Walking Tall

Season 1 Episode 3


Aired Saturday 9:00 PM Jan 31, 1981 on NBC

Episode Recap

In broad afternoon daylight, 3 men get out of a small, gray sedan, walk to a nearby bank, enter, and proceed to rob it. The oldest of the 3 men, and one younger man hold the bank's patrons at bay with shotguns, while the 3rd man goes behind the counter, and supervises the taking of the bank's cash.

Shortly later, Carl stops by, in his pickup truck, to talk to Buford, who has just come out of a nearby restaurant. In the bed of the truck, are Michael, and his friend, and fellow baseball teammate, Clay Tuttle, both in their baseball uniforms. Carl is taking the boys to baseball practice, and Dwana – In the cab of the truck, with her Grandpa – To a friend's house. Buford speaks to the boys, briefly, about their upcoming ball game, and Michael comments that, with Clay's pitching, there's no way they can lose.

Dwana then impatiently reminds her Grandpa that she's due at her friend's house, soon, so, after farewells are said, Carl drives away, and Buford heads across the street.

Back at the bank… The Tellers finish bagging the cash, the man behind the counter joins his 2 partners, and they begin to exit, with the elder crook warning all that they'd best not be followed.

Then, the bank's Manager takes the opportunity to go for a gun that he has hidden in a drawer. He takes it out, and fires toward the robbers, hitting the older man in the side. One of the robbers fires back, taking the Manager out, then orders a couple of the bank's patrons to help get the old man outside. The patrons and the 2nd robber help the old man out to the sidewalk, and, once outside, the 2nd robber lets go a shotgun blast.

Not far down the street, Buford hears the shots, turns, pulls his weapon, and races toward the bank, where passersby scatter, as the 2nd robber fires more shotgun blasts. In the confusion, the bank patrons and the old man fall to the concrete, as the wheel-man pulls alongside. The wheel-man urges the 2 other robbers to get into the car, and then speeds away, their haul spilling out onto the street, as they leave the wounded old man on the sidewalk.

As they speed away from the scene, in the getaway car, the 2 robbers are pretty upset that they had to leave the old man behind. Back at the bank, the Bank Guard comes rushing out, weapon drawn, and keeps an eye on the old man, as Buford arrives. Buford stops, turns, and fires a shot down the alleyway, through which the robbers escaped, but it's too late.

As Buford turns back around, a townsperson drives up, and parks, and Buford quickly commandeers her vehicle. He gets in, and roars away down the alley, dodging people and other vehicles, as he makes his way toward the opposite street. But, as he makes the turn, he clips another car on the street, and crashes into a parked vehicle on the other side.

Later, the Sheriff's office is bustling with activity. Buford has called in his Reserve Deputies, and Joan is busy on the phone. Buford raises first Aaron, then Grady, on the radio, and asks if they've spotted the getaway vehicle, but neither have seen it.

As Buford turns, Joan steps in with some copies of the descriptions of the robbery suspects. As he hands a copy to each Deputy, Buford explains that Joan with be assigning each of them to a particular sector of town, and he orders them to interview anyone who might have seen anything at all that might be connected to this robbery.

Buford then pays a visit to the jail, where Doc Spencer is putting the finishing touches on the bandages of the old man, who has now been identified as Theo Brewster – Patriarch of the bank-robbing Brewster gang. Buford asks the Doctor how the patient is doing, but Brewster answers:

"With my boys free, out there… I'll be just fine."

Buford unlocks the cell, steps in, and assures Brewster (Chuck Connors) that he and his Deputies are doing their very best to see that his Sons don't stay free. But Brewster returns that, not only will they stay free, but that they'll be back to pick up their Daddy.

The Doctor steps out, Buford locks the cell, and, as they step down the hallway, Doc Spencer tells Buford that the bullet that Brewster took had done quite a bit of damage to his insides, and that he can't operate, until the internal bleeding stops.

As they step out into the main office, Buford tells the Doctor that, with Brewster as bad off as he is, he doesn't want him in the McNeal County Jail. But the Doctor quickly tells Buford that Brewster can't be moved, adding that the stress of a 20-mile trip to the hospital would kill him. Doc goes on to say that he'll see that a Nurse and some monitoring equipment are brought in, but that, until Brewster's internal bleeding stops, moving him anywhere is out of the question. The Doctor leaves, and Buford heads for his office, as Joan checks in with some of the Deputies, on the radio.

That night, while hiding on a deserted country road, Dellum, the wheel-man (Timothy Scott), argues that they should have run, when they had the chance. But, the ring-leader – Clell Brewster (Edward Albert) – Reminds Dellum that they won't be leaving without their Pa, and when Dellum states his belief that the old man is dead, the younger brother – T.J. (Richard Lineback) – Is angered, and attacks Dellum.

After Clell breaks up the fight, Dellum announces his intention to leave, but, with the help of a switchblade, Clell talks him into staying.

Later, at the jail, as Buford and Joan discuss the possibility of the suspects slipping through any of their roadblocks, Carl brings them a dinner of Southern-fried chicken. Doc Spencer joins them, for dinner, and after serving it, Carl asks Buford if he might step back into the jail, and have a word with Brewster. After The Doctor gives his OK, Carl heads for the cell-block.

Brewster is in pretty sad shape, with IVs, and heart monitors hooked up to him, when Carl tells him that he's heard that Brewster's Sons are part of his gang. When Brewster admits that 2 of his gang are his Sons, Carl adds that, having a Son, himself, he's having trouble understanding Brewster's situation.

"My boys…" says Brewster, with some difficulty, "…Are good boys."

"Then, we're both lucky." Says Carl. "Just guess I'm a little luckier."

Back in the office, as Carl is preparing to leave, Buford receives a Teletype, from the FBI, and reads it to Carl. It seems that The Brewster Gang is wanted for 5 armed robberies, 3 assaults, and 4 bank hold-ups, and are to be considered armed and extremely dangerous.

Meanwhile, Clell, T.J., and Dellum – Having procured a different vehicle – Are making their way across town. They've heard that Theo is being held in the McNeal County Jail, so Clell has come up with a plan to have him released.

They pull up in front of the Tuttle residence, and Clell gets out, and goes to their front door. Inside, the Tuttle Family is enjoying an evening of television, when a knock is heard. Ben Tuttle (Jack Rader) asks his Son, Clay (James Jarnagin) to answer the door, and, when he does, Clell gives him a story about having some car trouble, and asks if he can use their phone.

Clay tells his Dad, and, as he gets up, Ben gives his OK. But, when Clell, T.J., and Dellum enter, weapons leveled, the Tuttle family huddles together, in fear.

The next morning, Buford comes home just long enough to change shirts, and walks in on an argument, during breakfast, between Dwana and Michael, about whether or not a baseball team should have cheerleaders. The argument is not fully settled, when Buford has to rush out again. Michael asks his Dad if he might be able to come to his baseball game, that afternoon, but Buford has to tell Michael that, though he'll try to make the game, he's not sure if he can.

Later, Carl has driven Michael to the Tuttle home, to pick up Clay, for the big game. As Clell Brewster keeps his gun on Ben, from behind the door, Tuttle has to tell Michael that Clay won't be playing in today's ball game, adding that Clay has come down with a fever, and is sick to his stomach. Quite disappointed, Michael pleads with Ben to let Clay come to the game, but Tuttle will have none of it.

"Dammit, Michael!" Snaps Tuttle. "Can't you take 'No' for an answer?!!"

When Carl puts in word about Ben's attitude, Ben snaps at Carl, also. He makes it clear that Clay won't be playing in the ball game, today, and closes the door.

Dejected, Michael climbs into the back of the pickup, and Carl backs out of the driveway.

Inside, Clell comments that Ben hadn't handled the situation well. Tuttle replies that it wasn't easy, knowing that the lives of his Family were in danger. Mrs. Tuttle gets up, approaches her husband, and reminds him that the crooks wouldn't dare hurt them.

"They need us." Says Mrs. Tuttle.

Dellum then steps in, and grabs Mrs. Tuttle.

"That's for sure!" he says, as he fondles Mrs. Tuttle's hair. "Leastwise, I need You, pretty lady!"

Ben Tuttle is angered, but Clell puts a stop to any violence, for the moment, and orders Mrs. Tuttle to go into the kitchen, and prepare some food, then orders Dellum to go and keep an eye on her.

Later, on a deserted road, outside of town, Buford, Aaron, Grady, and 2 other Deputies have found the gray sedan. Aaron deduces that the suspects got hold of a different car, and had slipped through the roadblocks, somehow. But Buford doesn't agree. The fact that the elder Brewster was so sure his boys would come back for him, is bothering him, and he believes that that is exactly what they intend to do.

Back at the Tuttle home, the phone rings. T.J. comments that it's the 4th time the phone has rung, in the past couple of minutes, and adds that someone should answer it. Clell calls for Dellum to bring Ellen in, and Dellum shoves her into the room. Clell stands next to Ellen (Laurie Jefferson), gun in hand, and, before picking up the phone, he warns her to be normal and natural.

Clell picks up the phone, puts it up to Ellen's ear, and listens in, with his ear near the receiver. It's Ellen's friend, Maggie, and, when Maggie asks if she'd interrupted anything, Ellen nervously explains that she'd been doing dishes, so Maggie quickly lets Ellen go.

Later, at the Sheriff's office, Joan takes a phone call from Clell Brewster. Clell demands to talk to Sheriff Pusser, but Joan has to tell him that the Sheriff isn't in, at the moment. Clell orders Joan to get hold of The Sheriff, and to have him answer the phone, when he calls back, or that "He'll curse the devil that he missed me".

Joan hangs up, and immediately raises Buford on the radio. Buford asks Joan if there's a possibility that the caller might have been one of the Brewster boys, and Joan returns that there's no doubt. Buford then hits the siren and lights, and speeds toward the office.

Meanwhile, Carl, Michael, and Dwana – Ice cream cones in hand – Are leaving the ballpark, after the big game. After Dwana puts in her 2-cents' worth about how they probably would have won the game, had Clay Tuttle been on the mound, and she and her friend had led some cheers, Michael comments on how grouchy Mr. Tuttle had been earlier. At first, Carl defends Tuttle, saying that he had probably been worried about Clay. But, when Michael reminds his Grandfather that Tuttle had snapped at him, also, Carl stops to think. He orders Michael and Dwana to go on home, telling them that he intends to drop by the Tuttle home, to talk to Ben, about his attitude, earlier.

Later, at the Sheriff's office, Buford and Joan nervously await Clell's call. Joan expresses her concern that the call hasn't come in, yet, and Buford adds that he's not comfortable with the situation, then steps out of the office, toward the cell-block. Theo Brewster's condition has worsened, and the Doctor tells Buford that his drifting in and out of consciousness isn't a good sign.

Back at the Tuttle home, there is a knock at the door, and Clell frantically motions for Ellen to answer it. She rushes out of the kitchen to the door, escorted by Dellum and his shotgun, and, while T.J. holds his gun on Ben and Clay, Clell takes his position behind the front door. Again, he quietly warns Ellen to be "Normal and natural", and Ellen slowly opens the door.

The Cleaners Delivery Man (Tain Bodkin) smiles as he greets Ellen, then tells her that he was able to get a stain out of her party dress. Ellen does her best, but she still appears a bit nervous, as she tells the man that she hasn't anything to go to the cleaners, this week.

After the delivery man leaves, and the front door is closed, Dellum steps over, and angrily warns Clell that, sooner or later, someone is going to become wise to the situation. Clell calmly reminds Dellum that they wouldn't be in this situation, had he not left Theo behind.

Shortly later, Carl pulls up in front of the Tuttle home, in his pickup. He gets out, steps to the door, and knocks. Inside, as Ellen reaches for the door, Clell snatches her back, and, as Ben gets up off the sofa, T.J. hits him in the stomach with his shotgun.

Ellen asks who's there, and Carl identifies himself. When Clell looks questioningly at Ellen, she whispers that Carl is Buford's Father. Clell smiles, with that knowledge, and, assuming his position, behind the door, orders Ellen to open the door.

Ellen appears more nervous than ever, when Carl tells her he'd like to talk to Ben. Ellen lets Carl in, and, just as he's inside the house, Clell strikes him in the back, knocking Carl across the room, into a door. When Carl turns around, stunned, he asks what's going on. Ellen apologizes, and Clell invites him to "Join the party", adding:

"It's a dead cinch we're gonna get Papa back."

"Ain't it the truth." Adds T.J., as he levels his shotgun at Carl.

Later, at the Sheriff's office, as Buford checks the map, Aaron puzzles over why they haven't found the Brewster gang, yet.

"They've got to be in the city, somewheres." Says Grady.

"If that's true," says Joan, "There's only one reason why…"

"They're coming back to get their Father." Finishes Buford.

Just then, Doc Spencer enters the room, looking rather worried. Buford gets up, steps over, and inquires of Brewster's condition. The Doctor relates that his blood pressure is dangerously low, and that he thinks Brewster is bleeding again, internally. Again, Buford brings up the possibility of moving Brewster to the hospital, but the Doctor firmly reiterates that, if Brewster is moved, he'll surely die.

As The Doctor leaves, the phone rings, and Joan takes the call. It's Clell Brewster, and he asks to speak to Buford. Before picking up, Buford tells Joan to try to get the call traced, as Aaron and Grady step over.

Clell tells Buford that he wants to see his Father, and adds that Carl is now their hostage. Buford asks to speak to Carl, and Clell puts him on. Carl tells Buford he's OK, and Buford asks where he is. But, before Carl can answer, Clell clubs him in the side of the head with his gun.

After Buford has a few words with Carl, Clell gets back on, and tells Buford he's on his way to the jail, to see his Dad, and warns him not to try anything, for, not only is he holding Carl, but three other people, as well. Clell then hangs up the phone.

Back at the Sheriff's office, Buford informs the others of the situation, then slams the phone down.

Back at the Tuttle house, Clell tells his Brother that he's on his way to the jail. He orders Dellum to keep a sharp watch all around the house, and to use the hostages to deal with any intruders, in any way he sees fit. He then orders Carl and Ben to take off their belts, and for T.J. and Dellum to tie their hands behind their backs.

Back at the Sheriff's office, Buford goes in for another visit with Theo Brewster. As the weak old man expresses his pride in his fine sons, Aaron steps in, and asks Buford what he's got in mind. Buford admits that he doesn't know.

Later, as Buford and his Deputies wait for Clell, a call comes in. It's Michael, and, when Buford gets on, Michael tells his Dad that he's got his chores done, and some of his homework. Buford asks about the game, and Michael tells him that they lost, 12-3, adding that Clay Tuttle got sick, and couldn't pitch. Then, Michael mentions Mr. Tuttle's attitude, earlier, and tells his Dad, that his Grandpa had gone to the Tuttles' home, to talk to Ben about it. With that, Buford suddenly has an idea of where the hostages are being held.

Buford has to rush Michael off the phone, when Clell arrives. Clell walks in, asks where his Pa is, and Buford takes him back into the cell-block. The old man perks up a bit, when his son walks in, and Buford asks the Doctor and Nurse to step out of the cell.

Clell has a nice little Father/Son talk, with his Dad, and proudly tells him how they'd taken Carl hostage. Clell then explains how they plan to come back, after dark, to pick him up.

As they step out into the office, Clell makes it clear that he intends to hold on to all his hostages until they are well away from McNeal County. Buford informs Clell of The Doctor's warning that Theo will die, if he's moved, but Clell blows it off as an attempt to get them to change their plans.

Clell orders Buford to have a station wagon, with a full gas tank, and a mattress in the back, ready and waiting at the Sheriff's office, that night, at 10 p.m., and adds that he wants all the roadblocks gone. Then, with a stern warning that he'd best not be followed, Clell leaves the office.

After he's away, Buford steps over to Grady, Joan, and Aaron, who have been watching, from behind the counter. After thinking for just a moment, Buford smiles, with the idea he's just come up with.

"Aaron…" says Buford. "When was the last time you played 'dress-up'?"

"When I was a kid." Aaron replies.

"You're about to do it again." Returns Buford.

Later, at the Tuttle residence, Clell is spouting off orders, to his partners, on what supplies to take on their trip, when there is a knock at the door. T.J. and Dellum take up defensive positions, their weapons ready, as Clell forces Ellen to the door.

When Ellen opens the door, she's a bit shocked, when she sees 'Reverend' Aaron standing on the front porch, in a Roman Collar. Aaron apologizes for the interruption, and tells Ellen that he's collecting donations for his Church. Aaron then produces his 'credentials' – A business card, with the words 'Is Carl Pusser Inside?', written on the back.

Ellen discreetly indicates in the affirmative, with her eyes, and a tilt of her head. Aaron then asks if they might have any old clothes, or other saleable items that they might be able to donate. Ellen apologizes, buy says that she can't help out, at the present.

"Another time…" adds Ellen, "Perhaps."

"You are kindness, itself, Missus." Says Aaron. "Another time. God Bless you, now."

Aaron turns to leave, and, once Ellen closes the door, Clell compliments her on her performance, then orders T.J. and Dellum to get to the preparations for their trip.

Shortly later, at the Sheriff's office, Aaron reports that Carl is, indeed, being held at the Tuttle residence, along with the Tuttles. Then The Doctor steps in, with the news that Theo Brewster has died.

That night, Buford calls the Tuttle home, on the phone. With Clell's supervision, Ellen answers, and Buford asks to speak to Clell. When Ellen hands Clell the phone, Buford calmly lays out some demands of his own. The Tuttle Family is to be released, unharmed, and, when Clell flatly refuses, Buford tells him that, otherwise, there is no deal. Carl is to be their one and only hostage. He then tells Clell that their station wagon is ready and waiting, at the office, and, with a final warning, that the Tuttles had best be delivered safe and sound, Buford slams the phone down.

Knowing that Buford now has the upper hand, Clell nervously tells his partners that their plans have changed. Both T.J. and Dellum are against it, but Clell will have none of it.

Shortly later, Ben Tuttle drives his Family to the Sheriff's office, in the crooks' car, with Clell in the back seat. Buford is waiting, when they pull up, near the big Ford station wagon, with Theo Brewster's dead body, on a mattress, in the back.

Buford orders the Tuttles into the office, then shows Clell to the station wagon. Clell wants to know why his Pa isn't moving, and Buford explains that he's been sedated, to reduce the strain of the trip. He then hands Clell two containers of medications, explaining that they're from the Doctor. An antibiotic, and a sedative, for when Theo wakes.

Clell reminds Buford that they'd best not be molested, on their way out of town, or that Carl will be get a bullet in the brain. He then gets into the station wagon, and drives away. Buford watches him, until he's out of sight, then hurries to his squad car, as Grady and Aaron rush out. Buford orders Grady out to the outskirts of town, and tells him to stop the Brewsters, if they should get away from Buford, then orders Aaron to park down the street from the Tuttle home, and be ready to move in. Grady and Aaron head for their cars, as Buford gets into his cruiser, and heads out, in a hurry.

Meanwhile, Clell is making his way toward the Tuttle home. He pulls up in front of the house, and heads toward the door. Inside, T.J. is preparing the provisions for their trip, when there is a knock at the door. T.J. drops what he's doing, steps to the door, and, after confirming that it's Clell, opens the door.

Outside, Buford has arrived. He sneaks up to the porch, and waits for Clell to enter the house. When Clell and T.J. head back out, to go and see their Pa, Buford lets them both have it, with his 'pacifier'. He knocks T.J. out into the front yard, and Clell back into the house. He then quickly steps in, and, as Dellum rises from the sofa, Buford lets him have a piece of his big stick, then punches him out. Clell gets up, and heads for Buford, but Buford simply grabs him, and tosses him through the living room window.

While Buford's back is turned, T.J. comes back in, and heads for Buford. Carl shouts a warning, and Buford turns, in time to block a swing from T.J., give him a good punch in the gut, and toss him across the room.

Aaron enters the house, weapon drawn, but he's missed all the fun. When he sees that all is calm, he holsters his weapon.

"You okay, Dad?" asks Buford, as he helps his Dad up, from the chair.

"Any reason why I shouldn't be?" asks Carl, as his pants, without the benefit of a belt, fall down around his ankles.

Aaron and Buford then have a good laugh, at the sight of Carl, in his long-johns.

The following day, as Buford and Michael play catch, in the front yard, the cheerleading argument continues, between Michael and Dwana. Michael isn't happy about the fact that Dwana has talked Clay into having the team vote on whether or not she and her friend should be the team's cheerleaders.

Carl soon comes out, and asks for help in the kitchen, but Michael refuses. Carl 'sweetens' the deal, for Dwana, with the promise of some leftover cake frosting, which gets Michael's attention. Then, Clay Tuttle rides in, on his bike, with news of the cheerleading vote. It seems that Dwana, and her friend Francie have been elected the team's official cheerleaders, much to Michael's dismay.

After Carl invites Clay in for some of the frosting, Michael expresses his disappointment to his Dad, over the cheerleading situation. Buford then tells Michael that he's just had his first lesson in how a woman can turn a man's head.