Marching to his Own Beat
There is some cattle rustling going on around the Outlet and whilst Marshal Jim Crown (Stuart Whitman) tries to keep the peace and find out who is behind it newly arrived Sergeant-Major Chambers (Gerald S. O'Loughlin) plans to make his mark by bringing in anyone who breaks the smallest of rules. It puts himself at loggerheads with veteran cavalry man Sergeant Clay Tice who is happy to turn his eye to minor misdemeanours and small time cattle rustling. When Clay is discovered in the Wayfarers Inn chatting up Dulcey (Jill Townsend) and drinking, Chambers gives him two options, resign or face a court-martial. But having resigned Clay is not going to go quietly and plans to rally his old cavalry friends to hold a kangaroo court for Chambers in the Wayfarers.
I am pretty sure that "The Sound of a Drum" is the first episode of "Cimarron Strip" which has really struggled to get my attention and that disappoints me as up until now the episodes I have watched as stand alone TV movies have been entertaining. Now despite being episode 19 it isn't that the series was struggling for ideas as this still has a good one but in order for it to work it has to meander about for a bit before delivering a twist which then makes sense of it all. As such who the first half we have what looks like just one story which is the issues between Clay and Chambers, yes there is the cattle rustling but the focus is on the tension between them and so barely pays any attention to Jim Crown.
But as I said there is a twist coming at about the half way mark which makes "The Sound of a Drum" a lot more entertaining and brings Jim Crown in to things a bit more which to be honest is what you watch this for. It is a shame that the first half is so meandering as what comes during the second half is decent but you will have found yourself drifting a bit whilst it sets things up. About the only thing going on in the first half is Steve Forrest looking like he has walked off the set of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers".
What this all boils down to is that "The Sound of a Drum" ends up a good episode of "Cimarron Strip" and so works as a stand alone TV movie. But it is one which you have to stick with because the opening is slow and more focussed on the character of Sergeant Clay than anyone else which as I said is not what you watch "Cimarron trip" for.