The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 20 – Showdown with Rance McGrew

Rance McGrew is the star of a cowboy show on TV.  He makes the rest of the crew and cast miserable with his pettiness and his overbearing and selfish behavior.  During one particular scene of the production, the actor playing Jesse James is supposed to attempt to shoot McGrew in the back.  The actor objects saying that the real Jesse James would never have stooped to a cowardly act like shooting a man in the back.  McGrew flies into a rage and belittles Jesse James compared to himself.

Suddenly the saloon that McGrew is standing in becomes a real Old Western saloon and McGrew shouts out that the whiskey he was drinking really is whiskey instead of ginger ale.   A man runs into the saloon and tells McGrew that Jesse James is coming into town.  Rance thinks that it’s the scene they’ve been practicing.  But when Jesse James shows up, he is a large powerful and intimidating man and he isn’t acting.  He tells Rance that in the afterlife the outlaws that McGrew is regularly running down and representing as cowards are very unhappy with him and have sent Jesse James to teach him a lesson.

Now Jesse drags McGrew out onto the street and tells him they are going to have a shoot out.  Rance hides but eventually he is cornered and when Jesse outdraws him McGrew begs the outlaw to spare him.  Jesse says he’ll do it on the condition that Rance will change his ways and respect the honor of the Old West legends he’s been besmirching.  When he agrees, he suddenly finds himself back on the television production set and preparing for the Jesse James scene.  But just before it’s shot an extra comes in and tells Rance that his agent is outside and needs to talk to him.  Of course, it’s Jesse James dressed as a Hollywood agent.  He tells Rance that instead of shooting Jesse, the outlaw will escape by throwing Rance through the saloon window and instead of a stunt double it will be McGrew himself.  And reluctantly Rance accepts the inevitable and comes flying through the window.  And Jesse and Rance go driving off in his Cadillac convertible into a sunset of historical western accuracy.  We’re left assuming this is the beginning of a beautiful but painful friendship for Rance.

Well, not too bad.  B-