24 September 2007 | dougdoepke
Interesting moral dilemma revolving around the limits of giving one's word of honor. After killing their hostage, three kidnappers get Doc to give his word that he will not divulge their identity or location. In return, they promise not to kill him. It seems Doc's not so interested in his own life as he is in the health and safety of those who would otherwise lose the only doctor within hundreds of miles. Doc does tell Matt something bad has happened but nothing more. Then rancher Ray Middleton, the father of the victim, finds out about dead son and insists the marshal do something. But Matt can't since Doc won't break his word. Now Doc's in a dilemma-- he's putting Matt's life in danger unless he breaks his oath to the kidnappers. What should he do? The situation is further compounded when Middleton gives his own word that he will not interfere in Matt's plan to get the kidnappers. However, if Middleton keeps that oath, Matt is placed in further jeopardy.
Sounds complicated, but the predicament does get the viewer to think about what limits there should be to keeping one's word, if any. The episode generates some suspense, though I don't think the horns of the dilemma are sufficiently played up. Doc's more cantankerous than usual, at the same time the entry establishes his total dedication to the medical profession-- a character quality that would become a series staple.