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01. Maverick, The Long Hunt (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

Ferris, Jedd


Cattle rancher in Dry Springs, Arizona Territory in the 1870s, and alleged and wrongfully convicted murder.[1] (June 6, 1838March 9, 1888)[2]


Jedd and Martha Ferris were married in 1868. Ferris became a cowhand, riding herd on early cattle drives from Texas into California in the late 1860s into the early 1870s, causing him to be away from Martha for extended periods of time.[2]


Knowing the military in Arizona Territory was starving for beef, he believed he and Martha could build a life for themselves on a ranch there, and he would be able to spend more time with his wife on their own spread. In March of 1872, he and Martha bought and moved to a small ranch outside of Dry Springs, along with Martha's father.[2]


On May 8, 1872, the bank in Dry Springs was robbed by four men wearing bandanas. One of the men, Lefty Dolan, shot and killed a bank teller, but his bandana fell off during the escape and was seen by four witnesses. The men escaped, but Ferris, a new-comer in Dry Springs and also left-handed as Dolan was, was mistakenly identified as the man who shot and killed a teller. Ferris was convicted of the murder, and sentenced to hang. Believing there was not enough evidence against Ferris to warrant a death penalty, Governor Anson P. K. Safford commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.[1] After the stay of execution, Ferris was jailed at the Pima County jail in Tucson. In July of 1876, Ferris was again transferred, this time to the new facilities at Yuma Territorial Prison.[2]


In February of 1877,[2] Dolan was mortally shot during a stage robbery in Wyoming Territory. While he was dying, he confessed his crime of murdering the Dry Springs bank teller to Bret Maverick and made him promise to do whatever he could to see that Ferris was cleared of the murder charge and set free, but Dolan refused to name his partners in the crime.[1]


After speaking directly to Safford and other involved in the case, Bret visited Ferris in prison. Ferris was grateful to Bret, finally knowing there was someone that didn't just have faith but knew he was innocent. He asked Bret to deliver a message to Martha, still in Dry Springs, that his case was hopeless and she should remarry and go on to lead a happy life without him.[1]


Two months later[1] in Prescott,[2] Bret crossed paths with two of the other bank robbers, Rex Clark and Whitey Brandon. Clark was killed while Bret was trying to make him prove Ferris' innocence, but Brandon fled and headed south, apparently making a run for the Mexican border.[1]


Bret caught up to Brandon at the Rocking Star Ranch near Dry Springs, and realized that Brandon wasn't headed for the border after all, but to meet up with the fourth bank robber, Ben Maxwell. In a final confrontation with Maxwell, the sheriff of Dry Springs shot and mortally wounded him. As he was dying, Maxwell signed a confession that ultimately led to Jed Ferris' release from prison. Bret was on hand the day Ferris rode back home and into his wife's arms.[1]


The Ferrises were very grateful to Bret and became close friends, often visiting Bret in his retirement years at the Lazy Ace outside of Sweetwater. Ferris suffered a heart attack at his own ranch on March 9, 1888 and died with Martha at his side.[2]


See: The Long Hunt

Jedd Ferris

Portrayed by Richard Crane

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