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Yellow for Courage — episode #39

Jason drove a wagon into town one day.  His face was broken out in sweat and he looked pretty sickly.  Jason stopped in front of the newspaper office and asked, “Do you know where I can find a Dr. Miller?”

 

“Dr. Miller…” the man muttered.  “Mister, if you’re sick, you better get to Doc Shackley.  His office is right there.”

 

“I want Dr. Miller, where?” Jason asked weakly.

 

“It’s your funeral…”

 

“Where?” Jason questioned again.  The man told him where to go.  Jason wasted no time. 

 

The man walked into the barber/doctor’s office and asked the Sheriff, Bernie, to come with him.  “You can finish his save later, Doc.”

 

“I’m not a customer, Beckett, I’m a patient,” the sheriff grumbled.  The doctor said he had some pretty bad bumps on the back of his neck.  The sheriff wanted to know the trouble.

 

“Well, a big fellow came riding into town on a buckboard.  He acted peculiar…kinda panicky.  He just didn’t look right on that wagon.  He’s sure no farmer.  Well, I’ve got an idea he’s up to something that’s going to make a story for my paper.”  The doctor declared Bernie wasn’t going anywhere until he was done treating him.  Beckett told the doctor to hurry up.

 

Jason made it to the doctor’s office.  Dr. Miller was a woman.  She noticed how sickly he looked and told him he didn’t have to knock.  “No no, it’s not me…it’s a friend of mine in the wagon.  He was helping me do some surveying work.  He was too sick to walk.”

 

The doctor got finished with the sheriff and turned back to Beckett and asked him if he figured the stranger was wanted.  Beckett thought that could be the case.

 

Jason took Dr. Miller out to the wagon and pulled back the blanket.  He told her that he was told she was the only one that could help him.  Dr. Miller was amazed they had traveled fifty miles to see her.  She told Jason they needed to get him inside. 

 

Back at the Doc Shackley’s office, Beckett was telling the men that Jason had something under a blanket and insisted on seeing Karen Miller.  “Miller?  Well, why would he go to her instead of me if he wants a doctor?  Unless maybe he’s an outlaw and he’s got one of his wounded pals underneath that canvas.”

 

The men wasted no time in going to see about the stranger at Dr. Miller’s.  They burst into her office and hurried to the back.  “What’s going on in here?” the sheriff asked.  “This man been shot?”

 

“He’s sick,” Jason answered.  The sheriff asked him who he is.  “A friend of mine.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Dr. Miller said softly to Jason.  “But I’m afraid your friend is dead.”

 

Jason was grieved at her news.  “What’s your name, mister?” Beckett rudely asked.

 

“Jason McCord.”

 

“Jason McCord?  From Bitter Creek?”

 

“Just Jason McCord.”

 

“How’d he die?” one of the men asked.  Jason was so grieved he couldn’t answer.  “You sure he wasn’t shot?”  Jason still said nothing.  “Hey you!”  At his touch, Jason turned to him.

 

“I was told…Dr. Miller could cure diphtheria.”

 

“Diphtheria?” Doc Shackley repeated.  “Well that’s contagious!  Stay away from him, that’s dangerous!  Look at him…soak and wet.  Sure looks like diphtheria.  Well, I ain’t getting any closer to check.”

 

“You drove something like that into this town?” Beckett accused Jason.  “Maybe you’ve got the disease yourself.”

 

Finally, Dr. Miller spoke, but directly to Jason as she grasped his hand and stared at him.  “You do have the symptoms, Mr. McCord.  But I think I can help you.”

 

“Now, we’ve put up with a lot of meddling nonsense with you, Karen.  But this is one time you’ve gone too far,” Doc Shackley declared.  “You’re not keeping that fellow here to try out your crazy ideas.”  He called Jason a menace and wanted him out right away.

 

That made Dr. Miller mad.  “If you send him away, he’ll die!”  She was clinging to Jason now, trying to protect him.

 

“Doctor, do you think you…can help me?”

 

“Yes.  I think I can.”  Beckett called her a fool.  Keeping him there could cause an epidemic.

 

“Well maybe the epidemic’s already started just by my coming here.  Wouldn’t it be better for you and the whole town to know that the doctor can help you if you were struck down?”  The doc told Ab not to listen to him. 

 

“He wants to risk the whole town just to save his own life!”

 

“Alright, Doc, that’s enough!” Beckett declared.  He told Karen to experiment on him like a genie pig, but she was to keep him locked up in her office tight until she cured him or he died.  “And Doc, you put a big quarantine sign on the door of this office.  Tell folks to give it a wide berth.”  Doc declared that he certainly would!

 

Before the Sheriff left, he promised Jason that if he stepped foot out of the office, he’d shoot him down like a dog with rabies! 

 

She treated him, telling him she was positive he had the disease.  She tied a yellow armband around his arm to warn others to stay away from him. 

 

Suddenly, shooting erupted outside.  Jason hurried out onto the porch to find bank robbers trying to escape.  He did some shooting, but only one man managed to go down.  The rest rushed out of town.

 

The banker hurried into the street and ran up to Jason and Dr. Miller.  “I sure do want to thank you, mister!”  He held the money bag.  Jason’s fast actions had saved his bank a lot of money.  But Doc Shackleycame in and ordered the men to back up, telling them all that Jason had diphtheria. 

 

“Yes.  And he’s going to be cured!”

 

“By you?” The doc asked sarcastically.  Jason agreed with her.  “Oh, don’t believe that, folks!  You know who your doctor is!  I’ve been treating all of you for years!”

 

“With your magic elixir that’s mostly alcohol?  It may ease the pain, but it doesn’t cure anything!”

 

“You made yourself a hero a little too late, McCord!” Beckett declared then.  “You made yourself a hero a little too late!  Now get back in there.”

 

Jason started to explain what Dr. Miller was doing.  “I know what Dr. Miller is trying to do.  She’s trying to start an epidemic so there will be too many sick one’s for me to handle, giving her a good chance to move in where she ain’t wanted!  Sides, she’s a fool woman and a foreigner to boot, and we just don’t need her kind of doctoring!”

 

Dr. Miller studied a sample of Jason’s blood through the microscope while Jason slept.  She was worried and went in to check on Jason.  He woke at the feel of the cloth on his forehead.  He asked her if the medicine was working.  She said it would take time.  “Suppose it doesn’t work?” Jason asked.

 

“I thought you believed in me.”

 

“I do, but maybe the bacteria don’t.”

 

Dr. Miller reminded Jason that faith was a part of any cure.  “You may get worse for awhile.  If you do,…”

 

“If I do?”

 

“…You’ll experience trouble with your ears.  They’ll be inflammation of the lungs.  Paralysis of the nerves and finally spreading of membranes to the larynx which could cause heart failure or suffocation.”  Jason laughed.  “I once knew this scout who got trampled to death by a heard of stampeding buffalo.  Wait until I tell them my story.”

 

“I’m afraid you really don’t trust me.”

 

Jason reached for her hand.  “I do…I do…You know why?  Your eyes…they tell me to.”

 

“It’s not a very scientific reason,” Dr. Miller said softly.  “But I like it.  You need rest and absolute quiet for the serum to work.”  She told Jason his next injection would be at midnight.

 

She quietly left the room, only to be grabbed from behind.  A hand went over her mouth to keep her from screaming.  The man asked her who she was talking to and she told him it was a patient.  She also told him she was the doctor.  He wasn’t really happy with it, but told her he didn’t have time to be picky.  His partner was bad off with a bullet hole.  She had to go with him.  “I can’t go with you.  I have a patient and he’ll die.”

 

“Forget him!  My brother needs you or he’ll die!” the outlaw stated.

 

She started to take the medicine back into Jason’s room, but Collins grabbed her and took the medicine from her.  “That won’t do your partner any good.  My patient needs it desperately!”

 

“We’ll take it anyhow,” Collins declared angrily. 

 

“Please…Let me leave him a not so he can get some more medication, maybe another doctor.  Then I’ll do all I can for your brother.”  She quickly wrote the note out and gave to him to see.  “What’s that?” he asked after looking at the note.

 

“Latin,” she answered.

 

“What good will that do him?”

 

“It may save his life.”  She stuck it someplace he could find it as Collins grabbed her and pulled her from the office.

 

It was 10:10 pm when she left her office.  The clock quickly turned to 3:30 AM.  Jason woke up, realizing it was time for another dose of medicine.  “Doctor…Doctor, it’s 3:30,” Jason croaked.  It was past time for him to take his medicine.  When Karen didn’t answer him, Jason stumbled out of bed and weakly opened the door.  He leaned heavily on the door jam, announcing again that it was 3:30. 

 

He realized she wasn’t there.  Stumbling further into the room, Jason found the note and took it in his hand.  “Periculum Domus Lupina Monta,” it read.  He was able to translate the Latin.  It told him there was trouble at a  house on Wolf Hill.  Jason went back into the room and grabbed his coat and hat. 

 

Unfortunately, Karen was unable to save the outlaw.  This was not a good thing for her.  Jason weakly rode toward the house.  He found it.

 

It’s a good thing too, because the outlaw was really getting mad.  “He was alive when you got here.  Now you killed him.  Stupid woman doctor!” he muttered.  She assured him the bullet killed him, but the outlaw didn’t feel like she had tried hard enough. 

 

“The human heart isn’t like a water pump.  You can’t prime it when it stops working.”  She went to prepare to leave.

 

“Don’t both about sending no bill, doctor.  I’m gonna pay you just what you’re worth!”

 

“I told you I did what I could.”

 

Just then, the door opened and Jason stumbled in.  He grabbed Jason who was gasping for breath.  He recognized Jason as the one who had shot Charlie.  He dragged Jason over to the bed and lifted the blanket.  “Do you remember him?”  Karen begged the outlaw to take it easy – Jason was a very sick man.  “I’m gonna gun you down the same way you gunned down Charlie!”
 

He flung Jason across the room.  Jason was so weak he just laid across the table, trying to lift his weak body up.  “How bad off is he?”

 

“Without medication he’ll die,” Karen answered. 

 

“Good.  Let’s watch him do it.”  Collins lifted Jason up by the front of his shirt.  “Let’s give him some medication!”  Collins and his friend started shoving Jason back and forth until he collapsed weakly.

 

“Doctor…” Jason mumbled breathlessly.  “Tell them why I need the medicine.”

 

“This man has diphtheria.”

 

“Diphtheria?”  Charlie questioned then. 

“Anyone that touches him can catch the disease.  The germs are deadly.  All you need is contact, and YOU’VE had contact.”

 

“That’s right,” Jason said.  “Now…We’re all in the same fix.”  Collins wanted to know what she could do to help them.  She held up the bottle and he wondered if there was enough for all of them.  Karen tried to keep Collins distracted as she told him that Jason needed the medicine the most. 

 

“The doctor…” Jason cocked his gun.  “…is making you an even trade.  Your life…for your gun.”

 

Collins put his hand on his gun.

 

“Drop it,” Jason warned.

 

BANG!

 

Collins tried to draw.  Jason shot him down fast.  He turned his gun on Collins’ partner.  “The same…goes for you, mister.  Drop your gun.”

 

Karen told Jason to take his coat off.  She filled the syringe with medicine and went to give him the shot.

 

The towns people were singing a different tune.  They all agreed that Dr. Miller’s medicine had indeed cured Jason.  She was going to get quite the write-up in the paper.  Doc Shackley was quite upset. 

 

“Doctor Miller, we owe you more than just an apology,” Mr. Beckett told her as he shook her hand.  She thanked him. 
 

 

She took the yellow band off Jason’s arm.  “Ironic, isn’t it?”

 

“What?”

 

“Yellow can also be the color of courage.”  With that, Jason said goodbye, left her office, and rode out of town.

 

So, even on his death bed, Jason McCord was able to save the day!


Yellow for Courage ― Cast


Next ― Call to Glory - part 1


Episode Guide 1 & 2


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*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!

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