To Make This Place Remember (Episode 2.02)

Executive Producer - Frank Price
Produced by Jules Schermer
Written by Harold Swanton
Directed by Robert Ellis Miller

You do what you’ve got to do.

Episode scene:

Judge Garth is investigating the hanging of a friend’s son by a group of vigilantes, one of whom is his former law partner (portrayed by John Dehner, above.) When Henry proclaims that people must choose the law over vigilantism, his friend argues “You get stolen blind by mavericking sodbusters, you get fenced off from your water...Now you file a complaint in county seat...and due process huffs and puffs into the same station every time. The accused is turned loose by twelve other cow thieves and criminals sitting in judgment. Now that, old friend, is what we’ve had up here in the way of due process, and what we still have. That’s why we organized our committee. Henry, it wasn’t a mob, it wasn’t bloodlust, it wasn’t lynch fever...There was only one thing to do and we did it. We thought it through, we made our decision, and we’re standing by it.”

Quotation from the book (Chapter 33):

[In the book it is Judge Henry (speaking to Molly Wood) who defends his right to take the law into his own hands after his foreman, the Virginian, hangs two rustlers.] “ Wyoming the law has been letting our cattle-thieves go for two years. We are in a very bad way, and we are trying to make that way a little better until civilization can reach us. At present we lie beyond its pale. The courts, or rather the juries, into whose hands we have put the law, are not dealing the law. They are withered hands, or rather they are imitation hands made for show, with no life in them, no grip. They cannot hold a cattle-thief. And so when your ordinary citizen sees this, and sees that he has placed justice in a dead hand, he must take justice back into his own hands...”

Additional comments:

  1. See Throw A Long Rope for more on the topic of hanging.
  2. In The Executioners the Virginian refuses to attend the public hanging of a convicted murderer, and Molly defends her own attendance as a journalistic necessity.

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(Compilation © 2004 by Alice Munzo. All rights reserved.)