Episode Number: 21, according to broadcast order. Airdate: May 7, 1995. Director: Brenton Spencer. Writer: Shelly Moore.
Guest Stars: Sarah Sawatsky (Emma Sykes) / Lori Ann Triolo ( Dolly McKissack) / Tom Cavanaugh ( Pvt. Charles) / Robert Lewis (Col. Montand) / Mark Markhauq (Cossette) / Michael Dobson (DeGuerre) / Dan Shay (Soldier).
Other Titles: In German: "Tot oder lebendig" ("Dead Or Alive").
In the wood, Hawkeye is following a trail on his horse, “Eaglewings” but unknown to him he is also being hunted. On the other side of the gully a woodsman is tracking him with his rifle, and fires. The bullet strikes a tree branch by Hawkeye’s head, and he turns and gallops back down the trail, but the woodsman fires again, and Hawkeye falls off his horse and lays still. The woodsman mounts his own horse, and furiously rides for Hawkeye to finish him off. He dismounts, and aims a pistol at Hawkeye’s unmoving back. Suddenly, the woodsman is shot down by Chingachgook. Hawkeye, who is unwounded and was playing possum, thanks Chingachgook, but neither man knows the identity of the assassin.
At a nearby French fort, a captured English soldier is questioned by Colonel Montand. He reluctantly gives his name as Corporal Charles Sykes, and names his commanding officer as Captain Taylor Shields, but refuses to divulge why he was scouting the fort. The Colonel leaves him to a French soldier, with a branding iron, and hears the screams as he leaves the prison.
Through the wood a rider gallops furiously towards Fort Bennington. When he reaches the fort, he enters and rides to the commanding officer’s quarters, but when he dismounts, he is seen to be a young, red-headed woman, dressed in man’s clothing. Asking permission, he enters Captain Shield’s office.
In the trading post, Elizabeth is sewing when a mad Peevey enters, and begins to complain about McKinney’s infatuation with a young girl, Dolly McKissack, who has come to seek shelter with her family at the fort. The door opens, and the young woman who has ridden in comes in. She asks if Elizabeth could rent her a room or a pallet before the fire for the night, as she is asking for her brother-in-law, Corporal Charles Sykes. Neither of them know the Corporal, and Emma, seeing this, sadly says that she knows that the only reference is the Corporal, when Hawkeye enters behind her. “What about me,” he says, and Emma turns and says in surprise and pleasure, “Nathaniel? Nathaniel Bumppo.” They embrace, and it is clear to Elizabeth and Peevey that they are old friends. She tells them that her husband dies last week, and says that her family needs a man to run the family business.
Outside the trading post, Hawkeye is untying the dead woodsman who tried to kill him from his horse, when Elizabeth comes out to talk to him. “Well, how old was she when you broke her heart?” she says teasingly. “I guided her family over the Alleghenies ten years ago,” Hawkeye says, in his defense. “She was a schoolgirl,” Elizabeth says slyly, enjoying his discomfort. “And more trouble than an Abenaki uprising,” he counters. Peevey helps Hawkeye unties the dead man and begins to lay him against the wagon outside Elizabeth’s trading post. When no one can identify the man, Hawkeye, to Elizabeth’s dismay, leaves him there, as it is too cold to dig a grave.
Meanwhile, McKinney and Dolly McKissick have been busy in the fort’s stable. Both unsure of their feelings after having been ‘intimate,’ each wonder how the other feels, and what will happen now. McKinney goes into the trading post, where he is teased by Peevey for his feelings for Dolly, but McKinney proudly tells Peevey that he has “become a man” to Peevey’s surprise, after he makes his swear never to tell another soul. But when Peevey insists that he must marry Dolly because he has “besmirched” her, McKinney realizes what he has done for the first time may cause him regret.
That night in the Delaware camp, Hawkeye is attacked again by another woodsman. When he is forced to kill the man, Hawkeye keeps wondering why he is the target of these attacks. When he brings the body to the fort, Elizabeth sees him outside, unloading the body to place alongside that of the other man in front of her store. When Hawkeye tells her of his nocturnal encounter, she is more upset and confused than ever. She tells Hawkeye other news, that Emma was told by Captain Shields that Corporal Sykes, her brother-in-law may be a prisoner of the French.
Emma tells Hawkeye that after her husband’s funeral, two businessmen from the bank visited her and her sister, to tell them that her late husband’s business was going to be foreclosed unless a man would be found to run the business, hence her need for her brother-in-law’s return. Hawkeye volunteers to find him, if he is alive. Emma tells him that he has too much else to worry about, but Hawkeye insists. “You haven’t changed Nathaniel, you are still far too noble,” says a relieved Emma. She further teases him for an incident in their past friendship, when he turned down her offer of intimacy.
McKinney talks to Hawkeye, and confesses his problem with Dolly McKissisk, that he loves the girl, but does not want to marry her. When he asks Hawkeye what he would do, he says that he would not have gone about it the same way, but Hawkeye tells him that he should do the right thing, to a disgusted McKinney, who knew the right answer before he asked Hawkeye.
In the woods, Hawkeye is attacked by another man, but Emma, who has also tracked Hawkeye, kills him from ambush. Chingachgook and Hawkeye find the dead man after Emma flees, and in searching the body, find a paper, written in French, which they bring to Elizabeth to interpret. “The French have placed a
bounty on your head…..the formal charges are murder.” She reads of his being accused of blowing up two French forts, destroying a cannon, and capturing a French general. “How much does it say I am worth?” asks an intrigued Hawkeye. “400 Livres for proof you’ve been killed and 600 if someone brings you in alive,” reads a shaken Elizabeth.
Hawkeye and Chingachgook discuss a way to save Hawkeye’s life. “The enemy here is greed,” Chingachgook says after Hawkeye tells him that with the bounty he could buy 100 rifles and 50 horses. “How do we defeat greed?” “Remove the bounty,” answers Hawkeye.
A worried Dolly McKissisk seeks out Elizabeth at the trading post, and asks to speak to her. After telling Elizabeth about her intimacy with McKinney, Elisabeth says that if McKinney is honorable, he will marry her, but is taken aback when Dolly tells her that she doesn’t want to marry McKinney. “I want someone who is able to provide for me; does that sound like McKinney?” she asks a confused Elizabeth, who is forced to agree with her.
Captain Shields tells Emma that a trapper spotted her brother at the nearby French Fort Vaudraiul. But he could not negotiate an exchange for the corporal, and that he is probably dead from torture. She tells Hawkeye, and says that she knows her brother-in-law, and that he is strong and can survive. “Have you any ideas?” Emma asks Hawkeye. Hawkeye tells her to be patient and wait a day. Emma realizes that he is going to the fort, and protests that he will be taken for the bounty. But Hawkeye tells her that the French would not consider him foolhardy enough to do just that, so he will surprise them. Upset by his plan, she tells him that she will not be responsible for what happens. “Fair enough,” says a confident Hawkeye.
McKinney finds Dolly, and tells her that he has decided to do the right thing and speak to her uncle to ask for her hand in marriage, because it is the honorable thing. Horrified, Dolly tries to stop him, and when he says that she is ruined and he is not, she is more upset than ever and denies it. Confidently he tells her that the ‘good book’ says it is the right thing to do, and she still refuses, saying that she wants someone who will be able to take care of her, her and a family. McKinney superciliously says that he has a better chance of taking care of her now that she has been ‘defiled’ than she has of finding someone else, and furious, she slaps him and walks away.
In the woods, Hawkeye and Chingachgook track a couple of French soldiers and knock them out to steal their uniforms. Hawkeye, dressed in the clothes, enter Fort Vaudraiul to try to find Corporal Sykes. But when he makes his way inside and locates the corporal, he is trapped by French soldiers led by Colonel Montand, who greets him and tells him “when your friend swore to me that she would deliver you, not only alive but in my own cell, I did not believe her.” He stands aside, and a surprised Hawkeye sees Emma, dressed in man’s clothes, standing behind Montand. He realizes that her whole role, that of a bereaved young widow, searching for her brother-in-law, was a ruse to capture him for the bounty. “Then I don’t have to worry about your family business,” Hawkeye says as a weak joke. “Any further concern would be unnecessary, as it happens I have just become financially independent, “ she says, gloating at his capture. “No hard feelings, Hawkeye?” she says. She leaves Hawkeye in the cell, where he is beaten by the soldiers.
Outside the cell, Chingachgook watches Emma and Montand leave, then rescues Hawkeye and Corporal Sykes. But Hawkeye sends Chingachgook and the corporal out of the fort to stop Emma, while he has a talk with Colonel Montand. With a knife at his throat, a surprised Colonel asks “how did you get free?” “It’s the end of the plan….the plan where you give Emma the 600 Livres bounty, which we have to discuss,” Hawkeye purrs. He tells him that this double betrayal was Emma’s plan from the beginning, then threatens Montand personally with dire consequences if Hawkeye ever hears about another French bounty on his head.
Hawkeye meets Chingachgook in the woods, who has overtaken and captured Emma. When Emma tries to explain, Hawkeye tells her that she can walk away into the woods, without her horse and supplies, or go back to the French fort, where an angry Colonel Montand thinks she has double-crossed him for the bounty and played him for a fool. “You mean to take the bounty?” she asks. “My Delaware family will find something to do with it. No hard feelings, Emma?” he says, as they ride away, leaving her behind, alone in the woods, to her justly deserved fate.
Back at Fort Bennington, Elizabeth’s supply wagon is being unloaded by Peevey and a disgusted McKinney, who still has a bloody nose from Dolly. As Elizabeth watches in amazement, Hawkeye and Chingachgook begin to take the wagon’s entire contents for the tribe, blankets, fish spears, shirts, tea, gunpowder, and more to be paid for by the bounty. “Where have you been for the last two days?” she asks him in surprise and relief. Hawkeye and his blood brother Chingachgook just grin at each other, and keep unloading.
All "Hawkeye" episode synopsis are © 2001 by Mark Meader for Wonderland.
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