(21) “The Bostonian”

Original Airdate: (February 2, 1958)

Paladin is hired by a landowner who is in the middle of a growing feud with a cattle rancher.

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Berni Gould, Milton Pascal, and Ken Kolb.

HARRY TOWNES as Henry Prince
CONSTANCE FORD as Gloria Prince
JOE DE SANTIS as Clint Bryant
CHRIS ALCAIDE as Bill Whitney
LUIS GOMEZ as Jose Guillermo

Frederick Ford as Cowboy
Jimmie Booth as Townsman (uncredited)
Russell Custer as Townsman (uncredited)
Mathew McCue as Townsman (uncredited)
Joe Phillips as Townsman (uncredited)

I can stop this brutality, I can stop it right now. But if I do, he won’t be worth anything to you or himself for the rest of his life.

EXT. MAIN STREET – HARVEY, NEVADA – DAY

A group of ruffians is ransacking the cargo of Henry Prince’s wagon.

BILL WHITNEY
Beanbag. You’re it, Andy.

HENRY PRINCE
Stop that! Stop that at once!

BILL WHITNEY
Now you’re it, Henry! Hey, Martin! Fresh fruit for everyone!

We hear a gunshot offscreen.  The apple that Bill Whitney is holding is split in half by a bullet. Paladin slowly approaches the men who have stopped in their tracks.

PALADIN
Party’s over, gentlemen. Time for everybody to leave.

BILL WHITNEY
What business is it of yours?

PALADIN
Henry’s an old friend of mine.

BILL WHITNEY
Friend of yours?

PALADIN
That’s right, we once had the same tailor. Now are you leaving, Or would you like to try another apple?

HENRY PRINCE
Thank you. What did you mean about my tailor?

PALADIN
It is Brooks Brothers, isn’t it?

HENRY PRINCE
Yes.

PALADIN
In my youth, Henry, I was the best dressed bouncer in Scully Square.

HENRY PRINCE
Scully? Remarkable.

PALADIN
I’m surprised you recognize it. I would have placed you in the area of Back Bay Station.

HENRY PRINCE
You’d be right. The ancestral home is there. I’ve traveled around a bit in Scully. Rudiella’s, Kelly’s, Monahan’s.

PALADIN
I’m delighted to have recognized a friend.

HENRY PRINCE
I’m surprised you could recognize anything under this disguise. I must look like a sculpture of John Quincy Adams.

PALADIN
This sort of thing happen often?

HENRY PRINCE
Only as often as I come to town.

PALADIN
And you keep coming?

HENRY PRINCE
I have to. Not that I’m especially brave. My wife and I have to eat.

PALADIN
Why don’t you go back to Boston?

HENRY PRINCE
I’ve been exiled by my family. I committed a very great crime. They’ve never forgiven me.

PALADIN
Well Henry, I’m very happy to have met you. Give my regards to Mrs… I don’t even know your last name.

HENRY PRINCE
Here’s my card. Do visit us if you’re going to be here awhile. We’d be delighted to have you anytime.

PALADIN
Henry Prince, Long Valley Ranch.

HENRY PRINCE
That’s right, just follow the road west out of town.

PALADIN
Since we’re exchanging cards…

HENRY PRINCE
You are…

PALADIN
A businessman, Henry.

HENRY PRINCE
I see. Does it mean when you helped me, you were passing out a sample of your work?

PALADIN
No. I helped you because you were badly outnumbered. And because we once had the same tailor.

HENRY PRINCE
Good. Do come and visit us.

PALADIN
Thank you, I will. What was the grave crime you committed?

HENRY PRINCE
I married an actress from the Brattle Theatre. A lovely girl, I think you’d like her.

Paladin and Henry part company and Paladin is walking down the street.

CLINT BRYANT
Gotta match?

PALADIN
I think so.

CLINT BRYANT
Here, try one of mine.

PALADIN
Thank you. That’s a good cigar. Anything go with it?

CLINT BRYANT
Just a little advice. I watched you break up that celebration around Henry. That was a big-hearted thing to do.

PALADIN
Oh?

CLINT BRYANT
But some folks around here aren’t going to understand.

PALADIN
But you do?

CLINT BRYANT
Sure I do. I’d have done the same thing If I’d just ridden up. But you can’t know the whole story, from the way things look on top. Suppose there was a reason for what you saw going on.

PALADIN
I’ll suppose that.

CLINT BRYANT
Suppose you’d worked hard all your life ranchin’. And you had your eye on a little place, That you thought was the only thing you wanted. And suppose this place came up for sale.

PALADIN
And I’ll suppose that.

CLINT BRYANT
Suppose some little fella came out from the east. Knew nothing about ranchin’, nothing but a lot of money. And he bought this place out from under you, By offering twice what it was worth. Wouldn’t you get mad?

PALADIN
I suppose I would.

CLINT BRYANT
Now you take Bill Whitney. The fella you shot the apple out of his hand. He’s a tough customer. He don’t forget things like that.

PALADIN
Oh?

CLINT BRYANT
If I know Bill Whitney, he’s in the saloon behind us, Looking down your neck.

PALADIN
Bill Whitney…Is he the rancher that lost the place he wanted?

CLINT BRYANT
No, I am. Whitney’s my foreman. And if I just raise my hand, he’ll blow your head off. Now I advise you to get on that 2:00 stage.

PALADIN
I see. Now could we do a little more supposing?

CLINT BRYANT
Go ahead.

PALADIN
Suppose you started to raise your hand.

CLINT BRYANT
That’s possible.

PALADIN
And suppose this derringer went off. You might be injured, quite severely.

CLINT BRYANT
Looks like I wasted a good cigar, And some good advice.

PALADIN
Would you like to call it a stalemate?

CLINT BRYANT
Go back to the ranch, Whit. Take the boys with you. I’m gonna run Henry Prince off that ranch. I suppose that means I’ll see more of you.

PALADIN
I suppose so.

INT. RANCH HOUSE OF HENRY AND GLORIA PRINCE – DAY

GLORIA PRINCE
Just because we live among savages, doesn’t mean we have to adopt their morals.

HENRY PRINCE
I’m so tired of being beaten up and bullied by Bryant’s men.

GLORIA PRINCE
That you’d hire someone to kill Bryant.

HENRY PRINCE
Of course not. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I even considered it for a minute.

GLORIA PRINCE
I know this hasn’t been easy for you. You’re the one who has to take the punishment, not me.

HENRY PRINCE
It’s all right. Bruises heal.

We hear footsteps on the front porch, then a forceful knock on the front door. Gloria Prince opens the front door and sees Paladin.

PALADIN
How do you do, Mrs. Prince?

GLORIA PRINCE
How do you do? Do I know you?

PALADIN
I don’t believe so, but I know you. I once had the privilege of witnessing Your performance as Ophelia in the Brattle Theatre.

GLORIA PRINCE
Ophelia. That’s longer ago than I care to remember. Won’t you come in, mr…

PALADIN
Paladin.

GLORIA PRINCE
Paladin. How could you possibly know anything about the Brattle Theatre?

HENRY PRINCE
I come from a very large family. My relatives and friends seem to control The social life in every city in the east.

GLORIA PRINCE
They regarded me as being slightly less than typhoid. Anyway, we decided to come out west, And we bought this ranch. We had no idea that Bryant even wanted it. Would you like some coffee?

PALADIN
Please.

HENRY PRINCE
We can’t find any friends, we can’t even hire help. I have 500 head of young cattle arriving soon, And I don’t know how I’m going to look after them.

PALADIN
You have any crew at all?

HENRY PRINCE
I have one Mexican hand. Guillermo, he’s out mending the fence for me. Would you like to take the job as my foreman? You can name your own price.

PALADIN
I’m sorry, that’s not exactly in my line. I’m not a rancher, I’m a businessman.

GLORIA PRINCE
Strange kind of business, Mr. Paladin. We may have our troubles, But we don’t sanction killing.

PALADIN
Well, I don’t care much for it either. I try to avoid it whenever possible, But there’s always that risk. We’d have to be pushed awfully hard to take that risk.

PALADIN
Get over by the fireplace.

Paladin opens the front door.

HENRY PRINCE
It’s Guillermo. What’s happened to him?

PALADIN
He’s been tarred and feathered. Henry…

HENRY PRINCE
I think we suddenly need someone in your business. You’re hired, Mr. Paladin.

EXT. FRONT YARD OF THE RANCH HOUSE – MORNING

Paladin is shooting at coins set up on the rail of a fence. He hits every one dead center.

HENRY PRINCE
You suppose I’ll ever be able to do that?

PALADIN
Henry, anyone can learn to shoot coins. A man’s heart is larger but it’s a difficult target.

HENRY PRINCE
Why so?

PALADIN
It takes nerve to draw on another human being. No offense, but I doubt that you have it. All your training and background are against you.

HENRY PRINCE
Gloria and I have decided I must learn. We’ve no choice.

PALADIN
All right.

PALADIN
Try this for a starter. Hang your coat up.

Paladin walks back about eight paces.

PALADIN
Anytime you’re ready.

Henry fires two rounds at the tin can and misses both times.

HENRY PRINCE
This is a new gun. Maybe the sights are set wrong.

PALADIN
Oh?

Paladin aims at a nail stuck in a fencepost. He fires and hits it dead on causing the nail to bend upward.

HENRY PRINCE
Guess my sights are set wrong. Well, I’ve got to learn. I must.

PALADIN
All right, we’ll try another lesson. Now I want you to draw on me. Draw and fire. Come on, henry! No time to think! Draw, fire! Now… How many chances did I have to kill you?

HENRY PRINCE
Three.

PALADIN
More, that gun’s not even loaded. Pull the trigger. You must always count your shots.

HENRY PRINCE
I have a great deal to learn.

PALADIN
Henry, I don’t think you have time to learn it all.

GLORIA PRINCE
Henry! Henry… Mr. Paladin… Guillermo’s awake. He said he that last night he overheard Bryant’s men saying they were going to burn all our pasture.

PALADIN
When?

GLORIA PRINCE
He thinks it’s maybe tonight.

PALADIN
They’re here.

PALADIN
Henry…You and Guillermo go that way. Cover them.

PALADIN
Drop that and you’re dead, Bryant. Blow it out! Henry… Guillermo, move in!

Men
Run for it! Get out, quick!
Wait for me!

HENRY PRINCE
Are they…

PALADIN
Both dead.

HENRY PRINCE
My fault. All my fault. It’s all my fault.

PALADIN
No it isn’t, Henry. Whatever fault there is must be shared by a number of people. You, Bryant,Bryant’s men, me.

HENRY PRINCE
It’s my fault Guillermo’s dead. I could have killed bryant’s man Before he even lifted his gun. I couldn’t pull the trigger.

PALADIN
Well, I’m not surprised. Before you came west, the most violent thing you’d ever been involved in was a pillow fight in a Harvard dormitory. This is a different world.

GLORIA PRINCE
Are you saying we don’t belong here, mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
No, mrs. Prince. I’m saying you both have A very painful adjustment to make.

HENRY PRINCE
Well, it’s true. We don’t belong here. I don’t want to kill. I don’t want to be killed. I’ve had enough.

GLORIA PRINCE
Now henry, don’t get upset.

HENRY PRINCE
Every time I go to town, I get run out. I’m expecting 500 head of cattle, And I can’t even hire a man. I’m facing arsonists and gunfighters. No, I’ve had enough. I’ll sell out to bryant for anything he offers.

GLORIA PRINCE
Henry, I’m not going to run anymore.

HENRY PRINCE
What do you expect me to do?

GLORIA PRINCE
We’ve been running ever since we were married. No more.

HENRY PRINCE
You don’t understand. In the east, it was just unpleasant. Out here it’s impossible! I can’t be what I’m not! And I’m not a gunfighter.

GLORIA PRINCE
It’s your choice to make, Henry. If you give in to Bryant… I’ll leave you forever.

HENRY PRINCE
Perhaps I’d rather be a live bachelor, Than a dead husband. What’s that?

PALADIN
Looks like 500 head of cattle arriving.

HENRY PRINCE
Gloria…Looks like tomorrow’s going to be a busy day.

PALADIN
My advice is to put them in the lower pasture land.

HENRY PRINCE
All right.

PALADIN
We’ll have to ride the fence, To be sure Bryant’s men haven’t cut it. The next job you’ll have will be finding men to ride herd on them. Those are Bryant’s men.

HENRY PRINCE
We’ll have to stop them.

PALADIN
It’s too late for that. All we can do is get ahead of the herd, And turn them when they tire.

GLORIA PRINCE
What are you going to do about this, mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
What do you suggest I do? We got the cattle back.

GLORIA PRINCE
I suggest that you retaliate. How else are we going to stop them?

PALADIN
You’re a beautiful woman, mrs. Prince. A beautiful woman, and a very talented actress. But you’re also a very demanding wife. You don’t like violence. But you don’t like to give in. You want to fight, But you don’t want anyone to be hurt.

GLORIA PRINCE
Is that all?

PALADIN
You married Henry because he was cultured and charming. And now you’re impatient with him, Because he can’t be hard and ruthless. You don’t want him to be like me. You want to use me, yet you have no respect for my profession. You’re a very difficult woman to please.

GLORIA PRINCE
The issue is, Mr. Paladin, that a band of ruffians are tormenting us immorally and illegally. We have engaged you to protect us. Instead you evade your responsibility by criticizing us. By making us think that we are wrong.

PALADIN
Right and wrong are not that easy to decide. You bought this land out from people who bled and sweat and died for it. You did not take those people into consideration. You laid down your inherited money, moved in and expected them to like it. You’ll have to look a little deeper for right and wrong here.

GLORIA PRINCE
Henry, do you have anything to say about this?

HENRY PRINCE
Why don’t you consider the possibility that Mr. Paladin is right?
Do you really think she’s leaving?

PALADIN
That sounded like it.

HENRY PRINCE
I love her very much, you know. I’d do anything to keep from losing her.

PALADIN
Let her go into town tonight, she can stay in the hotel.

HENRY PRINCE
Shouldn’t I try to stop her?

PALADIN
She can’t get a stage out ’til tomorrow afternoon. By then, she’ll have been able to realize that if she leaves, she’ll miss you.

HENRY PRINCE
Now what am I supposed to do?

PALADIN
Now you hire a crew to take care of your herd. Tomorrow put a notice up in town, offering to hire men at a higher wage than Bryant’s paying.

HENRY PRINCE
Bryant won’t like that.

PALADIN
No, he won’t. But you’re going to put the notice up, And you’re going to keep it up, just the same.

HENRY PRINCE
What you said to Gloria about my opponents…I never realized they had so much right on their side.

PALADIN
That’s not an unusual circumstance, Henry. They think you have no right on yours.

EXT. IN TOWN – DAY

GLORIA PRINCE
Could you tell me please, Where does the stagecoach leave for the east?

COWBOY
Why sure, honey. You come right along with me. We’ll find it sooner or later.

GLORIA PRINCE
Take your filthy hands off me!

COWBOY
There’s gonna be trouble down at the post office. Bryant and that little fella from the east.

EXT. TOWN MAIN STREET – DAY

Henry Prince is hanging up a poster for ranch hands on a store front.

EXT. TOWN POST OFFICE – DAY

A large group of cowboys gather in front of the post office.

CLINT BRYANT
Men wanted for Long Valley Ranch. Foreman, $50 a month. Cowhands, $35 a month. Awful high wages. You figure to steal my crew. Whit, tear it down.

BILL WHITNEY
He ain’t gonna get nobody anyhow.

CLINT BRYANT
I said, tear it down!

MEN
come on, come on!

CLINT BRYANT
All right, Whit. Make him remember! Finish him.

BILL WHITNEY
He’s had enough, let him alone!

CLINT BRYANT
You’re fired!

PALADIN
All right, Mr. Bryant. Now you put it up. Put it back up! I think it’s time you two gentlemen met on a more reasonable basis. This is Mr. Whitney, who I understand is looking for a job. This is Mr. Prince, who I hear is looking for a foreman.

HENRY PRINCE
We’re indebted to you for all you’ve done. I hope this check is adequate.

PALADIN
I’m sure it’s more than adequate.

GLORIA PRINCE
Gentlemen…

PALADIN
Thank you. Thank you.

HENRY PRINCE
There is one more thing I can do. I’ll see that you’re not barred from the stock exchange club.

PALADIN
Don’t bother, Henry. I’m the president Of the San Francisco chapter.