26 Men # Ricochet

Song 26 Men written by Hal Hopper & Russ Hayden
The Song

Music: Gordon Zahler 


altThe Larson brothers ride into town. Somehow in a rage because they are blamed for a fire they did not start and feeling guilty at the same time because a man has died by accident – he was killed by a bullet of theirs which had gone astray. They arrive in town the moment nearly all town residents have gone to church. Partly to have fun and partly to voice their anger they shoot at the church bell. This annoys the congregation. The captain approaches them and asks them to hang their guns on a board, which clearly states that this town is staying away from shootings. Reluctantly they do so.

altAaltll three brothers are aware that they are not allowed in town as long as the case concerning the fire and the shooting is not solved. They go for the saloon and confront the barkeeper. He was the one who first was eager to blame them for initiating the fire. As he seems to hide something, the Larsons become angry and Blake pulls the barkeeper’s head into some food on a tray before him on the counter. That moment the captain comes in and reminds them that they were to stay away from town. They knew and tell him that they’ve only come back to warn the people of an oncoming raid, planned by a group of gangsters they have met in the hills. But they leave afterwards.

As they cross the center of the little town, the oldest brother meets his girlfriend and tells her that he has saved up some money – altenough to begin a future together. She is reluctant because of the complicated situation. It was her father who haaltd been killed by the bullet. In the hills the oldest brother takes the money he has saved and goes back to town.  Blake tries to stop him, arguing that he will put himself into danger, but the brother does not listen. He knocks Blake down. The youngest brother cares for Blake who says: „What are you fussing about me? Stop him!“ but it is too late. As they see him disappear far away they notice two riders coming closer. They belong to the gang which makes the area unsafe. „Go and get your gun,“ Blake tells his brother, „They might not take ‚No‘ for an answer.“

altAs the two come close, they try to involve them in the planned raid on the town. Blake tells them that a certain day would be perfect because then all town will be on a Sunday School picnic. They are convinced. alt

altNow the two brothers ride to town to warn the people. The oldest brother has brought the money to Mrs. Millner, who is in mourning for her husband. She wants to have a statement confirmed that he, her daughter’s friend, was not the one who has fired the shots. But he tells her that whatever has happened, he is always riding with his brothers. In the meantime the captain shows the bullet to some people. He had it taken from the body and it clearly shows a deformation which indicates that it has hit another hard object before it killed the man. He is sure that the killing has been an accident.
Coming out of the house the eldest Larson brother is knocked down by the barkeeper who has arranged for a possee. The men try to hang him without trial for having caused the fire and for the death of Mr. Millner. In vain Jenny, his friend, tries to intervene. The two brothers come right in time to prevent the hanging of their brother.

By shooting they disperse the crowd. Seeing that the barkeeper aims his gun at their brother, Blake shoots him in his hand. Then they get their brother to safety and Blake hits the barkeeper with the hanging rope. Now the captain and the sheriff arrive and are astonished to find a possee.
altBlake tells him about the conversation he had with the gang leader and that are coming to raid the town. As the gang rides in, all is ready. In the bank, in the shop, everywhere the members of the gang are overwhelmed by men hiding in the buildings. Only in the bar the barkeeper does not leave the cash in the cash register as planned. He leaves it open to make it look like it was stolen and leaves through the back door. But the two men heading for the salon are right after him, finding him and the money behind the building. Trying to overwhelm him they fight. The eldest Larson brother sees the fight and saves the barkeeper. He has got the two men when the captain arrives. Now all town is grateful to the Larson brothers. Not only is the killing a proven accident, but also the barkeeper admits that it was him who has laid the fire.



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