The Virginian

Season 4 Episode 26

The Wolves Up Front, the Jackals Behind

Aired Wednesday 7:30 PM Mar 23, 1966 on NBC

Episode Recap

Randy Benton arrives in Prindiville, Montana to meet Georgie Sam Smith (Michael J. Pollard) with whom he is supposed to start a horse ranch. He finds Georgie Sam is no longer interested in such a venture and that he is working at the livery stable solely so he can watch local girl Dulcy (Peggy Lipton) walk by each day. He admits Dulcy does not even know he exists but convinces Randy to stick around by visiting a local ranch run by Pa Colby (Jay C. Flippen) to buy a mare. At the ranch Randy discovers Dulcy is Colby's daughter and is so taken with her that he is signed on for a few days as a ranch hand by her brother Ben (Donnelly Rhodes). However, he agrees to help Georgie Sam, who has also signed on as a temporary hand, in his quest for Dulcy That evening a stranger (James Farentino) arrives in Prindiville and pays to have the local mortician cut a headstone labeled "Colby."

At the Colby Ranch, Ben sends Randy to help Dulcy bring the food for the hands' lunch, even though Randy tries to get him to send Georgie Sam. Randy tries to talk up Georgie Sam to Dulcy but she clearly is not interested. When they get to the camp they find a hand has been injured due to the negligence of a new hand who it turns out is not only the stranger who had ordered the tombstone but also Pa Colby's eldest son Frank who had left home 15 years before. At the ranch there is no love lost between Frank and his siblings and Dulcy guesses that someone is after Frank. Ben continues to send Randy to assist Dulcy and she makes it known she likes Randy and they kiss. Randy later confesses his transgression to Georgie Sam who says it is not Randy' fault and also reveals he has found a wanted poster for a Frank Cole indicating Frank Colby is wanted for robbery and murder as part of the notorious Nolan gang.

Randy passes on the poster to Ben who confronts his brother and reveals Frank's past to their father who in turn reveals he knows Frank purchased a tombstone in town. The next morning Frank visits his mother's grave and is ambushed by a Pinkerton man but he kills the lawman. He confronts Randy in the barn and accuses him of bringing in the law. Randy denies the charge but only the arrival of Dulcy convinces Frank he is telling the truth. Ben finds Pa Colby getting ready to sell the ranch to give money to Frank to escape to South America. This would leave Ben out in the cold and he is obviously upset. Dulcy tries to get Randy to run away with her and although he reveals his deep love for her he says they will not run away from the trouble brewing amongst the Colbys.

Ben reveals to Frank that he summoned the Pinkerton man. They get in a fist fight and Frank eventually knocks Ben out. Pa confronts Frank the next morning. He reasons the tombstone is not for Ben as Frank could have killed him already so he figures Frank is after his father and pulls a gun. However, Frank calls his bluff and also refuses to take money from his father. In town, Billy Nolan (Jack Ragotzy), head of the Nolan gang, and an associate beat up Georgie Sam to find out Frank's whereabouts and Randy learns of this event. At the Colby ranch Ben gets ready to leave and will not stay even when Pa Colby offers him the ranch. Randy arrives and tells all of Billy Nolan's arrival. Frank is found to be gone and Ben guesses the tombstone is actually for Frank himself.

Ben finds Frank at their mother's grave and learns Frank and Nolan had a falling out over a woman and Frank admits he has come home to die. Ben won't leave and talks Frank into coming back to the ranch rather than facing Nolan in town. However, when they arrive at the ranch they are ambushed by Nolan and his man and only saved by the actions of Pa Colby. A gun battle ensues until Frank calls Nolan out of the house to face him one on one. Billy Nolan does confront him but has his man set to back-shoot Frank. Frank manages to kill the associate but he is killed by Billy who in turn is shot by Ben. Frank dies seeing his brother has shed a tear for him and seems to find peace. Randy leaves but Dulcy says she can not go now and leave her family behind. She tells Randy to come back for her later. He promises to do so and they kiss. Randy then says goodbye to Georgie Sam and rides off.