Annie Oakley (Gail Davis) returns for another adventure in this season opener episode from season three. It’s titled Sundown Stage. Nicely directed by Earl Bellamy, this episode focuses on Annie’s attempt to help a man named Walt Bronson (Walter Reed), who was shot during a stagecoach robbery and now has amnesia. The robbers plant his picture on a wanted poster and it’s a puzzle to solve as Walt is accused of the robbery, not to mention gunning down the other stagecoach driver.
The opening sequence shows Walt as he truly is, a devoted husband and father. He is seen saying good-bye to his wife, Helen, and son Tommy, before heading out on the stagecoach. He musses his son’s hair, and then jokingly says, “Hey, son, your hair is all mussed up!”
After Walt is shot, along with the other driver, he is left for dead, but has survived. He manages to walk a short distance before collapsing and Tagg (Jimmy Hawkins), Annie’s younger brother, finds him while heading into town on his wagon. He manages to get Walt on the wagon and drives him into town.
The sheriff of the local town believes Walt is guilty of robbery and murder, due to the wanted poster, but he denies it, although with his amnesia he doesn’t have a good alibi. Annie and Lofty (Brad Johnson) are determined to get to the bottom of it. They finally catch a bit of a break when Helen and Tommy spot Walt. He doesn’t remember he belongs to them, but Helen tearfully lets him know that she is his wife. The situation is difficult for Tommy too, who gets into a fight with a boy who says his dad is a robber and murderer.
The show has some funny dialogue, including a scene in which Helen has made buckwheat cakes for Walt, his favorite meal. “It’s hard to believe a man could forget a meal like that!” he says. Later, one of the true robbers spot Walt, and shoots at him, and Annie is more convinced than ever that Walt is innocent. Lofty and Walt plan a ruse, riding together on a stagecoach, to see if the robbers will leave the darkness to come into the light after Walt. They do indeed but Annie is off to the side, ready to draw her gun to help.
We won’t spoil the ending of the show but viewers will be satisfied, of this we’re confident. This nice moral story is played out in 25 minutes. Due to its themes of loyalty and justice, the show has earned our Dove seal for All Ages.
The Dove Take
Your entire family will enjoy this family-oriented episode about a husband and wife, and their son, and the loyalty they have to one another.