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» » The Rockford Files The Dark and Bloody Ground (1974–1980)

Short summary

Jim reluctantly agrees to work for Beth Davenport. His job is to help her prove her client, Ann Calhoun, is innocent of the crime she is accused of; murdering her husband Kevin Calhoun. Jim's investigation takes him to the town of Parker, Arizona, where the Calhouns are from. He digs up info someone doesn't want found out and is almost killed trying to return to L.A. Socialites Clyde Russell and Elizabeth Gorman, who were throwing a party the Calhouns attended, are also investigated. Jim's investigation is making someone nervous as another attempt is made on his life.

First appearance in the series for Beth Davenport, portrayed by Gretchen Corbett.

A photo of 50s/60s television star Guy Williams _ "Zorro" (1957-1959)_, and _ "Lost in Space" (1965)_, is seen on a book jacket as author 'Steven Gorman'.

When Claude Russell calls Rockford, and tells him to come to the 'old Blackfod Place', at '3972 Ambazac Road, In Bel Air', there's no Ambazac 'road', but, there is 'Ambazac Way'

The title is one of the possible origins of the name of the state of Kentucky.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Wen
    Gretchen Corbett, who would play Jim Rockford's attorney, for four seasons, makes her debut in this episode, although she is the one hiring Rockford to work for her instead of vice versa.

    Like many of the first season episodes, the story features a very dark and cynical Rockford, who is quite suspicious of whether or not he will ever get paid. Rockford's insolvency is one of the show's recurring themes and probably what set it apart from all other detective shows.

    The show was still developing all of its characters and in this episode, Beth Davenport was somewhat naive, Dennis Becker was somewhat hostile, and Rocky was already trying to get his son to switch to truck driving.
  • comment
    • Author: Fomand
    Right from the get go, there is a great chemistry between James Garner as Rockford and the fetching Gretchen Corbett as Beth Davenport. Not quite a pin up babe type, Corbett is a very attractive woman who brings great intelligence and humor to the role. I have had a crush on her since 1974.

    This episode features some really terrific writing although probably one or two more chase scenes than it needed. The comedy and banter was enough for me. As one of the very first episodes shot there are also some small differences: Jim calls Dennis by his last name, the trailer is still at the old Ocean Boulevard location, and Jim keeps his gun in the desk rather than the cookie jar.
  • comment
    • Author: ME
    As was previously mentioned by the other reviewers, this is the first episode with Beth Davenport as Jim's infrequent attorney, and it's very obvious they have great chemistry together even in this early season 1 segment. She also appears many other times, and most of those times, her and Jim work well off each other; they're even romantic partners, but never on a serious basis. We want Rockford living alone in the dusty trailer, don't we? To me, the episode seemed to lose track of itself(or maybe my own brain)near the conclusion, when everyone seemed to be guilty of something after the murder of a poet who changes identity takes place. The motive revolves around a copyrighted book which was to become a film, I believe, and if the writer's dead before a certain date, someone else gets the fortune and fame. A fiancé of a woman ends up in jail after killing the attorney(not Beth), but Rockford figures out this woman killed her first husband on a boating trip. Overkill at this point, if you ask me.

    In this episode, we see a few scenes with Rocky, Jim's beloved car, the taco stand and Dennis, so a formula is being set in the inaugural season of this great show. If I were to recommend this particular segment, it would for the first partnership between Jim and Beth, who really work well together.
  • comment
    • Author: Kerahuginn
    I've always thought of Beth Davenport as a great feminist role model. Pretty, smart, and accomplished, Gretchen Corbett finally makes partner in her law firm in her last appearance in The Rockford Files.

    So Corbett enters and we already know she's Jim Rockford's attorney and God knows he needs one with all the scrapes he gets into and the police looking to nail him for something.

    Corbett kind of, sort of cons James Garner to working for her pro bono client Patricia Smith who is accused of killing her husband by setting a fire that did him in. They're newly arrived in town and get to crash a very swank party given by Walter Brooke and Nancy Malone and arranged by Linden Chiles.

    No sooner does Rockford start looking into the background of the deceased than two attempts are made to kill him and the second almost killing Beth Davenport. The deceased apparently did not exist before he married Smith. The deceased is also described as an itinerant poet and drifter.

    But he was far more than that. Just his mere existence threatens the well ordered world of the three above people.

    It's quite a hold he has on them as it turns out. It's also quite a con Beth Davenport pulls on Jim Rockford. Worthy of an Ange.
  • comment
    • Author: Orevise
    Write out of a mystery novel. A murder, and a suspect who looks so so so guilty. The Dark and Bloody Ground brings in the Beth Davenport characters asking Jim to help a client. Much character development in The Dark and Bloody Ground with sub characters Rocky, Det Becker, and Angel. Rocky the worried but sharp father. Becker the combative friend who has a beneficial relationship with Jim, and Angel Jim source for information are character for a great T V series. Solid script. There is a changed identity, different towns to poke around and a scene which is a copy from the movie Duel makes for an interesting story. The surprise ending which I never saw coming is memorable. Written like a good detective novel. A solid 8 out of 10. What stands out for me and is the best part is the eve and flow between the idealist/lawyer Beth Davenport and streetwise, slick Jim Rockford who Beth knows has a good heart. A relationship, which endures for the entire series run.
  • Episode complete credited cast:
    James Garner James Garner - Jim Rockford
    Noah Beery Jr. Noah Beery Jr. - Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford (as Noah Beery)
    Gretchen Corbett Gretchen Corbett - Beth Davenport
    Linden Chiles Linden Chiles - Elliot Malcolm
    Joe Santos Joe Santos - Dennis Becker
    Nancy Malone Nancy Malone - Elizabeth
    Patricia Smith Patricia Smith - Ann Calhoun
    Walter Brooke Walter Brooke - Clyde Russell
    Tom Bower Tom Bower - Officer Hensley
    Marc Alaimo Marc Alaimo - Farber
    Luis Delgado Luis Delgado - Police Officer
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