Murder, She Wrote 4.20 “Showdown in Saskatchewan”

One of Jessica’s niece’s has run off to join the circus with a cowboy doing the rodeo circuit. After getting a call about this from her niece’s mother, Jessica leaves Cabot Cove and tracks her niece down at the Calgary Stampede Saskatchewan Showdown.

Just in case the reference to Saskatchewan wasn’t enough to clue you in, this episode takes place in Canada, in the fictional town of Queensbridge.

Just the facts ma’am:

Spoilers are in white font, so highlight the text below to reveal the answers.

  • The victim was… the rodeo doctor!
  • killed by… a rodeo talent agent?!
  • in… the medic trailer!
  • with… smoke inhalation!
  • because… he recognized him as a convict who broke out of prison 14 years ago!
  • vital clues: burned x-ray and used up oxygen tank.

Repeat offenders:

Most actors in this episode had made multiple appearances on the show.

Those in more minor roles include (from left to right):

  • Ed McCready as a bartender in his first of three appearances on the show.
  • Thomas H. Middleton as jail warden Burns in his first of two appearances on the show.
  • Ron Troncatty as a PA announcer in his first of two appearances on the show.
  • Lisa Long as a flirtatious girl in her first of two appearances on the show.
  • And Gerry Okuneff (not pictured) simply credited as “Man” in his first of three appearances on the show.

Those in more major roles include:

  • Cassie Yates (left) as Carla Talbot, a cowboy’s wife, in her second of four total appearances on the show.
  • Joe Dorsey (center) as the victim, Doc Schaeffer, in his third of six total appearances on the show.
  • Rosanna DeSoto (right) as the Doc’s wife, Consuela Schaeffer, in her first of three total appearances on the show.

And particularly notable are:

  • Terry Kiser (left) (a.k.a. Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s) playing rodeo clown Wally Bryce in his second and last appearance on the show.
  • Larry Wilcox (right) (a.k.a. Officer Jon Baker from CHiPs) playing star cowboy Boone Talbot in his second of four total appearances on the show.

Honourable mentions:

No super big stars in this one, but honourable mentions go to:

  • Kristy McNichol (left) playing Jessica’s niece Jill Morton. McNichol had a recurring role on Golden Girls spin-off Empty Nest.
  • Paul LeMat (center) playing rodeo talent agent Luke. LeMat had a major role in the classic movie American Graffiti.
  • Lance LeGault (right) playing RCMP Inspector Roger McCabe. LeGault had a recurring role as Colonel Buck Greene on Magnum, P.I.

Final thoughts:

I have heard many people comment on the inaccuracy in the show’s portrayal of accents, and this episode is no exception. It is supposed to take place in Saskatchewan, and while for the most part the non-Canadian accents can be explained away by saying that the people performing at the rodeo aren’t necessarily locals, it’s strange that the one local character (the RCMP officer) has a vaguely British accent. (I have commented on this before when summarizing the previous Canadian-set episode: “Witness for the Defense“.)

Also notable is the fact that this is the second time that Joe Dorsey plays a character who ends up being the victim on MSW. The first time was in Season 3’s “Death Stalks the Big Top”.

Otherwise, it’s a standard episode that gives us more insight about Jessica’s family (although as usual it is a bit vague). We learn she has a niece named Jill Morton and that Jill’s mother’s name is Louise; but the show is unclear about whether Louise is Jessica’s sister or maybe someone from Jessica’s husband’s side of the family.

Having said that, since the official date for this post is Valentine’s Day, I’ll end this summary with some screenshots of a cowboy giving another cowboy an oily rubdown.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: