A SMALL-TOWN CONSPIRACY
Small-town sheriff Andrew Taylor receives a letter from an
ex-convict, informing him that he will be visiting the town soon.
The letter is cryptic: it says only that the ex-con wishes to
"settle a score."
Sheriff Taylor recalls that long ago he had shot the author of
the letter, wounding him in the leg and causing him thereafter to
walk with a limp.
Alarmed by the potential for danger to his associate and friend
the sheriff, Deputy Barnard Fife conspires with a gas station
attendant by name of Gomer Pyle, and with one Otis Campbell, an
habitue of the local jail (Mr. Campbell appears to have a
drinking problem), to secretly guard Sheriff Taylor. Noticeably
absent from the plot is a local barber known as "Floyd."
The ex-con arrives by bus. He gets off the common carrier and
limps to an unknown destination. Ominously, he carries a case
containing what appears to be a rifle or shotgun.
Complicating things still further is the fact that Deputy Fife,
although armed with a pistol, in fact has no bullets in that
pistol (although he does carry *one* bullet in a shirt pocket.)
The sheriff himself carries no weapon.
At home that evening with his son and an aunt who performs
housekeeping chores for Sheriff Taylor, the phone rings. It is
the ex-con saying he is coming to the Taylor residence to pay a
visit. The aunt, Beatrice, promptly takes the sheriff's son and
deserts the premises.
Unknown to the sheriff, secret bodyguards Pyle and Campbell are
The ex-con, limping and still carrying the apparent rifle or
shotgun, arrives. He is a mean-looking fellow. The unarmed
sheriff invites him in.
At this point, Deputy Fife arrives. He and his secret team peer
in through the window. They see the ex-con pull a shotgun from
the case he is carrying.
Thinking quickly, Deputy Fife pulls the electric fuses for
Sheriff Taylor's home. Then, he, Pyle, and Campbell, carrying
stout rope, rush in the back door.
But, in the meantime, the sheriff and the ex-con have exited via
the front door. Inside the house, in the darkness, the deputy
and his assistants bungle badly and end up in knots.
Outside, the sheriff fixes the fuses, the lights go back on, and
he and the ex-con peer in through the window. They both laugh at
what they see. It turns out that the shotgun was a present given
to Sheriff Taylor as supposed "thanks" for helping the ex-con
straighten up and turn his life around.
BUT, how is it that the ex-con, a felon, can have a shotgun to
give to the sheriff? And what about this Otis Campbell fellow
who, under the guise of being intoxicated, is "coincidentally"
privy to police intelligence? And most especially, why is it
that the "good sheriff" employs incompetent Fife as deputy -- is
the sheriff afraid that a *real* deputy might catch on to