Volume 1, Issue 1
[ Home | Intro | Articles and Editorials | Email Pranks | The Rider Review | What's Wrong With People? ]

The Kid
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
Daddy's Girl
Matched Pair
Man Behind the Badge
Then There Was One
Gathering Clouds Part 1
Gathering Clouds Part 2



Born to Hang

The Rider Review - The Keepsake
By Johnny Betts

April 22, 2002

You know what’s wrong with youth today? That dude in “It’s a Wonderful Life” may say that it’s wasted on the wrong people, but Johnny Betts is here to set the record straight. The problem with youth today is that THEY WATCH TOO MUCH TV. I’m not pointing fingers. At 27 I’m still a youthful fellow, and I’m guilty also.

Reader: So Johnny, what’s the solution? Should we watch less TV? Are you gonna lead by example?

Psh. Don’t be silly. The answer is to not watch less TV. Nay, the answer is to do more while watching TV. It’s called multi-tasking. For example, what do you do during commercial breaks? Most likely you sit on your lazy bum and complain about how many commercials there are. It’s time to quit the complaining and take advantage of the “commercial free-time.” You can read a book, do a crossword puzzle, clip your nails, respond to email from your adoring fans, write a Rider Review, mail your favorite Rider Reviewer a laptop or another expensive gift of your choice, etc. So I’m gonna take my own advice and work on the review while watching TV. Granted, I'll probably abandon this gimmick halfway through the review, so enjoy it while it lasts.

The Keepsake. We start off in Fort Kearney, Nebraska. We’ve got a saloon, a card game, a good-looking woman dealing cards, and Gary Ewing from Dallas/Knots Landing, how can this spell anything but trouble?

Did anyone ever watch Knots Landing? Here are the main things I remember about it:

  1. William Devane was a Jack Nicholson wannabe (still is).
  2. Donna Mills was a wainch (dunno if she still is).
  3. Nicolette Sheridan was hot (still is).
Looks like Gary Ewing and the hot chick are cheating. One of the other poker players realizes this and pulls his gun. He demands to see the last card that was dealt to Gary Ewing. The hot chick (who turns out to be Amanda O’Connell) is holding a gun under the table and shoots the dude. They continue with the game.

Huh? I know this was the Wild West and all, but was THAT legal? “Sure, we’re cheating, so we’ll just shoot the dude to cover that fact up and then continue with the game like nothing happened.” What the deuce? Then one of the other players acts all scared yet it is implied that he continues with the game. Looks like Johnny Betts needed to be sitting in on this game.

Johnny: Um, what was THAT all about?
Amanda: Who are you?
Johnny: Johnny Betts, nice to meet you.
Amanda: What’s going on here? (looks at Ewing)
Ewing: (shrugs)
Betts: What are you shrugging at, flat-face?
Director: Security!
(Security hauls Johnny Betts away)

Would that not have ROCKED?!?!

[Begin WWF Raw Comment]

Nooooooo! I’m not sure if any of you watch wrestling, but The Big Show just turned on Stone Cold and joined the NWO. Bogus.

[End WWF Raw Comment]

For the record, Amanda isn’t bad looking. She’s the best-looking guest actress they’ve had so far. Quite a step up from Horse-Face Downs.

Outside some woman is running in the rain. This would’ve been a perfect time to play Creedence’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain.” AND I WONDER, STILL I WONDER, WHOOOOOO’LL STOP THE RAAAAAAAIN!”

Reader: Wouldn’t a Creedence song be a bit out of place on a Young Riders episode?

No more out of place than that “that’s the way it’s gonna be little darlin’” rubbish.

The woman runs into the saloon and whispers something to Amanda. Amanda acts upset and leaves. I found an original copy of the script. This sheds a little light on the situation:

“The woman runs into the saloon and whispers to Amanda that Johnny Betts won’t return her calls. Amanda acts upset and leaves.”

Amanda heads to a hotel room to watch over a sick girl named Elizabeth Kelly. Elizabeth wants Amanda to take care of her mother’s letter. Gary Ewing (who actually goes by Lucas Malone, but we’ll call him Gary Ewing) dumps out the contents of Elizabeth’s bag and finds a letter. Elizabeth protests, but Ewing reads the letter. As he reads he comments that Teaspoon Hunter is going to make them rich.

RIP Ty's Career Meanwhile, Teaspoon is using a stick to look for “water corpuscles.” I’ve gotta admit, that’s much better than what my dad used a stick for. I’ll never forget the time we were at my grandmother’s house and little Johnny Betts was acting up in some manner. My dad threatened to go out back and get a stick, and my grandmother stopped him dead in his tracks. “Oh no you don’t, not at my house. If you do, I’ll get a stick of my own and use it on YOU!” BOOYA! Little Johnny Betts was over in the corner “stirring the pot” and singing, “Go grandmama, go grandmama, it’s your birthday, it’s your birthday.”

The stick starts wiggling, Teaspoon starts running around, and then he stops at a spot on the ground. He claims there’s a good stream of water about 20 feet under and tells Jimmy, Ike, Lou, and Cody to start digging.

Jimmy: That’s a lot of diggin’ if you ain’t right.

Teaspoon claims his kinsfolk have been “witchin’” for 6 generations and have never dug a dry well. The riders start digging; Teaspoon starts sleeping.

Amanda rides into town.

Cody announces that they’ve reached solid rock. Teaspoon says they’ve gotta get under it, but Cody is skeptical of this. He fears the rock might go clear through to China. Lou is frustrated and exclaims that a well can’t be dug here. Jimmy claims he knew this was hogwash. Ike sits there and says nothing. Johnny sits looking dumb-founded that the Riders were able to dig the hole so fast.

Teaspoon decides to take over for these “soft” young ‘uns. “Nothing in this life comes easy,” the grizzled old man says, “A man’s gotta claw and scrape just to keep his head up.” That’s when it happened. Whoooosh, water starts flowing! No one knows why “whoooosh” signifies the sound of flowing water, but it does.

I thought Teaspoon said the stream of water was 20 feet under the surface? Jimmy was partly right – something is hogwash around here. The hole was barely waist deep.

Teaspoon and the riders, dirty and dusty from the day's adventures, head back home. Teaspoon notices a magnificent sight in the distance. Johnny Betts moves out of the way and then Teaspoon notices Amanda. She announces that she’s looking for Teaspoon Hunter. Teaspoon, ever the dirty old man, looks back at the riders and gives a perverted little smile. When Teaspoon lets Amanda know that her search has come to an end, she explains that she’s come a long way to see him.

Teaspoon sports another “dirty old man” smile. You could read it on his face. He was thinking, “Yeah, I’m da man.” I don’t know what Teaspoon was thinking might happen between he and this young woman, but he was thinking something. Were the writers making a prediction about the future trend of old men in Hollywood hooking up with MUCH younger women?? Was this a warning to be on the lookout for face-lifted men like Michael Douglas preying on young beauties like Catherine Zeta-Jones?? WERE THE WRITERS 20TH CENTURY PROPHETS???? Probably not.

Amanda announces she is Elizabeth Kelly. That little liar! Her mother was Beatrice, and she thinks Teaspoon knew her. Teaspoon’s eyes revealed much quicker than his words that yes, he did know her.

Amanda explains how her mother had pneumonia and died. Teaspoon wanted to know if Amanda’s father, Cyrus, was there. Nope. Apparently Cyrus was a jerk who not only wasn’t at Beatrice’s side as she passed away, but he used to be partners with Teaspoon and had cheated Mr. Spoon out of some money. What are the writers trying to tell us? Cyrus bad. We are to hate Cyrus. Amanda gives Teaspoon the letter her mother wanted him to have.

Teaspoon Makes Out With a Haircomb Teaspoon reads the letter under a tree and then runs into whatever bunkhouse he stays in and pulls a suitcase out from under the bed. Teaspoon retrieves a silver hair clip (THE KEEPSAKE) from the suitcase. He the proceeds to make out with the hair clip. First Lou makes out with the fringe from Kid’s jacket, and now Teaspoon is french-kissing a hair clip. What’s next?

[Begin Blind Date Comment]

Has anybody ever seen the show “Blind Date”? The guys on this show are the biggest LOSERS I’ve ever seen. What moron rips his pants off in the hot tub, says “whoops, my pants fell off,” and expects this to charm his date? Unbelievable.

[End Blind Date Comment]

Outside Amanda is talking to Buck and Ike. She says that Pony Express riders are heroes; their work sounds very dangerous. Ike smiles. It’s a sheepish smile. If smiles could talk then Ike’s would have been saying, “Have you ever seen our show? The ‘Pony Express’ work is the least of our danger.” But smiles can’t talk, so it’s all subjective.

Amanda looks at Samson the donkey. Ike runs over there and starts petting the donkey. Amanda thinks this is a sign that the donkey really loves Ike. Um, all the donkey did was stand there as Ike pet it. What does the donkey do when other people pet it? Start screeching and kicking like crazy?

In response, Ike tapped his chest and put his hand to his mouth. Buck claimed that Ike said the donkey only liked him because he (Ike) fed him (the donkey). Buck’s wrong again. According to the Johnny Betts Sign Language Dictionary Ike was saying, “Hush your mouth, you’re confusing me with my friend Kid.”

Amanda points out that she knows sign. Ike starts to sign really quickly. Ike pointed to Amanda, pointed to his hand, and then pointed to Amanda again. The JBSLD translates this as, “You, my hand, you.” Don’t ask me, I don’t get it either.

Amanda responded to this by saying she had an Indian friend. I think Amanda misinterpreted what Ike was saying. Why did Amanda have to use sign anyway? IKE’S NOT DEAF! Maybe she thought it would be a sweet gesture – fine, I can handle that, but she didn’t have to talk slowly! IKE’S NOT RETARDED! “I ... have ... an ... Indian ... friend.” It’s kind of like when Americans talk reeeeeal slow to foreigners. Why do we do that?

I know what you’re going to say – “But Johnny, she had to do the sign slowly, therefore she had to talk slowly.” You, the reader, will say that, but you, the reader, will be wrong.

Ike then points to himself, makes the symbol for “horns” at the top of his head, and then circles his finger in his hand. Buck says it means there’s a wild herd nearby if Amanda wants to go see it. The JBSLD says, well, you don’t wanna know. But it has something to do with Ike being a “horndog.”

April 23, 2002

Cody shows up and provides some EXCELLENT comic relief. He says Amanda has had a long trip and might want to relax. He then introduces himself and kisses Amanda’s hand. Ike pouts. Ike then points his finger to his chest, throws his hand out, then taps his hand. Cody responds with, “Maybe she don’t feel like chasing donkeys around, Ike.” HAHAHAHA!

Amanda says she would like to see some of the country. Cody knows just the place – a pretty little place surrounded by willows. It’d be his honor. Cody’s attempts at charming Amanda are just hilarious.

Teaspoon, wearing a suit, breaks up the fun and says he’ll take care of “Elizabeth.” Cody gets a look at Teaspoon’s duds and declares that church isn’t until Sunday. Teaspoon responds with, “Don’t sass me boy.” Funny.

Ike makes some “shuffling dice” movement with his hand and then hits his hand. Ike seems to like tapping his hand and throwing it around in this episode. According to the JBSLD this could indicate some sort of gambling problem.

Cody: I was just talkin’ to her, what are you so riled about?

Ike points to Cody, then himself, and then Cody again. Isn’t that exactly what he did to Amanda? Let’s see... yes, according to the JBSLD that means “You, me, you,” so it’s very similar to what he told Amanda. What does that even mean? Ike then bumps Cody as he walks away.

Cody: What’s eating him?
Buck: He likes her; you best go easy on him.

Why? Because Ike is bald and mute then he should get first dibs on Amanda? Ike’s being a baby in this episode, and it’s getting on my nerves. Cody has as much right to try to charm Amanda as Ike does. Sorry Ike, but your baldness and muteness doesn’t allow you to have special privileges. How old is Ike, 12?

Teaspoon reads the letter to Amanda. We find out that Cyrus told Beatrice that Teaspoon died in Texas. She was sad and went ahead and married Cyrus. Reminds me of the time my friend, Baker’s Dozen, told my mom that I died at baseball practice. My mom was distraught and just let Dozen eat my supper. Boy was I mad when I got home and found out that I had no supper waiting for me. My mom wasn’t exactly singing in the streets over the revelation that I was still alive. I never knew quite how to take that.

Beatrice opened a bank account for Teaspoon with $10,000 in it. Teaspoon says Amanda should have it, but she disagrees. She does want to know how the bank will know who Teaspoon is though.

Teaspoon explains that he has a keepsake, and there’s a matching one at the bank. All he has to do is show them his half of the keepsake and voila, the money is his. Teaspoon takes Amanda for a walk and explains how things aren’t always what they appear. He stutters and stammers for a while before telling “Elizabeth” that he and Beatrice loved each other and she (Elizabeth) is his daughter. Amanda fakes surprise and hugs him. Look at her deceptive eyes. Amanda looks pretty good, but I’ve just got to point out that she’s not the best actress in the world.

Separated at Birth? We see Ewing with his henchmen. He talks to Sam. Sam has heard of him, but he’s heard nothing good. I can believe that, those Ewings were always up to no good. How can the brother of J.R. Ewing not have some evil in him? Ewing explains that he’s here to play fair and means no harm. Sam says if that’s the case then he (Sam) won’t have a problem with him (Ewing). Sam refuses a drink from Ewing though, “Didn’t say I’d drink with you.” I like Sam’s response there. He says it with a bit of a chuckle.

Teaspoon and Amanda are walking in town. Teaspoon introduces “Elizabeth” to Sam as his daughter. Sam’s shocked.

Whoa, I just thought I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a cat or something walk by the door. The catch? WE DON’T HAVE ANY PETS! Freaky.

Meanwhile some dudes in the saloon recognize Amanda. Apparently she’s a fine woman if you’ve got the right price. She’s a consultant? A lawyer? Doctor? Some fat dude wants to go pay his respects, but Ewing tells the dude that he’s mistaken and threatens him with death. That seems a bit extreme.

Teaspoon buys Amanda a music box to make up for the missed birthdays and Christmases. Sorry Teaspoon, but a measly music box ain’t gonna make up for about 25 years worth of birthdays and Christmases. And a music box is a pretty cheesy gift anyway. It’s the equivalent of a relative giving you clothes as a gift. What was up with that? My grandparents would give me video games and movies while this one relative of mine (who shall remain nameless) would give me gay turtlenecks and Jams. The tradition has carried on with my siblings as well. Poor kids.

Amanda sees Ewing staring at her but denies knowing him. Hmm, that last sentence may mislead you. Ewing was staring at Amanda, not at her butt. Teaspoon asks Amanda if she knows the flat-face loser and Amanda says nope, never seen him. T & A start riding.

It’s time for the writers to remind us how wise and philosophical Teaspoon is, so he starts talking about chasing dreams all his life. He and Cyrus wanted to get rich, but Teaspoon ended up with more gold in his teeth than he ever found. Amanda laughs fakely. It’s the kind of laugh you give your boss when he tells a REALLY lame joke. “Hey Johnny, I need you to work late tomorrow.” “Bwahahaha, good one, Chico.” You don’t want to sit there as quiet as Ike after an advanced screening of "U.S. Seals," so you’ve gotta fake the laugh. Else you’re faced with uncomfortable silence, and that’s even worse.

[Begin Fawlty Towers Comment]

Have any of you ever seen the British comedy, “Fawlty Towers”? It stars John Cleese of Monty Python fame. It’s hilarious. Cleese plays Basil Fawlty, a cantankerous hotel owner who rarely meets a guest he doesn’t wish dead. His “sledgehammer wit” is a major influence of mine.

Basil: Ah, yes Mr. O'Reilly, well it's perfectly simple. When I asked you to build me a wall I was rather hoping that instead of just dumping the bricks in a pile you might have found time to cement them together... you know, one on top of another, in the traditional fashion.

[End Fawlty Towers Comment]

April 26, 2002

Amanda claims she’s never met a man like Teaspoon. Teaspoon brags about breaking the mold. Man, he sure is full of himself. Amanda refers to Teaspoon as a romantic, after all, he kept a keepsake for over 20 years. Amanda wants to know what it is.

Teaspoon explains it’s a haircomb. He had a pair made special from silver that came from a strike he and Cyrus worked in the Santa Rita mountains. Beatrice cried. When he went to Texas she made him take one. Amanda wants to know why he never went back. He did, but he heard Cyrus and Beatrice were married, so he turned around and left. Quitter.

We see Cody trying to break-in a horse but he soon falls. Kid refers to him as “Billy.” For some reason, it sounds really strange. I think this is the first time any of the riders have referred to Cody as “Billy.” Is Kid trying to “go against the mainstream” by calling him “Billy”? Is this Kid’s attempt to be cool and different? Probably. So sad. Ike decides to try his hand at taming the horse. HE DOES IT!

Cody: Well it was easy after I tired him out. Poor horse was begging for some rest.

Hahaha. Cody whistles, the horse is spooked, Ike falls to the ground. Did you see Ike’s head bounce off the ground? I think he was probably almost killed, just like he is in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE! We’ve rarely seen Ike when he isn’t being thrown to the ground or kicked in the head by a horse. Chalk up another bump for the hardcore rider.

Cody starts laughing. He’s still laughing even as Ike charges him. He finally stops laughing once Ike tackles him. “Stop it Ike! You crazy?” Buck says Ike felt Cody was trying to make him look bad in front of Amanda. I personally think Cody was just messing with Ike and truly didn’t mean any harm, but this scene hits a little too close to home for me.

I’ll never forget the time we were at my grandparents’ house and everybody was riding the horses. I guess one of the horses didn’t like my dad because he wouldn’t move more than two feet when he (my dad) was on there. This irritated my dad to no end. My dad’s ire was raised even more when I jumped on the horse and took off riding with no problem. When I got back from my ride, my dad fired a shotgun in the air above the horse’s head. The thing threw me about 5 feet in the air and I landed right on my head. My dad was laughing pretty hard until I tackled him at full-speed ahead and caused him to hit his head on a rock. He wasn’t laughing too loud for the next three days while he was laid up in the hospital. And he never would answer my question: how’s it feel to be like Ike?

Cody denies trying to make Ike look bad and says it was an “accident.” Um, no, it wasn’t an accident. Funny? Yes. Accident? No. I’m afraid Cody’s fingers didn’t “accidentally” end up and his mouth, and I don’t think he “accidentally” whistled. Cody explains that he wasn’t trying to make fun of Ike. Ike storms off like a baby. Cody looks at Amanda. She shakes her head and smiles. Boys will be boys.

We see a dance going on. Tompkins tells Jimmy that he has to leave his gun at the door. Jimmy is hesitant, but Tompkins is persistent. Cody is trying to hold in his laughter. Once Jimmy hands over his gun Cody asks him, “How’s it feel to be naked in public?” and laughs. Jimmy pushes him. Good comedic chemistry here.

Cody sidles up to a table with food, “My, my, I think I’ve died and gone to Heaven.” He then takes a bite of a cookie and looks at Ike. The look he gives Ike is hilarious. He’s sort of smiling while chewing on the cookie. My explanation can’t give this scene the credit it deserves. Cody just has a perfect way of acting and talking that just totally adds to a scene like this one.

Ike just acts like a baby and storms off. Come on, would you please GET OVER IT ALREADY?!?!?!?! What is Ike’s problem??? Even my sister didn’t pout this much the time I convinced her a crayon was actually bubble gum. Man, that was a classic in the annals of Johnny Betts’ childhood. We had gotten some “crayon bubblegum” for Christmas or something, and of course I came up with a perfect idea. I took the paper off of a REAL crayon (leaving some white pieces of paper on it making it look sugar-coated), and I told my sister she could have a piece of my “crayon bubblegum.” Thinking it was the real deal, she took a big ol’ bite and chewed up quite a bit of it before spitting it. I felt slightly bad about it for a split-second, but then I realized how perfectly it worked out and was happy again.

Cody: Ike still sore at me?
Buck: He knows you didn’t mean anything, he’ll get over it.
Cody: I wish he’d hurry. It’s bad enough when somebody won’t talk to you, with him it’s downright spooky.

HAHAHA! Very funny. Everything is funny about this. The way Cody casually asks if Ike’s still sore at him, the way he says “spooky,” the way he delivers the line. Very funny. I’m going to nominate this line as the first “Mark-out Remark.” That’s right folks, there’s a new name for the “Sam-worthy quip,” and it’s the “Mark-out Remark.” Thank you.

T & A are dancing. Everybody is looking at them like they’re Fred and Ginger. Seriously, some dude had a “whoa, that’s the most amazing dancing I’ve ever seen!” look on his face. Come on, it wasn't THAT impressive.

Rider Review Fans Cody: Where’d he learn that?
Jimmy: I don’t know. He’s good though, isn’t he?

Cody and Jimmy smile. What’s really funny is they’re both eating a big piece of cake. I’m not 100% certain why I find that so funny, but I do.

We see Lou looking all sad. Hmm, I wonder what’s going to happen here? Kid finally asks her to go get some fresh air with him. WHOA! I DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING! THAT WAS TOTALLY UNEXPECTED!

Three young girls are looking at Buck. One approaches him. Buck gets all excited thinking maybe she wants to dance or something. Pervert! She looks like she’s about 13. What’s Buck thinking??

Girl: Is it true you’ve scalped lots of people?
Buck: Just one. Him.

The camera then shows Ike eating cake. Hahaha, funny. And the “duh” look that Ike has on his face while he’s eating cake makes it even funnier. The girl runs back to her friends and they start faking surprise.

Outside Kid and Lou are acting like dorks. Kid wants the pleasure of “this dance,” and Lou obliges. They’re completely awkward and dorky, especially with Kid’s embarrassed smiles. They dance, well, more accurately they start swaying back and forth. Then they kiss. Lou pulls away, but they start kissing some more. Thankfully the scene ends. I’m sure plenty of Kid and Lou fans love this scene, but it was a tad too dorky for me.

Amanda: Ike? Do you (puts her hand to her mouth and makes a drinking motion) wanna dance (holds hand in front of her chest)?

Nope, there’s no way that’s what she asks. How in the world could she think that’s what her sign meant?? I think somebody (possibly Cody) has been improperly teaching her sign. All right, let’s check the ol’ JBSLD and see what Amanda was saying... oh no. It can’t be. Folks, please forgive me, but all I can do is report the facts. I can’t be held responsible for this. Here’s what Amanda was actually saying:

Ike? Do you want to drink milk from my bosom?

The Show Takes a Strange Turn WHY??? THIS IS A FAMILY SHOW! Come on, there was just no reason to put something like that in the show. Goodness. What were the writers thinking? WHY?!?! This is just a low moment in the show’s history. The show was strong enough to stand on its own merit, it didn’t have to resort to this.

Ike makes a hand motion, holds his hands in front of his chest, and shakes his head. Amanda doesn’t understand, but Johnny does. The JBSLD translates this as, “Sadly, no milk comes from MY bosom.” Seriously folks, can someone PLEASE explain to me why the writers thought this was necessary? What does Ike’s comment even mean? It doesn’t make sense, and it adds nothing to the episode. It just seemed totally out of place. Of course milk doesn’t come from a man’s bosom! Why even comment on something like that? Maybe this is a consequence of all the bumps and hard falls that Ike has taken. Could this foreshadow something even worse?

Buck shows up out of nowhere and says Ike doesn’t know how to dance. It’s another classic “Buck shows up out of nowhere and translates what Ike’s saying” moment. Did Buck just follow Ike around everywhere and watch every move he made waiting for the moment he (Buck) would have to swoop in and do some translating? What a life. I’ve said it before – every time somebody couldn’t understand Ike they should’ve cut to a Hee Haw-esque cornfield and had Buck pop up and shout out the translation and then disappear into the cornfield again.

Amanda wants to teach Ike how to dance. Buck smiles like a dork. Who does he think he is, Kid? Cody watches and smiles.

After the dance Cody approaches Ike, puts his arm around him, and says he knows when he’s been whipped. Ewing motions for Amanda to meet him outside. She excuses herself. She tells Ewing that Teaspoon hasn’t made a decision about the money yet. Ewing says she needs to hurry him up and then mentions killing him. Amanda doesn’t look too thrilled with that idea. She leaves. Sam witnesses (but doesn’t hear) the whole thing.


Teaspoon is eating a big piece of plum cake. In his other hand he has a big plate of what I think is more cake. Who does Teaspoon think he is, my friend Baker’s Dozen? Sam tells Teaspoon about Amanda and Ewing talking. They appeared mighty friendly. Sam thinks Teaspoon should warn Amanda about Ewing because he (Ewing) is nothing but trouble. Teaspoon asks if Ewing is still there. Sam says he’s the one talking to “Tompkin’s wife.”

In episode 2.5, “Pride and Prejudice,” we find out that Tompkins’ wife was kidnapped seven years ago by the Lakota. It looks like the writers messed up in the continuity department. The woman referred to as “Tompkin’s wife” here is too young and good-looking to have been married to Tompkins anyway.

Teaspoon recognizes Ewing. DUHN DUHN DUHN! Stephanie was watching the episode with me and had this to say about Sam: “He’s looking gooooood.” Apparently she likes the scruffy look on Sam.

April 28, 2002

After the dance, Teaspoon bids Emma goodnight. All right kids, are y’all ready for “Johnny Betts Speaks in Short Sentences”? It’s an overwhelmingly popular section of the review, and it’s a pretty efficient method of reviewing a bunch of junk really quickly. Ready?? Here we go:

Teaspoon says self-respect is a person’s greatest treasure. Teaspoon warns Amanda about Ewing. Amanda starts nervously adjusting her shawl. Johnny wonders how she didn’t think this made her look suspicious. Amanda admits to knowing Ewing. Amanda claims Cyrus would come into her room at night and “do things.” Amanda ran away. Ewing took her in. Amanda had nowhere else to turn. Teaspoon sure wasn’t there. How could he be? Amanda goes off on Teaspoon. Amanda says he’s just like all other men – he uses women. Johnny takes offense to that. Amanda says she’ll pack in the morning. Teaspoon says no, she’ll stay with him.

The next morning Amanda shows Emma a letter that Teaspoon left her. Amanda doesn’t understand why he’d leave her all the money. Emma says that’s the kind of guy he is. That’s not what Emma originally said though. Check out the first draft of the script:

Emma: Don’t ask me what Mr. Spoon’s problem is. He’s as crazy as a Baldwin brother turning down the lead role in “Speed” but accepting a role in “Bio-Dome” instead. Just learn to do what the rest of us do when Teaspoon talks – smile and nod politely.

Seems Emma had some unresolved issues. Amanda claims Teaspoon’s generous ways are confusing her. She asks to borrow Emma’s wagon and heads off to meet Ewing. She tells ol’ flat-face that the “fool” is gonna give her the money. But you see, Ewing is a polished criminal and is suspicious of this.

Amanda is starting to like Teaspoon and says there’s no need to kill the ol’ codger. Ewing disagrees – he can’t afford to leave Teaspoon around to bring the law down on him. Amanda says she’ll give Ewing her share of the money if he’ll just let Teaspoon alive. This makes Ewing, the ever-polished criminal, even more suspicious. He thinks Amanda must know where more money is. He slaps and threatens her. Somewhere Sarah “She-Male” Downs is wondering why that couldn’t be her.

Did any of y’all ever read the book, “The Young Riders Sure-Fire Method of Making a Really Effective Bad Guy”? It’s a rare book, so you might have missed it. It’s got a lot of tips in it to help you create a really mean bad guy that audiences are sure to hate. I’ll share various tips from it throughout my reviews. Here’s one of ‘em:

Tip #17 – Have the bad guy slap a woman – meeeeean.

Back at Emma’s we see Amanda rifling through Teaspoon’s stuff. Emma shows up and asks her what she’s doing. Amanda gives one of the worst excuses of all time with, “Tidying up.” Hahaha, yeah right, good one. Emma didn’t fall for this lie, “Don’t lie to me!” The ol’ “tidying up” excuse didn’t work for me when I was rifling through my 6th grade teacher’s desk looking for a paper I turned in. I had started to think using my teacher as a character in my story and referring to her as “horseface” probably wasn’t a good idea. She apparently agreed with me.

Emma sees Amanda with the comb and wants to know how she (Amanda) could hurt Teaspoon like that. Amanda tries to assure Emma that she’s not trying to hurt him, she’s trying to save him. Teaspoon pops in the door and wants to know what she’s gonna save him from. What’s up with Emma and Teaspoon’s Buck-like sense in just showing up out of the blue? Check out what was originally supposed to happen:

Ike shows up and signs a bunch of gibberish. Buck pops up out of the blue and translates that Ike wants to know what Amanda is doing.

And so on and so forth.

Emma leaves the barn. Teaspoon lives in the barn? What’s up with that? Amanda tells Teaspoon the truth. She admits that she’s told a lot of lies, but she truly isn’t lying about this.

Kid asks Teaspoon if he’s gonna turn Amanda over to the Marshal. Teaspoon bears no grudge; in fact, he’s grown quite fond of Amanda. She took care of Elizabeth so he feels he owes her for that, his only score to settle is with Ewing. Actually, Teaspoon doesn’t really know that Amanda took care of Elizabeth. For all he knew, Amanda could’ve been pimp-slappin’ Elizabeth day in and day out and that could’ve facilitated her death. Doesn’t Teaspoon realize that if Amanda is a REALLY good con woman then she would make up anything to cover her tracks?

Jimmy wants to know why they can’t take Ewing on directly. Teaspoon issues the following reasons:

  1. He’s not stupid.
  2. He’s got two hired guns and the law on his side.
  3. “You’d” be dead or in jail.
Teaspoon says they’ve gotta force his hand and make him come to them. Kid asks what the plan is. Teaspoon says the only way to get a snake out of its hole is to give him what he wants. Kid gives the “knowing grin.” The “knowing grin” is the grin you give someone to act like you know what they’re talking about. In reality you have no clue what the person is saying, but you don’t want to appear stupid, so you kind of throw your head back and grin to let them know, “I’m with you buddy, I know exactly what you mean.” Sometimes the “knowing grin” can be accompanied by the “wink and the gun” for added effect. Nice try Kid, but I’ve got you pegged.

Ewing’s playing cards. Teaspoon comes to play. Amanda signals to Ewing to proceed. Ewing asks Teaspoon what his stake is. Teaspoon responds with, “Medium rare.” Amanda whispers in Teaspoon’s ear and he corrects himself and says it’s the comb. They’re going to play 5-card draw, one hand. Ewing likes his all-or-nothing style.

If Ewing wins he gets the comb and the money. If Teaspoon wins then Ewing has to ride out. Either way, Amanda’s out of the deal.

Amanda shuffles the cards. Ewing touches the top of the deck. Does that signify anything? Is that some sort of cheating signal? Amanda deals. Ewing takes two cards while Teaspoon takes just one. Ewing has aces over tens. Teaspoon wins with a straight. Ewing claims it must be beginner’s luck. Who ever said Teaspoon was a beginner?

How to Make a No-Name Bad Guy The henchmen start to draw their guns, but Ewing stops them, “Deal’s a deal.” Ewing tells Amanda he looks forward to seeing her again real soon. Ooooooh.

Buck reports that Ewing and his men are heading for Emma’s. Teaspoon tells Buck to keep an eye on Amanda. Amanda insists on going though, saying she has her own score to settle with Ewing. T & A are riding in the bunk board. They’re singing “Gwine to run all night” and “I Dream of Jeannie.” They see Ewing and his men blocking their path.

Teaspoon acts drunk and tells them to get out of the way. Would Teaspoon have had time to get stone cold drunk? They left immediately after the card game so Teaspoon didn’t exactly have time to get as drunk as he was acting. It didn’t really have any effect on Ewing and his henchmen either. I’m pretty sure they were gonna ambush T & A no matter what. Did Teaspoon think, “Hmm, if they think I’m drunk then they’ll be more likely to confront us”? I’m pretty sure that three men with guns wouldn’t be too scared of a 90-year old man and Amanda.

Apparently Ewing doesn’t talk to dead men, and he’s gonna make Amanda pay. He tells his henchmen to get the comb and tells Amanda it’s her call whether Teaspoon suffers or dies quickly. Jimmy shouts, “No it ain’t.” Amanda shoots one of the henchmen and Jimmy shoots the other. The one Jimmy shoots looks like an Indian with a really bad wig.

[Begin Random TV Comments]


Hahaha, Ricky Schroeder is in some movie on AMC and he’s sporting a not-so-full beard. Looks like an attempt to look older than 12. Didn’t work.

[End Random TV Comments]

Ewing takes off, Teaspoon heads after him. Ewing hits a low branch and falls off (that’s happened in two episodes in a row!). Teaspoon sneaks behind him and tells him he won’t be needing his gun. Ewing drops the gun and holds his arms in front of him. Hmm, it’s not obvious what’s happening here or anything. Ewing doesn’t think Teaspoon would shoot him in the back, but Teaspoon says he’s tempted, but he doesn’t want to deprive Ewing of 10 years of busting rock. Ewing appreciates the kindness.

Ewing turns and draws his gun. Teaspoon ducks and shoots. Ewing goes rolling down the hill.

Teaspoon: I was hoping you wouldn’t disappoint me.

Amanda is about to head out of town. She promises Teaspoon she’ll write him when she gets to St. Louis. She kisses Cody and Ike, telling Ike to save her a dance. Teaspoon gives Amanda the comb. She tries to refuse it, but he says it won’t do him any good. He says he’s got everything he needs. Dude, YOU’RE LIVING IN A BARN! I think Teaspoon could’ve used a little of the money. But there’s one thing I can’t understand. I have one question: WHY NOT GIVE THE MONEY TO THE RIDERS???

I have a few reasons why Teaspoon should’ve split the money amongst the riders instead of giving it to Amanda:

  1. He’s known the riders longer.
  2. The riders haven’t lied to him in order to try to cheat him out of money.
  3. Teaspoon knows the Pony Express is hard work and doesn’t provide a lot of pay. You’d think Teaspoon would want to reward people earning an honest living rather than someone who’s spent her whole life cheating people and prostituting.
But maybe that’s just me.

Rip-off Amanda says she’ll take the money but only if Teaspoon promises to be partners with her – she’s always wanted a classy saloon. Teaspoon asks the riders what they think of that – they begrudgingly smile. Yeah, you know they were thinking, “Whatever, you ungrateful old coot.” Amanda gives Teaspoon the music box to remember her by. HE BOUGHT THE THING! “Wow, I just gave you $10,000 and you repay me by giving me a music box THAT I BOUGHT! This is beyond generous!” What an Indian giver (no offense, Buck). The wagon takes off and the riders watch. The end.

So what'd I think? It's a good episode. It's not the best in the series, and it's not one to use as a "Young Riders Recruiting Tool," but it's enjoyable. Gary Ewing is a decent villain, but he wasn't around long enough to be given much depth. He was underdeveloped. I think he was a character who could've been a more effective bad guy if he'd be around for a few episodes. He is definitely easy to dislike. He isn't as evil as J.R. Ewing though.

Rider of the Episode: This is a new award category. It goes to the rider (or character) that I enjoyed the most in the episode. This episode's winner is none other than William F. Cody. Without his humor and comic relief, this episode wouldn't have been that great.

Mark-Out Remark: William F. Cody with, "It’s bad enough when somebody won’t talk to you, with him it’s downright spooky." Hahaha, that line completely made the episode.

Classic Scene: I'll just say "The Dance." I know that counts as one really long scene, but hey, that's the way it is. You've got Jimmy handing over his gun, Cody eating the cookies, Cody's Mark-Out Remark, Buck and the scalping issue, Cody and Jimmy eating cake, Teaspoon eating a LOT of cake, etc. Sure, you had the dorky and awkward Kid and Lou Dance Fever segment, but that's all right. It wasn't enough to mar the scene too badly.

I wasn't going to hand out any reader awards this time around, but I changed my mind. I'm gonna hand out one - Ann Salvon from Oregon is the Rider Review Mark of the Week. I guess it should technically be Rider Review Mark of the However Long it Takes Me to Write the Next Review.

Next up is "Fall From Grace." This is an excellent episode, and I'm eager to review it. It's got some great Cody/Jimmy interaction, and it features one of the fakest death scenes in all of TV history. It's sure to be a blast.

In the immortal words of Basil Fawlty, "I learned classical Spanish, not the strange dialect he seems to have picked up."

There's nothing I can do about it folks, this is my opinion, and you could be wrong.
The Sun Sets on The Rider Review
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