Episode Number: 17, according to broadcast order. Airdate: February 19, 1995. Director: Jesus Trevino. Writer: Leon Tokatyan.
Guest Stars: James Cromwell (Longworth) / Oliver Becker (Devlin) / Shaun Johnston (Carpenter) / Beverly Elliott (Barmaid) / Patrick Madden (Soldier) / Inez Porter (Child) / Jim Smith (Preacher) / Michael Terry (Huron).
Other Titles: In German: "Familienangelegenheiten" ("Family Issues").
It is winter, and Elizabeth and Hawkeye are in the woods, practicing with bow and arrow. Elizabeth aims and hits her target squarely, and Hawkeye is surprised at her skill, then places his arrow alongside hers when he shoots. Suddenly, they hear war whoops in the distance, and moving towards the noise, they see two white men being attacked by Indians. One is shot off his horse, and the other is clubbed to the ground. Hawkeye shoots one Indian dead, and Elizabeth hits another in the leg with her arrow. The rest of the Indians pick up the wounded Indian, and flee. When Hawkeye and Elizabeth go to examine the white men, one is dead, but as they turn the other over, Elizabeth is shocked to find that it is her father, Longworth.
They carry him back to Fort Bennington, where he regains consciousness and snaps at everyone, calling Hawkeye “bumpkin” instead of Bumppo, and at Elizabeth for her anxious questions before she kisses him in welcome. It is obvious to all that he is a difficult person to deal with, and Elizabeth is embarrassed for Hawkeye. But when Longworth insists that, as his dutiful daughter, she must return with him to Virginia, she is shocked and outraged.
In her diary that evening Elizabeth writes of about her relationship between her and her father. “Fathers’ demand has set my mind to spinning, feelings long forgotten are crowding in, and the reason I married William gnaws at me. The words, ‘to get away from my fathers’ overpowering presence’ echo in my brain, even though I have never spoken them aloud. He cannot make me leave, can he? I am no longer a child, am I?” she questions.
The next morning, Elizabeth’s father visits Taylor in his headquarters, and questions him about the possibility of William being alive. He replies that miracles do sometime happen, but he fears that William is dead. Her father questions her reason for staying at Fort Bennington, and is curious about the obvious relationship between Elizabeth and Hawkeye. Taylor says off handedly that they have struck up a friendship, women of quality being few and far between, but Longworths questions about the proof of William’s demise causes Taylor to hatch a plan. Impatient that no word has come of what has happened to his brother, and wanting to claim his inheritance, Taylor seeks out Devlin, an itinerant woodsman, and tells him to find a scalped, mangled body of a white man, some 3-4 months dead. When it is found, the woodsman is to place Taylor’s family ring, like the one William also had, on the finger of the corpse to prove it’s identity, and return with it to Fort Bennington.
Longworth visits the trading post, and sees Elizabeth dealing with customers. When his presence causes her to fumble with her wares, he remarks that she was more graceful on the dance floor. She is furious with his contempt of the life she now leads, but holds her tongue. Later in the evening, he again visits Elizabeth, and softens his demand, and asks her would she consider returning to Virginia for a brief visit? Touched, She says she doesn’t know, and calls him “Poppa” as when she was little. She says she must stay and wait for news of her husband. He says that she is still the same stubborn child that vexed him and her late mother so when she was growing up, and recounts the incident when she was 5 and wanted to learn archery. As he leaves, she says she will consider returning with him as he requests. But when he leaves, he sees Hawkeye go into the trading post, and suspicion mounts in his mind about his friendship with his daughter.
Elizabeth goes to the Delaware camp to teach the Indian children the English alphabet. But when she sees Hawkeye, she is distracted, and cannot continue the lesson. She tells him that her father has changed his demand to a request for her to return for a visit, and fears that if word of Williams’ fate comes when she is in Virginia, she would have no reason to return to Fort Bennington, and of course, Hawkeye. He answers that she is a grown woman and no one can make her do anything, which is not the answer she wants from Hawkeye.
That evening, Hawkeye again visits Elizabeth. Longworth sees him enter the trading post, and decides that Elizabeth and Hawkeye are more than friends. Elizabeth has traded a belt of wampum for Hawkeye, and as she moves close to him and is putting it around his waist, her father bursts in the door. Furious, he accuses Elizabeth of showing him disrespect and lying to him, and the two of making a cuckold of William, and tells Elizabeth that she WILL return with him to Virginia tomorrow, even if he has to tie her up like a sack of flour. Hawkeye and Elizabeth are livid, and Hawkeye follows Longworth back to his quarters. As he tries to tell Elizabeth’s father that there is no truth to his accusations, Longworth is suddenly stricken by an attack of apoplexy. Hawkeye tries to get the surgeon and Elizabeth, but Longworth refuses any help. He snaps that he especially does not want Elizabeth’s pity, and makes Hawkeye swear not to reveal his illness to anyone, even to her.
Meanwhile Devlin, with the help of a Huron, has found an appropriate corpse, and has brought it to the fort. In the morning, Taylor approaches Elizabeth on the parade ground, and tells her of the woodsman finding William’s body. Shocked, Elizabeth faints. Later, Hawkeye tries to comfort her, telling her that now she can grieve, but she says that when William was first captured, she felt
he would not return, and she has no tears left now. But she is grieved that with the proof of his death, she now has no reason stay.
Hawkeye is suspicious about the corpse, and examines it. As he helps place the mangled body in a rude coffin made by the fort carpenter, he begins to question Devlin about how with everyone looking for William, it was he found the corpse. Each nervous reply to his questions leads him to think that something is not right, especially about the ring being found on the body, an item the Indians would not have missed. Devlin in panic goes to Taylor and demands his money so he can leave, and Taylor tells him to meet him outside the fort.
Elizabeth comes to Taylor for William’s ring, and is surprised to find that he is not willing at present to part with it, for legal reasons. She meets Hawkeye on the fort parapets, and he tells her that she should be comforted by the finality of William being found, and then shocks her by saying that now she can return with her father. Clearly amazed by his change of attitude, she asks why he would tell her that. Hawkeye, knowing of her father’s illness, and wanting her to be with Longworth, says that she is his daughter and should go out of respect and obedience. He tells her to tell her father she will return whim to Virginia. “That is not the answer I expected,” she says. “It is the only answer I can give,” Hawkeye replies. Confused and upset, Elizabeth leaves an equally upset Hawkeye, who has told the woman he loves to leave him.
But when Elizabeth goes to her father’s room, she finds him stricken with a final attack of apoplexy. Carried to her living quarters in back of the trading post, the fort doctor can do nothing, and Elizabeth asks Taylor and Hawkeye to leave so that she can be alone with him. It is then that her father tells Elizabeth of his love for her, love that he could not express before, being too proud. He asks her to look in his valise, and she finds her favorite doll that he had brought with him. He tells her he was always jealous of the love she showed that doll, and that he thought that to show love was to show weakness, but he was wrong. He tells her not to wait to say the things you want to say, or it may be too late. He then falls into a final sleep.
After his burial, Hawkeye comes to Elizabeth, sitting in front of the fire at her post, and again finds he is comforting her, now for the death of her father, as well as William. She tells him that before he died her father told her things that she had waited all her life to hear, and that now, with her father and husband dead, she wants to tell Hawkeye of her feelings for her beloved woodsman. But Hawkeye, still suspicious, quiets Elizabeth, telling her that there are also things he wishes to say to her and do, but that he can’t, as long as he is unsure that William will some day return. “I need no more proof,” she says. “But I do,” he replies. “Then go and find it, for both our sakes,” Elizabeth says.
Hawkeye goes to look for Devlin, and finds him dying in the woods, having been stabbed by an assailant. Devlin’s only words are “the ring.” After bringing his body back to the fort, he pushes his way into Taylor’s office, and demands to see both rings, accusing him of paying Devlin to fake William’s death. The two begin to fight, first in the office and then outside onto the parade ground, where soldiers try to stop it. Elizabeth sees the men fighting, and demands that they stop. When they do, she asks the cause, and Taylor then tells Elizabeth that he has news of the recent discovery of William’s body. He lies, telling her that he had found that his ring was missing earlier, and that Devlin had found and used it in an attempt to claim the corpse was that of William. The fight, Taylor claims, was just a disagreement between two gentlemen, and Hawkeye agrees.
In her diary, Elizabeth writes “the time Poppa and I had together, brief as it was, has given me a sense of peace and fulfillment I never would have thought possible, and I pray that William will be found soon, once and for all. It is my hope that he still be alive, but even if he were to have found a merciful death, it would be better than this agony of not knowing, not being able to close this chapter in my life. I feel more surely than even that there is a life for me with the woodsman, and I find myself more and more anxious for it to begin, soon. I pray that it is soon.”
All "Hawkeye" episode synopsis are © 2001 by Mark Meader for Wonderland.
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