Writer: Michael Landon
Director: Michael Landon
Air Date: 7 December 1969
Guest Stars: Arthur Hunnicutt (Salty Hubbard), Eric Christmas (Bobby Dan), Mike Mazurki (Big Jack), Ivor Francis (Banker), Jim Connell (Hotel Manager), Robert Sorrells (Sid), Guy Wilkerson (Sheriff), Milton Parsons (Undertaker), Sunshine Parker (Bum #1), Lee McLaughlin (Bum #2), John Carradine (Preacher Dillard)
Hoss and Candy go on a road trip and end up in the town of Sunville. Unbeknownst to them the town (which probably has seen better days) has a resident that enjoys telling a tall tale or two. Salty Hubbard relegates tales of his supposed adventures and even though the townspeople know they are lies, they let him tell them because there is nothing else to do.
Salty’s latest story is about his adventures with the notorious outlaw and bank robber Big Jack, whom in reality he has never met. When Hoss and Candy turn up, Salty sees an opportunity to get some credibility for his stories. He tells some of the townsmen (those present in the saloon) that Hoss is Big Jack but he has a hard time proving it until the saddlebag Hoss, is carrying accidentally opens and a pile of money falls out. This action cements Salty’s claim and the townspeople begin to fear that Hoss and Candy are there to rob the bank.
In reality, Hoss and Candy are interested in exchanging the money they have for a bank draft but have trouble doing so as the bank owner believes that Hoss is Big Jack. Eventually, Hoss and Candy, after a couple attempts to get to the bank decide to give up and leave town. As they are leaving Salty turns up at their hotel room to “ask” them to leave and ends up explaining what has happened.
Earlier, while the townspeople plead with Salty to ask “Big Jack” to leave town, the real Big Jack, and his accomplice arrive. They soon realise the mistake the town has made and surmise that the town is too busy getting rid of “Big Jack” that they won’t even suspect them. Big Jack even sees this as a chance to kill “Big Jack” and get his own reward.
In a hotel room surrounded by the townspeople (armed with all sorts of guns including blunderblusses and flintlock rifles), and seeing the predicament they are in, Candy comes up with a plan to get both him and Hoss safely out of town…
“So…Big Jack – it looks like you’re just gonna have to die.” – Candy (to Hoss)
The plan involves Salty shooting “Big Jack” dead and Candy getting rid of the body. The first part of the plan goes well with “Big Jack” dying – Salty’s trick shooting and Hoss’s death performance (which Candy describes as “the corniest thing he’s ever seen”) convincing both the town and Big Jack. Big Jack even begins to fear Salty a little bit and get his accomplice, Sid to make sure that Salty will be no problem when the time comes to rob the bank.
Candy’s plan begins to unravel when the time comes for him to take Hoss’ body. Going to the undertaker’s, Candy pays two men to get the coffin and load it onto the wagon. The two men attempt to lift the coffin Hoss is in but find it too heavy and instead of giving the dollar (that Candy gave them) back they pick up another coffin hoping no-one would know the difference. Unfortunately, this coffin contains the body of Thaddeus Simpson, an old man who has died recently. Simpson’s coffin is picked up shortly after Candy leaves town.
When Candy discovers the mistake he quickly locates Hoss (who has managed to get of out the coffin he was in) and they head back to town to get their horses. Meanwhile, Salty and some of his friends have been having a few celebratory drinks in the saloon and are unaware that Big Jack and Sid have robbed the bank. Egged on by his friends Salty re-enacts the killing of “Big Jack” on the street and inadvertently catches Hoss, Candy, Big Jack and Sid outside the livery stable before passing out. By the time Salty wakes up all has been resolved.
Points of interest…
- Ben and Joe do not appear in this episode.
- One of the town drunks is shown sleeping a lot (especially saloon scenes and the scene of the townsmen surrounding the bank).
- Thaddeus Simpson had a very young wife.
- John Carradine (Jedediah Milbank in the season 3 episode Springtime) makes an appearance as Dillard, the preacher presiding over Simpson’s funeral.
- By the looks of it the majority of the town are senior citizens including the sheriff and to Hoss’ surprise the saloon girls.
- Hoss takes a liking to room service and remarks that he might get Hop Sing to give him breakfast in bed every morning.
- Candy has seen some crazy things
Dead Wrong is a comedic episode which showcases Hoss and Candy. It employs the often used plot devices of a Cartwright carrying loads of cash and a Cartwright being wrongly identified as someone else. This was the third episode that was written and directed by Michael Landon.
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