Local fast gun Tod Owen guns down a man who was trying to shoot him from a rooftop. Everyone in town hates the trouble-making Owen and would like to convict and hang him quickly, except for...
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Local fast gun Tod Owen guns down a man who was trying to shoot him from a rooftop. Everyone in town hates the trouble-making Owen and would like to convict and hang him quickly, except for Cob Oakley, who wants to make sure he gets a fair trial, even after Owen breaks jail.Written by
Robert Ryan has a standout performance in this episode as the clear-headed, fair-minded Cob Oakley, the only man in town who doesn't automatically convict Tod Owen when Owen guns down Amos Clegg. Clegg was on a rooftop with a rifle trying to kill Owen, so really it was self defense. However, everyone in town hates Owen (actor David Janssen) and would like to see him dead. Owen's a fast gun and has killed three people in duels. He can outdraw anyone and that seems to be the root of the townspeople's hatred and rage. Except for Cob, everyone wants Owen to be found guilty of murdering Clegg so they can hang him by sundown.
The jury deliberation scenes are pretty good. Six men on the jury – five want to convict even before the trial. Cob asks a lot of good questions as he tries to raise reasonable doubt.
Meanwhile, Owen escapes jail because he doesn't believe the jury would set him free. He knows the sheriff hates him and the feeling is mutual. And indeed, the sheriff is not a nice person. David Janssen turns in a great performance as a man who always gives his opponent a fair draw but he's an outcast with no friends.
It's a good story. But it's sad, like a lot of Westerns can be.
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