Season 1 Episode 25

Black Fire

Aired Sunday 6:30 PM Mar 16, 1958 on ABC
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Episode Summary

The heirs of millionaire General Eakins are being killed off one by one, causing Bret to worry because he happens to be posing as one of those heirs and just might be the next intended victim.

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  • What starts out as a simple favor to a friend lands Bret squarely in the middle of of a deadly inheritance contest.

    A classic murder mystery episode that may have been inspired by Agatha Christie's Then There Were None. A wealthy old codger, "The General", assembles his potential heirs who promptly begin to disappear. Bret has been recruited by one of the colorful clan by the name of Homer to impersonate him. His initial purpose was to avoid having to see his relatives, especially his uncle, The General, whom he hasn't seen since he was ten.

    As usual, this episode is enlivened by clever dialog as the various family members bicker and insult one another. Once Bret's true identity is revealed The General recruits him to solve the murders, leading to this exchange:

    Bret: You think I have an honest face?

    The General: No, I don't, but at least you ain't a relative.

    As befits any good murder mystery, everything is wrapped up neatly at the end, with Homer and The General realizing they have more in common than either would have imagined.moreless
Hans Conried

Hans Conried

Homer Eakins

Guest Star

Theona Bryant

Theona Bryant

Cousin Hope Martin

Guest Star

John Vivyan

John Vivyan

Cousin Millard Sawyer

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (14)

    • The General: Don't nobody have to go up and see me. Just because I sent for you people don't mean that I'm layin' around in my death bed. (clamor) Stay away from me, all of ya. Keep your distance … (He glares at his relatives) Humph. Now that I've seen ya, I may decide not to die at all.

    • Homer (as Bret): General Gibson, when a man plays poker well, he doesn't have to earn a living , other people earn his living for him. No one can accuse Bret Maverick of having done an honest day's work since the day he left home.

    • Elizabeth: General, do you know that's the third glass of whiskey you've drunk since we sat down to table?
      The General: If I took the time to count, I wouldn't have the time to drink.

    • The General: She get's her temper from her father's people, whoever they are.

    • Homer: General Gibson, it's amazing how long you can talk without stopping to think. It's one thing for a man to walk away from your money, it's quite another for him to walk away from his own.

    • Bret (about Homer): Don't worry, General, he'll grow on ya.
      The General: That's what I'm afraid of.

    • The General: Aw, Luther's dead from the neck up and half dead from there on down.

    • Homer: Perhaps you can come back tomorrow and apologize to any of us who are still alive.

    • The General: I'm gonna take some of the joy outta your lives. You, uh, won't have to sit around waitin' for me to die. You can take half the cash and split it up amongst yourselves, now.
      Bret: Do you have plans for the other half, General?
      The General: I'm savin' that to go out and get drunk on.

    • The General: I wouldn't wait breakfast for Fanny Davenport.

    • Bret: You're no card player, General. You just always draw a good hand.

    • Bret: You think I have an honest face?
      The General: No, I don't, but at least you ain't a relative.

    • Pappyism: A man who can't find his own troubles doesn't deserve to share somebody else's.

    • The General: Maverick, did your pappy have anything comical to say about money?
      Bret: No, he always spoke very highly of it.

  • NOTES (1)


    • The General: I wouldn't wait breakfast for Fanny Davenport.

      Fanny Davenport was a famous American stage actress in the second half of the 19th century. She performed many of the roles originally performed in Europe by the great Sarah Bernhardt.