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Dr. Quinn Medicine Mondays: Dying for a good steak

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “Law of the Land” | Aired Jan 16, 1993

Happy Monday, pioneers. A few weeks ago, we started a long wagon ride into Colorado Springs to explore the world of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and all those silly adventures that she goes on as a lady doctor (not that kind of lady doctor, gosh) in the strange world of the Wild West. So far we’ve had snakebites and childbirth and a string of influenza cases that makes Ebola look like a JOKE BOOK. But now we’re four episodes deep, so let’s jump in and recap what happened in “Law of the Land.”

We start with gunshots! What’s going on? Oh, just a casual shootout among friends. Lo and behold, it’s actually Johnny Cash, who is playing Mr. Cole, a renowned gunfighter. Everyone is super-jazzed to see that Mr. Cole has chosen Colorado Springs as his next location to shoot a man (granted, it was a man who kept shooting at him first). He shoots the young whippersnapper in the shoulder and everyone nods approvingly. I imagine that this whole occurrence is similar to, like, when Taylor Swift does a pop-up performance in Times Square or something. Welcome to Colorado Springs; we’ve been waiting for you.

Anyway, the best Dr. Quinn is the Dr. Quinn who is throwing shade, which is what she does when she meets Dr. Cole. She’s tending to the wounded man when he says, “I’ve never met no lady doctor before.” She retorts, “Then we’re even, Mr. Cole. I’ve never met a gunfighter.” God, she’s so fresh.

As Dr. Quinn works on the wounded boy, she and Mr. Cole have a conversation about how he became a gunfighter. To make a long story short, Mr. Cole didn’t choose gunfighting—gunfighting chose Mr. Cole. They kind of make friends, and then Dr. Quinn gives him a vile of medicine for his smoker’s cough. Mr. Cole then compliments Colorado Springs and how flawless Dr. Quinn is.

Next, Matthew brings a “friend” home from Sweden. She eats chicken like an animal, and it appears that she hasn’t brushed her hair since probably 1859. Come to find out, she’s malnourished—her whole family is, including a pretty Swedish boy named John who HAS brushed his hair, and honestly, it makes all the difference. Elsewhere, on the outskirts of town, Sully has taken Brian into the woods to teach him how to hunt, and I cannot handle it. They even draw their bows together. Too cute.

Then, they just approach the deer, pet it, and realize she’s shot. Knowing that she’s injured, Sully speaks to her in Cheyenne language and asks if he can kill her. He then … wait for it … sucks the deer’s spirit out of its snout. Brian demands that they take the deer to Dr. Quinn and that he put her spirit back, so Sully breathes her spirit back into the deer’s snout (as one does) and brings her into town. Brian brings Sully and the deer back to Dr. Quinn and asks her to fix it, and then Sully and Dr. Quinn have the cutest argument about how Brian can talk them into anything. I love it. And then Sully reveals that his real name is BYRON. He’s totes embarrassed by it.

Matthew decides to take a giant basket of goodies to the Swedes, but the Swedish brother who brushes his hair is NOT about it. He wants to work for it, even if Matthew is 100 percent in love with his sister. So he agrees to have Swedish brother come along and mend some fences, and the whole little Swedish family is jazzed because now they have veggies AND dignity. However, that dignity is shot pretty quickly when Matthew decides that he and the Swede will SLAUGHTER MISS OLIVE’S COW for their entire family. Needless to say, Miss Olive is not pleased.

Anyway, apparently killing a cow is a way to get everybody riled up, because a mob goes after the Swedes—it’s full-on Black Friday madness. They shoot the brother in the shoulder, and luckily, he makes it to the church. The reverend puts him inside, then stands in the way of the door. Soon, Dr. Quinn joins him, as do Robert E. and some prostitutes. This is the best ragtag group of superheroes I’ve ever seen.

After weighing their options, Sully, Michaela, and the Reverend agree that the best course of action is to … put out an advertisement for a sheriff, which is one way to do things, I guess. The townspeople are already over it, and one guy who wears his neck scarf quite liberally threatens Michaela. That’s when Mr. Cole steps in and threatens to drop a bomb if anyone hurts her. Mr. Cole is everything. Somehow, immediately, a whole bevvy of men show up for the sheriff job, but they are all literally insane. Then Mr. Cole shows up and shoots all the targets and announces that he’s the best one to be sheriff because all he wants is to break up saloon fights and have rosebushes.

Anyway, these townspeople are 100 percent crazy. Later in the night, right as Matthew is about to admit that it was his idea to slaughter the cow for the Swedes, people come and throw rocks and fire into Dr. Quinn’s house and nearly hit Dr. Quinn in the process. Matthew, shaping up to be the household hero, grabs a shotgun and fires. I’m conflicted, because gun violence is never the answer, but then, watching Matthew protect his house by whatever means necessary? Shoo, girl. He finally relents, as the camera pans closer and closer, until it’s nearly up his nose.

The next day, Michaela and Matthew try to pay for the cow, but Miss Olive and that awful shopkeeper aren’t having it. They want to hang the Swede, and when Michaela goes to the town center, they see that some of the crazies have already started prepping a noose for him. #Rude. The townspeople go nuts again after another man tries to steal, so they break into the jail and steal John to hang him. Luckily, Sully cuts the rope with an ax, and Sheriff Mr. Cole stops the whole charade.

However, the judge can’t make it and has appointed Johnny Cash instead. The townspeople just want him dead. Judge Sheriff Mr. Cole asks John if he wants to say anything, but John just apologizes. Then Matthew announces that he helped, and the town is, like, flabbergasted. To drive the point home, Dr. Quinn gives a mini-speech essentially about socioeconomic status. It’s very nice. Miss Olive drops the charges, and the town is super-pissed. But justice has been served, and Brush Your Hair John is a free man again.

Colorado Springs Gossip Mill

  • I would like to know where I can purchase the father/son hunter garb that Brian and Sully were wearing, for when I have a son of my own one day.
  • There’s never enough Robert E. and Grace.
  • If this show does ever get rebooted, it should be called Dr. Quinn, Social Justice Lawyer.
  • In the face of his first drama, Judge Sheriff Mr. Cole quits and says that “maybe he should go to medical school.” He leaves town to find his vocation.

Every week I think it’s going to get boring, but it never does! Someone’s life is on the line every time, and there’s a social-justice lesson in almost every episode. It’s insanity, but most of all, it’s Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. As the episode ends, Brian breathes his spirit into the deer and lets it go. In a way, we let it go too, didn’t we?

That’s all for this week, pioneers. Go breathe your spirit into something, and we’ll talk again next week.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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