Citizens are leaving the town of New Athens in droves due to a group of ex-cons who have set up camp outside the city limits. West and Gordon are sent in to investigate after the Secret Service receives a plea for help. It soon becomes apparent that the trouble centers around a convicted murderer named Mike Trayne (Bradford Dillman) who has recently returned to the town, revenge on his mind.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Badass Mustache: Part of Artie's disguise as Joe the piano player. He doesn't get rid of it until the final two scenes.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Mike Trayne. His first priority is himself, as his accomplices learn the hard way.
- Cool Old Guy: Jeremiah (Shug Fisher), a spry old coot who is one of the few townspeople who chooses to stay and fight Trayne's army.
- Cut Phone Lines: A variation; Trayne's men cut the telegraph lines just as Jim is calling for help.
- Disney Villain Death: Trayne dies by plunging off the saloon's second-floor balcony while fighting Jim.
- Distressed Dude: After the It Works Better with Bullets incident with Sally below, Artie is nonetheless captured (Trayne had been following them all along) and tied up at the villains' camp. This leads to a prolonged Awesome Moment when he cuts through the ropes binding his arms, kicks a guard unconscious, unties his legs, and blows up a wagon full of the gang's munitions with their own gunpowder as he rides away.
- Everybody Smokes: Several characters (including Jim and Artie) are shown puffing away on cigars.
- Faux Affably Evil: Trayne is usually polite and well-spoken, even while his men are terrorizing the citizens.
- The Heavy: Mike Trayne is the catalyst for everything that happens and the face of the gang.
- I Call Her "Vera": Jeremiah's rifle, "Old Lizzie".
- It Works Better with Bullets: Sally pulls a gun on Artie but he quickly states that it's empty. Sure enough, he'd managed - somehow - to secretly unload it beforehand.Artie: Cardinal rule of mine: never travel next to a loaded gun unless you're sure it belongs to a very dear friend.
- The Magnificent Seven Samurai: Jim and Artie are forced to pull this off once the gang finally attacks the town, albeit with considerably fewer than seven defenders.
- Miss Kitty: Sally Yarnell (Beverly Garland) is a villainous example.
- The Mole: Sally Yarnell and Mayor Cassidy (Walter Burke) are portrayed as just two more of Trayne's victims at first. Actually, they're all in cahoots.
- The Piano Player: "Joe," a.k.a. Artie. As far as the bar patrons are concerned, he's a perfectly straight example of the trope: an Easterner in white shirtsleeves and slicked hair who tends to go right on playing no matter what excitement is happening around him. He might as well not even be there - which is, no doubt, precisely why Artie picked the disguise in the first place.
- Revenge: One of Trayne's goals is to not only burn New Athens to the ground, but destroy all its paper records (births and deaths, marriages, etc.) so there will be no trace that the town ever existed.
- The So-Called Coward: Sheriff Koster. In the beginning he's extremely reluctant to help, but when the bullets start flying he finally steps up.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Jim fights Trayne's thugs in the saloon while Artie plays "Beautiful Dreamer" on the piano.