Season 4 Episode 4

A Hot Day for a Hanging

Aired Saturday 7:30 PM Oct 14, 1962 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

out of 10
22 votes
  • Mindless desperation and bloodlust on


    Hoss is arrested by the well-meaning but weak-willed sheriff of a town that has just suffered a bank robbery in which a man was shot to death. Hoss is carrying money to take to Ben to buy a piece of land. The amount Hoss is carrying matches the amount that was stolen from the bank. This poor town desperately needed that money, and they are eager to believe that Hoss was one of the men who robbed the bank, only because they can't stand the thought that the robbers and killers are still free, and because they could use the money. The sole witness to the crime "positively" identifies Hoss as one of the badmen, but only after being cajoled by the dead man's wife, who is anxious for blood, and has focused her vengeful anger on Hoss. The townsfolk are also thirsty for blood and threaten to lynch Hoss for fear that he may be acquitted in a trial. The sheriff seems to sympathize with Hoss, but he fears for his job, and secretly avoids sending a telegram to Ben to come to town and identify him and prove his innocence.

    This is an interesting study in what people are capable of when they're desperate. At the end the sheriff reassures Ben that the people aren't really bad, just desperate. So much so that they almost killed an innocent man whom they desperately wanted to be guilty. The weak sheriff should not have let the widow of the dead man be present when the witness identified Hoss, as she was not a witness herself, and improperly influenced the man who

  • The starring role is actually done by an young Denver Pyle. "Dukes of Hazzard" fans will recognize Pyle as Uncle Jesse.

    It is a unique view of the well-known character actor. This is one of the few roles where Pyle is given a straight role. Rarely is the pure acting talent of Denver Pyle displayed by the quirky roles he gets. This one is simple and pure cowboy role. With the handsomeness of James Arness, Pyle could have been as effective in his role as Sheriff as James Arness was in Gunsmoke. The viewer can actually see the pressured Sheriff wrestle with what is good for the town he is loyal to, against what is right. Too bad the role called for the Sheriff to fail in the end.

    Excellent acting by Pyle.
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