(This recap is based on a broadcast of "The Deputy" on American Life TV Network March 2006. It should be noted that episodes from the past are often edited today in order to accomodate more and more commercial ads. The broadcast of this episode in March 2006 may not be as complete as its original broadcast on ABC in October 1958.)
A man wrapped in a heavy coat and wearing a western hat rides a lonely, windy trail toward the viewer. The episode title "The Deputy" appears in the center of the screen and then fades. As the man rides closer, the credit "Starring John Russell" appears beneath the man's face then fades. The man looks ahead and sees a well built, handsome young man clad in a heavy coat and battered western hat digging in a cemetery. The young man rises as he sees the rider approach. The credit "and Peter Brown" appears beneath the young man's face then fades. The young man kneels and goes back to his work. The older man rides up to the young man's side. He asks the young man how far to town and is told it's just over the next rise. The older man casts his eyes over the gravestones. He remarks on the stone of Cherokee Sam Blake saying he knew the man "real well." The young man tells the stranger that Blake was hung for horse stealing. The young man picks up a fresh gravestone and begins to place it in the hole he has dug at the head of a grave. It's a stone for David Lemp, the town's recently murdered Marshal. The stone notes that Lemp was killed in the performance of his duties. The young man says Lemp was a "real good friend." The older man says the town is rough on lawmen and the young man curtly tells him the town is equally rough on horse thieves. The older man smiles wryly, nods farewell, and rides slowly away. The young man watches him depart.
(Although this is Dan Troop's and Johnny McKay's first meeting, the viewer doesn't learn their identities in the scene. The viewer understands though that these two men are the stars of the show through the clever use of credit titles. Note that McKay mistakenly believes Troop is a confederate of the dead horse thief Blake. This rude presumption will come back to "haunt" McKay later in the episode.)
Troop enters an unpretentious eatery. He introduces himself to Dru Lemp, the fomer Marshal's widow who manages the eatery. He hands a few of Lemp's possessions found in his office to Dru. She comments sadly on her marriage and puts the items away. Dru is "down" on marshaling; Troop tells her that it's the job he works and someone has to do it.. The young man Troop had seen in the cemetery enters. Dru introduces the Marshal to Johnny McKay and mentions that he helps out in the eatery. Johnny apologizes quickly to Troop for his rudeness in the cemetery. The Marshal tells him to forget it. Troop leaves. Johnny tells Dru he almost called the Marshal a horse thief. They chuckle.
(This scene brings Troop and McKay together formally. One wonders through the scene if Dru Lemp will be the Marshal's romantic interest but she is much too pale and too much against lawman-ing to be an appropriate love interest for the Marshal.)
Troop enters the diner and asks Dru for coffee and sandwiches to go. He steps to the door and watches the street anxiously. Dru wonders aloud why a man would take a job "like this" when he hasn't got a chance. She asks the Marshal and what keeps a man going. Troop says he knew someone once who was killed by a stray bullet in a pointless gunfight. Troop says "she" was special.
(This scene establishes Troop's heterosexuality. It also lets us see Troop in an anxious moment.)
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