Directors: Harry Falk, Paul Krasny, Bernard McEveety, Virgil Vogel.
Starring: Richard Chamberlain (frontiersman Alexander McKeag), Robert Conrad (French-Canadian trapper Pasquinel), Alex Karras (immigrant farmer Hans Brumbaugh), Raymond Burr (Herman Bockweiss), Sally Kellerman (Lise Bockweiss), Richard Crenna (Colonel Frank Skimmerhorn).
Twelve installments (total length of 26 & 1/2 hours) of Colorado history from the James A. Michener epic novel.
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire mini-series.
Episode I. Only the Rocks Live Forever.
1.7 billion years ago lava formed a basement rock
15,000 B.C. Human settlement in North America.
12,000 years ago. Indians came to Colorado.
1756. A group of Native Americans known as "Our People" had no horses, which put them at a great disadvantage compared to other tribe. These were desperate times. They speak Arapaho. A nine year old boy loses his father in warfare with another tribe. Gray Wolf, the uncle of the boy, tells the young fellow: "I'm your father now." The boy, Lame Beaver, would one day become a great leader of his people.
Winter 1795. Lame Beaver is 50 years old. He sees a white man for the first time. The fellow is paddling a canoe up stream. Lame Beaver and some of his braves decide to wait for dark to approach him. At night he sneaks up on the fellow and on his knees hovers over him. The white fellow opens his eyes. Lame Beaver counts coup by touching him without harming him. The guy's name is Pasquinel and he is a Frenchman from Quebec. Lame Beaver has him visit him in the tribal camp. The Chief says to Pasquinel that he is welcome to come again. But next time he wants to have a gun (like Pasquinel's rifle). He then warns the Frenchman about the Pawnee. They may not let him pass through their territory.
Pasquinel shoves off in his canoe. But the water level in the river becomes so low that he has to portage his pelts. He hides the canoe and 100 pounds of beaver pelts and starts walking with another 100 pounds of pelts on his back seven miles to where he can canoe again.
A Pawnee brave approaches Pasquinel and says: "You, come!" Pasquinel speaks with the Chief ,named Rude Water. The Chief wants the gun, but Pasquinel will not let him have it. The Chief assures him of peace, but the Frenchman knows he will have to fight to get out of Pawnee territory. At night Pasquinel sets up his tent and lights a fire. Late at night four Pawnee come to the tent to kill him. One investigates the tent while the three others go to the canoe to get the pelts. When they take off the covering over the pelts, they are absolutely surprised to find Pasquinel pointing his rifle right at them. He shoots one of them and the others run for it.
In the morning on the river, Pasquinel sees the Pawnee still following him and his canoe. When he stops canoeing for awhile, the Pawnee attack him. He kills a few of them, but then is badly wounded by an arrow in the lower back. To escape with his life he has to leave his pelts behind. He jumps into the canoe and starts floating down river. The Cheyenne find him on the river bank. A brave tries to remove the arrow but it is impossible. Pasquinel signals to him to cut off the shaft of the arrow below the skin and leave the arrowhead alone. The brave does so. To thank the brave Pasquinel gives him his rifle.
Spring 1796. Missouri River. Pasquinel sees the braves that attacked him in order to get his pelts. He also sees them motion for a river boat to come over to them. They shout: "Beaver! Beaver! We trade beaver!" The river boat comes toward them. The boat approaches the shore. The Pawnee want a gun, but the white men say no way. Two of the braves get on the boat, while two others remain on the shore. Pasquinel suddenly attacks the two on land and knocks them out. The white men push the two Pawnee over the side and into the water. They then kill both braves with rifle shots. When Pasquinel comes over to tell them that the pelts are his, they knock him out by hitting him with a rifle butt to the head.
St. Louis, 1796. Pasquinel has nothing but the clothes on his back and a knife. He walks to St. Louis. The first thing he does is visit physician Richard Butler. The doctor tells him that since there is no infection and he is not in any great pain, he should just leave it in. Pasquinel leaves it alone. The doctor asks him what the frontier is like. The Frenchman tells him that it is a violent world out there. The doctor then tells Pasquinel that he has an idea for a business partnership. He and his friend, silversmith Hermann Bockweiss, will stake him with canoe and supplies in exchange for part of the proceeds from selling the beaver pelts he collects.
The three men meet together. Pasquinel meets the silversmith's daughter, Lise. Lise is very tall. She brings him into the house. Inside he seems a little unnerved by her being taller than he and he becomes a bit rude and pushy. He tells her that she would not like Canada. All the people there are shorter than him. Lise really doesn't quite know how to take this man. He overwhelms her.
The silversmith tells the doctor that to be successful in the business venture, Pasquinel will have to deal with Pawnee, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Dakota, Comanche and Ute. The doctor says that the way the man dealt with the experience the arrowhead in his lower back convinces him that Pasquinel will bring back pelts
Pasquinel is back on the river. He meets with the Pawnee Chief who tells him: "You kill three Pawnee." Pasquinel challenges his honesty. The Chief had promised that he could pass in peace, but then his braves tried to kill him. The Chief says: "This year we be friends " The Frenchman gives the Chief one of the extra rifles he brought with him. Then the Chief says he already has one rifle. He tells a brave to bring out their captive Red Beard. The fellow is from Scotland. Pasquinel tells the Chief that this is "my brother". The Chief and the braves doubt this, so Pasquinel says they are from the same tribe, like brothers. The Chief lets them go. Pasquinel tells the Scotsman, named Alexander McKeag, that they will work together. Alexander is somewhat doubtful about this arrangement, but he decides to stick with Pasquinel, at least for now.
At night Alexander tells Pasquinel that he killed a man. The man was a lord, a tyrant. He found him sexually assaulting his sister, who was crying, and hit the man in the head with his walking cane. The lord died and Alexander had to leave Scotland. Alexander wants to know Pasquinel's reaction, but the adventurer has already fallen asleep.
Pasquinel is after those damn pirates that stole his pelts. He sees them coming down river. He has Alexander hail them over to the river shore. The men bring the boat over to the shore. Pasquinel opens fire on them using three loaded rifles. The ones he doesn't kill, are killed by the Pawnee with him.
The two men carry their supplies on a horse and ride two others. They have to cover ground that is covered in snow and ford icy streams. McKeag drops his rifle off the side of a cliff. Pasquinel goes down and retrieves it, but the handle is broken. Pasquinel fixes the rifle butt using buffalo hide. At night at their camp a Ute comes to tell them: "You go." Pasquinel says they will not go. The fellow says: "When sun comes, you be gone."
In the morning one of the Utes charges Pasquinel and McKeag. Pasquinel tells McKeag not to respond, to let the brave count coup. The brave touches Paquinel as he rides by him. He turns around to charge McKeag. McKeag panics and tries to shoot the man. But the brave thrusts his spear into McKeag's right shoulder before he can fire. Pasquinel pulls the spear out. McKeag has to be pulled behind his horse while lying in a mobile cot. Pasquinel tells his partner that the wound smells bad. He brings McKeag over to the fire. He heats up the hatchet head and applies it to the shoulder wound. It is so painful that McKeag goes unconscious.
The two partners are back on the trail again. They come to the Arapaho village of Lame Beaver. They smoke calumet in the peace pipe. Pasquinel gives Lame Beaver a rifle and then teaches him how to fire it. Clay Basket binds McKeag's shoulder so he can fire his weapon. McKeag and Clay Basket go out riding. He teaches her some English. Red Beard, as McKeag is known to Clay Basket, tells her: "You're beautiful." Clay Basket definitely seems interested in Red Beard and he seems a bit nervous about it. He tells her that they better go. Lame Beaver tells his daughter that she will marry Pasquinel, not Red Beard. Clay Basket is upset and sad.
Pasquinel and McKeag return to St. Louis. They meet one of Pasquinel's friends, named Joe Bean. They go into the local tavern to have a drink. Pasquinel is celebrating his return. Three men come into the tavern and one of them tells Pasquinel that he killed his brother who worked on the river boat. A fight starts with most of the patrons involved on one side or the other. As Pasquinel's two business partners walk to the tavern, they see Pasquinel being thrown out the tavern window and onto the street. They look at him laying unconscious on the dirt road. Later Silversmith Hermann Bockweiss asks Pasquinel if he has an Indian woman. Pasquinel says he does not. Bockweiss then suggests that Pasquinel marry his daughter.
As the 18th century came to an end, Lame Beaver was 53 years old. The Plains Indians in 1800 were a contented people. Clay Basket talks to her mother about her father. Mother remembers that age age 17, Lame Beaver took on the task of taking horses from the Comanche so his people could be more mobile. He walks to the Comanche camp. He is able to knock out the guard. He then takes the man's horse and frees most of the other horses. The Comanche see what's happening and give chase. Lame Beaver pushes the horses all the way back to his village. The Comanche have to stop the chase as the braves of the Arapaho village point their arrowed bows at them. Lame Beaver goes down to the stream. His wife asks him what's wrong. He has just broken another tooth. While by the stream, he finds a couple of large gold nuggets.
Pasquinel marries Lise, the daughter of Bockweiss. At the reception Pasquinel defends the way of life of the Indians. The talk of the reception is the rumor that Pasquinel has a wife in Montreal.
Pasquinel says good-by to his wife. He and his partner shove off on another trading adventure. Lise tells her father that he soon will be a grandfather. Has she told Pasquinel? Not yet. They watch as the partners paddle off in their loaded down canoe.
Clay Basket asks her father where her mother is. She has gone to make herself ready. The Pawnee have stolen one of their children and Lame Beaver will be leading the braves against them. His daughter tells Lame Beaver that he doesn't have to go. Lame Beaver has already made his decision. Now he goes to be alone before going to war.
Not far from the Pawnee camp Lame Beaver drives a stake into the ground and ties himself to it with a long thong. The Arapaho braves charge the village. After a brief fight the Arapaho braves race back by Lame Beaver who is still staked out. Rude Water organizes his braves for a charge. He leads the charge. Lame Beaver and Rude Water raise their rifles at each other. Rude Water fires first and Lame Beaver goes down. But Lame Beaver is playing possum. As Rude Water rides near, the Arapahoraises up and shoots the chief. The Arapaho then charge again. A few Pawnee braves charge Lame Beaver.
Lame Beaver has been killed. The women of the village take everything that once belonged to Blue Leaf. Clay Basket is upset but her mother tells her about the goods: "They are mine no more."
Paddling near the Arapaho village Pasquinel and McKeag see the grave of a great warrior. They do not realize it is Lame Beaver's grave.
Clay Basket calls for her mother. She finds her. Mom tells her that her life is over. She talked with her husband before the battle. She knew what would come. Clay Basket tells her: "I won't leave you." Mother tells her daughter that she must go with the white man Pasquinel when he comes. It was her father's wish.
Pasquinel and McKeag learn from the Pawnee that Lame Beaver killed Rude Water and they killed Lame Beaver. They ask Pasquinel if he gave Lame Beaver the gun. Yes. They then ask him if he gave him the special bullets. They show the partners two gold bullets. The white men are amazed at what they see.
Clay Basket brings some food out for her mother. She calls for her. But her brother tells her to go back. Clay Basket lays the food on the ground and leaves. From under some tree trunks mother grabs the food.
Pasquinel and McKeag arrive at the Arapaho village. McKeag discovers a frozen Blue Leaf. He doesn't understand what happened. Pasquinel says that she was no longer the wife of a warrior. As a result there was no home for her. But Pasquinel wants to find Clay Basket in order to learn more about the golden bullets. They find Clay Basket and Pasquinel has McKeag ask her about the bullets. She says she made her father's bullets, but she did not know about the golden bullets. She tells McKeag to tell Pasquinel that she is to go with him, if he wants, to be his wife. McKeag is very upset over the message, but he does tell Pasquinel. The Frenchman tells McKeag to tell Clay Basket that he will take her for his wife. McKeag is shocked his partner said yes. He shouts: "It's because of the gold, isn't it?" Pasquinel just tells him to tell Clay Basket what he said. He delivers the message. Clay Basket asks McKeag, or rather Red Bear, how is his arm. Looking annoyed McKeag says his arm is fine. He quickly gets up and leaves.
Episode II. The Yellow Apron.
1809. Clay Basket has her first child. A boy they name Jacques Pasquinel.
1811. Clay Basket has her second child and they name him Marcel Pasquinel.
Their noble heritage would one day work against them. Years later their name would strike fear in all who thought of crossing the Plains. Pasquinel himself wants to be the first man in the area to find gold.
St. Louis, 1816. McKeag runs into Bockweiss. The silversmith tells him that Lise lost her first child. But now Pasquinel has a child. McKeag is surprised to hear this. Bockweiss wants to know where is Pasquinel. McKeag tells him that Pasquinel stayed on the Plains.
Bockweiss brings McKeag to his house. McKeag sees Lise again. She wants to know: "Where is he? He stayed? Again?." McKeag says that Pasquinel wants to catch the beaver himself. Mr. Bockweiss says this will triple their profits. Lise brings out her baby daughter Lisette so McKeag can see her.
Out on the Plains, Pasquinel's small boys practice archery. McKeag will be coming back soon. Jacques does not like McKeag. Pasquinel tells his son that McKeag is a really good friend and he's Jacques's friend too. Clay Basket is down by the river and she sees McKeag coming in his canoe. He lands and she greets him. He notices her blue necklace. Paquinel got it from Indians from the south in trade. Pasquinel and McKeag greet each other. McKeag tells the frontiersman that he has a daughter named Lisette. Pasquinel is pleased by the idea. But he is more concerned about the trade goods that McKeag did not bring with him. McKeag brought beaver traps instead. When Pasquinel criticizes him for this, McKeag defends himself by saying that he had to tell Lise something, so he came up with the story that her husband decided to stay in order to start catching the beaver himself. McKeag brought Pasquinel a letter from home. But Pasquinel tells McKeag he doesn't know how to read. But neither does McKeag. Pasquinel throws the letter into the river.
Pasquinel tells McKeag that they are leaving tomorrow. He is taking everyone to St. Louis. McKeag tries to talk him out of it. He says that Lise will not understand. He just can't do it. But Pasquinel will not be stopped. He tells Clay Basket about the trip. She asks him how is other woman will feel about it. Oh, your woman doesn't know about us? That's right. So Clay Basket says she wants to stay at the fort outside of St. Louis known as Fort Osage. She tells Pasquinel: "Please, Pasquinel, just the fort."
The family and McKeag watch the soldiers fire the cannon. McKeag says he has noticed that the soldiers don't appear to like them very much. They attend a piano performance at the fort and enjoy it. After the performance, there is a confrontation with the soldiers. One soldier refers to Pasquinel as "Squaw Man". He says Pasquinel lives with Indians, so he stinks. A fight breaks out between the soldiers and Pasquinel and McKeag. In the fight a soldier attacks Jacques and cuts his face. The tavern keeper breaks up the fight. He tells Pasquinel that he can't stay at Fort Osage: "It's too risky."
Pasquinel tells McKeag that he is taking the pelts to St. Louis to sell. He also wants to see Lise and the girl. While he is gone, he wants McKeag to care for his wife and children. McKeag criticizes this plan. He tells Pasquinel that he (Pasquinel) doesn't care how Clay Basket feels or even the boys. Pasquinel tells him: "I know you, McKeag. That's why I trust you with my life and with theirs."
Pasquinel surprises Lise. After a few awkward pleasantries he asks: "May I see the girl?" From his pack he takes out a small Indian dress for his daughter. His wife asks him: "Who made that for you?" He doesn't answer. She tells her husband that he has been away for three years. Lise adds: "How could you not come to see your own daughter?" Pasquinel says: "Forgive me. I never meant to hurt you." But she has been hurt. Does she want a divorce? She says no: "I am a Catholic." She thinks there must be something wrong with her if her husband prefers sharing his bed with a savage. Nevertheless, she tells her husband: "You'll always have an honored place in this house."
Clay Basket tells McKeag that it has been a long time since they were alone. Jacques misses his father. Clay Basket tells McKeag that he has a good heart. "Sometimes I think maybe too god," she says. "You're not happy." She asks him if he is mad at her. He says: "I could never be angry with you." Jacques spots some Kiowa. He points it out to McKeag, who says they are probably sizing them up. Clay Basket becomes fearful and says that they have come for her sons. McKeag has two rifles. He fires one while Clay Basket loads the other. He hits three or more of the Kiowa and they retreat. But Jacques has been wounded by the Kiowa. Clay Basket says there are two scars on her son now, one from a white man and one from an Indian. How this will affect Jacques? she wonders.
Back in St. Louis Pasquinel talks with the Colonel and a Lieutenant about Indians. The Kentucky Colonel brings up the saying that the only good Indian is a dead Indian. But Pasquinel suggests a different strategy with the Indians: trust them. The Colonel is scandalized by this, but before he can strike back at Pasquinel, his wife comes and gets him. Pasquinel asks the Lieutenant if, from his surveys, there is any silver in the area. The lieutenant says there is no gold or silver in the area.
Pasquinel's father-in-law tells him that he thinks he should stay in St. Louis this time. He says the future is here. The silversmith has been buying parcels of land and they get more valuable as more people move to the area. Pasquinel is thinking about staying.
McKeag shows the boys how to trap beaver. Jacques has a terrible attitude. He says "It's easy." A little latter he tells McKeag that in his father's absence he will take care of his mother. He walks away. Marcel tells McKeag that it isn't him. Jacques has his problems.
Pasquinel wants to go back to the Plains. He tells his wife that he will make much more money if he goes back. He shows her the gold he was given.
Pasquinel comes back to his Indian family. McKeag says: "We gave you up." Pasquinel checks the traps set by Jacques. There are no beavers in the traps. Jacques blames it all on McKeag. McKeag tells Jacques and Pasquinel that Jacques set the traps too deep. Jacques attacks McKeag, who throws Jacques over his back. Jacques tells his father: "He's not your friend." He pulls out his knife. His father tells him to put it away and he reluctantly puts it in its sheath. But when McKeag isn't looking Jacques takes the knife out again and stabs him with it. McKeag subdues him, but is stopped from doing anything else by Pasquinel. He starts walking to the cabin. He shouts to Pasquinel: "The lad is twisted, Pasquinel. He'll kill you all. I'll not give my life for the likes of him." McKeage leaves.
St. Louis, 1825. Mr. Bockweiss goes to a little cabin by the river. He says hello to McKeag. McKeag tells him that he is leaving today. Bockweiss tries to get some information from McKeag before he leaves. Does Pasquinel have an Indian wife? And two sons? McKeag won't say. Bockweiss says: "Please. I'm trying to protect my family." He says he went to New Orleans and met Pasquinel's woman there. McKeags tells him: "I won't listen to gossip about the only friend I ever had." McKeag does tell Bockweiss that he doesn't know if Pasquinel will ever come back to St. Louis. The two men say good-bye to each other.
At a Sioux camp, the Pasquinel family listens to an old warrior telling stories. Clay Basket says she remembers all her father's old stories summarized on his old buffalo robe. This perks up Pasquinel's interest. He tells Clay Basket that she must tell him about the stories set in the mountains, where the gold comes from.
McKeag is in the mountains on his horse with a mule along to carry supplies. He picks out a place to build a cabin. He starts chopping down the trees.
Meanwhile, Clay Basket becomes pregnant again.
McKeag talks to himself. He says: "Oh, Lord, how I miss them. Both of them." When he realizes that he can't open his front door because of all the snow, he has a panic attack. He attacks the door with an axe and then digs his way out. When he is outside, he says: "I'm so alone." But soon enough three mountain men arrive. Their names are James Bridger, Jim Beckworth and Donald McPherson. They have come to get McKeag's beaver pelts. Beckworth asks McKeag to go west with them. They are going over to Bear Lake by the Snake River, western slope, Shoshone country. Bu first, they are going to the Rendezvous, an annual gathering of all the traders in the area.
Pasquinel is the big shot at the Rendezvous. He says he has the best rifle of any in the area. An Englishman challenges him. So Pasquinel devises a contest. He finishes a liquor bottle with a flat bottom and puts it on his head. Jacques shoots it off his head. Then Paquinel takes a small piece of the broken bottle and places it on his head. Now it's time for Marcel to shoot the bottle remnant off his father's head. The Englishman gets so disgusted with the whole foolish performance that he declares that all three of them are crazy. He leaves.
McKeag and the guys arrive at the Rendezvous. This is the third year of the event. McKeag is surprised to see Indians from different tribes at the Rendezvous. A man shouts: "Who wants the yellow apron?" Meanwhile, McKeag sees Jacques wrestling a man with lots of onlookers gathered in a circle. Jacques starts to lose so he pulls out his knife again. But another man draws a pistol on Jacques. The wrestling match is over.
A small band starts playing. A volunteer steps up and puts on the yellow apron. He then dances in the center of a circle of onlookers. They grab McKeag, put the yellow apron on him and make him dance. He keeps protesting that he doesn't dance, so they brings out the bagpipes. He starts doing a Scottish jig. While dancing, McKeag runs right into Pasquinel. After a long awkward pause the two start dancing together for the audience. Pasquinel suddenly falls to the ground. He says it's that old Pawnee arrowhead still lodged in his back. The pain has gotten worse. Pasquinel says that the arrowhead has been in there for 30 years. He wants McKeag to take it out. McKeag protests, but Pasquinel keeps insisting. So they tie Pasquinel down and ply him with liquor. Jacques comes in and tries to stop it, but Pasquinel insists it's o.k. Outside the tent Jacques tells Marcel that he should have killed him before. Marcel tells his brother that he has been telling that old story wrong. McKeag could have killed him.
The operation is a success. Pasquinel says that McKeag doesn't ask about Clay Basket. She misses him and he wants McKeage to come back with him . McKeag says he doesn't know about that. What about Jacques? Jacques and Marcel now ride with the Sioux. It would be just the three of them. He talks about Blue Valley. McKeag says that's high up. Not too many streams left that far up.
St. Louis, 1830. Lise sees Alexander McKeag. She stops to talk with him. With her is Lisette, now all grown up. She says that her father is dead. Liset invites McKeag to have dinner with her and Lisette. She has a lot of questions for him.
At the dinner Lise tells McKeag that she has not seen Pasquinel in seven years. Did he ever find the gold? Not yet. The last time McKeag saw the man was two years ago. McKeag complains about Pasquinel's behavior toward women. He has been unjust to her (Lise) and to Clay Basket. Lise asks him is that the name of his Indian wife. Yes. McKeag also says that wherever Pasquinel's been, he has a woman or a wife. Pasquinel may call it "running", but McKeag thinks it's just fear. Lise tries to calm McKeag. She knows by the way he acts that he loves Clay Basket. She says that he has the right to be happy. She urges him to tell Pasquinel and Clay Basket how he feels. After all, both he and Pasquinel have loved the same woman for all these years. She says: "Go to him, Alexander, while there is still time."
McKeag goes back to see Pasquinel and Clay Basket. As he nears the old cabin, Pasquinel finally finds gold nuggets in the stream. But at the same time a small group of hostiles has him surrounded. Pasquinel gets an arrow in the back of his leg and one in the center of his back. Pasquinel kills one Indian with a rifle shot and knocks another man off his horse. The Indian and Pasquinel fight hand to hand. McKeag sees the action and races his horse over to the fighting pair. He jumps of his horse onto the Indian. He wins the struggle, but Pasquinel dies in the meantim. McKeag holds his body and cries: "No! No!" Clay Baskets watches McKeag with Pasquinel.
McKeag speaks with Clay Basket. She says she is now all alone. She wants him to stay. But he wants her to come with him down the mountain. She asks about her little girl. McKeag says: "She'll be mine." They embrace.
In the morning they start down the mountain. As they head down the trail, in a close-up of the stream the audience sees many gold nuggets.
Episode III. The Wagon and the Elephant.
After the first men came other men, but most went on to Oregon.
1845. Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Mennonite Levi Zendt will come to share the dream of Alexander McKeag. A dream that would give birth to the town of Centennial.
Teamster Amos Boemer is disgusted with his Conestoga wagon. It broke down and he had to give his bells away. (If a teamster has to ask for help he gives his bells to the one who helped him.) Levi Zendt looks over the wagon and wonders. Then he realizes that he is late for Sunday dinner. He has to high-tail it back home.
At home they are waiting at the dinner table for him. Like every Sunday the reverend and his wife have come for dinner. Levi comes in and kisses his mother. He says he's sorry for being late. He talks about Amos. Levi says he never knew a man could curse that much. This upsets the "good" people at the table. At grace the reverend asks God to help Levi Zendt get his life on the right track.
Levi works at the family store with his brother Mahlon. He sees the pretty blonde girl Rebecca Stoltzfus. Levi watches her and this disturbs his brother who tells Levi to stop lingering. Levi is to make a delivery to the orphanage. Rebecca says to Levi that her father gave her some bread for the Zendt family. Levi takes the opportunity to ask Rebecca if she would like to take a ride with him. She quickly hops into the wagon.
At the Lancaster County Orphanage Levi stops for the delivery. Miss Kruger, a rather nasty lady, is in charge of the orphanage. Elly Zahm and Laura Lou Booker are young women who have to do a lot of chores around the orphanage. Elly really likes Levi. Rebecca asks Levi what does his brother Mahlon say about her. They don't talk about her. Rebecca then tells Levi to kiss her. He kisses her and finds that he really likes it. He embraces her firmly while he continues to kiss her.
Laura Lou tells Elly that one day Levi will notice her.
When Rebecca sees Miss Kruger looking out the window at her, she worries about what people will say. She starts telling Levi to let her be. She pulls away so fast that she tears her clothes. Miss Kruger shouts for Levi to get off of Rebecca, describing Levi as: "You beast!" Rebecca runs to the porch and tells the females there that Levi tried to rape her. Levi leaves.
At home Levi is performing his chores in the barn. Mahlon with their other brothers comes into the barn calling Levi "son of satan"; "you pig" and "child of the devil". Levi tries to fend them off with a shovel but they grab him. The other brothers tell Levi that Rebecca was promised to Mahlon. Levi says he didn't know this. He then says she did it to make Mahlon jealous. Mahlon slaps Levi and says that he has disgraced the family. He will publicly apologize and then he will be shunned. Levi threatens to leave for good.
Levi goes to town to speak with Amos Boemer. He buys the Conestoga from him for $20 dollars. He goes over to see Elly. She says that the church is shunning him. Levi says yes. Elly says that she has been shunned all her life. "I'm a bastard" are her words. Elly says she and Laura Lou saw everything from the window. Laura Lou tried to tell Miss Kruger what really happened, but Miss Kruger wouldn't listen. Levi says that Miss Kruger saw it the way she wanted to see it. Levi then asks Elly: "You ever think of leaving?" She answers: "Only every day." He talks to her of Oregon. She has heard of it because she reads a lot. Miss Kruger breaks up the two young people.
Levi goes downtown and buys a rifle. He goes home. His mother speaks to her son. She asks where he is going. How did she know? Jake wonders. She says that even as a boy he was the restless one of the family. She also tells Levi that she is proud of him. Mother urges him not to wait, but leave now, tonight. Take the six gray horses to pull the wagon.
Levi pulls up at the orphanage and shouts: "Elly Zahm! Get your stuff." Elly grabs what little she has and runs out the door. Miss Kruger chases after her demanding that she come back here. Levi pretends that he will shoot Miss Kruger with his new Lancaster rifle. She turns around and runs back into the orphanage. Before they can leave, Laura Lou runs up to give Elly some money she had saved. Elly is very grateful for the kind gesture. Laura Lou tells her: "You are escaping for all of us." A little later Levi asks Elly if she wants a preacher. Yes, is her answer: "I want no bastards."
On the trail Elly writes a letter to Laura Lou. They ar outside Pittsburgh. They went over the Alleghenies at 3,000 feet, but will eventually be going over the Rockies at 14,000 feet.
Levi and Elly have to stop at a blacksmith shop. One of the wheels is very bad. The blacksmith says they will have to watch it carefully. Later Elly leads the horses over their first river. She falls in the water, but she gets up immediately. They get on a flatboat on the Ohio River and float downstream for 1,100 miles to Cairo. There they will get on a steamer for St. Louis. When they dock they realize the circus is in down. The barker shouts: "See the elephant!" They meet a man named Oliver Seccombe from Boston, London and Oxford who is also going to Oregon. He tells them that Levi will find Captain Frake at the tavern. He mentions that he is writing a book: Travels in the Great American West. He's looking for French philosopher Rousseau's "noble savage". Oliver walks with the newlyweds.
Olive bumps into Captain Maxwell Mercy of the U.S. Army. He introduces his wife Lisette Pasquinel, daughter of Pasquinel and Lise. The captain strongly advises Levi to sell his horses. Otherwise the horses will die on the Plains. He can get probably as much as $500 dollars for each horse. But Levi loves his horses so much that he rejects the idea. Captain Mercy says that he is going with Sgt. Lykes to select a site for a new fort. Oliver asks him if they could join up with him. Mercy says he's only going as far as Fort John on the Laramie. That's o.k. They will still go along with him.
Preparing to leave on a steamboat, Oliver brings Sam Purchas along with him. The man calls himself: "King of the Mountain Men". He will guide them to Oregon. Captain Mercy asks about his experience and Purchas says he's been with Kit Carson, Sublette, Fitzpatrick and Bent. Purchas also tells Levi to sell the horses and get oxen. Levi is still not interested. Mercy asks Purchas what service he will provide them. The service of keeping you alive, says Purchas. Mercy replies that he has learned that the Cheyenne and Arapaho are peaceful. But Purchas says what about the Oglala Sioux, the Crow, the Blackfoot and the Gros Ventres. He adds that the Pasquinel brothers are riding with the Sioux this year.
The next morning Elly awakens her husband to tell him to get up. They are taking his horses. Levi jumps up. Purchas has just sold his horses for $3,000 dollars total. And the mountain man tells him that he is only taking $50 dollars commission. Oh, and he has purchased eight oxen at $15 apiece. That leaves Levi with around $2,900 dollars. Levi is so angry that he charges the mountain man, but Purchas merely sidesteps him and helps him fall into the river. Captain Mercy comes out to tell Levi that Purchas is right in what he did. Levi runs to say good-bye to his beloved horses.
On the Plains a wagon pulled by horses passes by the small wagon train. Purchas comes over on his horse to tell Levi he heard what he was thinking. He says, you watch. They will pass the horse-pulled wagon along their way to Oregon. Purchas sees two Pawnee riding near the wagon train. He shoots one dead with his rifle then grabs Levi's rifle and kills the other. Everyone is upset with Pruchas, but all he says is that he's been fighting Indians his whole life. He did his duty.
Two other wagons have joined the wagon train. Sgt. Lykes talks to Levi about seeing the giant elephant. Levi doesn't believe it, seeing it as a tall tale. But the sergeant says one day he will see it. (He is referring to the exhaustion that comes on many with the ordeal of traveling west, leading to the pioneers turning around and heading back.)
Jake and Mike Pasquinel along with other braves show up at the wagon train. Captain Mercy is very kind to the two men (half-brothers to his wife Lisette). Purchas tries to shoot Jake, but Mercy stops him. When Jake and Mike start to leave, again Purchas tries to shoot Jake, this time in the back. Again Mercy stops him. Mercy then tells Oliver that when he gets to the fort, he should pick another pilot for the journey to Oregon. Oliver agrees.
The small wagon train arrives at the fort. Alexander McKeag, Clay Basket and their daughter Lucinda are there operating a trading post. McKeag tells Levi and Elly about his beloved Beaver Creek, a place that has all that a man could ask for, says McKeag. Captain Mercy comes to see the trading post. He identifies all the members of the McKeag family much to their surprise. He then explains that his wife is Lisette, Lucinda's half-sister. Lise and Lisette told him all about them. The family is amazed.
The small wagon train pushes on to Oregon, but with Purchas still as their guide. Oliver apologizes to Levi, saying that there was no other guide available.
At the fort the guard yells that the Pasquinels with others are headed to their way. This creates quite a stir. The leader of the fort says that the hot-head Broken Thumb and the reasonable Lost Eagle are with them, along with other braves. Before the fort gates, Jake tell the whites that they come in peace. What he wants to know from Captain Mercy is why they need another fort in the area. McKeag advises Captain Mercy to have them smoke the pipe before they parley. But Jake doesn't want to smoke. So McKeag appeals to Lost Eagle. Lost Eagle will smoke.
On the trail Purchas sees a turn around wagon (pulled by horses) headed from the opposite direction. He tells everyone to give them nothing. They don't deserve it. But they'll perish is the objection raised. Levi decides to give them his two spare oxen.
At the parley, Captain Mercy says that Jake and Mike are his brothers. Skepticism is the response. So Mercy pulls out a photo and shows the two brothers their half-sister Lisette, Mercy's wife. But there is still skepticism about Captain Mercy, so McKeag speaks up to support Mercy and assure them that the Captain is a very trustworthy and good man. Jake finally says that they will help him find a spot for his fort. Burned Thumb tells Mercy: "I shall kill you and you shall kill me."
Elly is going to have a baby. One night Levi is away from the wagon and Purchas grabs Elly to rape her. Levi hears her scream and he comes running. Hearing the other people approach, Purchas stops and Elly manages to push him off her. Levi is so angry that he attacks Purchas and tries to strangle him to death. Oliver has to pull Levi off Purchas, saying: "You kill him. We'll all die!"
Levi and Elly leave the wagon train. They have become "turn arounds". Elly writes to Laura Lou that it was the defeat of all they had hoped for. As they push on by themselves, the bad wagon wheel completely fails. They have to cut their wagon in half and throw most of their valuables away. They limp back to Fort John. They have virtually nothing. Levi tells McKeag that they had to turn around. He saw the elephant. But McKeag has a thought. He tells Levi that he has long thought of opening another store. This one would be near Beaver Creek. He offers the position of manger to Levi. He finishes with: "Maybe you'd take to it just like he (Pasquinel) and I did." Levi happily accepts the offer.
September 15. Elly writes that they will start a new community. McKeag shouts: "There it is!" Levi gives thanks to the Lord. He thanks him for this life and this place.
Levi rides out to take a better look at the area. Elly prepares a meal when she is suddenly bitten in the neck by a rattlesnake. It does not take long before she is dead.
They bury Elly. Levi is devastated. After a couple of days of suffering he asks McKeag about that place at Fox Canyon where McKeag once stayed for a winter all by himself. Levi treks out to the old cabin by himself.
At home Lucinda says to her father that someone should go to him. And if he will not, she will go and find him. But her father tells her that the man needs to be alone for awhile. Maybe with nothing, he will learn the value of all things.
Episode IV. For as Long as the Waters Flow.
In the middle years of the 19th century, more than 350,000 emigrants moved along the Platte River from the Missouri to the Pacific. The great majority passed through Indian lands, yet fewer than 300 came to harm, a percentage smaller than those killed accidentally by their own rifles. Incidents became more common and were followed by reprisals. A deadly escalation began. One young man would become a healing force, but in the spring of 1846, it was he himself who needed to be healed. He lived as a hermit, tortured with grief.
Levi Zendt aims a rifle at an huge elk, but cannot pull the trigger. Jake and Mike, together with a few others Indians, laugh at him from afar. The U.S. Army brings in cannon with the supply column. Jake says they will destroy the supplies. They attack the supply wagons with lit torches. Once the supply wagons are on fire they retreat.
Lt. John MacIntosh was in charge of the supply convoy. He has to tell his superiors at the fort that they were attacked by the Pasquinels. MacIntosh was wounded. The commander tells Alexander McKeag that Clay Basket will have two dead sons the way things are going. Clay Basket is worried that Lucinda will go off with one of the frontiersmen at the fort. She is hungry for love, says her mother. She tells McKeag that Lucinda must go to Levi and bring him home. She adds: "I think two lives may be saved."
Lucinda rides to the cabin with supplies carried by another horse. She knocks on the door to the cabin and Levi appears at the door. The first thing she says to him is: "You're filthy!" She cooks Levi some food. He says he doesn't want to eat, but Linda gets him to eat with an insistent "Please!"
At night Levi has a nightmare. Lucinda goes to comfort him. He bolts upright and she catches him. She tells him it's alright. Levi kisses her. He suddenly realizes it's not Elly he is kissing. But Lucinda encourages him to start kissing her again and he does. In the morning Levi tells her that last night he was thinking of Elly. Lucinda says: "Elly was going to have your baby. Maybe now I'll have it."
Levi returns home with Lucinda. He tells McKeag that he wants to marry his daughter. Levi suggests that they put Lucinda in school in St. Louis. Clay Basket can go with her. Everyone is happy about the arrangement.
Lisette answers the door. Alexander McKeag is there. He asks for Maxwell, but Lisette tells him her husband is in Mexico fighting. Lisette is very happy to see McKeag. With McKeag is Clay Basket. Clay Basket meets Lise. The two women say hello to each other. Lise says that she was very jealous of Clay Basket. In turn, Clay Basket says: "And I of you." Clay Basket tells Lise that she doesn't know if Pasquinel ever loved her, not the way McKeag loves her. She also tells Lise that it's not easy being half-Indian, half-white. Lisette says: "We must make it easier on Lucinda."
MacIntosh rides with Lucinda. He says he fought against the Pasquinels. He tells Lucinda that he would like to get to know her. Why? "Because when your feet hurt, you take your shoes off."
At Levi's trading post Jake and his crew push out the Pawnees working with Levi. Levi objects that the Pawnees are the guests of McKeag and himself. Jakes kills one of the Pawnees. Levi becomes very angry and asks why. Jakes just tells him: "Don't you let Pawnee on our land again." Levi objects that one-half of the land will be his. Part of that will come through marrying Lucinda. Jake and Mike laugh at the idea of him marrying Lucinda. Levi says: "It's easy to kill." Jakes tells him: "You keep the trading post. No harm."
MacIntosh and Lucinda walk hand in hand. Mike teaches Levi sign language. He also helps Levi build the store. A letter arrives from Lucinda. Mike says to Levi that it's been hard for him and Jake to choose the world they walk in.
Alexander McKeag works with Levi Zendt. Levi tells him that Mike just left before he arrived. Levi asks how's Lucinda. Fine. Then McKeag switches to the current new of this idea of Manifest Destiny, of the natural right of Americans to sweep across and hold the continent all the way to the Pacific. Levi asks McKeag the name of the man that Lucinda is seeing. The shocked McKeag tries to assure him that it's just an infatuation.
MacIntosh asks Lucinda to marry him. They are being sent to Mexico in three days. Lucinda responds: "John, I know you'll do well." MacIntosh tells her that he loves her. They kiss.
Lucinda tells her mother that she loves both men. She needs them both. Clay Basket just says that she likes both of the young men. Clay Basket then asks Lucinda if she thinks she could leave the prairie. Lucinda says the prairie offers a lot of freedom, but there are other freedoms. She asks her mother that since she loved two men, one serious and one laughing, which one is better. Clay Basket says that the army may go to war with the Indians. It may strain Lucinda's loyalties if she marries the soldier.
Lucinda gets engaged to Levi. Mike and Jake are there. McKeag dances a Scottish jig. He wants Jake to dance with him. He says he wants to bury the hatchet with him. Jake is very reluctant, but finally dances with McKeag. McKeag suddenly falls down, much like Pasquinel did at the Rendezvous. Clay Basket rushes to McKeag. He dies. Lucinda cries. Clay Basket sings a native song.
Fort Laramie. 1951. Ketchum receives great news. A new treaty will be made with the Indians. They are sending 1,000 soldiers. They will need help in negotiating with the natives. Maxwell Mercy is there with Lisette. Lisette says to go ask McKeag. The sad news is broken to Lisette that McKeag is dead. Maxwell Mercy asks Levi if he would come with him to negotiate a treaty with the Indians. Levi worries about his baby that will soon be coming. Mercy finally levels with Levi. He tells him: "There's something you should realize. You're McKeag now."
Jakes says there will be no pow-wow, no peace, no surrender. You will kill the buffalo, we will starve, he says. You will take our land. Lost Eagle says: "There will be no war." The only hope for the Indian is peace. Jake thinks that Lost Eagle is a fool, but Burned Thumb also sides with Lost Eagle.
Mercy learns the painful truth that the supplies meant for the Indians are still in Kansas City. Mercy demands that they get a man down there to get the supplies moving.
A great many Indians arrive. There are 2,000 Cheyenne, 1,500 Arapaho, and 2,000 Sioux. And the Crow are still to come. They expect more than 10,000 Indians to be present. Government representative Mr. Flagg is worried. He says they have no gifts, no food to give the Indians.
At the peace conference the Indian chiefs are invited to go to Washington, D.C. to see the President of the US. The whites say: "This peace is forever. The land will be yours as long as the waters flow and the grasses grow." At the conference Mike introduces Lisette to Jake. Jake is very reserved with her. He says a white man cut him at Ft. Osage. Lisette assures him that her husband is good, honest. Jakes says: "I do not blame Mercy. The white man takes what he wants." Lisette says that Mike doesn't think that way. Jake answers that Mike plays the fool. In the end, the whites will have everything and they will have nothing. Now, go home, Jake tells Lisette.
Mercy gives the boundary lines for all the tribes. Lisette sings and dances with the Indian children. When she is done she asks the children now toteache her one of their native songs. But the children and some of the women only want to touch her hair, skin and clothes. Someone shouts out that the wagons are coming. The supplies finally arrive. Levi is heading home. Lost Eagle is the only one who wants to go to Washington, D.C.
Overland Trail. 1860. Hans Brumbaugh from Germany and Russia sits all by himself along the Overland Trail. Three men comes walking down the trail. The leader tells Brumbaugh his name is Larkin. He says the three of them together are the Gold Miner's Horseless Cavalry Brigade. The other two fellows with him are Scarecrow and Keefe. Larkin thinks he can find a old lost Injun gold mine. They all walk together down the trail. Later they take a break by a stream. Scarecrow and Keefe see three Indians pass by them. They figure they have food with them. They shoot and kill two of the three. They do find some food on the Indians. Brumbaugh, however, is infuriated at the murders. He knocks out both men and breaks one of their guns. Then he and Larkin move on together.
The Sioux bring in the two dead braves. Jake learns of what happened and says that two whites must die. They attack a small farm and kill a man and his young son.
Lt. Tanner comes in to speak with Major Mercy. He tells him that a number of men have come to him to ask for a punitive expedition against the Indians. But Mercy opposes the idea. He would rather the white man keep his promises to the local Indians. He tells the Lieutenant that he should tell the people to write to their government representatives to demand that the promised supplies for the Indians be brought in immediately.
Clay Basket and Lucinda are busy working. With Lucinda is her little boy Martin. Larkin tells Levi that he is looking to get a grub steak big enough to get them to Pike's Peak. He also tells Levi that he sure would like to meet an Indian Princess. Levi tells him to go in and talk to his wife. Larkin starts speaking with Lucinda asking her all kinds of question about Chief Lame Beaver. Lucinda tells him that her grandfather was never a Chief. After so many questions, she asks the man what he really wants to know. He wants to know about the gold mine. Lucinda calls for Levi and tells him: Here's another one who's heard the story of grandfather's gold mine. Levi tells Larkin that her grandfather never had a gold mine.
At Fort Laramie a new commander is expected. General Luban Asher arrives along with his aide John MacIntosh. The General tells Major Mercy that he doesn't like his new assignment. The action will be in the east with the coming civil war. The General has been talking a great deal to Lt. Tanner. Mercy tells the General that Lt. Tanner should be sent east to fight. And there are other possibilities than fighting, says the Major. For instance, they could start with giving the Indians title to their lands, title which was promised in the first treaty. And the supposedly free tools for the Indians are now being sold at such high prices that they can't afford to buy them. The General just says there is a new treaty and that's that. Mercy says: "Damn it, General!" We haven't even kept our promises in the first treaty.
Denver. Major Mercy arrives home. He tells his wife they are going back to St. Louis. They want the Indians to relocate. Lisette says: "These people need you now more than ever." She adds: "You can't leave. You'd be miserable."
Levi and Brumbaugh work on improving the trading post. Major Mercy, Lt. MacIntosh and General Asher come riding in. Lucinda is surprised to see MacIntosh. They say hello to each other. MacIntosh says "I think of you." Lucinda says: "I think of you too." Lucinda introduces MacIntosh to her son Martin. The army men want Levi to come with them to help with the treaty presentation. Levi comes out to say good-bye to Lucinda. She introduces him to MacIntosh. The three army fellows and Levi leave. Larkin tells Brumbaugh that he has an idea that Lucinda knows about the gold mine.
The next morning Brumbaugh is leaving. Larkin goes ballistic. He accuses Brumbaugh of getting the secret of the mine location from Lucinda. That's why he's leaving. Brumbaugh tells him: "You're crazy as a loon." Larkin goes inside to demand Lucinda tell him the location. He roughs her up. Martin jumps on Larkin's back. While Larkin works to throw Martin off his back, Lucinda grabs a shotgun and tells Larkin to get out and don't ever come back. He leaves.
At the treaty explanation, Levi tells the Indians that the whites are changing the treaty. They want them to move to Rattlesnake Cliffs. Jake jumps up and calls Lost Eagle an old fool. He adds: "You see what your weakness has led us to, eh?" Jake walks away from the meeting. The General is not happy with the way Levi told the Indians what was happening. He gets up to say that in the first treaty they went overboard in giving out too much land. Now they will be farming. Jake comes back to ask the General: "Have you ever been to Rattlesnake Cliffs?" There are no trees, no streams there. The Indians want to know how far away from the river they will be. The General tells them that the government does not want their land touching the river. The white man will want to use the river and they can't have the Indians owning the land immediately along it. He then turns to Lost Eagle for support. Lost Eagle says he will sign the treaty. Jake is disgusted with the Chief. He tells the General: "We will not die in silence." The Indians start leaving. The General demands that Major Mercy bring the Indians back to talk. Mercy doesn't move. He then turns to Levi for help. Levi merely says to him: "General, I'm afraid the talking's over." The Indians leave.
Episode V. The Massacre.
1861-1865. Civil War.
Larkin followed Brumbaugh to where he was looking for gold. With a rifle in his hands he claims that Brumbaugh got the location from Lucinda. Larkin asks: "You know what they do to claim jumpers?" Brumbaugh knocks his gun away and in doing so it goes off. Larkin hits Brumbaugh over the head with his rifle butt, knocking the man down. Larkin charges Brumbaugh, who takes his knife out. Larkin runs right into it. He dies.
Camp Wells. Col. Frank Skimmerhorn arrives to see Gen. Lasher. He originally came from Minnesota, but is now in charge of the Colorado Territorial Militia. Inside headquarters Major Mercy speaks with his superior officer. Lt. Tanner comes in to say that Col. Skimmerhorn is here to see him. The General says: "I don't have time for play actors." But Lt. Tanner urges him to see the man. General Pope in St. Louis says he saved the goldmines from the rebels. So the General agrees to see him.
Col. Skimmerhorn of the First Colorado Volunteers comes in. He explains that his unit was raised to put an end to the Indian menace once and for all. He adds that his unit is ready to fight. This shocks Mercy who asks: "Did you say fight?" Maxwell introduces himself and Skimmerhorn says that he knows about him from the calumny that's going around about the officer with white skin and an Indian heart. Mercy says that is a badge of honor for him. Skimmerhorn wants to stop the parlay and all the pussy-footing. He wants to eliminate the Indians entirely beginning with the Pasquinel brothers. He goes on: "As Christians, it's our duty to hunt them down and slay them. Read your Bible!"
Mercy tells Skimmerhorn: "You are insane." The Colonel responds: "No sir. I am right." He wants additional troops supplied by the General, but the General says he would need orders from Leavenworth. Skimmerhorn shoots back: "That, sir, is being arranged." After Skimmerhorn leaves, Mercy tells the General that he must stop Skimmerhorn. Gen. Lasher responds that he won't be pushed to either extreme: Skimmerhorn's or Mercy's. Mercy tells him: "You'll just sit on the fence until they blow it out from under you." The General says that the US is pushing west. People in the way will die.
Brumbaugh comes back to Zendt's trading post. Lucinda asks him why he is back so soon. Zendt himself also wants to know the answer. Braumbaugh says about the gold business: "It's a dirty business. I found I wasn't fit for it." He insists that he is a grower. And he wants to know from Levi how can he take title to land in the area. Levi says that his wife's mother sold him 800 acres along the river. Brumbaugh asks him if he can buy some of that land. Levi agrees to sell it at $10 dollar an acre. Braumbaugh gives him $60.00 dollars. He has a wife, a four year old girl and a six year old boy. Levi has a word of warning for the farmer. It's dangerous out there. He will be alone and many such settlers have been massacred by the Indians. Brumbaugh is not discouraged.
Levi and Brumbaugh go check out the six acres of land. Brumbaugh is thrilled about owning the land. He says: "I'll grow potatoes. The King of Potatoes, that's me!"
At the trading post Maxwell arrives to ask Lucinda where Jack and Mike Pasquinel are. A man named Col. Frank Skimmerhorn has arrived and he has sworn to kill the brothers. The result will be a full-scale rebellion. Lucinda doesn't know where her brothers are, but Clay Basket does. They are at Aspen Creek.
At this moment Skimmerhorn and his men come riding up to the trading post. He sees Mercy there and tells him he is under arrest. The charge is that he has been consorting with known traitors. Also to be arrested are Levi, Lucinda and Clay Basket. They are all guilty of providing aide and comfort to the enemies of the people of Colorado. He is commandeering the trading post, using it as a jail and holding them under military arrest until further notice. In addition, all weapons will be confiscated. Anyone entering or leaving without permission from the Colonel will be shot dead.
Levi tries to divert the attention of the guards by getting them drunk. This way Maxwell could sneak out of the trading post and find the Pasquinels. But the guard in charge refuses to take the offered liquor. Levi then asks them to at least stop their dog from constantly barking. They refuse. So Clay Basket starts to chase the dog away. She throws one of the bottles of liquor at the dog and then chases it and throws another. Since she ignored the order to stop, one of the guards shoots her in the back.
In the confusion Mercy gets away. He rides to Aspen Creek. He is taken by a guard to see Jake and Mike. Mercy tells the brothers that Clay Basket is dead. Mike wants to know how it happened. Mercy says she sacrificed herself so that he could warn her sons. A man named Frank Skimmerhorn has sworn to kill you, Maxwell says. The brothers asks if Clay Basket died just so he (Mercy) could deliver this unimportant message. "You let her die?" Mercy says it was her choice. He urges the brothers to go north to the Black Hills. At least go there until the army can find time to stop Skimmerhorn. Jake says he is not leaving. He will fight and die in Colorado. He adds: "If you do not disappear very quickly, I (sic) kill you myself." Knowing he can do no more, Mercy leaves.
Mercy rides to the village at Rattlesnake Cliffs to warn Lost Eagle. The village is empty of braves. There are only women, children and old men there. Lost Eagle, now very old, tells Mercy that the army has taken away their guns, horses and dogs. Everything is gone. Maxwell warns him of Skimmerhorn, saying that man wants to begin a war and is looking for any incident to begin one. He says he is going to Denver or St. Louis, or perhaps even to Washington D.C. to stop Skimmerhorn. Lost Eagle asks for guns, but Maxwell tells him he cannot bring him guns. Lost Eagle says he should have let his people follow the Pasquinels. Now his people are starving.
Mercy returns to Camp Wells. The now Captain Tanner tells the Major that he will come with him. He is under arrest. Gen. Lasher comes out to say that he wants to speak to Maxwell first. He tells Maxwell that Skimmerhorn has replaced him as commander. Now he has to travel to Fort Leavenworth to explain why he was unable to quell the Indian uprisings in Colorado. He says that he and Maxwell are finished. Lasher wants to know where did Mercy go after he left the Zendts, because he is charged with fleeing to the enemy with national secrets. The General says that now that he is no longer in charge, there is little that he can do. Mercy tells the General: "Unfortunately, you never were in charge."
Col. Skimmerhorn readies his troops for the assault of Lost Eagle's village of unarmed women, children and old men. The cannon will fire three rounds and then cease. The army will attack. Captain MacIntosh is put in charge of the right flank, while Captain Tanner controls the left flank. Skimmerhorn will lead the center. Skimmerhorn tells his officers that their duty is to shoot the Indians down. While waiting with Tanner, Skimmerhorn tells him that he was a farmer in Minnesota. The Indians murdered his mother and father, his wife and his little girl. The Indians left him and his son for dead. Somehow they survived. He adds: "For this!"
Addressing his troops, Skimmerhorn tells them: "God is on our side! Remember that always!" The cannons fire three rounds and the attack is on. The soldiers kill everyone they can get their hands on. It's an absolute slaughter. The General sends a young private as courier to ask Captain MacIntosh why he is not killing the escapees on his flank. MacIntosh responds by saying tell the General that the right flank refuses to slaughter unarmed civilians.
A soldier brings two small children over to the Colonel to ask him what he should do with him. The Colonel responds: "Nits grow into lice." He then orders Captain Tanner to have the children killed. Both children are shot in the head. The courier comes again to MacIntosh. But this time instead of giving a message, he asks the Captain if he could stay with his unit. He says he is sick from what he has seen. MacIntosh says that they all should be sick this day.
Skimmerhorn goes into the town to the hurrahs of a large enthusiastic crowd lining the street and waving American flags. The Colonel is in town to escort General Wade to Camp Wells. He will preside over the two court-martials of MacIntosh and Mercy.
Brumbaugh has finished planting his fields. And now he asks Levi if he can buy enough land from him to own half of the valley. Lisette is at the trading post crying. She talks with Lucinda about the court-martials. Brumbaugh overhears their conversation and has an idea. He met a man down by the river crying. He asked the young fellow what was the matter and he told him about what he had seen at Lost Eagles's village. Maybe he would testify on the behalf of MacIntosh. The women are very grateful to Brumbaugh.
At the court-martial, the courier Private James Arthur Clark, testifies on what he saw at the so-called Battle of Rattlesnake Cliffs. He tells the court that women, little kids and old men were all killed. And he never even saw as much as a bow and arrow among the villagers. Captain Tanner gave the order to murder the two small children. But will anyone verify Clark's testimony? At least six Colorado volunteers stand up to verify the testimony.
The court reaches its verdict. The chief judge says that they have no authority to punish Skimmerhorn. But they do have the authority to dismiss the "ridiculous charges" against MacIntosh and Mercy.
The Pasquinel brothers attack a small wagon train. The cavalry brings the raids to an end. Major Mercy talks with the Pasquinels. He tells them that Skimmerhorn was removed from command. But they still want Skimmerhorn's "head". The Major replies: "Don't make the white man kill all your people."
As Mercy and the two soldiers with him return to Camp Wells, they are attacked by a small group of Indians. They are pushed into an ambush where one of the soldiers is killed. Mercy is wounded in the left shoulder. The remaining soldier is shot and killed. Mercy falls off his horse and rolls all the way down the hill to the stream below. He hears the Indians speaking in English and realizes that he was attacked by white men dressed as Indians. One of the white men even mentions Skimmerhorn.
The Major is brought back laying over a horse, but still very much alive. The gathered crowd starts talking about bringing the Colonel back now to deal with the Indians. Mercy tries to tell them that they were white men, not Indians, but his voice is too weak to be heard.
A large crowd of whites start chanting over and over the name "Skimmerhorn!" Skimmerhorn speaks to them as speaking to a political rally. He talks about the ridiculous findings about his actions. And now, he says, he has been charged with dressing up white men as Indians. Going on, he says that the people have asked him once again to lead the fight against the savages. Skimmerhorn's son John Skimmerhorn arrives at the rally. His father is glad to see him. But John asks him about the talk of "a private army". The ex-Colonel brushes this concern aside to talk about John. John was in the army as a lieutenant, but quit. He says he wasn't cut out o be a soldier. His father tells hem that they caught up with Pasquinels' people and nearly annihilated them. The Pasquinels escaped somehow.
The Pasquinels are at Fox Canyon in the small shelter built by their father and used by McKeag and Levi as a solitary retreat. They are low on supplies and have no horses. Mike is chosen to go to the Zendts to get what they need. Mike starts his journey.
Jake hears horses coming. Before he can escape Skimmerhorn's men catch him. Skimmerhorn tells his men to hang Jake. His son John shouts: "Don't do it, Pa." Dad asks him if he should listen to a coward. He goes on with: "Don't go squeamish on me in front of these men." They hang Jake by pulling him up into the air by a rope around his neck so he can slowly strangle to death. John Skimmerhorn goes to tell Levi that Jake has been hanged at Fox Canyon.
Brumbaugh rides his horse to tell Levi that someone has set fire to the trading post. The trading post is gone completely. Mike arrives looking very weak and exhausted. Lucinda says that Mike is crazy for coming to the trading post. Levi tells him that Skimmerhorn burned him out. And Jake is dead. Mike asks for a rifle to continue the fight, but Levi refuses to give him one. He says: "The fighting's over, Mike." He also tells Mike to turn himself into the army. Lucinda repeats what her husband said: "It's over."
Striding down the middle of town carrying white flags come Levi and Lucinda with Mike. Skimmerhorn, having a shave, sees them walk down the street. He gets up and goes into the street. He shoots Mike in the back killing him. Levi shouts to him: "Why? Why?" The newspaper editor asks Skimmerhorn: "Didn't you see the white flags?"
Major Mercy asks the all alone Skimmerhorn: "Where's your army?" He then challenges massacre man to a duel. Skimmerhorn won't accept the challenge, so Mercy slaps him across the face with his gloves. Skimmerhorn selects to fight by sabaers. The major wounds Skimmerhorn on the upper arm, but Skimmerhorn knocks the sword out of Mercy's hand. Maxwell then forces Skimmerhorn to the ground and starts beating him mercilessly. Levi Zendt and John Skimmerhorn arrive to stop Mercy from killing the man. John Skimmerhorn tells his father to leave Colorado. "You were dismissed this morning!" Skimmerhorn tells him: "You're not my son! I don't know you." He is given only one minute to get ready to leave. The father tells his son goodbye and the son responds in kind.
Lost Eagle and his people are back at Rattlesnake Cliffs. He asks Mercy to parlay with them on a treaty of peace with the Arapaho nation. Mercy tells him that Skimmerhorn has been driven out of Colorado. And the supply wagons are coming. The two men of peace embrace each other.
Brumbaugh arrives at his land with his family. He tells his son that the land is a magnificent thing and he wants him to always cherish it.
1868. Zandt's General Store. Oliver Seccombe arrives in town. He talks with Levi who has two children now. There has been a big strike in Blue Valley. It was found at Dead Man's Creek, named for the skeleton laying right on the vein. Oliver tells Levi that he wants to get into the cattle business. The cattle are in Texas and he will have them driven north to feed the army and others. He wants to built a huge cattle ranch. He will call it Venneford Ranch, for Lord Venneford who is his backer. He says he will use the Homestead Act to get 160 free acres of land. He asks Levi and will ask many others to also apply for the free acres. They will then turn the land over to him in exchange for shares in the Ranch. Levi seems willing to cooperate. Then Oliver asks him about getting someone to go to Texas to bring back the cattle. Levi mentions John Skimmerhorn and Oliver is interested.
Episode VI. The Longhorns.
Colorado survived the Civil war without coming under fire. They did, however, have to fight against the Indians there. Oliver was a dreamer. He would found an empire from the Rocky Mountains on the west to the Nebraska border with a 150 mile long stretch running 50 miles north to south. The total acreage was 5.76 million acres. The cattle brought to Colorado was the Texas Longhorn.
R. J. Poteet runs across a Mexican cooking onions for his lunch. He gets off his horse and talks to the fellow. The fellow lets Poteet have a taste of some of his onions. He tastes them and says they are good. Poteet says he has some beef they can share, as long as the fellow cooks it up. The man is very happy to hear about getting a taste of some good beef. They talk and Poteet asks him if he would like a job as a cook on a cattle drive. He is driving the cattle north for a man named Skimmerhorn. The Mexican asks about the massacre of the Indians. Poteet explains that this man is the son of that Skimmerhorn. And he had no part in the massacre at all. This reassures the Mexican. He tells Poteet his name is Ignacio Gomez, but his friends call him Nacho.
Poteet has the job of collecting together from 2,000-3,000 cattle. He has a plan to get around the Kansas rustlers and the hostile Indians by following the trail used by a man named Goodnight, who drove through the desert and then north. Poteet will receive eight cents for every delivered steer.
Colorado Territory, Summer 1868. Outlaws are burning and killing in the Territory. Oliver Seccombe goes to Brumbaugh to ask him to sell his land to him. It is great land because it fronts on the river. But Brumbaugh tells him he's not selling. Oliver is insistent, so he gets an earful. Brumbaugh tells him that he is taking advantage of the Homestead Act. That was meant for the civil war soldiers, not for big land barons. It was passed for the farmers, not cattle. Brumbaugh then threatens Oliver if he ever sends any nightriders to his place to drive him off the land.
Palo Pinto County, Texas. John Skimmerhorn and Poteet go see a black cowboy named Nate. They tell him the cattle drive they are leading up will take seven to eight months, up and back. Nate can't wait to get started. They have 2,800 steers to push north. They then pick up another cowboy named Canby. Nate and Canby are the two best point men for a cattle drive in the whole county. Canby joins up. With the cook that means four men. Then a man named Mark Laseter, a former thief, asks to join up. Poteet really pumps him about his criminal past and insists that if anyone every steals from him they will be killed. Mark agrees with everything Poteet tells him and Poteet in turn hires him.
The five men travel to Jacksborough. There are a bunch of young men (many too young) waiting to join up as cowboys. Poteet tells them to meet him at 2 p.m. at the hiring place. At 2 p.m. they hire a number of men. One of them is Buck who always smells very bad. Then a man named Ragland, just a kid really, is hired. Finishing with the hiring, Poteet now has a crew of twelve. He shouts to his cowboys: "Let's get 'em branded!" After they finish with that task, Poteet shouts: "Let's take 'em north."
A young man named Jim Lloyd rides over to speak with Poteet. Poteet realizes that he knows the young lad's father and asks him if he is Tom Lloyd's boy. Yes is the answer. But Dad died in the war. Poteet goes with him to see his mother, Emma Lloyd, who Poteet also knows. Mom is very happy to see him. They are having a very hard time making ends meet. She wants him to buy her cattle. Poteet protests that he has all the cattle that he needs. He thinks it over for awhile and then tells her he will pay her $2.00 dollars for each of her 150 cattle. And he will give her more once he gets the cattle sold. Oh, there is one other favor. Would you take Jim Lloyd with you? Poteet protests that he's only a boy. He's 16. Finally he agrees to take him. But he gives his wages to his mother.
Back with the crew, there are complaints that now they are 13 men and that number is unlucky. So Poteet says they can't really count Skimmerhorn since he is the owner's representative and that makes it 12.
It's hard work on the cattle drive. Poteet runs into a man named Mr. Taylor and his crew. He owns the land they are pushing through and he wants Poteet to pay ten cents per head. Poteet says he won't pay that much money, talking real tough. A cowboy objects to the way Poteet speaks to his boss and draws a gun on him. Poteet shoots and kills the cowboy. Mr. Taylor stops the rest of his men from firing. He negotiates the amount per head until it gets down to four cents a head. Poteet pays the man.
The cattle are pushed through the desert Llano estacado (staked plain in English).
They enter Mescalero Apache country. The Apaches steal some of their horses. The cowboys want to give chase, but Skimmerhorn stops them. Poteet agrees. Apaches always steal some horses. They can afford the small loss from the few horses stolen.
Laseter and Lloyd are out looking for strays. All of a sudden Laseter runs into Comanches. Laseter gets out of their as fast as possible, but is pursued by the braves. Laseter shoots in the air to warn the crew about the danger coming. Nate wonders what the Comanches are doing so far west. The whites set up a good defensive position Canby is hit with a tomahawk almost severing his right arm. Lloyd saves a cowboy named Bufe when he kills the Comanche chief. The Comanches leave. Poteet has the cook wagon emptied and he heads out with Canby laying in the back of the wagon to Fort Chadbourne.
The cowboys reach the Arkansas River. Laseter gets shot in the back and dies. Kansas Rustlers! The cowboys make a run back to the herd and the other cowboys. The rustlers keep firing their weapons in the air trying to split the herd. Poteet finally arrives back with the herd. Jim Lloyd is creased by a bullet to his left shoulder. They are able to chase the rustlers away. Poteet says it was the Pettis boys from Kansas. They are ex-Confederate soldiers. This upsets the once Confederate soldier Bufe who is very upset about killing one of his "brothers".
Mr. Seccombe shows up. He is so pleased with the job that he asks John Skimmerhorn to run the Venneford Ranch for him. John accepts. In turn, John hires Jim Lloyd to work with him. Since this is the trail's end, Poteet comes to speak with Jim. He wants to give Jim something, but Jim refuses it saying that wasn't part of their deal. They say goodbye and Poteet leaves.
Episode VII. The Shepherds.
1876. Now the conflict of the day is the farmers versus the ranchers. The farmers are led by Hans Brumbaugh. The ranchers are led by Oliver Seccombe. Colorado was admitted to the Union on the nation's centennial birthday. The Union Pacific connected Colorado to the markets in the east. And the village founded by Levi Zendt (known as Zendt's Farm) got a whole new name: Centennial.
Summer, 1881. Matrin Zendt is now a young man. Hans Brumbaugh comes into Zendt's General Store. He asks Levi for bullets and rifles. He needs to teach everyone in his family how to use a gun. The farmer Otto Kraenzel's dead -- gunned down plowing his field. Hans says that Seccombe is behind this. But Levi and Lucinda Zendt can't believe that. The man is in Omaha. Hans says hired killers come cheap. He blames the Zendts for helping Oliver gain control of six million acres of land. He then tells Levi to grab his hat and come with him. He wants to show him something.
Levi sits with Hans watching the last of them come across the prairie. It's Lost Eagle, run off his own land. Jim Lloyd comes riding up. He asks what Indians are those. Arapaho. And tthey are going to a reservation in the north. Then Hans begins the argument about Seccombe with Jim. He tells Jim to tell Oliver that he won't be driven off like the Arapaho.
Amos Calendar comes riding into town on a wagon filled with buffalo skins. Nate sees him and they give each other a warm reception. Nate tells Amos that he knows a man who has some work that may prove dangerous. Amos likes the danger feature of the job.
The train comes puffing into town. John Skimmerhorn and Jim Lloyd are waiting for Mr. Seccombe. Oliver jumps out. He introduces the two men to his guests, Henry Buckland and his pretty daughter Charlotte. From England Mr. Buckland is a major stockholder in the ranch. Skimmerhorn gets Seccombe alone and tells him that there was some trouble while he was gone. The farmer Kraenzel was gunned down and Hans Brumbaugh has been going around saying it's the start of a range war and that Seccombe is behind it. To Skimmerhorn's surprise, Oliver tells him that he already knows about it. His lawyer telegrammed him. And the lawyer bought the Kraenzel property. The land now belongs to Seccombe.
Two tough looking guys get off the train. Calendar sees them and recognizes them. It's the Pettis brothers: Frank and Ovid. The last Calendar had heard of these murderers was that they were in Wyoming killing farmers. Nate says they've been hired. "Somebody in Centennial is planning a murder."
Skimmerhorn and Jim Lloyd come over to talk to Hans Brumbaugh. He meets them with a shotgun in his hands. The men just wanted to tell him that nobody at Venneford Ranch had anything to do with the murder of Kraenzel. While they are talking, Hans's oldest boy shouts that the barn is on fire. Hans tries to go out the front door but he is held back by rifle fire. It's the Pettis brothers. Hans and Jim go out the back window while Skimmerhorn keeps them covered. The Pettis brothers have to make a quick get-away. Hans tells the other two men that he will build again and again and again if necessary.
The Seccombe house. Oliver and Charlotte are together. Skimmerhorn and Jim Lloyd arrive to say that a couple of nightriders burned the Brumbaugh barn. And one of the nightriders called the other "Orvid". They figure it has to be the Pettis brothers. Oliver says they will help Hans rebuild his barn. But he adds: "Provided, of course, that he intends to stay."
Seccombe and Skimmerhorn take the Bucklands on tour of the giant ranch. They show them Line Camp Four in Wyoming. Mr. Buckland will be writing a report on what he sees for Lord Venneford. Charlotte asks: But will the Scotsman head clerk, Finlay Parkin, be enthusiastic? Buckland is upset that the fellows don't know where 11,000 recently purchased heads of cattle are. Nor do they know exactly where they are. Oliver walks away leaving Skimmerhorn to explain it to Buckland. Charlotte sees that Oliver is upset and walks over to him. She tells him to not to be so worried. He says he's not worried. She tells him: "How I envy you. On a day like this I wish I could stay forever."
Zendt's General Store. Jim Lloyd comes riding in. He has come to see Clemma Zendt, Levi's daughter. He tries to hug her without much success. He tells her that he loves her so much. He then hugs her and kisses her. She keeps dusting while she is being held and he is upset with her seeming indifference. Her parents and brother arrive in a buggy. Jim goes out to tell Levi: "I wan'na marry your daughter." What does she says, asks Levi. "She won't take me serious." Mrs. Zendt tells Jim that she is so very young. And, worse news, she is going to St. Louis for two years of education. Jim is crushed and says: "Two years!"
Seccombe's place. Dad is going to bed and asks Charlotte if she is coming. She goes up with him. Oliver asks Skimmerhorn about the discrepancy in the expected and the real number of cattle they have. Buckland believes they have 42,000, while Skimmerhorn says they have around 25,000. That's a huge difference. Oliver tells John that he knows he is loyal, but it's not good for him to see everything in terms of black and white. Skimmerhorn leaves.
During the night Charlotte comes to Oliver's room in her nightgown and with her hair down. Oliver walks over to her.
Levi tells Hans that he is sorry to hear about his barn burning. Hans tells him that he is in town to buy some horses to replace those destroyed in the fire. They run into Bufe who has lost his job at Venneford Ranch. Bufe is supposed to know all about horses. Bufe leaves them and goes into the bar. There he runs into his old trail pals Amos and Nate. Nate tells Bufe that he has a rough job for him if he wants it. He whispers the job to Bufe and the man exclaims: "Holy Moses!"
Jim Lloyd is also in the bar. He gets insulted about a remark from a fellow that the bartender ought to give Jim a big glass of warm milk instead of whiskey. Jim hits the fellow and a brawl starts. Sheriff Axel finally comes in and stops it with two shots into the ceiling. When Hans sees the sheriff he scolds him for not arresting the Pettis Boys for burning his barn.
Hans tends his fields. His son comes out to see him. He asks Hans where's are all his farmhands. Hans says they all left. After all, they all want to own their own land. And, of course, Hans signed a few mortgages. The son offers to help with the farm work, but Hans says he wants his son to be a lawyer. He can help him by going to school.
At the Seccombe place. Oliver marries Charlotte Buckland.
Hans is at the train station. He sees Bufe and offers him a job on his farm. Bufe says he just got a new job. Hans says: "But I think I have the right idea now." Bufe doesn't know what the man is talking about. Hans walks to meet the incoming train. The Japanese fellow from the consulate in San Francisco steps off the train. He introduces Hans to the Takemoto family. The San Francisco fellow explains that they speak no English. They are direct from Japan, but are very good workers.
Bufe now works for a man named Messmore Garrett down from Montana. The boss arrives to speak to Nate Person. He is bringing in sheep. When the train arrives they let the sheep out and they start walking right down the main street of Centennial. Some of the cowboys start making a fuss about the sheep, which, as cowboys, they intensely dislike. A fight breaks out with the cowboys and the three sheep workers: Nate, Amos and Bufe. Mr. Garrett stops the fighting by shooting in the air. He tells the cowboys that if there is any more interference from them someone is going to be shot in the head.
Levi talks with Garrett. Garrett tells him that he is almost wiped. No one will sell him any land in the area. Levi comes to the rescue. He tells Garrett that from him he can purchase 2,000 acres of land near Rattlesnake Cliffs. Mr. Garret is very happy and relieved to hear that.
Seccombe's place. A bunch of his fellow cow barons are with him. They complain that it takes two years for the grass to recover after it's been cropped by sheep. A fellow says they can put blue vitriol on the grass and kill a lot of sheep without hurting any cattle. They want to know what Oliver thinks. He says he's concerned with the farmers. The others object that it's the sheep that are the problem. Oliver asks: "Is it the sheep or the shepherds?" Another asks if the Pettis brothers are still in town. Why yes they are.
Jim Lloyd speaks to Levi Zendt. He says he heard a terrible rumor that Levi sold 2,000 grazing acres to Messmore Garrett. Levi says it's true, totally shocking Jim. Jim tells him that the sheep will ruin the open range. He wonders how Levi could do such a thing. Levi changes the subject by asking Jim if he wants to buy his share in the Venneford Ranch. Jim says: "Sure." Martin comes in with his cousin, Christian Zendt. Jim asks Levi if there is any word from St. Louis. Martin says he is going to set Jim straight. Clemma ran off with an army officer. She is pregnant. And no one knows where they went. Jim is devastated.
Mr. Garrett comes in. With him is Bufe. Jim can't believe that Bufe is working for a sheepherder. He says that Bufe must be crazy working with sheep. Bufe just says that Mr. Garrett is a good man and he will keep working for him.
Hans brings his Japanese family out to teach them how to work the fields. He starts explaining what they have to do. But suddenly the father takes the hoe and starts working exactly as a trained farm hand would. Hans looks around and is surprised to see all the family working expertly with hoes in the field. The farmer is shocked, saying: "They already know how."
Levi Zendt and his nephew Christian Zendt come out to see Hans. Levi says that his nephew has been studying Indian tribal law and was thrilled when he learned that his wife was part Indian and still has Indian contacts. Then Levi asks if Hans has heard the real news. No he has not. So Levi tells him about the sheep. Hans is tickled. He says: "Why didn't I think of that?" He goes on: "Except they're going to be tougher on sheep than fences."
Seccombe, Skimmerhorn and Jim Lloyd come out to see shepherd Calendar. They want him to move his sheep. There is in law what is called the doctrine of contiguity. This allows ranchers to use open range next to their lands for grazing cattle. Calendar says that he ain't moving.
Seccombe and his two cowhands now go out to see Bufe Crocker in Crow's Canyon. He has built a shack there for his woman, Fat Laura, a whore from Cheyenne. Oliver is very angry that Bufe had the nerve to start homesteading. He asks: "In cattle country?" They ride out to the shack. Oliver tells Laura to tell her man to get out or suffer the consequences. Laura tells him: "Blow it out your nose, fancy Englishman." She laughs as they leave.
Seccombe's Place. There is another get together of the cattle barons. One of them tells Oliver that he can't reason with these sheep herders. Oliver says: "I know Claude. It's been taken care of."
Levi asks his wife to tell his nephew Christian about the Sun Dance. Martin gets up and leaves. Levi explains to Christian that Martin feels a lot of pain. He's what too many people call a half-breed. Maybe someday it will be different. Lucinda asks her husband to go back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for a visit when Christian goes back. Levi says: "No!"
Hans complains to Sheriff Axel about his doing nothing about arresting those who burned his barn. Garrett comes into the sheriff's office. Garrett and Hans meet for the first time. Garret also complains to the sheriff that he is not doing anything. Oliver Seccombe is threatening his men and they are getting no help at all from the sheriff's office. Garrett tells Nate to ride out to Bufe's place to warn him about the Pettis brothers. He will ride to warn Calendar.
Nate arrives at Bufe's shack to warn him and Laura. As he pulls up near the shack one of the Pettis brothers tries to shoot him with his Winchester rifle. The other brother is able to shoot Laura in the stomach. Nate is able to get her inside the shack. Bufe hears the shots and comes riding back. He makes it into the shack. He holds Laura until she dies. He cries, but soon gets hold of himself. He wants to know from Nate where are they. They are 200 yards away behind some rocks. Both Nate and Bufe come out of the shack. Bufe heads straight at the brothers firing two pistols at them. The brothers shoot and kill him. Nate runs to help his buddy, but the brothers kill him too.
Calendar comes over to speak with Jim Lloyd. He tells him that Bufe's dead. Nate and Fat Laura are also dead. He tells Jim that Seccombe is behind it all. Jim finds that hard to believe. Calendar pleads with Jim to help him take on the Pettis brothers who are holed up at River's Edge. He finally talks Jim into riding with him. After a short ride they realize that someone is following them. They set themselves in the rocks and wait for the man. It turns out to be Hans Brumbaugh. And he is headed to the same place they are. They go together.
They reach the outlaw cabin. Calendar checks who is in the cabin. It's the two Pettis brothers plus two nightriders from Wyoming. The two brothers have their backs to the door. The three men get on three sides of the cabin. Jim and Calendar cover the side windows of the cabin. With his shotgun in his hands Hans busts the door open and fires both barrels. At the same time the two men break the side windows and open fire. All four men inside are killed in a hail of gunfire.
At hearing the news of the death of the four nightriders, Lucinda is very happy. Martin says the whole town's celebrating. At this moment the sheriff walks in. He wants to know from Levi if he knows what Jim Lloyd was doing yesterday. Levi says no. The sheriff asks about Hans. Levi is no help there either. The sheriff says that murder only begets more murder. He doesn't want it in his jurisdiction.
Levi tells his wife Lucinda that he wants to go back home with Christian for a visit. The wife is happy about it. She tells him: "Just go."
The train comes in to the station. Brumbaugh, Martin and Lucinda say goodbye to Levi. Later Sheriff Axel stops Brumbaugh and Jim Lloyd on main street to speak with them. He tells them: This fight is over. You have to figure out how to live in peace with the ranchers or we'll have martial-law here.
Episode VIII. The Storm.
Final decades of the 19th century.
Cartwright’s International Circus has come to Centennial. One of the acts is Daring Dan and the Apaches. The Sheriff is not thrilled about the circus being in town. Along with the circus comes a great many conmen. Sheriff Axel Dumier is determined that it’s not going to happen in his town.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Levi gets out of a buggy and Mahlon comes to greet him. They refer to each other as brother. Compared to Centennial, anyway, nothing has changed says Levi. Mahlon asks "why should it?"
Oliver Seccomb is worried about the accountant Finlay Perkin and what he mind find. He talks with his wife. He says he has borrowed "a bit" from the ranch. Charolotte asks: "You wouldn’t keep anything from me would you?"
Sheriff Dumire speaks with a conman he knows named Maurice. There is to be no skin show, no poker and no shill game. The Sheriff then speaks with John Skimmerhorn and Jim Lloyd. They say they are just waiting around for Finlay Perkin from Bristol to come in on the train. The Sheriff tells them that they are already twenty minutes late. The train came in early. The fellows have to head for the station immediately. But John and Jim literally run into their old cook Nacho. Nacho tells the guys that now he works for Daring Dan. And Daring Dan in none other than Mule Canby, the fellow who lost his right arm in the fight with the Comanches. They will get together to talk later. The accountant is there at the station and he is none to happy about being made to wait all alone.
The Sheriff appointed Hans Brumbaugh a deputy temporarily to catch Maurice doing his shill game. Maurice is performing the shill game. Hans tries to catch him by playing the game, but Maurice lets him win. Then he let’s Hans know that he knows about his newest promotion – to deputy. Hans is disappointed.
Perkin works at the ranch on the accounting books. He asks Oliver for the ranch’s audited records. There are none. There are only these un-audited records. Perkin is amazed. According to the figures, there are 12,000 missing cattle. And now the accountant insists that they have a round-up. He wants to an accurate count of the cattle. Oliver is amazed at the request given the size of the ranch. The cattle are spread out all over the open range. Perkins still demands a count.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Levi takes a look in the barn and remembers that terrible time his brothers grabbed him and accused him of rape. Mahlon comes to him and tells him that Rebecca told him the truth about the incident. He is sorry about what happened. Levi tells him not to feel bad about it: "It gave me life."
John and Jim speak with Nacho and Canby. Daring Dan gives them a shooting demonstration and this from a man with a missing right arm. He had to train himself to use his left hand as his gun hand. Canby says he has been to England and Europe with his act. John and Jim have to give Nacho and Canby the bad news. Bufe is dead. And Nate too. And the Pettis boys? Someone killed them. Canby asks a good question: "What about the rest of the Pettis gang?"
Perkin speaks with John and Jim. He tells them that the accounting doesn’t match the bills. He wants a real count, not a book account.
Oliver stares out onto the Plains. His wife comes to him. He tells her about his early days and his dreams. He says: "I can’t lose it now, Charlotte." But: "A Storm’s coming."
Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Levi goes to see the old orphanage where he met his future wife Elly. Laura Lou Booker, Elly’s best friend, sees Levi and approaches him. She says: "You don’t remember me." No he doesn’t. She tells him who she is and asks about Elly. Elly died. Laura Lou says she is terribly sorry. She tells Levi that she kept all of Elly’s letters. A publisher wants to put the letters in a book. Levi is pleased. Laura Lou mentions about him being home again, but Levi says: "I’m not home. I’m going home tomorrow. . . .Now it’s called Centennial."
Tragedy at the circus. Canby’s stable catches fire with him inside. No one can save him or the stable.
A funeral is held for Canby. Nacho says he’s going home to his small town in Mexico.
The round-up proceeds. Charlotte rides out to speak with Jim Lloyd. She asks him if Oliver could have sold some of the cattle on his own. Jim says if he did sell some cows, he had a good reason. Well, Perkin may force Oliver out. She then thanks Jim for his loyalty to Oliver.
Having learned from Mrs. Seccombe that 12,000 cows are missing, Jim speaks to John Skimmerhorn about it. John surprises Jim further by saying let’s hope it’s that number. It will most likely be more than 12,000.
Hans works in the fields with his Japanese family. He is very happy with their work and tries to tell them so. He tells them it’s lunch time and they should rest. But the family goes to work on their own vegetable garden. Hans goes home for lunch. He mentions the Japanese family working their own garden. His wife knows all about it. They sell their crops in town. They have even been asking about land to buy. The family will be leaving Hans soon. Hans looks disappointed.
Perkin asks John and Jim about Oliver himself. The guys defend their boss, saying he is the best boss they ever had.
Charlotte goes through the ranch bills. Oliver sees her and is a bit upset. She tells him frankly: "Let’s stop these pretenses!" She adds: ". .. don’t shut me out." Oliver says he’s made a "holy mess of it." He sold cows to pay dividends to the share holders while still keeping the cows on his books. He says it’s a common practice in the area. (Unfortunately for him, it’s still fraud.) Charlotte defends him by saying he made the Venneford Ranch the best ranch in the entire area.
The train comes into the station. The Sheriff is surprised to see Levi Zendt get off. He thought he was going to stay longer. Then the Sheriff sees a guy he knows, Marvin Wendell, an actor. He goes over to speak with him. Wendell is with his wife Maude and his young son Philip. They boarded the train at Grand River, Nebraska. They are putting on a show tonight. The Sheriff wants to make sure that they don’t skip out on paying any of their bills in Centennial.
Levi walks into his store while Lucinda and their son Martin have their backs to him. When he speaks, they realize that Levi is home unexpectedly. They are very happy to see each other. Clemma has come back. She is married nowt to a man named Ferguson. Clemma tells her father that she doesn’t know where her husband is. When he found out that she’s a half-breed, he left. Lucinda tells Levi: "One comes, one goes." Martin wants to go out on his own. Levi gives Martin his blessing.
Perkin informs Oliver that he is leaving at 10 p.m. tonight. He tells Oliver to write out his resignation. Why? "For fraud, sir." For selling off animals to pay for "this monstrous castle".
At the drama performance, Wendell and his family get a standing ovation.
Jim Lloyd speaks to Clemma in her family’s store. He wants to know where she went. Cincinnati, Chicago. He already knows that her husband deserted her. Jim says she is now back with him, but Clemma says: "I’m not with you!" Yes, she came back, but not to be with him. Jim says he will give her some time.
The Sheriff wants to know from Wendell if he paid the bill for rental of the hall. No he has not as yet. Then there will be no second performance, says Sheriff Dumier. And Wendell’s credit is no good. The Sheriff received a telegram from Grand River telling him to grab all the equipment owned by Wendell to pay for the bills he skipped out on. The box office receipts have already been impounded.
The local reverend comes to speak with the acting family. He tells them that the church has an emergency fund for just such a situation. The family is very surprised and very happy at the offer. Then Wendell learns that their hotel room has been given to another person and they have to leave. (The Sheriff warned the manager.) Again the reverend comes to the rescue. They can stay in his second home given to him by his mother. (The reverend seems very taken by the beauty of Maude.)
Clemma is drinking heavily in her bed. When her parents return from the drama performance, they find her drunk. Clemma becomes insulting and Lucinda slaps her face. The daughter says that it didn’t hurt. "I’ve been hit a lot harder than that." She tells her parents that she was in jail for prostitution at one point. And the last time was for love. Her husband left without her. She goes back to her bedroom.
Levi tells his wife that she saved his life because she cared. "And we’ll save Clemma now because we both care."
Venneford Ranch. Jim Lloyd comes in out of the storm. He tells Perkin that with all the snow he’ll be lucky to get out in the spring. And the cattle are not going to make it. In one valley he saw a thousand carcasses. Half of their herd must be dead by now. And they didn’t store any hay for such an emergency. And how could they get hay to the cattle anyway with all the snow? Oliver says: "Maybe it is the end of the world."
Clemma is leaving on the train. Levi chases after her. He sees her and runs beside her railway car trying to get her attention. He slips and falls. As the train continues on its way, all we see of Levi is his hat.
Venneford Ranch. The residents are already developing cabin fever. Charlotte says she is going mad at Perkin’s constant reference to the bad weather. This upsets Perkin and he answers back. Oliver tells them: "Let’s not forget out British breeding." Perkin apologizes. John Skimmerhorn comes in to tell Oliver that they are running low on feed. But Hans Brumbaugh has hay available. Jim has come up with a marvelous idea. They will put runners on the hay wagon and use it like a sleigh to get and deliver the hay to the cows.
Jim comes to Hans Brumbaugh’s place. The Sheriff is already there. The terrible news is that Levi Zendt is dead. It was some kind of train accident. Clemma was leaving again for Chicago and he must have slipped. Jim is devastated by the last bit of the news. Hans leaves quickly to go see Lucinda. Jim says he can’t go out now in this weather. Hans says: "I got to. Never had a friend like Levi."
The reverend visits Wendell and Maude. He tells Wendell that he got him a job as a baggage handler at the railway station. Wendell doesn’t look happy but he thanks the reverend. Maude gives the reverend another enthusiastic hug that obviously overwhelms the reverend. After the reverend leaves, the couple talks about the reverend’s fascination with Maude. Maude then says she has an idea to make some money. Her husband says: "The badger game? On a preacher?" The plan is to have Wendell catch the reverend in bed with his wife. That way they can blackmail the reverend him. Maude says: "This house is going to be ours. This town is going to be ours."
Funeral services are held for Levi Zendt. There are glowing words of praise from the reverend about the founder of Centennial. Maude attends the funeral. After the service the reverend says he will escort her home. Speaking about himself, Oliver says quietly: "It’s ended." Lucinda remembers her husband and what he said about Centennial and Colorado: "This is a wonderful place."
Episode IX. The Crime.
When the 19th century was drawing to a close, Centennial was hit by the most destructive blizzard ever recorded in northern Colorado. The temperature dropped to 45 degrees below zero. Cattle perished by the tens of thousands on the open range. For some, like those at Venneford Ranch, it marked the end of an era.
Venneford Ranch. Maybe only 20,000 cattle are still left. Jim Lloyd asks John Skimmerhorn if Mr. Seccombe was stealing from the Ranch. John says: "I think it was a damn good thing that the blizzard hit."
Perkin can't believe that 30,000 longhorns are missing. That is equal to nearly a million dollars. Charlotte says that 30,000 cattle are dead. Perkin doesn't believe it, but he can't get a count. After a moment of hesitation, he says: "Very well. I can't sue." But one thing is for sure, he says, is that Oliver is not fit to run the Venneford Ranch. Oliver tells him: "You'll have my resignation. . . . I am extraordinarily tired. It's time someone else took over."
At church. Maude plays the organ. The Reverend says that Union Church was blessed when Maude chose to join the congregation. In the presence of the Reverend, her husband says that he will have to take a train to Denver and Philip will be staying at a friend's house. The Reverend insists that he will help Maude. He'll be at her place at 7:00 p.m. sharp.
When the Reverend comes over, Maude sets a trap for him. She tells him: "I can't bear to be alone. I need a man." She also flatters him. Then she kisses him. They go into her bedroom. At this time Wendell comes home shouting: "Maude, I'm home. Can I come in?" He enters the bedroom and sees the minister with his wife on the bed. The reverend says he is so sorry. Wendell pulls a gun on him and says he will shoot both of them. He adds that the whole town should now about this. Maude starts pleading with her husband: "We'll do anything." And the Reverend says the same. Wendell asks for some security for Philip's future. "I want the deed to this house," he says. The Reverend is absolutely shocked. But with a few more threats the Reverend says: "The house is yours." The Reverend leaves. The con man and woman are so very happy with themselves.
Venneford Ranch. The Seccombes get back from seeing Perkin off on the train. Charlotte suggests that they go to Australia. Oliver says that they will talk about it. He then goes out to talk with John Skimmerhorn. John is talking with Jim Lloyd. John has a lot of great ideas to improve the Ranch. Oliver tells the two workers that they and the other men are the ones who built Venneford Ranch. He tells them that he resigned as General Manager. The two fellows are shocked. Oliver then tells them that John will be the next General Manager. After absorbing that, John says he will make Jim the new foreman. Oliver urges John to write his suggestions down and send them to Perkin. The two workers are happy, but sad that Oliver is leaving.
Oliver walks by himself over to the down slope where he can get an overview of some of the ranchland. Oliver remembers the first time he met Levi and Elly Zendt. He says about Levi: "We could never leave this place. It's a lovely land." He then shoots himself in the head with his pistol. The two guys and Charlotte run to him. Charlotte cries over the body of her husband.
Hans is working with his son and Mr. Takamoto and his family. Takamoto tells Hans that he and his family want their own farm. He wants to buy the Stretzel's farm which is up for sale. Hans says it will cost them $3,500 dollars and Takemoto doesn't have that kind of money. Takamoto tells him that they have some of the money and: "You give rest." Hans goes ballistic: "Never! Never! Never!" He tells Takamoto and his family that they are ungrateful. How is he going to get his beets blocked without them? Takamoto realizes that there is a big language misunderstanding. He gets his son to help him tell Hans what he is trying to say. They will block his beets. They will work his farm during the day and work their place at night. Takamoto says: "We not leave you in (sic) lurch. We family." Hans is so moved by what Takamoto told him that his eyes water and he voice chokes up.
Mrs. Seccombe is in England, but still interested in the Venneford Ranch. The Reverend has left the town.
The Sheriff goes down to the railway station. He speaks awhile to Philip who hangs out there at times.
Mrs. Seccombe sent a new bull to the Venneford Ranch. Jim Lloyd looks it over. His old trail drive friend Calendar comes over with his son Jake to see the bull too. Calendar says that he had a couple of nightriders the other night, but he chased them away. They are still looking for the three guys who killed Frank and Orvid Pettis.
Philip starts hanging out with the Sheriff. Dumire tells Phil that his dad was a sheriff. When he was a lad he wanted to join the circus. A telegram is brought to the Sheriff. It is from the town of Julesburg. A killer is coming in on the 3:17 train. It's a man named Kinderdine, a member of the Pettis gang. Phil tags along with the Sheriff who heads to the railway station. As soon as Kinderdine steps off the train, the Sheriff grabs him. He tells the outlaw: "There is a murder warrant out for you." He takes him to jail. Phil's father is there and tries to take some of the credit for the apprehension of the bad man.
London. Charlotte visits her Uncle, Lord Venneford, on his death bed. He tells her that he wants her to have his majority shares in the Venneford Ranch. But she must keep Perkin on. (No problem, she says.) And she must return at once to her Indians and cowboys, to Colorado, to her home. She cries and says: "That's the loveliest gift I ever received."
The train comes in. Mrs. Seccombe gets off. Jim Lloyd is there to greet her. He explains that John Skimmerhorn has a bum leg from being thrown by a horse. Also getting off the train is none other than the Reverend. He tells the Sheriff that he is back permanently. Wendell sees the Reverend and is worried. He rushes home to tell his wife. Maude tells him there is nothing to worry about. The Reverend is never going to mention the incident to anyone.
Phil is with the Sheriff again. The Reverend comes to the sheriff's office. They both go outside so Phil won't hear them. The Reverend says that he got the Sheriff's letter. The Sheriff had figured out what happened and had written him. The Reverend says the Wendells have to be stopped, but he won't go to court. The Sheriff says he has to know how the Wendells worked the whole scam. So the Reverend explains what happened. He says that Mr. Wendell kept asking him for more and more money. He suggests the possibility to the Sheriff that Phil hangs around him to keep an eye on him. After all, Phil's an actor too. The Sheriff says: "Sure. He sure as hell is."
Charlotte has Jim Lloyd drive her out to see the loveliest part of the Ranch: Line Camp Four. She says of the land: "It's so beautiful." She also says that Jim has grown a good deal. Charlotte asks him to dine with her at the Ranch tonight. Jim accepts.
Sheriff watches Phil as he goes for a swim. Mr. Garret with his son Beeley stops to talk with the Sheriff. As the two men talk, Phil comes out of the water to ask if Beeley could go swimming with him. Dad says it's alright. He gives the Sheriff a ride back into town. Garret invites the Sheriff to his wife's birthday party to be held at the hotel. The Wendells will perform a musical number: "Whispering Home."
A guest signs the hotel registry. He is Mr. Sorenson. He carries a black bag with him that he won't let out of his sight. He stops in to watch the Wendells sing at the birthday party. Maude looks at him and then again. After the song she speaks with Mr. Sorenson.
Venneford Ranch. Jim Lloyd joins Charlotte for dinner. She asks him about Clemma Zendt. He tells her that nobody knows what happened to her. He admits: "I keep thinking she'll turn up again."
At the birthday party Maude is dancing with Sorenson. Wendell comes over to tell his wife that he has to catch a train to Denver. Maude acts upset. After Wendell leaves, she asks Sorenson to take her home. Phil decides to follow them. Reaching her home, she kisses Sorenson. (Phil watches them.) Maude goes in the house and Sorenson follows. Phil goes into the house through an open back window. A little later Dad comes home. He finds them kissing in bed. Phil is hiding in the bedroom closet. (It's the badger game all over again.) But this time it's different. The man catches on to the game and laughs at Wendell and his wife. He says: "Now let's see what your sheriff has to say." He starts fighting with Wendell and Maude hits him over the back of the head with the dropped pistol. Wendell says: "We'll hang!" But Phil comes out. He tells them that Sheriff Dumier does not know what they did to the Reverend. He adds: "I know where we can hide his body." His parents are shocked at his calmness and his knowledge of what to do, criminally speaking. Phil and his mother take the body down to the river's edge. They throw the body into the water. Phil gets in and takes the body under water. When he returns he tells his mother that he hid the body in a cave, "some beaver's hiding place." He then tells his mom that they can never tell father where they hid the body.
Wendell is throwing the money from Sorenson's black bag up into the air and watching it drop. Sorenson had $5,500 dollars in his bag. His wife tells him that they can't spend the money just yet. She says they will quit the badger games. Phil won't tell Dad where he hid Sorenson's body. Dad is a bit peeved, but mom intervenes on her son's behalf.
The Sheriff speaks with Hans Brumbaugh about Sorenson. Hans says the guy wanted to buy land around Centennial.
Jim Lloyd comes to see Hans. He says he heard from Nacho Gomez. Hans says to write Nacho and tell him he will have work for him and others if they come up from Mexico. The other news is about Charley Kenderdine. They had better keep their eyes open and their guns ready.
Santa Ynez. Nacho is all excited about going back to Colorado and working for Hans Brumbaugh. He tries to get the husband of his niece, Tranquilino, to go with him to Colorado. But Tranquilino is not interested. Nacho virtually pleads with the young man to go with him. Tranquilino works in the mines. Nacho tells him that they have killed all the Indians up in the mines. He goes on to tell him: "Don't let them kill you like a fish in a barrel."
Lucinda Zendt arrives to see Sheriff Dumier. She was in Wyoming visiting her son Martin. The Sheriff asks her about Sorenson. She says that he wanted to buy property and he had $5,500 dollars in cash in a black bag. He was from Minnesota. The Sheriff asks her to watch her customers to see if anyone is spending a lot of money suddenly. She agrees to watch them.
The Sheriff goes to the hotel. The hotel clerk says that Sorenson went into the ballroom with the black bag. And Wendell suddenly had to take a trip to Denver.
Maude and Phil are in town. Beeley shouts for Phil to come over. Phil runs over and tells his friend that he has a job delivering wires from the telegraph office.
John Skimmerhorn sees Garrett and Jim Lloyd. The ranchers have been saying that Amos Calendar was one of the men who killed the Pettis brothers. Garrett says Calendar had help from a farmer and a rancher.
Phil watches Sheriff Dumier. His mother calls him and he's off running. Maude tells Phil that the Sheriff has been asking question about them all over town. She tells Phil to stop seeing the Sheriff. But Phil says No. The Sheriff will get suspicious that way.
The Reverend tells the Sheriff that Sorenson was dancing with Maude on the night he disappeared. Marvin Wendell left at 9:30 p.m. But, so far, nobody saw Maude leave with Sorenson.
Venneford Ranch. Charlotte looks out the window at Jim Lloyd. She comes out of the house to talk to him. She mentions that they haven't talked in a long time. She asks him to dine with her, but he says this time he wants to ask her out. She agrees to go with him. At the restaurant she grabs his right hand when he lays it on the table. People talk about them and shake their heads. The Sheriff passes by them outside and sees them kissing.
The Sheriff sees Phil and says he shouldn't be out this late at night. Phil wanted to show him that he got himself a broad-brimmed hat like the one the Sheriff wears. The Sheriff asks him where he was at the time the minister was with his mother. Phil plays dumb. The Sheriff asks him if he saw Mr. Sorenson this afternoon. Phil responds with a question: "Whose Sorenson?" The Sheriff says: "Ah, quit it. I know Sorenson is dead. Where is that body hid?" But Phil still plays dumb. The Sheriff says: "Get out of here and stay out of here. I don't want to see your lying face anymore." The Sheriff goes into his office and Phil remains outside, crying over the rejection.
Episode X. The Winds of Fortune.
It was an Age of Opportunity. And no title for its time was ever more appropriate. The future hurled toward the town of Centennial on the winds of fortune.
Phil in his telegraph uniform rides his bike. He learns that the Sheriff is down at Beaver Creek, dragging the creek bottom. Phil hurries out there. The Sheriff tells him that it’s been a long while since he saw him last. And he still wants to know from Phil what happened that night and where’s the body. Phil leaves.
Jim Lloyd talks with Hans Brumbaugh. Jim tells him that he is buying up the leftovers of the beets for his cattle. They love the beets and they thrive on them. Hans tells him that it won’t help him much because if he cannot get the workers to work his crops, he will have to close down his farm and that means no beets for the cattle.
Chihuahua, Mexico. The priest, accompanied by the soldiers, comes to see Tranquilino. Nacho doesn’t like what he sees. He says civil war is coming to Mexico. The miner’s went on strike and the government strikes back at them. The priest doesn’t want to talk with Nacho. He wants to talk to Tranquilino. The priest is picking six brave men to do a very hard job. Nacho wants to know the job. To be executioners. To execute certain criminals. Nacho says, yeah, certain criminal that are rebels which means silver miners. He tells his nephew-in-law not to do it. Tranguilino tells the Father that he is a farmer. He feeds the miners. He can’t kill them. But it’s not that simple. If he doesn’t do it harm could befall his family and himself. Tranquilino tells Nacho that he’ll go with him to Colorado when he finishes the job.
Charlotte and Jim are on a picnic. She asks him how he feels about Clemma Zendt. He tells her it’s over. She’s gone. He then asks Charlotte if she will marry him. She is ecstatic.
Tranquilino becomes part of a firing squad. Captain Salcedo is in charge of the squad. The squad executes six men. The Captain finishes them off with a shot to the head of each man. Tranquilino gets through that alright, but then his next assignment is to execute women. He shouts that he will not kill women. The priest complains to the Captain, who says he will have Tranquilino executed for disobeying an order. The priest says that Tranquilino is a very good worker and they need workers. So the Captain commutes his sentence to life at hard labor in the mines. The firing squad, without Tranquilino, executes the women. Tranquilino runs home. The Captain tells his men not to shoot. They will pick him up at his house when they finish.
Nacho tells Tranquilino that he saw it all from the hill. He tells Tranquilino to get on one of the two horses he has prepared and ride to Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso. They will meet in a bar called Kate’s in El Paso. Tranquilino leaves. Nacho stays to misdirect the soldiers. The Captain and two other soldiers come riding up. Nacho shoots one of the soldiers. There is a fire fight. The Captain goes around the building to get behind Nacho. He wounds Nacho, but Nacho also wounds the Captain. Nacho gets on his horse and rides out.
The Sheriff speaks with Mr. Wendell. Wendell says nothing helpful. He goes to lunch at the local bar. A man named Norriss who works for the Union Pacific Railroad needs a man to sell railroad land to settlers. The railroad owns thousand of acres of unoccupied land. Norris needs a man who can takes photographs and write captions to make a pamphlet to stimulate land sales. After talking with Wendell he offers him the job. He says Wendell is a man he can trust and that the clients will be able to trust. Wendell takes the job.
Riding his bike Phil runs into the Sheriff. And again the Sheriff asks him where he hid the body. He then tells Phil that his parents laid a whole lot of weight on him. He asks Phil: "You want to carry that on your conscience for the rest of your life?"
Charlotte and Jim go to the bank to let them know that she is going to have a name change in the near future. She is going to marry Jim.
Phil brings a telegram to the Sheriff. The Pettis Gang is on its way to Centennial to kill Amos Calendar. The Sheriff starts rounding up a posse. Clemma is back in town. She goes to her mother’s store. Lucinda is there with Hans Brumbaugh. Clemma asks where is her father. Hans tells Lucinda they have a lot to talk about, so he will get to work.
Hans Brumbaugh learns from the Sheriff that the Pettis Gang is on its way. The posse are to meet at Dooley’s Road. Jim Lloyd races out to Amos Calendar’s place to give him immediate support. He has to run past a lot of gun fire to get to Amos. The Pettis Gang is already there. Amos’s son Jake is also there. Amos points out the gang leader, Roy Pearce, a real bad guy. Jim says they have to send Jake back to town to tell the Sheriff they are already fighting the Pettis Gang. They provide Jake cover as he makes a run for it. He makes it to the horses and he gets away.
In town Charlotte comes looking for Jim. The Sheriff tells her that Jim has already left to help Amos. Jake arrives to tell the Sheriff the latest news.
Clemma learns about Jim Lloyd and his engagement.
Amos and Jim are about to run out of ammunition. They have knocked out two of the four outlaws. With his last bullet Jim knocks out another outlaw and Roy Pearce rides out. Soon afterwards, the posse arrives. Amos tells the Sheriff: "If we don’t get him, he’ll be back."
The posse tracks Pearce back to town. The posse now begins a search of the town. Phil’s dad tells Phil that maybe, if they are lucky, this will be the last thing the Sheriff ever handles. This upsets Phil and he races after the Sheriff.
Pearce is in the general store grabbing a rifle and ammunition. The Sheriff sends two men in back of the store. Phil sees the Sheriff go check inside. But no one is there. The Sheriff comes out again. Phil sees Pearce on top of the roof of the store and he shouts out to the Sheriff about the man on the roof. The Sheriff shoots the bad guy but the Sheriff himself is wounded.
The doctor gives the men the bad news. He can’t even operate on the Sheriff. The bullet is too close to his heart. His last request is to see Phil Wendell. Hans Brumbaugh rides out to get Phil. Phil’s parents have no idea why the Sheriff wants to see their son. But they feel so lucky. And after Phil goes with Hans, they do a little happy dance with each other. They figure the Sheriff is finally off their backs. Now they can spend the stolen money. And Mr. Wendell wants to buy land.
The Sheriff tells Phil: "I wanna thank you for yelling." But you still got shot, says Phil. The Sheriff replies: "The point is you yelled." He tells Phil he wants to know, personally, not as a sheriff, what happened to Sorenson and where is the body hidden. The Sheriff tells the boy where he thinks the body is. He asks Phil just to nod if he is right. Phil doesn’t move. The Sheriff dies. Then Phil lets it all out saying that the Sheriff was right.
Skimmerhorn Trail. Nacho falls off his horse. Tranquilino calls the land a waste land, but Nacho says: "It’s beautiful to me." Nacho thinks about his favorite time, working on the cattle drive. He tells Tranquilino to go to Colorado to Skimmerhorn and Jim Lloyd. He then says to let him rest here where he was happy.
Mervin Wendell, Real Estate, reads the sign on the building. Inside Norriss tells Wendell how happy he is with the brochure Wendell produced. Working with Wendell on the brochure was Miss Keller. Wendell leaves for a performance at the church. Norriss learns that Wendell is an actor and that he never farmed in his life. Norriss says that Wendell hoodwinked him. But Miss Keller says that it’s all right because he made up for his lack of real experience with his great enthusiasm.
Mervin sings to the church audience, while his wife plays the piano. Some in the audience wonder where is Phil. Someone says that they say he is still broken up about the death of Sheriff Axel. Jim Lloyd goes outside of the church for a smoke. And who should come walking up: Lucinda and her daughter Clemma. Jim asks Clemma: "Are you real?" She stays outside to talk with Jim, while Lucinda goes into the church. Clemma tells Jim that she has made some terrible mistakes and the worst was leaving him.
Charlotte goes up to check on Jim and finds him hugging Clemma. She gets very angry and jumps in her buggy and takes off. Jim chases after her. He knocks on the door of the ranch house and a black butler lets him in. He tells Charlotte that he thought he got Clemma out of his mind, but he can’t. He is going to marry Clemma. Charlotte asks him if he is drunk. Jim asks her to let him out of his engagement to her. Charlotte tells him the situation is so ridiculous that it’s actually funny. Jim leaves.
John Skimmerhorn rides up to talk with Jim. Jim snaps at him. Skimmerhorn tells Jim that Clemma has changed and so has he. He wants Jim to forget about Clemma. Jim just rides away.
Charlotte comes to speak with Clemma. She asks her why she came back to Centennial. Clemma just says that Jim Lloyd has loved her for twenty years. Charlotte points out that she speaks of Jim’s love for her, not of her love for Jim. She then tells Clemma that she is going to be on the train for Chicago the next day. She has Clemma’s ticket and some extra money for her. Clemma tells Charlotte that she will not be going to Chicago. So Charlotte tells her that if she doesn’t go, she will hire detectives to uncover what Clemma did for all those years she was away from Centennial. And then she will make sure Jim knows all about her and her past.
After Charlotte leaves, Clemma tells her mother that Jim is her last chance. But Lucinda tells her no, but Chicago could be her last chance for self-respect.
The bartender tells John Skimmerhorn that there is a Mexican fellow looking for Jim Lloyd. John goes to the railway station looking for him and finds him. He asks him where is Nacho. He’s dead is the answer. John says: "I’m sorry. How?" Bad times in Chihuahua, says Tranquilino, shootings. While at the station John sees Clemma get aboard the train for Chicago. He then takes Tranquilino out to see Hans Brumbaugh.
John goes out to see Jim. He tells Jim that Clemma got on the train to Chicago. He himself saw her get on board. He adds: "Problem’s over, Jim." Jim takes off on his horse.
Charlotte rides out to Line Camp Number Four. There she finds Jim. Jim goes to her and tells her that Clemma is gone, for good this time. How is he feeling? Bruised and relieved. He explains that he came up here because he connects the place with her (Charlotte). He also tells Charlotte that he bought the place from the new owners as a wedding present for her. She kisses Jim. Then they both hug and kiss.
Venneford Ranch. The honeymoon couple is back. They are greeted by three black servants.
Charlotte gets a letter from Bristol. It’s from Finlay Perkin. He congratulates the couple on their marriage and adds that Jim will now be the General Manager. Furthermore, Jim is to fire John Skimmerhorn. Jim absolutely refuses this idea. He says he owes everything in the world to John Skimmerhorn. He says he will write Perkin and tell him that he turns down his damn job. Charlotte says that her husband is right. But she will write the letter (being the cooler head).
Hans Brumbaugh asks Tranquilino what he will do when the beets are all thinned out. Will he stick around? He tells the Mexican to bring his family to Colorado to stay. He will find his family a little house where they can live rent free. "Would you stay?" asks Brumbaugh. "I’ll stake you." Tranquilino is extremely happy and rushes over to tell the other two Mexican workers who he attracted to the job. They are very happy for Tranquilino.
A letter arrives for Jim from R. J. Poteet. Poteet wants John Skimmerhorn to be his General Manager. Jim tells Charlotte that he will talk to John.
Denver. Tranquilino is in Denver. He wants to get a room, but the prejudiced white owner refuses him a room even though there is a vacancy sign on the hotel outer wall. Tranquilino starts to go inside anyway which starts a row with the owner. A man from inside the hotel comes out and hits Tranquilino over the head with a bottle, knocking him out. The hotel owner then sends the other fellow to get the Sheriff. The owner robs Tranquilino but leaves him $20 dollars so the owner can tell the Sheriff that the Mexican stole the money from him.
John Skimmerhorn leaves on the train. But before he goes he mentions a letter sent to Poteet from Bristol. The letter told Poteet that Skimmerhorn might be available for a job as a general manager. He gets on the train. After he goes, Charlotte asks her husband: "Are you mad at me?" Jim says he should have known it. He asks her if she will ever change? No, probably not. Charlotte says: "You wait and see Jim. You’re going to be the best manager Venneford ever had."
Episode XI. The Winds of Death.
Change was on its way. Predators came and those who came had no way of knowing how greatly they would upset the balance between man and nature and how close they would come to destroying a major portion of the nation and themselves.
Mervin Wendell welcomes the new settlers at the railway station. He tells them they will build a town and they can pick their free land. Hans Brumbaugh and Jim Lloyd are there too. Hans warns the people that the free land is in the dry lands. He tells them that any sod in the world will produce a crop the first year. But then it will never again match that production. Wendell tells the people that Hans is a millionaire after having come here with virtually nothing. Hans says: "I had a river." Jim Lloyd says that Wendell buys up the land at 25 cents an acre after the farmers fail.
Wendell takes the people out to the site of their new lands. Alice Grebe tells her husband Earl: "Dear Lord it’s so desolate." Wendell comes over and tells them to check out the area around Rattlesnake Cliffs.
Hans puts flowers on his wife Clara’s grave. He cries and says he really misses her. Tranquilino’s wife Sarafina with her two children come over to Hans after he finishes. Hans is happy to see her but wants to know what happened to Tranquilino. She says he couldn’t come. He’s fighting in the Mexican Revolution. Their eldest boy is with her husband. Hans says he thought he was dead. Sarafina says she did too for over six years. He was sent to prison. Hans is shocked to learn this. She says that Tranquilino sent them to Hans where they would be safe. Serafina then introduces Hans to her son Truinfador and her daughter Soledad.
At the land office parents have their daughter and son lie and say they are over 21. That way land claims can be made by the two minors.
Philip is all grown now. At dinner his father brags that six out of six of the Iowa farmers took the land. And he himself now owns 55,000 acres of land making him the biggest private land owner in the district. But what he really wants to know is where’s the body of Sorenson. Philip gets upset and leaves the table.
November 1914. Railway Arms Hotel. Earl and Alice Grebe have a toast with Mervin Wendell. After three years their land ownership is now completely legal. Wendell wants to sell them some adjacent land freed up by the failure of one of the land settlers. He will charge $5 dollars per acre. Earl says it’s too much money. But Wendell says that the USA will be in the war soon and then wheat land will be worth a fortune. Earl still says no, but he keeps tossing it over in his mind. His wife tells him to go speak with Wendell. It doesn’t hurt to talk. But their woman friend at the table says: " . . .unless you’re talking to a real snake."
Venneford Ranch. Beeley Garrett now works on the ranch for Jim Lloyd. Beeley wants to marry Jim Lloyd’s daughter Nancy. Nevertheless, Jim still wants to criticize Beeley’s past with sheep raising. Beeley gets angry and tells Jim he knows where he can stick his sheep. Jim tells him not to get mad. He wants to offer him a new job: assistant manager of Venneford Ranch.
December 1917. World War I. Buy Liberty Bonds says the huge banner. And who should be in charge of the bond drive –none other than Mervin Wendell. He brags to the crowd that he has entertained General Black Jack Pershing in his own home. He then congratulates Earl Grebe on having bought more wheat land to produce wheat "for our boys". So step on up and buy bonds.
Hans speaks with Alice Grebe. He congratulates her on her fine harvest. He adds: "I hope your luck holds." Alice says: "You still don’t approve." Hans says he approves of her and her husband.
Walter of the Land Office tries to tell Earl and his friend Magnes about some important new farming techniques. But the farmers won’t listen. Walter gives them a threatening scenario. Suppose a three-day wind comes down the fields lined up with those straight furrows. There’d be nothing to break it for 500 miles. The men say Walter is not a farmer and doesn’t know. So Walter suggests they speak with Hans Brumbaugh who is a farmer. They agree. They walk over to see Hans who is helping to push a car to get it started. But before they can get to Hans he has a heart attack.
Journalist Mr. Sanford visits with a sick Mervin Wendell. Wendell tells him he is dying and wants Sanford to write his obituary. Wendell waxes eloquent about his early life. Phil gets disgusted and leaves the room. Mom goes out to see how her son is. He is drinking whiskey. Phil tells her: "Even on his death bed, he’s incapable of telling the truth." Phil then says he’s going inside and tell Dad right in front of the journalist where the body is hidden. Maud says: "Oh, my dear, won’t you ever forgive us?" Phil just says: "You’re wanted on stage, mother."
Wendell dies at age 74. The funny thing is that his ideas actually turned out to right (at least in the short run). The Centennial region became famous as the breadbasket of the world.
Hans Brumbaugh and Jim Lloyd sit by the river on Hans’s property. Hans has a very hard time saying anything because of his heart attack. He uses a series of words and hand gestures. He makes the point that the winds will come again to the farm land. He has an idea of building a tunnel through the mountain and bringing the water from the snow to the other side of the mountain to their side. They could capture the water and bring it to the farmlands. Jim tells him: "If you’re right, those dryland farmers are gonna have some kind of chance after all." This would free them from the cycle of good years and bad.
Tranquilino gets out of a car that gave him a lift. He walks to the Brumbaugh farm house which looks pretty deserted. He looks around and sees Hans sitting in a chair next to the river. He goes over to him only to discover that Hans is dead. Tranquilino’s eyes water up.
March 12, 1933. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivers one of his fireside chats. Soledad waits for her brother in the park gazebo. A cowboy comes over and starts insulting Soledad by treating her as if she were a prostitute. She walks away from him but he grabs her. Truinfador arrives to tell him to get his hands off his sister. The cowboy grabs something with which to hit Truinfador and Truinfador pulls out his knife. The Sheriff comes over to stop the fight. He says Truinfador is a trouble maker and he is taking him to jail. He pays no attention to the charge against the cowboy. Fortunately for the two Mexicans, Jim Lloyd and Beeley Garrett tell the Sheriff what happened. They ask the Sheriff to let the young fellow go. And Jim fires the cowboy from his work at Venneford Ranch.
Truinfador tells the two men who helped him that Tranquililno has been working for a man named Grabhorn. Garrett tells Truinfador that he should tell his father to get his money as soon as he can. Truinfador also tells the men that he himself has opened a cantina across from the railway tracks. Continuing on their walk, Beeley tells Jim that the Mexicans are "really up against it." He complains about the prejudice and discrimination shown by the sheriff.
Truinfador complains to his father about how Mexicans are treated in the United States. He tells them about an article in the newspaper about a Mexican man being lynched for looking at a white woman. All he did was smile at her. But Tranquilino doesn’t want to hear about it. He wants to think positively all the time. He says that compared to what he has seen in Mexico, the situation in the United States is much better for them. Besides from losing his son in the Mexican Revolution, Tranquilino saw many horrid sights in the civil war.
May 1933. Earl Grebe is plowing his land with his two gray horses. His wife comes out to him with his lunch. They embrace.
Phil works at his father’s real estate office: Wendell’s Ranches and Estates. Earl goes in to speak with Phil. He complains that Mervin Wendell never mentioned the $1,000 mortgage being not just on the land but on the whole farm. Phil says all he has to do is pay the interest of $50.00 dollars a year. Earl says that it’s not easy getting $50 extra dollars these days. Phil mentions that he foreclosed on three farms. Earl goes home and the family discusses ways in which they can economize. Earl says he will sell the two grays.
October 1933. Grabhorn and a friend talk about Tranquilino’s son being a rabble-rouser among the farm workers. They say the recent miner’s strike in Ludlow shows what activism can bring. The friend tells Grabhorn that there is an Immigration Service in Denver. He has the telephone number if Grabhorn needs it.
December 1933. At the cantina the talk among the Mexicans is that Immigration grabbed some of the Grabhorn farm workers just before pay day so that Grabhorn wouldn’t have to pay them. An Hispanic priest advises that they not approach the land owners like wild beast sso they won’t act as such. The Sheriff comes in with his deputies. He has a court order closing the cantina. Truinfador tears up the closure notice. The Sheriff grabs him and takes him to jail.
Charlotte Lloyd has employed a professional cattle breeder to produce a better herd. But her husband Jim is opposed to the whole venture. He says that the new cattle are too small and scrawny. While discussing the issue, the Hispanic priest, named Vigilio, comes to see Charlotte. He tells her that Truinfador was jailed for having a soft-drink bar, but the real reason is because Truinfador speaks up for the rights of the farm workers. And since he heard that Mrs. Lloyd is a person who cares, he has come to ask for her help. Charlotte decides to speak in depth with him.
In court the judge tells Truinfador that he is a visitor in this country and he has no license to operate a cantina. Mrs. Lloyd stands up to say that she and Father Vigilio have something of value to add to the case. Sheriff Bogardus says that the priest is only preaching revolution. The judge then tells Vigilio that he is a guest in this country. Mrs. Lloyd speaks up saying that Father Vigilio is an American. In fact, his family has been in the area for 400 years. In contrast, the Bogardus family has only been here since 1901. The judge complains about not liking being contradicted.
Mrs. Lloyd then speaks out on a very critical issue affecting the Mexicans and Colorado. And that is the bigots of Centennial. She says that Colorado needs the Mexicans. And the only reason the charges have been brought against Truinfador is because he is a "trouble maker". It is time for Coloradans to come to grips with their appalling prejudice.
Mrs. Lloyd then asks the judge who owns the shack. The judge doesn’t think it’s relative. Phil Wendell owns it. She will buy the shack for $100 dollars from Phil and will deed it over to Truinfador. If not, she will take the story of prejudice and discrimination to every newspaper in the country. And that would not be good for Philip Wendell who wants to run for the governorship.
The fierce winds howl across the fields. The dust bowl has arrived in Colorado. Alice Grebe is becoming more and more depressed because of the wind and the dust.
The desperate farmers get together. Walter tells them that the winds can shear off their plants right in the fields. He now wants them to listen to some of his ideas for improving farming. Ideas that they refused to listen to earlier.
Beeley Garrett goes to the local school. He tells the boys about a calf wrestling contest. The winner will win the calf. A year from the victory the calf will be sold. That will give the winner several hundred dollars. Timmy Grebe really wants to win that contest. His friend Paul, who is the grandson of Mrs. Lloyd and therefore can’t compete, will help him train.
Charlotte asks husband Jim if she gets the expert cattle judge Elmo Pierce to come out to the ranch to look at the new cattle, will he listen to the man. Jim says he will. Jim goes out to watch the boys practicing wrestling calves to the ground. Timmy tells Jim that he has to win the calf wrestling contest because his family needs the money. Jim is touched by the boy’s concern for his family.
A huge sand storm descends on Centennial. Earl’s oldest son drives the school bus to make some extra money for the family. He lets the last kids off and heads for home. The wind storm, however, is so fierce that he can hardly see the road. He drives into a huge sand drift overturning the bus. He tries to get out of the door, but goes unconscious. The sand starts covering him up.
Alice Grebe says: "It was the dirt – the wind and the dirt." Her boy wasn’t even hurt that bad, but the sand covered his face and he died. Her friend asks her to come stay with them for awhile. She is very worried about Alice’s depressed mood. But Alice says she can’t leave Earl right now. And there’s more bad news. They are going to be "sheriffed".
Jim talks to Timmy about becoming a cowboy. Timmy likes the idea. Mr. Pierce comes in with Charlotte to look at the new cattle. He talks to Jim telling him that the consensus of opinion is that the new Emperor cattle may just bring cattle into conformity. But Jim doesn’t care about conformity. Jim gets so excited that he has a heart attack and falls to the ground.
Mrs. Lloyd pays a visit to the Grebe house. The Grebes tell her that they are sorry about her husband’s recent death. She gives Timmy a beautiful purple coat (Charlotte’s colors, as she says) in support of his upcoming contest performance. She then gives the family some food. Alice is obviously becoming even more depressed.
The wind is howling and dust is pushing through any opening in the house. Alice Grebe almost cries: "Dear, God, not today." The sand and dust pours through under the door. The baby cries because of the sand and dust coming through the slightly open window. Alice runs and closes the window completely. Dust is over everything. The same is true of the kitchen. She opens the refrigerator and there is even some dust there.
Earl brings a cow out of the storm. Meanwhile, his wife picks up a knife. Earl and his daughter Victoria hear a scream. Earl tells Victoria to go see what happened.
What happened is that Alice killed the baby with the knife. Then when Victoria came in, she killed her. When Earl saw what happened he killed his wife with his shotgun and then killed himself. Magnes and his wife will take Timmy. Mrs. Lloyd will see to it that Timmy is not a financial burden on them.
Charlotte and her grandson Paul take a walk to look at the land. She talks about the people who have no respect for the land. Now they have learned more about how to take care of the land. But so many men have come only to abuse the land. Charlotte tells Paul that he will be part of a war one day. It’s a war between the men who want to take care of the land and the men who just want to take what they can out of it. She refers to it as a war between the caretakers and the takers. She goes on to say that one day Paul will be an important man in Colorado.
Episode XII. The Season of Eagles.
Two men are killing American bald eagles from a helicopter.
Professor Verner (Lew) from Georgia gets off the plane in Colorado. He is met by Sidney Endermann (Sid). The U.S. magazine wants him to write an article on the history of Centennial from 1844-1978. Lew is very skeptical and says that the article has already been written. Sid says they want a double issue on one American community.
Sid shows Lew the South Platte River. He says it doesn’t look like much. She takes him to stay at the Railway Arms Hotel. Later she shows him Zendt’s Store and the Wendell place. And the other place she really wants him to see is Paul Garrett’s spread – Venneford Ranch. Sid says that the Ranch is the heart of the story. "This is cattle country."
Cisco Calendar, the singer, also lives here. Cisco and Sid like each other. So Lew leaves the couple by themselves and walks over to the river. He walks over where a man is digging a hole for a bridge abutment. While Lew watches the digging, Morgan Wendell rushes up to put a stop to the digging saying it is dangerous. There is a sinkhole in this area, he says. Lew is a bit taken aback by his aggressive way of handling the situation. He walks a bit away from the hole.
Looking back Lew sees Morgan jump into the hole. This really makes him curious. Morgan is looking for the skeleton of the murdered Sorenson, killed by Maude Wendell when the Wendell family first came to Centennial. He finds the skeleton and places the skull and bones into a canvas bag. He hurriedly rushes to his car, puts the bag in and takes off.
Lew is so curious that he decides to jump in the hole himself and look around. There he finds a small bone that he thinks is human. Lew takes the bone with him.
At the Railway Arms Hotel Wendell apologizes for his aggressive way of handling the situation earlier. Now he is very helpful since he learned that Professor Verner is going to write an article on Centennial. Morgan says he will help Lew get the information for the article.
Lew goes to the cantina built by Truinfador Marquez that is now a Mexican restaurant. Now Monolo Marquez runs the restaurant. There Lew sees Sid again. She introduces him to Paul Garrett and Nate Person (grandson of the locally famous African-American cowboy). Nate is extremely critical of the Wendell influence on Centennial and he wants to stop Wendell from getting into Colorado politics. Wendell is running for Commissioner of Resources and Priorities to help the governor of the state make the right ecological and industrial choices. Nate wants Paul Garrett to run against Wendell for the position.
Lew goes to the Venneford Ranch to learn the story of the Ranch from Paul Garrett. The Garrett family of English stock came down from Montana. Later they married into the Lloyd-Buckland family. Paul takes Lew on an airplane flight to get a good overview of the vastness of the ranch and talk about its and Centennial’s history.
(This episode uses a lot of previously shown portions of the film to illustrate the history of Centennial.)
Paul stresses the importance of the South Platte River and says he is saddened by the fact that the river is used like a sewage in some places and is being sucked dry in others. Paul explains that now he only owns 130,000 acres.
Wendell is very worried about the article. He has spies watching the professor and his movements.
Lew talks with Sid again. She admits that she is the one who has already written the story of Centennial. It took her fives months whereas Lew has only about ten days to do his research. But Sid insists that Lew will be able to provide new insight. Sid also reveals that she has a Ph. d.
Lew walks with her down to the river. He wants to bring up the subject of the bone he found. He gets Sid to tell him the legend of the murder. He then gives her a bone, which they both think is human. He shows her where he found it. Sid says, so old Sheriff Dumire was right after all. He could never find the body. Sid decides to go to New York to a laboratory where they can determine whether or not the bone is human. Lew notices that the same pick-up truck has been circling them three times. He is suspicious that they are being closely watched. He says that he saw Morgan Wendell take out from the sinkhole what he thinks is the complete skeleton. And, yes, he is going to continue his research. He says: "I’m hooked."
Lew takes Sid to the airport for her flight to New York. She desperately wants to stop Morgan Wendell from becoming an important political power in Colorado. She doesn’t like what the Wendell family represents.
Lew takes another flight with Paul Garrett. Back at the Ranch Morgan Wendell waits for them. He asks to speak alone to Paul. Lew takes a walk around the place. Morgan asks Paul to help him. He says the next step in the state’s progress will be to save Colorado’s natural resources. And he wants Paul to be his deputy when he gets into office. And in that regard, the Floyd Calendar trial is coming up. The case involves the shooting of eagles from helicopters. Morgan does not want Paul to testify against Floyd. But Paul won’t budge. He will testify against the eagle killer.
Perhaps Paul remembers back to when his grandmother Charlotte Lloyd told him that one day he would be an important person in Colorado and will be part of a war – a war between the takers and the caretakers. He tells Wendell that they just don’t see eye to eye on important issues. What Wendell wants to do is use Paul as a nice ecological cover for his own rape of the environment so that he can prosper through industrial growth of the state. Morgan is a taker, while Paul is a caretaker.
Lew and Paul go out horse riding together. The professor encourages Paul to compete with Morgan for the ecological/industrial position.
Lew’s talk did some good because Wendell is pissed. He says Paul has betrayed him by throwing his hat into the ring. So now he plots to use the eagle trial to hurt Paul Garrett and take him out of the race entirely.
The courtroom trial. Floyd Calendar’s guide testifies that the hunting of the American bald eagles goes back five years ago. Floyd would create hunting parties and lead them. One day when they were flying around the area, they noticed how close they came to an American bald eagle. And it occurred to Mr. Calendar that he could blow that bird right out of the sky. So he came up with the idea of hunting eagles by helicopter. Later Calendar switched to bears as the number of eagles declined. He would capture the bears and keep them in cages and have someone release one or two at 5 a.m. of the hunting day.
Paul Garret gets on the stand. He testifies that he started fostering the growth of wild turkey on a part of his ranch. And it wasn’t long before Floyd Calendar was hunting the birds. In fact, he would send out letters to prospective hunting clients advertising that they could get two of America’s great bird symbols: the bald eagle and the wild turkey.
Since the defense took a good beating with that testimony, they switch to what Paul did after he found out about Calendar hunting wild turkey on his land. Paul is very forthright about it all. He says he confronted Calendar in the local cantina and threatened to kill him if he ever caught him killing his wild turkey again. Paul smiles and says: "Since then we haven’t lost any turkeys."
Wendell has been having photographers follow widower Paul around to get a shot of him with his Mexican-American girlfriend Flor Marquez. He figures that the bigots in Colorado will be turned off and won’t vote for Garrett. And the environmentalist has already lost the votes of the hunters, Wendell figures, because he testified against Floyd Calendar.
Garrett goes to speak with Lew. Floyd was not found guilty of any major charge. Instead, he got a $50 dollar fine for operating a zoo without a license. He had kept the bears caged at times for more than 30 days. So, for killing 413 bald eagles, 200 bears and 81 turkeys he pays $50. Garrett is very bitter and says that Calendar had tradition on his side. "A man isn’t guilty of anything around here unless he’s an Indian or a Chicano." And he also notes that they put the picture of Flor and him on the front page.
Paul takes Flor and Lew with him out to the Arapaho reservation in Wyoming. He tells his companions that he is five thirty-seconds Arapaho. The reservation once was part of the Shoshone’s territory, but the government made them share it with the Arapaho. This caused some bad blood between the two tribes that goes on even today. Paul’s aunt tells him that Sam Loper’s son died. He drowned in a ditch just two feet deep. Paul takes a moment to tell Sam that he is very sorry to hear the news about his son.
Paul gets very angry whenever he goes to the reservation because he sees such poverty and misery. Only 30% of the youth go on to college. On the way back into Colorado he gets so angry that he lays on the car horn really blasting away. He pulls over to the side of the road to get out and cool down. He apologizes to his guests. Then Paul gives a long talk about the bad treatment of the Indians. Lew teases Paul by saying: "For a man who doesn’t want to be a politician that was quite a speech." Paul laughs and then totally changes the subject. He asks Lew if he has ever been to a Mexican wedding. Paul has his sights on marrying Flor.
Lew and Paul ride horse behind a Mexican mariachi band. Behind the horses are quite a few celebrants of what’s about to happen. They reach the cantina and out comes Flor and her relatives. Paul explains that this is an engagement serenade. He says: "I make the serenade, the lady makes the announcement." In Spanish Flor says: "Yes. Why not?"
Wendell comes up to Lew to tell him that Paul is sealing his political grave with this very public stunt. Lew tells him it’s better than stealing graves. Wendell has no response to that.
Paul and Lew drive around talking about the environment. Paul says that Elly Zendt wrote in her letters that from 105 miles away she could see the Rocky Mountains. Now look. At 10 miles distance you can’t see the Rockies. They talk with some officials about the Platte River system. The increase in population, agriculture and industry has greatly stressed the river system. At this rate, the river will go dry one day.
Wendell comes to the ranch to speak with Paul. He boldly lies to tell Paul that he fired two men who deliberately tried to make Paul look bad by hiring photographers and publishing in the newspapers the resulting photos of Paul with a Mexican-American woman. Wendell adds that the whole affair has really embarrassed him and he didn’t want Paul to blame him for the bad publicity. Paul is way too kind and tells Wendell he appreciates that. But, it wasn’t necessary. They have since published photos of him and Flor in the paper about the engagement.
Wendell asks: "So you’re not sore then?" Paul says he would only be mad if he thought Wendell had put the men up to the whole thing. And here is really why Wendell came to talk. He heard a rumor that Paul was going to run with a story that would hurt not only Wendell himself but the whole Wendell family. He then asks Paul to give him his word that he won’t let Professor Vernor publish the story either. He says he would rather resign than have that story come out. Paul tells him not to worry. He doesn’t want Wendell to drop out of the race. (He wants to beat him fair and square.)
At the cantina Paul talks to Sid and Lew. He tells them he still doesn’t really know what Wendell was talking about. His friends tell him about the find of the bone. Lew says it was actually Wendell himself who found the skeleton. Lew just followed up on his curiosity about what the man found in that hole. Paul says: "I’ll be damned." A littler later he says that Colorado won’t survive many more people like the Wendells.
A debate is held between Garrett and Wendell. Paul tells the public that he will fight those people who want to strip Colorado of all it’s natural resources. The takers will turn the state into one big cesspool like they did the river which is a public sewer.
Voting day arrives. Paul thinks he is going to lose so he gets drunk rather than go to the cantina and celebrate with his friends. Cisco and Lew have to come after Paul. They find him walking along the railway tracks. Paul tells them he is just spending some time alone. He talks of the past and its heroes. But now we create men like the Wendells, he says.
Cisco and Lew bring Paul to the cantina. Flor orders some black coffee to help him sober up. Sid says the vote’s still coming in. As the evening progresses it appears that Paul will be the winner. The announcer speaks of the debate having helped Garrett make a surprise showing.
Poor Wendell is at home with a few admirers. He asks: "How can people vote against progress?" The guy just doesn’t get it and/or just doesn’t care about anyone except himself and the people who are like him.
That James Michener is a good story teller. And it was interesting to watch the story of the fictional Centennial, Colorado develop from nothing to a modern town. In a way the film is about respecting the land and the history of one's area. It's about people who forgot the importance of stewardship of the land and respect for the past. The town went from lovers of nature to men who were only takers trying to get as much as they possibly could anyway they could. This in turn threatens the very nature of the state from a place of beauty to a place that once was beautiful. (There is no mention of global warming.)
It was much more interesting follow those early stories too. Stories of brave men and women willing to risk it all. Stories of the native Americans and the fur trappers. Stories of the farmers and the ranchers (along with their wars). These people had to have some respect for the land because their livelihoods depended upon the health of the land. As people because factory and office workers they did not have that more direct connection with the land. And for the sake of profits, they let the land deteriorate. Michener is in that tradition of caretakers rather than takers and he wants more attention to be paid to the health and beauty of our lands.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
History of Colorado:
1598 – Spanish conquistadors Juan de Oate founded the future Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Spaniards did not settle in the future Colorado. They did, however, trade with Native Americans living in that region.
1803 -- Louisiana Purchase from France. Gave the U.S.A. territorial claim to eastern flank of Rocky Mountains.
1806 -- explorer Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the region.
1807 (Feb.) -- Spanish cavalry arrest Pike and his men in the San Luis Valley. Taken to Cihuahua, Mexico.
1807 (July) -- Pike and company expelled from Mexico. 1810 -- Mexico declares its independence from Spain.
1819 -- USA gave up its claim to the land south and west of the Arkansas River to Spain (in the Adams-Onis Treaty). In return the USA got to purchase Florida from Spain.
1821 -- Mexico wins its independence from Spain. Mexico assumes Spanish lands in what later became continental USA.
1821-1880 – Santa Fe Trail.
By 1825 – the Cheyenne had moved into Kansas and Colorado. They joined with the Arapaho in a military alliance.
1832 to 1856 -- traders, trappers, and settlers established trading posts along the Arkansas River and the South Platte near the Front Range. Among the posts were Bent's Fort and Fort Pueblo (on the Arkansas) and Fort St. Vrain (on the South Platte). Yellow Wolf of the Cheyenne met with the Bent Brothers and developed a good trading relationship with them.
1847-1848 -- U.S.-Mexican War.
1848 -- in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico relinquishes it northern territories to the USA. This means the opening of all the Southern Rocky Mountain to settlement.
1849 & 1850 – discovery of small amounts of gold in the South Platte River Valley, western Kansas Territory (now northeast Colorado). Not many gold seekers came.
1850 -- US divided the region into the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah.
1850 -- USA signs peace treaty with the Utes. Then Mexican traders came north of the 37th parallel North.
1851 -- Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico establish Colorado's first permanent European settlement, the village of San Luis.
1851 -- Cheyenne White Antelope and Alights on the Cloud meet in Washington D.C. with President Millard Filmore.
1854 -- US creates Territory of Kansas and Territory of Nebraska.
1857 – Hispanic gold seekers from New Mexico Territory seek gold, South Platte River, about 5 miles above Cherry Creek (in today’s Overland Park neighborhood, Denver, Colorado).
1858 – William Greeneberry "Green" Russell was the leader of a group of Cherokee gold seekers from the state of Georgia to the South Platte River.
1858 (July) – Green Russell and Sam Bates found the first significant amount of gold in the Rocky Mountain region (near the mouth of Little Dry Creek, today’s Englewood.). This started what is known as the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush.
1858-1860 – some 100,000 gold seekers flocked to the region. Miners found gold and silver in the nearby mountains. The men were known as the Fifty-Niners.
1859-1861 – short-lived Territory of Jefferson.
1860-1861 – Pony Express.
1861-1865 -- American Civil War.
1861 -- the Territory of Colorado organized. (It lasts form 1861 to 1876.)
1862 (June 9, 10, 11) – Indian attacks on farms.
1862 (June 11) – the Hungate family was killed on their farm by the Arapaho. They mutilated the bodies which made the whites extremely mad. The Cheyenne got much of the blame.
1862 (August) – 53 settlers were killed on the Overland Trail in Nebraska.
Near Ft. Larned, Kansas, Lean Bear was shot down (with his peace medal still on his chest).
1863-1865 - the Colorado War between the USA and a group of Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho and Cheyenne. The war was centered on the Eastern Plains of Colorado Territory. All four tribes were removed to today’s Oklahoma.
The Cheyenne attack in Kansas and eastern Colorado.
1863 (March) – War Bonnet, Stand in the Water and Lean Bear meet with President Lincoln. Soon after — widespread hostilities broke out. After the Minnesota Massacre by the Santee Sioux, fear ran high on the plains.
1864 (June) – Colorado Territorial Governor John Evans issued a proclamation calling for talks with the Indians.
1864 (August) – Black Kettle has a conference at Ft. Larned with the commander, Major Edward Winekoop. The two men got along and developed a mutual respect and trust. (Major Winekoop was later dismissed for being too soft on the Indians.)
Black Kettle traveled to Denver to meet with Governor Evans and Col. John M. Chivington, the military commander in Colorado and commander of the 3rd Volunteer Colorado Cavalry. A council was held at Camp Weld, but no firm commitment to peace was reached by either side.
1864 (November 9) – Black Kettle arrived at Ft. Lyon. He moved his band to Sand Creek not far from the fort.
1864 (November 28) – 700 troops under Chivington marched from Ft. Lyon to Sand Creek. Near the Indian encampment, the soldiers actually walked to and through the Indian village.
Then all of a sudden the soldiers went wild. 150 Indians were killed. Their bodies were scalped and mutilated. The soldiers lost 25 killed and 51 wounded.
Black Kettle survived the battle. The massacre led to the warrior dog soldiers coming to the fore.
President Lincoln removed Evans and two months later Chivington was out. For the next 26 years it would be battle to the death between the whites and Indians in the area.
1865 (end of) – territorial ambitions for statehood were thwarted by a veto by President Andrew Johnson.
1868-1874 -- Comanche Campaign.
1868 – Battle of Beecher Island.
1876 -- Colorado became a state in the USA.
1879 – silver discovered in Leadville resulting in the Colorado Silver Boom.
1880 -- Colorado Republican Governor Pitkin declared martial law to suppress a mining strike in Leadville.
1890s – formation of many miner unions.
1893 – women won the right to vote in Colorado. The Governor at the time was Davis H. Waite.
1894 – notable labor dispute between owners and miners at Cripple Creek strike.
1903-1905 – notable labor dispute in the Colorado Labor Wars.
1914 – infamous labor incident known as the Ludlow massacre.
1927 – Another coal strike known as the Columbine massacre.
1933 – federal legislation allowed all Colorado coal miners to join unions without fear of retaliation.
19th century (end of it) -- virtually no law-and-order situation in Creede, Colorado. Here gunmen such as Robert Ford (the assassin of Jesse James) and con men like Soapy Smith reigned.
From 1915-1917 – Colorado passed a workers' compensation law. And liquor prohibition reigned in the state.
1920s – Ku Klux Klan an important political force.
1925 – Democratic Governor William Sweet, a strong opponent of the Klan, lost the governorship to Klan member Republican Clarence Morley.
1929-1933 -- reign of President Warren G. Harding. The Denver Post had broken the Teapot Scandal much earlier as part of its general extortion racket. It just happened by chance to be true.
1940s – Republican Gov. Ralph Carr spoke out against racial discrimination and against the federal internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
1942 – dropping Ralph Carr for re-election, the state Republican Party goes with John Vivian.
1964 – Colorado legislature passed the nation's first liberalized abortion law.
1960s (late) – in Denver, race riots and college buildings burned by radicals.
1972 – Colorado the only state to reject the Olympic Games site award. The voters rejected a bond issue to raise the money.
1976 – George Brown second black Lieutenant Governor in the USA since Reconstruction.
1984 – Governor Dick Lamm supported legalized physician-assisted suicide.
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