Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Tall Man: Billy's Baby

Since more and more TV westerns are coming out on DVD, I’m able to catch up on series I missed as a kid. The Tall Man is one of them. It was on Saturday night right after Bonanza, which I watched, but my parents must have switched over afterwards to Leave It to Beaver.

That explains why I don’t remember Clu Gulager as Billy the Kid. I remember him mainly from The Virginian, where he landed a few years later. Barry Sullivan (Pat Garrett), of course, I remember from everywhere.

In this episode, “Billy’s Baby,” Billy shoots a guy (in self-defense, natch) in Lincoln, then runs for the border, unsure of getting a fair trial. This worries Pat, because the Mescaleros have just jumped the reservation. Pat races to arrest/rescue him.

Coming across a burnt-out homestead, Billy naturally stops to dig graves, and discovers a baby in a basket (just like Moses in the bullrushes). When a convenient cow moseys by, Billy makes a teat from a finger of his leather glove. Heart warming. Billy calls the kid “Little Joe” (an interesting choice airing right after Bonanza). But after changing diapers (the episode’s low point) he changes the name to Josephina.

Pat arrives, and there’s an almost-tense moment when he insists on bringing Billy back for trial. Luckily the Apaches show up, separating them from their horses and chasing them into a canyon. Do they get out alive? Far be it from me to spoil it for you.

In all, a surprisingly not bad episode, with good music, much of it variations on the “Tall Man” theme. I’ve heard Leonard Nimoy turned up in a couple of episodes as Deputy Johnny Swift. Here’s hoping I have one of those to review.

1 comment:

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I'm sure you know that Clu was a full-blooded Indian. I forget which tribe.