The Virginian

Season 2 Episode 2

To Make This Place Remember

Aired Wednesday 7:30 PM Sep 25, 1963 on NBC

Episode Recap

In Arapaho, Wyoming, the school is being converted to a courtroom and Charles Tressider (William Bramley) complains to Judge Harper (John Hoyt) that he can not put a dead man on trial. In town an angry townsperson throws stones through the window of Judge Henry Garth's room at the hotel. On the way to court, Judge Garth reflects in a flashback upon what has brought him to town and an encounter with an old friend, a former lawyer turned rancher, Frank Sturgis (John Dehner). Even though it is reported a John Dobie had died when thrown by his horse, actually, Sturgis had led a group of 13 men who had hanged him without trial. Dobie had allegedly beat to death 18 year old Sally Ann Tressider on the evening of the fourth of July for rejecting his advances. Dobie had worked as a lad for Judge Garth who regarded him almost as a son and his mother Roseanna (Joan Blondell) had written the Judge for assistance, claiming her son's innocence and demanding his name be cleared by an "after the fact" trial.

To clear their names and consciences, Garth manages to get Sturgis to be the prosecutor and to hold a "trial" with the 12 others involved in the lynching, including the dead girl's father Charles, as the jury and Garth as defence attorney. Ending the flashback sequence, Judge Harper notes he agreed to preside even though it is not a legally binding event. The "trial" begins and it is revealed that the girl's death was due to several blows and that it was witnessed by her young sister Julie (Sunny Jordan) who named John as the killer. Also, John had a scratched face said to have been caused by his struggle with the dead girl, possessed a torn and bloodied piece of Sally Ann's scarf, and was said to have been very drunk. The dead girls' mother (Jocelyn Brando) reveals that John Dobie wanted to marry her daughter but that she had rejected his overtures and had even left town for two weeks to avoid him.

Judge Garth manages to reveal that many of the townspeople were prejudiced against Dobie because he was born out of wedlock and because they were jealous of the recent financial successes of his mother in several business deals. He also provides evidence the hanged man was not drunk. Dobie's mother testifies that, contrary to what others said, her son had told her that Sally Ann had begged him to marry her but he had rejected her saying she had been around. The Judge also elicits testimony that Sally Ann was pregnant but not by John Dobie and that the scratches on the dead man's face were due to an accident in which he fell into some barbed wire and that he had the scarf as Sally Ann had bound up his cuts with it. Finally, the younger sister who had not spoken since the day of her sister's death, reveals that the sister had actually taken her pony, to which she strongly objected, but as Sally Ann rode off the July 4th fireworks spooked the horse which threw her and killed her. Charles Tressider, recognizing his folly, declares John Dobie not guilty and attempts to apologize to his mother. Sturgis and the Judge leave the courtroom together.

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