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

02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

Ferris, Martha


Rancher's wife in Dry Springs, Arizona Territory in the 1870s.[1] (July 30, 1847June 4, 1920)[2]


Jedd and Martha Ferris were married in 1868. In March of 1872, they 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. One of the bandits, Lefty Dolan, shot and killed a bank teller and lost his mask during the getaway. Jedd Ferris, a newcomer to the area, was mistakenly identified as the left-handed man that killed the teller. He was sentenced to hang, but the territorial governor commuted his sentence to life imprisonment.[1]


Ben Maxwell, one of the four men that robbed the bank, came to Jedd's trial out of curiosity. There, he met and fell in love with Martha. After Jedd was sent away to prison, he bought the Rocking Star Ranch just north of the Ferris Ranch to be near her, and to help out in Jedd's absence. Martha grew very fond of Maxwell, and depended on his help around the ranch.[1]


Martha had faith in her husband's innocence. Knowing he would be in prison for life, Ferris pleaded with her to forget him and remarry, so she would have a chance at happiness in life. But she refused, believing someday his innocence would be proven and they would be together again.[1]


In 1877, Bret Maverick came to the Ferris Ranch to deliver a message to Martha from Jedd, whom he had just visited at Yuma Territorial Prison. At the Ferris Ranch, Bret met Maxwell, who asked him to let him know if there was anything he could ever do to help get Ferris out of prison. As long as Ferris was in prison, Maxwell believed Martha would never give up hope, but if Ferris was out, being just a man, Maxwell might have a chance against him for Martha's hand.[1]


Two months later, Martha's father died. About that time, Bret met two of the other bank robbers, Rex Clark and Whitey Brandon, while playing poker in Prescott. Clark was killed, but Brandon fled, apparently heading south for the Mexican border. His trail led Bret through Dry Springs, where Bret believed he could enlist Maxwell's aid in tracking him down and clearing Ferris' name.[1]


But Bret soon learned Brandon wasn't running for the border. He was trying to meet up with the fourth bank robber, Maxwell himself. Bret reasoned that meeting and falling in love with Martha had changed his plans, causing him to buy the Rocking Star and settling down close to Martha's ranch, in hopes of winning her love.[1]


Bret cornered Brandon in the barn on Maxwell's ranch and was forcing him to sign an affidavit clearing Ferris of the murder charges, but Maxwell suddenly entered the barn, shooting and killing Brandon before he could sign his name to the document. Maxwell was about to kill Bret, but Martha appeared with the Dry Springs sheriff, who shot Maxwell before he could kill Bret. As Maxwell was dying, he asked for the affidavit and signed his own name, resolving Ferris of the murder charges.[1]


Ferris was released from prison two months later and returned to Martha.[1] They lived happily together on their ranch for several years, but Ferris died of a heart attack in 1888. Martha sold the ranch and moved to Tucson for the remainder of her days. She remained friends with Bret Maverick through the years but never remarried, and died of heart failure herself in 1920.[2]


See: The Long Hunt

Martha Ferris

Portrayed by Joan Vohs

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