#56 - "Split the Difference"
When Blue Dog fails in his attempts to jump out of a tree and slit their throats, Linda coldly shoots them in the back. When the bodies are found, each has a letter naming him as a beneficiary in the will of Johnny Ringo to be read at a house in Mexas on the Texas Mexico border.
Captain Parmalee, the man who arrested Ringo, has received the same letter. It indicates that the other beneficiaries include Little Trees, Gypsy John Fuente, Belle Bronson and Smiley Hogg. Over the objections of the Rangers, who protest it's obviously a trap, the Captain insists he must attend the reading of the will. He believes the victims of Ringo's last bank robbery deserve a chance to get some of their money back. Besides, Little Trees and Hogg are wanted for murder in Texas. But he won't go alone, Chad and Joe are assigned to come along. Joe, long the object of Linda's obsession, tries to beg off but Erik has been assigned to help Reese and Cotton with the Butler gang. (And that's the only mention of Reese in this episode.)
Chad leads Erik to believe that Linda Little Trees is a beautiful Indian maiden along the lines of Pocahontas. Erik gives Chad back $40 in IOU's in exchange for convincing Joe to trade assignments. When Erik leaves to inform the Captain, Joe comes out and gives Chad back some IOU's he holds in exchange for not telling Erik that Linda looks like Sam Pocahontas. (And that's William Smith's last Laredo scene ever.) Meanwhile, the scavengers are gathering in Mexas, waiting for the Captain. Their host is Ringo's lawyer, E.J. Morse.
The three Rangers approach the house on the border with caution. Once inside they try to arrest Linda and Hogg. Linda is unperturbed as she is sitting on the Mexican side of the house and the Rangers can't touch her. Belle and Gypsy stay on the Texas side as they are wanted in Mexico.
The will divides $75,000 among the five beneficiaries if they spend the night in the house. If anyone dies, their share goes into the pot. Any uneasy truce keeps the peace. Linda asks Chad why Joe didn't come. She's disappointed when Chad tells her Joe is getting married, but then takes a shine to Erik. Chad gives her a bag of licorice and tells her it's a present from Erik. Erik becomes the new object of her affection. We also find out that Belle and the Captain have a past together. But he couldn't tolerate her outlaw ways.
As everyone goes off to bed after dinner, Laredo borrows from Agatha Christie. People die. Some die for real, some thought dead come back. When the Rangers hear a disturbance below, they find the lawyer was the first to die.
The Rangers kill the next victim themselves as Smiley Hogg comes out shooting a gun filled with blanks. The gas lights go out. There's a shot and Belle is gone. The Rangers do some figuring. Just as they figure the murdered hangman actually faked Ringo's hanging, Ringo comes out with a shotgun aimed at everyone. With the help of Linda, Ringo has put this party together in order to kill everyone. As Linda and Blue Dog escort the Rangers upstairs at gunpoint, they hear Ringo shoot Gypsy.
The boys are not amused by the nooses they find in their room. But they soon get the upper hand. Gypsy isn't really dead. Ringo has him around to double cross Linda before she can get him. But Linda shoots Gypsy and takes off with the money. However, her escape is foiled by Erik and the Captain while Chad takes care of Ringo. Linda ends up in jail after being arrested on the Texas side of the house. But she's been there before and seldom stays long.
Erik's jump from the house was taken from episode 52 ("Small Chance Ghost") which used the same house exterior and had Erik conveniently doing the same jump. (No point paying a stunt man twice when one jump will do double duty.)
NiteOwl Review: Although this was the last episode of Laredo, it was clearly not written as any kind of wrap-up, swan song or feel-good good-by show. It was just another episode. Average as a second year episode; disappointing as the last we would see of Laredo. Not much Joe, no Reese. The one saving grace was more of Philip Carey than we usually saw. No favorite scenes here. We wish there had been a third season. We would have been happy to advise them to go in a somewhat more serious direction. More real action and tension, less silliness, replace Robert Wolders with Michael Conrad ("No Bugles, One Drum"), add Claude Akins to rotate with Neville Brand if Brand couldn't take the stress of the television grind.
Cast Note: Much as we generally disliked the way Indians were portrayed on Laredo and recognizing that the Linda Little Trees character was hardly an enlightened one. Most of us thought Shelley Morrison made her four appearances as Linda more interesting than they really deserved to be.
The Captain is in Ringo's will
"She only wants to kill you,
she wants to marry me"
Linda in Mexico"
Chad says Joe's married now
Lawyer Morse eats on the
A killer follows Shakespeare, first kill all the lawyers
The Rangers take out Smiley
Chad's fist intercepts Ringo
An arrest on the Texas side
Linda jailed...for awhile
In a house on the border between Texas and Mexico,
the Rangers attend the reading of Jake Ringo's will
Linda Little Trees and her faithful love slave Blue Dog ambush the judge and the hangman responsible for the execution of Jake Ringo.
Original air date Apr 7, 1967
Directed by Alan Rafkin
Written by Paul Mason
Neville Brand as Reese Bennett
Peter Brown as Chad Cooper
William Smith as Joe Riley
Robert Wolders as Erik Hunter
Phil Carey as Capt. Parmalee
Shelley Morrison as Linda Little Trees
Gerald Mohr as Gypsy John Fuente
Ralph Manza as Blue Dog
Myron Healey as Jake Ringo
Monica Lewis as Belle Bronson
Fabian Dean as Smiley Hogg
Byron Foulger as E.J. Morse
Official Peter Brown Fan Site