Volume 1, Issue 1
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SEASON 1
The Kid
Gunfighter
Home of the Brave
Speak No Evil
Bad Blood
Black Ulysses
Ten-Cent Hero
False Colors
A Good Day to Die
End of Innocence
Blind Love
The Keepsake
Fall From Grace
Hard Time
Lady For a Night
Unfinished Business
Decoy
Daddy's Girl
Bulldog
Matched Pair
Man Behind the Badge
Then There Was One
Gathering Clouds Part 1
Gathering Clouds Part 2

SEASON 1 WRAP-UP

AN INTERVIEW WITH ... ED SPIELMAN

SEASON 2
Born to Hang
Ghosts

   
The Rider Review - Man Behind the Badge
By Johnny Betts

January 28, 2003

PROLOGUE

I'm Johnny Betts, this is the Rider Review, and you are the uninterested reader. My birthday is Sunday, February 9, SO SEND THOSE GIFTS IN NOW! Oh man. I just heard two guys at work talking about some new hand lotion they use. They like it because it's not "alcohol-based." Again, I repeat, these were two GUYS! What is this world coming to? You'd never hear Hickok talk about what hand lotion he used. Let's go...

Steph: Hello all. Steph is back and you know that she'll never be whack. Well, I don't know, some of my comments probably are kind of whack, but what do you expect when I have to follow all of Johnny's witticisms? It's not easy.

Yep, I'm pretty much a hard act to follow.

Steph: On a side note, I'd like to mention that I'm a big fan of the space program. And since this is a Brett Cullen episode, and he played Dave Scott, the commander of Apollo 15 in "From the Earth to the Moon" as well as a CapCom in "Apollo 13," my thoughts go out to NASA and to the family and friends of the crew of the space shuttle Columbia.

I guess I better send out my thoughts and prayers also. Don't want to appear all mean and stuff.

Plenty of ladies stepped up to the JOHNNY BETTS GUESTBOOK CHALLENGE:

Most Recent Guestbook Signers: Evie Jean, Angela "Terror Hawk Merryweather" Merrithew, Dakota Rivers, Mary, and Lavanya.

Thanks, gals. Lavanya made sure February is already covered. Mary's concerned that my Sterling Reviews are going to interfere with the Rider Reviews, but never fear, I won't let that happen. In fact, the Sterling Reviews have made me more disciplined and the end result will be quicker Rider Reviews! Everybody wins. Unless you hate the reviews.

Rider Review Mark of the Last Review: Aimee! This CA girl finally came through. I've got some new material to review in the future. And when I review "Belles of Bleaker Street," well, trust me, neither Stephen nor Ty will come through unscathed.

Rider Review Newcomers: Evie Jean, Deanna, Rosanne, Dakota Rivers, and Lavanya. Welcome to the gang, gals.

THE SCREENSHOTS W/ CAPTIONS

They're in danger, folks. Thanks to Marion Zachary, the webmistress for Brett Cullen's website, we'll have screenshots for me to play with for this review, but I have nothing lined up after that. Can anybody help with screenshots for "And Then There Was One"? Please let me know.

The Screenshots w/captions Marks of the Last Review:

Amy C. with, May I also compliment you on your captions, especially "Half-Breed and Mute P.I." Inspired.

Oregon Ann with, I also liked the remark under the screen capture of Jimmy knocked unconscious. That was classic.

Cathy L. with, Those screen captions were a blast. Especially the one about Emma providing the entertainment.

Lavanya with, i love the caption of jimmy lying sprawled on the ground ... trying to get through a kid episode ... but seriously, the best caption was the one of buck and ike "half breed and mute P.I." .... HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

And Rhi liked the Teaspoon picture/caption.

READER OBSERVATIONS

Just a few comments from a few observant readers.

Amy C: I think wanting to learn to read really fit in with [Jimmy's] character. Someone so independent would never feel comfortable relying on others to read things for him. For example, how humiliating must it be to need to ask Kid to read something for you?

Excellent points. And as Amy also pointed out, this probably explains why Jimmy was reading flawlessly in season 2. I'm pretty sure Jimmy never wanted to utter the phrase, "Hey Kid, read this for me" again. I've started reading a book about the real "Wild Bill" Hickok, and I think it's interesting to note that Hickok was actually well-educated at a young age. He actually liked reading! Just another example of poetic license within our favorite show.

Rhi: I should take a running tally of the time I spend responding to a review... Then all your readers could keep that sort of tally, the time spent reading and responding to the review... then you could see what an impact your reviews have *really* made. Then in the end you can have a really big number and know that you took that time away from our lives.

You know, that's a really good idea. It would indeed give me sadistic pleasure knowing just how much time of your lives I was wasting. As the numbers rolled in I'd rub my hands together evilly and maniacally laugh as I realized how much life I was sucking from you, "Muha ... Muhaha ... MUHAHAHAHAHA!"

Raye thinks she might be able to explain the discrepancy regarding whether Teaspoon has five or six wives:

Raye: What the writers failed to mention was that Teaspoon got married between episodes. It was a torrid love affair. She was a bounty hunter with a past and he was .. well, Teaspoon .. his wise words of wisdom chaffed after a bit and she wasn't the type to put down roots. Well it was over and done with before the rice hit the dirt .. and well, the riders swore not to bring it up again.

Yeah, that must be it. Must've happened when Teaspoon went to visit Amanda O'Connell.

Oregon Ann: Having Jimmy as a guest to the review was a nice surprise. Wasn't it more surprising to you though, as he arrived at what hour of the night? And what about that Fed-Ex guy? I didn't think they worked in the middle of the night delivering packages; they don't work that late here. Kind of odd isn't it?

True, it does seem odd at first glance, but I'm Johnny Betts. Fed-Ex knows to deliver packages to me at ANY time, even if it's at 2:00 AM while I'm working on a review. And Jimmy, well, he couldn't sleep because of Cody's snoring I think.

Evie Jean: I was wondering if you asked Hickok, while he was visiting you, if he could pronounce "inimitable"?

I did, but he glared at me and put his hand on his Ivory-handled Colt so I dropped the subject.

JOHNNY BETTS VS. THE KIDIOTS

My friend Mary (m), a Kid fan, decided she'd challenge me on a few points in the last review. She's given me her permission to respond to her comments in this review. Was she able to score one for the Kid fans against the great Johnny B? Let's see...

Mary (m): You said, "Ever the whiner, Kid wonders how they got roped into this. Roped into what, Kid? Helping a fellow human being? ... And who can blame him (Teaspoon) for not being enthusiastic? I hate moving furniture." This sounds suspiciously like a double standard on your part, Johnny. Kid didn't say he wouldn't help, or wouldn't move furniture, he just didn't like it, and you blast him. But it's OK for Teaspoon or YOU to hate it?? hmmm.

On the surface I can understand how it might APPEAR to be a double standard to a Kid fan reading it through Kid-colored glasses, but the truth of the matter is that I was experimenting with a writing style that I like to call "using what appears to be a double standard in order to lure Kid fans into sending me heated emails." I am happy to report that the experiment was a complete SUCCESS!

Mary (m): While talking to Jimmy about the kryptonite theory, you said "one with which I agree with" ... and yet you got on Teaspoon and later, Jimmy, about using proper grammar. The "proper" phrase should have been "one with which I agree".

Yes, yes, I agree with you. I obviously ACCIDENTALLY put an extra "with" in the sentence. Most of my reviews are completely flawless when it comes to grammar usage, but every now and then something will slip through the cracks. It's the price you pay when you're doing your best to get the reviews out to the fans as quickly as possible. But I don't want to be one to make a bunch of excuses, so tell you what; I'll give you a point. SCORE ONE FOR THE KID FANS! Oh, but Mary, you ended your sentence with:

"one with which I agree".

I'm so sorry, but the correct version is:

"one with which I agree."

The period should go INSIDE the quotation marks. That's the standard in America, and you ARE from America! Therefore, I'm gonna have to subtract a point. Poor thing, you were SO close! Johnny pitches yet another shut out. How sweet it is.

Steph: How in the world did I let "one with which I agree with" slip past me? You must have sneaked it in after I read it b/c there's no way I would have let that go. Way to add to the review without me looking it over, Johnny. Way to go.

Yeah right. YOU missed it, and you know it. I depend on you to catch any mistakes that I make, but nope, you sure dropped the ball here. I think this is proof that you don't really even read the entire review. Oh, you probably give it a good skimming, but apparently that's about it.

RIDICULE-WORTHY WEBSITE RECOMMENDATION

In this section I'll recommend a website that's fun to make fun of. This review's Ridicule-Worthy Website Recommendation is Dave Coulier's website! You may remember him; he's Uncle Joey from "Full House." Why does this website deserve your mocking laughter? Welp, he actually put "cut it out" in the URL, he implies that it's possible that he's the subject of the Alanis Morissette song "You Oughta Know," and most importantly, HE'S UNCLE JOEY FROM "FULL HOUSE" AND HE RUNS HIS OWN WEBSITE!

PEOPLE I DON'T WANT TO SEE IN SPANDEX

The behemoth food server in this episode.

NAME THAT EPISODE

Johnny Betts: The Episode with Chris Penn
Amy C: The Episode Where Jimmy Totally Punks Out Chubster Chris Penn
Cathy L: Wild Bill meets up with Footloose buddy
Lindsay: The one with the weird judge dude who gave Jimmy his silver gun and tried to make him shoot his friend even though the guns weren't loaded
Sarah: Jimmy's Teacher

Five responses. That's about a 4.8% response rate. And you can't really count my response or Amy's response in the statistics. So I actually got about a 3% response. Good job guys, I'm proud of you! Any alternate titles for "Man Behind the Badge"?

MAN BEHIND THE BADGE

Johnny and Steph Oh look, IT'S A HOUSE! Uh-oh, some dude is holding a woman's throat. We immediately know that this is a bad guy and we must despise him with all of our hearts.

How to be an Effective Young Riders Bad Guy, Tip 18: Hold a woman by her throat. Look at her menacingly.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! The guy, whose name it turns out is Van Dorne, slaps the woman. She falls, and we're treated to one of the fakest death scenes in Young Riders history. This one may even top the fake death scene in "Fall From Grace." She falls and gently lays her head against some raised stone near the fireplace. Please, my head hits the pillow faster and harder than that. She then keeps her eyes open for about 3 seconds and then hurriedly closes them and does a quick "death head bob." Honestly, it's quite a weird death scene. Who is showing these people how to die? Maybe she died the second she was hit, rigor mortis set in RAPIDLY, and that caused her to be stiff when she hit the stone. That must be it! The bad guy doesn't show an ounce of remorse. He just orders his guys to leave. Oooooh, meeeeeean!

As they ride off, Sam rides in ... JUST A FEW SECONDS TOO LATE! Turns out this was Sam's house, and it was his wife Jenny that was killed. Sam cries.

Steph: Poor little Sam. If only I could have comforted him.

Oh no, let's not start this stuff again!

We flash forward to Sam talking to Emma and see that he was telling her this story. He and Jenny had only been married three months. Apparently he was away when a range war broke out. WAY TO GO SAM! WAY TO LET YOUR WIFE BE KILLED! Why didn't he ever tell Emma about this? Because the writers didn't think of this plot until now! Oh, I'm sorry, Sam acts like it's because of what it turned him into. And what was that? A cool gunfighter who went out exacting revenge, THAT'S WHO!

Seriously, in a flashback we see Sam draw on two of the guys who are on the outside of the saloon. He then waits for another of the bad guys to come out of the saloon and then he drops him. But notice how he always waits for them to draw their guns first! He never shot them in the back. He just stood there, and when they saw him they drew their guns, but Sam was faster. Sam Cain - Gunfighter with Honor.

Sam kills another guy out in the open field somewhere, but once again he waits for him to draw first. Sure took the dude a long time to notice that Sam was there. Was the guy deaf? He wouldn't have heard Sam as he rode towards him? The guy's little son rides up, jumps off his horse, and starts saying "Pa" several times. The little kid then looks up at Sam and with no emotion whatsoever says, "You killed him. You killed him. You killed him." Is this kid a robot? Who does he think he is, Haley Joel Osment from "A.I."? He's one of the worst child actors I've ever seen. It seems that most of the child actors on TYR had to say the same line multiple times. Anybody remember little Sam from "Gunfighter"? And I can't confirm it, but he looks like the kid who played Arthur in "The Littlest Cowboy."

Steph: I was thinking maybe he had seen a few Michael Pare movies.

I wouldn't be surprised if he's BEEN in a couple of Michael Pare movies.

When Sam sees the kid he begins to have a little regret about what he's done. Emma tries telling him that he didn't know, but Sam thinks it made him just like the guys who killed his wife. Emma tries to reassure him that that's not true. He was standing up for the farmers when nobody else would.

You know, it's all sad and everything that the kid lost his father, but come on, the kid's father was a murderer. Or he was at least an accomplice to murder. You ride with an outlaw, you die with an outlaw. That's the code. The kid's probably better off with a family that doesn't go around MURDERING PEOPLE! I wonder what Sam did with the kid? Did he take him back to town? Or did he just leave him out there in the open with his dead dad? There's a loose end that the writers failed to tie. I'm not sure the kid would've enjoyed riding back to town with Sam.

Steph: I'm pretty sure that we are led to believe that the little boy died of bad acting, so Sam didn't have to worry about him.

Fine with me because that means that WE don't have to worry about seeing him in future episodes.

Emma asks when it all ended, but Sam explains that it didn't. There was one man left. He had an idea who it was, but he had lost the stomach for revenge. Some people have been setting fires in Sweetwater recently, and for some reason that's what has reminded Sam about this dark spot in his past.

Steph: Huh? I wonder why this reminded Sam of the past. Methinks it's more like the writers were desperate to find a reason Sam would recall those bad times.

I know, I've wondered the same thing. Some fires are being set and all of a sudden Sam recalls his wife's death? How exactly are the two related? I'm blaming it on lazy writing.

Emma and Sam smooch before he leaves. Emma apparently liked the smooch enough to tell Sam to never forget that he's a good man.

Over at the jailhouse some behemoth of a woman is serving supper to Deputy Barnett (this is our first look at this goofball!) and Otis from the Andy Griffith show. Seriously, this Otis wannabe is in jail for drunkenness it seems, and he looks like Otis to me. So you know what? I'm calling him Otis throughout this review! Deal with it! I'm guessing we're also supposed to get a Barney Fife vibe from Barnett. Sam's Andy Griffith except he carries a gun and kills people. Other than that it's a perfect match.

Otis is complaining about the food. He doesn't think it really looks like steak. Steak is supposed to be the flesh of the animal, but Otis feels it's more like eating the hide. Barnett agrees that it's a tad chewy. Behemoth gets mad and leaves. She seems to think Barnett wouldn't be able to find anybody else to bring him his food at that time of the evening. I think behemoth is eating all the good food herself and then feeding them the scraps. Look at her! She's eatin' healthy.

In walks Sam. For some reason Barnett is considering smoking. Whatever dude. Gunshots! Oh great, another fire has been started, and this time it's at Tompkins' store. Thankfully, all the fine folks of Sweetwater band together to overcome the odds and put out the flames. It's one of those moments that truly freezes in time. A tragedy strikes, a community comes together, all trials are overcome. It's a touching moment. One that failed to bring me to tears.

Here come the riders! They must've been summoned to town. If there's trouble a' brewin', you know the Riders will be a' stewin'!

Sam addresses the Sweetwater folk and tells them that when he finds out who's behind the recent trouble he'll put them away for good. He tells them that in the meantime they need to protect their property, particularly at night, but they need not go shooting the first thing that moves. Wait until you see the second or third thing that moves and THEN shoot!

Teaspoon asks Sam how he's holding up. Not too well it seems. Sam's starting to get worried. I guess Sam needs to buy a cup then? Thank you, thank you. Before the night was through last night, the barbershop was ransacked and the tailor was beat up. Guess that'll teach him to make sure he hems pants correctly!

Sam and Barnett Sam's already deputized three men, and he still can't stop what's going on. Oh no, more gunshots! Sam runs outside and asks Barnett what's going on at the Wild Horse Saloon. Apparently the new owner is buying drinks for everybody. Sam's surprised because he didn't know that the old owner (Tom) was selling. Is this the same saloon that Grace ran in "Fall From Grace"? Glad to see it's bounced back since her tragic death.

Sam heads over to the saloon to see what's going on. There's Otis, getting drunk. He lifts his drink to Sam and Sam just kind of grins and nods. Hahaha, for some reason I find that pretty funny. Uh-oh, but what isn't funny is the fact that Van Dorne, the killer of Sam's wife, is in the saloon! And he recognizes Sam, "Well if it isn't Sam Cain."

Steph: Hmm. So Sam just now decides to tell Emma about his wife and how he avenged her death. He was reminded of this b/c of some fires. And then whaddaya know, the guy who killed his wife just happens to show up. Isn't it great how these things just seem to fall into place so easily?

TYR - Defying all odds in regard to how many coincidences can be stringed together!

A little known fact is that yours truly was originally part of this scene. Unfortunately, the writers didn't feel it played out very well and it was eventually cut. Here's the original script:

VD: Well if it isn't Sam Cain.
Johnny Betts: What if it isn't?
VD: What?
Johnny Betts: Well, you implied that if it wasn't Sam Cain then there'd be some sort of consequence.
VD: Huh? Look kid, who are you? This isn't in the script!
Johnny Betts: Who am I? WHO AM I? I'm the face you see in your nightmares, Van Dorne.
VD: Seriously, could someone get this kid off the set? We're trying to shoot a scene here.
Johnny Betts: There's only one thing that's gonna get shot around here, and that's YOOOOOOU! *I pointed my finger at him, kicked the table over, and stood up* It's your move, Van Dorne, but you better move quickly.

At this point security rushed the set and carried me away. I was only 15 at the time, so they just sort of let me go with a warning. Yep, they were all scared.

So the writers failed to capitalize on my impromptu scene and went with the standard where Sam turns around and his eyes glaze over when he sees who it is that's addressing him. BORING! Van Dorne correctly states that it looks like Sam just saw a ghost. Sam automatically assumes Van Dorne is behind their recent trouble, but VD claims he doesn't know what Sam's talking about. Turns out VD has just recently bought the saloon and plans on turning it into the busiest saloon in the territory.

Jimmy slowly walks towards VD and asks, "Who is this fella, Sam?" BOOYA! GO JIMMY! Come on, draw your gun and drop him faster than a Jennifer Lopez husband! Sam holds him back and says it's no one he wants to know. Booooooooooo!

VD explains that he and Sam were once employed by men on opposite sides of a land dispute. Sam says, "I'll see you in jail, or..." but VD interrupts and asks, "Or what?" He's a respectable businessman now, and he doesn't appreciate being threatened, you see. Guns are drawn by pretty much everybody in the saloon at this point. VD mentions that Sam must still think he was behind Jenny's death. Well VD doesn't have time for this, so he orders Sam to drink or leave.

Sam walks up to VD and dumps his food in his lap. BOOYA! That's what I'm talkin' about! Sam then punches out some long-haired dude who looks sort of like a walrus. Go Sam! Go Sam! It's your birthday! It's your birthday! Sam then tells Van Dorne, "Enjoy your lunch." Good line. I'm gonna make it our first "Mark-Out Remark" nominee.

VD has the last laugh though. He informs Sam that as per the territorial Governor's instructions, Thomas R. Craven (the long-haired walrus) has been sworn in as the new Marshal, and he has appointed Burt (or Birch) McGwain as his deputy. This is effective immediately. He then lets Sam know that he's no longer welcome in the saloon. You know what this means don't you? Sam is no longer the ... DUHN DUHN DUHN ... MAN BEHIND THE BADGE!

It's a good scene; I'll make it a "classic scene" nominee. We'll call it "the scene where Sam goes to the saloon and confronts VD only to be dismissed as Marshal."

Tumbleweed We see Sam in his nearly empty office. It's a little messy, and he's kicking stuff around. I would've laughed heartily if a tumbleweed had blown across the room and out of sight. Man that would've been funny. Emma comes in and asks if he's doing some house cleaning. No, he's just trying to make sense of it all. He's put his life on the line for three years to try to bring law and order to Sweetwater, and this is what it comes to? A kick in the butt and a slap in the face?

Emma tells Sam that he can't let this turn him back into what he used to be. Why not? That'd be pretty cool. I wish he'd have become like Clint Eastwood in "Hang 'Em High" and just started taking out the bad guys systematically. Or like Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp in "Tombstone." Sam comments that Van Dorne is like a disease, you can't wish him away. Hahahaha, I've been referring to Van Dorne as VD, so you know what that means, don't you? VD is like a disease! Get it? VD! I'm pretty sure the writers did this intentionally to give me some material to work with. Thanks guys, huge shout outs (or shouts out?) to ya.

Sam laughs a little (perhaps because he realized the humor in saying VD is like a disease), and for some reason Emma looks up at him and smiles at him like he's legitimately laughing. Um, Emma? It was a mock laugh, no need for you to smile. Sam mentions how this whole situation is almost funny. You try to put part of your life behind you, but something like this happens to turn it all upside down. No, that's actually not too funny, Sam. I'm sure Stephen Baldwin knows all about trying to put your past behind you. How many times do you think he's heard, "Didn't you star in *snicker* Bio-Dome?"

Steph: Hey, he made Celebrity Mole one of the greatest shows of all time until he was brutally executed. And b/c he was the one that gave the show life, they had to bring him back for the next episode. That's how important he is.

Stephen goes from TYR to "Usual Suspects" to Celebrity Mole. I think our thoughts and prayers need to go out to HIM.

Emma invites Sam to come stay with her and the riders for a while. He suspects it's so she can keep an eye on him. Yeah, I'm sure she'd like to keep a hand or two on him also. PERVERT! He agrees to come out for supper. He needs a good meal. Emma reminds him to keep the office neat and tidy on the way out.

The riders are helping clean up Tompkins' store. Tompkins knows they haven't always seen eye to eye, but he really appreciates their help. Cody says not to take it so personally; after all, he's got the only general store in town. Tompkins personally shakes Buck's hand and thanks him. Awwww, Tompkins is just a big ol' softy! Thankfully the line where Tompkins says, "Thanks, half-breed" was cut from the script.

Tompkins closes his store, but Marshal Craven and his cronies arrive to discuss business. For $10 a week, they can guarantee Tompkins won't have any future problems with his store being attacked. Tompkins asks, "And if I refuse?" To which one of the cronies knocks over a broom in a bucket. Woooooooooooooooooo, SCARY! Hey Tompkins, you better pay them the $10 or THEY'LL KNOCK OVER BUCKETS WITH BROOMS IN THEM!!!!! CAN'T YOU SEE CRAVEN AND HIS MEN DON'T PLAY AROUND?!?! He also stuck his rifle in Tompkins' face. Craven simply responds, "I wouldn't."

As Sam mopes along, he sees somebody painting over his name on the Marshal sign. From behind it looked like Lou, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't. Mr. Neeley tells Sam about the Citizen's Protection Program that Craven and his cronies are starting, but Sam doesn't seem too interested. I'm just curious, is there a bigger group of wusses around than the town of Sweetwater? VD has a handful of men. I'm sure if the ENTIRE town picked up rifles and walked over to VD and his men and said, "Get out or we start shooting," then the town would have the upper hand. Come on, Sweetwater, ever heard of a backbone?!?!

Sam sees an Italian dude (Mr. Rolari) and his wife packing up their wagon. Mr. Rolari speaks in a very fake Italian accent and explains that he and his wife moved to America to get away from this sort of strong-arming, so they're going to family in San Francisco. "Oh, Sam-a. My wife-a and I, we move to America to get-a away from this sort of thing-a. We have-a family in San Francisco. We go-a there."

Otis Otis sees Sam sadly reflecting recent events and offers him a drink. Sam says it's the best offer he's had all day and resorts to boozing it up to solve all his problems. Sad, so sad.

Meanwhile, poor Emma is sitting at the dinner table with a sad look on her face. For some reason, Jimmy and Cody are the only ones eating dinner. Where's everybody else?!?!?! I know they don't ALL have runs! Cody tells Emma not to worry. After all, Sam's never missed a free meal yet. Jimmy wonders if a petition would help get Sam back in office. Emma said Teaspoon doesn't think so. That's why he left to see the territorial governor. Turns out Ike and Buck went with Teaspoon, but where were Kid and Lou? Um, on second thought I don't even want to speculate.

Sam stumbles in drunk. He's sorry he's late, but Emma immediately recognizes that he's drunk. Cody reminds him to take off his hat and gun belt. Yes, you must remember to be polite, Sam, THERE ARE TWO PONY EXPRESS RIDERS PRESENT! Jimmy comments to Sam that this Van Dorne business must be eating him up. Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. Why would you make such a Kid comment like that??? OF COURSE IT'S EATING HIM UP! I guess since Kid wasn't there they had to have somebody state the obvious.

Emma asks Cody and Jimmy to give her a minute alone with slam. Hahaha, you see the previous sentence? You see "a minute alone with slam"? Of course I meant to write "with Sam." But I decided to leave the original as it is because it's funny. With slam??? What made me write that?? Emma then totally pimp slaps Sam and tells him that crawling into the bottle will do him no good. GO EMMA! She's seen good men crawl in and not be able to crawl back out. For some reason she then starts talking about the whole "Bailey turns into an alcoholic" plot line from "Party of Five," and I've gotta admit, I'm not sure why she went that route. It was just a tad out of place.

Sam wallows in self-pity for a while and talks about how he used to think he counted for something. Many retired mathematicians have thought the same thing. Bwahahaha! OK, I'm sorry, I fully apologize for that last "joke." It's really not fair that I subject y'all to stuff like that. You deserve so much better. Unfortunately, you're reading the RIDER REVIEW; so it's not gonna get much better than that. But hey, if you continually set your standards low before you read a review then you should be fine.

Emma tries to reassure him that he does count for something, but he protests. Says he used to think he was important because of his badge, but what good does it do when a man like Van Dorne can just waltz into town and buy it? Good question. It's a question that Emma doesn't have an answer to. She does pimp slap him a little more though and tells him he's got to quit feeling sorry for himself. BOOYA! Amen.

Sam lifts his spirits a bit and says everything's gonna be all right. In the YR Special Edition DVD that only I seem to have, Sam pulls a Kenny Loggins and starts singing to Emma:

Even though we ain't got money,
I'm so in love with you honey,
Everything will bring a chain of lo-ooo-oove
And in the morning when I rise,
you bring a tear of joy to my eyes,
And tell me everything's gonna be all right

Hey writers, I SAID NO COP ROCK! Thankfully that embarrassing scene didn't make the final cut.

Emma Dies Emma likes Sam's attitude change. She tells Sam that she needs him. She then says, "we all do." Well, at least for 3 more episodes it seems. They hug and smooch a little. She asks if he's gonna be staying, but he says he's gotta run into town. He's not looking for trouble; he just needs to pick up a few things.

Van Dorne and his men are playing poker when they hear a horse outside. HOLY COW! SARAH 'HORSE-FACE' DOWNS HAS BROKEN OUT OF PRISON AND IS JOINING FORCES WITH VAN DORNE!!!! NOW BOTH SAM AND JIMMY ARE IN TROUBLE! I guess I better not jump the gun. Maybe they just heard behemoth talking. Well, no, she's actually bigger than a horse. Ohhhh, it's Sam! VD tells McGwain to hide behind the safe and when given the signal he is to kill Sam.

Sam says he's there for his things. Craven doesn't appreciate the way Sam left the office, but hey, he was in a hurry. Time for VD to be a really mean bad guy and start taunting Sam. He says it's funny how fate brings people together. Sam spent so much time looking for him, and now here they are. VD says that he's not the one responsible for the death of Sam's wife. Who does he think was responsible? SAM CAIN! VD says that if Sam wasn't so busy protecting the farmers, then maybe he would've been home to protect his wife. Ooooooooh, DROP HIM RIGHT NOW SAM!

"I could kill you right now," says Sam. "What's stopping you?" inquires Van Dorne. I wish VD had said, "You're outnumbered, Cain" and then Sam could've said, "That won't matter to you, you'll be the first one I drop." That'd have been awesome. Instead, Sam hears a noise behind the safe. McGwain jumps out with his rifle. Sam reacts in self-defense and shoots McGwain. He jumps out the window and on his horse but not before being shot in the leg. Behemoth witnessed the whole thing, but she just stands there with her mouth wide open looking completely dumb. I think I saw a few flies coming in and out of her mouth. CLOSE YOUR MOUTH ALREADY! Van Dorne stuck his head out the window and fired a couple of shots, but they were lost in the cold, dead night.

As Sam rides along he begins to feel some pain in his leg. He builds a fire, heats a knife, and then uses the knife to cauterize the wound. Ouch. Shouldn't he have dug the bullet out first? Or are we to assume that the bullet went clean through?

Steph: I think the explanation is that Sam is just a big masochist. That's why his name is Sam, get it???? S and M! Mystery solved.

Wow, thanks Steph! I can honestly say I never thought about that.

Back at the Saloon, Craven is trying to get the citizens of Sweetwater to join his posse to go hunt down Sam for "murdering" McGwain. Hahaha. I love how you hear the mumble of saloon talk and then you'll hear people distinctly yell out stuff like, "Sam Cain's a good man!" "I don't think this is right!" "Sam's our friend!" "Sam Cain ain't no killer!" Hahaha, that is just always funny.

No one seems to want to join the posse, so VD offers $10 to anybody who joins the posse and $20 to whoever catches Sam. The crowd turns on Sam faster than clean sheets turn on Martha Stewart and we hear the distinct voices now saying, "Hey, now you're talking, $10!" "Sounds fair to me!" "Me too!" If I were Sam then I don't think I'd want my job back after finding out about these turncoats. Would YOU want to protect a town consisting of such ingrates?

Steph: I'm pretty sure I heard a "Sammy sucks" chant gaining momentum.

Otis heads over to Emma's and tells her, Jimmy, and Cody about Sam's situation. The talk of the posse has Emma worried. She's afraid Sam's going to be killed. Has she ever watched the show? Does she not realize that one or more of the riders will easily swoop in to make the save?

Jimmy, Cody, and Kid head out in search of Sam at the same time as Craven and his posse. Jimmy wonders if Sam might really be holing up at Painted Ridge. Kid comments that that's where Sam hunts all the time, so he knows all the nooks and cranny of the area.

Steph: Hey Johnny, is there just one cranny in the area?

Yeah, that's right. Smart-aleck.

Chances are the posse won't be able to find Sam, but that doesn't mean the riders can't! Of course the riders will find Sam, but the amazing thing is that they're actually going to do it without Buck this time! This was obviously a mistake on the part of the writers. I'm not sure why they had Buck go with Teaspoon. You'd figure that he'd be needed to sixth sense everybody to where Sam was hiding.

Meanwhile, Teaspoon is at the train station engaging in an argument with a young soldier. Teaspoon's mad that the soldier won't tell Governor Phelan that he's there waiting for him. The soldier threatens to arrest Teaspoon, but our favorite old codger advises him against that. Teaspoon should've just backhanded this punk and told him, "Don't sass me boy. You gonna clear leather or just stand there and flap lip?" That'd have ruled.

Finally the Gov comes out and talks to Teaspoon. The Gov says the last time he saw him, Teaspoon was making a quick retreat from a house of ill repute. I love how Teaspoon looks back at Ike and Buck, makes a face, and just kind of points at the Governor, hahaha.

Steph: Personally, I don't think it very humorous that Teaspoon spent his time at some whorehouse. What a horrible example to set for the impressionable young riders. And they all looked up to him? Shameful.

I agree. And Teaspoon's look indicated that he wasn't proud of it either. You could tell he was hoping Ike and Buck wouldn't take what the Gov said seriously.

Teaspoon explains to the Governor that he needs to reappoint Sam. The Gov recalls Van Dorne asking for a new Marshal, but he says reappointing Sam isn't easy. After all, VD represents some powerful interests. Please, it sure seemed pretty easy to fire Sam on the spot! But the Gov expects me to believe that reappointing Sam "isn't that easy"??? Why was it so easy to fire him? And since when can a Marshal be replaced without any reason whatsoever?

The Gov's got other stuff to worry about right now, in particular a peace treaty that needs signing. Chief Standing Bear (whom the Gov is there to see) walked out of a recent meeting, and they haven't made progress. Teaspoon knows Standing Bear and is willing to talk to him.

Hangnail Jimmy, Cody, and Kid finally find Sam. Sam's plan is to go after VD once his leg heals. He should've settled the score years ago. The riders want him to wait because Teaspoon is on his way to try to get him reappointed. Jimmy tells Sam that he needs to give the law a chance to work. That's what Sam's always telling him, so why should Sam be a big hypocrite? Sam says VD owns the law; he bought and paid for it, and it's never applied to him. Once again, Cody tries to get him to wait until Teaspoon gets back, but Sam feels he's waited too long already. He does need to see Emma before he seeks revenge though. The riders leave.

VD isn't too happy that Craven and his posse failed to find Sam. However, he doesn't think there's any need to get more men. There may be an easier way.

Teaspoon talks to Standing Bear. Basically, Standing Bear doesn't trust white men. They kill buffalo and poison Indians with whiskey.

Steph: Hey Bear Boy, what do y'all smoke in them peace pipes? I guess that kind of poison is A-OK? Hypocrite.

Teaspoon says some things can't be stopped, but he convinces Standing Bear to discuss the peace treaty so that maybe, just maybe his children can live in peace. Standing Bear agrees to talk. That's really all you need to know about that scene. In fact, that may be more than you really need to know.

Teaspoon delivers the news to the Gov and tells him to listen and be fair. The Gov says he'll do the best he can and tells Teaspoon he'll reappoint Sam. I don't think I'd be quick to trust a Governor who fired a Marshal just because someone who represented "powerful interests" asked him to.

Twister Emma goes to see Sam ... ALONE! Is this a smart thing to do? Why wouldn't the riders have accompanied her? Sam has a posse chasing him, and they're just going to let Emma go to Sam all by herself? Reeeeeeal smart. What if she leads Craven and his man right to Sam?!?!?! Emma finds Sam. They hug and smooch, but unfortunately Emma led Craven and his men right to Sam. SIGH!

Why did it take a couple of minutes before Sam noticed Craven and his men? Emma and Sam are smooching and then all of a sudden you hear, "Don't move, Cain." They're all on horses, and they've got their guns drawn, and you know what? THEY'RE JUST A FEW FEET AWAY!!!! Are we supposed to believe that Craven, his men, and their horses just floated there without making a sound? I don't get it.

Hangnail Sam's in jail. VD taunts him a little about how they're going to have a nice, legal trial followed by a nice, legal hanging. Well, it's obvious that, like Emma, Van Dorne has never watched the show.

Emma, Lou, and Kid are trying to find a lawyer for Sam. The first man they approached is already working as the prosecutor. They then approached Johnny Cochran, but they got annoyed when he was trying to be cute and come up with little catchphrases.

If Sam shot in order for himself to protect, then no noose shall go around his neck.
If McGwain drew first and THEN Sam's gun went bang, then the jury shall not decide that Sam should hang.
If Sam shot in self-defense, then his freedom shall now commence.

Don't complain to ME, folks, I'm just reporting the facts. Emma says they've gotta get Otis the drunk to be Sam's lawyer. Kid and Lou find Otis in a bar. He's exploring Sam's legal options: draw up a petition, change of venue, discredit VD, burn the courthouse down, have the riders storm in at the last second, draw their guns, and announce "There ain't gonna be a hangin' today." This is when Kid and Lou ask him to be Sam's lawyer. He declines. The only bar he's been in front of in years is the saloon bar. Kid tells him that if he had more faith in himself than the bottle then things might be different. Otis can't make any promises, but he decides to try. Given the time of the occurrence there may be a witness who hasn't come forth.

Otis, Kid, and Lou go to talk to behemoth. Otis knows she delivers food precisely, and so she would've been in the area when the shooting started. She's a total wainch though and denies seeing or hearing anything. Seems she's scared of being fired. She needs to be scared of Jimmy firing a bullet into that house-sized backside.

We're in court and Van Dorne's on the stand. He claims a drunken Sam came bursting in and started threatening them. They tried to reason with him, but he drew his gun. McGwain tried to talk him into holstering the gun, but Sam just laughed and shot him in cold blood. At this point Sam jumps up and yells, "Aw come on!" When the judge restores order to the court, the lawyer asks if McGwain drew HIS gun, and VD says no.

Otis is starting to look like he has a bad case of diarrhea. Sam asks if he needs a break. He needs a drink, but he'll settle for a witness at this point. By the look on his face it looks like he needs a Tums. He's gonna try to play on the jury's sympathy. At this point Emma gets up and leaves. Guess it's painful for her to realize Sam's a cold-blooded killer. Sorry Emma, but it's hard when you find out your hero has clay feet. Otis asks VD if he knew Sam before he got to Sweetwater. Before we get an answer we head to...

Behemoth Emma talking to behemoth. Emma tries to convince the behemoth to be a witness on behalf of Sam. Emma thought she'd never love a man again until she met Sam, and she doesn't want to lose him. Behemoth apparently has a change of heart when Emma says, "Don't let them murder him." Actually, part of that scene was cut out. In the original script, Emma had to offer to cook the woman an entire cow. THEN she agreed to help Sam out.

Otis addresses the jury. Sam's either a cold-blooded killer, or he acted in self-defense. Otis tells the jury to take into account what they know about Sam. He asks Joe to recall the time his boy got hurt and Sam rode to Blue Creek to get a doctor. And once, Joe was having troubles with mountain lions. Who hunted them down and killed them? Sam. When the town needed somebody to walk on water, who was there? Sam. That time when they had a town picnic but only had two fish and five loaves of bread, who could be counted on to feed the multitude? It was Sam. And does George remember when "little Timmy" slipped down the dry well? Sam was the one there to help. Little Timmy slipped into a well? Are you kidding me? Who is Sam supposed to be, Lassie??? Walking on water? Fine. Feeding the multitude? I'll let it slide. But sorry, the whole "little Timmy" thing was a bit much.

Otis then goes on to say that there isn't a man in the courtroom that Sam hasn't helped. Oh please. I seriously doubt that. How many people live in Sweetwater? 8? Sam Cain has done right by the townsfolk, now it's their turn to do right by Sam Cain! Weeeeell, whatta ya know, here comes one last witness! In a shocking turn of events, Otis decides to interview the building where the shooting took place! Oh wait, it's just behemoth.

We immediately move to the verdict. The hotel clerk dude declares, "We the jury find the defendant ... GUILTY! SAM CAIN IS TO BE HANGED BY THE NECK UNTIL DEEEEEEEEEEEEEAD!" NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! WHY, OTIS, WHY?!?!?! THIS IS A BUNCH OF BULL CRAP! HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENI... oh wait, I coughed at the beginning of the verdict and didn't hear the whole thing. Actually they found him NOT guilty. WHEEEW! Everybody cheers and celebrates. Cody is particularly happy. VD and his men aren't happy though. They leave. I've got a new word to introduce to everybody. I did a search on Google and didn't find any websites using this word, so I'm coining it right now! You ready? Here we go...

The "not guilty" verdict is one that easily brings joy. If you were in the courtroom when the verdict was announced then you may have stood up and yelled, "hallelujah!" You may have also stood up and yelled "BOOYA!" So why not get the best of both words and say...

HALLEBOOYA! You can even use it in church to add a little hipness to your church-going activities. If you're going to shout it in church then you can combine it with "raising da steeple," which, of course, replaces "raising da roof." So there you go. I've just created a new word, and all you fine readers can be the first to use it.

Cody Why was anybody worried in the first place? Did anybody think that Sam would hang even if he was found guilty? We all know good and well that the riders would've smoked iron and prevented that.

Sam's outside putting on his gun belt. Teaspoon rides in and asks what all the "happy smiles" are about. Is there such a thing as "sad smiles"?

Steph: May I remind you of Andrea Zuckerman on 90210? Whenever she was upset she would make her sad smile. Boy, was that annoying. I hated it. Why did she get a talk show again? Holy cow, she's 42.

The worst is when we were supposed to believe that she had become part of the cool crowd. And then Brandon started having feelings for her? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Sell that someplace else Aaron Spelling because I ain't buying it. I'm ashamed to admit I know that much about 90210.

Kid mentions that the jury just found Sam not guilty. Teaspoon has no idea what Kid is talking about, but he's too tired to find out right now. He gives Sam his letter of reinstatement and takes off to catch up on a week's sleep. Shouldn't Kid have explained a little better? Why would he assume Teaspoon would know what he was talking about?

Craven asks VD if they're just gonna wait there at the saloon. VD says Sam will be there soon enough. Some crony delivers the news that Sam's just been reappointed, so VD grabs his rifle and positions his men. VD sits at a table with his rifle underneath.

Sam calls out VD and tells him that he and his men are under arrest. Apparently VD isn't gonna give himself up so a gunfight ensues. Two men on the roof are killed. One of the guys flips over the balcony and executes a beautiful swan dive. I'm just curious, have the riders ever been involved in a gunfight that didn't involved somebody being shot on a balcony, cliff, or some other high precipice? They gotta make the stunt men earn their paychecks! You just gotta love how the bad guy on the balcony never really gets shot, flies backwards, and then falls on the balcony floor. Noooo, he must fly backwards, hit the building, and then be propelled forward over the balcony. It's a thing of beauty.

Sam bursts into the saloon and shows us that he's apparently had gymnastics training when he does a little flip and roll thing under a table and shoots one of the bad guys on the stairs. It was cool, if not entirely believable. Sam then shoots Craven. The walrus is dead.

Lou Kid shoots a bad guy that's behind the bar and then runs upstairs to see if anybody's left. Kid just started sprinting upstairs. Was that the smartest thing in the world to do? Wouldn't you want to slowly creep upstairs just in case somebody WAS up there? Oh well, this is Kid we're talking about. Lou hides behind a table and warns Sam that VD has a rifle under the table. VD is just calmly sipping his drink until Sam tells him it's his play. VD stands up, draws, and Sam drops him like Will Smith's record label.

Sam limps out of the saloon and hugs Emma. Jimmy says, "Marshal! Think you might be needing this" and flips the Marshal badge to Sam. Sam looks at it, and we get a nice close-up of the badge. Man, it would've been so perfect if they'd had the badge sparkle and made the little "ding" sound effect. That would've ruled. Sam looks at Emma and smiles. The End.

EPILOGUE

It's a good episode. It's not one of the best, but it's got some good scenes, and Sam is cool. Van Dorne is a good bad guy. Is there anybody that didn't want to hurry up and see Sam drop him? Would I recommend it as a YRRT? Hmmm, there are several other ones I'd show before this one. But if you know somebody who is a big Brett Cullen fan then go ahead and show them this one.

Mark-Out Remark:

Sam with, "Enjoy your lunch." You gotta love how he calmly says it after dumping Van Dorne's food in his lap.

Classic Scene:

"The scene where Sam goes to the saloon and confronts VD only to be dismissed as Marshal." Hickok is ready to throw down on Van Dorne, Sam dumps food in Van Dorne's lap, guns are drawn, Sam punks out Craven, what's not to like about the scene? Good tension. And then VD let's Sam know that he's no longer the Marshal, and voila, the rest of the episode is set up for us.

I also liked the flashback where Sam got revenge on the guys who were present when his wife was killed. The next episode I'll be reviewing is "And Then There Was One," or as I used to call it, "Teaspoon and his Alamo Dreams."

HOW THIS EPISODE CHANGED YOUR LIFE

Lindsay: MBTB made me a better person by reinforcing in me the characteristic of not being afraid of standing up for the truth. Now, I'm not a two-bit scared-of-my-shadow washing woman (who even then looks so big she could squash anything that's threatening her), but still, bad things happen when the truth is not told, and things are left to individuals to decide for themselves what is right without even knowing the facts.

Excellent observations. It seems that this episode did a great job in teaching us all the importance of telling the truth. What we didn't see in the episode was behemoth being gunned down by Van Dorne's men after the trial, but that is neither here nor there. The truth was told, Sam was freed, and no one wanted to see behemoth ever again anyway.

Amy C: How "Man Behind the Badge" Changed My Life -- by Amy

As I don't recall the episode too clearly, I'll relate one of my "Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From Young Riders." Ahem.

The Young Riders taught me THE DANGERS OF THE DEVIL'S DRINK. Being drunk makes you stupid and sucks you into TYR Bizzaro World. Sam Cain, once a force to be reckoned with, takes of the evil brew and turns into a bumbling idiot within a matter of commercial breaks. Ike throws back a few in "The Littlest Cowboy," and mutates into someone who's mean to cutesie animals, terminally ill tykes, and half-bred Indians. Most [condemning] of all, Jimmy gets all drunk and mean in "Bad Company" and instantly turned into a total pud that kindergartners roll for spare change. You're a bad [rear-end], why can't you hold your liquor! The ground where the rye was grown must have been contaminated by Hickok Kryptonite. Anyway, in summation: Beware the Devil's Drink!


True dat. Ol' Otis became a drunkard and look what happened - he lost his ability to be a good lawyer. But as soon as he laid off the sauce he was able to make a comeback and win his very first case upon his return! Much more dignified than being a drunkard who can't remember to remove his hat and gunbelt in front of a couple of Pony Express riders, don't you think?

Cathy: I feel that this episode changed my life by making me wonder how much a person could hide from someone they love. I know things are sometimes better left unsaid but I think that you get to know a person through their past. Everyone acts differently because of things in their life. And it is good to know these things. Apparently Emma and Sam never had too many heart-to-heart talks. They seem to be in the dark about a lot of things.

This is true. Sam and Emma knew each other for a while, and we're supposed to believe that Sam never told Emma, "Hey, my wife was killed and I went out killing the guys who did it"? That's a pretty big secret to keep from somebody! Come on Sam, relationships are built on FAITH AND TRUST!

Steph: In the words of Radney Foster, "Gotta build our love with hammer and nails. Hammer and nails, we're gonna build this love. Faith and hope, flesh and blood."

I'll let this quote slide, but this review will NOT become a breeding ground for Radney Foster lyrics. I mean, come on, his name is RADNEY!!!!

That's all we have for today. A lot of you gals admitted that you didn't remember too much about this episode, so I guess not too many lives were changed by it.

*as Johnny prepares to finish the review he looks at the half of the broken baseball bat lying on his desk*

Steph: Is that the broken bat that the Fed-Ex guy delivered when you interviewed Jimmy?

Johnny: Yep. It's from Walker, you know.

Steph: Oh, I know. He's waiting at the White Station baseball field, right?

Johnny: That's what he said.

Steph: Do you think he wants to smooth things over with you?

Johnny: I don't know, but I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Steph: Hold on, Johnny. I don't want you going there looking for revenge, all right?

Johnny: It's not revenge I'm after; it's a reckoning...

Folks, I'm just a classic rock kind of guy in a Top 40 kind of world, trying to write that one hit that'll put a dent in the fender of the sanitized, "politics-as-usual" paradigm.

In the immortal words of Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp, "Go ahead, skin it. Skin that smoke wagon and see what happens."

This is just my opinion, you could be wrong.
The Sun Sets on The Rider Review
Copyright 2002 Madlib Productions, All Rights Reserved

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