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A Flock of Trouble Recap

A stagecoach heads across country and the hitch breaks. As the driver makes repairs, Bret sits nearby with the other passengers playing poker. One passenger, Big Coley, loses to Maverick, much to the surprise of the driver and shotgun rider Charley. The time comes for Big Coley to pay off, and he offers Bret a ranch property that he'll trade him for the winnings. He explains that he wants to preserve his reputation in the area. Bret is skeptical, and Big Coley gives him a legal description confirming that there is three thousand heads. Bret agrees and signs the deed, and once he walks off Big Coley chuckles.

Later, Bret rides to the spread and finds a small cabin. People inside point rifles out of the sides and open fire on riders approaching. Bret yells to the cabin shooters to hold their fire. They don't, and Bret takes cover and holds up the deed. He says that he's the new owner, and the cabin occupants cover him in and let him in. The head shooter, Jensen, confirms that Bret is the owner but figures that Big Coley conned him. He shows Bret that the three thousand head are sheep, not cattle, and explains that cattleman Verne Scott is trying to run them off. The man with Jensen is De Basco, a sheep wrangler. Jensen explains that they can't sell the sheep and the last buyer that came to the local town of Roundup disappeared when Verne's men got hold of him.

Verne calls on them to surrender, and Jensen shows Bret an old Indian escape tunnel. He says that they'll join the third shepherd, Heather, in the tunnels and flank the cattlemen. Down in the tunnels, Jensen introduces Bret to Heather: a sheepdog. The two men continue on and come out behind Verne and his men. Heather jumps up on Heather, and Basco assumes that's the signal and opens fire. Bret and Jensen open fire, and the cattleman ride off. Jensen has Bret shoot a barrel of gunpowder in the road ahead of them, and it explodes. The cattlemen lick their wounds and escape, and Jensen and De Basco cheer.

Later in the cabin, the three men eat and Bret figures that he should go into town and find the buyer. Jensen warns against it but Bret points out that no one knows who he is so he should be safe. Once Bret leaves, Jensen sends Heather after Bret to keep his eye on him.

In Roundup, Bret goes to the saloon and finds an effigy strung up with "He liked sheep" on a sign around its neck. A man, Cain, points out that Bret is a stranger in town. Verne and his men come in and he says that he brought them all together to listen to his girlfriend, Dee Cooper. Dee tells them that her family were some of the first settlers in the area. The men all agree that money isn't everything, and Bret hastily joins in. Verne says that Big Coley wired him personally and said that he sold the sheep farm to Bret and he's a hard case. Verne and the others put up a bounty for Bret, and they pressure Bret to put up $100 to make it an even $2,000.

Cain draws a gun on Bret, calls Verne and Dee over, and points out that Bret smells of sheep. Bret gives a fake name and says that he's a federal man and Washington is worried about the depredations of sheep in the valley. He flirts with Dee and says that he wouldn't want to be in Bret's shoes. Verne figures that Bret can lure "Maverick" out and they'll kill him. Bret agrees and asks about the sheep buyer, and discovers that they're offering $1,200 a head. Heather comes in and Cain sees him. He points it out and Dee figures that it's looking for a shepherd. Bret makes a hasty escape, telling the bartender that he went to change his clothes so he could visit Dee later. Meanwhile, Verne tells Cain to keep an eye on Heather.

That night, Bret rides to Dee's ranch bearing flowers. As he waits for her, he makes himself comfortable in the parlor and finds a book of poetry. Dee comes in and Bret gives her the flowers, and she says that she's never gotten flowers before. She says that she was brought up as a tom boy to run the ranch, and Bret turns on the charm. Dee complains that no one in Roundup knows how to speak pretty and quotes from the book to her. She says that Verne wouldn't be happy if Verne knew she read poems, and says that she doesn't know the name of the sheep buyer. Big Coley made a deal with a buyer, insisting that he wouldn't be outbid, and Verne threatened to run him out of town with tar and feathers so Big Coley made a hasty escape. As for the buyer, he's disappeared and Dee suggests that he's been tarred and feathered.

Verne comes in and says that everyone knows that Bret brought Dee flowers. He takes offense and throws a punch at Bret, who defends himself and knocks Verne to the floor. Verne leaves and Bret and Dee agree that Bret should leave. He goes to his horse and two of Verne's men beat him. Dee runs out and tells them to stop, and Verne comes over and tells Bret to get out of town in an hour or he'll kill him. Dee runs inside and Verne goes after her, and complains that he attacked Bret. Verne figures that Bret is a wolf with sheep on his clothing.

Bret rides into Roundup and sneaks into the new imporium via the back door. He ends up in a dressing room and scares the woman, and then tells the owner Crabill that he wants to buy something for a woman... confidential.

Cain is still watching heather, and the dog smells Bret Heather goes after Bret and Cain follows her.

Bret continues picking out dresses for Dee, and Heather arrives at the window. The dog barks, and Heather silences it, sees Cain, closes the window, tells Crabill to send the dress to the Cooper ranch, and rides off. Cain figures that Bret is Maverick and they head out to the town.

Later, Crabill delivers the dress to the Cooper ranch. Bret rides up after him, and Cain arrives a minute later. Heather finds Bret and signals back along the trail, and Bret hides. Cain rides up and Bret throws a rock, knocking him out. Crabill comes back from the Cooper ranch, helps Cain up, and takes him to Roundup.

Bret arrives at the Cooper ranch and watches from the window with Heather as she admires herself in the mirror. Heather barks and Bret suggests that she invite him in for coffee and poetry. He assures her that Verne is at the Maverick sheep ranch and Dee invites him in. As they sip coffee, Bret claims that they'll drum him out of the service after he failed to get a report. He assures Dee that he'll never mention her name, and says that if he can find out where the buyer is then he might be able to keep his job. Dee finally says that the buyer is at Verne's ranch, and they couldn't have him offering money for sheep because the smaller sheep ranchers might get ideas.

Heather barks as Verne and his men ride up, and Dee helps Bret escape out the back. Verne comes in and sees the dress, and tells her that Bret is Maverick. Dee insists that Bret was a gentleman, and then says that Bret easy-talked her out of telling him where the buyer was. She puts on her riding clothes and they head to Verne's ranch where Bret is going.

Bret and Heather arrive at Verne's ranch and Bret has Heather sniff out the buyer. A guard confronts him and Bret claims that he and his family are lost travelers. He knocks out the guard, goes inside, and finds the buyer, Honest Donald McFadden. Verne left McFadden in his long johns and the buyer refuses to go out in public in his underwear. Bret drags the guard in and as they take his clothes, McFadden says that his job is to buy sheep to get wool for clothes for settlers in Alaska. Bret confirms that McFadden has $36,000, but McFadden explains that Verne plans to flood the valley with sheep once he gets the $36,000 from McFadden. Once Verne marries Dee, he'll get hold of her land and most of the valley. McFadden says that cattle on the range are doomed.

As Bret and McFadden run out, Verne and his men arrive. They shoot and graze McFadden's skull, knocking him out. Bret escapes and the cattlemen ride after him. Meanwhile, Dee arrives and talks to McFadden, who tells him about Verne and her plans.

At the sheep ranch, Jensen and De Basco are having breakfast when Bret rides up. He says that Verne and his men are right behind him and there are too many to fight, and says that Jensen and De Basco should leave rather than risk their lives. Jensen refuses to abandon the flock, Verne and his men open fire, and the three men return fire. Cain and several men roll a boulder into the cabin wall, and Verne and the others rush them. Bret goes through the tunnel to grab Verne.

Dee and the other ranchers ride up, they open fire, and she tells Verne that she knows about his double-cross. Cain suggests that they head for the horses, and as they run the ranchers gun down Cain. Verne heads for the cave entrance to the tunnel, and Bret steps out and captures him.

As the ranchers take Verne into town, McFadden rides up and tells Bret that he has a telegram saying the committee in DC doesn't want the sheep anymore. The ranchers prepare to kill the sheep, but Dee says that she'll buy the sheep from Bret for $0.50 a head. She'll give the sheep to Jensen and the others as long as they drive them off the cattle ranch. Bret agrees and Dee suggests that they go back to her ranch and have dinner.

Later, Jensen, De Basco, and Heather watch over the flock. They find a lost lamb and take care of it.

Written by Gadfly on Mar 24, 2019