sort of laughs, crosses her arms. “Its too late for that now.”
JH comes out. “aahh . . There you are. What’s going on?”
ML stands facing him, with one arm around Melissa’s shoulders. The boys are standing in the background now, together.
ML: “Jim, are you open to an offer?’
JH: “An offer . . What’s involved?’ He spreads his jacket open and puts his hands in his pockets.
ML: “Your daughter.”
JH: “My daughter?” he stops, looks back at the boys and laughs. A very long laugh. “Wait a minute, you’re serious.”
JL: “What he means is that she doesn’t want to go back with you.”
JH: “Melissa . . Is that true?’
MH: “I love you Papa. You’ve done everything for me. But I want to be free.”
JH: “To do what?’
MH: “To be who I am.”
JH: “You’re my daughter, that’s who you are, isn’t that enough?”
MH: “No Papa.”
ML: “Jim, you’ve given her everything in the world, except uh, well, there comes a time when you have to give your children the right to say ‘no” to you.”
JH: “What would you do, where would you go?”
MH: “To Aunt Kate in San Francisco, like I should have done all along. Just let me go for a while and I’ll come back when I want.”
JH: “You said you’d all make me an offer for my daughter and if I agree, what do you offer in return?“
ML” smiles, looks down: “Its very simple Jim–the love and the respect of your daughter. That is if you’ve got the strength enough to let go.”
JH: “I don’t need a middleman. If Melissa’s gonna say “no” to me, she can say it to my face.” To MH: “No detours this time.”
MH: smiles, “No detours.”
JH: “That’s good enough for me.”
She kisses him. “Thank you Papa.” She heads to the house, speaks to the boys, “Would you help me get my things together?” Actually its only SL in the frame, but both of the boys go with her. ML has a close up looking at his friend Jim, looks like he’s proud of him.
Okay, so since when is Murdoch Lancer the expert on parenting?? As far as we know, he’s never raised a child!!! How does he know about letting go?? Well, he for sure knows about that, he doesn’t know how to hang on to a kid . . . I like that he asks the direct question to Melissa, and he’s the only one to do it, since he’s Harpers friend. Its just too much when he gives Harper the parenting advice. I notice that Melissa calls him Daddy sometimes and Papa here, which is weird, since people usually have one name for their parent and stick with it., The first time through, I was sure that JH would think that Murdoch’s “offer” involved Melissa marrying one of the boys, and he does look at them before he starts laughing, which is rude.
JH comes across as caring about his daughter now that he understands what she wants. Makes him less of a cartoon . I like that he says that he doesn’t need a middle man.
Odd that Melissa would ask the boys to help her with her things–because as far as we know she doesn’t have any!! She was riding double with Johnny when she arrived at the ranch and inside she’s borrowing clothing from Teresa!!
Inside, Teresa is still there by her self. She’s standing talking to MH: “Well, you’re about my size, I can lend you some things til you get settled.”
The girls walk away form the boys. MH: “Oh thank you Teresa. I’ll need something warm in the way of a coat, they tell me San Francisco can be quite cool this time of year. Teresa smiles and walks off camera.
Johnny is leaning against the doorway. “Hey” he says to Melissa. SL is standing beside him with his hands in his pockets.
MH turns back to face Johnny. He looks at Scott and smiles. SL smiles and walks forward, looking at the floor. JL watches him leave, seems to smile fondly at him. Then once he’s gone, JL addresses MH: “You sure are in a big hurry all of a sudden.”
MH: “Well, there’s a lot out there. I could be missing something. “ She walks over to him.
JL: “Well, you could be missing something right here.” He is standing facing her with his hands behind him.
MH: “Johnny, you’re not trying to hold me back, are you?”
JL: “No . . never.”
She kisses him, and starts to move away. He reaches out, draws her close and kisses her for real. End with her walking away and JL looking after her.