The Hanging Posse

Writer: Carey Wilber  Director: Christian Nyby
Guest Stars: Arthur Hunnicutt (Paiute Scroggs), Adam Williams (Blackie Marx), Onslow Stevens (Flint Johnson), Alan Reed Jr (Deputy Sheriff Jeb Clanton), Ron Haggerty (), Robert E. Griffin (), John Harmon (Schuster), Roy Hemphill (Buck Timmons), Robert Kline (Kirk), Dick Rich (Shoeffer), George Sawaya (Posse member), Evelyn Scott (Vannie Johnson), Barbara Pepper (Lil McSween)
Air Date: 28 November 1959

Adam and Joe go on a road trip – well sort of.  After being told to stay in town to get a haircut, Joe instead finds himself and his brother Adam (who stayed behind to make sure Joe got the haircut) getting involved with a posse.

Flint Johnson arrives in town with the body of his wife Vannie in the back of a wagon.  Johnson knows that there are three men (as does the audience) involved because a nearby prospector saw them riding away from his ranch.  The sheriff is out of town and it’s up to the deputy to lead the posse but the deputy is reluctant to do so.  He enlists the help of Adam and Joe to make sure the posse doesn’t turn into a lynch mob.

In the posse is Paiute Scroggs, a local tracker with a reputation of being part of a number of lynch mobs; Flint and Annie’s son; a couple of other townsmen; and Buck Timmons and Charlie Buford, two young men on their first posse who also provide a little commentary on the doubts, fears and expectations of what could possibly happen.

As the posse go on their journey, Johnson is eager to catch up to the three men as soon as possible but Scroggs wants to take it easy  He persuades Johnson that they should go to McSween’s  so that the men can take a break and have a drink or two.  Adam is against this because he knows that a drunk mob are more likely to kill and not wait for a jury trial.

Ignoring Adam, the posse heads for McSween’s (which suspiciously looks a little like the Ponderosa ranch house – maybe Ben sold the ranch house plans for some extra cash) where most of the men go about enjoying themselves and getting drunk.  Adam and Joe wisely decide to stay outside, while inside Flint’s son isn’t so sure that letting the men get drunk is a wise thing and questions his father, who wants them to drink.

After a few hours (maybe a night – we are not sure) carousing the posse is ready to leave.  Not liking the way things are going Adam tries to get the deputy to charge but once again the deputy is unsure.  However, the deputy eventually takes charge much to Johnson’s and Paiute’s chagrin as they are getting tired of Adam interfering with their plans.

Meanwhile, the subjects of the posse chase are having problems of their own.  Blackie Marx, the man who did kill Vannie Johnson is leading the others as quickly as possible away from the posse.  Schuster has run out of water is getting desperate because of his “condition”.  The other member of the group, a young man decides that he has had enough and wants to head back.  After another warning from Marx that the posse is more likely to kill and not listen, the young man leaves.

The young man soon finds out that Marx was right when he runs into Flint and his son.  Ignoring the young man’s surrender plea, Flint shoots him dead.  Flint then convinces his son to lie and say that the young man was going for his gun and that is why he was killed.  This action leads to Adam and Joe splitting from the rest of the posse and making the correct assumption that the men they are trailing are headed to Pernell Springs, the site of the nearest water.

Adam and Joe arrive at Pernell Springs shortly after Blackie and Schuster and successfully capture them.  Adam lets Schuster go and get a drink but just as he is about to quench his thirst, the man is killed by Flint.  Having been alerted to the presence of Flint and the other men, Adam and Joe defend their position in a small hut located next to the spring only to have Marx confess that the other two men he was with were innocent and had nothing to do with the killing.

After relaying this revelation to the men outside, Adam declares the intention of riding out at dusk and taking Marx back to Virginia City to face trial.  A short time later Flint tricks Adam into coming outside and getting Scroggs to knock him out.  Grabbing Marx they take him to a nearby tree to hang him but Joe (who was temporarily knocked out) stops them and takes both Adam and Marx back inside.

The situation is quickly resolved with all but Flint, Timmons and Buford leaving.  Sensing that it is all over Adam, Joe and Marx head outside and confront Flint, who ends up leaving as well.  Adam turns to the two young men that are left and succinctly summarises the whole episode in the following quote…

“Two men dead, friendships broken, a man parted from his son. I hope you boys remember this.” – Adam

The Hanging Posse highlights the relationship between Adam and Joe.  Ben and Hoss are only seen at the beginning where Hoss’ fondness for sweets and generosity is established.  Even though it still early days for the show (this is the 12th episode), this episode is more indicative of the way the direction the show was heading compared to some of the previous episodes.

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