Summary: Missing Scenes from the episode “Emily.”
Genre: Western, Drama
Word Count: 3146
In the episode “Emily”, Joe is found shot in the back at the scene of a murder and apparent robbery attempt. Emily McPhail, a woman Joe once courted, tells Marshall Calhoun that she met Joe on the day of the murder but had left him long before she heard shots being fired. She also claims Joe wanted her to leave her husband and to run away with him. Emily further suggests getting money for their flight from Virginia City as a motive for Joe being involved in the hold-up. Marshall Calhoun briefly questioned a badly wounded Joe about what happened, but is still not sure he knows all the facts. This is the missing scene in which Calhoun returns to the Ponderosa to question Joe again.
Walking slowly down the stairs, Hoss stopped at the landing and looked at two men in the room below. “The Doc has finished changing Joe’s bandages,” he announced to his father and Marshall Calhoun. “He says you can come up now.”
Hoss stood to one side, allowing the pair to pass him on the stairs. As he followed the men to the second floor of the ranch house, Hoss frowned at the Marshall’s back. While his Pa seemed convinced Calhoun was interested only in finding the truth about what happened on that road, Hoss wasn’t so sure. He was afraid his little brother might be railroaded into jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
Entering Joe’s bedroom, Marshall Calhoun glanced at Doctor Martin, who was standing a few feet from the youngest Cartwright’s bed. “How is he?” the lawman asked.
“Much better,” Doctor Martin replied. “He should be able to answer all your questions.”
Nodding briefly, Calhoun walked to the end of the bed, then took a minute to study Joe Cartwright. The young man almost seemed not have moved since the Marshall saw him the day before. Once again, Joe was propped up by pillows, and his bare shoulder and chest were tightly wrapped with white bandages. There was, however, one difference from his visit the day before. Today Joe gazed at the lawman with a wary look on face, and his expression told the Marshall that the young man knew he was under suspicion.
From the corner of his eye, Calhoun saw Ben and Hoss enter the bedroom, stopping to stand near the doctor. The Marshall ignored the other men and focused his attention on Joe. “I’m happy you’re feeling better,” Calhoun said amiably. But the smile on the lawman’s face didn’t reach his eyes.
“I’ve told you everything I know,” Joe stated cautiously.
“Maybe,” acknowledged Calhoun. “But there are still a few things that need to be cleared up.” The Marshall chose his words carefully. “Emily McPhail says you tried to persuade her to run away with you. She implied you planned to use the bank shipment to finance your trip.”
“She’s lying,” Joe stated flatly. “Pa told me what she said, and none of it is true. Emily is the one who wanted to run away. She tried to convince me to take her away, and when I refused, she rode off. But she couldn’t have been more than twenty or thirty feet from me when we heard those shots. She knows I couldn’t have killed those men.”
“That’s not what Emily told us,” the Marshall countered. “Why would she lie?”
“Perhaps to save her marriage,” suggested Ben. “From what I’ve seen, that marriage is on shaky ground. If her husband found out Emily tried to get Joe to take her away, he might leave her. Then she’d be alone. Life isn’t easy in the West for a woman on her own. Emily probably concocted that story so she would appear to be the innocent party. She’s trying to protect herself by accusing Joe.”
“That’s possible,” agreed Calhoun. “But there’s no way I can be sure who’s lying. It’s Joe’s word against Emily’s.”
“My little brother doesn’t lie,” Hoss declared. “If he says that gal tried to talk him into running away with her, then that’s what happened. Besides, she was awfully eager to go buggy riding with Joe the other night, when she knew she was married and Joe didn’t. Don’t seem likely she’d have changed her mind about things by the next day.”
The only response the Marshall offered to Hoss’ comment was a slight shrug of his shoulders. Calhoun stood silent for a moment, then looked back to Joe. “When did you walk over to that hole someone dug?”
“What hole?” Joe answered, looking genuinely puzzled.
“The hole someone was digging to bury the money,” explained the lawman. “It was only a few feet from where we found you.”
“I never went near that hole,” Joe replied in a firm voice. “I never even saw it.”
“There were boot prints all around it,” the Marshall argued. “I saw them.”
“None of them were mine,” stated Joe. “I didn’t even know it was there.”
“Marshall, if Joe weren’t nowhere near that hole, then that means he couldn’t have been part of the robbery,” said Hoss in an excited voice. “I mean, he would have been helping them to dig a place to hide the money if he was involved, right?”
“Maybe,” answered Calhoun in a non-committal tone. “We still don’t know exactly what happened out there.”
“I’ve been thinking about that,” Joe declared. “When I found the driver and the guard, they were on the ground opposite each other. And they both still had their guns. I think either guard or the driver was stealing the money, and the other one tried to stop him. They ended up shooting each other.”
“That’s one explanation,” conceded the lawman. “But it still doesn’t shed any light on who shot you.”
“When I got there, one man was still alive,” Joe said, frowning in thought. “I turned my back on him to fire the warning shots. He must have thought he still had a chance to get away with the money and shot me to prevent me from getting help. He probably died a few minutes later.”
“It’s possible,” Calhoun acknowledged, “but there’s no way to prove any of that. I need something more than just your speculation.”
“Marshall,” Ben said suddenly, “have the guard and the driver been buried yet?”
“No, they haven’t,” answered Calhoun, looking a bit confused by the question. “We’re still trying to find out if they have any family who might want to claim the bodies. Why do you ask?”
“If the guard and the driver haven’t been buried, then George Fowler at the Funeral Parlor still has their boots,” Ben explained. “You said there were boot prints all around that area, including by the hole that was dug. If we take the guard and driver’s boots out there, along with Joe’s, we might be able to match the prints to each pair of boots. If we can, we should be able to prove Joe never went near that hole. We also might get a better idea of what happened out there.”
“That’s a good idea, Mr. Cartwright,” agreed the Marshall, his face brightening. “If you’ll give me Joe’s boots, I can go back to town right away to collect the other two pair. I should be able to check the prints this afternoon.”
“Marshall, I’m going with you,” declared Ben in a quiet voice. “I’ll bring Joe’s boots with me.”
“I’m going too,” added Joe.
“Oh no, you’re not,” stated Doctor Martin firmly. “You’re not well enough to get out of bed yet, much less travel all the way out to that road.”
“I’m feeling all right,” Joe argued back. “I’m well enough to go out there.”
“Joe, listen to the doctor,” Ben told his son. “The most important thing is that you get better. I don’t want to you taking any risks. You stay here in bed, and I’ll tell you what we find.”
“Pa, I’ve got to go with you,” insisted Joe. “I’m the one being accused of robbery and murder. I’m not just going to lay here in bed while someone else goes looking for the truth. Besides, I can show you where I found the guard and driver. That might help.”
“He’s got a point, Mr. Cartwright,” Marshall Calhoun observed. “Joe’s the best one to show us exactly where he walked, as well as how everyone else was positioned when he found them. That could help us get to the truth.”
“Joe’s not well enough to travel out to that the road,” the doctor repeated in a determined voice. “Maybe in a few days…”
“A few days will be too late,” interrupted Calhoun. “A good rainfall or a strong wind or somebody riding by could destroy those prints. I can’t take a chance on that happening. I need to go out there today, as soon as possible.”
“And I need to go with him,” Joe asserted. “It will only take a little while. It won’t hurt me to be out of bed for a few hours.”
Everyone in the room looked at Doctor Martin, who was staring at Joe with a frown. “This is a bad idea,” the doctor finally stated. “But I can see Joe is determined to go. If I said no, I have a feeling he’d try to find a way to get out there anyway. So, even though it’s against my better judgment, I’ll agree.”
“Thanks, Doc,” replied Joe quietly, but there was a hint of a triumphant smile on his face.
“Don’t thank me yet,” advised Doctor Martin. “There are going to be certain conditions for this little trip. I’ll take you out myself, in my buggy, and you’re not getting out of that buggy. I’m also going to make sure that you stay wrapped up in blankets the whole time.”
“Doc, that’s a little much, don’t you think?” asked Joe. “I’m not made out of glass. I won’t break.”
“Those are the conditions,” said the doctor sternly. “You either agree to them or stay home.”
With a pleading look on his face, Joe turned to his father. “Pa…”
“Joseph, you’ll do whatever the doctor says,” Ben stated in a voice that brooked no argument. “As he said, it’s either that or you’ll stay home.”
“All right,” agreed Joe unhappily. “I think you’re all being nervous nellies, but if that’s what it takes to get out there, I’ll do it.”
“Thank you so much,” Ben told his son sarcastically. He turned to Marshall Calhoun. “Why don’t you plan to come back here around two o’clock? That will give you enough time to get the boots from George and give us enough time to get Joe ready.”
“That’s fine,” the lawman agreed. “I’ll see you then. And don’t forget to bring Joe’s boots.”
The grandfather clock in the main room of the ranch house was striking two as Ben helped Joe descend the stairs. As he slowly moved down the steps, Joe leaned heavily against his father. His left arm was in a sling under his shirt, a shirt that father had made sure was buttoned up tightly. Joe had felt like a two-year-old when his Pa had insisted on helping him to dress. His irritation with his father had ended abruptly, though, when Joe had tried to take a step on legs which proved to be less than steady. He suddenly had been very grateful for the help and attention.
When the two men reached the bottom of the stairs, Ben eased Joe into the nearby blue chair. He looked at his son with concern, noting Joe’s face seemed pale and his breathing appeared to be a bit labored. “Are you sure you’re up to this, Joe?” Ben asked in an anxious voice. “Maybe we should call this off.”
“I’m fine, Pa,” Joe reassured his father with a crooked smile. “Once I get into the Doc’s buggy, all I have to do is sit there. That doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.”
“If you start feeling poorly, you let the doctor know right away,” Ben advised his son sternly. “No heroics, you hear?”
“Yes sir,” Joe answered with mock solemnity. His smile widened a bit, letting his father know this promise had been lightly given.
A sharp rap on the front door stopped Ben from continuing on with the list of admonitions he was prepared to give his son. Looking over his shoulder, Ben saw Doctor Martin walking into the house, followed closely by Marshall Calhoun.
“Well, I see you got him down the stairs,” the doctor commented, his eyes trained on Joe.
“Nothing to it,” Joe said with a cheeky smile. He glanced up at his father, silently asking Ben not to contradict him.
Frowning a bit, Ben looked intently at his son. Then he took a deep breath and turned to face the Marshall. “Did you get the boots?”
“I did,” Calhoun confirmed. “They’re out in the doctor’s buggy. Where are Joe’s boots?”
“The ones he was wearing that day are on the floor, next to the bureau,” Ben replied, pointing to a pair of tan boots near the door. “I made sure they’re the right ones. Joe’s wearing his old boots today.”
After picking up Joe’s boots, the Marshall turned back to Ben. “Mr. Cartwright, you should know that half the town is aware of what we’re doing,” Calhoun advised. “Mr. Fowler is a curious man, and he wouldn’t give me the boots until I told him why I need them. Apparently he is a bit of a gossip also. By the time I left Virginia City, it seemed everyone was talking about our little trip.”
“Well, I suppose that’s all right,” Ben said with a shrug. “It will be easier for everyone to understand the truth about what happened if they know how we’re going to prove it.”
“But we may not be able to prove anything,” the lawman pointed out. He looked steadily at Joe for a moment, then continued. “We also might find something that will be detrimental to your son.”
With concern clearly on his face, Ben looked Joe. He saw that Joe was staring back at Calhoun, returning the Marshall’s steady gaze.
“You won’t find anything detrimental,” Joe declared in an even voice. “Everything you find will prove that I’ve told you the truth.”
Marshall Calhoun nodded slowly, then held up the boots. “I’ll take these out to the buggy and wait for you there.”
Leaving the house, Calhoun walked to a buggy parked a few feet past the hitching post to which his horse and Ben’s buckskin were tied. The Marshall reached in and placed Joe’s boots next to the other two pairs of boots laying in the front of the buggy. Straightening, the lawman noticed a pillow sitting atop several folded blankets on the seat. He smiled wryly as the thought crossed his mind that the doctor hadn’t been kidding about his intentions to make sure Joe would be kept warm and comfortable.
The sound of horses caused Calhoun to look up. He watched as Hoss Cartwright and Candy, the Cartwright’s foreman, rode their horses up to the buggy, and then stopped. The two men merely sat on their mounts and gazed at the Marshall, apparently waiting patiently.
“Just where do you two think you’re going?” the Marshall asked with a frown.
“With you,” Hoss replied simply.
“We figured it wouldn’t hurt to have two more witnesses to whatever you find out there,” added Candy with a grin.
“I have all the witnesses I need in the doctor and Mr. Cartwright,” Calhoun told the two men firmly. “And I don’t need any more people stomping around out there. You two are staying here.”
“Marshall, where you all are going is next to a private road on Ponderosa land,” Hoss pointed out. “You can’t stop us from riding out to someplace that’s on our own land.”
Pursing his lips, Calhoun admitted to himself that Hoss was right. He couldn’t stop the pair from riding to a location on their own land. All he could do was try to control the situation. “All right,” the Marshall conceded, “you can come along. But you’ll stay away from the area we’re going to search. If you don’t, I’ll arrest you for interfering with official business.”
“We’ll do whatever you tell us,” Hoss agreed. “We just want to be there when you find out my little brother has been telling the truth.”
The three men’s attention was drawn to the house when they heard the front door opening. The Marshall watched as Ben, Joe and Doctor Martin emerged from the ranch house. As the trio walked forward, the Marshall noted Joe’s slow, shuffling steps and how the young man leaned heavily on Ben’s arm. He saw Doctor Martin hovering close to Ben and his son, ready to help – or call the trip off – if Joe faltered. But despite his slow pace, Joe moved on doggedly until he reached the buggy.
The doctor climbed into the buggy first, then pulled gently on Joe as Ben pushed his son up. As soon as Joe was seated in the buggy, Doctor Martin positioned a pillow behind the young man’s back, then started wrapping blankets around his patient’s legs. Joe’s eye rolled up a bit but he bit back a complaint about being fussed over.
At last the doctor seemed satisfied that Joe was covered properly with the blankets and that his patient’s back was resting comfortably against the pillow. He studied Joe carefully and then asked, “Are you ready for this?”
“I’m ready,” Joe agreed. Turning his head, he looked directly into Calhoun’s eyes. “I’m ready for everyone to know truth about what happened out on that road,” Joe added. “Let’s go find it.”
At the end of the episode, Joe waits patiently in the buggy while Ben and the Marshall compare boots to the prints near a hole at the scene of the murder and attempted robbery. As Ben and the Marshall return to where Joe, as well as Doctor Martin, Hoss and Candy are waiting, Emily and her husband, Deputy Wade McPhail, ride up. Emily confesses she lied about leaving Joe before hearing the shots, admitting that she could still see Joe when the men were killed some distance away. Ben acknowledges her confession and adds that the prints near the hole that was being dug matched only the driver and the guard from the wagon. Emily’s confession and the lack of Joe’s prints around the hole proves Joe had nothing to do with the murder and attempted robbery. Emily apologizes to Joe, telling him she’s sorry. Joe looks at her and briefly replies, “I think we’re all sorry…about a lot of things.” As Cartwrights and the Marshall leave, Emily is reconciled with her husband.