Episode Number: 11, according to broadcast order. Airdate: January 8, 1995. Director: Michael Caffey. Writer: Steve Feke and David Levinson.
Guest Stars: Steve Makaj (Surrey) / Robert Lewis (Lt. Montand) / Andrew Johnston (General Montesquieu) / Yves Cameron (French soldier number one) / Chris Martin (Tim Surrey) / Ari Soloman (French soldier number 2) .
Other Titles: In German: "Auf der Flucht" ("Escape").
It is evening at Fort Bennington, and Hawkeye decides to spend the night in Elizabeth’s trading post’s storeroom sleeping quarters with Peevey and McKinney, rather than try to return to the Delaware camp. Outside, two men sneak into the fort, knock out a guard, and break into the trading post supplies. Elizabeth is awakened by the noise, and grabs her musket. Opening the door to her room, which leads into the trading post, she levels the musket at the intruders and cries “get out of here, right now!” One of the men shoots his pistol at her, and she fires back at them. Both shots miss, but the men drop their booty and run out of the door. One of them escapes to the rear postern of the fort, but sees the other man trip, and Hawkeye emerges from the storeroom to delay him long enough for the guards to capture him.
The next day, the soldiers erect a gallows in the fort parade ground, for the captured prisoner of last night. By their wagon, McKinney and Peevey discuss the planned hanging with uncertainty, while they check their supplies. Ever the entrepreneurs, the boys plan on making a “miraculous elixir” in an old kettle outside the fort to cure their money problems. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is sick at heart for what is going to happen. “I’ve never been present at a hanging,” she tells Hawkeye, who agrees that it is an unpleasant thing to watch. “Yet I can’t forget that this man tried to kill me,” she says. “More of a boy than a man” Hawkeye says. “What about this bothers you, Elizabeth?” he asks her. “I’m not sure,” she says, “British law says that stealing is a hanging offense during a war.” “The punishment ought to be closer to the crime,” Hawkeye replies, who clearly does not agree with the sentence. “You would have shot this man on the spot, it is not as though you are a stranger to the taking of a life,” Elizabeth says, trying uncertainly to justify what is going to happen. “No, but it’s one thing to kill in the heat of battle. It is quite another to do so in cold blood,” Hawkeye replies.
Hawkeye takes some food to the prisoner, who is scarcely a grown man, and learns from that he is Tim Surrey, from South Carolina. He and his brother, whom he claims is not at the fort, came north after selling their father’s farm, but their money was stolen in a land scheme, and they separated afterwards, he lies. Surrey gives his knapsack to Hawkeye to give to his brother if he sees him, and Hawkeye, still upset, goes to leave. Tim thanks Hawkeye for his kindness, but doesn’t understand why he did it. “Just figured that a fellow shouldn’t die hungry, and without anybody knowing anything about him,” Hawkeye tells him. But it was his brother who escaped, and unknown to all, he is inside the fort, watching as the gallows is readied for the hanging. The soldiers’ bind the boy and drag him outside. They bring him before Captain Taylor Shields, who reads the finding of the quick trial, and pronounces the sentence of death. When the Surrey tries to protest the unfairness of the sentence, Shields callously slaps him and tells him to take his punishment like a subject of the crown. The boy’s brother watches the treatment of his brother with anguish, knowing it was his fault, and marks Shields for later revenge. As the fort’s inhabitants’ watch, the boy is hung. Elizabeth cannot watch, and Hawkeye leaves with the matter on his conscience. “He tried to kill me,” she says to him in uncertain defense of what just happened, and he comforts her.
Determined to exact revenge on Captain Taylor Shields, Surrey’s brother makes contact with a French patrol in the woods. He offers them the chance of capturing a British officer. The officer in command of the patrol, Lieutenant Montand, tells Surrey that he would be paid much for such a man. Surrey replies that he only wants the chance to torture and kill Shields after the French had extracted all the information he has. Lt. Montand agrees, and Surrey returns to Fort Bennington. At the fort, McKinney and Peevey collect empty crates from Elizabeth for their elixir. Taylor enters the trading post and is amused at the boy’s efforts. He then talks to Elizabeth about a scheme he has in mind. Showing her a map of a waterway of lakes known as the Mohawk Channel, he tells her that once the war is over it would become a much-used thoroughfare of trade between New York and Montreal. One small stretch of land in the channel divides the waterway, and he proposes to build a toll road on it. Elizabeth is intrigued, but knows that British officers are not permitted to own land. Knowing that is true, Taylor says that they could own it together. Thinking of the possibilities, Elizabeth suggests that they make a survey that afternoon, to which Taylor agrees.
Surrey comes to the fort to collect his brother’s body, which he places over a horse to transport for burial. Hawkeye gives him Tim’s knapsack, and questions him about the man Tim Surrey said he was with, and to Surrey’s own whereabouts during the attempted raid on Elizabeth’s trading post. Surrey denies any part in the raid, and he doesn’t know about the other man, but as he leaves the fort, he lets Hawkeye know that revenge is in his mind. Outside the fort McKinney and Peevey are boiling all the unpleasant ingredients for their elixir in an old kettle. Dismayed by the smell, Peevey takes a taste, and promptly throws up in the kettle, to McKinney’s disgust.
Taylor and Elizabeth travel out to the area he has chosen for the toll road, and Taylor tells her of the types of materials needed to build it. “ Still, it would be difficult to build a road in this wilderness,” Elizabeth says. “Yes, but worth it, and think how
William would feel should he return,” he tells her, “to discover that his wife has spun mere pittance into an impressive fortune.” But while they ride, they are being stalked by Surrey and the French patrol. Taylor and Elizabeth dismount to pick some wild huckleberries, which Taylor remembers are her favorite from their days of courting before she married William. Suddenly Taylor is jumped by three French soldiers, as a Huron scout holds Elizabeth captive. Surrey is pleased at the fact that they have captured both, since he holds Elizabeth as responsible for his brother’s death as Taylor.
Hawkeye finds McKinney and Peevey loading crates full of their elixir back at Fort Bennington, and asks if they have seen Elizabeth. When they tell him that she is late in returning, he rides out along their route, and finds signs of a struggle. Tracking the party, he comes upon the French fort. In the fort, Lieutenant Montand is questioning Taylor, while Elizabeth and Surrey watches. Taylor refuses to answer, and Montand tells him it is foolish to remain silent, that another method more unpleasant will be tried. Elizabeth objects to the treatment, saying Taylor, as an officer, should be accorded the right to silence as a prisoner of war. Lt. Montand lets Surrey come forward to try to persuade Taylor to talk. As Elizabeth watches in horror, Surrey takes his knife, and starts to stab between Taylor’s fingers, as his hands are tied to the table. He stabs between them faster and faster as Taylor contemptuously watches, then Surrey stabs Taylor in the hand, and Elizabeth looks away in anguish. Lt. Montand leaves the prisoners in the fort jail, and reports to his General, who suggests that perhaps a threat to Elizabeth would persuade Taylor to talk.
Hawkeye returns to Fort Bennington and enlists the help of McKinney and Peevey. He tells them to place some empty crates in their wagon, and goes to the trading post. He takes two kegs of gunpowder, and they ride to the French fort. There McKinney and Peevey come to the gate, and talk their way inside, claiming to have come to provide the soldiers with something to cure their ills and keep them warm at night. In the meantime, Hawkeye also enters, and starts to walk slowly around the parade ground where the cannon supplies are kept. He keeps patting his left leg, and a trickle of gunpowder starts to leave a train from the powder horn he has concealed inside his leggings. He walks about the area where ammunition is kept, and where he has instructed McKinney and Peevey to unload the boxes when he has finished. When his powder horn is empty, he asks for permission to speak to Lt. Montand about Elizabeth and Taylor. When Hawkeye tries to get them released, Montand tells him he is wasting his time. He orders Hawkeye to leave the fort, and Hawkeye starts to do so, but Surrey, who has been watching Montand speak to Hawkeye, is suspicious, and when Hawkeye does not leave, he knocks Hawkeye out, and the woodsman is thrown into the prison cell with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth greets him with relief. Seeing she is all right, Hawkeye asks about Taylor. She tells him she was taken away for another session of ‘questioning” by the French. Suddenly, they hear McKinney shouting outside on the parade ground as the boys seek to draw a crowd, going along with Hawkeye’s plan. Elizabeth and Hawkeye watch with amusement as Peevey is suddenly cured of a bad leg with a bottle of their miraculous elixir. As the gullible soldiers crowd around, the boys have them offload the boxes, filled with more gunpowder, not elixir, on top of the ground where the gunpowder trail Hawkeye has left. Taylor is brought back to the cell, badly hurt from the questioning, and Elizabeth tells him that Hawkeye has come to rescue them. Hawkeye tells them that when he gives them the signal from the cell window, they will set off the gunpowder in the crates, and they will escape. He tells them he was planning to set off the explosives himself when he met with Surrey, who changed his plans. “Well, you’d better get ready to change plans again,” says Elizabeth, as she sees the French guards suddenly order McKinney and Peevey out of the fort, their unloading unfinished. Protesting, they go, but the boxes remain.
Lt. Montand enters their cell, and callously tells them “you have left us no choice. Your woman will face the firing squad first thing in the morning. Better you should have not been so brave.” Shocked by the news, Elizabeth courageously tells Hawkeye “they will let you be witness to the execution tomorrow. You can set off your gunpowder then.” “I’m afraid we can’t wait that long,” Hawkeye says, as the three hears distant thunder. Knowing that there won’t be any dry powder to set off in the morning, Hawkeye walks back and forth in the cell, as Taylor shivers from his wounds. Elizabeth tries to ease his pain, and Taylor asks fatalistically if divine intervention is their greatest hope. Hawkeye begins to examine the cell with a lit candle, and he notices water dripping from the corner ceiling. Looking closer, he hands the candle to Elizabeth and begins to pull and push at the rotted ceiling. As sawdust and wood pieces fall down on him, he looks up to see the night sky. Telling Elizabeth to make Taylor ready to escape, he climbs up and out onto the roof of the cell, and jumps down onto a guard, taking his musket and bayonet. Another soldiers shoots at Hawkeye, but he fires back, killing him. With a torch from a wall sconce, he sets off the still dry powder, and watches in satisfaction as the burning trail flashes towards the boxes of powder left by McKinney and Peevey, which erupt in thunderous explosions.
Making his way back to the cell, he opens it to let Elizabeth help Taylor escape, and they make their way towards the gate. The fort is rocked by more explosions, but Surrey, determined to stop them, attacks Hawkeye, who kills him with a thrown bayonet. McKinney and Peevey, who have been outside the fort, faithfully awaiting whatever Hawkeye has planned, help Elizabeth and Taylor into the wagon. Hawkeye races from the fort and climbs onto the wagon, lashing the horses as they escape into the night, leaving behind a burning French fort.
Back at Fort Bennington, Elizabeth, still thinking about the recent execution and its resultant events, looks out onto the now empty gallows, as an equally uneasy Hawkeye sits on his horse, eyeing the hanging noose. In her mind, we hear her think “Tim Surrey committed a wrong the night he came into the trading post; he wasn’t innocent, he sought to take things, material goods, not life, but still he was forced to pay for it with his death. I know, and I truly believe that justice is an essential part of civilized life, but surely, justice can never be served if fairness and mercy are ignored.” She watches as her beloved woodsman, her rescuer, rides out of the fort, and finishes her thoughts, to be written down in her diary before she retires that evening. “ That is what the creator intended, that is what his grace is about. Most give up on it, easily, some do not.”
All "Hawkeye" episode synopsis are © 2001 by Mark Meader for Wonderland.
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