|Season 1, Episode 19|
A House Divided
The Fear Merchants
The Gunmen on IMDb
The Gunmen on TV.com
Hoss and Little Joe are mistaken for bloodthirsty hired killers in a small Texas town dominated by two feuding families.
This comedic episode has Hoss and Joe mistaken for gunslingers, the Slade Brothers.
The Slades have been hired by the McFaddens in their feud against the Hatfields in the small Texas town of Kiowa Flats.
Hoss and Joe ride into town and wonder about the actions of the townspeople (who've been warned the Slades were coming.) In the saloon, Hoss wonders if he smells funny or something. He asks the bartender, Sully if there's anything wrong with them. Sully nervously assures him, "No sir!" When Hoss comments on the nice day, Sully is nearly in tears nervously agreeing. Hoss and Joe leave, tipping their hat to the sheriff as they go and head over to the hotel. They don't know it, but the whole town follows them over and peeks through the door at them. Sully still terrified by the way Hoss looked at him.
Later they come downstairs to find a contingency of women, mostly young and beautiful, except for the leader Lorna Doone Mayberry who's an older, wiser woman. The group stop Hoss and Joe and beg them not to kill their men folk. There's not enough to go around as it is. Again, Hoss and Joe find the actions of these people odd, but promise not to kill any that aren't worth killing.
When the boys step outside, they are shot at. They dive into the saloon for cover. But as the shooting continues they think it best if they do as their told and throw out their guns. The Hatfields take Hoss and Joe prisoner and demand they admit that they're the Slade brothers. Jubel Hatfield doesn't believe the boys are from Nevada come to Texas to buy cattle. He thinks they should just hang them. Fortunately, Sheriff Brown arrives and says they should wait for Twirly Boggs to get back since Twirly is the only one who knows what the Slades look like. The sheriff takes Hoss and Joe to jail for their own protection.
In jail, Hoss figures everyone in town is "tetched" from eating the beef of cattle that ate the loco weed. Then a rock with a note comes through the window. It says that Black Alonzo, the Red Handed Avenger will save them. Hoss looks out the window to see a little boy running away.
The ladies of Kiowa Flats all march into the jail and Lorna proceeds to recite her poem. "Oh poor doomed prisoners, it ain't too late. Down on your knees as you face your awful fate. Repent your crimes before that trap is sprung. And you, like a side of beef, are hung." The young ladies in the group are taken by handsome young Joseph and argue over who gets to hold his hand as Lorna reads her poetry. And as the poem drags on and on, Joe thinks hanging would be less painful, but Hoss is near tears from it.
When the poem is finally over, the young women again complain that the town is short of men and their wasting two at once by hanging Hoss and Joe. As the young women argue who's been monopolizing Joe's hand, the back wall of the cell falls down. Hoss and Joe don't think twice about busting out and eagerly accept the opportunity.
The McFaddens have sprung the boys and take them back to their home. All along they've protested that they are not the Slades, but, like the Hatfields, the McFaddens don't believe them. The father, Alonso McFadden locks them in a room for the night. As Hoss and Joe are getting ready for bed, a young boy, Alonzo climbs in through the window. Hoss recognizes him as the Red Handed Avenger. He explains that they McFaddens hired the Slades to kill Anse Hatfield, cuz he's the best shot in town. Once Anse is dead, the McFaddens can commence killing all the other Hatfields. Hoss and Joe are not going to be party to this. Since Alonzo threatens to call for help, the boys have to tie him up. Then they climb out the window.
Unfortunately, Hoss makes a racket as he trips over a milk bucket, alerting the McFaddens to their escape. They're recaptured.
In the morning, Hoss and Joe refuse to take arms and shoot the Hatfields. Alonso says then they'll just hang them. Hoss and Joe pick up the guns. Hoss does convince Alonso to ride into town and let Twirly identify them as not being the Slades.
Twirly is the town drunk and he's regaling everyone with the stories from his school days with the Slade brothers. When the sheriff announces that the Slades are approaching, everyone rushes out. But Twirly calls them back to save the whiskey. When Hoss and Joe arrive, Twirly says they are the Slades. (Michael Landon and Dan Blocker played duel roles as Shorty Jim and Big Jack Slade, so they would look alike.) That's enough for the McFaddens and they demand that Hoss and Joe fulfill their obligation.
As the McFaddens prepare for the fight, Hoss and Joe ask the sheriff how it all began. Seems 30 years ago the Hatfields' hog disappeared. And that night, the McFaddens, who didn't own a hog, had pork for dinner. The sheriff admits he knows they're not the Slades and gives them their guns and horses back.
As Hoss and Joe make their way to leave, little Alonzo marches by and announces he's going to kill some Hatfields. Hoss and Joe know what they have to do just by looking at each other. "That's what I like about us as a family, Joe. Pa always taught us to never do nothing the others would be ashamed of. I'd like to keep it like that," Hoss says. They go back into the saloon to talk to the sheriff.
The sheriff has a plan. Hoss then goes over to talk to Lorna. He says it wold be a shame to lose more men when there's so few to go around. He says women have a way of getting men to do what they want. Lorna thinks Hoss isn't so stupid.
Just as the fight is about to begin, the ladies all march between the two sides. They refuse to move or do any womanly things a woman ought to do until they call this silly feud off. Beautiful young Amanda McFadden tells Anse Hatfield that she's waiting for him to come to her, but he better not come with a gun in his hand. Anse isn't a fool. He drops the gun and hurries over. Followed by everyone except Jubel and Alonso. "It was such a nice day for a fight too." Hoss, Joe, and the sheriff all shake hands on the success of their plan.
Cast and CharactersEdit
- Ann Graves: Amanda McFadden
- Bill Clark: Bartender
- Bill McLean: Kiowa Flats Bartender
- Bob Miles: Man in Saloon
- Dennis Holmes: "Black" Alanzo McFadden
- Dorothy Crenan: Susan Hadfield
- Dorothy Neumann: Ouisey McFadden
- Douglas Spencer: Alonzo McFadden
- Ellen Corby: Lorna Doone Mayberry
- George Mitchell: Jubal Hadfield
- Henry Hull: Sheriff B. Bannerman Brown
- Jenny Maxwell: Clara Lou Kinsey
- Jody Fair: Lisabelle Jones
- Jonathan Gilmore: Anse Hatfield
- King Donovan: Twirly Boggs
- "This is worse than the hanging..."
- ―Little Joe about the sermon[src]