Blind Hunch

Teleplay: John Hawkins and Robert Pirosh  Story: Robert Pirosh  Director: Lewis Allen
Guest Stars: Rip Torn (Will Hewitt), Don Knight (Clayton), Loretta Leversee (Laurie Hewitt), Charles Maxwell (Keeley), Robert Ridgely (Bartender), James Chandler (McKey), Larry Ward (Deputy)

It’s 1869 and young Jamie is out riding.  He comes across Will Hewitt who has been waiting for someone to turn up.  Hewitt explains to Jamie that he is on the way to the ranch where his brother Sam lived with his wife Laurie and baby son.  The problem is that Will is blind and even though he had help to get as far as he did he is unable to go any further due to being abandoned by his riding partner.

Jamie, who happens to be going that way, takes Will to the ranch and when Will calls out for Laurie, Jamie explains that she and the baby are at the Ponderosa getting ready to leave.  After paying his respects at his brother’s grave, both Will and Jamie make their way to the Ponderosa ranch house.

At the ranch house, Laurie has a chat with Ben about how she feels with Ben offering comforting words.  When Will turns up Laurie is both sad and resentful.  Her sadness comes from the fact that Will’s operation in St. Louis didn’t work and resentful because (as mentioned later) Sam gave all his money to help his brother out.  It is this debt, that has partly propelled Will to find out the truth about his brother’s murder.

Laurie speaks briefly to Will before leaving with her father and heading to Carson City.  She asks Will to come with her more out of duty than anything else but Will refuses as he has a job making harnesses (a profession he learned after he became blind).  Ben offers Will a room at the Ponderosa and he accepts.

Sometime later, Joe accompanies Will to town to see the Deputy.  Roy Coffee is out of town and Clem Foster is nowhere to be seen, so we have another nameless Deputy appear to take care of things.  The Deputy tells Will about the things that happened after his brother’s body was found.  Will, knowing his brother realises that there is a problem.  Apparently, Sam was out hunting deer but if that was the case, Will surmises, then he should have been on lower ground where there is plenty of food for deer and not in the mountains.

Joe then takes Will to The Golden Nugget Saloon which is owned by Patrick Clayton, a friend of Sam’s and is right next door to Piper’s Opera House.  Will questions Tom Keeley, who happens to be at the saloon, and is the person who found Will’s body.  Getting nothing out of Keeley, Will tells all of the other patrons that nothing will stop him from finding out who murdered his brother.  He also warns that them he is still a good shot even though he is blind now and goes about proving it.  Unfortunately, Will’s attempt at shooting a whiskey glass is a failure even though he is told that it isn’t and people are clapping.

Will later asks Joe about it and asks if he missed.  Joe tells him that he did which leads Will to ask Joe who was the first to get up and clap.  As Joe is telling him, they are interrupted by the Deputy who isn’t happy about a blind man shooting up a saloon.

The following Saturday (we aren’t told how long Will has been there for), Jamie takes Will to the place where Sam’s body was found.  They come across the remains of a campfire.  Will explains to Jamie his brother’s habit of hiding treasure in the ground and then making a fire over it.  After a little bit of digging, Will finds a tin containing Sam’s watch and some gold nuggets.  Jamie works out that the gold must have come from a nearby creek.

Now having a piece of vital evidence, both Will and Jamie head back to Virginia City.  They concoct a plan which culminates in Will finding out who the murderer is.

By episode’s end, we find out there are a number of people who aren’t what they seem.  Will, for his part, has no regret about his actions as he believed that he owed it to Laurie and her son to find out what really happened and if people are offended by that then so be it.

Hoss and Ben are in this episode to offer sage advice when it is needed.  Joe has the job of escorting Will around Virginia City during his first visit but isn’t seen much afterwards (he’s not even present when Will turns up in the last scene to explain things).  For the bulk of the episode, the main character is Jamie and even then he is following Will’s lead.

Blind Hunch focuses on Will Hewitt (played by future Men in Black star, Rip Torn) and his quest to find his brother’s murderer.  In a way, it is a story of redemption and how someone goes about it.

If you wish to discuss or comment on any points made in this article please click here (you will be taken to our Forums where you need to be a member to post).