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 - Matched Pair
By Johnny Betts

November 27, December 2-6, 9-12, 16-20, 23-24, 27, 29-30 2002

PROLOGUE

Hello, I'm Johnny Betts and this is the Rider Review. I'm everybody's favorite "rude, abnoxious jerk" who needs to be "punced in the face," and I'm back once again to toy with my popularity. Let me just start off by saying that if you want to send me a scathing email telling me how you think my reviews are best used for potty-training a dog, but you don't want me to joke about it in the review, then just let me know. I won't post anything anybody doesn't want posted. Just tell me if you want me to keep anything private and I'll be glad to oblige.

This should go without saying, but I figured I'd point it out in case anybody was scared about emailing me. Don't be scared, I'm not THAT intimidating.

I'm still waiting for an arch-enemy. Every superhero has one. There's Batman vs. the Joker, Superman vs. Lex Luthor, Spiderman vs. the Green Goblin, Barbra Streisand vs. Common Sense, Michael Jackson vs. Any Sense Whatsoever, etc. So who's gonna be Johnny's arch-enemy? Or am I just too darn likeable for anybody to pose a challenge to me? It doesn't have to be an enemy. A nemesis would do. But I guess at this point, the people who don't like the reviews have probably stopped reading them. Some people probably assume that Kid fans don't like my reviews. The truth is, they just don't tell anyone how much they like the reviews. It's their little secret.

I'm trying something new for this review. I've never really calculated exactly how long it takes me to write a review. I'm sure y'all are dying to know as well. So I'm going to time everything and see exactly how long it takes. I'm sure I will cry when I realize how much time I spend doing this. It'll be pretty sobering when I realize that by the time I've finished reviewing all of the episodes that I've probably spent about 45 days of my life doing it. Oh well, what can you do? Should be interesting.

Also, I'm adding a counter to this review. This will show me how many people are actually reading this stuff. If the counter only reaches 10 or 11 then I'm pretty sure this is the last review I'll ever write. But my goal is to have over 100 people read a review. Well, I want at least 100 people to read THIS review.

I know I've heard from over 100 people over the past couple of years, but do more than 100 people read the reviews on a regular basis? I have no idea. So do me a favor and spread the word and help me reach at least 100 readers with this review! I know that if we come together as a team that we can make this dream of mine a reality!

Jo-Anne from Australia came to the rescue and answered the JOHNNY BETTS GUESTBOOK CHALLENGE for December. But feel free to add your name if you like. January is near, and I'll be needing a signature.

Most Recent Guestbook Signers: Chanda Lier and Jo-Anne. Chanda Lier is obviously fake. Dunno if it's a friend or somebody signing anonymously. Jo-Anne's legit though.

The Rider Review Mug Rider Review Marks of the Last Review: It's gotta be the ladies from the Arizona reunion. They gathered together and got me a cool little "All My Hero's Are Cowboys" postcard, AND they got me a really cool Johnny Betts Rider Review mug. Check out the pic. They're smart - they put a pic of Jimmy on the mug. A picture of Kid would've prevented them from winning the award. So thank you Wendy, Raye, Vicki, Beth Goodman, Lori, Cindy, Cathy, Lisa, Nell, and some girl whose name begins with an S (I couldn't read the rest of your name on the postcard!), you gals are the Rider Review Marks of the Last Review! Seriously, that mug is really cool.

THE SCREENSHOTS W/ CAPTIONS ARE ALIVE FOR AT LEAST TWO MORE REVIEWS!

Thanks to Marion Zachary, the webmistress for Brett Cullen's website, I'll have screenshots to work with for at least the next two episodes. Raye might be able to help me with some future episodes, and Gail said she'll be making more screenshots in the future, so we'll see what happens. But I'm at least all right through "Man Behind the Badge." If anybody else would like to help me out then please let me know. I joke with y'all sometimes, but you gals always pull through in the clutch.

Let it be noted that Rhi WOULD have helped me out, and she's NOT too lazy to help, it's just that she's too cheap to buy a screen-capturing device. That's all right though because so am I. I'm not as cheap as I used to be though. Stephanie has helped me learn a little more about spending my money. I used to throw nickels around like they were manhole covers.

The Screenshots w/captions Marks of the Last Review:

Marion Zachary for providing screenshots for the next two reviews.

Angela "Ambrose" (in honor of Bulldog) Merrithew with, I did like the picture in Bulldog of Jimmy crying and the kid episode caption - right there with ya!

Mandy Silver with, btw, i like the teaspoon caption.

Lindsay with, As for the captioned pictures, the hero worship one is so funny.

Rider Review Newcomers: Sarah Frederick and Amy C. Amy has already made some good suggestions. I'll say more about that later. And Sarah? Well, Sarah made me realize something...

We're all human. And as such, we all make mistakes. Sometimes "the obvious" is staring us right in the face, and for whatever reason, we just don't see it. Sarah brought to my attention that I let something slip in the "Bulldog" Review. You see, I had set myself up for a perfect joke, but regrettably I didn't even notice and the joke slipped past me. Sarah was disappointed that I didn't capitalize on this, and I must say, no one's more disappointed in me than myself. But I believe in making things right. And that's what I plan on doing right now. You remember the quote I ended the review with? If not, it was by Kevin Arnold from "The Wonder Years." Here it is in part:

"...because every kid deserves to be a hero. Every kid already is."

Do you see what I missed? Do you see what I failed to capitalize on? Well let me try to right this wrong. Here's what I should have said afterwards. *ahem*

Well, maybe not EVERY Kid is already a hero. Know what I'm saying?

Thank you. Thank you, Sarah, for keeping me alert. And thank you, readers, for indulging in this little bit of self-therapy.

READER OBSERVATIONS

Just a few comments from a few observant readers.

Cathy Labanon: I just wanted to give you a pat on the back because as much as you wanted to give Jimmy the award you gave it to CODY AND KID which deserved it. I must say that line cracked me up. You know the kind that comes out of nowhere and makes you spit your juice out.

Like most of my reviews, huh?

Sarah: this review was terrific, it was really funny ... I agree with you, the scene where ambrose died showed how sensitive Jimmy was, Josh did an excellent job.

I must admit, I totally agree with everything Sarah said. She seems to be a very bright and articulate person.

Amy C: ...why would Buck, a half-Kiowa, refer to the Sioux as the "Lakota"? If memory and the History Channel serve, "Lakota" means "The People," and is what they called themselves. To all other tribes they were the Sioux, which means "The Enemy." Were the Kiowa overly friendly with this tribe? ... why would the member of a competing plains tribe call them anything other than the Sioux? I mean, didn't the Lakota and the Kiowa scrap now and again?

Excellent question. Any ideas? My guess is the writers forever wanted the viewers to think that ALL Indians were best friends and got along. That's why whenever we see a group of Indians in a scene; we immediately see a shot of Buck smiling really big. Amy C, a most enthusiastic newcomer, also had the following observation:

...I don't get how Merryweather (see, I'm respecting your spelling preference) is going to be "put away for a long time." Prisons were not used to house long-term criminals prior to the civil war outside of, say, Pennsylvania where the Quakers came up with the prison system. But out west, you'd house somebody in a jail just long enough to hang them ... This is a point that annoyed me from the Pilot on. Kid is always, "Let's hand him over to the 5-0 and he'll go to prison." Bull-O-Ney. I'm with Jimmy, hang-em high. It'll save the circuit judge a long ride.

Another very good point. For all of you who have seen Lonesome Dove you know that Gus and Call, two Texas Rangers, would hang horse thieves on the spot. They recognized what Jimmy said about the West - out there, they were the law. If a man could be hanged for stealing horses, then I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that risking a 40-year-old Pony Express rider's life in order to start a war with the Indians would also be a hanging offense. Remember in the pilot when Jimmy proved that he was inimitable when he said, "A man like that, you never leave him standing. Never." ??? Just words to live by.

Lindsay: You didn't mention it but, in the scene where Jimmy is chopping wood and Ambrose talks to him and he leaves, I thought it was amusing how Ambrose put the wrong foot in the stirrup first.

Ah yes, I remember. It was a nice, subtle touch. I don't have anything profound to add.

PEOPLE I DON'T WANT TO SEE IN SPANDEX

John Goodman.

NAME THAT EPISODE

Newcomer Amy C had a pretty good idea that she suggested to me. She thought it might be interesting to allow readers a chance to rename episode titles. If you're like me, then you had no clue what the episode titles were until you found them on the Internet. And I've had a lot of people mention that they have their own names for different episodes. Here's Amy's example:

Take 'Fall From Grace' for example. After recovering from the bad pun, I decided that the better title comes from one of my favorite Teaspoon moments. I call it 'The Ep Where Jimmy Hobnobs With Trash.' 'The One Where Jimmy Wears The Purple Collared Pimp-Suit' came in a close second but sounded too 'Friends'-ish.

Previously, I've mentioned some of the names I used to call episodes. For example, I used to refer to "Matched Pair" as "The Episode with Chris Penn." Amy's title of choice? "The Episode Where Jimmy Totally Punks Out Chubster Chris Penn." Hahaha. You get the picture? So tell me what YOU think the episode should be called or what you've always referred to it as. If I get enough responses, then I may have the readers vote on their favorite. We'll see. Go ahead, have fun with it, we'll see what happens.

All right, we're about to start reviewing "Matched Pair." Like I said, I'm gonna keep a running tally of the time I've spent on the review. This includes watching the episode, taking notes while rewatching sections of the episode, writing the review, spellchecking, reading the review and adding additional comments, doing whatever research I feel necessary for the review, etc. The only thing I'm not including in the total time is how much time I spend responding to email. What a revelation this is gonna be.

MATCHED PAIR

Thanks to my Jujitsu class I can barely move my forearms, but I'm still going to do some reviewing! It's 11:32 PM. Let's see how long I last.

The episode starts off with Teaspoon judging a pie contest. As he tastes each pie he compares the pie to his ex-wives.

  1. Cherry Pie - It reminds him of this first wife, but Teaspoon doesn't tell us why. I'm not gonna touch this one.
  2. Peach Pie - Light and delicate, like his second wife. She was from Georgia. I'm surprised Teaspoon didn't look at the camera, say "she was a real peach," and then wink.
  3. Apple Pie - Delicious to the core (wink wink nudge nudge) like his third wife.
  4. Blackberry Pie - Dark and mysterious like his fourth wife. She was a foreigner. Is blackberry pie really all that mysterious? Sure, it's dark, but mysterious? Where's the mystery? It has blackberries in it, what else do you need to know? Methinks Teaspoon is stretching it a bit.
  5. Prune Pie - Hahaha, Teaspoon makes a face as he takes a bite. The prune pie reminds him of his fifth, and oldest, wife.
Teaspoon In later episodes Teaspoon mentions having six wives. Was the sixth wife forgotten, or did they just run out of pies? Funny stuff though.

Teaspoon then paces around a bit before announcing that they all win. Boooooooo! I HATE TIES! The hotel clerk isn't too happy about this either, but all the ladies start clapping. Yeah right. Sorry gals, call me a sexist if you want, but I know in real life a huge catfight would have broken out. When it comes to women and cooking contests they will NOT settle for a tie. You know it, and I know it.

Court is in session in Ft. Laramie. A man named Charlie Bass is being grilled by a lawyer. Bass claims that Mr. Enright, a former judge, offered to buy his land at a fraction of the cost. When Bass refused to sell his land, Enright allegedly sent some thugs to stir up trouble. Is that Mr. Enright or Barney Miller? Enright then holds the hand of some good-looking chick that's watching the trial. Turns out it's Enright's daughter. Finally, a good-looking guest actress! This is going to be great! Hopefully she'll be in the show for a long time and not turn out to be a wainch. With my luck she'll die pretty quickly.

There's not much to be said about Bass. He's got long hair and a beard. In other words, he's one of your cookie-cutter stage hands that would work cheaper than a real guest actor. This stage hand actually had a speaking part though! He was a hero to all the other stage hands who looked just like him and were waiting their guest spot.

Later that night, Enright's daughter, Clara, runs off with Charlie Bass. She has a ledger containing all of her father's bribes. She doesn't want to convict her dad, but she wants to hold onto the ledger for protection. In my Special Rider Review Edition, Heath Ledger (acting as if he's Buck showing up to translate Ike's sign) shows up out of nowhere and says, "If you want a Ledger to hold onto for protection then look no further." He flashes a big grin and winks at the camera. Bass and Clara just stare at him incredulously. Heath stops smiling and then runs off as if embarrassed.

This could've been a funny moment, but Heath Ledger was an unknown at the time. I guess that's why the writers decided to cut that scene from the episode.

The next day, Enright tells Chris Penn to get Clara and the ledger back. As far as Bass goes, well, Chris Penn has permission to eliminate him. Chris Penn tells Enright that he didn't know Heath Ledger had been kidnapped, but Enright just ignores him. If anybody is not aware, yes, Chris Penn IS Sean Penn's younger (and more rotund) brother. Let's hope Chris is smarter than Sean. I'm sure that by now y'all have heard that Sean Penn has gone to Iraq and has single-handedly done a complete and thorough weapons inspection and has determined that Iraq poses no threat to the U.S. at all. Yep, Sean has determined that Iraq is indeed free of weapons of mass destruction.

You know, if Sean Penn wants to say he doesn't support an attack on Iraq then he should say, "I, Sean Penn, don't support an attack on Iraq." But claiming that an executive tour of Iraq has proven that they aren't hiding any weapons isn't even close to an intelligent thing to say. Why didn't Sean get the deluxe tour of Iraq that shows the torture taking place in the refugee camps? Maybe they should've shown him Hussein's professional rapist in action. Yes folks, Hussein has a professional rapist.

I don't have a problem with people voicing their opinions, but I do have a problem with sheer stupidity.

Anyway, Chris is Brad Taggart. Interestingly, Chris Penn has filmed three movies with Stephen Baldwin: "Under the Hula Moon" (I do not recommend it, I think I laughed once), "One Tough Cop" (it's a good movie), and the yet-to-be-released "Shelter Island." I don't know anything about "Shelter Island," but I'm sure it'll be another straight-to-video movie under Stephen's belt. I think I heard a rumor that the basic plot of the movie is that Stephen and Chris hide on an island and shelter themselves from all the bad reviews being thrown at them and the movie. I can't verify the validity of that rumor though. Chances are Stephen will appear either shirtless or in a muscle shirt in at least one scene. If I were a betting man (and I'm not), I'd wager all my Alan Thicke memorabilia on it.

I like Chris Penn in what I've seen him in. This was good casting. And let me just throw some more useless TV/movie trivia at you. Chris Penn played Charles Goodnight in the "Lonesome Dove" prequel, "Dead Man's Walk." James Gammon played an older Charles Goodnight in the "Lonesome Dove" sequel, "Streets of Laredo." In case you don't remember, James Gammon played Elias Mills in the excellent YR episode, "The Blood of Others." Yes, all of Hollywood can be tied to either LD or TYR.

Kid and Buck Back at the way station, Teaspoon is telling Kid and Buck that he saw Bigfoot once. To quote my good friend, the Jack, "Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight." Teaspoon is like the typical grandfather who's really skilled in using hyperbole. The riders just kind of have to grin and nod. Too bad no one ever condescendingly patted him on the head.

Emma tells Kid and Buck that she needs their help. Ever the whiner, Kid wonders how they got "roped into this." Roped into what, Kid? Helping a fellow human being? Teaspoon wants to know why Kid's panties are bunched up this time, and Kid explains that they have to help Emma rearrange the bunkhouse. The next part is funny. Teaspoon starts to chide Kid and Buck, "Listen to you two, whining about moving a few chairs around..." when Emma tells Teaspoon that she'll need his help also. I love Teaspoon's reaction. He's not much in the mood for this. I like the way he incredulously says, "Huh?" You gotta love the senile ol' codger. And who can blame him for not being enthusiastic? I hate moving furniture.

As they head for the bunkhouse, we see Emma and the rest of the riders running around trying to get a cake and some presents situated. Just then...

*suddenly there's a knock on Johnny's door*

Just a second. Let me get this...

Whoa! I don't believe it, you made it! Holy cow, thank you so much for showing up to participate in the review with me. Readers, boy do I have a treat for you. It is my extreme honor to introduce you to a special guest who'll be joining us for this review. Please give a warm welcome to JAMES BUTLER HICKOK! Thanks for joining us.

Jimmy: Sure.

JB: Mr. Hickok? Do you prefer to be addressed as Mr. Hickok, Jimmy, James, or Wild Bill?

Jimmy: "Jimmy's" all right, I guess.

JB: Jimmy, I just want you to know I've read just about everything ever written about you. And I've watched all the "Jimmy episodes" multiple times. I'm truly honored to make your acquaintance.

*Johnny then extends his hand to Jimmy. Jimmy muffles a half-hearted, "Thanks," QUICKLY shakes Johnny's hand and pulls it away causing Johnny to accidentally hit Stephanie in the head.*

JB: Whoops, sorry about that, Stephanie!

Jimmy: Johnny Betts? That name sounds familiar...

JB: Uh, yes, so anyway, would you mind going back outside and coming back in?

Jimmy: Why?

JB: I want to play George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" as you enter. It'll be kind of like your theme music.

Jimmy: *stares at Johnny incredulously* Nah, that's all right.

JB: All right, but let me just ask a question. Is it true that on the day you were born the nurses all gathered around and gave to the white wonder, the joy they had found?

Jimmy: What?

Steph: Yowza! "Gave to the white wonder"? Johnny, Johnny, that's so off it's almost embarrassing, hahaha. Try "Gazed in wide wonder." hahaha, that's pretty funny though. Add that to the archive of misheard lyrics. 'Scuse me while I kiss this guy (kisses Johnny).

JB: Really? Huh. I guess I've been singing that wrong all these years. You've gotta admit, my version DOES make sense! Oh well, at least I got a kiss out of it. The plan worked. BOOYA!

But yeah, Jimmy, I heard that the head nurse spoke up and said, "Leave this one alone." Apparently, she could tell right away that you were bad to the bone.

Jimmy: Do you want me to leave?

JB: No, I'm sorry. I'll get back to the review. I was just discussing the time Emma and the riders had a birthday party for Teaspoon. He came in to complain about helping Emma, saying he had horses to tend to, etc., and y'all jumped up and yelled surprise. When Emma told Teaspoon to blow out the candles, he commented that it might take more wind than he had, and he asked for your help.

Jimmy: I remember. I commented that it sounded like a job for Cody.

JB: Hahaha, that was a great line. The funniest part is that Cody actually came over there to help.

Jimmy: Why shouldn't he? I don't know no one more full of hot air than Cody.

JB: Well, you might change that opinion after you're finished talking to me. Sure enough, Cody was needed. Poor Teaspoon. He tried to blow the candles out, but Cody had to come to the rescue. I guess Kid could've also helped out, he really blows too, but I guess he just mostly blows chunks, HAHAHAHA, man I crack myself up.

Jimmy: *glares at Johnny*

JB: I like when somebody yelled out "Speech!" (I think it was Lou), and Teaspoon started saying, "Many years ago as a young man..." but Emma quickly sat him down.

Jimmy: And we were all thankful for that. We're all fond of Teaspoon, but sometimes he has trouble cutting his stories and advice short. He always has a point to make; he just has trouble getting to it.

Emma the Entertainment JB: As Teaspoon starts to open his presents, he opens a nice present that was given to us, the fans. That present? CONTINUITY! Amanda O'Connell sent Teaspoon a framed dollar. But this wasn't just any dollar, oh no, it was the 1st dollar ever made at the Silver Spoon, a saloon in Abilene, KS that she opened using the money Teaspoon gave her.

Jimmy: Classiest saloon in Abilene. Or so Teaspoon claimed.

JB: I'm really happy the writers incorporated this into the episode and didn't just completely forget about the Amanda O'Connell storyline. However, I still think Teaspoon should've given the money to the riders. After all, he knew y'all a lot longer and a lot better than he knew Amanda. Just think of what all you could've bought with the money. Yet even so, you still suggested that Teaspoon should pay her a visit. You weren't bitter about Teaspoon giving Amanda the money?

Jimmy: No. A lot of money don't suit me. It has a way of cluttering a man's life and getting in the way of what's important.

JB: Good point. Amanda is pretty good-looking. Why didn't you make a move on her? She would've been a lot better than ol' Sarah "Horse-Face" Downs who you claimed was the prettiest woman you ever saw. What up with that?

Jimmy: *looks down, looks back up at Johnny* Is there a point to this? Amanda just felt more like a sister than anything else. As far as Sarah goes, I don't dwell on the past too much. Memories are sometimes best left settled, like the dust.

JB: Fair enough. At this point, some little Oliver Twist wannabe named Matthew came in to deliver a message to you. When you opened the envelope it was a coin that looked like it had been shot. You immediately seemed to know who it was from because you asked Oliver Twist, "Where is he?" When Oliver told you he was at the saloon, you said you'd be there directly. I've gotta be nosy like Kid and ask you who was it?

Jimmy: Someone I used to know.

JB: You refused Sam's help, why?

Jimmy: This was personal. It was something I had to look into by myself.

JB: You put on your jacket, and as you grabbed your gun and looked at it we see a...

FLASHBACK

JB: During the flashback we see Chris Penn chasing you around a field. Looks like you snatched his hat from him.

Jimmy: Who?

JB: Oh, I'm sorry. Brad Taggart was chasing you. I love how they slicked your hair back to make you look younger.

Jimmy: What?

JB: Never mind. It's a TV trick. In order to make the flashback look legitimate they had to slick your hair back a little bit to make you look different.

Brad and Jimmy Jimmy: *glares at Johnny*

JB: Like I said, never mind. The Judge called y'all into the house and presented the two of you with a couple of Navy colts. He said they were a ... DUHN DUHN DUHN ... MATCHED PAIR!

Jimmy: *looks around* Where'd that music come from?

JB: Just a special effect I often use in the review.

Jimmy: Oh. Navy Colts. They were the most powerful weapons of their day. They were exactly identical. Only difference was the men holding them. Judge didn't want us practicing "saloon tricks" with them either. We had to practice every day. His goal was that the two of us would be the best gunfighters around.

JB: Brad said at least one of you would. Did that not cause you to be a little wary of him?

Jimmy: To be a little what?

JB: Wary. You know, a little cautious. Did his comment not make you watch your back a little closer?

Jimmy: Not at the time. I trusted him as a friend.

JB: I like Enright's quote about how "a fancy gun never saved a man with a slow hand ...or a nervous eye." But we all know that Jimmy Hickok had neither of those!

Jimmy: Thanks.

JB: We flash forward to Brad in the saloon and you show up. Brad figured that with your temper you'd be dead by now.

Jimmy: He figured wrong.

JB: Brad assumed the colt had been good to you. Brad should've said something like, "Well, if it ain't 'Wild Bill' Hickok. Looks like that Colt's been good to you." Surely he knew of your reputation, and I think the episode should've played off that. Brad then ordered two whiskeys, but you asked that yours be a sarsaparilla.

Jimmy: Just following the rules.

JB: But you never followed ALL the rules, now did you? I seem to remember that you got in more than a couple of fights with your fellow riders. Why didn't you get fired because of those incidents?

Jimmy: *shrugs* Some rules were made to be broken I guess.

JB: Brad had a funny line though when he said, "Still drinking with the ladies, huh?" I thought it was a funny comment, you know, a little jab between friends, but the look on your face showed that you weren't amused.

Jimmy: No.

JB: The two of you then toasted to old times. Brad started to reminisce about the time you took a bottle of some of The Judge's liquor and got really sick. But you didn't even crack a smile. The only thing you were interested in was how Brad found you.

Jimmy: Like I said, some memories are best left settled.

JB: Don't get me wrong, I love how you just stared at him and ignored what he said. It further exemplified your no-nonsense attitude. I'm not faulting you for it.

Jimmy: Well I'm real relieved to hear that.

The Colt JB: Anyway, Brad said The Judge had his ways of finding out what he wanted. Now see, that's a little ambiguous. If I had written the script I would've had Brad sarcastically say something like, "Why, you're a hotshot gunfighter now, Wild Bill. You should know it wouldn't be too hard to find you." I just think it would've fueled the rivalry between the two of you. It would've helped to build up to the climax of the episode.

JB: Turns out Brad was The Judge's foreman now, he was pretty much in charge of running things. What did he want?

Jimmy: Help. He told me Clara had been kidnapped.

JB: That takes us to another...

FLASHBACK

JB: In this flashback, we see Clara telling you about the book Robinson Crusoe. It sounded pretty exciting to you, and you thought it looked like a real nice book, but you didn't know how to read.

Jimmy: Clara was gonna teach me.

JB: Until The Judge came in there and said he wouldn't allow your time to be wasted with books. How did you feel about that?

Jimmy: I wanted to learn to read. 'Specially if it meant spending more time with Clara.

JB: BOOYA! I hear you Jimmy! Clara was pretty good-looking. High five on that one...

*Johnny raises his hand to try to give Jimmy a high-five*

Jimmy: I don't think so.

JB: Sorry. But I just knew you had another motive besides just learning to read. Man. Not only does The Judge look like Barney Miller, but he also sounds like Robert Stack from Unsolved Mysteries. Tell me Jimmy; did anybody ever solve the unsolved mystery of what the deal was with Kid's hair?

Jimmy: Are you related to Cody?

JB: Not that I know of.

Jimmy: You sure? I'm sure the two of you would have a lively conversation.

JB: I'm sure we would. I plan on interviewing him one of these days.

Jimmy: You sure your review can handle both of those egos?

JB: Not entirely sure, but we'll see what happens. Now I love this next part. In fact, it's one of the coolest, most subtle things about The Young Riders. The Judge told you that reading was fine for most folks, "but not for you son, believe me. You're the kind of man who learns best from doin', not readin'."

If the readers will recall, in the "Ten-Cent Hero" review, you told Cody, "Real heroes learn from doin', not readin'." That's an awesome line, and now that we see what The Judge told you, we realize that it really stuck with you. You didn't abandon everything The Judge taught you.

Jimmy: Just because I realized I had to get away from The Judge didn't mean that he didn't teach me anything of value. He said the country needed men of action who could tame the land and bend it to their will. He said that was my future, and he was right. Being an educated man wasn't in my cards.

JB: Then The Judge HEARTLESSLY THREW THE BOOK IN THE FIRE! THAT BOOK BURNER! HE MIGHT AS WELL HAVE THROWN A PIECE OF YOUR HEART IN THE FIRE!

Jimmy: Calm down, it wasn't THAT big a deal.

JB: Anyway, we see you at the bunkhouse getting ready to leave. Brad and his men were there. Brad figured you knew the territory and could help them find Clara quicker. Truth is, I think Brad figured you could help him find all the eating establishments on the way to find Clara. Brad didn't look like a man who cared to miss a meal. You were thankful for the time off that Teaspoon was giving you, but he left you with some advice.

Jimmy: Yeah. He said there wasn't a face there that he'd trust his back to. I agreed. There aren't many men I'd trust my back to either.

JB: But you left anyway?

Jimmy: Yeah. Clara's safety was the only thing on my mind.

JB: But didn't you say some memories are better left settled?

Jimmy: Some are. Some aren't.

JB: Did Brad ever snap on the trip, you know, get really hungry and start trying to eat your horse?

Jimmy: *glares at Johnny* What?

JB: Come on, the man looks like he can handle a fork and spoon as deftly as he could handle that Colt.

Jimmy: You sure you ain't related to Cody?

JB: Pretty sure.

FLASHBACK

JB: You and Brad had a shooting contest. Man, y'all shot bottles, ropes, a weather vane, a cage with chickens in it. But I think my favorite was when you somehow shot a stick three times in about 0.5 seconds. Care to explain how you pulled that one off? You're good, but come on.

Jimmy: Guess those Colts were powerful.

JB: In the last round Brad flipped a coin in the air and y'all shot at it. I'm guessing Brad hit the coin because he claimed you were never gonna beat him.

Jimmy: Brad was fast. But The Judge didn't give us the guns to shoot at play targets. He said we were to shoot to kill every time, not for fun.

JB: So how would you practice? That's pretty stupid. You have to practice on live humans? How did he expect you to practice without shooting at inanimate objects?

Jimmy: Ask him.

JB: I would, but he's probably dead now. You pointed out that you hit everything you were aiming at, but The Judge said it was your attitude that was important, not your aim. The judge said you handled a gun better than anybody he'd ever seen, but he thought you didn't take it seriously.

Jimmy: He thought wrong.

JB: The Judge took the guns and left saying y'all would play another game - a game for real men. I guess he wasn't talking about soccer. You went over, picked the coin off the ground and flipped it to Brad. I love how the scene then flash forwards to the coin in Brad's hand.

Jimmy: Said it was his good luck charm. I neither needed nor wanted luck. If you depend on luck, sooner or later yours is gonna run out.

JB: Brad felt you needed some luck though. I don't guess he cared for your clothes too much. He said he'd seen better rags on a dead man. Well, yeah, that's because dead people are dressed up in nice suits and stuff. He should've said something like, "I've seen better rags on a leper." Now THAT would've gotten his point across. But personally, I thought you had much cooler clothing than Brad.

Jimmy: I wasn't complaining.

JB: Hey, I've got a jacket very similar to yours. I call it my Hickok jacket. Wanna see?

Jimmy: No thanks.

JB: Oh, all right. How much did you make running the mail?

Jimmy: Enough.

JB: Not enough for the saddle or the boots that Brad owned. Brad figured "enough" just wasn't much to you.

Jimmy: Fancy things got a way of clutterin' a man's life and getting in the way of what's important, and I ain't got no use for 'em.

JB: BOOYA! That's an excellent line. I'm gonna make it the first "Mark-Out Remark" nominee. While it's a good line, Brad thought you only felt that way because you didn't have any fancy stuff. He seemed to think you'd feel different if you were still working for The Judge and making some real money. Did you make a mistake leaving The Judge?

Jimmy: Brad should've been thanking me. The way The Judge was acting, one of us would've been dead soon.

JB: Is anybody else as annoyed as me that he was called "The Judge"?? I'm getting tired of calling him that.

FLASHBACK

JB: The Judge (grrr) gave you both full loads and said you'd march off 10 paces. You know, Jimmy, you should've stopped right there and said, "Up yours Judge. Why don't YOU square off against me? You like telling everybody how to shoot guns, but that's all a lot of talk. Let's see some action. My guess is that YOU would be the one with a full load if you had to face off against me." Then you should've paused for two beats, got real close to The Judge's face, and then said, "BOOYA!" That would've shown him.

Jimmy: All I know is he said we'd played our games and now we were gonna play his. Wasn't exactly something I wanted to do.

JB: But he wasn't exactly training you to shoot cans off fences, right?

Jimmy: But Brad and I were friends.

JB: According to The Judge, nobody holding a gun on you is your friend. Personally, I don't think he had a valid argument there. He was FORCING the two of you to hold your guns on each other. You weren't doing it by choice.

Jimmy: When you trained with The Judge you learned quickly that he made your choices for you.

JB: He thought maybe you were scared. Scared of facing something that would shoot back.

Jimmy: I resented being forced to do something I didn't want to do. Doesn't make a person afraid.

JB: Brad told you to aim wide. So maybe he wasn't thrilled with the idea either?

Jimmy: That's what I thought. But after we took 10 paces I dropped to the ground and yet Brad was clicking his gun and looked to be pointing right where I would've been standing. Thankfully the guns weren't loaded.

JB: Which shocked you. The Jerk (which is what I will now call "The Judge") was angry that you didn't fire your pistol, but you were quite upset yourself. When you asked The Jerk what kind of game he was playing he explained that this was no game. This was what he'd been trying to teach you. Drawing guns is a deadly business and you must always shoot to kill. He made some good points.

Jimmy: I didn't say I never learned nothing from him, but he gave me a bad feeling. I knew one day he'd load the guns, and I didn't want to be there when he did. Brad disagreed. He felt that The Judge loved us like sons.

JB: Yeah, like redheaded stepsons I'd say. When you asked Brad if he was shooting at you, he claimed he would've missed you by a mile. What are your thoughts on that?

Jimmy: I sure would've liked to believe him.

JB: Personally, I didn't believe him either. Do you know what Brad definitely would NOT miss by a mile?

Jimmy: What?

JB: An all-you-can-eat buffet! Ba dum dum psh! Thank you, thank you.

Jimmy: *looks up at the ceiling and then looks back down and stares at Johnny*

JB: Um, so anyway, Brad tried to make light of the situation asking who he'd beat in poker if he killed you. As I said, I think he was shooting at you. You probably needed to be more concerned with Brad than The Jerk.

We now flash forward to you doing some scouting...

Jimmy: Bass and his brothers didn't know much about covering their tracks. They were heading toward Split Peak and were only about a half day ahead. I knew a trail where we could cut them off.

JB: Back at the way station Lou rode in and handed off a pouch to Ike. WOOOOOO! The writers are reminding us that this is a show about the Pony Express! Teaspoon told Ike to "Ride good." I'm sorry to be a stickler for details, but Teaspoon should've told Ike, "Ride well." I think proper grammar is important, don't you, Jimmy?

Jimmy: I don't see where I have much need for proper grammar. I can carry on a conversation. I guess that's what's important.

JB: Well, you may be able to carry on a conversation, but proper grammar just makes you sound more intelligent. That in turn will cause people to respect you more.

Jimmy: These two Colts resting on my hips will cause people to respect me just fine.

JB: Good point, but in many cases isn't that fear and not respect that some people are showing?

Jimmy: Yeah, but I don't learn that until Season 3.

JB: Emma got back from Tompkins' store. Seems he really cleaned out her purse. A package came for you in the mail. When Emma handed it to Teaspoon he said, "Feels like a book. What would he want with that?" BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm sure Teaspoon wasn't intentionally being mean, but that sure is a backhanded dig at your inability to read.

Jimmy: Teaspoon said that?

JB: Yeah, you didn't know?

Jimmy: How could I? I wasn't there.

JB: Oh. Well, like I said, I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it.

Jimmy: Doesn't matter. He talked crazy about half the time anyway.

JB: At any rate, the package was from Clara. The writers allow suspense to dangle in the air like a Michael Jackson baby and don't immediately reveal what is in the package. Hmmm, could it be a copy of Robinson Crusoe??? Maybe a leather bound copy of the Rider Reviews?? We'll soon see...

Let's get back to your attempt to find Clara. You and Brad's gang approach Charlie Bass and his brothers.

Jimmy: Clara was in the middle. I figured it'd be best to sneak her out at dark.

JB: Yeah, but Brad was ready to take 'em out right then and there.

Jimmy: I thought that was a pretty foolish notion. They would've killed her. I started to suspect something wasn't quite right when Brad acted completely sure they wouldn't.

JB: You grabbed his rifle to try to stop him, but all of a sudden we hear someone yell, "Hold it!" Then each man points his pistol and waits to cock it until the camera is on them. Right. That's the most unbelievable thing about this episode. I'm pretty sure everybody would've cocked his pistol at about the same time. They certainly wouldn't have waited two seconds each until the camera was on them. Please.

Brad told you to stay out of the way and then he and his men started to kill Bass and his brothers.

Jimmy: I didn't want to be part of that so I snuck off to go grab Clara.

The Slap JB: When you caught her you told her she was safe now, but what was her reaction?

Jimmy: She slapped me. Said she trusted me. Asked how I could do this to her.

JB: What were you thinking at this point?

Jimmy: I was just thinking, "Do what?" I couldn't understand why she was upset with me. Then when Brad told her she shouldn't have run off I knew something wasn't right.

JB: Clara asked where Charlie was, and when Brad said he wasn't around anymore that's when you asked what was going on.

Jimmy: That's also when Clara pulled her gun.

JB: Great. Just when there is a good-looking guest actress on the show she has to go and do something rash and mess it all up.

Brad wanted her to put down the gun, give him the ledger, and go home. She said she wasn't going back home though. Brad knew she wasn't going to shoot him, but I don't think he counted on her shooting herself. Neither did I. So much for my desire for her to stick around awhile. Sigh.

Jimmy: I don't know why she thought taking her own life would settle everything. Don't make sense what some people think will solve problems. I could've protected her.

JB: After Clara shot herself you ran to check on her. You then ran at Brad but one of his henchmen knocked you out with his gun. Did you really think you were going to be able to do anything to Brad with all his men around?

Jimmy: A man doesn't always think clearly in a situation like that. I've never denied that I usually act on instinct rather than strategy.

JB: I will have to give Brad some credit. He stopped one of his men from shooting you. He said a "man like that deserves to die fighting. He wants me, he knows where to find me." They then left you unconscious on the ground.

We obviously see at this point that Brad can be considered a bad guy. But I suppose he has some redeeming qualities. He knew you were an honorable fighter, and if you were going to die at his hands, it was going to be in a fair fight.

Jimmy: Just because you're on the wrong side of the law don't mean you have no code of honor.

Poor Jimmy JB: While you're getting your head bashed in, Teaspoon heads to the Sentinal to look for some information. He informs Kid and Lou that there is no info on Clara being kidnapped, but he did find out about Enright being on trial. Seems he was cheating people out of their land to profit on the future Transcontinental Railroad.

Jimmy: Sounds like The Judge. Always taking twice the money out of the collection plate that he's putting in.

JB: At least Teaspoon said they'd go look for you if you weren't back by the next day.

Jimmy: Teaspoon, Kid, and Lou? I'm relieved I made it back on my own.

JB: You caught a break when they recessed court until the next day. That gave you more time to get the ledger to Ft. Laramie. Unfortunately for The Jerk, Brad had to deliver the news that Clara was in fact dead. Kind of surprised me when he said she had her "head lopped off by a golf ball. Tragic! Tragic!"

Jimmy: What?

JB: Sorry. If you ever watched "Fawlty Towers" then that joke would've KILLED! Whoa, check it out! It's the classic shot of the windmill! Man, we haven't seen that since, oh, THE LAST EPISODE! This apparently lets us know that the action has switched back to the bunkhouse where we see that you're slowly riding in. Emma saw you fall off your horse and yelled for Teaspoon to come help.

That reminds me of the time we were at my grandparents and my dad was riding one of my grandfather's horses. My dad figured he'd show off and get the horse going as fast as he could. He's hootin' and hollerin' until all of a sudden we see my dad go toppling off the side of the horse. Poor guy. My grandfather and I ran out to see if he was all right, but my mom and aunt slowly walked outside just cracking up. They thought it was one of the funniest things they had ever seen.

Granted, it was pretty funny. But my grandpa and I made sure my dad was all right before we started laughing. Typically when someone falls off a horse that's running at full speed you want to make sure the person's not dead before you start pointing at them and laughing hysterically. Just a little Johnny Betts Nugget of Wisdom for ya.

Anyway, why were you still so out of it? You merely got hit on the head and then sometime later you can't even stay on your horse? Doesn't make much sense seeing how later in the episode you take a bullet to the arm and barely flinch.

Jimmy: That was just a flesh wound.

JB: Looks like you must've fallen into a batch of "Hickok kryptonite" as new reader Amy C likes to call it.

Jimmy: What?

JB: Ever heard of Superman? He's this powerful superhero, but he has one weakness - kryptonite.

Jimmy: *stares at Johnny*

JB: So Amy has this theory (one with which I agree) that most the time you're pretty much invincible. Shot in the head? No problem, Jimmy keeps right on fighting! But every now and then you'll receive a small bump on the head and be out of it. So in those rare circumstances there must be some sort of "Hickok kryptonite" in the air to cause you to weaken.

Jimmy: Ah.

JB: Never mind. Superman didn't come around until LONG after your time, so I understand your confusion. Anyway, Teaspoon is reading the letter from Clara. Basically you were the only one she could trust, she wanted you to keep the ledger safe, she was in love with Charlie, they were heading to California, and their lives and happiness depended on you. Man, that must've made you feel like a big ol' pile of old, white dog poop, huh?

Jimmy: She'd have still been alive if not for me.

JB: Come on Jimmy, you were just trying to do what you thought was right. You couldn't have known.

Jimmy: I should've known!

JB: Don't be so hard on yourself. Like Emma said, Clara didn't make things better by killing herself. That was a cop-out if you ask me. And I've gotta be honest; Clara put a tad too much on your non-Buck-like (i.e. big) shoulders. The girl hasn't seen you in years and then she sends you a letter saying her life and happiness depends on you? Please. That wasn't very nice of her.

She should've just written, "Dear Jimmy, two lives depend on YOU. I know I haven't seen you in years, but if you don't do exactly what I ask of you, then I might die, and well, THAT WILL BE YOUR FAULT! All you have to do is watch over this ledger for the rest of your life so that Charlie and I can live happy lives. I know you'll have to live the rest of your life looking over your shoulder, but remember, this is all for MY happiness. Hope ya don't mind! Preesh!" Wainch.

Teaspoon said it best, if you wanted to see justice done then the only thing you could do was deliver the ledger to Ft. Laramie before the trial was over. Actually, Johnny says it best when he says that if you wanted to see justice done you needed to put a bullet in the more-than-ample backside of Taggert. Know what I'm sayin'? High five!

*Johnny holds hand up in hopes of receiving a high five from Jimmy. Jimmy looks down and slowly shakes his head*

Kid Reading JB: Oh yeah, you don't do high fives. I usually don't either. They're pretty gay. Speaking of gay, Kid, or as I like to call him, Mr. Nosy, was scouring through the ledger. Thankfully it wasn't the Heath Ledger, or this paragraph would've taken on a whole new meaning. Apparently the ledger listed everybody that Enright had been bribing. Interestingly, the ledger showed that Enright had been bribing Barney Miller and Robert Stack to keep them from suing him for character infringement. You tried to grab the ledger, but Teaspoon stopped you and said you weren't going anywhere until you got some sleep.

Jimmy: Yeah. I tried to argue with him, but I might as well tried arguing with the bunkhouse wall. He just yelled at me and said not to argue with him. I guess he was right. Sunrise always comes soon enough. Sometimes too soon. Or so it seems.

JB: Or even sometimes too late, know what I'm sayin'?

Jimmy: Not really.

JB: Well, I have to admit, that I don't really know what I was saying either. I was just trying to sound all cool and philosophical. The next morning you were getting ready to leave...

Jimmy: Yep, and there was Kid, Buck, and Ike. I should've known I wouldn't be going alone.

JB: Yeah, Kid claimed he figured it was a nice day for a ride, but we all know that he figured he'd try to ride your coattails a little.

Jimmy: My only hope was that they could keep up. Well, that and I hoped Kid wouldn't try to convince me to avoid a confrontation with Brad.

JB: Fat chance of that happening. Too bad Cody didn't go with you. I'd like to have him along on a trip like that. Aww, poor Jerk. He's sitting in front of Clara's grave in his wheelchair. Brad shows up, and The Jerk tells him that everything he has and has done has all been for Clara.

Really? So training you and Brad to be the best gunfighters in the world was all done for Clara? Running farmers off their land so that he could profit from it was all for Clara? Throwing Clara's book in the fire was all for her? I'd like an explanation for that illogic. And I'm pretty sure Clara would've preferred a music box or something.

The Jerk: Happy Birthday, my dear Clara!
Clara: Oh daddy, what did you get me this year???
The Jerk: Oh, just burned another farmer's land and ran off his livestock. And this is the best part, when he tried to fight back I had him killed. Oh the things you'll do for your children.
Clara: Um, I...
The Jerk: No need to thank me, dear, I did it all for you.

Jimmy: The Judge never did nothing for nobody except himself.

JB: I hate to bring this up, but I think you just used a triple negative in that sentence. That's not really good grammar.

Jimmy: Excuse me? *Jimmy glares at Johnny*

JB: Um, nothing. What I meant to say was that Brad lied to The Jerk and said Bass went crazy and shot Clara. The Jerk assumed you had the ledger. Brad asked if he should get you, but The Jerk figured you'd come soon enough.

Jimmy: Didn't need to do much figurin' on that. I had to go if I was going to present the ledger and convict The Judge.

JB: Yeah, that's why The Jerk told Brad to make sure you didn't get there before the trial ended. Brad figured he'd be able to take care of you.

Jimmy: Sure was a lot of figurin' going on. Unfortunately for them, nothing really added up right.

JB: For an uneducated man you sure use some cool, philosophical phrases! We see The Jerk's men riding and yelling that no one was to get through. Something I thought was cool was when they showed you and the boys changing your horses. That added a bit of realism to the episode. Usually they'd just expect us to think y'all would make the long trip without ever changing horses. Kind of how they expected us to believe Buck would take Kathleen all the way to St. Louis with one horse and no provisions.

Jimmy: Well, shortly after that was when we heard gunshots. We had to take cover.

JB: According to Kid, the trail was covered from the bluff. Y'all were pretty much pinned down. Typically, it wouldn't take more than a finger on the chest to pin Buck and his spindly chest down, but since YOU were there it took a bunch of guys with guns.

Jimmy: True. But we had to figure out a way to get around 'em. Wasn't doing us no good to just sit there.

JB: So the plan was for Buck and Ike to follow the ravine to try to get around them while you and Kid held your ground and continued firing at the bad guys?

Jimmy: Right.

Buck and Ike JB: Well, it worked. Buck and Ike snuck up on the bad guys. Ike could have also tried to reflect the sun off his head and into the eyes of the bad guys. That would've blinded them just long enough for y'all to overtake them. Oh well. Buck shot one dude in the arm, and then the other bad guys dropped their weapons.

Whoa, one of those guys looked like he was about 70-years-old! Sheesh. I'm pretty sure he was used as a no-name Pony Express rider in another episode. I love how the bad guys would've been fine if they had just stood their ground and kept cover, but noooooooooooooooo, two of the bad guys decided to just stand up in the wide open. You and Kid shot 'em. I've said it before, and it's still true, bad guys in YR land were never very bright. "Hmmm, we've got 'em pinned down. What should I do? I know! I'll stand up right here in the wide open, right in the line of their fire! This is gonna be great! *BLAM* Whoops."

Anyway, you and Kid took off, and Buck and Ike were gonna catch up later.

Unfortunately your progress was slowed a bit because Brad and two of his men were waiting for you. He figured you'd show. Now, you told him to move out of the way, but did you really think he was just gonna step aside and let you pass?

Jimmy: No. He wasn't gonna let me pass until he had the ledger.

JB: And that's exactly what he told you. But you stood your ground and said he'd have to take it. Brad then told you not to force his hand. Then he called you "boy." Ohhh, I know you won't stand for that! Why exactly is he calling you boy? It's not like you're young enough to be his son or anything. Brad said to give him the ledger and no one would get hurt. Remind us, what was your response?

Jimmy: I told him, "Looks like The Judge is gonna get his showdown."

JB: BOOYA! Once you said that, Kid started looking off to the side. He looked like he was getting a tad nervous.

Jimmy: Kid never really cared for the smell of gunpowder too much. Always said it was the smell of death.

JB: Sadly, that sounds like something Kid would say. Well, it appears Brad was ready for the showdown. He commented on how the two of you had been heading that way since you got those Colts.

Jimmy: I guess we had.

JB: Brad then said, "A'ight" which is strange because he's a white guy. Brad then said, "Peep this. I'm about to get crunk on you all up in dis jizzunt." Brad then tapped his chest twice with his first two fingers and then kissed his fingertips.

Jimmy: What? Did Cody put you up to this?

JB: Nah. Anywho, Brad said ya'll would leave the others out of the fight. If you were left standing, then you got to pass. However, if Brad was left standing then he got the ledger. Seems he wanted to be fair about it.

Jimmy: Like I said, just cause you've crossed over to the wrong side of the law doesn't mean you don't have a code. I trusted him once before, I hoped I could do it again.

JB: Kid proceeds to provide a prime example of why he gets on my nerves. He felt this was a trick and didn't want you to do it. Looks like your hopes of him minding his own business were in vain.

Jimmy: As they usually were. Kid has a code of his own. Confronting Brad was the only way to get past 'em.

JB: Kid didn't think so. For some odd reason he seemed to think y'all could get around them. Riiiiight. It was three against two. If you had tried to ride away then what would've stopped Brad and his men from shooting you? Did Kid think you could just ask them nicely and they'd let you pass? Frayed knot, Kid. F-R-A-Y-E-D K-N-O-T. Frayed Knot. *Johnny waits a few seconds for the readers to realize that he's saying "'fraid not."*

I agree with you, Jimmy, it was the only way. There was going to be a gunfight no matter what. But noooooo, Kid had to get all uppity and told you not to do this to prove you were faster. ARRRRGGGGGH! HEY KID! JIMMY WAS DOING IT BECAUSE IT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO GET THE LEDGER TO FT. LARAMIE! YOU WEREN'T GOING TO GET AROUND THEM!!!!!!!!!!! Come on Kid, did you think your hair would sprout wings and fly over Brad and his men???

Anyway, Jimmy, you told him to stay out of it, but Kid complained some more saying the ledger was important evidence and he wasn't letting it go because you wanted to "settle some score." My goodness. WHAT IS HIS PROBLEM?!?!?! THIS WASN'T ABOUT SETTLING A SCORE!!!! Would a Kid fan PLEASE tell me another way Jimmy and Kid could've gotten around Brad and his men? Please? Consider this a Johnny Betts challenge. They sure weren't going to convince Brad to let them pass. And as I said earlier, if they tried to ride off then they would've been shot in the back. Brad was determined to face Jimmy, and he wasn't going to back off. I'm sorry, but Kid was out of place with what he said to Jimmy. If he was scared it was a trick, then that's one thing. If he was trying to warn Jimmy to be careful, then fine. But he had to throw in all that stuff about doing it to prove he was faster and to settle a score and well, sorry, but Kid just earned the JOHNNY BETTS SLAP IN THE FACE for his actions.

Jimmy: Hey, Johnny, I'm still here you know.

JB: I know, I'm almost finished with my rant. Bear with me for just a little bit more.

Besides, this was really none of Kid's business in the first place. Clara sent the ledger to JIMMY. Clara asked Jimmy to take care of it. I don't recall Clara's letter saying, "Hey Jimmy, could you please give this ledger to the frizzy-haired rider that y'all call the Kid? I know he'll find a way to get himself involved eventually, so you might as well just go ahead and give him the ledger now." And last time I checked, I didn't hear Jimmy say, "Yo, Kidster! Wanna help me get this ledger to Ft. Laramie? I could really use the company!"

Nope. Jimmy was ready to leave and there was Kid. He had invited himself to another party, and then before you know it he's trying to take control. Man, Jimmy, it would've majorly ruled if you had said, "Sorry Kid, but you ain't runnin' things." Oh well, I do love how you totally ignored what he was saying. The only comment you made to Kid was that if Brad killed you, then he was to take off and get the ledger to court. Bravo to you, Mr. Hickok! Bravo for ignoring Mr. Peace Treaty! At least he finally relented and wished you good luck.

Jimmy: Kid might have meant well, but a lot of times he was too naive. Like the time we caught Scarface and his men. I tried to tell him that we were the law in that situation, but he had to have his way, and it almost cost him his life. Have you ever heard of Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae?

JB: Yeah, I like them both.

Jimmy: They're two of the best Texas Rangers there ever were, and they hung outlaws...

JB: Hanged.

Jimmy: What?

JB: Nothing, please continue.

Jimmy: And they hung outlaws when they caught 'em. They didn't bother taking them to a judge. You give an enemy too many chances to escape and you'll regret it one day. I think Teaspoon rode with Call and McCrae for a short time when he was in the Rangers because he once told me that Gus told him to always remember, "You ride with an outlaw, you die with an outlaw." That's the creed. There are no shades of gray. Not out here.

JB: Do you think Teaspoon really rode with Gus and Call?

Jimmy: I don't know. He probably rode into the same town they were in one day and had a short conversation. Teaspoon has been known to expand the truth when telling stories.

JB: If Cody were here then I'm sure he'd say something about Teaspoon's belly expanding over the years as well. All right, so now we get to the SHOWDOWN! And I've just gotta say, this was a very cool gunfight. Brad said this was gonna be just like old times.

Jimmy: Yep. Six bullets. The last one counted.

JB: You dismounted and Brad's men drew their guns and took off. Hey, that's suspicious! There was a look of regret on your face, and then you nodded. I always thought that was an excellent touch. The viewer can see that you have a slight hesitation, as if you're sorry this has to happen, but then you nod because you know there's no choice. Anyway, you and Brad started walking towards each other. Was there any fear at this point?

Jimmy: No. There's no time to fear. When you get scared you lose your focus, and when you lose your focus you don't have a prayer against an experienced gun.

JB: The first shot was at the side of each other's boots. The second shot was sort of at the middle of the boots. On the third shot you shot off a little of each other's hats. As Brad's walking we see a small piece of his hat get shot off. It was a pretty cool effect. We also see Brad's bullet knock off a piece of your hat. It almost looked like it was in the center of your hat. Normally you'd think that would kill a guy, but I guess the bullet missed your head.

Jimmy: Guess so.

JB: The fourth shot hit each other's jackets, or somewhere near the gunbelt. Then on the fifth shot Brad shot you in the shoulder and said, "First blood." Sylvester Stallone immediately showed up on the screen, said, "Hey yo," and then disappeared as quickly as he appeared. Man, when you got shot you barely grimaced! You just shook it off and kept walking towards Brad. YOU DA MAN! That's when you shot Brad in the leg.

Jimmy: Returnin' the favor.

JB: Then the two of you stopped. You each confirmed that it was the last round and holstered your guns. Brad held up the coin and said, "When it lands." He flipped it in the air, and as we hear it hit the ground you both drew your guns. BLAM! Brad's face said it all, he'd been shot. Brad's men ran out and Kid shot them both. MURDERER! How did Kid know they were gonna try to shoot you? They had their guns drawn, but they hadn't fired yet. Guess Kid just likes to murder people. Way to go Kid, way to love murder. Actually, it was a pretty smooth move.

Brad wobbled a bit and fell to the ground causing a small earthquake. You ran over to him and yelled, "Brad!" I was thankful you didn't start crying and saying, "DON'T YOU DIE ON ME!"

Jimmy: Hey, Bulldog was a good kid.

JB: I know, I know. Were the writers hoping that Fisher Stevens would convince Michelle Pfeiffer to do a guest appearance on the show?

Jimmy: Who? Show?

JB: Never mind. Brad's final words were, "I didn't think you could take me" and then he died. You then just looked up at Kid. I knew you could take Brad, what about you?

Jimmy: I knew it. But in his mind he knew *he* could take *me.* Doubt is another thing a gunfighter doesn't have time for.

JB: Looks like the coin wasn't much of a good luck charm for Brad after all.

Jimmy: Like I said, if you depend on luck then sooner or later it's gonna run out. Brad's luck finally ran out.

JB: Excellent scene. I'm going to make it a "classic scene" nominee, and we'll refer to it as "the showdown where Chris Penn is punked out." So you and Kid finally arrive at the courthouse. Hahaha, we hear some moron say, "That one's been shot!" Then we hear him say, "Wonder if we need to get a doctor." For some reason I found it funny.

There were no additional witnesses, so the judge was about to conclude the case, but you walked in JUST IN TIME and announced that the judge needed to hear what was in the ledger. He threatened to hold you in contempt, but you explained that the ledger was worth looking at. He told the bailiff to get the ledger, but Kid pulled his gun on him. What up with that?

Jimmy: I was wondering the same thing. I drew my gun on instinct and hoped Kid knew what he was doing.

JB: That's risky business.

Jimmy: Well, yeah, but Kid remembered seeing Judge Baines' name in the book. Enright had been bribin' him.

JB: Thankfully, Arthur J. Fenwick, the prosecutor, stepped up to look at the book. Kid didn't recall seeing his name in the ledger, so y'all let him have at it. I could nitpick and say that Fenwick could've lied and claimed his name was Fenwick knowing that his real name was in the book, but I'll leave it be. Fenwick noted that there were indeed several payments to Judge Baines. Fenwick asked him to remove himself from the trial, and he did.

Jimmy: Much to The Judge's dismay.

JB: Yeah, Enright told Baines to stay in his chair. Called him a coward. Enright calling someone else a coward? That's rich. And then Enright claimed nobody there could judge him. A judge getting upset at others judging HIM? A coward getting upset at another person's cowardice? Enright had some issues.

Jimmy: Yeah. Just one of the reasons I left.

JB: Enright then went on to claim that nobody there was his peer. He creates the future. Sure, he may run a farmer or two off his land, but hey, he's putting railroads, towns, and jobs in his place. He's bringing prosperity to the wilderness. Sure, this makes him rich, but after all, he's putting money in everybody's pockets. Blah, blah, blah, WHY DON'T YOU JUST SHUT UP ALREADY YOU POMPOUS JERK! According to Enright, instead of the ledger condemning him, it actually recorded the "price of progress." Whatever. Enright's a total cad.

Jimmy: What I wanted to know was how he could build a country worth living in when all he did was destroy everything around him, including his daughter.

JB: Enright said Clara loved him.

Jimmy: She ran away from him.

JB: Enright was delusional and thought Bass forced her, but then you spoke up and told him that Clara killed herself.

Jimmy: That's right. I felt he needed to know that his own daughter chose dying rather than going back to him.

JB: Enright then had a total breakdown and started screaming, "NO! NO! LIES! ALL LIES! LIES! ALL LIES!" As you and Kid left, Enright just sat there and stared off in the distance. I think the guy had some serious mental problems.

As you exited the courthouse, you walked over to Brad's body on a wagon. You took his Colt, thus giving you the complete set. Then you put the coin on Brad's chest and walked off. I really love the music that was playing in the background. The music was a little sad, and then the tempo picked up once you, Kid, Buck, and Ike rode off. TYR definitely used music effectively.

I must say, this was a very...

*there's a knock at Johnny's door*

Hold on, Jimmy, let me get this.

*Johnny answers the door and finds a Fed Ex delivery man standing there with a box*

Fed Ex Dude: Here's a delivery for you.

JB: Thanks.

*when Johnny opened the box he was surprised at the contents*

Jimmy: What is that?

JB: It's half of a broken baseball bat.

Jimmy: Baseball? Teaspoon made us play that once.

JB: Yeah, I remember. *turns to Fed Ex guy* Where is he?

Fed Ex Dude: Said you can find him at the White Station baseball field.

JB: All right, I'll be there directly.

Jimmy: A memory?

JB: Yeah. One best left settled. I'll explain to the readers in more detail in the next review.

Jimmy: You need any help?

JB: No. This is personal.

Jimmy: I respect that.

JB: Thanks. Like I said, I'll take care of this in the next review.

I know you're a busy man, so I'm gonna let you get out of here. But thanks a lot, Jimmy, for agreeing to help me out with my review.

Jimmy: Sure. You like to talk a lot, but I'm glad I could help.

JB: Any chance you might stop by again in the future?

Jimmy: Sure, why not.

JB: I should have you and Cody in the same review one day. With all three of us together there would be plenty of chances for things to get out of hand.

Jimmy: Me competing with you and Cody for a chance to say something? I don't know how well that would go.

JB: Oh well, we'll see. I've got some closing comments to make, but on behalf of all the readers I want to thank you for your time and your patience.

Jimmy: You're welcome. Goodnight.

Jimmy Hickok, ladies and gentlemen (?). Wow, that was a nice surprise. I hope y'all enjoyed Jimmy's visit. He didn't give me his jacket, but oh well, I won't hold it against him.

EPILOGUE

Excellent episode. I liked the use of flashbacks in this episode. We see that Brad and Jimmy really were good friends at one time, and I think the writers did a good job of showing how they could've grown so far apart. Gunfighting was risky business. We also see Jimmy gaining a little maturity. He didn't back down from fighting his old friend, but he subtly showed us that he regretted that it had to be done.

Brad was a good character. Sure, he was a bad guy, but he's not a character that you absolutely loathe, like Longley. However, he is just enough of a jerk for you to root for him to lose. I like that he recognized Jimmy as a man who deserved to die fighting. I guess you could say Brad was a "sophisticated bad guy." This is one of the best episodes of the series, and it's most definitely a YRRT.

Mark-Out Remark:

This is easy enough. It's gotta be Jimmy with, "Fancy things got a way of clutterin' a man's life and getting in the way of what's important, and I ain't got no use for 'em."

Classic Scene:

This is a no-brainer. It's "the showdown where Chris Penn is punked out." I love that entire scene. A gunfight between old friends. Nothing I can say will really do it justice, so just pull out your old tapes and watch the scene.

And let's give the writers their props one more time for their splendid use of continuity in this episode. They mentioned Amanda O'Connell, AND they threw in The Jerk's comments about how Jimmy was the type of man who learned "from doin', not readin'." Good stuff.

HOW THIS EPISODE CHANGED YOUR LIFE

I didn't give y'all much time to respond to this section, but a few of you had to share exactly how "Matched Pair" changed your life.

Australian Ann: Here are the main things I learned from the episode:

1. Don't gorge or you'll transform from 'Footloose' Christopher Penn to 'Matched Pair' Chris Penn. I didn't even believe it was the same guy at first. Actually the fat version is cooler but still, what a difference a few years makes.


True that. Like I said, he was also a lot skinnier in Clint Eastwood's "Pale Rider." Hardly looks like the same guy. And if you've seen him in anything recently then you know that since he started eating heavily he just hasn't looked back.

2. Don't listen to ranting father figures.

Particularly ones that look like Barney Miller and sound like Robert Stack.

3. The Young Riders is full of homosexual subtext.

I refuse to believe it, especially any episode involving Jimmy! The Kid episodes? Well, maybe then you have an argument...

Enid: I just can't think of matched pair as guns, the words are just too sexual for me. I mean c'mon I can't be the only one who thinks "matched pair" sounds like breasts.

Oh, I'm sure Australian Ann would agree with you. But I'm sorry, I guess I'm just one of those guys who tries not to read into things like that. I take each and every episode very seriously, as you can tell by my reviews. Enid also had an opinion on what Jimmy's guns symbolized. I won't elaborate, but let's just say she wants to compete for "TYRland chief pervert." No comment.

Lindsay: Matched Pair has so completely changed my life: it gave me my sisters. I learned the true value of human life, and friendships. And that's why I never tried to shoot my sisters.

*sniff* Touching. I hope this will serve as a lesson to all the readers out there. Please, resist the temptation to shoot your family members. There are countless other ways to cause them pain and misery. Ask some of my family members for advice.

Cathy: Well I feel that this episode changed my life in a way no other one could. You know when my man, um I mean Jimmy, had to stand up to a friend, someone he grew up with, to stand up for what was right; it made me want to be that kind of person.

Yes folks, it's not just a silly little episode of a silly little TV show. This episode is about friendship. It's about memories. It's about doing what's right no matter the consequences. It's about responsibility. It's about regret. It's about life, people. And it's about America and everything it embodies. GOD BLESS AMERICA! LAND THAT I LOVE! STAND BESIDE HER AND GUIDE HER THROUGH THE NIGHT WITH THE LIGHT FROM ABOVE! I just wish the international readers could feel the full impact of this episode.

Amy C: How "Matched Pair" Changed my Life by Amy

The episode did not change my life so much as, for the first time, it brought something very special to my attention. Yes, that's right, Jimmy's Magical Self-Repairing Coat. MP was the first episode in which the self-repairing mysteries were revealed to me. Notice for example, in the final gunfight between Brad and The Man Himself, Jimmy is wounded noticeably in the shoulder. The tan canvas is ripped and stained with bloody gore. Watch the next episode -- THERE IS NO NOTICEABLE PATCH. Unless Brad (and every other villain who shoots him while wearing a jacket) managed to rip along the seam, the coat would need serious mending. There is only one answer -- THE COAT HAS HEALED ITSELF, and does so continuously over the course of the series. This poses what are perhaps the most important questions of our age -- Who gave Hickok the magic coat? How did he lose it? Was it the loss of his magic coat that ultimately cost the historical Hickok his life?


Hmmm, if we can figure out the answers to these questions then we can totally rewrite history. Is it possible that The Dog Man (a character who was supposed to be in the Young Riders Pilot but was cut out) gave Jimmy the coat? Supposedly the Dog Man was supposed to be some sort of mystical dude. And I think it's safe to assume that Jimmy must've lost the jacket, and that's obviously what caused him to lose his life.

As we look back on this episode, I think we can see that Jimmy's jacket not only heals itself, but it also protects Jimmy. Remember when Jimmy got bumped on the head and could barely walk for the next few hours? Well, the jacket wasn't on Jimmy's head, now was it? But when Jimmy got shot in the shoulder he barely flinched. Why? The jacket's magical powers protected him.

We all know that Hickok was killed when he was shot in the back while playing poker. My theory is that he lost the jacket during this card game, and THEN he was shot and killed. It was all a conspiracy. Who exactly wanted Jimmy killed? Could've been any of a number of outlaws or young gunfighters trying to become famous, but I wouldn't be surpised if Gabe Calder had something to do with it.

This is all just theory, of course. Feel free to shed light on the subject if you can.

Welp, it's 2:38 AM, but I told myself that I was going to finish this review TONIGHT! I originally planned to finish it before Christmas (oh, I hope everybody had a great Christmas!), but that didn't work out, so I had to make sure I finished it before December 31 so that y'all could end the year on a good note. This review took me a little longer to write than usual. Doing an "interview" format makes me have to think a little more about stuff. I expect the next review to take a little less time. So let me make some final calculations and see about how much time I spent working on this review:

1022 MINUTES! Holy cow. That's a little over 17 hours. Whew. I gotta get to bed. "Man Behind the Badge" is next, and it's a Sam episode! I promise I'm not gonna spend 17 hours on it. I've got too many Christmas toys to play with. And since it's a Sam episode, I have a feeling that Stephanie will join the fun with some of her own comments.

In the immortal words of John Fogerty, "It may look easy when you look at me. But it took years of effort to become the mess that you see."

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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