The Colorado Cattle Caper

Modern-day cattle rustlers ship lethally contaminated beef to New York.

Interstate Beef

Everything in “The Colorado Cattle Caper” depends on a misunderstanding. McCloud goes to Colorado to extradite a murder suspect who is needed there to ferret out a ring of cattle rustlers whose modus operandi is of substantial interest (using a helicopter and motorcycles they herd stray cattle by the dozen into a semi-trailer and process them in thirty minutes for uninspected shipment across the country). The sheriff is running for re-election amid rising discontent over his handling of the investigation. McCloud fails to assess the situation and himself lands in jail when the prisoner is freed by the gang. Chief Clifford sends in Sgt. Broadhurst, who while undercover also lands in jail, and then the Chief flies to Colorado to sort the mess out personally, as far as possible.

McCloud’s bravura leads him to stage a fake hanging on the spot so as to impress a taciturn rustler.

Sgt. Broadhurst is stooping dejectedly after his release. Day cuts to Chief Clifford upbraiding him for falling under the influence of McCloud, then cuts back to Broadhurst, instantly recovered.

In The Corral Café, Chief Clifford sees McCloud and is knocked out by him because the Marshal is undercover and the Chief doesn’t know it. A general brawl ensues, McCloud and his cohorts make off. The police arrive and ask, “Who started this?” Day takes a handheld camera in to the perpetrator. “Him,” says the bartender, pointing down at supine, unconscious Chief Clifford.

Frank DeVol introduces a little phrase from The Rite of Spring. Out where the road ends, McCloud and his colleagues take to horses for pursuit, exactly as in Tales of the Texas Rangers.


Claude Akins Sheriff Floyd Bevins

John Denver Deputy Dewey Cobb

Ed Ames Abel Hollister

Robert Sampson Clay Jordan

Patrick Wayne Deputy Morris Knowles

Farrah Fawcett Gloria Jean

Vic Tayback Carlo Banducci

Conrad E. Palmisano Chet

John Milford Ben Willis

Austin Stoker Gene Pearson

Erick Holland Lester Neal

Ronda Copland Luann

George McDaniel Willie

John Clavin Reporter

Written by Michael Gleason

Directed by Robert Day

38006, 2.24.74

McCLOUD: You sent for me, Chief?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: I think we've found a use for you here in the concrete canyons of Manhattan.
McCLOUD: What's that?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Barely suppressing a horselaugh.) Cattle rustling!

CARLO BANDUCCI: Hey, you can't just go pokin' around here without a search warrant!
McCLOUD: (Producing one.) There ya go. 

I guess he'd rather be in Colorado
I guess he'd rather work
Out where the only thing you earn is what you spend...

—Sung by Deputy Cobb

(Lester Neal has a pistol under his shirt, rigged to go off when he puts his hands up.)
Now how'd you know he was outfitted like that?
DEPUTY COBB: It pays to read the wanted bulletins all the way through. (Examining the rig.) Faarrr out!

(McCloud's assignment is to extradite Lester Neal, who has killed an unarmed Agriculture Inspector working with the marshal.)
McCloud, I know how important this is to you—so I'm not going to give you my usual lecture on your responsibility to this department.
McCLOUD: 'Preciate that, Chief.

(McCloud is the police official from New York, "one of the top men in the country... a personal friend of the commissioner," whom Twin Forks has been expecting.)
McCLOUD: In the flesh.
DEPUTY COBB: Faarrr out!
McCLOUD: There ya go.

(A collect call.)
Where are you?
McCLOUD: I'm in jail.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Relieved.) Oh, you're conferring with the local authorities.
McCLOUD: Not exactly.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: You mean you've been arrested.
McCLOUD: There ya go.

CHIEF CLIFFORD: Now McCloud's in jail, and the prisoner's on the loose.

McCLOUD: (To a rustler, furiously.) I'm gonna make you famous! They'll be talkin' about you for years to come! You're gonna be the first man hung in this century for stealin' cows!

RUSTLER: You didn't really hang him!
McCLOUD: Well, hangin's against the law. You oughta know that, son.

McCLOUD: (To Deputy Cobb) Ya know, when the hound is chasin' the rabbits, the fox has the run o' the woods!

(The Corral Bar.)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Entering, aside to Sgt. Broadhurst.)
Surrounded by McClouds!

(The Corral Bar.)
You always this shy, cowboy?
McCLOUD: (Undercover as a rich rustler.) Only when I'm packin' a full load. (He lays a pile of money on the table.)

(The Corral Bar.)
Bottoms up!
LUANN: Oh, promises, promises! (General laughter.)

(The Corral Bar.)
GLORIA JEAN: (To McCloud and Deputy Cobb, who are undercover.)
Oh, we just love celebratin'. You might say that's our—life? (General laughter.)

(As the two couples leave the Corral Bar through the alley, Abel Hollister and one of his men jump McCloud and Deputy Cobb, beating these two "rivals".)
LUANN: (Looking on, placidly.)
Thanks for the drinks. (The beating goes on.) Come back and see us again.

(Luann and Gloria Jean knock on the door of McCloud's and Deputy Cobb's motel room.)
LUANN: (Proffering a bottle of champagne.)
Would you pop my cork?
McCLOUD: I'll pop it after I see Hollister.
LUANN: Aw, he's not available right now. He'll see you later. He told us to occupy you as best we could.

DEPUTY COBB: McCloud, you're worse than Phase Four.

DEPUTY COBB: (To McCloud.) I sure hope one of us knows what you're doing.

SGT. BROADHURST: (Of McCloud.) Watch him when he starts saying we.
DEPUTY COBB: Yeah, I've noticed that.

(McCloud, Sgt. Broadhurst and Chief Clifford have all been arrested, one after another.)
It's no wonder I don't have time to catch rustlers! I'm too busy arrestin' smartalecky New Yorkers!
SGT. BROADHURST: He's partly right, Chief.
(Chief Clifford's only reply is a withering look.)

(McCloud and Deputy Cobb are locked in the refrigeration unit of the meat packing plant.)
Man, what a place to expire!

(McCloud is lighting matches under the refrigeration unit's thermometer to set off an alarm.)
Ya know, there's a good part to this plan and a bad part. The warmer it gets in here, the harder that unit works. We're gonna freeze to death in record time.
McCLOUD: There's a drawback to everythin', Dewey.
(The plan works.)
Far out!
McCLOUD: There ya go.

(After riding the range on horseback in pursuit of the rustlers.)
Well, McCloud, I'm finally beginning to understand why you're the way you are. Enough of this would make anyone... funny.

(Sheriff Bevins, addressing the electorate, takes full credit for capturing the rustlers, but also thanks "my good friends Chief... Peter B. Crawford and Sergeant... Joe Schultz.")
He sure has a way with words, doesn't he?
DEPUTY COBB: There ya go.
McCLOUD: Faaaaarrrrr out!