Monday, March 27, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 86: We got a right to start a little fight

Bonanza! The long-running saga of homesteader and patriarch Ben "Adama" Cartwright and his three sons Screwy, Buoy, and Ratatouille, riding the range and setting maps on fire! And I think they have some cows, too. Also: making certain that righteousness and social justice are shotgunned all over the Ollllld West!

Panels from Bonanza (1962 series) #01070-207 (Dell, May-July 1962), script by Gaylord Du Bois, pencils and inks by Tom Gill

A Native American is framed for the attempted murder of a doctor in a hotel room in the Old West, but while everyone from the Sheriff to the Town Drunk™ is eager and ready to hang Charles Red Deer, keen observer of human events and frontier dad Ben Cartwright knows better, and not just about Alpo dog food.

Confronting the rabid lynch mob of the Old West, Ben and sons (Charles Ingalls, Trapper John Sr., and...well, Hoss) immediately spring to the defense of the sixth and fourteenth amendments and especially the very sounds-like-a-case-of-the-Old-West Coffin v. United States, which established the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. In a land of frontier two-gun justice of the Old West, this is as radical a concept as giving a Native American man the same rights as a white man. But Cartwright, as we have seen for fourteen rip-raoring seasons on NBC, is a champion of right and equality. Especially when the Cartwrights get to express those views by pointing their big-ass guns of the Old West.

Cartwright hears the evidence and agrees that Red Deer can be taken into custody as a material witness. he makes the town constable promise to keep Red Deer safe and protected from lynch mobs.

Of course in the very next scene the townspeople form a lynch mob. Geez, the American Constitution just isn't good enough for you people, huh?

YAY DAN BLOCKER personally I would read an entire Silver Age series of Dan Blocker punching a-holes. And then all heck of the Old West breaks out:

The Cartwrights get Red Deer safely away to the Ponderosa (your steak grilled to order and all the baked potatoes you can eat for $7.99) while Ben returns to the scene of the crime of the Old West just in time to catch the true attempted murderer, the son of Dennis Moore (Dennis Moore: galloping through the sward)

So you see, justice on the frontier doesn't always have to end with a rope slung over a tree, thanks to the forward-looking sensibilities and beliefs of the Cartwright family. Ben raised 'em right, to defend the weak, to fight for the people, and to always seek the truth...of the Ollllllllld West.

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