The Wild Wild West (1965–1969): Season 3, Episode 18 - The Night of the Vipers - full transcript

The Vipers, a band of outlaws, have been pulling off raids across Kansas towns. A clue leads West and Gordon to the quiet village of Freedom, where they meet a straight-shooting sheriff and a mayor who will stop at seemingly nothing to become governor. Gordon goes undercover and finds the plans to the Vipers' get-away wagon, while West discovers the secret entrance to the outlaws meeting place.

Mr. West, Cottonwood's been
a town here for a long time.

It was here before you came,

and it'll be here
after you're gone.

Not that we don't appreciate
your interest, Mr. West.

It's not my interest in
Cottonwood that's important.

It's the Vipers' interest in
Cottonwood that counts.

Well, now, they ain't
bothered us so far, have they?

There have been 11
raids on Kansas towns.

Banks robbed, people
murdered in the streets.

It ain't happened
here in Cottonwood,

and it ain't likely to.

Not with me and my
deputies running things.

What you're asking is

for me to practically
deputize the whole town

for something that
might not never happen.

Sheriff, these 11 towns
are part of a pattern.

And your town
is in that pattern.

You could be knocked off today.

Mr. West, you sure
are a calamity-hollerer.

The next thing you'll tell me

is them Vipers could
even be sneaking up on us

in that bank wagon over there.

Bank wagon?

That's funny.

That armored wagon
wasn't due in here till 4:00.



Hold it!

Now, drop those gun belts.

Driver, get down from there.

Drop that money.


Let's help get these
wounded men to the doctor.

Come on. Hit him.

Come on. Let him have it.

Fight back there. Come on.

Come on. Hit him.

Break. Hey, come on.

Break 'em up, man. Break 'em up.

Come on. Hit him.

I am deeply and
sincerely appreciative

that The St. Louis Journal

thinks enough of
our little community

to send the famous Ned Buntline

to do a story on us.

Well, you're news,
Mayor Beaumont.

Miss Conover and
her three newspapers

throughout the state
have seen to that.

I am so glad to hear
you say that, Mr. Buntline.

But the people need to
know... They should know

that there's at least
one elected official

who stands for clean,
honest government.

Well, I think it's
pretty obvious

to any thinking, honest citizen

why the town of Freedom
is the only one of its size

that has never been
hit by the Viper gang.

Well, look, that's
all very flattering.

But as far as I'm concerned,

I consider myself the
hired hand of the citizens.

And they have
every right to expect

an honest day's
work for an honest...

Let him have it.

Uh... I never forget a face.

I know yours.

I just can't quite
place the name.

Now, don't tell me.
It'll come to me, uh...

West, James West.
Right? Government agent.

What makes the
government so interested

in our little
community, Mr. West?

Oh, Mr. West, this is
our sheriff, Dave Cord.

Uh, Miss Conover.

And Mr. Buntline
you've met already.

Of course.

And I'm Vance Beaumont.

Oh, you're the mayor of Freedom.

I've heard many things
about you, mayor.

All good, I'm happy to say.

And I about you.

A while back, I asked
a simple question.

It appears I missed
your answer, Mr. West.

I didn't give you
an answer, sheriff.

The question was: what's
a government agent doing

out our way?

Well, you might
say I'm viper hunting.

Vipers are pretty
dangerous, they tell me.

Especially them two-legged kind.

Yeah. That's what I heard.

It's been a pleasure.

Let him have it! Come on!

Come on!

Poor devil's no
match for Klaxton.

No one ever is.

Oh, I wish...

Oh, come on, mayor.

You know better than
to hold out on a reporter.

You wish what?

Well, I just wish the
good citizens of Freedom

could find some other
way of amusing themselves

besides watching this
kind of roman spectacle.

Oh, that settles it.

I'm going to tell Moriarity
to stop it. Excuse me.

Of course.

Isn't that ridiculous?


Greatest of all tragedies,

I seem to have come
off without any cigars.

Would you excuse me
while I make a purchase?

Of course. Thank you.

Let me have a beer.

Did a little snooping.

Found out that brass key

belongs to one of
the lockers back there.

Nice going. Well, thanks a lot.

The only problem is there's
so many jokers there...


I couldn't take the time
to find out which one.

Quite a fight, Artie.

He was really overmatched.

Well, ladies and gentlemen,

ladies and gentlemen,

it seems in the midst
of the whole thing

the young lad
decided to take off

to the land of Nod for 40 winks.

All right, now,

the standing offer of the
establishment still holds.

$100 in gilt-edged
coin of the realm

for any bucko who can
go a full three rounds

with Master Klaxton here.

All right, come on. Step up.

Who'll be the first?

Well, now.

Now, please, please,
ladies and gentlemen, please!

If you're going to wrangle
and argue among yourselves

for the honor of squaring
away with Master Klaxton here,

we'll just have to settle the
matter by drawing straws.

All right, now,
let's see here, um...

Well, there's a
big bruiser of a lad.

How about you, tiger?

All right. Now, let's see, uh...

Ah, now there's a
fine broth of a boy.

Two down and one to go.


Oh, how about you?

What do you say, my lad?

You look just right.

He's trying to sucker
you into that ring.

You know that, don't you?

Bless his little heart.

Bless his little heart?

Well, you need some
time to try that key out,

don't you?

I'll empty this hall, Artie.

You're on.

The chief doesn't want
your playmate around

for a return bout.

You understand?

I'll murder him.

That's the ticket.

Just in case you
have any trouble...

Come on, Jack. Get
in there and get him.

Come on, Jack.

Come on.

Come on, let's go!

Come on! Hit him!



Oh, that's as dirty a
stunt as I've ever seen.

Come on. You
gotta get up and fight.

Mayor Beaumont,

I demand you put a stop
to that deplorable fight.

Do you now?

I begged you to stop it before,

but you wouldn't hear of it.

Now it would take
the seventh cavalry

to separate those two.

Come on, West. Get
up and wall him one.

Come on! Hit him!

Let him have it! Come on!

Stand aside, everyone. I'm
calling on you to make way.

Mr. West, you're under arrest.

Is there any particular reason?

How's this for a starter?

Disturbing the peace,

fighting in a municipal area,
endangering citizens' safety,

and inciting a riot.

What happened to littering,
loitering, and singing off-key?


There's no need

for this kind of
rough stuff, sheriff.

Mr. West is no lawbreaker.

Yeah, well, municipal statutes
four, 11, 12, and 18 says he is.

Seems I'm guilty of
all of them, mayor.

Well, I suppose
technically you are.

But sheriff, this whole thing

grew out of a prizefight

between Mr. West and Klaxton.

Now, you just
hold on, Mr. Mayor.

I'm recalling a day a year back

when you came to me and
asked me to pin on this star

and clean up a town that
had done a real outstanding job

of attracting every
high-stepping, fancy-baggage,

greasy card artist

and bushwhacker-for-hire
in the state.

At the time you told me I'd
never have to hold my fire.

You changing the ground
rules at this late date?

Crusading mayor and
fearless straight-shooting sheriff.

Prime ingredients of the recipe

Freedom has served
up to an admiring world.


How's that for a
lead-in to my story?

Uh, you met Mr. Buntline,

famous writer from
The St. Louis Journal.

Here to do a series
of articles on Freedom.


a town that's leaped
into national prominence

because of its honesty
with an absolute bang!

Stacey, get the other deputies!

Hey, which way's the fight?

Fight? That way.

Come on! Hyah!

That... That sheriff of yours

is really something
of a sketch, isn't he?

You think so? Yeah.

Mr. Buntline, you know
the mythological stables

that Hercules cleaned up?

Ah, the, uh, Augean
stables, wasn't it?

Well, that's what Freedom was

before Dave Cord
rolled up his sleeves.

It was a cesspool where
anything could happen.

Anything violent,
illegal, murderous.

And if you're
still taking notes,

you can take this quote from me.

Dave Cord cleaned up the mess

and only Dave Cord
could have done it.

There's no one I'd
rather have at my side

when there's an
important job to be done.

Like, for instance,

when you're running
the entire state of Kansas.


Mr. Buntline, as you know,

I inherited three newspapers.

And I work at the
business of running them.

Oh, we at The Journal know
them well, Miss Conover.

May I say know them and
read them with much pleasure.

That's probably not true,
but thank you just the same.

Anyway, the people in
this state do read them,

and they're influenced by them.

And as of today,

all three papers are coming out,

urging that Vance Beaumont
become our next governor.


Now listen to me.

We don't want to see Mr. West

around here ever again.

You understand?

Now I just got word
from the chief himself.

The gist of the conversation was

that when the civic-minded
posse comes upon Mr. West,

he'll put up a
fierce resistance,

which will result in
the poor lad expiring

in a hail of bullets.

You got it?

Now get going.


Well, it's you, is it?

Jack, the giant killer, himself.

Well, uh, come in, Mr. West.

Come in.

Thank you, Mr. Moriarity.
That's very kind of you.

How'd you know my name was West?

How... How did I know
your name was West?

Well, um...

I must have heard
someone say it.

The chief maybe?


And, uh, who might that be?

I don't know, but
you're gonna tell me.

Ah! Your money.

Of course, you came for
your hard-earned money.


The way you laced into Klaxton

is something I'll be telling
the boys around here

for many a long winter evening.

Allow me.

Uh, look, Mr. West, you
got $100 coming, right?

Now, no one ever said Moriarity
welshed on a business deal.

I'll go get it.

Better save your money.

You're gonna
need it to buy things

when you get to prison.

Prison, you say? Now, wait, I...

I forgot to tell you.

You're under arrest for
being the Viper's bookkeeper.

Now, listen, Mr. West,

I was never mixed
up in that rough stuff.

Honest, I wasn't.
You want a break?

Yeah. I mean, I...

Prison's not for me, you know.

I'm not that young anymore.

Oh, I'll give you a break.

Just tell me who the chief is.

Now, drop that gun and
come down here real slow.

Let's go.

Well, hello, James.
How you been?


There's been a lot of
talk around you in town.

You've become quite a celebrity.

Oh, really? Uh-huh.

Just what have they
been saying about me?

Well, you know,
the usual small talk.

You're a murderer.



They're saying that you did it

because he refused to
give you the prizefight money

and that you've been
on the run ever since.

Well, whoever did do it

did it because he was the
bookkeeper of the Vipers.

Maybe he was a lot more.

Yeah, I get the feeling that
we're getting warmer too.

Although I certainly
didn't find out enough

back there in that dressing
room to pin any hopes on.

I did find out that the
key fit locker number 36.

When I checked
that, it was empty...

except for this.

I started to check this
out when I was interrupted.

Interesting design.

What are you dressed for?

Oh, I'm having dinner with

his nibs the mayor
and the fair Nadine.

I figure on leaving
early, though,

and I'll go back and have
another whack at the gym.

Artie, why don't you cover that?

Let me cover the gym.

Now, look, the woods
are alive out there

with sheriff and deputy-types
all gunning for you.


Lovely dinner, wasn't it?

And I can't understand it.

Why, he seemed like a
thoroughly decent young man.

But then to go
and brutally murder

a harmless character
like Moriarity.

Maybe he wasn't so harmless.


Or maybe this young
man, uh... West?

Didn't murder him.

No. No, I'm afraid there's
no doubt about that.

Sheriff Cord has two witnesses

who heard the two
of them quarreling.

And later saw West
running from the scene.

Now what worries me is that
matters may get out of hand.

There's always someone

who starts agitating
for mob action.

After you're governor,

you'll be able to do
something about it

instead of just worrying.

We're back to that, are we?

No, Nadine, as I will
keep on telling you,

I have a contract

with the people of
Freedom who elected me.

What a delightfully
charming young woman.

Uh, excuse me.

Nadine, please, if
you're determined

that I run for the
office of governor,

let's all discuss it
in the next room.

That's wonderful.

Come along, everybody!


Oh, Mr. Buntline,

well, you may be
the winner at billiards,

but the people of
the state of Kansas

are the real winners.

My friends, I give
you our next governor.

Oh, please, Nadine.

Well, if that's so,
I can assure you

that my column in The Journal

is going to make
much to-do about it.

The indomitable Vance Beaumont,

Freedom's embattled mayor

who has stood unflinching
before battering waves of crime,

corruption, and violence,

today has finally succumbed

to a force far more powerful:

the voice of the people.

I wish I could reprint that.

My dear lady, it's yours.

Oh, Mr. Buntline.

Well, ahem, there's only one
way I can recover from that

and that's with a little bit of
my host's excellent brandy.

Allow me, sir.

No, no, no, please.

That's a chore I would
enjoy thoroughly myself.

Thank you...


Uh, but Mr. Buntline...

Mr. Beaumont, you can't go now.

It's your turn.

All right, all right.

Settle down and listen.

This time we're gonna
add something special

to the operation,

and I don't want any slip-ups.

You get it?

You get it?! Right.

All right.


Kimble. Yes, sir?

What time did I say
we're gonna hit the bank?

11:30 tomorrow.

11:30 tomorrow.

Very good.

Now, just to make sure there's
no interference with our work,

we're gonna create
ourselves a little diversion.

Colter, Lutz, now, you two
are gonna be riding point

with the wagon.

When you pass that
schoolhouse, you drop back,

you wait a minute,
and then you blow it up.

The schoolhouse?!

Yeah, the schoolhouse.

Now, Varney, Yeah.

Slade, Yeah.

When you pass that barbershop,

you start blasting away
at anything that stirs.


Okay. And Kimble,

when that wagon's
opposite the restaurant,

you make sure that
cannon's primed, loaded,

and ready to blast.

Well, well, well.

It's Mr. West himself.

Oh, don't mind me. Go ahead
with your meeting, sheriff.

You're under
arrest all over again.

Now, you know,
the folks around here

thought a heap of
Old Man Moriarity.

I'd hate to be in your boots

when this case
comes up for trial.

You mean there's
going to be a trial?

It is Freedom, Mr. West.

We do things right
and proper here.

All right, get a box.

It's only fitting we give
Mr. West a real send-off.

Artie, what do we know?

We know that the Vipers

are going to blast
a bank tomorrow.

Yeah, location unknown.

And we also know

that Cord has his assault
wagon booby-trapped

to go sky-high
anytime he wants it to.

It has all the
smell of good logic

that Beaumont is the
big chief of the Vipers

because I saw the blueprint
for that booby-trapped wagon

right in his own sideboard.


tell me about that briefing
session again, will you?

Cord said that blasting
the schoolhouse

would be a diversion.


And that they were to
blast the barber shop,

Mm-hm. The restaurant...


Directly across
from the restaurant...

is the Freedom bank.

Now I know why Beaumont
wants to blow up his own wagon.

Because he wants
to be the governor.

Right. He lacks
only one ingredient.

He's got all the money he needs,

built up a big,
political war chest

with all of the banks that
his gang has knocked off.

He's got Miss Conover's
newspapers squarely behind him.

The only problem
is he's still unknown.

So if Beaumont
knocks off the Vipers

when they make the mistake
of attacking Freedom...

He winds up a hero,
gets rid of a gang

that will be embarrassing
to him anyway.

Then he winds up squarely
in the governor's chair for sure.

Thank you very much
for your cooperation.

Just go home and stay there.

The bank will be
open very shortly.

Thank you. Thank you.

Hi, Jim. Hi, Artie.

I don't understand
any of this, Mr. Buntline.

What is this all about?

Miss Conover, I
know I promised you

a story you'd never forget.

I'm sorry I couldn't
give you any details,

but unfortunately,
we had to get here

before the Vipers.

The Vipers? Yes.

You're not Ned
Buntline, are you?

No, I'm not. I'm Artemus Gordon,
United States Secret Service.

Vance Beaumont?

He's the head of the Viper gang.

Don't listen to them,
Nadine. They're insane.

No, we're not.
We're just in a hurry.

Everything set, Jim? Yeah.

See you later.

What's the meaning
of this, Mr. West?

In simple terms, this bank
is going to be blown up.

He's gonna become the governor.

That's about the
size of it, isn't it?

He's mad. Run for help.

I demand that you unlock
this door immediately.

Miss Conover, you should
listen to a few simple facts.

You think you're responsible

for pushing him up
the political ladder?

Unlock this door.

My compliments.

Only I want you to know
he has only been using you.

Using me?

Vance Beaumont never
dreamed of running for governor

until I talked him into it.

Correction. He's been
running for governor for years.

If he hadn't charmed you
into publicizing his campaign,

he would have
found someone else.

That is the truth,
isn't it, Beaumont?

There isn't a word
of truth in that.

Why are you watching
the clock, Beaumont?

Is it because you know
an assault wagon's

driving down this road

and going to blow this
bank sky-high at 11:30?

You're talking in
childish riddles.

Just about 11:30.

That assault wagon

should be on its way
any moment now.

That's outrageous.

Leave him alone, Mr. West.

Can't you see he's
telling the truth?

If he's lying, a lot
of innocent children

are going to die
in a few moments.

That was the schoolhouse.

Here comes the assault wagon.

No, false alarm.
Just a delivery wagon.

Please let me go.

It'll be here in a minute.


But he said it was
just a delivery wagon.

This is it.

This is the assault wagon.

We have to get out now
before they open fire on us!

Get out of here.

West, what about me?

What about you?

What am I gonna do?!


Hold it!

You men are under arrest.

I've been sitting up
here watching it all, West!

You just put my last
two deputies away!

What do you want
to bet I can plug you

before you can do
anything about it?

Mr. West.