The acting in the main roles is quite good. The three brothers pretty much fade into the background once the trial gets underway, but our interest isn't allowed to flag. Replacing the Gordon-Sprague dispute is a conflict between prosecutor William Sprague (Paul Conte), who happened to be a former governor and senator as well as the victim's brother, and defense attorney John Knowles (Jeff Gill). The Irish immigrant community raise money for the defense, sensibly hiring a Protestant lawyer. (No Irish were allowed on the jury.) As depicted here, presiding judge Job Durfee (Bern Budd) was an unofficial member of the prosecuting team, colluding with them in his chambers and giving blatantly prejudicial instructions to the jury.

The Murder Trial of John Gordon provides a good lesson in another way. The circumstantial evidence against John piles up until his guilt seems obvious. And then another claimant to hating Sprague shows up and we're wondering once again. Just as we should be.

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