Despite the threat of all hands to quit, Redigo (Richard Egan) defends a worker accused of murder.
In the opener. Charles Bronson, one of the hands, is wrongfully accused of murder and Egan goes to bat for him even though it means a strike by Empire's many cowpokes.
Sam Ballard's embezzling killed Redigo's father. Now Sam's back---digging for oil near the Garret ranch. Ballard, an oilman faces opposition when he returns home after serving a 20-year prison term for unsavory business practices.
Redigo becomes dissatisfied with his job as foreman on the Garret Ranch and quits to strike out on his own. Redigo (Richard Egan) returns to the small ranch his father left him and finds that it's being run by a teenager.
Most of the action on EMPIRE takes place off the vast Garret ranch. Jim Redigo, unable to cope with the pressures of hit job, quits to go back to the farm left him by his father. But he finds the place
in the hands of a family which claims ownership. Chris Robinson and Joan Freeman are the son and daughter in the group. So Jim goes to work as a kind of undercover hired hand, to figure out who's lying, and why. It makes a better story than the show has had, obviously benefiting from the change of locale. This was shot on a potato farm in Colorado; the series called for a tomato farm, but this was the best they could do so they changed the script.
Dahlbeck's guest at a ranch party seems to wield an eerie hold over him. Victor Jory and Claude Akins in a drama about an aging meat-packing tycoon who has trouble keeping up with the times.
The emotions get a bit out of hand on EMPIRE this week. The Garret ranch is the site for an annual
"ride," involving millionaires only. Among the guests are Victor Jory as an aging meat packer with both financial and physical problems and Claude Akins as an opportunist who would like to take over Jory's company. For an hour, the two (plus Richard Egan) bicker about old vs. new methods of business, etc.
Wealthy Tom Cole (Tom Tully) visits the spread during a severe drought and his untimely friendliness suggests he wants to buy the ranch. Tom Tully stars as Tom Cole, who uses his friendship with the Garrets to take possession of their holdings during a drought. Cole deceives Lucia Garret into selling out while foreman Jim Redigo and her son Tal are preoccupied with the drought. Connie meanwhile tries to help Indians who are also affected by water shortage.
Ex-employee Barney Swanton (Ralph Meeker) returns to the ranch rich but is still envious of Redigo, whose job he always wanted. Swanton has returned to the ranch to impress everyone with his new wealth.
There's an oil-well fire, blazing out of control. Jim Redigo's problem is to put out the fire before it destroys the ranch's field of oil and gas wells. Only one kind of man, a human extinguisher, can do the job, but those men are scarce.
Confronted with the prospect of a forest blaze during a severe drought, Redigo is looking forward to the assistance of an engineer.
Chuck, a soil engineer (Frank Overton), hired to save the Garret Ranch from drought and subsequent flood conditions, attempts to befriend the young son of the widow he plans to marry.
Glenn Kassin wants to build a model city near Mesa, but the landowner refuses to sell. This series, sustained by the forceful emoting of star Richard Egan, adds a second powerful performer in guest Dan O'Herlihy, making for some good strong drama. O'Herlihy plays an industrialist who plans a gigantic construction project in Mesa. His aggressive ability convinces almost everyone to go along with his plans, except Redigo, who sees potential totalitarian evils in the man.
In the midst of negotiating for oil rights, Redigo (Richard Egan) is called out of town---leaving Tal to handle the bargaining. Tal must deal with Hettie Burton, a troublesome businesswoman, and a hostile crew. Young Tal garret, directing his first drilling operation, faces trouble from a shrewed businesswoman and a hostile crew. Hettie Burton forces Tal to accept a three-week time limit on the well. When Tal asks for a needed extension, Hettie agrees if he will marry her granddaughter, Charlotte.
Ryan O'Neal, who plays Tal Garret on Empire, has his best role in this episode. He talks himself into a job, running a test oil-drilling operation on the property of cantankerous millionairess Hettie Burton (Cathleen Nesbitt). He has a time limit in which to bring in a producing well, which brings out both the best and worst in him. O'Neal also gets his first romance, with Carolyn Kearney as Charlotte, Miss Nesbitt's granddaughter.
Worries over his pretty young ward are causing a drop in efficiency for chief engineer Tabor (John Dehner). The show's dual themes are dusting and lusting. Guests are John Dehner who dusts the Garret crops against locusts and Claire Griswold who lusts after Garret foreman Jim Redigo, there's conflict and disaster but a successful operation at the end straightens everyone out. Dan Tabor, general engineer at The Ranch, has two big problems—the high winds which are playing havoc with his crop-dusting plans, and the arrival of his disturbingly beautiful young ward.
A sharecropper who objects to education uses abusive tactics to keep his son home from school. An embittered sharecropper uses his 19-year-old son as a pawn in bargaining for ownership of the land.
James Gregory plays the tyrannical head of a family of sharecroppers. Suddenly having decided not to allow his son (Roger Mobley) to attend school, his brutality to the boy is witnessed by Connie (Terry Moore) who immediately attempts to put him in his place.
A swindler and his daughter scheme against Garret land holdings.
Con artist Clayton Dodd (Arthur O'Connell), defensive from an earlier deal, makes land buying extra tough for Redigo.
Dodd and his pretty daughter (Joanna Moore), realizing they have been taken in a land purchase, work on Redigo when he offers them an amount for their barren property. As a consequence, they nearly wind up with a total loss.
After taking young Skip Wade (Keir Dullea) to court for vandalism, Redigo determines to make the youth a useful citizen.
A wanderer with a chip on his shoulder is placed in Jim's custody, and the drama centers on the young man. Ironically, he's got what Stoney Burke looks for every Monday — the rodeo championship belt — and that's the root of his troubles. Keir Dullea sustains his character very well, the first half has the action, and the second the romance. Incidentally, they are supposed to be writing the women out but Sharon Farrell could hardly pass for a man.
Four Thumbs (Ray Danton), an Indian ex-GI who served with Redigo in Korea, goes berserk and requires hospital care. Danton plays an heroic Navajo Indian who suffers head injuries during the Korean and is confined to an Army mental hospital. During a moment of lucidity Four Thumbs escapes the hospital and return to join his people on the reservation.
Janet Rainey claims she's just going shopping---but there are those who suspect she's leaving town. Citizens of a decadent small town try to pervert justice to preserve the reputation of the war hero for which the town is named.
EMPIRE modernizes the old Western plot about the town owned by one family, and the problems when an Innocent man gets in trouble with that family. Richard Jordan plays young Jay Bee (his second appearance in this role) who accidentally kills the family hero. All the witnesses clam up or lie. even the hero's unhappy widow (Gail Kobe). But Redigo (Richard Egan) and Tal (Ryan O'Neal) unearth
a few skeletons in the family closet and virtually blackmail the truth.
Mike Novak wants to work on the Garret spread until he's paid for a mare of his choice, but his choice is Tal's favorite.
The story deals with Jeremy Slate, a self-confident Kid from Chicago who wants to start a horse-breeding ranch. He worms his way onto the Garret payroll, but alienates Tal(Ryan O'Neal) at every turn. Eventually, Tal decides to apologize, but it's too late, and nothing will satisfy the two except a genuine fight.
An ambitious ranch-hand (Jeremy Slate) is given a job on the Garret ranch and offers, for wages, to work merely for the use of a mare. Eventually Redigo (Richard Egan)learns that his hired hand is land-hungry and will stop at nothing to get it.
Balking at the ranch's strict dictates earns Tal (Ryan O'Neal) a lesson from Connie (Terry Moore) on why their mother chose Redigo (Richard Egan) as foreman.
Jared Mace is an unscrupulous business manager. He sees Redigo as the only barrier to his taking over command of the ranch after the owner dies. Related in flashback, Mace does everything to discredit Redigo. Climax comes when Redigo is himself mired in the quicksand, which has trapped Connie (Terry Moore.) Only one man can save them. Guess who?
Adding urgency to his surgery-or-death status, Redigo's sick friend is a very uncooperative patient.
Guest star Robert Vaughn does a superb job as a hostile paraplegic who's lost his will to live. How his rehabilitation is accomplished through the ministrations of lovely Connie Garret will keep you troubled and fascinated throughout. However, the only fault with the drama is the unlikely premise that Jim
Redigo would have urged Connie to get involved, without thinking the problem through in the first place.
Afraid that a volunteer posse may take the law into its own hands, Redigo joins the hunt for a man accused of robbery.
A lynch-minded posse joins a manhunt for a young man who has injured his employer and eloped with his girl friend.
A desperate young man (Richard Evans) attacks and robs his employer so he can run away with his girl (Joyce Bulifant)." Unaware of the rancher's serious condition, the pair are quite happy in flight until they learn a posse is after them.
Connie's former beau is back at the ranch---expressing a new interest in working and a renewed interest in her. Connie garret finds real romance. Terry Moore who portraits Connie, make a final appearance as a co-star of the series with this episode.
Dan Bishop (Pat Conway) arrives to pursue his romance with Connie Garret, but clashes with Jim Redigo over a business deal.
After claiming he doesn't need the security of the Garret ranch, Tal leaves for Delgado---on the bet he can't stay a week. Tal bets Paul Moreno that he can hold his own without keep for a week in nearby Delgado, a ruthless honky-tonk town.
This episode brings back Charles Bronson, who was in the first show, and will henceforth be a regular. As Paul Moreno, he makes a bet with Tal (Ryan O'Neal) that he can't stay for a week in a tough town and come out with $50. Tal, to prove himself a man, takes the bet, and finds himself in Delgado, which is kind of a low-level Skid Row. He sinks lower and lower, amid incredible cruelty and viciousness.
News of her fatal illness inspires Lucia (Anne Seymour) to establish a better relationship between son Tal (Ryan O'Neal) and foreman Redigo (Richard Egan).
Lucia Garret, having learned that she will die soon of an incurable disease, tests her son and heir to determine the disposition of her estate.
It's Anne Seymour's turn to leave the cast of EMPIRE, and she is eased off by a fatal illness. But before she goes to that big round-up in the sky, she wants to be sure her son Tal (Ryan O'Neal) has become a man. Fortunately, a big freeze is on the way, so she convinces Redigo (Richard Egan) to let Tal handle the cattle during the freeze so she can see how he acts and reacts. Tal makes some mistakes, and Redigo covers them up, and the boy is also tempted by a Bolivian business deal, but he's a Garret, after all, and the whole thing ends happily-sadly.
The mine shuts down when the heady enchantress running a vital processing plant decides to buy out the Garrets.
Richard Egan gets into a bitter feud with the beautiful owner (Joanna Barnes) of a processing plant, and her mining engineer(John Vivyan from "Mr. Lucky").
Forest Ranger Tom Barton has problems: the Garret logging operation is violating the timber contract with the Forest Service--and logging foreman Chris Norden is a tough guy to deal with.
EMPIRE has a pilot for a possible series about the Forest Service. The regulars would be John Milford, Joseph Gallison (if he looks familiar it's because he has been acting under the name of Evan McCord, but has now reverted to his real name) and Karen Steele.
There's a lot of plot in this show, something to do with Garrett Ranch violations of fire laws and water pollution, plus the villainy of the ranch's logging foreman.
Redigo (Richard Egan) must reckon with opposition to cuts in the payroll before he can apply for a bank loan.
EMPIRE continues to concern itself as much with the day-to-day technical problems of running the Garret Ranch as it does with telling a story. To get a needed loan, Redigo (Richard Egan) must cut down the payroll, which means firing old employees. This doesn't sit too well with either the employees or Redigo, but it must be done. The plan runs into opposition spearheaded by an opportunistic lawyer (William Windom) and some hotheads. Eventually, a bit of a story emerges, especially in a scene when the hotheads try to wreck a dam. This scene took a week to set up, 45 minutes to film and lasts only a few seconds.
Tibor, a former Hungarian revolutionary, crosses the US Mexico border illegally and asks Moreno for work, believing that his wife is staying at the Garrett ranch.
Tibor enters this country illegally to seek his young son.
Prison escapee Quinn Serrato (Don Gordon) is out to find his old boss---Redigo (Richard Egan), the man who turned him in. A prison escapes but is more interested in getting revenge on Redigo than in his successful dash for freedom. His two accomplices don't know this, thinking they have captured Redigo merely as a hostage. Complicating matters, the henchmen capture Moreno, who has them convinced that he is Redigo.
A woman stands in the way of Redigo\'s cattle drive by asking too much to cross her property. Flamboyant promoter Joe Horvath decides to join Jim Redigo in a cattle drive, scheming to take advantage of him in the process.
Paralysis overcomes Redigo (Richard Egan) after he is trampled by a wild stallion. He falls in love with a paraplegic with a case history similar to his.
Inger Stevens plays a pretty paraplegic who tries to help Richard Egan when he's paralyzed by a fall and faces the rest of his life in a wheel chair.
Moreno (Charles Bronson) attempts to offset the fears of a young girl in a town full of hot-blooded cowboys.
Regular Charles Bronson shows up in town for a week end spree and becomes interested in Dolores, a girl (Joan Hackett) who is on her way to become a nun.
Jim Redigo, Paul Moreno, and Tal Garret attend a stockmen's conference and each encounters a romance.
Rudy Bond plays Sam Callison, a politician, trying to get Redigo (Richard Egan) to run for office.
Redigo, Moreno and Tal head for a strictly business stockmen's convention on EMPIRE where: Tal(Ryan O'Neal) finds himself protecting the honor of ambitious, innocent Anne Helm; Moreno (Charles Bronson) finds a poker table and his $600 poke were meant for each other; and Redigo (Richard Egan) has to fight to keep from getting roped into politics by an old friend and the old friend's sweet-talking daughter.