Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Of the many TV miniseries produced by Walt Disney for his various weekly anthologies of the '50s and '60s, only Tales of Texas John Slaughter came close to matching the "Davy Crockett" programs in popularity and longevity. Based on fact, the 17-episode saga of Texas Ranger-turned-rancher John Slaughter began with this 1958 episode, as Slaughter (played by future bestselling novelist Tom Tryon) rides into the Texas community of Friotown in 1870. Almost immediately, Slaughter is forced to kill two men in self-defense, whereupon he learns that the men had attacked him because they thought he was Texas Ranger Ben Jenkins (Harry Carey Jr.). Offered an opportunity to join the Rangers himself, Slaughter turns Jenkins down, preffering instead to set up a cattle ranch. Unfortunately, the murderous activities of outlaw boss Frank Davis (Robert Middleton) force Slaughter to forsake his peaceloving ways and slap on his shootin' irons. Originally telecast as part of the Walt Disney Presents anthology, this episode and the subsequent "Ambush at Laredo" were in 1960 edited together and released theatrically overseas as the "feature film" Texas John Slaughter.