Rowdy had given testimony against his friend Capt. Ballinger, resulting in a death sentence. Now Ballinger has called on Rowdy to witness the possible execution unless a way can be found to escape that punishment.
Eighteen months ago at a frontier army post, Capt. George Ballinger (George Grizzard), the officer in charge, was awaiting the arrival of his wife and young son by wagon train being supervised by Sgt. Morton. The wagon carrying the wife and son overturned killing them. Ballinger was grief-stricken and enraged, leading him to kill Morton, who was not at fault. The key evidence at the trial, which resulted in a sentence of death, was the testimony of his friend Rowdy Yates, who said although Ballinger was drunk part of the time, at the time of the shooting he was sober and said he would kill the Sgt., thus the capital punishment sentence. In the episode's present time, Rowdy excuses himself from drover duty to attend the execution to offer whatever comfort he can give Ballinger. Ballinger has three hopes of saving his life: his appeal of sentence might be granted (to be decided and delivered soon from a distant Army outpost); the Indians might attack, and he can escape in the confusion;...Written by
Clint Eastwood takes time away from the cattle drive to attend the execution of a friend on an army post. Eighteen months earlier Rowdy Yates gave testimony that helped send his friend George Grizzard an army captain to his appointed execution. But Grizzard wants to try a last minute hail mary to escape the hangman.
Grizzard really dominates this one. His best moments are in the flashback sequence where we find out that his wife and son were killed when a supply wagon overturned. It was an accident, but Grizzard focuses on Sergeant Larry Ward leading the detail. The scenes of Grizzard leading up to the killing are harrowing and Grizzard is just brilliant.
Check this one out for George Grizzard.
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