The soaring crime rate does keep Will and Kate busy at least, and this episode's case was particularly emotive.
It involved the violent death of Red Bird, a Native American, who was found alongside the corpse of a white man. It's the first time the thorny issue of white/Native relations has turned up on the show, and it made for some gripping scenes - including the sight of Fire Maker, a Sioux warrior, singing a mourning song on horseback.
Demonstrating his unfailing knack for nabbing the wrong man, Sheriff Logan swiftly locked Fire Maker up for the killings, even though Kate was convinced the murderer was elsewhere. The key to the crime was a young boy named Rain Sky, who witnessed the whole thing. Trouble was, nobody - not even Fire Maker - could speak his dialect.
It was down to Will Pinkerton to ride out and find a nearby missionary who was versed in the Chippewa language. The bad news was the missionary was busy. The good news - for Will at least - was that the missionary's very attractive daughter Rebecca was happy to help in his place. We were therefore treated to the sight of Will clumsily trying to use his best lines on a devoutly religious lady, and coming across like an awkward schoolboy. Aww.
Meanwhile, Kate was approached by a dapper chap named Jonah, who had been friends with Red Bird and had worked hard to improve relations between Native Americans and white folk. He was cut up about the whole situation, but not half as much as a bunch of rioting racist bushwackers, who formed a lynch mob to murder Fire Maker.
The Pinkertons is a detective drama first and a Wild West saga second, but we had a confrontation straight out of a Clint Eastwood flick when Kate and Will faced off against the bushwhackers. Who'd have thought Sheriff Logan would ride in and save the day? The man's got his uses after all.
Rebecca proved her worth when she got young Rain Sky to tell them who he saw murder Red Bird and the white man. It was a man called To the Sunset, but he was no Native American. The villain was none other than Jonah, who under his gentle liberal façade was a snarling bundle of bigotry who'd been involved in a shady land deal with his two victims. "I should never have trusted an Indian!" were his parting words. Good riddance.
DID YOU SPOT?
- "We outgun you five to one. For those of you without schooling, that means you'll all be dead long before we will." Kate is definitely someone you want on your side in a gunfight.
- Kate also seems to have developed superhuman skills of deduction. Just glancing at the bodies, she was able to tell their killer was left-handed. Sherlock Holmes, eat your heart out.
- Rebecca literally used the phrase "roguish charm" about Will. It's almost as if she was reading a Wikipedia-style character description about the man.
- This was one of the episodes where John Bell had his own sub-plot. It's almost like the show doesn't quite know what to do with him. Or maybe it does, and we haven't seen the bigger picture yet...