BRANDED
The Rules of the Game aka Elise Brown episode #4

As Jas arrived in the town of McKinley.....he saw someone he knew from the past. Elsie Brown, a saloon girl from Carson City. Now Elsie Baron, a dressmaker. It's been over a year since he last saw her. She had gone for help when he got pinned down by a wagon. He felt he owed her a favor. But he wasn't the only one who just came into town that knew Elsie. An old friend, Charlie Vance stopped by to see her also. He forced his way into her shop and disgraced her in front her customers. He accused her of taking off with all his money, while he was laid up. She insisted she used the money to take care of him with. He started tearing up the clothes in the store and throwing hats and other items around. The two ladies rushed out of the store saying they were going for the sheriff. Elsie asked them not to. She told him she had made a new life for herself and she wasn't going to let him do anything to spoil it. He told her that he was a part of her life. He then forced himself on her while she begged him not to.

The sheriff called for Vance to come out of the dress shop. Elsie came out and told him everything was alright. She asked the sheriff to go away. Just then Vance came to the door and the one lady pointed him out to the sheriff. He asked the sheriff if he had some kind of complaint against him. The two ladies said that he was destroying her property and they were witnesses to it. The sheriff told Vance they wouldn't stand for this in McKinley. Vance walked up to Elsie and told her to tell them whose property this was and whose money bought all these frilly things the ladies wear. He told them that he found her working in a saloon. She was one of Jenny Lou's girls in Cason City. "Go on.....tell 'em.....you've got a stamp on ya'." By this time a crowd had gathered. It didn't take long for them to clear out when they heard that. She, like Jas was..... Branded! He told her to go pack her things, they were leaving. She refused.

Jas was watching in the background and slowly approached her shop. As Elsie and Vance entered the shop, Jas followed. Vance tried to shut the door, but Jas went right in. Vance asked him what he wanted. Jas told him he could be a customer as he walked over to Elsie. Vance told him he wouldn't want to meet the prices, not even if they were a closing out sale. "Now that was a very sinister remark," said Jas as he turned towards Vance. Elsie got between the two men. He told her to go ahead and talk to her customer; he'd be waiting for her at the hotel.

He told her it had been a while and the hand had healed, thanks to her. She remembered the tall man. "I could still be pinned under that wagon outside of Carson City if she had not brought help." She told him he almost needed some help again. She told him that Vance could have very easily killed him. "I never put much stock into reputations.....he's an expert on reputations. His or yours!" Said Jas. "Reputations are a funny thing.....seems that people never want you to be anything but what you were. You try and hide, but somebody will find you," said Elsie. He told her that she could change their minds. She didn't believe that. She felt that once people marked you, they didn't want you to change. Jas told her to forget about them and asked her if she had changed. "Are you any different?" She said she didn't need to answer that. He felt he was entitled to an answer, being that she thought he could have been killed over her. She told him she had gotten away from something she hated and in this town she was respected, until now. "So yes.....yes I have changed!" Jas told her to give the people time, if she wanted to she could win back their respect. She asked him how long he was staying. He told her until Vance left town. He reminded her he still owed her a favor.

The sheriff was in his office, his daughter Ginny, brought him his supper. He told her to stay away from Elise and her store. She couldn't understand why, Elsie had always been nice to her. He said he didn't want to discuss it anymore. Just then Harkness barged in the office. He told the sheriff that Vance was all liquored up and shoved Jim Wagner all around the hotel lobby and now he was over at the Long Horn Saloon waving his gun around.
 
Before the sheriff could get to the saloon shots rang out. Elsie came running out of her shop. She was looking for Jas. She told him that was Vance doing the shooting. Jas told her the sheriff had just gone in. She said no one could handle Vance in his condition, especially the sheriff. Another shot rang out. "He'll be coming after me next.....it's happened before!" Said Elsie. She had come to ask Jas for that favor. "Ask!" Said Jas. She asked him to help the sheriff, get Vance out of town without trouble and without her. He said he would help the sheriff if he would let him. Jas had gone over to the sheriff's office and waited for him to come back.

Vance made a fool out of the sheriff, everybody could see it.  Vance would just laugh at him. The sheriff turned and walked out and went back to his office, with Miles the bartender and Pollard tailing right along complaining. Miles complained about him taking the tax payers money and expecting the town to do the fighting. "He's a trained gun.....he kills for hire," said Jas. He told them the sheriff wouldn't stand a chance against Vance. The sheriff said he knew that. He's a sodbuster. The only reason he took this job was because his crop had failed eight years back and nobody else would take the job. Miles told him he should have quit. Jas told them if they forced the sheriff to go up against Vance, they would be killing him. Suddenly another shot rang out from the saloon. The sheriff turned to Jas and asked him if Jas would be interested in being deputized. Maybe with the two of them, it would make a difference. Jas agreed.

The sheriff got the mayor up in the middle of the night to witness his swearing in Jas as his deputy. The mayor wasn't very happy about it and made him well aware of it. Jas placed his hand on the Bible. "Now repeat after me," said the sheriff. "I then 'state your name,' do solemnly swear to uphold....." "I Jason McCord do solemnly swear....." He didn't get to finish, when the mayor heard who he was, the look on his face said it all. "What was that name again?" Asked the mayor. The sheriff started to continue swearing in Jas, but the mayor stopped him. He asked Jas to repeat his name. "McCord, Jason McCord." He asked Jas if he was the same McCord as in coward. Jas just looked at him and told the sheriff to get on with the swearing in. The mayor told the sheriff he wasn't swearing Jas in as any deputy of that town. "We don't want
him!" Just then a shot rang out. The sheriff argued with the mayor, no one else had offered to help. "We are not going to disgrace ourselves by accepting his help.....this man has no right to wear the uniform of his country and he certainly has no right to carry a deputy's badge either!" Just then Miles came rushing in saying that Vance had just killed Jim. "Now will you do something?" Yelled Miles.

Everybody rushed over to the saloon. Harkness was dead, Vance had killed him, then ran out the back. The sheriff felt bad, if he had only done something before, he thought. The sheriff and Jas teamed up to try and find Vance. The sheriff went out the front way, Jas went out the back way. Jas called to Vance and shot a warning shot into the air. Vance new he was a hunted man. He ran and hid behind some stairs. Vance thought he heard someone coming. He went into the street with his gun drawn. Just then a shot rang out! Vance was shot in the back. Jas was the first one to get to him. The sheriff congratulated Jas for getting Vance. Jas insisted he didn't shoot Vance. Mrs. Wilcox noticed that Vance had been shot in the back. Jas told them he had fired a warning shot, but that was all and when he got to Vance he had already been shot. Nobody, except the sheriff believed Jas. The sheriff defended Jas and said it made no difference how he was brought down; he was a murderer and fleeing from the law. Miles reminded everybody that Vance never gave Harkness a chance to draw. "Did that make it any less of a murder?" Asked Jas. Jas reminded them that Vance was a gunfighter and Harkness was a shop keeper. He asked them....."Is that what they called a fair fight?" The mayor told Jas not to try and wriggle out of it, you never even gave this man a warning and that Jas came up behind him and pumped a bullet in his back. "He killed like a coward, because that's what he is!" "Jason McCord.....Captain McCord of Bitter Creek!" 
The crowd was surprised, but didn't have too much time to react when they heard a scream.
"Vance!" It was Elsie. She pushed her way through the crowd, calling Vance's name. She kneeled over the body and Jas helped her up. She asked Jas if he was the one who killed Vance. He told her she knew better then that. Miles told her not to listen to Jas that he gunned Vance down while his back was turned. She turned and slowly walked away. "Good riddance," said Mrs. Wilcox. Elsie heard what she had said and turn and looked at the crowd. She was crying. "This town.....this town." "Do you really think Vance was so bad? Do you think he was so rotten? Do you know what your precious God fearin' little town is in store for now? His brothers.....I assure you they will not forget how he died or where he died. Ben and Cody will be around and then this self righteous town will really have something to be shocked about!" She left crying. The mayor asked to see Jas's gun. He smelled the barrel and told the crowd the gun had been fired. Jas reminded him that he had fired a warning shot in the air. The mayor said a jury would decide that and told the sheriff to lock Jas up. The sheriff resented it and you could tell by looking at him. "That is an order!" Said the mayor. He told him he was to serve McKinley. They weren't all going to pay for what Jas had done. Jas told him the whole town was on the side of the mayor, he better do what he said. The sheriff started to take Jas over to the jail when the mayor yelled....."If anybody comes looking for satisfaction.....we'll turn over the guilty party! That will square all of us." Jas told the sheriff that in jail or not, he keeps protecting their town.

It didn't take long for the news to get to Ben and Cody. They rode into town and was set on revenge. They saw Elsie and rode up to her. Cody told her they told Vance to leave her alone, but he wouldn't, he had to
have her, and nobody else was good enough. She told him no matter what ever happened between them, she never lied to him. Cody said it didn't matter, it was past now.....for his sake they were leaving her alone. They were there to give their brother a big send off. They started shooting up the town. Everyone scattered. The mayor asked them to wait. He told them not to take it out on the town, they didn't kill their brother, but they do have the man who did. He ran into the sheriff's office to get Jas.

The Mayor told the sheriff to unlock the cell. The sheriff refused, he said he couldn't stand by and let them do that. He felt there was a chance that Jas was innocent. The mayor told him they wanted somebody's hide and if it wasn't Jas, it would be all of them. You could still hear the shooting going on outside. The mayor said he would go outside and the sheriff was to bring out McCord.

Jas knew all along that the sheriff was the one who shot Vance. The sheriff said he wasn't sorry for what he did. Vance was a killer and he was the law, so he shot him. He told Jas he was ashamed for letting Jas take the blame. Jas understood, he knew if some of the other people would have backed him up, he would not had been forced to kill Vance. He felt the guilt could be spread pretty thin around McKinley. He left Jas out of the cell and said he was going out to own up to what he had done. He told Jas there was no reason for him to get involved, he had done enough already.

The crowd was all gathered around, arguing. Some of the townfolks didn't want any part of it and then there was the mayor and some others taking the cowards way out. Ben and Cody was going to hang Jas. When the sheriff approached the men, he told them he was the one they wanted. Ginny, his daughter ran over to him crying. Jas walked out of the sheriff's office slamming the door behind him, getting everyone's attention.
"I believe you gentlemen came to see me!" Said Jas as he walked over to his saddlebags and got out his saber.  Ben told him he has lived up to his reputation. "No mister.....your brother lived up to my reputation!" "He lost his nerve.....he wasn't any good!" "Is that a trademark of your family?" Ben yelled to Jas he was a lair. Jas threw his saber at the rope and cut the rope he was to be hung with. The crowd scattered. "He turned and ran!" Cody yelled....."Not Charlie!" As he started for Jas. Jas shot Ben in the shoulder and Cody in the leg. He walked up to the brothers and asked them how fast was their brother. They told him, not as fast as him. "Then I wouldn't have to shoot him or anybody else in the back.....would I?" They both said 'no.' Jas put his gun away and told them to get doctored up and bury their brother the right way. "As for you worthy citizens of McKinley.....you've got a friend to bury.....a friend you all helped to kill by refusing to uphold the law." The crowd hung their heads in shame and slowly went their way. The sheriff wanted to apologize to Jas, but he told him there was no need. The mayor walked up to Jas and said that they all had misjudged him and wanted to know if there was any way to make this up to him. "Some other time.....if I were you I would try and convince Miss Baron to stay on in McKinley, that is if she'll give you another chance," said Jas. Jas then went and got on his horse. The sheriff took off his badge and pinned it on the mayor, without saying a word the mayor knew Pollard no longer wanted to be the sheriff. Miles called to Jas and then threw his saber to him. Jas waved as in a thank you gesture, and then rode off.


 


Rules of the Game ― Cast


Next ― Bounty


Episode Guide 1 & 2


the saddlebag..... 1 & 2


Branded


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*Lawrence Dobkin directed this episode.
Remember him from The Rifleman?

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