March 1876: Corbett steals silver from the House of Gireaux in New Orleans, killing Victor Gireaux during his escape and is seen fleeing the scene by Rene Gireaux. Corbett escapes into Mexico with the silver.
Sometime before: United States authorities begin extradition procedures to have Corbett returned to New Orleans to answer for his crimes.
Two weeks before: The House of Gireaux learns all attempts to extradite Corbett have failed, and begins planning to hire someone to persuade him to return to the United States.
Saturday, June 16, 1877: Bret arrives in New Orleans.
Sunday, June 17 – Saturday, June 23, 1877: Bret loses $1,000 in poker over the course of a week in New Orleans.
Saturday, June 23, 1877: Bret receives a hotel bill for one week at the Hotel Claibourne, and the larger half of a $1,000 bill with an invitation from Roul Gireaux to entertain a proposition to receive the other half.
Sunday, June 24, 1877: Bret meets Roul and Rene Gireaux at the House of Gireaux in New Orleans and accepts their proposition to persuade Corbett to return to the United States.
Monday, June 25, 1877: Bret sets sail from New Orleans for Tampico.
Saturday, June 30, 1877: Bret arrives in Tampico and meets Paul Brooks and Steve Corbett at La Cantina Americana. Bret convinces Brooks to take a trip to Corpus Christi to reunite with Rachel Stoker.
Sunday, July 1, 1877: Brooks quits La Cantina American and sets sail for Corpus Christi. Corbett hires Bret to replace Brooks as a dealer. Bret makes enemies by exposing the other dealers' crooked games and expelling their brace men.
Tuesday, July 3, 1877: Brooks arrives in Corpus Christi.
Sunday, July 8, 1877: Bret is attacked in an alley behind La Cantina Americana by Sam Garth's thugs. Corbett helps Bret fight them off but is stabbed. Bret bandages Corbett's wound in his office. Bret borrows $300 from Corbett to pay off Gireaux.
Monday, July 9, 1877: Bret sends $1,000 to Roul Gireaux to end his obligation of returning Corbett to the States.
Tuesday, July 10, 1877: Amy sees Fred Fowler dining in La Cantina Americana and tells Corbett she must stop running from her past and return to the States. Corbett pleads with her not to leave and she tells him she will stay.
Wednesday, July 11, 1877: Amy leaves Tampico on a boat for Corpus Christi. Bret tries to talk Corbett out of following her, but Corbett leaves Bret in charge of La Cantina Americana and sails after Amy.
Thursday, July 12, 1877: Amy arrives in Corpus Christi as Brooks departs for Tampico.
Friday, July 13, 1877: Corbett disembarks from his boat on the Mexican side of the border to avoid American authorities.
Saturday, July 14, 1877: Brooks returns to La Cantina Americana and tells Bret he saw Amy meet Rene Gireaux at the dock in Corpus Christi. Bret closes the cantina to follow Corbett. Corbett arrives in Corpus Christi and begins searching for Amy.
Sunday, July 15, 1877: Bret sails from Tampico for Corpus Christi.
Tuesday, July 17, 1877: Bret arrives in Corpus Christi and tracks Corbett to Gireaux's residence where he kills Corbett in self-defense.
01. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails
02. Maverick, Escape to Tampico (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Bret Maverick's hotel bill
Occasionally, an episode gives us a specific date that pins the story to a very specific point in time. "Escape to Tampico" grants us that favor. Bret Maverick's bill, after a week of staying at the Hotel Claibourne, was dated June 23, 1877. From that date, we can extrapolate all other dates in the story with confidence, given careful study of other clues.
"I wasn't discouraged when we docked at New Orleans. I still had the thousand-dollar bill I kept for emergencies fastened to the lining of my coat with a safety pin. One week later, I still had the safety pin."
Bret's narration gave us the clues we need to project back from the date of his hotel bill to determine the beginning of the story. June 23, 1877 was a Saturday. So Bret must have arrived in New Orleans on the previous Saturday, June 16. That establishes the opening scene when Bret excused himself from the riverboat's poker table the night before, on June 15.
"if you want the other half of your thousand-dollar bill, come to my home at noon tomorrow regarding a proposition most urgent and confidential."
Bret received this invitation from Roul Gireaux moments after he reviewed his hotel bill. For his "date with money," Bret was very punctual, placing him at Gireaux's doorstep at noon on Sunday, June 24, 1877.
"He's beyond our law, Monsieur. He's in Mexico, a place called Tampico."
Roul Gireaux's information tells us how far Bret would have to travel to find Steve Corbett. Here, we make an assumption that Bret, still punctual where money is concerned, sailed from New Orleans for Tampico the next day, on Monday, June 25. The passage across the Gulf of Mexico, with no coastal stops along the way, would have taken up to five days, barring inclement weather. Since Bret's voyage was in the early weeks of the Gulf's hurricane season, we assume the treacherous winds may have allowed for the full five days, delivering Bret to Tampico on Saturday, June 30. A Saturday arrival is confirmed, as when Bret strolls into La Cantina Americana the next morning, church bells can be heard chiming from outside. No doubt a Sunday, making it July 1 when Corbett hires Bret.
"$2,600 over and above our normal profit for the past seven days."
Corbett's first assessment of profits after hiring Bret was a week later, on Sunday, July 8, 1877. Corbett paid Bret his first commission of ten percent of the profits, $260, giving Bret a total of $700 cash in his pocket. Bret borrowed an additional $300 from Corbett so he could pay off the $1,000 Gireaux had paid him to return Corbett to the States.
"After I sent the thousand dollars back to Gireaux, I slept better."
Monday, July 9, would have been Bret's first opportunity to send the $1,000 to Gireaux. After a night of sleeping better, we arrive at Tuesday, July 10. That night, Amy Lawrence told Corbett she realized she had to stop running from her past and return to the States.
"I thought I talked her out of it last night. This morning, she caught a boat for Corpus Christi."
Corbett's explanation to Bret must have fallen on the morning of Wednesday, July 11. Another boat for Corpus Christi would likely have sailed with the tide about twelve hours later, with Corbett aboard.
"But he's been gone for three days."
Upon Paul Brooks' return to La Cantina Americana from Corpus Christi, he told Chicuelo he had to talk to Corbett. Chicuelo's information places Pauls' return on the evening of Saturday, July 14, three days after Corbett left Tampico to follow Amy. Corbett had left Bret in charge of the cantina, so Brooks spoke with him instead, telling him he had seen Amy meeting a Frenchman at the Corpus Christi dock just as he was boarding a boat back to Tampico. The news made Bret close the cantina immediately and run for the next boat to Corpus Christi.
"He's been looking for a young lady for several days…"
Bret likely left Tampico on Sunday morning, July 15. Since the boat trip from Tampico required two days, and Bret was told by a hotel clerk upon his arrival in Corpus Christi that Corbett had been looking for a girl for several days, Bret must have landed on Tuesday, July 17. This would allow Corbett his "several days" in Corpus Christi — after having traveled overland from the Mexican side of the border — to search for Amy before Bret appeared on the scene.
Maverick Trails is not endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. or the Maverick franchise.
Maverick™ and its various marks are trademarks of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., © 1957, 1994
©2014, 2015, 2016 Maverick Trails