Broken Arrow

"The Trial"

Season Episode (Airdate: January 15, 1959 on NBC)




A shot is heard. A woman screams. She makes it to the door of the store. Her last words are, "Dad...the Apaches...Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh." Her father comes running and she dies in his arms. An arrow is sticking from her back. In the store lies a man dying. Tom Jeffords (John Lupton) who tends to him, sees an Indian fleeing the scene through the backdoor. "Hold it," he shouts, upon which the man drops what he's carrying on the porch, jumps on his horse, and races off. Jeffords gives chase. Both take shots at each other. Jeffords sustains a leg wound while the Indian slumps over on his horse. Wounded as he his, Jeffords gives up on the pursuit and returnes to the town.

He arrives just in time to save Winnoa (Leonard Nimoy) from being lynched for a crime he didn't commit. He vouches for him, telling the townspeople that he knows him as the son of one of Cochise's elders, that he was no more able to hurt anyone than he was able to hurt his own father, and that he had been tracking the real suspect. The store owner is not ready to listen to him in his zeal to take revenge for the death of his daughter. Also, he brings forward a witness who identifies Winnoa as the killer. Jeffords, on the other hand, is convinced the murderer came from a band of renegade Apaches that roam the area. At last he manages, with backing from the local marshall, to convince the mob that the case should be referred to a court of law.

He meets with distrust from the Apaches when he informs them of the development. Especially Winnoa's father is not convinced. The Whites, he argues, won't act on what they say. That Jeffords says he believes in Winnoa's innocence is of little consequence, therefore. Cochise (Michael Ansara) announces that he will attend the proceedings. Jeffords thinks that would only incence the townspeople and begs him to let him fight out things his way. There is an alternative to prove Winnoa's innocence, Cochise suggests: find the real murderer. He reinforces his desire to follow the trial, pointing out there were many Whites, but only one Indian and only one person who would stand up for him. "No harm must come to Winnoa," he demands, ready to put the fragile peace that has been negotiated not that long ago to the test.

The townspeople feel secure in the outcome of the trial. Indians had killed the son of the judge, burned down his farm, and the jury itself was comprised from friends of the bereaved. Jeffords can disprove the witness that caught Winnoa, since he was apprehended while he himself was chasing after the real suspect at another location. Problem is, there is no prove except his own word for it. The store owner accuses him of being ready to do anything to save an Indian. As he calls Winnoa to the witness stand the marshall whispers something into his ear. He calls for a recess and the marshall suggests it might be time to call the military. "Not yet," Jeffords answers.

When the court resumes, Cochise enters the scene in the company of Jeffords and the marshall. There is an upheavel during questioning one of the witnesses that the judge ends by firering into the air. Jeffords calls Cochise foward as a wittness next and the chief has the body of the real murderer brought in. He explains that the man belonged to a renegade pack of roaming wolves and came to them deadly injured, asking to be buried on his ascestors grounds. But they want nothing to do with him and the White man can bury him, if they want to do so. Before he died he confessed to have negotiated with the principal witness against Winnoa for weapons. They quarrelled because the Indian decided to keep some of the gold for himself while taking all the weapons, and that was what got the store owner's daughter killed. Jeffords can link the weapons and the gold to the man, who is arrested while the case against Winnoa is dismissed.