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The Golden Fleece - Recap

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McCord rides into the town of Bridger and goes to the saloon. Captain Brooks and his cavalry squad surround him. Brooks informs McCord that his court-martial has been reopened and they have evidence that he actively conspired with the Indians to betray his fellow soldiers. McCord insists that it’s ridiculous but Brooks tells his men to disarm the former officer and take him to the prison wagon. As the townspeople gather to watch, McCord fights back. He is soon subdued as the other prisoner, Randall Kirby, looks on. As Brooks has his men lock up McCord, he informs the new prisoner that he and Kirby have a lot in common and they’re both going to Washington for trial.



As the wagon heads cross-country, Randall says that he’s guilty of what he was accused, but insists that it was patriotism, not treason. McCord says that he admires Randall if he’s been found guilty for the same reason that he was. Randall explains that the Union has been trying to find something against him for years, ever since he and his Raiders won a major battle at Cemetery Ridge.

Brooks pulls over to water the animals and releases McCord and Randall to get a drink, but keeps them shackled together. As soon as they’re free, McCord jumps Brooks and his assistant and shoots down the other two guards. They’re unable to find the keys and ride off together. As soon as they’re gone, Major Meade rides up and Brooks informs him that their plan went exactly as intended. Brooks demands to know what is going on, but Meade says that he can’t answer.



In Washington, Treasury Secretary Richardson reports to President Grant that Meade’s plan is underway and McCord is with Randall. Grant is aware that two speculators, James Fisk and Jay Gould, are trying to corner the gold market and break the U.S. Treasury. Gold prices are soaring as a result, and Grant tells Richardson to inform Meade that time is running out. The Secretary worries that they will be short on funds, but Grant assures him that they will soon have $300,000 in gold to bolster its reserves. It all comes down to McCord, a man branded as a coward.

McCord finally stops riding and informs Randall that he was just saving his neck. Randall says they can head back to Bridger where they’ll be safe, and asks if he’s heard of the Knights of Liberty, a secret society of men dedicated to building a new empire in the Caribbean. When McCord dismisses it as a pipe dream, Randall tells him that he and his Raiders captured a $300,000 gold shipment from California and they plan to use it to fund their empire. He asks McCord to join them and fight the government that called him coward. McCord holds up their shackles and says that they’re joined.



In Bridger, Randall brings McCord to the Knights’ headquarters in a cellar. The robed men have gathered in the next room, and McCord secretly listens through a panel as Sir Falcon and another man discuss how they plan to learn the location of the hidden gold from Randall and then dispose of him. After the Knights swear their oath, Randall enters the chamber with McCord. He proposes McCord for membership, noting that the government framed McCord for cowardice. Most of the men vote in McCord’s favor, but a few disagree, including Sir Falcon. Randall takes the ceremonial mace from Sir Falcon and uses it to crown McCord as Sir Eagle.

McCord informs the group that he has an Army contact who can get them all of the weapons they need. When Sir Falcon demands to know why McCord wants them and accuses him of cowardice, McCord knocks him down with one punch. Sir Falcon warns that he knows about McCord and will keep a careful eye on him.



Richardson informs Grant that Meade has received no word from McCord. Grant tells Richardson to siphon gold into the open market to choke off Gould and Fisk. When Richardson warns it won’t work, Grant tells the Secretary to have Meade find McCord and warn him that they have until the next day to acquire the gold.

That night, McCord goes to the stable and Sheriff Gorman captures him. McCord explains that his arrest was part of a plan and invites Gorman to take him to Meade’s camp. Gorman reveals that he is Sir Falcon and summons Randall. McCord tries to warn Randall of what he overheard at the meeting and Gorman insists that they have to move the gold right now. Randall considers both men and then tells Gorman where the gold is. Gorman shoots Randall and McCord attacks the sheriff. They struggle and the dying Randall manages to grab a gun and kills Gorman. McCord discovers that there’s no gold in the barrel. He goes to Randall, who explains that the gold was never there. McCord tries to get him to turn over the gold and save the North, and reminds him that Lee orders his men to help reunify the country. Randall mutters that everything he fought for is on Cemetery Ridge where his son died and then passes away.



Later, Meade and his men collect the gold from where it was buried at Cemetery Ridge. Meade rides off and meets privately with McCord, and assures him that they’ll bury Randall next to his son. The major assures him that he’ll be reporting to the President, and McCord tells him to inform Grant that they finally won the battle of Cemetery Ridge.

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Warning: Branded season 2 episode 16 guide may contain spoilers
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