Unfortunately, when Samba goes down (like it did today), it goes down hard. All of the scripts hung while trying to copy over to the public drive. Not only that, doing a 'kill -9' didn't kill them, and trying to do a 'df' or a 'cd' on the mounted drive caused the terminal to hang with no way to recover. There was nothing left to do but reboot at that point.
We think that this happened because the Samba server (which we don't control) was rebooted as the same time the scripts were copying the files over. In other words, a lightning strike.
I thought about setting up a sigalarm/timeout for 'copy' operations, but then I figured that if a 'kill -9' won't stop the script from hanging, a timeout probably won't work either.