Enhancement to the episode Manhunt
Disclaimer: This a work of fiction for entertainment only, based on the characters from "The Magnificent Seven", specifically from the episode of 'Manhunt'. I don't own them, but if I did I would run away with 'em and never be seen again. CBS and Co., Trilogy Entertainment, and MGM had 'em first and do not want to give 'em away. I only play at this for fun and do not make any money doing it. No infringement of any copyrights is intended.
Acknowledgements: My thanks go to Wendy for catching my errors and to Bountyhunter'slady for use of her beautiful collage. This story was written in answer to a challenge on the Vinfeedback list.
Manhunt is one of my favorite episodes in the series, not just because Vin is featured, but because it sends a powerful message. Prejudice not only affects civilizations, cities, and different races; it is also powerful enough to make men question the truth, their own beliefs and their friends. This episode handled these issues brilliantly and represented the times that they lived in. The vigilante mentality that fuels unjust hatred is the catalyst that spreads irrational thinking like wildfire.
As much as I enjoyed seeing our seven peacemakers stand together at the end, I always felt that the doubts that were held by Buck, Ezra, and the townspeople had about Vin should have been addressed. While I believe that Vin would have never said a word in his own defense, I think others should have followed Chris' example and trusted the man they knew. Instead they allowed themselves to be blinded by lies because they were easier to accept than the truth.
The trial was almost over. Reverend Mosley had been found guilty of murdering his daughter, Claire. The only thing remaining was for Judge Travis to announce his decision for sentencing. The small makeshift courtroom was packed; most of the townspeople were in attendance as well as the seven peacekeepers. Chanu stood alone at the back of the room to see what the white man's justice would do to the man who had killed his wife and unborn child.
Judge Travis did not make them wait long. "Owen Mosley." The reverend stood when his name was called. "You have been found guilty of murder. I have taken into consideration your defense that you did not intend to kill your daughter. However, you did not come forward and admit your wrongdoing. You instead shifted the blame to an innocent man and almost successfully incited the citizens in this town to target their outrage on an entire village of innocent people. It is my decision that you are to hang for your crime. This sentence is to be carried out tomorrow morning." The judge banged his gavel on the table and dismissed the court and ordered JD and Buck to escort Mosley back to his cell.
Vin looked over at Chanu. They shared no words; but a minuscule nod between them acknowledged the understanding that it was over. . .justice had been served.
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Late the next evening the seven peacekeepers were sitting in the saloon half heartily drinking the beers in front of them.
JD had been sitting there spinning his glass around for the last five minutes before he spoke. "Vin, you believed from the beginning that Chanu was innocent. How did you know?"
"I didn't know," Vin admitted.
"But yet you went above and beyond what was necessary to try and prove it." Buck was puzzled. He had wondered for a long time what motivated the tracker to push forward for Chanu, but would not ask, until now. "Even with the entire town ready to lynch the man. Why?"
Vin sighed deeply. "I reckon 'cause I wasn't listenin' to 'em. I was hearin' the cries of all the innocent Indians that had died 'just 'cause they were different than the white man wanted 'em to be. Chanu deserved a chance to have his say."
Nathan leaned forward. "JD, there are all kinds of hatred in this world. Admittedly some might be deserved by the evil things men do. But to hate a man for being different is the same as hating the sun for being covered up by the clouds and letting it rain. The sun can't be faulted for what happens naturally."
"Amen to that brother." Josiah understood where Vin's head had been, but he also understood how good men could easily be swept up in the heat of the moment and then forget what they knew in their hearts.
The Texan nodded. "It's no one's fault, that's just the nature of men. The search for the truth is hard work. Sometimes it's easier to believe the lie than to disbelieve and question."
"Gentlemen if we have learned anything from this experience I think we learned it from our young friend here. One voice is all it takes to begin a thought; when joined by others that lone voice will soon become a loud roar. It is up to us to direct that roar to the side of truth and justice." Ezra raised his mug and saluted Tanner. "Thankfully our Texan's voice prevailed."
Chris understood that for Tanner it was always about fairness. His young friend had been accused of murder in Texas and no one would listen to his side of the story. Vin only wanted the truth to be told here. Larabee raised his own mug and nodded toward his best friend. "Here's to justice."