The Hidalgo Thing - Recap

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In the woods outside of Sweetwater, a fortune hunter paces off steps on the Lazy Ace Ranch. He finds an empty hole in the ground and Bret rides up behind him and demands to know why he’s there. The fortune hunter explains that he’s looking for pre-Columbian artifacts and got a map from a man in Denver. Bret explains that he already found the lead mask and auctioned it off to the highest bidder, Senor Gomez for $2,000, but still has it on him. The fortune hunter offers him up to $4,000 and asks to check it. He pays Bret the money and confirms that it’s authentic, and then draws a gun and takes the money. He tells Bret to ride on and leaves.

Back in town, Bret meets with Tom, who reminds him that they were going to talk. Bret tries to duck him again and finally manages to upstairs after giving Tom the money for safekeeping. As he goes, Senor Gomez and his henchman, Burt, observe the situation. Gomez tells Burt to wait until he sees the gun and then break in.

Upstairs, Bret opens the window and puts blank pieces of paper in the saddlebags. Gomez comes in for their appointment and Bret claims that he’s been dodging Pinkertons who know he has the artifact. Gomez tries to pay less than he originally agreed and Bret objects, noting it was stolen from the New York Metropolitan Museum. When he examines the mask, Gomez realizes that it doesn’t have the mark he put on it the previous night during the bidding. Bret draws a gun and demands another $3,000, but Burt comes in and holds up Bret. Gomez searches the room for the real mask without success and ends up giving Bret $3,000 for the mask’s location. Bret puts the money in an envelope in the desk and switches it for the fake money. He then gets the real mask from a hidden panel and gives it to Gomez. Gomez then demands his money and Bret gives him the fake money. Once he has it, Gomez tells Burt to watch Bret for five minutes and then leave.

As they wait, Tom pounds on the door. Bret suggests that Burt leave but he insists on staying. He hides behind the door and grabs Tom when he storms in. Bret grabs his gun and forces Burt to leave. Tom insists that Bret broke his deal to keep his cons out of the Red Ox and admits that something is bothering him. Bret is in a hurry to leave, apologizes, and gets out.

Bret goes to the bank and arranges for Elijah to deliver it to Fingers Wachefsky. Elijah is mildly curious how he obtained it and notes that Bret has been sending money to cities closer and closer over the last few weeks. Tom comes in and Bret offers to talk to him, but Tom says that it’s too late and asks for a sheriff’s re-election form. Bret isn’t thrilled that Tom ignored him, but Tom just laughs and leaves with the form.

That night, Tom admits to Bret that he’s given it a year and learned a lot, and he still wants to be sheriff again. When Bret wonders will happen if he loses, Tom says that he’ll sell his share of the Red Ox. He then asks Bret for his help winning the election. All he wants Bret to do is avoid running any cons for the next three weeks. Bret reluctantly agrees to keep the flame down and they share a toast.

The next day, Bret greets Toothless Tim Teal and learns that one of his people, Hally, is in jail. They have two weeks until Lord Sterling arrives, and Bret sends Toothless Tim to Tucson to set it up. He assures his friend that they have enough money to finance the whole operation. As Toothless Tim leaves on the stage, he warns that they need to look out for Gomez but Bret assures him that he’s halfway to New York.

With Hally in jail, Bret asks Kate to take over the position for the Hidalgo Thing. He needs her to pretend to be a widow, Doña Maria Guadelope Hidalgo, and sucker Lord Sterling into buying the Arizona Territory for $2 million. Kate briefly considers it but then says that she’s had some business reversals and in financial trouble. She asks for an advance and Bret admits he can’t do it, but appeals to her financial sense. Kate still refuses.

Bret goes to see Mary Lou next but she refuses to help him. She goes into her newspaper office where Tom is waiting and tells him everything while printing his election leaflets, and then insists on handing Bret all of the paper he’s had her print for the Hidalgo thing.

At the ranch, Cy refuses to keep posing as a monk and cooking for a house of strangers. Bret asks him for help but Cy says he needs to help Tom, and that Elijah and Dowd are linking Bret’s name to Tom’s to discredit Tom’s run for sheriff. Bret wants to go into town to help but Cy warns him to stay clear of Tom. Much to Cy’s surprise, Bret agrees to do so. As Cy rides off to Sweetwater, Gomez and Burt sneak onto the ranch. Gomez throws pebbles at the window to lure Bret there and Burt punches him unconscious.

When Bret wakes up, he discovers that he’s been tied up and Gomez has wired the mask to his face. Gomez wants the $6,000 and if Bret doesn’t give him the money, Burt will start pounding on the mask. When Bret says he doesn’t have the money or the mask, Gomez starts to go to work and Bret claims that he sent the money to Tucson to make more fake masks. His moldmaker will return to Sweetwater the next day with the real mask and a new batch of the fakes. Bret says that the mask is cursed and he’s glad to be rid of it, and Gomez promises to be at the depot the next day to get his money.

Later, Dowd and Tom hold a debate at the Red Ox. Bret, wearing the mask and a monk’s robe, goes to the Red Ox door and tries to get Mary Lou’s attention. A woman sees him and panics, and Bret quickly runs off. Dowd continues with his speech against Bret and Tom, and Bret sneaks in and tries to get Jack’s attention. Jack draws a shotgun and Dowd uses the opportunity to discredit Tom. Bret and Cy meet with Tom and try to explain, insisting that it’s a situation of life and death. Tom says they’ll talk later and Mary Lou comes in. Bret hastily leaves and Tom throws the mask after him.

Back in his room, Bret packs up and prepares to send telegrams to his partners to stop the Hidalgo thing. Kate comes to the door, dressed for the role. She admits that she needs the money and Bret explains that they have to get Sterling from the depot to the ranch. He sends Kate to Tucson to get onto the same stage as Sterling. Toothless Tim will drop Kate’s location in Sweetwater to Sterling, and then Sterling will be grateful to find himself on the same stage as her. As Kate leaves, Gomez and Burt arrive to remind Bret about his “appointment” tomorrow. Dowd comes by and Bret asks him to arrest the two men, claiming that Gomez is an escaped art thief. Dowd doesn’t believe him and Bret points out to the gathering crowd that he couldn’t get away with one-tenth of the things he does under Dowd. Much to Dowd’s surprise, Bret promises to vote for him. Cy, Tom, Mary Lou, and Rodney watch and realize that the votes are starting to go Tom’s way. All of the ranchers plan to vote for Tom, but it’s the townspeople they’re not sure about.

The next day, Bret watches as Gomez and Burt wait at the depot. He appeals to Burt as he goes to check the election results, but Tom refuses to help him. Bret ends up asking Jack for help, but Jack dares him to handle the situation and bets $10 that he can’t. Offended, Bret goes out and tells Gomez that his moldmaker didn’t make the stage. He agrees to give Gomez $10,000 in return for him riding out of town. Gomez and Burt insist on going with him until Bret points out a suspicious looking character and suggests he might steal the horse. Gomez leaves Burt behind and goes to the Red Ox office. Bret tries to stall but Gomez tells him to open the stage. When Gomez opens it, Bret tosses an exploding cigar inside, blinding Gomez.

Outside, Jack brings Burt what he claims is a message from Gomez. The note claims that Bret double-crossed them and Burt should go to the northern outhouse and lock himeslf in. After checking to make sure which way is north, Burt heads off.

As the polls close, Bret comes out and collects the $10 from Jack. He then takes Gomez’ horse away, gets into character as a drunken accountant, and then goes to greet the stage. However, Kate tells him that Sterling was bit by a rattlesnake and will be hospitalized for a week. Bret reluctantly offers her and her girls shelter at the Lazy Ace and wonders what to do with Gomez and Burt.

While Burt waits in the municipal outhouse, Bret brings Gomez out and claims that Burt rode off with the money and Gomez’s horse. Disgusted, Gomez rides out of town after Burt. Bret then tells Burt that Gomez rode off with the money and Burt’s horse. He even offers Burt $4.00 to rent a horse. Burt refuses, insisting that Gomez would never betray him, and Bret warns that it could be a long time. Undeterred, Burt promises to wait.

As Bret walks away, the fortune hunter punches him unconscious and drags him into an alleyway. He has realized that Bret gave him the fake mask and no money. Tom arrives and arrests the fortune hunter. When Bret thanks him, Tom says that he’s just doing his job... and reveals his sheriff’s badge.

Later, Elijah loans Kate the money to keep her in Sweetwater. She promises to pay him back in ten days but Elijah tells her to take as long as she wants. As she massages his shoulders, Elijah admits that it hasn’t been one of his better days.

Burt waits in the municipal outhouse. And waits. And waits.

As Bret reads about Tom’s landslide win, Tom moves out. Jack asks who he sold his share of the Red Ox to, and Kate and her girls come in. They start taking their new rooms while Tom smirks at Tom. As Kate goes upstairs, she promises to show Bret her list of changes in a few minutes. Tom tells Bret that he figures he needed something to keep the gambler out of his hair. He then admits that he learned a lot from Bret in the last year, and knows everything that Bret has up his sleeve. Bret tries to promise that he won’t be doing anything but Tom isn’t convinced. As they talk, Bret realizes that he forgot to vote.

Later, Kate leaves for Tucson after putting up signs for the new entertainment. As Bret prepares for Sterling to arrive, Dowd rides by and congratulates him. Dowd says that he’s been appointed to a special commission to regulate saloons and gambling and promises to be back. The stagecoach pulls into town as Tom comes up behind Bret to check on him. Bret insists that Lord Sterling is a crooks and he’s been planning the scheme since before Tom ran for sheriff. Tom reluctantly agrees and Bret goes to greet the stage. Kate gets out and Bret begins his scam. Sterling gets out and Bret realizes that it’s his brother, Bart Maverick. They realize that they were both planning to scam each other and burst into laughter, embracing each other.

Burt still waits in the outhouse for Gomez to return.