Monday, March 10, 2014

Wow. I stumbled on this tonight, skimming through the TV channels.

What I appreciated was the complexity of the backstory.

I entered on the scene where he tells Mr. Corey (Sammy Davis Jr) threatens to kill the Rifleman (Chuck Connors) for taking the marshal’s badge and robbing him of the opportunity to avenge his father's death.

The Rifleman’s son tries to save his father from Mr. Corey’s threat to kill him. The boy and Mr. Corey speak of an un-marked grave in the cemetery. Lucas states that he plants flowers in the grave; Mr. Corey states that that is his father’s grave. That when he was Lucas’s age, two drunken trail hands showed up and started attacking two Indian women. His father sent him to go get the marshal, and when the marshal saw what was going on, he turned around and let the trail hands continue with what they were doing. The trail hands killed his father. Mr. Corey has come back to avenge his father’s death by killing the marshal.

But the Rifleman – a white man – won’t stand down. They have their face off, and the Rifleman kills Mr. Corey. But not until after the boy stands forward and tells Mr. Corey that he will find him and hunt him down should he kill his father. As Mr. Corey lies dying in the marshal’s arms, he turns to Lucas and says, “Flowers,” and then quickly dies.

From this moment in 2014, it was startling to see this articulation from a show that was aired in 1962. When the cost of black-indian alliances in the face of white authority and negligence, in the context of the American West, were made visible.

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