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The Long Hunt Recap

Bret rides through the plains with three men in pursuit, shooting at him. When one of them hits his horse, Bret takes cover nearby. A man in the rocks above fires at them and they quickly take cover. They finally retreat and the man, Xxx, comes down and explains that he was waiting for the stage. He offers Bret his canteen and the man, Lefty Dolan, admits that he was going to hold up the stage and could use the help. Bret tells him that he's just a law-abiding citizen and the men after him were disappointed poker players. Lefty is disappointed that Bret is only a gambler, and Bret offers him half of the money he won. The robber declines, asking for just #30 and a stake for a new horse. In return he'll ride the stagecoach like a good citizen. Bret agrees and Lefty admits that he doesn't bring most people luck.

The stagecoach eventually comes along, and Bret and Lefty wave it down. The driver admits that he's driving empty because of all the times that he's been robbed. He's surprised to learn that they're paying customers and invites them to get in so he has company. Once they get in, the stagecoach continues. The driver spots two armed men up ahead, and the driver insists on stopping rather than risk getting killed. Lefty draws his gun and tells Bret to get out, and the robbers come over. Bret says that he's alone, and the holdup man tells him that his luck has run out. The other robber checks the coach and Lefty shoots him. The man shoots back, hitting Lefty, and Bret punches the first robber.

Bret checks the coach and finds Lefty dying. Lefty reminds Bret that he saved his life and tells him that five years ago in Arizona, him and three men robbed a bank and the teller was killed. An innocent man mistaken for him was arrested for the crime and convicted. Lefty says that the man was Jeff Ferris and makes Bret promise to get Jedd out, and then dies before the driver can get there to hear his confession.

Guilty because he doesn't know what he can do, Bret ends up playing poker but folds rather than win. He tells the other players that there's something he has to do and goes to the prison in Arizona. Bret meets with Jedd and introduces himself, and then explains why he's there. His testimony isn't enough to clear Jedd, and Jedd says that he was a newcomer in town. They were going to hang him but the territorial governor commuted his sentence to life. Bret figures that he just made things worse, but Jedd says that he's glad somebody knows he's innocent. He wonders if his wife Martha is even convinced of his innocence. Jedd asks Bret to do one thing more: call on Martha and tells her that Jedd hasn't changed his mind and wants her to do what he told her to do. He makes Bret promise that he won't tell Martha that he's innocent.

Bret rides to the Ferris ranch and finds a man working on the fence. The men, Ben Maxwell, says that he owns a nearby spread and is helping Martha because her father is sick. Martha returns from a walk and invites Bret into the house for coffee. He passes on Jedd's message and she wonders how Bret knows her husband. Martha figures that Bret knows something about the case and asks if there's any hope, insisting that Jed is innocent. She realizes that Bret knows of Jedd's innocence, and Martha explains that Jedd wants her to get a divorce and remarry. Martha refuses, insisting that one day they'll find out that Jedd is innocent.

As Brett leaves, Ben asks if Bret knows anything about Bret. He figures he'd have a better chance of Martha accepting him if Jedd was out of prison where he can confront him. Bret tells him that Jedd is innocence and the witnesses against him were wrong. Ben asks Bret to call on him if there's anything he can do, and asks Bret to help him place a timber. Bret obliges and slips, and the timber falls on him, breaking his arm.

Bret leaves, wondering if the board was a sign from Lefty that he hadn't done everything possible. Two months later, Bret is playing poker and a man, Xxx, sits down to play. The man deals left-handed and two of the other players, Rex Clark and Whitey Blandon, mention that Lefty dealt the same way. Since they're staying together at the hotel, Bret sets out to talk to one of them alone. Four hours later on a big hand, only the three of them were in. They each have a pair showing but Bret figures that they have three of a kind. Bret has three queens with one in the hole, but figures that if both men lose then they'll leave. But if Rex wins then he'll be back in the game. Whitey has the weakest hand with three 8s, and Bret tries to throw the hand to him. Bret calls Rex and Rex raises, and Bret prods Whitey into staying in. The gambler raises again and advises Rex to drop out. Rex does so and Bret suggests that he and Whitey split the pot. Whitey figures Bret wouldn't offer to split it if he had the third queen, raises, and reveals his third card. Bret drops out without revealing his card, saying he didn't have the third card, and Rex gripes that Whitey shouldn’t have won the pot.

Rex goes to his room to drink, and Bret pays him a visit. He explains that he met Lefty and claims that he's been looking for him after they robbed a stagecoach to give him his half of the take. Rex says that Lefty died in his arms owing him money, but Bret knows better and Rex admits that he was lying. He offers Bret a drink, and Bret secretly pours it in a spittoon and pretends to get drunk. As they talk, Whitey arrives in the hallway and hears them talking. Bret mentions the bank robbery and that Whitey was involved, and Rex suddenly sobers up. The gambler tells Rex that he's going to get Jedd out of jail, and draws his gun when rex goes for his. Whitey comes in shooting and Bret takes cover, and Whitey and Rex shoot at him... and Whitey hits and kills Rex. After Whitey runs off, the locals arrive and take Bret to the sheriff, figuring that he's the killer.

Later, Bret talks to the sheriff and explains why he was in Rex's room. The sheriff points out that Rex was killed with a .45 and Bret's gun is a .45, and claims that Whitey's was a .38. Bret admits that he might have shot Rex in the dark, and the sheriff reveals that Whitey's was actually a .45. He figures the jury would acquit Bret and Whitey, and he's not going to hold Bret. The sheriff tells Bret to get out of town because it's embarrassing to have him around.

Bret rides after Whitey, figuring that he's heading to the nearby Mexican border. Plenty of farmers have seen Whitey because of his distinctive hair, and Bret rides near ben's ranch. He stops there and tells Ben that he's following Whitey, and Ben agrees to have his men bring Whitey back. The rancher invites Bret to stay there for the night, and tells him that Martha's father died a few days ago and she needs to hear something good. Bret goes to ride to Martha's ranch, and Ben suggests that he stay there to keep an eye on her in case Whitey goes there. Once Bret leaves, Ben takes out a revolver and checks on Whitey in the next room. He tells Whitey that he didn't need his warning and knew about Bret, and now Bret is at his door. Ben says that Whitey should ride north while he and his men go south, and tells Whitey to wait until midnight to leave.

Bret goes to the Ferris ranch and tells Martha that there's a chance he might be able to get Jedd out of prison if things turn out right and they capture Whitey. Martha thanks Bret for the news, and Bret mentions that Ben is in love with her. She says that she told Ben that she would never marry him, and has known him since he came to town during Jedd's trial. Bret figures that Ben wanted him to come there, and Martha confirms that Ben was at Jedd's trial every day. She's sure that Ben's love is real and Bret agrees, and asks how much Ben paid for his ranch. It was $10,000: one share of the bank robbery. Martha says that the robbers were wearing bandannas and one man's bandanna fell off. Bret figures that he's found three robbers--Lefty, Rex, and Whitey--and the fourth one came back figuring it was safe because no one saw his face. Martha insists that it can't be true, but Bret figures that Whitey was heading to the fourth robber: Ben.

Once Ben is sure the coast is clear, he tells Whitey to leave. As Whitey goes to the barn to get his horse, Bret gets the drop on him and orders him to sign a confession to clear Jedd. Once Whitey does, Bret will let Whitey head for the border. Whitey refuses, and Bret says that Whitey killed Rex claiming that he fired a .38 and Whitey used the .45 that Rex was shot with. The gambler says that Martha is bringing the sheriff and Whitey's time is running out, and Whitey signs the confession. Whitey lights a match to see the paper and sets the hay on fire, but Bret kicks it out and knocks down Whitey when he goes for his gun. Bret tells him what the confession says and orders Whitey to sign, but Ben comes in and gets the drop on Whitey.

Ben shoots Whitey dead and then pistol-whips Bret unconscious. Martha arrives with the sheriff and the sheriff shoots Ben. As Ben lies dying, he agrees to sign the confession to clear Jedd so that he can get back to Martha. Martha thanks him and he dies.

Two months later, Jedd is released from prison and comes home. Bret watches as Jedd and Martha are reunited, and then rides off satisfied that Lefty is done with him.

Written by Gadfly on May 26, 2019

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