The Big Valley

Season 4 Episode 12

Hunter's Moon

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Dec 30, 1968 on ABC

Episode Recap

Nick rides off on his own one morning after breakfast into neighboring territory and finds himself surrounded by men who demand him to throw down his gun. Without explanation, they haul him off to a dungeon, where he's held captive with two other men. After some time, a man named Dawes enters the dungeon and speaks to the three. He tells them to look outside the single window in the cell. There are three horses tied, and the trait that they have in common is their white manes, including Nick's horse, Cocoa. Dawes explains that a man was seen leaving his wife's bedroom riding one of those horses. The one who owns it and who was having an affair with his wife will hang in the morning. Dawes further asserts his authority by saying that he is judge, warden, and sherriff in that territory, as far as the eye can see.

The other two prisoners turn on Nick and witness against him to Dawes that Nick confessed the affair. Dawes accepts their word and frees them. Meanwhile, Dawes threatens to make his wife a prisoner in her own home. Dawes' right-hand man and adopted heir, Bodkin, who rounded up the men, tries so solace Dawes.

That night, Dawes' wife, Juliet, visits Nick at the prison window with a key. Nick unlocks the door from the inside, and fights off the Apache guarding it. In the process, Juliet gets her arm slashed by the Apache's knife. Nick and Juliet flee to a doctor who cares for Juliet and equips them to continue. Because there is a bright, full "Hunter's Moon" in the sky, they are able to travel by night. When they take a rest, Juliet comes on to Nick around the campfire and kisses him.

Nick's horse, Cocoa, is old and slower than Juliet's mount, and eventually Dawes and his men gain on them the next day. When Cocoa can't make it up a hill, Nick goes up on foot. Juliet's horse falls and she goes off on foot as well. When Dawes' man Bodkin sees her, he fires at her instead of Nick. He misses, but Dawes sees what he is doing. Nick ends up shooting Bodkin, and as he lies dying, Bodkin confesses to Dawes that it was he and Juliet all along who were having the affair. Juliet tells Dawes that he had gotten old and that she was tired of being his wife.

Nick is released from the sorrowful bunch and left to go on his way, and the episode comes to a close.

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