Episode Number: 14, according to broadcast order. Airdate: January 29, 1995. Director: Brad Turner. Writer: Steve Feke and David Levinson.
Guest Stars: Edward Arnold (Luc) / Garvin Cross (Leeds) / Nick Harrison (Briggs) / Ken Kirzinger (Sergeant Fallon) / David McKay (Private Holland) / Don Thompson (Soldier No.1) / Dave “Squatch” Ward (Sam Denko).
Other Titles: In German: "Mit harten Bandagen" ("With Hard Bandages").
Hawkeye and two British soldiers are searching for a path along Snake Creek that the English engineers can enlarge to enable the British to route to attack the French Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga). It is a winter’s day, and as they ride their horses over the snowy path, they are stalked by three Huron. When arrows fired at them miss deliberately miss their mark, the Huron flee, and after Hawkeye see two of them run off from the third, he follows, but lets them go. When he returns to the British soldiers, he sees the Huron twirling a long pole, with which he handily beats off the two, but Hawkeye aims his rifle at the Huron, who drops his pole. When they move in close, and wipe warpaint from his face, they see he is no Huron, but a white man. As they question him, he replies only in French, saying he speaks no English .
Captain Taylor Shields sees Hawkeye and the British soldiers enter Fort Bennington with the French prisoner, and learns that he cannot be interrogated unless they find someone who speaks French. Knowing that Elizabeth does, he goes to her trading post, and asks her to come and translate during the interrogation. Elizabeth is annoyed at Taylor’s request, preferring to stay out of the conflict going on around her, and leaving military matters to the army. “This is a war between the English and the French, I have no stake in it. Nobody in the colony sought this war, least of all me,” she says. But Taylor deftly reminds her of the results if the army left the colony, and she sees his point. Reluctantly, she goes with him to the fort prison.
Meanwhile Hawkeye is curious about the stick that the Frenchman carries. He goes to the prison first, and asks the prisoner why he carries it instead of a musket or rifle. The Frenchman, speaking in French, calls it a bowstick, and by sign language and demonstrations, show that is lighter than a musket, and swifter in close combat, by knocking Hawkeye off his feet. When Taylor and Elizabeth enter, Hawkeye leaves, but is still curious. The interrogation begins, but not before the Frenchman pay the embarrassed Elizabeth the compliment in French that “you are too beautiful not to be French.” When Taylor asks what he said, she shyly says “he said that I have a beautiful…accent.” She continues to translate the prisoners’ answers to Taylor’s questions.
Hawkeye pays a visit to the nearby Blackhorse Tavern to find that McKinney and Peevey are trying another one of their money-making schemes. They are promoting a boxing match in the tavern, and the fee is two shillings, with the winner of the bout taking the pot. When they ask Hawkeye if he would be interested in joining, he defers, saying that fighting for money is not to his liking.
The interrogation does not go well, and Taylor is sure that the prisoner is lying. He sends for Sergeant Fallon, who is a brutal, hulking soldier. When he stands by the prisoner, who still refuses to tell Taylor what he wants to know, Elizabeth is horrified to see the sergeant knock the prisoner to the ground with one smashing blow. Indignant at this cruelty, she tells Taylor that she will have nothing to do with it. She stops her from leaving, saying that without her translating the prisoner is of no use to him, and will probably die that afternoon. Reluctantly, she returns to the questioning. But afterwards, when she tries to nurse his wounds, she tells him in French “it is terrible what they did. War or no war, there is no reason to treat another human being this way.” To her shock, he answers in heavily accented English, “would that there more like you, and less like them.”
Hawkeye talks to Denko, the fort blacksmith about the bowstick the Frenchman carried, who tells him that he saw one used once in a fight in Boston, and that it is not made of wood, but from bamboo. Elizabeth comes in to talk to Hawkeye, and Denko leaves, saying his fist has an appointment with a Redcoat’s face at McKinney and Peevey’s boxing matches. Amused by his confidence, Elizabeth tells Hawkeye that after Taylor had left the interrogation, the prisoner spoke to her in perfect English. His reason for speaking only French was that he thought he would not be beaten by them, but Hawkeye observes that war is war, and the man was foolish. Elizabeth asks Hawkeye to speak to Taylor to avoid more cruelty, and Hawkeye agrees, but only after he has first spoken to the Frenchman.
In the prison, he asks the prisoner were he got the bamboo for the stick, and tells him to speak in Hawkeye’s tongue. Trusting him, the Frenchman asks him if he was willing to suffer and die for his country and people. Hawkeye answers that he has no country, but he is willing to die for his people. So do I, the Frenchman answers. Hawkeye then asks why he was dressed as a Huron, using their weapons, and the Frenchman explains his actions, saying it was to adapt to the surrounding conditions. He also says that he came there for adventure, and a thirst for freedom, not unlike Hawkeye, not for gain or victory. “Do not count me with the rabble, woodsman,” he says. “How should I count you?” Hawkeye asks. “As a fellow pilgrim, who if time and circumstance were different, might be considered a friend,” the Frenchman replies.
The boxing match starts at the tavern, and two sets of fighters, Sergeant Fallon and a colonist, and Denko the blacksmith and Lt. Merriwell square off, and beat each other about the body and face, until Denko and Fallon are left standing, bruised but victorious.
Hawkeye goes to headquarters to talk to Taylor, who is planning the attack on the French position at Fort Carillon and Taylor asks him about where he captured the Frenchman, and if there were other French and Indians. None were seen, Hawkeye says, then tells Taylor that his present method of interrogation of the prisoner is going to work, because of his strong will. Taylor says that the Frenchman is his prisoner, and he will treat him as he sees fit, and will suffer if he continues to be uncooperative. He dismissed a disgusted Hawkeye.
Back from the boxing match, Sergeant Fallon is taking the Frenchman to see Taylor, but on the way he brutally pushes the man to the ground, degrading him, but the prisoner suddenly turns on him and deftly beats Fallon back with quick blows. Fallon pulls a pistol to shoot him, but is stopped by Hawkeye, who tells him that Captain Shields wants the man alive. Peevey sees the fight, and runs to tell McKinney of the fighting qualities of the prisoner, who can beat the huge Sergeant Fallon.
McKinney and Peevey ask to see Captain Shields, to his amazement. They ask Taylor if he would release the French prisoner fight in their boxing tournament, and to their surprise, he agrees, but if only if he is matched against Sergeant Fallon. Taylor wants his men to see the superiority of the British over the French, especially as he imagines that Fallon will easily beat the prisoner.
Hawkeye visits the French prisoner again, and asks him if he is an officer in the French army. He says that if he was, he would not have to fight Sergeant Fallon, but the prisoner asks Hawkeye if it occurs to him that he wishes to fight the Sergeant, that he may be the better fighter. But Hawkeye says that the bigger man usually wins, and suggests that when Fallon hits him, he should stay down. When the Frenchman asks Hawkeye if the positions were reversed, if he had to fight Fallon, what would he do? “I’d fight him, but I’m a woodsman, I’m not expected to know any better.”
Hawkeye escorts a very reluctant Elizabeth to the boxing match. McKinney announces the match between the “pride of Fort Bennington versus the unknown Frenchman.” But to the boys’ surprise, Sergeant Fallon handily defeats the Frenchman, who is knocked down again, and again, until Elizabeth asks Hawkeye, “why doesn’t someone stop this?” “All he has to do is fall down,” replies Hawkeye. As the Frenchman lies unconscious on the tavern floor, Elizabeth asks for help in getting back to the fort, and McKinney and Peevey, who have bet everything on the Frenchman, woefully see their dreams of wealth disappear.
Back in the fort infirmary, the Frenchman is lying on a cot, guarded by a sentry, but when the British soldier turns his back, he is jumped by the prisoner and knocked out and dragged behind a cot. Elizabeth enters the prison, and is restrained by the Frenchman, who with his hand clamped tightly over her mouth, says “do not make a noise.” As she struggles, she hears him whisper in her ear “ believe me, the last thing I wish in this world is to have to kill you. Truly I beg you, do not make it necessary.” Terrified, she submits, and is bound and gagged and placed on the cot. When the British sentry comes to, he finds her there, and the alarm is sounded.
Outside the tavern, Sergeant Fallon sees a figure moving stealthily, and challenges it. When he sees it is the Frenchman, he tries to stop him, but is killed by the Frenchman, who easily breaks his neck, and takes the dead man’s pistol. When the Sergeant is found by the British, Taylor and Hawkeye realize that the prisoner is not an ordinary prisoner. Hawkeye points out that the Frenchman took a second beating to place himself in the prison infirmary, so as to make escape easier. Taylor finally understands that he must be an officer, and by knowing the area, can easily set an ambush for his forces. He sends Hawkeye after him.
The Frenchman is found by Hawkeye on the trail to the French Fort Carillon, and when Hawkeye stops him, he says he allowed him to be captured by the British, and that he knows that there is to be an attack on the fort in three days. But he will not be returned to Fort Bennington, and Hawkeye knows he must stop him, or his people will be killed. The Frenchman says he understands, adding “so, the insanity of war has brought you and I to this. A moment all warriors must face, no matter which side they defend.” “I don’t want to do this”, says the reluctant Hawkeye, who finds much to admire in the Frenchman. “I take no pleasure in it, I assure you” says the Frenchman, and asks Hawkeye his name. “People call me Hawkeye, he says. “They call me Luc,” says the Frenchman, as he draws his pistol. But Hawkeye draws too, and shoots the Frenchman Luc dead.
Back at Fort Bennington, the boxing match continues, and McKinney and Peevey bet all their money but watch it disappear as Denko finally wins, hands down. Meanwhile, as Hawkeye hangs the bowstick of the dead Frenchman on his memory tree, Elizabeth writes in her diary “the men here at Fort Bennington diverted their thought from the fears and horrors of the coming battle as best they could. I have asked myself why men of such uncommon sensitivity and intelligence allow themselves to kill each other. I fear with all my heart there is no answer to that question, and yet I pray that someday men, like Luc and Hawkeye, will find one.”
All "Hawkeye" episode synopsis are © 2001 by Mark Meader for Wonderland.
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