WALKER, TEXAS RANGER. "Mustangs." Episode 206. The hour-long drama follows a modern Texas Ranger, along with his partner and associates, fighting crime and injustice. James Morrison plays Ned Travis, a rancher rejecting conservation for profit.

With the night city skyline rising above him, old rancher Hank Sweet calls assistant district attorney Alex Cahill at her and Ranger Cordell Walker's favorite watering hole, C.D.'s. Walker sits at the bar while she takes the call. Breathlessly, Hank suggests Alex meet him at a park. Walker goes with her.

Alex has no idea how to identify Hank until they hear sounds of a scuffle in one of the park's fountains. Walker runs up the terraced pools and fights the two, then three, assailants attacking one man. One of the attackers shoots Hank, who Alex tries to help while Walker is busy with the armed attackers. One of them pulls her away from Hank and forcibly takes paperwork from her. After Walker has driven the assailants away, Hank dies. His last words are "Gotta save the horses." Alex and Walker go to her city condo to dry off. Alex tells him Hank had advised her to go to Thelma, also known as "The Mustang Lady."

The next day at the morgue, Thelma identifies Hank's body. Walker questions her as to who may have wanted him dead. She tells him Hank had been upset, that he had learned something terrible but didn't want to tell her so she wouldn't "go off half-cocked." She said he planned to circumvent whatever it was through legal channels, so he contacted Alex.

Walker and his partner James Trivette ask the regional supervisor of the Bureau of Land Management what may have concerned Hank. Talk turns to Thelma and mustangs, which are protected, for the most part, on federally leased lands. The bureaucrat tells them the only mustang herd still on private land is "the Santana bunch." Walker mentions having heard stories about the stallion, to which the BLM agent chuckles and alludes to even more. He tells them Santana runs his two or three dozen mares between federally leased lands and the Circle Bar T Ranch. Identifying the area on a map makes the Rangers realize Hank Sweet's ranch is near the Circle Bar T.

Out at the ranch, when Walker and Trivette drive up, ranch hands are rounding up cattle into trucks. One of the cowboys, who turns out to be Mitch Travis, rides up to greet the Rangers. Travis and his brother own the Circle Bar T. Walker and Trivette ask about Hank before telling Mitch his neighbor had been murdered. Mitch is shocked. Walker asks if he knows of anyone planning to hurt some horses, particularly the Santana bunch. Trivette mentions the BLM had received complaints about the mustangs from the ranch. In the winter, Mitch explains, Santana would drive their cattle away from their feed so his mares could eat. He admits to having considered shooting him but his father would "roll over in his grave" at that idea. Walker ignores Mitch's lightly joking tone and presses: was Hank aware of a plan involving renegade meat packers? Mitch doesn't know, so Walker thanks him for his time.

As the Rangers return to Walker's truck, Trivette asks what a renegade meat packer is. A mobile meat packing plant, Walker says, with refrigerated trucks, machine guns and chain saws ready to go anywhere, anytime.

After they leave, Mitch's brother approaches from the house. Ned Travis wants to know what they wanted. Mitch tells him Hank is dead. Even though he says nothing, news of Hank's death does not upset Ned, who responds with a pat nicety. Mitch half-fishes for a reply by saying he hoped they had nothing to do with that.

Ned glares at his brother. "Of course we didn't. What kind of thing is that to say?"

A little nervous, Mitch tells him the Rangers had asked about Santana's herd. He suggests they "back off." Ned disagrees. "All that means is we have to move a little faster. Call the packers. Get the shooters here this afternoon." Mitch balks, half-heartedly arguing, what their father would say?

No sentimentalist, Ned points out, "Dad is dead, Mitch. It's time you faced that fact. These are different times."

Less edgy and flatly, Mitch states, "I hate this."

Ned aims at the bottom line. "There's no way I'm gonna let $800 worth of dog meat mustang blow a $20 million deal."

On the way back to the office, Walker suggests Trivette check out the Travis family and its ranch while he snoop around in the area. Trivette doesn't believe the Travis family is involved, but Walker cites his reasons. For instance, he had spotted someone watching them from behind the curtains of the house.

Back at the Travis ranch, Mitch proudly watches his cattle being loaded up for market. When Ned approaches, he tells his brother how much he appreciates the veterinarian's efforts to fatten up the cattle. Ever the bean counter, Ned says he prefers the vet find a way to "fatten up" beef prices.

A black 4X4 truck with tinted windows pulls up. Ned goes to meet the driver while Mitch nervously stays by the cattle. Corbin, the driver of the truck, is one of the thugs who attacked and killed Hank Sweet in the park. Corbin cracks to Ned how his "kid brother doesn't seem to be with this program." Ned demands to know what he's doing on the property. Corbin chides him for nervousness, and Ned counters with the untimely end of Hank Sweet. At the mention of old Hank, Corbin tells Ned the old man probably had evidence stashed in his house, evidence that would be destroyed in a fire which would ignite in "about a half an hour." Ned is none too pleased to be told Corbin's plans for damage control, let alone with the plans themselves. Corbin smugly tells him, "Your hands are clean. For what you're paying, I'm the invisible man." Ned looks uneasy as well as guilty. After Corbin and his goons drive off, Ned looks over at Mitch, who's still standing at the loading ramp and glaring at his brother.  

Alone now, Walker drives up to Hank Sweet's place. Not as well appointed as the Circle Bar T Ranch, Hank's place is neatly kept and modest. An old dog lies facing the long driveway to the small house. Walker figures the dog is hungry so he leads him into the house. He finds a T-bone steak in the old refrigerator and tosses it to the dog. While the dog chaws down on the steak, Walker checks out a filing cabinet in Hank's office. He finds files of dated records of Hank's efforts as an activist seeking to preserve the mustangs. The approach of a truck down the driveway distracts both the dog and Walker. He goes out on the porch to see who's coming.

Corbin and group have arrived to set the fire. However, he spots Walker, who has once again put a kink in his plans. Without turning around, Corbin speeds the truck in reverse down the driveway. Then he swerves the truck into a bootlegger J-turn. Walker has jumped in his truck and engages in high-speed pursuit down the dusty dirt roads.

In the city, Alex is lunching with a businessman. She's curious about an interstate proposal she's run into during her investigation because it apparently did not exist officially. She mentions that its passage would involve a right-of-way for the Circle Bar T ranch, which would end its days as a ranch but would mean profit if the Travis family. Her source hems and haws, so she reminds him a murder may have resulted from the deal.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Corbin can't shake the pesky Ranger, who keeps up with him with every swerve he makes. Finally, he plunges the truck into a grove of trees and leads his two associates out of the truck with their guns drawn. As they take positions pointing their guns over the hood of the truck, the man who smugly referred to himself as "the invisible man" plans to make a stand and kill a Texas Ranger.

When Walker's truck bursts into the woods, they exchange gunfire. The rounds zing off the Walker's truck, so the men run away across a dry creek bed and up a hill. One of Corbin's men, a guy bringing up the rear, turns to shoot at Walker, whose shot drops him instead. Corbin and the other hood continue while Walker arrests and interrogates the wounded man. After Walker orders him to talk or he'd take the full rap for the murder of Hank Sweet, the injured thug tells Walker that Corbin had killed Hank and the mustangs would be killed that very afternoon. Corbin, who is still within earshot, shoots his former associate and kills him, so Walker returns fire. Unfortunately, Walker misses but Corbin doesn't. Shot, Walker drops and tumbles down the hill into the dry creek bed. Corbin and his sidekick run back to their truck. Before they leave, Corbin shoots out Walker's tires and radiator and then disables the radio.

Walker wakes up woozy and tries to struggle to his feet. He realizes the bullet struck and dented his Ranger badge. He heads back to his truck, sees it's out of commission and decides to walk back to civilization.

Up on a ridge, he sees a chestnut stallion rearing and pawing the sky. Walker figures it's Santana, and concludes that the mares must be nearby. He returns to his truck for gloves and a lariat intending to "borrow" one of the mares. He finds them and some foals in a clearing. Sneaking through the trees surrounding them, Walker tries to find one to rope but Santana has the drop on him. Startled by the stallion crashing through the bushes, Walker swings the rope in the confusion and lassoes Santana himself. Walker hangs on, only to be dragged over the rough ground by the running horse.

Back at the courthouse, Trivette runs into Alex. He has checked the Travis brothers' father's will which prohibits the sale or subdivision of the ranch while the horses run free. Alex explains the land deal that has tempted the Travises: a huge development that will be called "Mustang Valley."

While Trivette and Alex are discussing his fate, a lathered, furious Santana is playing serious tug-of-war with Walker. Now back on his feet, Walker intends to make Santana his mount to take him out of the backcountry.

In the courthouse parking lot, Thelma pulls up next to Trivette. She has tapes she picked up at Hank's place documenting Travis's intent to kill the mustangs. Trivette asks her if she's seen Walker. All she saw was the old dog with a T-bone, which is good enough information to Trivette to indicate Walker had been there. He tells her he wants to go back out to the Travis place. Thelma is only too pleased to face down the Travises, except Trivette tries to dissuade her. Her truck is already in gear, so Trivette has no other choice but to join her.

Walker has his work cut out for him with Santana. After several hard falls, Walker remembers some childhood advice from his Uncle Ray, who taught him the Native American ways of doing things. Instead of trying to conquer a horse, Uncle Ray had told him, he should try to find a way to work with the horse. He fashions a bridle out of the rope and tells the horse he will release him after he saves the mares. Walker mounts him bareback, and the furious bucking begins. Soon, though, Ranger and horse are in sync and galloping off to save the mares.

Ned is supervising preparations with the heavily armed renegade meat packers. Mitch asks Ned if he feels anything about "this," to which Ned snaps, "Don't you start in again on me." Mitch tries to stall him, but Ned is determined. He finally orders the meat packers: "Roll out. Let's get it done."

Mitch follows Ned to the stable. "This is crazy, Ned. We don't need to sell the ranch. This is our lives."

"Yours, maybe." Ned drops the saddle onto the horse's back. "Not mine. I'm sick of the sweat."

Thelma storms up, with Trivette trying to restrain her, and interrupts them. Ned ignores her and challenges Trivette. The Ranger simply replies he's looking for Walker. Mitch answers that they hadn't seen him since the two Rangers had been to the ranch together. Trivette concludes aloud that Walker must be with the horses.

Threatened merely by the presence of Trivette, Ned says, "Unless you have a warrant, you best get off my ranch. We ain't done nothing." He turns his back and resumes saddling the horse.

Trivette grimly states his suspicion that Ned is why Hank Sweet was killed. Mitch stares at Ned. Trivette promises to return with a warrant and asks where the horses are. Ned snaps, "How would I know where they are?"

However, thanks to the tapes she found at Hank's place, Thelma knows the location of the horses. She and Trivette head back to her truck, but two ranch hands step in their way. Trivette demands Ned call off his men. The two goons step aside, allowing them to return to the truck.

While watching them drive away, Mitch connects the dots and says Corbin killed the old man. Wilting a little, Ned tells him it was an accident and finally confesses to his brother. Hank had liquored up one of Ned's men one night, got him talking and surreptitiously taped the conversation. Then, Hank threatened Ned with the tapes and various other pieces of evidence.

Mitch isn't satisfied. He asks Ned if he had Hank killed. Ned tells him things "got out of control." Mitch keeps repeating the question until Ned finally shouts, "No!" Startled at the force of his voice, the horse he's been saddling jerks. Mitch suggests they come clean. Then Ned tells him how the stakes have been raised.

"It's too late for that, Mitch. Corbin said he killed Walker out at Devil's Rock. I got no choice. Either I go all the way with this or I go to prison." He turns to mount his horse. "I gotta take care of Thelma and that other Ranger."

Mitch goes ballistic about the possibility of killing more people. He tries to restrain his brother, but they struggle. Ned backs him up against a fence rail and punches him in the gut. Mitch crumples to the dust. Ned leads his horse away while Mitch struggles to his feet.

Finally simpatico, Walker and Santana herd the mares into a grove of trees by a stream. With shelter and water, he and the horse take off to get the shooters "before they get us." They meet the outriders for the meat packers, who Walker tells to go away.

Then, Walker and Santana go after the meat packers traveling by truck. They chase after a pickup truck, but the men standing back in the bed shoot at them. Walker fires his gun at the truck and hits the gas tank. The men in back bail before the truck explodes into a fireball.

Walker and Santana gallop after the main truck, the one with the mounted machine gun. Walker leaps off the horse and lands in the bed of the truck. He tosses another man out, but Corbin remains. They fight. During the struggle, the back gate opens, and they spill out the back. The fight continues on the ground. Walker wins quickly.

Trivette and Thelma pull up to the pickup truck Walker has just cleaned out. After they ask him how he got that far out into the country, he tells them he rode Santana. Thelma blurts out, "No man can ride Santana," and thinks Walker is fibbing because Santana is nowhere to be seen.

Ned, carrying a rifle, sneaks up over the top of the ridge to watch. He raises his rifle to his eye to pick off the Rangers and their helper. He ignores the thud of approaching hoofbeats. Santana, rearing and snorting and stomping, now has the drop on Ned. He drops his rifle and cowers while Santana rages over him. Ned stumbles and rolls down the hill toward the Rangers. Up on the ridge where Ned had planned to hide, Santana frolics and neighs in triumph.

Trivette and Thelma, with Hank's old dog, stroll through a field. They see Santana's herd running through the tall grass. Trivette tells her that Mitch Travis, after testifying against his brother, will keep the ranch the way his father wanted, complete with its mustang.

Walker rides up on Santana. He sets the wild horse free, but very reluctantly, because he's become very attached to the horse. But a deal's a deal, so he sets the stallion free to run again with his mares.

This review and captured pictures is provided solely as a record of James Morrison's work as an actor, and does not intend or imply any infringement of any copyrights or trademark.


Back to The Lobby
To Lobby To TV Listing