This week I rewatched two more episodes of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. This time Brisco encounters a woman bounty hunter and “the coming thing” in transportation. Saddle up and prepare to ride with the Chin That Won The West.
In Episode 12 “Crystal Hawks” Brisco is framed for murder and chased by Sheena Easton as a bounty hunter. A couple of old adversaries also show up. Here’s Bruce:
It’s a dark and stormy night. Brisco rides up to an isolated general store. On the board outside is a flyer announcing Brisco is wanted for murder with a $50,000 bounty dead or alive. Inside is a shady character who Brisco pushes for information. Brisco says he saw Big Smith (presumed dead after that plunge off the train with an Orb in the first episode) commit the murder but Brisco was blamed for it. The shady character tells Brisco that Big Smith passed through headed for Deadwood where he has some business with the bank. Shady also says that Big was acting unusual as in acting like a decent human human being. Just then a lawman bursts into the cabin. Brisco ducks out and hides in the wagon of a woman nearby. The woman turns out to be bounty hunter Crystal Hawks (Sheena Easton)...
Miss Hawks (“Not Crystal, Baby, Darling, Ma’am, Hey there honey.”) is taking Brisco back to San Francisco in her wagon. Brisco promptly escapes with Comet’s help.
Brisco flashes back to the night of the murder. He sees Big Smith meet with the victim, Sherman Paulson, about a payoff. Paulson pulls a pistol but Big is unimpressed. He says he has powers no that make the gun meaningless. Paulson unwillingly turns the pistol around and shoots himself. Big walks away with a case full of cash. Brisco confronts him. Big displays superhuman strength and tosses Brisco near the dead Paulson. A couple rides up in a carriage, sees Brisco with pistol in hand and assume he shot Paulson. Big rides away on his horse unseen.
In San Francisco Socrates convinces Bowler to find Brisco so he can be brought in alive for Socrates to defend in court.
Brisco gets to Deadwood to find the bank has been robbed. A man ripped open the safe with superhuman strength and stole gold which was given to a soup kitchen. John Bly has also shown up curious about the robbery as well. Brisco evades the local law but is recaptured by Crystal Hawks. Socrates and Bowler show up in town right after Brisco and are on his trail along with a few other bounty hunters.
Brisco again manages to get free of Hawks. He finds Bly at the soup kitchen (which is run by Big Smith’s brother). Bly is looking for the Orb last seen in Big’s possession and finds out Big is in Army custody. Brisco chases him but is tackled by Hawks. Brisco points out Bly and they both give chase. Brisco has almost caught up when Bly releases a piano that was being hauled up the side of a building. The piano is in free fall with Brisco and Hawks directly underneath...
Brisco shoots the ratchet mechanism so it catches on the rope holding the piano, which stops in the air just above Brisco and Hawk’s heads.
Brisco convinces Hawks to let him track down Bly so they can capture him instead of Hawks turning Brisco in for the bounty money. Along the way Bowler and Socrates catch up to them.
They find Big Smith in a Sacramento warehouse. Brisco finds Big inside an electrified cell. The government plans to take him to Washington D.C. for study. The Orb not only saved Big’s life and gave him powers, it changed him into someone making amends for his prior evil deeds. Paulson was embezzling funds from clients (including Big’s brother’s soup kitchen) which was why Big had confronted him.
Big also talks of Brisco’s destiny with the Orbs. Big knows there are only two left - one with the mysterious Professor Coles and the other in the warehouse with Big. He also tells Brisco that the Orbs are from the future. In the right hands (which are definitely not Bly’s hands) they can aid humanity.
Bly shows up at the warehouse. He takes out Brisco’s companions. He and Brisco fight. When it looks like Bly is about to kill Brisco, Big Smith breaks out of his cell and Brisco gets a superhuman second wind courtesy of the Orb. He knocks down Bly. When Bly pulls out a hidden derringer Big Smith appears and knocks it out of Bly’s hand. The Orb and the government guards are gone and the government denies that the Orb even exists. Bly is in custody and Big Smith surrenders Brisco’s name is cleared.
The champagne is opened and Brisco gets a kiss from Crystal Hawks before she leaves. But the celebration is premature. The wagon transporting Big Smith and Bly has an accident. During the ensuing confusion Bly shoots Big dead and escapes custody.
- If nothing else, the episode is worth watching for Sheena Easton’s Scottish cowboy accent.
Episode 13 is “Steel Horses.” Yes, that’s a motorcycle reference. As Bruce says:
We start off with Socrates taking Brisco to see “the coming thing” in transportation that his employers have under tight security. But the security isn’t so tight because they walk into the middle of a heist and the thieves ride off on the motorized cycles...
The tycoons want to fire Socrates but Brisco steps in. Bowler notices the guard was tied with a distinctive knot that’s the signature of Juno Dawkins, one of Bly’s gang. Brisco will get the stolen cycles back and in return the tycoons won’t fire Socrates.
Remember that Orb from last episode that disappeared. The government really does still have it (I’m shocked that the U.S. government would lie in the name of national security). The Orb is loaded onto a fast wagon headed east to a secret facility in Nevada.
Brisco and Bowler (now partners) follow Dawkins’ trail and catch up to him and his gang after they rob a bank. They manage to capture one of Dawkins’ gang members (and his steel horse) but the captive only speaks German. Fortunately Brisco knows who can help with the language barrier and the cycle.
The bounty hunters visit Professor Wickwire, who will work on the cycle, and his friends the Schwenke sisters, who speak German. After an unorthodox (and stimulating) interrogation session with the sisters, Hans spills what he knows. Dawkins is after the Orb in the wagon for Bly. They need the cycles to catch the fast transport.
Brisco and Bowler find the Dawkins gang in a cave refining crude oil into fuel for the cycles. They almost capture Dawkins but end up trapped in the cave with the refined fuel on fire...
Finding the exit door locked, Brisco throws a stick of dynamite into the fire chasing them. The explosion blows out the fire, blows open the door and hurls Brisco and Bowler outside.
Back at the Professor’s lab he has fixed and improved upon the cycle. Among the changes is a sidecar so Bowler can ride while Brisco drives (hey, the show isn’t called The Adventures of Lord Bowler so he’s not driving). Comet isn’t thrilled at being replaced by a machine and chases after the cycle-mounted bounty hunters.
Dawkins and his men attack the transport wagon. Brisco and Bowler ride up and foil the robbery but at the cost of their modified cycle. While Bowler rounds up the other gang members, Brisco rides Comet to chase Dawkins. Comet stops short as Dawkins rides over a cliff. Scratch one more motorized cycle.
Wickwire and the Schwenke sisters rebuild the cycles so Socrates gets to keep his job. Dawkins’s gang is in custody. The Orb safely reaches the secret Nevada lab. Comet still isn’t thrilled about the cycles.
- Brisco expounds upon the theme of “the coming thing” that’s often mentioned in the show. At the end of the 19th Century a lot technological advancements were either new or just being developed. While people like Lord Bowler may not realize it Brisco sees the transition as the Old West meets the Industrial Age.
All images via screencap