It is nighttime and a storm lashes the river and its banks with wind, water and lightning. The riverboat Delta Belle
moves slowly upriver through the weather. A passenger confronts the captain; she is unsure the boat will make a safe landfall. The captain reassures her and then enters the pilot house...Read the full recap
Lower Left: Captain Coffin orders Oriana to dispatch the killer Jennifer Wingate. “She has never failed… to kill!”
Upper Right: West surrounded by Coffin’s goons in the graveyard.
Lower Right: Lighting strikes as Artie questions a cutthroat. “By now he’s in the river, dead.”
Upper Left: Jim and Artie’s train departs with them and the lovely Jennifer Wingate.
The file Captain Coffin examines is printed in Braille. In 1921 a Frenchman named Louis Braille devised a translation from letters and numbers to raised dots arranged in cells. Each cell has six dot positions and the pattern of raised and missing dots corresponds uniquely to a letter. Individuals with adequate finger sensitivity and training can read such documents with their fingertips.
James: This chip come from your casino?
The Proprietor: My hobby is remembering faces and I, uh, I’ve never seen you in action around here before.
James: A friend of mine couldn’t come tonight. He gave me this chip to play for him. His name’s Hackett.
The Proprietor: Hackett… Hackett… Oh, yes, Hackett – real unlucky fellow.
Captain Ansel Coffin: I can forgive a mistake man by a man. None of us are all that perfect. I can excuse a misjudgment, underestimation, even a failure. Mr. West is not an ordinary man. But cowardice! That is unforgivable – wouldn’t you say so, Poavey? WOULDN’T YOU SAY, POAVEY?!?
Poavey: I wouldn’t do nothing like that, Cap’n!
Captain Ansel Coffin: LIAR! Poavey... it’s written in your eyes...
Poavey: YOU’RE the liar, Cap’n. You can’t see anything with them eyes.
Captain Ansel Coffin: I can see right through them to your rotten soul! Your heart bleeds YELLOW!!
(Jim and Artie have discovered a woman bathing in the Men’s Bath)
Artemus: Jim, don’t be so old fashioned! In Japan everybody bathes together.
Jennifer Wingate: (archly) This is not Japan!
Artemus: Thank you, Miss Poavey. I’ll talk with you again sometime.
Glory: Next time you talk to me… tell me about Coffin’s funeral.
Artemus: Miss Poavey, it’ll be a pleasure.
Jennifer Wingate: I would never use poison
James: What would you use?
Jennifer Wingate: Let us have some secrets from each other, shall we?
Jennifer Wingate: You’re afraid of me, Mr. West?
James: You’re a woman. If I weren’t afraid of you, I’d be a reckless fool!
Artemus: You. One hundred dollars if you can tell me where to find my friend.
Cutthroat: Sure. He’s where no one can do him any good. By now he’s in the river. Dead.
Jennifer Wingate: I’ve turned over a new leaf. That must count for something.
Artemus: Besides, do we know how many other monstrous crimes she may have committed?
(Jennifer Wingate kisses Artie passionately.)
Artemus: Well, on the other hand, there’s no need to be vindictive either, you know… poor little thing…
The photograph attached to Jennifer Wingate’s file is too modern for the era in which the show is set. Most likely a rendering of the woman would have been a daguerreotype or at the best a very crude photograph, and not the sharply bordered snapshot seen.
Delta or Dixie?
The ship destroyed immediately prior to Jim and Artie’s assignment was the Delta Belle. Artie later refers to her as the Dixie Belle.
An enlightening rod
Lightning rods do not draw bolts of electricity to them. The power of a lighting bolt is such that a significant conductor would be required to ground it safely, not the thin wires that connect lightning rods to ground. Instead, lighting rods concentrate a charge opposite that of the ground in their tips (as electrons flee the ground they accumulate, among other places, in the tip of the lightning rod). Such a charge repels the lighting, which grounds elsewhere (in theory). This myth has been used since the very first monster movies.
Prior to the discovery of the electron and with it modern theories of electricity, the phenomenon was thought to be caused by a mysterious fluid. This belief originated prior to Benjamin Franklin’s time and was believed confirmed by his Leyden Jar experiments; the actual mechanism of such jars has nothing to do with fluids. Captain Coffin believes Jim West will meet a quick end in his lightning trap because the ground is "saturated with electrical fluid."
Who are you Kidding?
Artemus compares the riverboat pirates to Captain Kidd. About 1645, William Kidd was born in Scotland. His family’s impoverishment drove him to sea where he spent decades before finally establishing himself as a successful captain in the New York area. He was asked to lead a privateering expedition, and through a combination of ill fortune and desperation eventually ran afoul of the British East India Company. It wasted no time declaring him a pirate and spreading calumnies. Kidd was eventually hanged; evidence later emerged suggesting that he was not the man his detractors claimed.