Friday, 17 June 2016

Bonanza 01x07: The Saga of Annie O’Toole

Ugh. Enough with the tragic ladies, am I right? Between Julia Bulette and Emily Pennington, it seems like the only women the Cartwrights associate with are fading blooms destined to tragically cough and then die. Time for something different in the female character department.

The episode begins with Annie O’Toole talking to her father in their San Francisco kitchen. Annie is played by Ida Lupino, who was one of the most awesome women in the history of television and a trailblazing director. If you don’t know a lot about her, you should change that.

Annie’s father is trying to tell her that she could do a lot worse than marrying a fellow called the Swede. Annie is half-listening while she makes a pot of stew. Apparently, the Swede has been out in Nevada for some time, trying to strike it rich. And, wouldn’t you know it? Just when they’re talking about him, he turns up at the door.

And guess what, guess what? He’s the Skipper! The Skipper from Gilligan’s Island!

The Skipper has a bouquet of flowers for Annie and some great news: he’s had luck out by Virginia City. (He’s doing a Hollywood Swedish accent, but it’s actually not too painful.) He steals some of her stew and shows her and her father the two claims he made. Annie’s happy because now all three of them can go and live in Nevada and breathe in the scent of pine for the rest of their lives. Old Man O’Toole thinks that San Francisco air is just fine, with its constant clouds of tobacco smoke and its stink of dead fish.

But there’s no need to argue. The Skipper is planning to sell his claims and stay in town. The food in Nevada sucks so hard, he refuses to go back. Annie thinks that’s the stupidest reason to give up a silver mine she’s ever heard. And, since she helped fund the Skipper’s trip out there, one of the two claims is rightfully hers. She grabs one of the tickets off the table and stuffs it in her bra because your bra is like a portable safe. It really is the best place to keep valuables and vital documents.

Annie announces that all three of them are going to go live in Nevada. End of discussion, pack your bags.

Her father isn’t too keen on the idea.

“Mark my words, Annie O’Toole,” he sternly waggles his finger at her, “one whiff of that heathen air and I’ll die!”

Oh, Old Man O’Toole, you’re so melodramatic!

Over in Washoe Diggings, an enormous fight has broken out. Everybody is hitting each other and grumbling, and some guys even have other guys in headlocks. It’s bedlam. Caught right up in it are Adam and Ben, who are usually the least inclined to be punching their troubles away. Somebody tries to clock Ben in the head, but Ben manages to knock him out first. This appears to be the last straw, because the next thing Ben does is stagger towards the middle of the conflict and loudly shout for everybody to stop clobbering one another and try and solve this reasonably.

Halfway through his next sentence, a random miner headbutts him in the gut.

Turns out Little Joe is in on this fight, too! He’s obviously enjoying himself as “town-sized brawls” are on his resume under Special Skills. He’s bobbing and weaving and punching like a monkey with a mean streak. It’s nice that he’s having fun. He had a really hard time in the last episode.

Meanwhile, Adam has decided to start using his knees because he’s had enough of this nonsense. He manages to dispatch several attackers and make his way to his father, where he suggests going home. These miners obviously don’t care for what it is Ben wants to bring them, and the only person having a good time is Joe.

Ben says what he’s bringing these men is a stabilizing influence. They can’t leave now, that would defeat the purpose of this trip! Another miner tries to pummel him, so he knocks that sucker flat.

“Good job, Pa!” Little Joe calls across the mob, “You stabilized the hell out of that one!”

The Cartwrights at the Washoe Brawl

(It was hard to hear, so it might have been “the life”? By the ‘60s, dramatic shows were allowed “two hells and a damn” after 9:00 pm, I don’t know if season one of Bonanza would’ve gone for the swear.)

The fight slows down as a wagon drives into the heart of town. It’s being driven by Annie, and she’s alone. The Cartwrights go over to see if she’s alright – Hoss was somewhere in that big rumble, too – and Little Joe finds the body of Annie’s father in the back of the wagon, next to an amazingly expensive and well-kept stove.

The miners are uncertain and cautious about how to handle the situation. Single women carrying around dead bodies don’t usually just drive into camp like this.

Adam is unofficially elected the Person Who Will Speak to the Woman.

He asks if she’s comfortable telling them what happened to her father.

Annie says that she made hotcakes for breakfast on her heirloom stove, when her father suddenly “strangled and died.” Hoss takes his hat off out of respect and asks if the old man choked on the hot cakes. Annie’s eyes blaze with rage as she tells him that it was not the hot cakes. It was the pine scented air that killed him. Just as he had warned.

Adam reaches out to comfort her, and Annie says it’s no good grieving. In fact, she’s proud of her father. This is the first time he’s ever done something he said he’d do. Adam nods like that wasn’t an insanely morbid thing to say, and offers the lady the hospitality of the Ponderosa until she can make suitable arrangements for herself to return home.

She likes his refined ways and appreciates the offer, but she’ll be staying in the mining camp. She produces her claim ticket, and Ben takes reads it over and asks if Annie knows Swede Lundberg the Skipper. She’s like: “Know him? Half my life is spent hitting him with a skillet!” Ben says that makes it all legal.

Adam sends Hoss to get Annie settled and protect her if any of the miners decide to try anything unsavoury. It’s really not the safest place for a woman to be alone.

After they go, a couple of guys try to start the fight back up, but Ben won’t let them. 

He says that even though there’s an absence of formal law, there’s still Miner’s Law. If you’re a fan of science, you might be thinking: “That’s right, Ben! But nowadays we call it the Palmgren-Miner Linear Damage Hypothesis! What does this have to do with predicting stress fatigue?” If so, I’m sorry to have to disappoint you.

What Ben’s referring to is a type of civil court that was allowed to elect its own Arbiter or Dispute Referee to ensure that laws pertaining to the business interests of the miners were followed, and to decide action if they weren’t. Many of the mining settlements were in remote areas, and hadn’t been assigned a circuit judge. Even if they were on a circuit, it was often anywhere between six months to a year before cases could be heard. By then, somebody could have done a really tidy of job of stealing all of your silver strike and booking it to Alaska. For major crimes, like murder, a marshal would still be called in.

After he encourages everybody to elect a Dispute Referee, the miners all elect Ben himself. It’s the only sensible thing to do. Ben tries to wriggle out of it, but he can’t say no without looking like a backtracking hypocrite. He’ll take the job temporarily, until they can find somebody to come and do it permanently, preferably someone with some kind of actual legal education.

Little Joe is cheering alongside the miners, since he never gives up an opportunity to make loud noises, when Adam tells him to stop having fun because he has to go home and do ranching. With Ben tied up for the next few weeks, somebody has to go make sure the cattle branding goes right. Adam and Hoss will catch up with Joe as soon as they get Annie safely out of the town full of drunk, horny miners.

Meanwhile, Hoss has buried Old Man O’Toole on a piece of Annie’s new land. Annie asks Hoss if he’s hungry, and Hoss very cautiously replies that he’s always willing to eat food, but she shouldn’t bother herself making anything.

Hoss, it’s okay to tell people that you only like authentic Cantonese food. They might think it’s weird, but you’re so big there’s nothing they can do to make you change your mind.

Adam comes over to ruin things, which is kind of a change of pace for him. He says that there were two claims taken out by the Skipper (where is the Skipper, anyway?), and there’s some confusion over which one Annie is supposed to be on. She really ought to go stay at the Ponderosa until everything is sorted out, but Annie objects to leaving her land.

Adam grits his teeth and calmly tells her that he’s just trying to make sure she’s “safe.” Annie doesn’t get what he’s driving at, so she makes Adam spell it out, but he just can’t.

“You’re the only woman in this camp! These are rough men!”

Being vague doesn’t help, Adam. You need to be upfront, like this: Lady, these miners aren’t polite. If you stay here, there’s a chance that one of them might try… some stuff.

See? It’s easy.

Annie figures it out, and waves it off. “I can cut the whiskers from a cat with a skillet!” Which is the most confusing boast ever, because skillets aren’t sharp and are also generally larger than cats. Also, skillet hitting isn’t a precision move, it’s a heavy blow-based attack.

Anyway, Adam straight up tells her that he wants her to go back to San Francisco and sell her claim. She says that she can’t leave her father in some strange, heathen land with no company. She sits on a rock and refuses to budge.

Hoss wants to help. He’s all: “Ma’am, my brother is probably the smartest man in the territory. If he’s using his brain to do thinking for you, you ought to do what he tells you.” Annie decides to distract everybody with food.

She jumps up onto the back of the wagon and heats up the stove. Adam tries to convince her that he can pay her way back to San Francisco, if money is her concern. She takes offense at being offered cash, and tells him that he could learn a thing or two about manners from Hoss.

Adam’s getting mad. It’s great, because he gets fancy mad and it’s rare fun to see him splutter and try to be gentlemanly but also want to shoot all the things.

Annie announces that she’s going to make Hoss a dish called Mulligan, and Hoss looks excited because he’s never had it before. But he shouldn’t be excited. First of all, it’s anachronistic – the culinary term Mulligan didn’t start to see use until the early 1900’s. Second of all, it refers to a community pot of stew made by hobos using anything that they can find, including weasel meat and cigar butts. Later, by the 1950’s, it had been conflated with other social stews like burgoo or Irish stew, which were both popular in the era Bonanza is taking place, but in different parts of the country.

Adam leaves, defeated. The one thing guaranteed to sway Hoss over to somebody else’s side is food. He strolls back down to the main camp, the scent of gross hobo stew wafting on the air behind him, and notices that the miners are all hanging around. With their noses in the air, sniffing. The best sniffer announces that the aroma is “woman cooking” and they race up the hill to Annie’s land.

I guess when the Skipper said the food in Nevada was terrible, he meant that the food in Washoe Diggings was terrible.

We see that a large group of miners have gathered around Hoss, who is quietly eating his stew, and they’re just watching him life the spoon up and down. The implication is that the food smells and is delicious, so we’ll go along with that. Apparently, Mulligan was Old Man O’Toole’s favourite dish, and it’s Annie’s specialty.

She decides to take pity on the gathered miners, and says that if they get her a great big pot and some potatoes and onions—

“Onions?” One of them balks, “Lady, if there was an onion around here, you could trade it for the richest claim on the Washoe. It’s salt pork or nothing.”

Salt pork is nasty. Hoss should start a beef jerky business. And Hop Sing could introduce Asian-inspired marinades and they could bring fusion cuisine to the West! They could call it Hoss & Hop! Somebody call Whole Foods – we’re starting an artisanal jerky business!

Adam strolls up and has a brilliant idea, but a different one from the one I just had. If Annie won’t accept a loan to return to San Francisco, she might still be willing to earn her trip home. The plan is that Adam will provide her with supplies and ingredients, which she will pay him back for later, and she will open a one-time-only temporary restaurant for the miners.

Annie agrees to the idea on one condition. Adam has to become her business partner. She absolutely refuses to do it otherwise, so he agrees. After all, how wrong could this go?
Remember, Adam is supposed to be the smart one.

By the next day, Adam and Hoss have built a make-shift canteen with a canvas roof and a bunch of tables and a place for Annie’s stove. Adam shows it to her, and she’s thrilled. She apologizes for thinking he was a fancy high-brow chump, just because he uses big words and grammars good.

She tries to kiss him a thank you, but he ducks out of it and says that they need to name the restaurant and come up with a menu.

He hands her a tablet and a piece of chalk. She looks at them nervously, but before she can say anything, Little Joe pulls up with a cartload full of food.

“First you want me to round up the cattle,” Joe gripes. “Then I get word you want me to empty the storehouse and bring it all here. Will you make up your mind?”

Adam’s reply is basically to tell Little Joe to shut his face, unload the food, and then go round up the cows like he was told in the first place. Little Joe sulkily starts unloading barrels full of really, really nice looking produce. We’re talking Hollywood quality greens.

Hoss pulls up with a second, larger wagon full of food. He says that Annie told him that two wagonloads of food are better than one, and that sounded accurate to him. So he went to get more supplies. Adam starts raving about inventory costs and power dynamics, and Hoss just pats him on the head.

Adam argues that this restaurant is a one-time deal, so all this food is unnecessary. Hoss says the miners are pretty excited to have themselves a local bistro, and they won’t take kindly to Adam shutting the place down before it even opens. Adam doesn’t care. He’s not here to make friends or build Olive Gardens.

Little Joe suggests having Adam do all of the cooking himself, and when the miners all die of food poisoning, the Cartwrights can buy up their claims and live as silver kings. And then there’ll be more than enough money to send Miss O’Toole home.

Go home and do your ranching, Joe!

Adam goes to scold Annie, who’s clutching the menu board. He says “thunderation” and demands to know by what right she sent Hoss to get a second load of goods. This is, after all, a temporary restaurant. Annie scolds him right back, and demands to know how come he thinks he’s such an expert on how many supplies it’ll take to feed a hundred men. Adam’s like: “Are the Irish particularly bad at counting? It’s forty guys, tops!”

Forty guys? Ha! There’re dudes pouring out of the hills like ants now that word’s spreading. Adam decides to pick his battles. He takes Annie’s menu board to look it over and sees that it’s blank. He asks why she hasn’t decided what to serve, and it turns out she can’t write.

He’s just about to offer to help when she flips out on him. “There you are! A sniver-blotter! It ain’t like I didn’t want to have learning, so don’t you stand there and look down your nose at me! You with your fine words and your grand airs!”

She looks like she’s about to cry, so Adam says that it’s just luck he knows how to write. Luck and an extensive formal education. He takes the chalk from her. “We’re partners, aren’t we? Now, what’s the name of our establishment?” She tells him she wants it called The Square Meal, since that’s what all the miners have been talking about. So Adam writes out a little sign for her in hilariously beautiful cursive.

Annie says it looks pretty and “scrolly,” which is %100 accurate and probably the best way to describe it. She asks Adam if he could teach her how to write like that, and he’s all: “No sweat.”
He starts to work on the bill of fare with her, and she slyly prices everything well above city rates. Then they start their running gag about grammar, which is very old-fashioned and goes down like this:

“Adam, could you really learn me numbers?”

“Could I teach you.”

“I don’t know, could you?”

It’s cute, but it gets tired fast, so I’ll spare you future examples.

Little Joe and Hoss come over to report that they’ve finished unloading. Annie thanks them and asks Adam to cut her some wood for her stove. Little Joe says she must not know how scarce wood is around there, but luckily he’s brought some over from the Ponderosa. It’s still in log form. Little Joe throws Adam an axe and orders him to start chopping.

LITTLE JOE! We do not throw axes at people!

That is basic safety!

Annie calls Adam over to talk to him about something else, so Adam tosses the axe back to Little Joe. Et tu, Adam?

Annie wants to properly thank Adam for all his help, and promises that they’ll earn a million dollars with their restaurant empire. Adam’s all: “Yes, we’ll earn San Francisco money to send you back to San Francisco with, thanks to our very temporary restaurant.”

I don’t think this is going to go the way he wants it to.

Adam does some narratin’ over scenes of miners getting hot meals from Annie. The Square Meal turned out to be a howling success, and by the end of the first week, Annie had more than enough money to head back to San Francisco in style.

Except, he notes, she didn’t look like she was planning to leave. At all.

Little Joe and Hoss don’t care, since we see them dutifully eating at her restaurant every day. And Annie has a good eye for swindling, since she keeps jacking up the prices of her food.

Annie is also refusing to let Adam out of the partnership. She keeps paying him fifty percent of their earnings, as well as the cost of supplies, and every time he brings up San Francisco she tries to hit him with her frying pan.

In Erudite Cowboy vs Frying Pan Lady, Frying Pan Lady always wins.

Meanwhile, Ben is beset with a million claims to referee, and he’s going a little nuts. Adam makes the executive decision that the Cartwrights should go home for a little while and let Washoe Diggings destroy itself.

Around the table back at the Ponderosa, everybody is poking at their food and looking exhausted. Except for Hoss, who’s eating like he normally does. Hop Sing demands to know if the others have developed a preference for Irish country fare, rips off his apron and threatens to quit.

Before Hoss has to start sweet talking him, Ben explains that everybody is actually sick to death of Annie O’Toole and her hobo food. Little Joe complains that he’s probably going to die of a ham overdose, and that’s what’s affecting his appetite. He tells Adam to marry Annie, take her back to San Francisco, get an annulment, and abandon her there with her share of the money.

Yup. That’s what Adam should do.

Adam tells Joe to mind his business, and Little Joe points out that Adam is making more money by accident right now than most men make on purpose. Nonetheless, Adam doesn’t want to be Annie’s partner anymore.

Hoss says that the trouble is really how well Annie can cook. Hop Sing’s like: “Oh, she’s an awesome cook, is she?!” And Hoss is all: “Uh, that is, um. If you’re a desperate miner who likes cabbage, she’s great. But I’m Hoss and I like five-spice medley. Don’t quit or I’ll die of starvation.”

There’s a knock on the door, and Hop Sing goes to answer it while looking over his shoulder at Hoss skeptically.

It’s the Skipper! The Skipper’s back!

Adam’s like: “It’s a wonderful thing that you and Annie are getting married and leaving forever! I will pay for the wedding! Go do it now.” The Skipper clears his throat, and asks Ben if he’s still acting as Dispute Referee. Ben says he is.

The Skipper sheepishly explains that there’s some confusion about his claims. He sold the second claim in San Francisco, like he said he was doing, only now there’s a problem. Nobody seems certain which claim belongs to Annie, and which one belongs to this Gregory Spain guy. Adam says all the Skipper has to do is look on the paperwork, and the Skipper’s like: “Have you ever tried to get Annie to do something totally reasonable?”

So Ben and Adam head back to the Diggings, where they meet Snidely Whiplash disguised as Gregory Spain. He laughs evilly and rubs his hands together while Ben looks over the legal documents. It’s clear enough that Snidely is the owner of Claim II, which is the land Annie is on. This is technically Hoss’s fault, but he might not have realized that the Skipper had split his land, so we’ll forgive him.

Snidely demands that Ben throw Annie off of his land, and Ben’s like: “We’re not goons, Mr. Whiplash. We don’t just evict people like that.”

Adam, desperate to stop being a wildly successful restaurateur, says that maybe they could be goons just this once. Ben says no, and they all go to see Annie.

Annie right away starts giving everybody a hard time. Like, as soon as they step inside and before they start explaining. She says that Snidely looks pretty fancy, now that he’s Mr. Spain of Nevada. Back in San Francisco, he was Trapdoor Gregory, King of the Shanghai Coast. So, this guy might actually be Snidely Whiplash in disguise. I guess after all of this is over, he moves to the Yukon and starts tying women to railroad tracks. Good for him.

Snidely calls Annie a witch, and the Skipper tries to defend her honour but she doesn’t let him. She tells him he’s a dumbass for trading a claim for a bottle of whiskey. He argues that it wasn’t a bottle, it was a keg, which he had procured specifically for her alcoholic father, because he hadn’t heard about him dying of fresh air.

Snidely is all: “Cartwright, banish these people from my property, tear down this restaurant, and get rid of that shabby grave on the hill. It reminds me of my mortality.”

Annie flips out and chases him around the room with her skillet, screaming about how he used to be a pickpocket and how he’d never had made it as a Shanghai man if her father hadn’t shown him how it was done. That’s… kind of upsetting. She ultimately decides that he’s not worth denting her pan.
Snidely asks the Skipper to confirm that they are, indeed, standing on Claim II.

The Skipper admits that he might not be remembering all of this accurately, since he was drunk when he filled out the forms. It’s pretty obvious that he’s just hemming and hawing because he’s in love with and terrified of Annie.

Adam calmly explains to Annie that if this is Claim II and her ticket is for Claim I, she’ll have to move. She begs him not to let Snidely move her father’s grave, and he says that they’ll have to let him do it if it’s his land. She starts to flip out again, but Adam uses the voice he normally reserves for Little Joe on special occasions, and very sternly tells Annie to go get her claim notice.

She goes to get her paper from the back of her wagon, where nobody can see her, and comes back to hand it over to Adam. She very sweetly reminds everybody that she’s illiterate, so Adam will have to check the number on her behalf. Shockingly, her ticket is also for Claim II, and when Snidely complains that she must’ve altered her paperwork, Annie literally tries to strangle him.

Ben ushers the Skipper and Snidely out of the restaurant, leaving Adam to ask Annie if she’d changed her claim number. Annie tries to play her illiteracy card again, but Adam tells her that he’s not stupid. The claims are written in Roman Numerals, which anybody can figure out until they get to five.

“How would I know about that?” She pleads, “I’ve never met a Roman in me life!”

Ha. Nice try.

Adam doesn’t believe her in the slightest, but he promises to get everything straightened out anyway.

Later, during Round One of Miner’s Court, Ben decrees that the Skipper has to do something to prove which claim is which. Seeing that he can no longer dodge this without legal ramifications, the Skipper remembers that he left his tools on Claim II. A shovel and a pickaxe with his initials burned into the handles. Annie announces that she only wants to do what’s fair, then hurries off with some lame excuse about being needed at her empty restaurant.

Ben decrees that wherever the tools are found will be henceforth identified as Claim II.

All the miners rush off to help search, leaving the boys alone to chat. Little Joe says he doesn’t want Annie in any legal trouble, and Hoss says it’s almost certain that she will be. He dug Old Man O’Toole’s grave with a pickaxe and a shovel that might have belonged to the Skipper. Adam says he was worried that was the case.

They all make their way up to the Square Meal.

When they get there, they find that everybody has decided you can’t look for tools on an empty stomach. Annie lights the stove and puts on the Mulligan pot. Adam goes over to make sure Annie will abide by whatever the court decides. He comes this close to catching Annie burning the wooden handles of the tools in her stove.

Later, after everybody’s given up on the search, he finds the heads of the pick and shovel hidden inside the oven. He confronts Annie, and she pretends to be devastated by his suspicions.

We learn that Annie has had a contentious relationship with Snidely Whiplash ever since he tricked her father out of his kidnapping wages. She will not move. Adam tells her that they can probably make an arrangement to keep the grave where it is, but Annie refuses – once more – to listen to reason.

Later that day, Little Joe reports that Snidely Whiplash has been hiring goons. Adam wonders if it’s so he can work Claim I, but Ben doubts it. “Why don’t they just trade claims?” Adam groans. He’s tired. We’re all tired. Let’s just go back to the ranch and let these morons kill each other. We should have done Little Joe’s plan with the fake wedding.

Ben reminds us silver is the enemy of common sense. It turns out that Kevin O’Toole was buried on top of the richest strike in the mountains. Which means this will now drag on forever.

“Keeping the news of a big strike quiet is about as easy as hiding an elephant under a walnut shell,” Adam narrates over scenes of everybody whooping it up in the Square Meal, while Annie celebrates her new and legally contested wealth.

Snidely Whiplash and his goon squad bust in, brandishing firearms for no discernable reason. They’re only interested in calmly asking the Skipper where, on Claim II, he made his required improvements to cement ownership. I don’t want to bore everybody with more old timey mining laws, so I’ll keep this brief: If you don’t dig some kind of hole to prove your intent to dig further holes, you forfeit your land. Turns out, the Skipper didn’t make any improvements so the claim is legally abandoned.

Oh. Turns out the guns are necessary.

Snidely says he’s making a formal claim, which means he is within his rights to shoot anybody who tries to jump said claim. And, just to be a jerk, he decides to blast an exploratory shaft in the middle of the Square Meal. Little Joe and Hoss calmly eat lunch while they watch all of this, because nobody cares about this anymore.

When the blast goes off, it knocks Hoss’s lunch off the table, so now damns are given. The dude loves food. He starts punching Snidely’s goons, which Little Joe takes as permission to fight all the people, and a brawl starts. Annie breaks plates on a goon’s head, while Hoss disarms Snidely, and all the miners who hate salt pork help to throw the villains from the restaurant.

In Miners Court, Round Two, Ben calls everyone idiots. It was only blind luck that nobody got killed in that fight. Snidely says that everything ought to be settled now, since he has the only legal right to Claim II. Annie starts shouting like a crazy person again, and Ben finally bellows for everybody to shut up and not speak again until he is finished dispensing wisdom.

He declares that an official hearing will take place with a jury of twelve miners to decide the outcome. Actual, official evidence, not shouting or opinions, will be presented, and that is all that will be presented. The ruling will be irreversible.

Annie shouts that she’s got all the evidence she needs, and starts to rant about how awful Snidely whiplash is. Adam quickly interferes.

“I think an official Miner’s Court is just the thing to do,” He nods.

“You have no right to think!” Ben shouts, and everybody looks shocked.

“But, Pa. It’s me. Adam,” he actually says, like he can somehow cash the “most reasonable son” ticket this week, even though it currently belongs to Little Joe because we are in backwards land.

“As far as I’m concerned, you’re the business partner of the defendant. And if you talk to me before the trial, I’ll have you jailed for trying to influence the referee.”

Adam looks mortified. But he does need to be quiet and stop helping now, even if his father could have told him that without publically humiliating him.

Later, Annie tries to tell Adam that she’s not concerned with legal rights, only human rights. She begs him not to walk out on her, because she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to say at her trial and she’s afraid of Ben. He agrees to be her lawyer, and she kisses him her thanks. Right when the Skipper is sticking his head in to talk to her. Uh-oh.

The Skipper gets all jealous and heart-broken (poor, sad Skipper) and storms off. Adam tries to chase him and tell him that it was all a misunderstanding, but he’s hobbled somewhat by Annie loudly shouting about how horrible the Skipper is at everything.

Ah, love.

Miner’s Court, Round Three. Little Joe and Hoss report to Adam that things do not look good for Annie. Snidely Whiplash has been buying everybody’s votes with liquor and promises of even more liquor later, and Hoss is convinced that the entire jury is crooked.

Sindely takes the stand first, and asks only that the law of abandonment be upheld.

Ben calls for Annie to take the stand next, and she looks to Adam for help. But he’s freezing her out because he’s officially done. Nevertheless, she manages to convince him to represent her (I think she’s just worn down the part of him that fights, which is kind of disturbing given his legendary resolve).

He announces that he’ll present the case of Cartwright & O’Toole, and he argues that assessment work was indeed done on the land. He calls Hoss to the stand and asks whether or not it is true that, on behalf of Annie O’Toole, Hoss dug an exploration shaft about six feet deep, six feet long, and three feet wide. Hoss says that he totally did, and it’s not illegal in any way to stick a dead body in an exploration shaft and then fill it back up with dirt. The two brothers nod at each other, and try not to smile.

The jury finds in Annie’s favour, and Snidely Whiplash buys her claim for twenty-five thousand dollars and five percent of the mine’s gross take. Adam insists Annie buy him out of their partnership, only to find that she’s been telling everyone they’re engaged.

The last five minutes are spent patching up Annie and the Skipper’s romance. They get married and buy a house by Reno, and the moral of the story is that you can get rich by being a horrible person and taking advantage of your friends.

High Point: The Skipper is in this episode!

Low Point: Annie’s spitfire temper tantrums are a little too frequent.

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