The Big Valley

Season 1 Episode 4

Young Marauders

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 06, 1965 on ABC

Episode Recap

While out riding, Audra glimpses a beautiful black stallion and his herd of mares. When the stallion leads the mares to follow him, Audra chases on horseback. The mustangs stop short at the scent of other riders ahead, and turn back towards the grove of trees where Audra is. In an effort to protect her from a stampeded, one of the riders tackles her off her horse and into the lake. There is an instant mutual attraction, and Audra then rides off after thanking him. She doesn't hear his remark afterwards about the farm he and his buddies are planning to invade that evening.

Audra returns to the Barkley ranch and dreamily tells of her encounter with the stranger. Her family is amused and curious as to who the man might be. The next day, a neighbor – Harry Coleman – reports having his window broken and a note sent through it with the message that he'd better pay up for them to leave him alone. Victoria offers to help him with money, which he refuses. Nick offers to help him with men, which he accepts. When Harry returns home, the thieves surround him, and when he pulls down the handkerchief of one of them and exposes him, they shoot him dead.

The bandit who shot Harry – Lloyd – rallies his men back at the camp and tells them that his next plan is to go after the Barkleys. He has a woman back at the camp, and she wants to return home. Meanwhile, Harry Coleman's widow blames the Barkleys for what happened to her husband.

The Barkleys try to convince one of the other farmers to go forward as "bait" so that they can help catch the gang, but none of the other farmers is willing to risk his life nor his family's for that. In town buying supplies, Lloyd meets Audra again and helps her with some items that she has for Coleman's widow. He is chagrined to learn that she is one of the Barkleys. Having no idea who he is, Audra invites him to have dinner with her family at their house the following evening. Shortly after Lloyd arrives, the Barkleys escort out one of the farmers whom they've convinced to be their lead man on the raid on the bandits. Lloyd watches it all from a distance.

Lloyd's right-hand man, Turk, tries to convince him to raid the Barkley's ranch upon knowledge that they'll be gone helping this other farmer. Lloyd says to wait, but Turk undermines him and burns the Barkley barns anyway while Lloyd is on a date with Audra. Lloyd is furious with his men, but insists that his relationship with Audra is strictly to glean information about her brothers and their business. When he comes calling on Audra the next evening, Jarrod, Nick, and Heath all question him. They have one of the farmers outside the library door listening to his voice, and the farmer confirms that it sounds like one of the men who's extorted him. He also recognizes Lloyd's sorrel outside. Jarrod confronts him with a telegram that he received from his buddy in Santa Fe, the last place Lloyd claim's he was. Lloyd tries to leave but the brothers block his exit and a fist fight ensues. Audra tearfully breaks it up, and refuses to listen when her brothers try to explain who her beau really is. When Audra follows him out to his camp site to apologize, Lloyd's men capture her horse, kidnap her and send a ransom to the Barkleys.

The Barkleys pay the money but hide out at the delivery site. Lloyd insists that they now have to let Audra go, but Turk deters him. When Lloyd helps Audra escape on horseback, Turk shoots him three times in the back. The Barkleys and the sheriff soon surround and capture the remaining bandits.

The episode closes out with Audra symbolically freeing the mustang stallion that Lloyd had given her as a gift to commemorate how they first met, and the scene fades out on the horse galloping away to freedom.

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