The Virginian

Season 4 Episode 2

Day of the Scorpion

Aired Wednesday 7:30 PM Sep 22, 1965 on NBC

Episode Recap

The Virginian meets with other ranchers who are distressed that Australian Adam Tercell (John Anderson) has bought a local ranch and plans to graze sheep on open range which would destroy it as grazing land for cattle. They want to negotiate an area set aside for sheep but Tercell's son Abel (Jon Locke) refuses. He stockwhips a rancher (Edward Faulkner) who disagrees with him and the Virginian knocks Abel down for which the Australian swears revenge. The Virginian visits Emmett Ryker and meet Abel's sister Reagen (Maura McGivney). The two men go for a drink and are approached by John Pierce (John McLiam), foreman for Tercell, and his pal, a young mute called Tippy (Tim Donnelly). Pierce says the ranchers need to be more patient with the Tercells who have had a tough life and that the father is a reasonable man.

The Virginian leaves and is followed out of town by Abel as witnessed by Reagen. Abel stops the Virginian and bullwhips him so he falls off his horse. The Virginian pulls his gun which stops the whipping and pistol whips Abel who falls, apparently unconscious. As the Virginian goes to leave Abel uses his whip to knock the gun from the Virginian's hand and begins whipping him. The Virginian manages to knock Abel down and the Australian goes for the gun. Tippy arrives and tries to intervene. The Virginian strikes Abel who falls and hits his head on a rock and dies. Reagen and Pierce arrive but Tippy reveals Abel forced the fight. Pierce warns the Virginian that Adam Tercell will come gunning for him. Reagen reveals that Abel had previously killed her lover who physically resembled the Virginian so she does not seem angry with the Virginian over her brother's death.

Adam Tercell arrives and learns of his son's death. He tries to get the Virginian charged with murder but is unsuccessful. Meanwhile, the Virginian has become very friendly with Reagen and romance is blossoming. Adam has implied to Emmett, who in turn tells the Virginian, that he will run his sheep on open range in order to create an incident in which he can kill the Virginian. Adam also has harsh words with his daughter implying the Virginian had turned her against him. The other ranchers learn that Adam plans to move his sheep into the area from a railhead which will mean going through the Shiloh ranch owned "North Pass." They again try to negotiate grazing areas for the sheep but Tercell refuses even when Pierce tries to reason with him. The ranchers and their men, including Trampas and Randy, begin fencing off the North Pass and Emmett tells them that 24 of Tercell's men will be arriving to try and back up his aims.

Adam asksTippy to watch Reagen and not let her leave their ranch. Reagen goes to leave, implying she is abandoning the area for good, and Tippy, backed up by Pierce, tries to stop her. However, when Reagen questions Pierce's humanity, and brings up the subject of her late mother with whom Pierce was enamoured, he lets her go. Tippy is whipped by Adam for letting his daughter leave and when Pierce reveals he let her go he is beaten, accused of having an affair with Adam's late wife, and along with Tippy, is thrown off the ranch. Pierce and Tippy go to the Virginian and warns them Pierce plans to try and move his sheep through the next day.

The next day at the fence, Adam and his men confront the Virginian, the ranchers, and their men who are accompanied by Pierce and Tippy. Adam orders his men to begin cutting down the fence but Reagen arrives and tells her father they will have to kill her to. This seems to have little effect on Adam and Pierce likens him to a scorpion who likes to sting himself to death. Pierce tells his men to cut the fence and shots ring out, killing Reagen. The two opposing sides ride off leaving Adam cradling his dead daughter's body and the Virginian standing by wondering what might have been.

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