The Golden Fleece — episode
Jason rides into a town one day and is tying up his
horse when he hears the cocking of rifles. As he
looks up, he is surprised to find army men
surrounding him. “Jason McCord,” one of the men
declares. “Your court martial
been reopened. The war department has new evidence.”
“Oh, new evidence,” Jason mumbles. “Good.”
“Not good,” the Captain declared. “The evidence is
you didn’t just desert your men at Bitter Creek, but
you conspired with the Indians to plan a sneak
attack.” Jason thought that was ridiculous, but the
Captain had his orders to transport Jason to
The Captain came ordered the Lieutenant to take his
guns. A cowboy ran out of the saloon and asked Hank
what they were doing. Hank wasted no time to fill
him in. “Good. Maybe this time he’ll get the firing
But Jason wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
He took a punch at one man. One of the soldiers
started to lift his rifle, but he was ordered there
would be no shooting. He put up quite a fight, but
the army men finally overtook him and forced him
into the prison wagon. The Captain wasted no time in
telling Jason the other man in there was a traitor
too. “You two should enjoy the ride.”
The prisoner with him automatically started talking
to Jason. “Most men go to prison protesting their
innocence.” Jason asked about him. He admitted he
was guilty. “What they call treason, I call
“Well, if you’re guilty of treason against a
country, and they are as wrong about you as they
were about me, you’ve earned my respect and
“And you have mine,” the prisoner stated. “For a man
they call a coward, you put up quite a fight.” Jason
wondered why he was being deemed a traitor. “They
been trying to get me for something or other ever
since the war. They can’t forget what my Rebs did to
them at Cemetery Ridge…A few miles from here. I was
a thorn in their side then, and still am.”
“I’ve never come upon Kirby’s Raiders, but I’ve
heard of them,” Jason mentioned.
“Made things pretty hard for you blue-bellies West
of the Mississippi,” Kirby smiled.
“I don’t like being called a blue belly anymore than
I like being called a coward!” Jason gave Kirby a
look that left a no doubt he was serious.
“Consider the source,” Kirby grumbled.
long before they stopped the horses and wagon. The
Captain told one of the soldiers to help him give
the prisoners a drink. Captain Brooks unlocked the
cage, unlocked their chains, and told them to get
out for a few minutes while they watered the horses.
The minute Jason stepped out of the wagon, he
started another fight. Jason shot two of the
soldiers, then told his prisoner to run for the
After they were out of sight, the Major rode up and
asked one of the soldiers who was shot how it went.
“Exactly as planned, Major Meade,” he answered. “It
sure looked real enough.” The major was happy to
hear that. The Captain then demanded to know exactly
what was going on. They had arrested Jason and let
A messenger delivered a message…to none other than
President Ulysses S. Grant. He announced that Jason
had met up with Kirby, and they made their escape.
Grant was happy to hear that. He decided nobody was
going to wreck the banks and get away with it.
Secretary Richardson and President Grant were all
upset over Fiske and Goole who were out to wreck the
gold market. The people on the street were getting
“If Major Meade’s plan works, you’ll have $300,000
in gold to slow down this bank, Mister Secretary.”
The Secretary hoped Jason was successful.
“Well…Nobody knows McCord’s role in this except you,
Major Meade, and myself. See that it stays that
way.” Secretary Richardson agreed to do that. “Right
now, Richardson…The man who’s been branded a coward
and a traitor is the most important man in my
Jason stopped racing his horse once he was sure
they’d gotten away. Kirby thanked Jason for helping
him. “I was just saving my neck,” Jason explained.
“From what…I don’t know.” Kirby said they’d be safe
once they got back to Bridger. “Bridger? That’s
where they arrested us!”
“Well, they won’t do it again. We’ll be headed out
there…well cared for.” Jason stared at Kirby as if
he were crazy. “Tell me McCord, did you ever hear
of…the Knights of Liberty?” Jason thought it was
some die hard confederates still fighting the war.
“We fight the authority of that grafting corrupt
carpet-bagging government of yours!” Kirby declared
“Not my government. Not any more, Mister!” Jason
“There’s over one hundred of us. Men who are
dedicated to establishing a new Confederate empire
in the Caribbean.”
Jason laughed. “That sounds like a pipe dream! It
takes a lot of money to start an empire.”
“It’s no dream!” Kirby declared. “And we have a lot
of money.” Then he explained. “Just before Lee
surrendered, our rangers captured the largest
shipment of gold ever to sent from California to the
Union. Over three hundred thousand dollars, and I’ve
got every penny of it!”
Jason acted shocked. “Well Colonel, I believe you
CAN start an empire.” Kirby assured Jason they
would. Then he told Jason they could use a man of
his experience and background.
Jason showed him the chain that still joined them
together. “We’re joined, Colonel.”
That night, they attended the secret meeting. All
the “knights” were dressed in white capes and hoods.
Only the leader looked different. He wore a red cape
over his white one. Jason watched through a slit in
the door. Two men were talking. The other man was
dressed in a purple cape over his white hood. They
were disappointed the Colonel had made it back. Now
they’d never get their hands on that gold, Jason
heard. “No, this is better,” the man in the red cape
declared. “We’ve hunted for it before and couldn’t
find it. Now we’ll trick him into telling us where
he hid it, then we’ll get rid of him.”
The meeting came to order. They said the sacred
We pledge to thee the secret banner of the realm.
And forsaking all other loyalties
Dedicate our lives and our treasures to the ultimate
Or our noble order
Kirby and Jason came out from the back room then.
Everyone started greeting him, but the main in
charge demanded order. “It’s good to have you back,
Colonel. But bringing an outsider to a meeting
violates the first command of secrecy.”
“I wrote those orders,” Kirby declared as he came
forward. “I know when I can violate one.” He turned
to look at the rest of the members. “I propose this
man for membership. Jason McCord, formerly of the
army, and now he’s mostly accused and hunted by
those same treacherous forces. I would have never
gotten back here if it hadn’t been for his dire
courage. When our forces are ready to attack, we’ll
need a man of his background and experience.”
“I have heard of his background,” the leader
declared. “He’s known as the coward of Bitter
“That story’s a lie! He was accused a coward!” Kirby
declared. “The army was going to execute him on some
trumped up charges. I say that Jason McCord has more
reason to be behind our cause than any man in this
room tonight!” Kirby asked for the vote. Two of the
higher ups opposed.
“Well…” The leader snarled. “I suppose the army’s
loss is our gain.”
Kirby asked for the mace. The leader didn’t give it
to him. The second time, Kirby was a bit more
forceful and the leader gave it to him.
turned to Jason, telling him to kneel. He inducted
him into the group.
Then Jason was given permission to talk. “Well,
Colonel Kirby tells me you need guns and ammunition.
I’ve got an army contact. It may take some of your
gold, but I can get you all the weapons you need.”
The leader asked Jason how he found out about the
“I told him,” Kirby declared. “I captured it, I
control it! My men and my son died at Cemetery Ridge
for it. That’s more than enough!”
The leader stepped forward. “But so far, all we’ve
heard is why we need McCord. I’d like to know why he
joins us. A coward doesn’t enlist to fight.”
Jason punched him so hard he fell to the ground.
Jason hovered over him, a stern look on his face. “I
don’t know who you are, but don’t ever call me that
“But I do know about you, McCord. And I’ll keep an
eye on you…every minute!”
At the White House, Secretary Richardson brought in
another telegram from Major Meade. “They’ve had no
word from Jason McCord.” Grant said they’d have to
introduce gold into the Market until Fiske and Goole
choke on it.
Grant was worried. He told Richardson to wire Major
Meade and tell him to get in touch with Jason
somehow and “get the gold tonight or watch this
country go into a panic first thing in the morning.”
Grant ordered him to find McCord. “FIND McCORD!!!”
One night, Jason snuck quietly into the stable. He
didn’t see anyone as he made his way to saddle his
horse. But his hands froze when he heard the cocking
of a gun. He turned to see Sheriff Gorman with a gun
trained on him. “You made a mistake coming back
here, McCord,” Gorman declared as he took Jason’s
gun from his pants. “These men are beating a bush
for you.” Jason told him he was wrong. “Don’t tell
me, I saw them hauling you out of here. They want
Jason stayed calm as he explained. “Look, my arrest
was part of a plan. I’m working for Major Meade.”
“You expect me to swallow that?” Gorman asked.
“Well, I was heading for his camp,” Jason answered.
“Take me out there. I’ll let you explain it
himself.” Gorman thought that would give Jason a
chance to plan his escape on the way. “Listen to me,
Sheriff. A secret organization has three hundred
thousand dollars worth of gold the government needs.
They’re planning on moving it tonight. I’ve got to
get to Major Meade!” Jason’s voice was pleading now.
me to the Major!”
“I’ll do better than that, McCord,” Gorman declared
with a sly grin.
Jason found himself facing Colonel Kirby. “Alright
Colonel. Now do you see why I don’t trust McCord?”
Gorman asked as he held a gun on Jason.
Kirby apologized “Sir Falcon?” Jason asked after
Kirby called the Sherriff by that name. “He’s the
one I heard plotting against you before the
“I know what I’m doing! And I know what you are.
You’re nothing but a blue belly, McCord!” Kirby
“Alright, Kirby, Maybe I am working for the
Government,” Jason admitted. “But he still wants
“He’s only trying to split us up,” Gorman explained
carefully. “We need to start moving that gold right
now.” He figured there may be men waiting around to
hear from Jason.
“Don’t listen to him, Kirby! He wants the gold. If
he gets it, he’s going to forge all about you and
your empire!” Jason argued.
“Your word means nothing now!”
“Be sensible! Your outfit’s broken up, it’s shot to
pieces!” Jason softened his voice. “Get that gold
away from here, Kirby. Turn it over to the
government. It might buy you your freedom.” Gorman
asked Kirby to tell him where it was so he could get
it right now. Kirby hesitated. He was thinking about
what Jason was telling him.
“It’s in the barrels, where McCord thought it was
all the time,” Kirby admitted.
“Thanks, Colonel,” Gorman smiled. “Now I’ll take
charge of it. Shoot me…two escaped prisoners.”
Without hesitation, he shot Kirby. Kirby fell over.
Jason took that moment to punch Gorman. They
struggled. Gorman fought dirty, trying to choke
Jason to death, but Jason was strong. They fought
over the barrels. Kirby came to and took his gun. He
shot Gorman, killing him.
Jason lifted a bag from one of the barrels and found
that it was only dirt. Kirby fell to the ground. He
was about to die. Jason walked over to him and bent
down. Gently, he announced his finding to Kirby.
“There is no gold down here,” he announced softly.
“Is there, Kirby?”
“No,” Kirby whispered. “Only sands. They fought
“Where is it? That gold?” Jason asked. “You can’t
build your empire now. But it can do a lot to help
the country you stole it from.”
“No empire…” Kirby mumbled weakly.
“Kirby, you were fighting a war,
but it’s over.” Jason reminded him that Robert E.
Lee himself had asked us to make this “One strong,
unified country.” Kirby was listening. “You can help
me more than ever now by telling me where that gold
“Everything I loved…fought for…is buried on Cemetery
Ridge.” Then he died.
And that’s where the army found the gold. They
gathered it up from the cemetery on Cemetery Ridge.
Kirby sent the men away and rode over to where Jason
sat waiting. “You will bury the Colonel next to his
son, won’t you, Major?” Jason asked.
“We will, McCord,” Major Meade promised. “I want to
thank you again…for myself, for the army, and for
the United States treasury. “
Jason smiled. “Well, I guess the gold is important,
but smashing an outfit like the Knights of Liberty
may do a lot more good in the long run. You know,
men like that don’t really threaten us. They
certainly do dirty us.”
“Well, sometimes we do a little dirtying ourselves,”
Major Meade admitted. “As in your case. I’ll be
reporting to President Grant. Any message?”
“Yes,” Jason answered with a grin. “Tell him it took
seven years, but we finally won the Battle of
Cemetery Ridge.” The two men saluted each other then
rode off in different directions.
*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!
around The McCain Ranch