McKenna - Episode 1
McKenna's Wonder

Opening Scene:

A voice-over tells us about two boys and their father. It shows them fishing together and then the older son walking ahead with their father while the younger boy trails behind alone. He stops and looks at the obvious display of affection between his older brother and their father; an affection that he seems to have been excluded from.

I was amazed by my father. He was smart and funny and, for sure, the strongest man in the world. He was the centre of my universe - and then one day I realised I wasn't the centre of his. It was then I decided to start going my own way.

The younger son, Brick, is seen careering down a hill in a box-cart... and the scene changes to a young man behind the wheel of a souped up car.

Writer's info: Registration is 274-EAK

Cass has run away from home to her brother after she has an argument with their father, Jack, concerning a bee tattoo she had placed on her hip as a love token to her boyfriend, Buzz. Brick is bringing her back to the ranch. They see a man walking by the side of the road and Brick pulls over and offers the man a lift. It is Walter Maddock, and we learn straight away that he has an old fashioned view that women should be at home raising children.

We discover that Brick has been away from home for TWO years, having left to find a life for himself as a stock car racing driver.

Brick drops Walter off in the town of Bend, Oregon. He runs a stop sign as they leave the town and a police 4WD gives chase. It is here that we get the first inkling that Brick did not realise his dream.

Brick: Don't worry. I'm a professional driver.
Cass: You change tires in the pit.

The car chase leads through a ranch gate that reads 'McKenna Outfitters'. Brick pulls to a halt in front of the ranch house. The police vehicle pulls up a little way behind and a policeman jumps out, weapon drawn, using the car door as a shield. He orders Brick to get out of the car and raise his hands where he can see them. He tells Brick to turn around - and his expression changes from professional seriousness to exasperation and pleasure when Brick turns around with a grin on his face.

The Policeman is Deputy Dale J. Goodwin - Brick's best friend.

There is a tense meeting between father and son, and we learn that Brick's brother, Guy, is dead. His widow, Lee, is living on the ranch with their two children, Rose and Harry. She is responsible for the day to day administration of the Outfitters. We discover that Brick came home for the funeral but did not stay long - and Lee mentions that she had forgotten how much he looks like his brother.

Dale and Brick go off together. Brick is the adventurous sort who always led Dale into trouble in the past. It is no different today. Brick strips down to his white boxers having decided he is going to 'thread the needle'. This entails jumping through a narrow gap lined with jagged rocks and into the river below. Dale tries to stop Brick and refuses to do the same. Brick jumps and disappears beneath the water. He does not resurface. Dale spends a moment wondering if it's a joke being played on him and then, fearing for Brick, he strips off his outer layers and jumps. We watch him frantically diving below the surface, looking for Brick but when Dale resurfaces he hears Brick's laughter and realises he has been had. Dale swims over and pulls Brick back into the water. They start some water horse-play but a shot is fired. The gunman is Randy Bishop. He tells them they are trespassing on Bishop land and orders them to leave. He rides off - and Dale and Brick ignore him and start fighting again.


Brick puts his nephew and niece to bed. On the way out he sees Dale and Lee together. Dale kisses Lee.

Brick goes upstairs to the office where Jack is working. Jack tells a story about how Brick was always the best fisherman among the three of them; that he had a gift for fishing that both Jack and Guy lacked. It comes across as an admonishment, that Brick has wasted that gift by leaving the ranch. They start to argue and Brick reveals some of the bitterness he holds regarding his relationship with his father. He points to the family pictures lined up over the desk. There are ELEVEN pictures but none of them are of Brick (except for a couple of family poses.) All the rest are of Guy and his achievements: Guy's first tour, Guy's first fishing competition. There are none showing Brick and his achievements. Jack ends the argument.

Jack: Have a nice trip back, son.

Brick shakes his head in sorrow and resignation, and he turns and walks away. He sees Lee and she tells Brick that Jack doesn't know about her feelings for Dale. The scene changes to Jack working beneath a sports car. The jack slips and falls onto Jack's arm, breaking it in three places. They have guests arriving tomorrow - and Brick offers to stay for a while and help out as he knows the business must have suffered even more since Guy's death so they cannot afford to lose any guests.

Jack tells Brick how he should handle the three executives. He tells Brick to take them to the 'Bear Trap' because the city men will think it is quaint. Brick goes out to meet the small plane.. says 'Howdy' and starts introductions. The men are Neil, Richard and Uriah. Uriah is snide and sarcastic - and it is obvious that he has been forced on this 'team-building' exercise and feels he has more important tasks to accomplish than wandering around the wilderness

Brick does as his father suggested and takes them to the 'Bear trap'. They are having a quiet drink when Randy Bishop starts snide remarks about Brick and the McKennas, loud enough for the rest of the bar to hear. Brick tries hard to ignore the man, who is someone he was a rival of even in school. Eventually, Brick has enough and he punches Bishop in stomach then right hook to face. Bishop gets up, his lip bloodied, and tells Brick that he is cancelling the McKenna right of way across Bishop land.


Brick and Dale are talking outside the McKenna ranch in the place where they used to take their girlfriends for some necking. He explains to Dale the real reason why he didn't stick around after the funeral; that he couldn't bear to see the pain in Jack's face.

Next Day:

Lee: Randy Bishop has cancelled our right of way. Said you'd know why.

Jack comes into the stable where Brick is saddling his horse ready for the tour. He tells Brick to take the lower trail and when he gets to the Gondola to take them across one at a time. Brick is a little peeved as he has taken out plenty of tours in the past and does not feel he needs to be lectured as if he is not up to the task. Jack gets angry and tells Brick he is taking the tour out. To Brick it looks as if his father cannot trust him out there. Brick calls to him.

Brick: Why don't you just say what we both know you're thinking? The wrong son died on that mountain, didn't he?
Jack: That's not true, Brick.

Brick goes back to the ranch house and starts packing.

Lee: Did you really think he was going to let you take a tour across the same bridge Guy was killed on?

She tries to persuade Brick to stay. To try and work it out with his father so he would not be left with regrets.

In the meantime, Jack has reached the Gondola that spans a ravine across the river. He takes Uriah across but, partway, he takes the man's phone and throws it over the side. He makes Uriah stop and look around at the wonder of the natural world surrounding him. He then drops Uriah off on the other side and goes back for the next man.

Writer's info: The Gondola is a handbridge. It is a small cradle (boxed shaped) - large enough for three, maybe four men seated at the most. It is operated on a pulley system of ropes. Pulling on the rope, manually, to draw the cradle across the ravine to the other side.

Brick is saying his goodbye to Cass. She is sitting on the porch crying. He gives her a hug and says he understands that she is sad to see him go. She says her crying has nothing to do with him. She tells Brick that she has discovered that Buzz, the boy for whom she got the tattoo, has several other girlfriends sporting similar 'bee' tattoos. When he turns to go, she then admits that she is crying because she doesn't want Brick to leave - and that she no longer cares about Buzz at all.

Partway back, the Gondola comes off the cable and Jack is stuck as, with his broken arm, he cannot lift the cradle back onto the pulley. He calls Lee for help on the radio.

Writer's Info: Jack uses call sign Mobile One to Base

Brick saddles up and goes racing off to help his father. He dismounts at the side of the ravine and tells Jack that they can lift the Gondola back onto the track together. He strips off his coat and grabs the cable, then swings his legs up, going hand over hand to reach the Gondola. When he gets there, they lift together and get the cradle re-seated onto the pulley. Jack starts hauling the Gondola back over to where he dropped off Uriah. Brick follows more slowly, using hand over hand motion.

When they get to the other side, Jack hands the rope to Uriah and asks him to tie it off while Jack rushes to the edge to check on Brick. However, the Gondola starts to move back and Uriah loses his grip on the rope. He cries out but the Gondola is gathering momentum.

Jack: Brick! Look out, Brick.

Brick looks up, sees the Gondola racing towards him. He lets go with his feet, hanging from the cable then jumps into the cradle. It cannot take the sudden weight landing in it and falls from the cable. Brick grabs the rope pulley and swings in an arc towards the side of the ravine as the Gondola plummets into the river far below.

Jack lays down and leans over the edge. He can see Brick hanging from the rope and when Brick looks up we can see the left side of his face is scraped and bloodied from where he slammed into sharp rocks of the ravine wall. He looks dazed. Jack orders Brick to climb, knowing he cannot help him, and knowing there is no chance of anyone else reaching Brick before Brick's strength gives out and he loses his grip on the rope. Brick struggles but he is already exhausted from climbing out to the Gondola in the first place - and from the injuries sustained when slamming into the rock face.

Jack: I need you, son

Brick hears the despair in his father's voice and knows that Jack means it; that he does care and that he does need and love Brick. It gives him the strength he needs to make the final part of the climb. As he hauls himself over the top Jack grabs him into a hug.

The episode ends with another voice over with the image of Brick fishing in the river with his father.

End of Episode 1 - McKenna's Wonder