BRANDED

The Assassins - part 2 — episode #44

Jason went to his grandfather’s house to figure out just what was going on.  The knife was puzzling him.  The General was getting upset at just how worried his grandson was.  “It isn’t behind your shoulder blades, is it?”  The General stated.  “Come on, on your feet!  Sound the charge!”  The General wanted to go with Jason and help him take care of business.

 

“I’m sorry, General.  I can’t let you do it.”

 

“Figure I’m too old, huh?” The General questioned.

 

“Oh no…No sir, that’s not what I meant.  No, as a matter of fact, I…I have other plans for you.”  He wanted to know what other plans.  “Well, when this assignment is over, I’m going back to that job out West.  It’s a big one…engineering a railroad line.  And I’m going to need a partner to…head up the office.”

 

“Sounds good to me,” The General stated.  “McCord and McCord…We’ll build the West, son!  I’ll start packing right now!”

 

“Not so fast.  I’ve still got a job to finish here,” Jason reminded his grandfather with a smile.

 

“Oh yes…Someone’s out to assassinate the President.”

 

“Or me…” Jason said calmly.  “Or both.”

 

The General agreed with Grant.  It had to be the Black Hills bunch because Grant wouldn’t run those Indians off.  Jason hardly heard him.  He was studying the knife intently.  “You know, I didn’t get a look at the man I took this off last night, it was too dark.  But a fancy Spanish knife just doesn’t go with a man from Dakota.”

 

“A hat doesn’t go with a monkey either,” The General declared.  “But I saw one once.”

 

Jason announced he was going to go talk to Swaney at the boarding house.  His grandfather stopped him.  Jason was seen with Grant.  He couldn’t just go up to Swaney and ask him if he planned to kill the President.  “No…” Jason studied the knife.  “No…I’ll offer to do it for him.”

 

That got his grandfather to thinking!

 

Jason showed Swaney the knife and wondered if it meant anything to him.  Swaney denied it.  “Well you said last night that you want to get rid of Grant…soon.”  Swaney didn’t deny that.  “Are you waiting for him to resign?”

 

“I’m an impatient man, McCord!  I don’t wait for things to happen…I MAKE them happen!”

 

Jason had an idea.  “Look, you’re gonna need a man who can get close to Grant…Maybe even alone with him.” 

 

“If you got something on your mind, McCord…get to it!”

 

“I did the surveying job for Grant on the Black Hills.”  Jason pocketed the knife.  “I’ve got a good reason to ask him for a private meeting.”

 

“To do what?” Swaney asked.

 

“What you want,” Jason answered.  “Get rid of him.”

 

Without warning, Swaney punched Jason.  “You’re just as rotten as Randall said…Sure I want Grant out of the way – by impeachment, not killing!  Now, you get out of here!  I don’t want scum like you working for me.”

 

“You misunderstood me, Mr. Swaney.  I didn’t mean kill him.  I meant bribe him.”  Jason walked out of the room.

 

Jason went to see Laurette Ashley.  She immediately asked him if he was alright.  Jason said he was a little mixed up.  “I would like to talk it over with someone.  Is your husband home?”

 

Laurette announced Keith was dueling.  He was going to give and exhibition at the White House that evening.  “Keith is that good with a blade?” Jason asked in surprise.  Louretta laughed, stating it was Dr. Cueverra who was good.  Then she asked Jason what happened the night before.  “It must be the work of a mad man.”

 

Jason stared at the two dueling man and parts of the puzzle started falling into place.  Jason was deep in thought as Laurette continued talking.  She repeated that the plot against the President must be the work of a mad man.  “Or someone not to handy with a blade,” Jason declared.

 

“That’s the second time you’ve tried to hit back at me by trying to insinuate something evil and corruptive about Keith, and it’s not true.  When he attacks a man, it’s out in the open.”

 

“Laurette, I’m not accusing him…I don’t know WHO to accuse. He took out the knife and showed it to Laurette.  Laurette stared at it.  She took it from Jason.  “It belongs to…At least it looks like it belongs to a set from Keith’s collection.”  She hurried across the room only to discover one was missing – it was the knife Jason had!  “I…I don’t understand…” Jason took the knife from her hands.  “But it couldn’t be Keith!  He just isn’t capable of such a thing!  I know, Jason!  I know…”

 

Jason asked her not to say anything to Keith until he investigated it further. 

 

Jason tracked the President down.  He was at the doctor’s office.  When Jason told him who the knife belong to, Grant couldn’t believe it.  The news upset him.  “Sir, he’s a blade fancier.  And right now he’s taking dueling lessons from Felix Cueverra, the Cuban who’s here to meet with you.”  Grant couldn’t imagine any man in the United States Senate he’d accuse of such a thing – especially Ashley!  Jason suggested the blade was stolen from him – someone who has a run of his house. 

 

Senor Cueverra.

 

“Why?  What possible reason could he have for wanting me dead?  I’m about to give him and his Revolutionists what they’ve been begging for:  Official United States recognition of their hunted Government in Cuba.”  Jason agreed that it made more sense that they’d want to protect him if he arrived.

 

Grant still couldn’t believe Ashley was responsible.  Jason suggested then that maybe somebody planted the knife to make Ashley look guilty.  Ashley would be at the party.  His wife was hosting since Grant’s wife was under the weather.  Jason promised to stay close by and keep his eyes open.  “I didn’t invite you!” Grant suddenly declared.

 

Jason chuckled.  “I know.  Your hostess, Mrs. Ashley, invited me…to escort Cueverra’s sister.”  Grant told him to keep his eye on him – forget about the Cueverra woman.

 

When Jason arrived at the Ashley house, Laurette informed Jason that Keith had to work late and she was due at the White House.  “You and Socorro will have to go alone.”  Her husband would come straight from the office.  “You think that sounds suspicious?”

 

“No, I think it sounds like hard work,” Jason admitted.  “You run along, Laurette.”

 

Jason went in to greet the men.  Cueverra assured Jason that his sister would be pleased.  He made a dashing cowboy.  Jason wondered if she was ready.  “Are women ever ready, McCord?”  He introduced Jason to his associates.  The men started to leave, but as one of the men closed the dueling case, Jason saw the cut on his hand.  Without thinking, he reached out and grabbed the hand.  “Senor McCord!”  Jason turned to receive Cueverra’s kick.  Jason fell to the floor. 

 

“Take him out and dispose of him!” Cueverra ordered.  Socorro was appalled and begged him not to do it.  “He must die, Socorro, or he will ruin everything!  Tonight at the party, I will KILL the President!”

 

“You are mad!” Socorro declared.

 

“No, Socorro.  I am only being loyal to the Spanish Presidente!  We must stop the young President from giving reorganization to the revolutionists!  Without the help of the United States, we will soon beat them, and then once again we will soon have our plantations and our slaves…and the high offices in our government, which has been promised to me!”

 

His sister was appalled!  He sold out for money!  She slapped him across the face.  He grabbed her wrist so hard she dropped to her knees.  He slowly lifted her back to her feet.  “Must you kill Senor McCord too?”

 

“It is a pity you do not join us,” Cueverra said.  “Now I must lock you up also.”  He ordered his men to take them down to the wine cellar and guard them.  He took Jason’s gun. 

 

“You cannot kill the President.  They will kill you first!” Socorro pleaded with him.

 

“No, little sister; it has been well planned.  He took out the sword.  “This will kill the Presidente.”

 

Everyone was at the party, and no one suspected an assassin was there to kill President Grant.  Laurette introduced the “guest of honor” to the President: Dr. Felix Cueverra.  Grant asked where his sister was.  “Mr. McCord was unable to attend the party tonight.  Some…last minute business I believe,” Cueverra announced in a disappointed voice. 

 

Laurette wasn’t too happy to hear this.  She knew something was wrong.  Grant promised Cueverra he would get what he came for.  “That is my fondest wish…Mr. President.”

 

Jason came to.  Socorro gave him a drink.  She told Jason about her brother.  He was planning to kill the president in the duel.  The sword had a deadly poison on the blade.  The sword would touch the President’s sleeve and leave just a scratch.  Nothing more would be said about it until Felix was safely away.  Socorro had a plan of escape.  She stood and faced the guard.  She started yelling at him about having a plan for Cuba.  She told the guard that he would be Felix’ s slave.  She kept walking toward the guard.  “Have you no memories?”  She grabbed him and he pulled the trigger.

 

Jason bolted forward and started fight the guard.  The guard tried to shoot Jason, but Jason fought his hand down, and the guard shot himself instead.  Jason fell down beside Socorro.  She died in his arm.

 

Jason hurried to the White House.  Guards stood at the gate and refused to let Jason in.  “I’m expected.  I’m Jason McCord,” Jason tried to explain.  Jason tried to push his way past the guards, but they wouldn’t let him through.

 

Jason heard his name and turned to find Senator Ashley behind him.  Jason pushed Senator Ashley behind some bushes.  “What’s going on?”

 

“Senator, I don’t have time to explain.  I’m sorry.”  Jason punched the Senator, knocking him out. 

 

Inside, Laurette was announcing Cueverra’s exhibition while Grant sat close by and watched as he puffed on a cigar.  The duel began.

 

Outside, Jason took the Senator’s clothes and put them on himself.  He walked up to the gate and introduced himself to the guard as Senator Keith Ashley.  They let him in without question.

 

Suddenly, during the duel Jason appeared.  “Another exhibition, my friends…against a different kind of blade,” Cueverra announced as he went up against Jason and his cut off sword.  Grant was not happy!  “Why don’t you call the Captain of the guard, Senor McCord?”

 

“You know why,” Jason stated.  “War started over Assassination attempts.”

 

“And I’m going to kill you…and the President!” Cueverra declared.

 

“Not tonight, Senor!” Jason stated.  They fought each other.  Jason  pushed him all the way back into another  room. “Uh…” Grant quickly stood up.  “Dance!  Everybody dance!” Jason knocked Cueverra out as Grant hurried into the room.  He closed the doors.

 

Jason showed Grant the sword.  There was a slow-acting poison on the end of the sword.  He explained what Cueverra was planning on doing. 

 

It was time to say goodbye.  Grant stood from his desk and walked around to stand in front of the Ashleys’.  “Even though we’re on opposite sides of the fence most of the time, I want you to know I never had the slightest doubt about you, Senator.”  The Senator and his wife were pleased at Grant’s words.

 

Grant asked Jason to stick around for a bit.  They could have a nice, quiet game of pool.  “And General, why don’t you take a nap?”

 

“A nap?!  Why…we’re going West just as soon as he finds a spot to settle down and set up his company.  McCord and McCord!”  He gave advertising to the President ad Senator.  They could call if they needed a surveyor or a bridge built. 

 

“I’ll do that!” Grant declared.  “And I may be looking you up as soon as I run out of a job here.  I’ll need steady work.”

 

“That’s right, you will!” The General declared.

 

Jason shook the Senator’s hand, gave Laurette his blessing, then said goodbye to the President.  Ashley had one more thing to say about the President.  “You know, he may not have my vote…but he’ll always have my respect and loyalty.”  Jason knew that.

 

“We both know how to pick the right man,” Laurette stated.  “Don’t we, Mr. President?”

 

Grant just smiled.
 


The Assassins ― Cast


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Headed for Doomsday


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*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!

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