Vultures on the Line
Episode 3 of The English begins in Hoxem, at the Flynn family homestead. Timothy Flynn trains his gun on his wife, who sprints away from him. He shoots her, and then kills himself.
Billy Myers is disturbed by the death of Timothy, a man he served with in the army. He approaches Sheriff Robert Marshall to ask if they found any marks on Timothy’s body, but he doesn’t explain why.
All day, Martha Myers is frustrated at being unable to find Billy. She alone has to deal with the problem of their cattle being stolen. She confronts Thomas Trafford and his men, who surely knew this cattle was theirs. But they claim to be following the law. Any unbranded cattle become property of the Stock Growers’ Association.
Trafford then warns her to keep a lock on their gun box at home. If Timothy could kill his wife, Billy may turn on her next.
Meanwhile, the sheriff learns that Mrs. Flynn had cow pox on her hand when she died. And when they dig up one of the bodies, they find it branded with the letter “B.” The sheriff wants to talk again with Billy–but it’s too late.
That night, Billy’s son discovers his dad’s body hanging, entrails hanging from his guts. The rider responsible rides away before he can glimpse who it is.
Meanwhile, Cornelia encounters a scientist named Jenson on her way to Oklahoma. Suddenly, someone shoots him. A Native American man approaches, says he wants nothing with Cornelia, and drags Jenson’s body into his carriage. The man claims Jenson encroached on land where he wasn’t supposed to be.
Cornelia and the children keep going on their journey. A bushwhacker named Black-Eyed Mog and her two sons keep an eye on them from a cliffside. They consider killing them and raiding the carriage, but decide to wait for a bigger haul.
John works for the Clarkes to pay off his debt. He finds a holster for the compass he gave to Cornelia. The Clarkes stole it from the Mennonites. Eli puts together that the Clarkes are hucksters: people who clean up after bushwhackers like Captain Clegg.
Other bushwhackers come through to talk with John, who lets them know that Clegg is dead. But they don’t want to take his place with Black-Eyed Mog as their competition. John is hopeful, however, that he can get Eli to take her out.
Eli decides to take Cornelia’s money, leave, and track her down. He tells John he’s done enough to pay off his debt. But Katie disagrees; she shoots him with a dart, and he falls from his horse.
Cornelia runs into the Mennonites earlier than she expected to. They heard the kids were in trouble and were going back for them. So, Cornelia returns the children, and also learns about the troublesome nature of the Clarkes. Fearing Eli is in trouble, she leaves her carriage behind and rushes back to their farm.
When she returns, Eli is gone. She gets into an altercation with Katie, and ends up stabbing her in the gut. She then threatens John into giving her his money and telling her where Eli is.
Meanwhile, at the Bootleg Compound of Kills on Water, Eli approaches a man. Patting a bird’s skull, he introduces himself as Kills on Water and demands Eli tell him everything he knows about the massacre at Chalk River.
The Episode Review
While a slow pace and convoluted set-up slightly bog down the drama of this episode, several layers of intrigue elevate the suspense.
Back in Hoxem, a battle has been anonymously declared. Thomas Trafford is a sly one, but he’s likely the one behind Bill Myers’ death. He doesn’t like homesteaders encroaching on what he perceives as his territory. And the entrails cut out of Myers’ stomach recalls the foetuses cut out from Trafford’s own cattle. One has to wonder when Trafford will get what’s coming to him–and whether he is, or is associated with, the Wyoming man responsible for the death of Cornelia’s son.
Whomever Cornelia is planning to kill, she has her hands full right now in her plans to track down Eli. She may have the upper hand in her current situation with John, but dangers abound for a woman alone in this land.