The Magnificent Seven 05
Witness

Opening Scene:

The episode starts with a group of people on the stagecoach heading for the town. One is an elegant lady, another is a young boy travelling alone. The boy is asleep but is having a nightmare. In his nightmare he is playing with his father when they hear the sound of horses outside. The father makes him go and hide, the men enter and one of them shoots his father dead. Images of a gold pocket/fob watch fill his dream and then he awakens.

He see the elegant woman shuffling a deck of cards with great expertise and his questioning look garners the response, "Just a little exercise for my rheumatism, darling."

They arrive in the town, stopping almost opposite Chris Larabee who is sitting on the edge of the boardwalk. He picks up a piece of discarded wood and begins to whittle. Mary Travis meets the stage and she greets the small boy... who is her son, Billy.

The coach driver is handing down the luggage from the top of the stage and most of it appears to belong to the elegant women.

Maude: Be careful with my luggage; it's genuine French leather.

Josiah is leaning against the upright, with Vin and Ezra seated close by drinking coffee, and he is watching the woman. Vin looks amazed at the amount of luggage being handed down.

Vin: Who the hell needs that much stuff?
Josiah: Now that, my friends, is proof there is a God.
Vin: Amen, brother.

Ezra starts to take notice and stands up in shock, declaring, "Mother?"

Josiah and Vin watch as Ezra crosses the street to the elegant woman.

Josiah: Mother? I always thought Ezra was raised by wolves.


The owner of the hotel, Mr. Wheeler, sees Mary with her son and greets Billy. Billy hides behind his mother as Wheeler offers the services of his cook to make Billy some sandwiches. Mary tells Billy to stay in the Clarion office while she fetches the sandwiches. Billy watches his mother walk off and then spots Chris Larabee.

He is still seated on the edge of the boardwalk wearing dark pants, dark grey shirt and his dark hat, and the wood he is whittling has started to take the form of an animal. He seems intent on the task. Billy wanders up close to him, and Chris turns his head when he senses Billy's approach. Mary turns and smile as she sees the two of them together.

Chris: What do you think? Think that looks like a horse? It's yours.

He hands the roughly carved horse to Billy, who smiles as he accepts it and then walks away, into the Clarion. He is looking around the office when a man wearing black leather gloves grabs him from behind.

Man: Too bad you had to come back to town. You say one word and I'll kill your mother. I'm the devil! She can't hide from the devil.

Billy struggles free, runs out of the Clarion and straight into the street where a coach is thundering towards him. He freezes in terror, the coachman yelling at him to get out of the way. Mary screams out her son's name and Chris leaps up, and sweeps Billy out of the horses' path with a rolling tackle. Mary comes running across the street and grabs her son who is looking dazed. Chris asks him if he is okay, and when he nods, Chris touches the brim of his hat and walks away without another word.


Nathan checks over Billy who seems fine, physically, but still shook up. He tells his mother that he wants to go back to Grandpa's, and when she asks him what is wrong, he tells her that 'HE' is going to get her. When she asks of whom he is talking about, he says 'The Devil'. Mary is concerned and asks him if the nightmares are coming back. Nathan wonders if coming back to the town has started them up again.


Ezra, loaded up with some of his mother's luggage, follows her towards the hotel. He asks her what she is doing here when she is supposed to be in St. Louis. She responds that 'things got complicated' which doesn't seem to surprise Ezra at all.

Maude: I thought it prudent to disappear for a while. Your letters spoke of this town's potential.
Ezra: I knew I should have left off my return address.

When an affluent looking man, Elliot, passes by, Maude drops her handkerchief and accepts it back graciously. Ezra seems appalled by his mother's behaviour, and then one of her heavy cases drops open and a pile of bricks fall to the ground. Ezra looks stunned, his mother whispers ' Appearances are everything, darling', and walks on leaving Ezra to explain the strange contents away as 'Rare masonry from ancient Rome. Very valuable.'


Chris is sitting outside the saloon reading a book when Mary approaches him. She thanks him for saving Billy's life and then asks if he might have a talk with the boy. Chris seems surprised and a little reluctant even after Mary explains that Billy had never talked about the night his father was killed. Chris tells her that perhaps he needed a little more time, not certain that he would be much help. Mary is forced to accept his decision as he turns his attention back to his book. However, he puts the book down in frustration as soon as she leaves, no longer able to get back to his reading as he thinks over her words.



JD is trying to impress Virginia, Elliot's daughter, by twirling his guns and offering to do rope tricks too but she is disinterested, her face lighting up as soon as Buck arrives. She starts chatting animatedly to Buck, much to JD's annoyance. He confronts Buck.

Buck: Hey, can I help it if I've got animal magnetism?
JD: Animal what?
Buck: Animal magnetism. I read about it in a magazine. It's-it's-it's a power I've got no control over. Once women get a whiff of it. What can I do?
JD: Take a bath?


Vin, Josiah and JD are ranged around a poker table being regaled with stories of Ezra's boyhood by Maude Standish. She relates a tale about Ezra dressing up a dog in a skirt and trying to make it dance. She proves she is a card sharp, but then Ezra steps in and insists that his mother needs to rest, he is unsurprised when Vin says his mother has cleaned them out. Josiah offers to carry 'his money' up to her room but she declines his offer.

Ezra berates his mother for making up a story about him, saying he never had a dog called Elsie, and certainly never dressed her up.



Billy is lying on a makeshift bed beside his mother's deb. He has the same terrible nightmare, playing with his father at home then hiding when they hear approaching horses. He sees his father killed again.


Mary comes running out of the Clarion office, hair loose, only a shawl over her nightdress, frantically calling out Billy's name. Vin runs over, still pulling on his own buckskin jacket and asks her what's wrong, learning that Billy has gone missing. Vin tries to reason with her but she is near hysterical and runs off calling Billy's name. He walks off in the other direction to start his own search for the boy.


Mary steps out of the Clarion, dresses and ready to ride in search of her son. Chris and Vin are preparing their horses, but Chris tells her she should stay behind in the town in case Billy comes back. Nathan arrives saying that he has looked all over town and found no trace of the boy. Buck mentions that he was good at hiding as a boy so he and Nathan go off together to make another search close by.

Maude seems put out when Ezra seems intent on joining the search party but he convinces her that Billy's mother is a woman of some influence in the town. She is content when she believes he is working an angle.

When JD asks where they should start looking, Vin tells him to start at Baker's Pass and head south form there. JD, Ezra and Josiah ride off.

Chris makes a promise to Mary that they will find Billy, and then he and Vin ride off in the other direction.

Maude tries to console Mary with some fabrication about Ezra and a tomahawk. They discuss children but then Mr. Wheeler approaches and Maude starts to flirt with him, requesting that he escort her back to the hotel.


Vin checks the trail, touching a broken twig and says they are getting closer, amazed that Billy managed to travel so far, for a little kid. Chris remarks that he had to be pretty scared in that case and Vin wonders what spooked Billy.

Chris: I don't know. He's running from something.
Vin: Ain't we all?


JD makes a remark about Ezra's mother, how she told him his fortune and didn't even charge him. He says the news was not good, that he would meet his first and last bullet within six months. However, Maude performed an ancient ritual to lift the curse so he was going to be fine. Ezra asks how much he paid to have the curse lifted.

JD: Usually it's ten dollars
Josiah: But for you?
JD: Five.

Ezra and Josiah exchange looks that show they both know JD was taken for a ruse, and then shout for Billy.


Chris and Vin are on foot searching through the undergrowth. He spots Billy, and Vin gives chase, catching up with the boy who struggles to get free, begging to be 'Let go'. Chris reaches the struggling pair and calms Billy down, saying that they've come to take him back to his ma.

Billy is frantic, saying that HE is going to kill her. Chris asks who, but just then a bullet kicks up the dirt close to them. Chris grabs Billy and pulls him to cover while Vin draws his mare's leg and fires up at the ridge. They hear the sound of a horse riding off fast, and Vin is certain the shooter has gone but Billy is still frantic. He insists that it is the Devil coming to kill his mother.

Chris tries to calm the boy, looking gravely at Vin.


Mary, while hugging Billy, tells the others what happened that night that her husband, Steven, was killed. She says she saw two men riding away but couldn't identify them in the dark, believing that it was only her arrival that scared them off before they found and killed Billy. Chris asks if she recalls anyone who had a grudge against her husband and she explains that he upset a few people because of the newspaper.

Nathan recalls that there was an investigation following the murder, and Mary adds that they assumed it was a robbery and that the guilty men were long gone. She wonders if they have come back.

Chris: Or never left.

They try to get Billy to talk about that night but he is still too distraught.


Maude and Ezra are in the hotel talking, and she asks about the boy, then remarks -- proudly -- that Ezra has managed to ingratiate himself quite well with the town. Ezra seems a little cagey saying he had made a few acquaintances but nothing more, and then Maude reveals her plan, that she has found a perfect mark in Mr. Wheeler, and wants him to play a part in it. The Cotton Gin Investment they pulled in Chicago.

Ezra says No, which takes Maude aback. He repeats his demand, forcefully, that he wants no part of it. He tries to make it look like he is in the middle of his own scam by making people believe that he is protecting them from people like his mother -- and him. However, she is suspicious about his motives -- and they argue.

Maude: Now, you haven't gone and joined the ranks of the employed, have you? Now, that would be undignified. Ezra... Ezra... What a waste of your god-given gifts. I raised you better than that.
Ezra: R-raised me? Did you say raised me? Come on, now, mother. You didn't raise me as well as, uh... as a stray cat raises a litter. You-you dumped me. Remember? At every aunt and uncle's house you could find. Unless of course you needed me... for a con.
Maude: I taught you a trade. I did the best I could. I'm sorry if it wasn't good enough.


Mary has taken Billy away leaving the others to talk. Josiah is sharpening his hunting knife, and Vin is fingering a bullet casing:

Josiah: Satan's up to his old tricks again, eh?
Vin: Yep. And apparently, he's using a .44 these days.

Vin asked how they are going to flush the shooter out and Josiah jokingly says they could place an advertisement in Mary's paper. Chris looks thoughtful for a moment and then seems to hit on an idea that advertising might not be such a bad idea. Josiah gives Chris a bewildered look.


JD yells across the street at Buck and Josiah, asking if they knew Mary Travis and Billy were leaving on the stage that day. Buck takes up the shout to Nathan. Vin assists Mary and Billy onto the stagecoach, telling him to write once he gets to his Grandpa's.

JD stands in the middle of the street waving and yelling his goodbyes as the stage pulls away, until Buck tells him they're gone.

The stage is ambushed a little way out from the town, but the 'robbers' are surprised when they are ambushed in turn as Buck is inside the wagon, and the old man driving the coach is Ezra in disguise. Billy is not there, and Mary attacks one of the men, hitting him around the face. Buck pulls her away but she gets one final kick out at the man.

Mary: A child! A little boy! What kind of animals are you?


Chris, wearing his poncho, has taken Billy back to the Travis homestead that has been empty since Steven's death. Billy is frightened, seeing images of that terrible night but Chris comforts him.

Chris: Listen, Billy I've met the devil. More than once. And he ain't beat me yet.


Vin, Ezra and Buck hang one man up by his feet after throwing a rope over a sturdy tree branch and attaching the other end to Ezra's horse. In the meantime, Mary marches the second man away at shotgun point. Buck seems concerned at the prospect of leaving her alone with the man and Vin responds that he isn't going to argue with her.

 Vin spins the man around and asks him how many times they will have to drop him on his head before they break his neck. Buck starts to question the man, asking what kind of fool accepts money from a stranger to do a killing.

Vin: Maybe we should ask his friend? (Gunshot sound) Well, too late for that.

Buck: I can't hear a word this boy's saying. Can you?
Vin: No.
JD: Maybe you should try your animal maggotism on him, Buck.
Buck: It's animal magnetism, boy. And you can plainly see it only works on the ladies.

Ezra lets the rope slip so the man starts plummeting head first towards the ground, catching it just in time, but it is enough to convince the man to talk.


Billy is whittling and Chris remarks how good he is, asking if his pa taught him. He tells Billy that none of it was his fault and Billy says he bet Chris had never been scared.

Chris: You'd lose that bet. It was after I lost someone real special. Someone a lot like you. Most scared I've ever been was having to go on without him. Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is to keep on living.

Billy moves over to sit neat to Chris, and Chris strokes the boy's hair. Night falls and Billy falls asleep, leaving Chris to his own memories of his dead wife and son, Sarah and Adam.


Virginia sees her father, Elliot, and asks if he has sold the Travis house. When he says no, she adds that there must be squatters as she saw someone entering it. At that moment, Mary, Vin and Buck arrive back in town with the two men hired to kill Billy on the stagecoach. Elliot tells his daughter to go home, saying that he has business to attend to. He asks one of his men if he saw Billy with Vin and the others, and when the answer is no, he tells the man to fetch two other men, Jack and Willie, and to meet him at the Travis place at 10:00.


Maude is in the saloon by the bar, talking with Wheeler, complaining about children, and Wheeler remarks that he never had any. Ezra arrives and orders a whiskey, remarking that they saved Billy, and that he was safe and sound. Maude makes a snide remark about him returning the boy to a mother who cares, and when Ezra remarks that he is now going, she asks him in contempt if he going off to protect some little lost kitten.

Ezra: As a matter of fact, I'm going back to the jail to find out who hired those men. Then I'm going to hunt the bastard down... and rip his throat out.

Men close by make their support of Ezra's intentions known as Ezra leaves. Maude turns to Wheeler and remarks that she does not fancy watching a man dismembered, then goes into gory details:

Maude: That's what a mob does to people who prey on little children. Oh, I've seen it before. Eyes gouged. Limbs torn clean off. Innards yanked out.

Wheeler looks unwell and excuses himself. He rushes out the back door to the saloon and finds Josiah waiting there, and realises that Maude had been playing him. He says they have got it all wrong and when Vin asks him why he is running, he says that he had no choice but to go along with it as Steven had being digging into the land deeds and would have discovered that they were fakes. He pleads with Mary that he had gone there to talk to Steven, and had tried to protect Billy, and that it had not been his idea to hire those men to kill the boy.

Mary looks at him in contempt and walks away. Vin throws a rope around Wheeler's neck.

Vin: I'm about to land you in a shallow grave. Now, you'd best tell me who your partner is and where we can find him.


The attack comes suddenly, and Chris is shot in the right biceps, just above the elbow. He throws the oil lamp at the door, starting a fire to prevent the men from coming through that way, pulls his gun with his left hand and tells Billy they are going to make a run for the barn.

The back door opens and Chris turns and shoots, hitting the man dead centre in the chest. They run across to the barn and, once inside, Chris throws Billy onto his horse, telling him to ride as fast as he can. He opens the barn door and sends horse and boy out into the darkness of the night. Chris reloads with great difficulty, fires to cover Billy's escape and then takes cover behind the water trough.

He runs out of bullets again but cannot reload fast enough due to his injury. He hears a man's voice drawing closer telling him he should have stayed out of this, knowing that he is in trouble. Billy rides up and knocks the man down. He climbs off the horse and takes cover with Chris.

Just when things look grave, the others show up. Vin rides up and shoots one man in the back before he can reach Chris and Billy. Ezra holds a gun on another man while JD and Buck deal with the third man. Mary rides up calling for Billy, while Nathan goes to check on Chris, wanting to see his arm. Billy points at Elliot.

Billy: He killed my father.
Chris: It's over, Billy. He'll pay for what he did


Epilogue:

Maude is leaving town. Ezra starts to apologise for the things he said the other as they walk to the stage. As she passes by Buck she stops to say goodbye.

Maude: What's that smell?
Buck: Smell?
Maude: Like animal, or something. (she sniffs) P.U.! Well, it was nice meeting you.

Ezra looks confused and continues on, his mother barely breaking step as she breezes passed JD, taking money from him as he says thank you to her. He tries to carry on with his little speech as they reach Josiah.

Josiah: Ma'am. I do believe I'll die if you leave.
Ezra: Penniless.
Maude: So nice to meet you. I'm sorry, darling.
Ezra: Well, I... I just want you to... Take care of yourself.

Maude turns to Ezra with affection and tells him that she always does. He says his goodbye, agreeing with Josiah when he calls Maude an extraordinary woman.


Chris is sitting astride his horse, his right arm in a sling, fishing poles attached to the saddle.

Mary: Just remember, Mr. Larabee has an injured arm.
Billy: Chris don't care. He says it's just a scratch.

Chris helps Billy climb up onto the saddle in front of him, and they set off together to go fishing.



End of Episode 05: Witness