This week I rewatched two more episodes of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. This time Brisco encounters the Swill brothers again and finds out another of Dixie’s secrets from her past. Saddle up and prepare to ride with the Chin That Won The West.
Mail Order Brides
In Episode 14 “Mail Order Brides” the Swill brothers return for more inbred family hijinx. Here’s Bruce:
Brisco and Bowler are out on the trail after the Swill brothers (Will, Bill and Phil). An out of control wagon rolls past them. They stop the wagon and find three women tied up in back. The women have just been robbed by the Swills...
The ladies are headed to the town of Preachers Head to meet their husbands. Brisco and Bowler escort the wagon to town. The three women are mail order brides (something Amazon hasn’t quite figured out how to do yet) from back East (Denver). But the Swills stole their dowry money so they can’t get married and are stuck on their own in a strange town.
It turns out the Swill brothers are in town too. They have a plan to steal a million dollar bull being given to the California town of Madrid by the King of Spain. Brisco and Bowler run into the Swills at the local saloon. A bar fight erupts (the one mentioned above) and the Swills escape in the confusion.
The fight lands Brisco and Bowler in the local jail until the three brides-to-be offer to bail them out if they’ll let the women accompany them as they chase the Swills.
Socrates is in Madrid (California) as the Governor’s representative for the occasion. The King’s representative is outraged at the proposed accommodations for the bull and Socrates must scramble to prevent an international incident.
The Swill brothers meet up with their mother and some other kin. They show off a “fire shooting gun” (flamethrower) that they took from some soldiers. Ma Swill upgrades their plan by telling them to ransom the bull instead since the Spanish will surely pay to get it back.
After the brother leave Brisco, Bowler and the three amigas ride up, not knowing it’s Ma Swill’s place. Brisco and Bowler spot the Swills’ empty wagon and find a newspaper clipping about the Madrid bull. Then they are captured by Ma Swill, who is still carrying a grudge about her son Gil’s death back in No Man’s Land. They are tied to a tree. Ma Swill and her kin aim their guns at Brisco and Bowler like a makeshift firing squad and are about to fire...
Brisco fast talks Ma Swill into letting him have one last drink. As one of the brides fetches a cup of Ma Swill’s moonshine, Brisco tells Bowler to ask for a smoke. The bride picks up on Brisco’s plan and leaves the spigot on the still open with highly flammable moonshine running out onto the ground. Bowler is able to spit the lit cigar into the moonshine trail. The flame races back to the still, which explodes. Brisco, Bowler and the three amigas escape in the confusion.
In Madrid (California) the Spanish bull, El Magnifico, has arrived and Socrates has had the bull’s enclosure upgraded to a satisfactory condition. International incident averted.
Brisco, Bowler and the three brides arrive in Madrid (California) just after the Swill brothers. They run into Socrates and bring each other up to speed.
The Swills grab one of the brides as hostage and are holed up in the bull’s building. Brisco goes into the building unarmed to negotiate with the Swills. He lets loose El Magnifico who bursts out into the street. The Swills take off in different directions and it’s a chase to round up them and the bull (including the obligatory bull in a china shop gag).
The three women decide not to get married. They are women of the ‘90s and want to explore their options.
- Brisco finds out that his story has become a fictionalized series of bestselling dime novels (though the cover says 5 cents). One of the mail order brides is an avid reader and knows all the details in the book. Many of the details are wrong though. Bowler is not amused to find out he’s written as Brisco’s faithful companion (i.e. sidekick).
- This episode also includes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance by radio DJs Mark and Brian.
Episode 15 is “A.K.A. Kansas.” It peels back another layer of the densely packed onion that is Dixie Cousins. Here’s Bruce:
Brisco is chasing a man in black through the San Francisco night. The fugitive runs into a club where Dixie Cousins is performing. He gets backstage into Dixie’s dressing room. They obviously have some past history as he asks Dixie to run off to South America with him after he pulls a job for John Bly. The man escapes just before Brisco breaks down the door. The man is Doc McCoy, one of the Bly gang who gunned down Brisco’s father. He is also Dixie’s ex-husband...
Brisco arrives at a fancy house complete with an English butler that is the home of Lord Bowler. Business has been good, especially after teaming with Brisco who isn’t interested in the bounty money. Socrates also shows up to tell them that Doc McCoy has broken Rita Avnet (the tycoons’ secretary who was really working for one of Bly’s people). She knows the tycoons’ secrets and just as importantly she’s been writing Socrates from jail that she intends to find him no matter what. Socrates hides out in stately Bowler Manor.
Dixie explains her past with Doc. she was seventeen when she met and fell in love with him. Brisco wants her help to get to Doc. She has Doc’s trust and can get inside whatever he’s about to pull off.
Dixie rides south (with Brisco and Bowler nearby) and meets Doc. He broke Miss Avnet out of jail to find a long range super cannon the tycoons have been developing. The cannon isn’t the final objective: it’s the means to get the final objective.
With Dixie’s help Brisco infiltrates Doc’s outfit as Kansas Wiley Stafford, the alias he used back in the first episode to infiltrate Big Smith’s gang.
Miss Avnet catches up to Socrates while he’s at lunch. She claims to be in love with him and seems a bit obsessive about it. Socrates arranges a dinner date for the next evening to get away from her. He tries to get U.S. Attorney Breakstone to provide protection but Breakstone doesn’t believe him. But Miss Avnet observes the meeting.
Dixie and Doc have a romantic moment. He’s still in love with her and she admits she still has feelings for him.
Doc and his gang steal the super cannon. Brisco and Mongoose (one of Doc’s men) drive a decoy wagon to lead the Army pursuers the wrong way. Mongoose has been suspicious of Kansas and telegraphed to Stockton. He found out that Brisco isn’t Kansas. Mongoose handcuffs Brisco to the wagon, jumps onto one of the horses and disconnects the horses from the wagon. He rides off as the runaway decoy wagon rolls towards a cliff...
Brisco is able to pick the lock of the handcuffs and jumps clear of the wagon before it goes over the cliff. He rides off on one of the soldiers’ horses before they can capture him.
Brisco catches up to Mongoose before he can kill Dixie and sends him off unconscious on the back of the stolen Army horse.
Back in San Francisco Socrates skipped the date with Miss Avnet but she shows up later at Bowler’s mansion. When Socrates rejects her advances she pulls a gun since if she can’t have him, no one will. Socrates manages to knock a cabinet full of crystal glassware on her and capture her.
After spending the night with Doc, Dixie tells Brisco and Bowler that Doc’s plan is to steal the Orb from the secret facility in Nevada. He intends to fire knockout gas into the facility with the super cannon then ride in and grab the Orb. Before Brisco can act, Doc appears and has the rel Kansas Wiley Stafford with him.
Doc locks up Brisco, Bowler and Dixie in the local jail (he apparently controls the town) with the real Kansas watching over them. It doesn’t take long for them to escape.
Doc shells the facility with knockout gas and rides in with his men. Brisco and Bowler get the jump on them. After a scuffle only Brisco and Doc are left standing, pistols pointed at each other. Brisco finally reveals his true identity to Doc. He disarms Doc with a trick pistol shot then knocks him out. Instead of immediately tying Doc up, Brisco goes looking for the Orb.
When he touches it, another Brisco appears. This Brisco explains that it’s Brisco from the future (see Episode Notes). Future Brisco tells Brisco to find the other Orb that Professor Coles has. Future Brisco then picks up the Orb. He and the Orb vanish. Fortunately Bowler has secured Doc in the meantime.
Bowler is mad at Socrates for breaking his crystal and china. Brisco and Dixie talk and both say “I love you.” But due to circumstances their relationship status remains complicated.
- Lord Bowler at home with his housecoat is channeling a bit of a Morris Day look.
- If you haven’t seen the show, the Orb stuff will tie together in a cohesive story and you will see the other side of the two Briscos meeting in a later episode.
All images via screencap