Stuart Whitman and Percy Herbert in Cimarron Strip: Knife in the Darkness (1968)

A Ripper Strip

Fog has engulfed Cimarron and in the darkness a young woman from the bordello is murdered, her body butchered in the same way that Jack Ripper has been dismembering his victims in London, England. With Francis (Randy Boone) aware that the British police having been unable to catch the famous killer, Marshall Jim Crown (Stuart Whitman) finds himself trying to do what they couldn't especially when an old flame becomes a victim.

Whilst I have enjoyed the other episodes of "Cimarron Strip" I have to say that "Knife in the Darkness" leaves me torn. For me I really don't like the various references to Jack the Ripper, to me the whole idea that maybe the Ripper went to America and is now killing women in the dead of night there is too far fetched for me. But if they had made this movie without mentioning the Ripper and just gave Jim Crown a serial killer to deal with then the end result would have been an entertaining and frankly strong western.

The thing is that whilst I have issues with "Knife in the Darkness" it is a really nicely written episode and also a nicely shot one considering most of this episode takes place at night time. But the strength of this "Cimarron Strip" is that it keeps you guessing as to who the murderer is as there are several possibilities from a travelling knife sharpener to a hot-headed cowboy as well as Indian. And it does take a bit of time to give you enough information to even make a stab at a guess as to who it is.

What this all boils down to is that "Cimarron Strip: Knife in the Darkness" is certainly an entertaining episode of the old western series with each of the regulars playing their parts well. But for me the whole referencing of Jack the Ripper ends up feeling like over kill and at times too forced.