(26) “Birds of a Feather”

Original Airdate:  (March 8, 1958)

“This used to be the prettiest town in Colorado..now the gunfighters have taken over, and if you can’t stop them turn in the star”

Paladin is put in the middle of a land dispute between two different railroad companies in Colorado.

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Teleplay by Fred Eggers, Story by Terence Maples.

HARRY BARTELL as Sheriff Dave Quinn
JOAN MARSHALL as Molly Quinn
JAMES CRAIG as Ralph Coe
ROBERT H. HARRIS as John Sukey
BILL ERWIN as Citizen
DUANE GREY as Garner
JOHN MITCHUM as Crabbe
RICK VALLIN as Clary
ALEXANDER LOCKWOOD as Foster

The following actors have appeared in other episodes of HGWT:
HARRY BARTELL: (First, Catch a Tiger, 1959) as Jacob Mordain, (A Snare for Murder, 1958) as Nick Talbot. ROBERT H. HARRIS: (Ransom, 1960) as Schermer.
DUANE GREY: (The Burning Tree, 1963) as Abner, (The Cure, 1961) as First Worker, (The Haunted Trees, 1959) as Paul Egert, (High Wire, 1957) as Driver.
JOHN MITCHUM: (Jonah and the Trout, 1962) as Sanders, (The Hunt, 1962) as Niki – Radachev’s Servant, (A Matter of Ethics, 1957) as McHeath.
RICK VALLIN: (The O’Hare Story, 1958) as Cal.
BILL ERWIN also appeared in: (The Prisoner, 1960) as Townsman (uncredited), (The Wager, 1959) as Clerk.

Trivia: JOAN MARSHALL appeared in: Star Trek (TOS) “Court Martial” 1967 as Areel Shaw)

 

INT. CARLTON HOTEL – PALADIN’S HOTEL SUITE – DAY

Heyboy enters with the morning newspapers.

HEYBOY
Only very few paper today, Mr. Paladin. Oh…Man say train from east that bring other papers, Maybe big accident.

PALADIN
That’s very interesting, Hey Boy. Thank you.

HEYBOY
You’re welcome.

PALADIN (V.O.)
“Railroad companies clash. Big Spur Colorado. Bloody violence has flared between the Texas, Colorado and Overland, and Continental Divide railroads in a clash over right of way. Gunmen hired by both factions have destroyed property, and intimidated town citizens. The town of Big Spur is an armed camp, and Sheriff Dave Quinn admits he is powerless to prevent the lawlessness.” …Dave Quinn.

FADE TO

EXT. BIG SPUR, MAIN STREET -DAY

Paladin rides into down

PALADIN
Ma’am, where is everybody?

CITIZEN
Don’t answer him, Clara. Let him find out for himself. You gunmen can have this town.

CUT TO

Woman walking down the boardwalk.

PALADIN
Ma’am.

MAN IN BLACK HAT
Hey, like the look of that one.

MAN IN BROWN HAT
I’ll toss you for her.

MAN IN BLACK HAT
I got a better idea. Let’s toss her for me.

The men stumble away down the boardwalk after the woman, laughing.  Paladin watches them intently then he intervenes as the men accost the woman.

MAN IN BROWN HAT
Don’t walk so fast, honey.

MAN IN BLACK HAT
She’s mine.

PALADIN
I’m sorry, Miss.

MOLLY QUINN
Go away, please!

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
(to PALADIN) Go home.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
(to MOLLY) They won’t bother you anymore.

MOLLY QUINN
(referring to PALADIN) He wasn’t the one that did it. He helped me.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
All right, Molly. Go on home.

MOLLY QUINN
(turning to PALADIN) Thank you.

PALADIN
You’re welcome. Well, Dave, your Molly grew up pretty well, didn’t she?

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
Paladin. (shaking hands) Been a long time since Albuquerque.

PALADIN
Yes, it has.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
What are you doing
up this way?

PALADIN
I’m looking for a job.

Paladin hands him his card.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
On whose side?

PALADIN
I’ve been in this town before, Dave. This used to be a pretty town. Nicest trees in Colorado.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
What are you getting at?

PALADIN
Well, you know what I’m getting at. Gunfighters have taken over your town. Your people are leaving every day. The ones that stay are being hurt and killed. Look at your street, Dave. Town’s dying.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
Not much I can do. I’m not as young as I was.

PALADIN
Then turn in the star.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
You know me better than that. A little law’s better than none.

PALADIN
With a little bit of help, you can save this town.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
Where would I get this help?

PALADIN
From me. I owe you a favor.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
You got a good memory.

PALADIN
I told you nine years ago in Albuquerque, I wouldn’t forget what happened.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
That’s long past. You’re up for hire. I can’t pay a fee.

PALADIN
I said I owe you a favor. The railroads that have taken over your town can well afford my fee. I’ll let you know what I need.

INT. RAILROAD OFFICE

PALADIN
I’m looking for Charles Foster, General agent of the TC and O.

FOSTER
I’m foster.

PALADIN

My name is Paladin from San Francisco.

FOSTER
What can I do for you, Paladin?

PALADIN
I’m looking for a job.

FOSTER
Can you use that gun?

PALADIN
When I have to.

FOSTER
When can you start?

PALADIN
That depends.

FOSTER
Depends on what?

PALADIN
I said that depends, Mr. Foster.

FOSTER
I’m paying 25 a day.

PALADIN
That’s your top price?

FOSTER
Standard for a good gun.

RALPH COE
Not enough, friend?

PALADIN
Good day, Mr. Foster.

RALPH COE
Wait a minute. I asked you a question.

PALADIN
I don’t believe we’ve met.

RALPH COE
My name is Coe. Ralph Coe from Abilene.

PALADIN
Oh..Mr. Coe, I’ve heard of you.

RALPH COE
Where are you going?

PALADIN
Across the street to the continental divide railroad.

RALPH COE
You don’t care which side you gun for, do you?

PALADIN
I do indeed. In this case, the side that pays the most. Does Mr. Coe work for 25 dollars a day?

FOSTER
Coe’s in charge of 35 men. He’s a deputy agent.

PALADIN
A deputy agent. That’s an imposing title for a gunfighter.

RALPH COE
I’m well qualified for the job.

PALADIN
I’m sure you are.

FOSTER
There is a possibility we could use another…

RALPH COE
I don’t think so.

FOSTER
Well…As you say.

PALADIN
In that case, I bid you good day again.

Gentlemen.

INT. CONTINENTAL DIVIDE RAILROAD OFFICE – DAY

JOHN SUKEY
What can I do for you?

PALADIN
Mr. Sukey?

JOHN SUKEY
That’s right.

PALADIN
My name is paladin. I’m looking for a job.

JOHN SUKEY
The opposition turn you down? I saw you leaving their offices.

PALADIN
I’m shopping, Mr. Sukey. What can you offer?

JOHN SUKEY
The prevailing rate. 20…

JOHN SUKEY
30 dollars a day.

PALADIN
I’m not interested in pin money. Do you have an opening for a deputy agent?

JOHN SUKEY
I might have. You know what this fight’s all about?

PALADIN
For control of the transcontinental route, isn’t it?

JOHN SUKEY
Specifically, for control of a rail right of way From this town across Raymond Gorge. Which we say the TC and O leased to us. They claim they didn’t.

PALADIN
And now it’s deadlocked.

JOHN SUKEY
We have the gorge but they have the depot. One’s no good without the other.

PALADIN
And you need a man capable of unlocking the deadlock.

JOHN SUKEY
The depot’s heavily guarded. The man in charge is Ralph Coe. You know him?

PALADIN

We’ve met.

JOHN SUKEY
He’s smart, tricky. Very fast with a gun. The man I hire would have to be smarter. Trickier, faster. We want that depot.

PALADIN
That’s an old frontier story, isn’t it, Mr. Sukey? You hire the guns to spill the blood and you and Mr. Foster pay the bills.

JOHN SUKEY
Say, are you here to moralize or do you want a job?

PALADIN
What kind of a fee would you pay?

JOHN SUKEY
You’d have to show me you’re worth it, of course. I uh…Might go a thousand for a good man. But you’re talking more like a preacher than…

PALADIN
Where’s the cash box? Come on. Open it. Hmmm.

PALADIN
Would you pay two thousand?

JOHN SUKEY
All right, you’re hired.

PALADIN
Thank you. I’ll let you know how many men I need When I’ve seen the depot.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

EXT. MAIN STREET – DAY

PALADIN
Well, Mr. Coe, that’s quite a delegation you’ve got there.

RALPH COE
They’re just here to see the fun. I hear you joined up with continental divide.

PALADIN
Don’t push, we’ll be fighting soon enough.

RALPH COE
Maybe soon enough for you isn’t soon enough for me.

PALADIN
It’ll have to be.

RALPH COE
Foster thinks you might be tough. I want to find out.

PALADIN
Not now.

RALPH COE
I don’t think you’re tough. I think you’re yellow!

PALADIN
Coe, look at it logically. I kill you, one of your men kills me. And neither of us would have a chance to spend our deputy agent’s fees, would we.

RALPH COE
Draw.

PALADIN
In due time, Mr. Coe.

RALPH COE
Paladin! Paladin!

PALADIN
You gonna shoot me in the back, Mr. Coe?

Coe shoots the tip off of Paladin’s cigar.  Coe and his men are laughing.

RALPH COE
Paladin, the gunfighter from San Francisco!

EXT. CONTINENTAL DIVIDE RAILROAD OFFICE – DAY

A man is nailing up a sign that reads “MEN WANTED – knowledge of weapons – HIGH PAY”

JOHN SUKEY
Coe made quite a fool out of you yesterday.

PALADIN
I don’t think so, Mr. Sukey. I signed on to take that depot, and that’s what I mean to do.

JOHN SUKEY
I’m no longer sure you’re the man for the job.

PALADIN
Oh, why not?

JOHN SUKEY
I’m not paying $2,000 to a man that walks away from guns.

PALADIN
Sukey, you hired me and you’re going to pay me. You might as well get your money’s worth. But I’ll do the job in my own way.

JOHN SUKEY
I got 20 men for you. They just got here. They’re in the bar. How do you figure to do the job?

PALADIN
First, I’ll get a legal eviction order.

JOHN SUKEY
A legal…Oh! You may want it but you won’t get it. The sheriff in this town won’t get involved. He’s staying right on that fence.

PALADIN
I’ll get the order.

JOHN SUKEY
Yeah? Well, even if you do get it, you try to serve it on Coe And you’ll be carrying your head in your hands.

PALADIN
That’s what you’re paying me for, Sukey. Let’s take a look at those men.

INT. SHERIFF DAVE’S OFFICE – DAY

PALADIN
Morning, Dave.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
You find a job yet?

PALADIN
Workin’ for Sukey.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
Too bad. I guess that puts us on opposite sides of the fence.

PALADIN
No, it doesn’t. I told you this town could be saved. I need something from you.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
What would that be?

PALADIN
An eviction order to get Coe’s men out of that depot.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
An eviction order? Who’s gonna serve it?

PALADIN
I am.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
I’ve seen those men of Sukey’s. How far do you think you’ll get?

PALADIN
That’s my worry.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
It’s mine too. There’s been enough killin’ in this town.

PALADIN
Dave, your main worry is enforcing the law. I’ve offered to help you. Do I get the order?

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
I don’t want to be responsible.

PALADIN
I know. That’s why I’ve taken responsibility.

SHERIFF DAVE QUINN
All right, I’ll give you an eviction order. You may even serve it on coe. But you’ll never get out of that depot alive.

INT. CONTINENTAL DIVIDE RAILROAD OFFICE – DAY

PALADIN
Here’s the eviction notice signed by the sheriff.

JOHN SUKEY
Well…So, you got Quinn off the fence, eh? Maybe you’ll earn your fee after all, Paladin. Now, who serves the order?

PALADIN
I do.

JOHN SUKEY
You’ll earn your fee but you won’t live to spend it.

PALADIN
That’s funny, that’s just what the sheriff suggested. Answer me one question. How much is this fight costing continental divide?

JOHN SUKEY
That’s no concern of yours.

PALADIN
In lost passenger and freight revenue, payroll for your gunmen, damages to rolling stock and equipment. How much a day?

JOHN SUKEY
Maybe seven, eight thousand. Why?

P
Along with this eviction order, I want to offer Coe $10,000 to surrender the depot to you.

JOHN SUKEY
$10,000…

PALADIN

Less than two days of what you’re paying now.

JOHN SUKEY
Well…Do you think he’d listen?

PALADIN
There’s no way of knowing ’til he’s asked.

JOHN SUKEY
Yeah. That’s not a bad notion. Not bad at all. Now, who’ll make him the offer?

PALADIN
I will, under certain conditions. That I can assure him the deal is for cash, That it’s firm, And there’ll be no haggling about the price afterwards.

JOHN SUKEY
Agreed.

232
00:15:18,116 –> 00:15:20,917
All right,
let’s get it done.

FADE TO

EXT. RAILROAD DEPOT – DAY

RALPH COE
What do you want, Paladin?

PALADIN
A word with you. In private.

RALPH COE
You don’t have very much in the way of brains, do you? Standing out there in the open.

PALADIN
Will you hear what I have to say?

RALPH COE
All right. Throw your gun down and come in slow and easy.

INT. RAILROAD DEPOT

RALPH COE
Talk.

PALADIN
Coe, I volunteered to serve you this.

RALPH COE
Paladin, you amaze me.

PALADIN
You just take this and you’ll be a lot more amazed. $10,000 more.

RALPH COE
$10,000 for what?

PALADIN
Just to honor this eviction notice.

RALPH COE
Who pays me?

PALADIN
Sukey.

RALPH COE
Cash? My men…I’d have to give them something.

PALADIN
That’s up to you.

RALPH COE
Two or three thousand would hold them. That’d leave me…

PALADIN
Seven or eight.

RALPH COE
That’s a lot of money. Seven, eight thousand.

PALADIN
It’s a fair sum.

RALPH COE
All right, you got yourself a deal. Where’s the money?

PALADIN
You get it when Sukey’s in the depot.

RALPH COE
You know, Paladin…You bought yourself out of a lot of trouble.

FADE TO

EXT. MAIN STREET
Larry, round up
the rest of the men.
Fast!
Come on.
Coe!
What’s going on?

RALPH COE
I was served this.
Why, it’s worthless!

RALPH COE
Looks legal to me. Something stinks here, Coe. You sold out to Continental Divide!

RALPH COE
That’s an eviction notice!

PALADIN
And those are the fortunes of war, Mr. Foster.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

RALPH COE
Paladin. I’ve been looking for you. Where’s Sukey?

PALADIN
We seldom dine together. Why?

RALPH COE
I went to his office to collect. He’s gone, moved out.

PALADIN
Try the depot? Wait a minute. I’ll go with you, he owes me my fee too.

PALADIN
Paladin and Coe. We want to talk to Sukey.

JOHN SUKEY
What do you want?

PALADIN
We want our money, Sukey!

JOHN SUKEY
What are you trying to pull, Paladin? I already gave you both yours and Coe’s.

PALADIN
Now you don’t believe that, do you?

JOHN SUKEY
What is this? You trying to cheat Coe out of his money?

PALADIN
Don’t play games with me, Sukey. I want that money!

JOHN SUKEY
I’m warning you, Paladin. Get out of here before I have Clary open fire on you!

RALPH COE
Paladin! I want my money. The money!

PALADIN
You’re not as smart as I thought you were.

RALPH COE
You owe me $10,000.

PALADIN
Use your brain! Would I be casually walking down the boardwalk Waiting for you to find me if I had your $10,000?

PALADIN
I told you to use your brain!

RALPH COE
Do you have my money? If you’re lyin’ to me, I’m gonna kill you one way or the other!

PALADIN
You’re gonna start that again?

PALADIN
Coe, just how strong is that depot?

RALPH COE
Plenty strong.

PALADIN
Food and water supply?

RALPH COE
Enough for two weeks.

PALADIN
We could wait them out, but…Well, Coe… This is mining country, isn’t it?

RALPH COE
Yeah, why?

PALADIN
Well, all we need is a little fuse, Some blasting powder and muscle to move this thing. You with me?

RALPH COE
Every step of the way.

PALADIN
Well, come on.

RALPH COE
Enough?

PALADIN
All right, that’s enough.

RALPH COE
I don’t know about this.

PALADIN
We’re not the first ones To place great store by our cannons. Napoleon had great faith in his.

RALPH COE
When’s the last time he tried to take a depot with one cannon and two men?

PALADIN
I don’t know, but if this doesn’t work, we’re gonna have a chance to ask him personally.

RALPH COE
All right. I got nuts, spikes, old bolts…

RALPH COE
This barrel is rusted through. It’ll blow up right in our faces.

PALADIN
You men in there listen! I got a one-minute fuse on this thing! We want Sukey, not you! But if he doesn’t surrender, We’ll blow that depot to pieces. You’ve got 45 seconds! We’ll blow those walls down and fill that depot With blind scrap metal. Come here! Larry! You can have Sukey! Come on and get him!

PALADIN
The key! Come on!

JOHN SUKEY
Paladin!

FOSTER
You dirt! You cheap dirt! You sold me out.

PALADIN
What’ll you do about it, Mr. Foster? Hold this, Coe. What’ll you do about it, huh? Turn righteously indignant? Feel justified? Bring your men back into this depot?

FOSTER
Take your hands off me!

PALADIN
You want to repeat this cycle again and again and again? Until this town is only fit for the likes of you? Oh no, gentlemen. This argument is about a lease. And a lease is words. What words mean can be settled by a court of law. And that’s the way it’s gonna be!

RALPH COE
(handing Paladin a cigar) I think I owe you one of these, mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
So you do, Mr. Coe.

RALPH COE
Your money.

PALADIN
Thank you.

RALPH COE
You’re a good man. At least we had the decency to fight among ourselves.

PALADIN
Let’s go, Coe.

RALPH COE
Paladin…You know, I can’t figure this thing out. This is the first time I’ve ever been on the right side, And ended up with $10,000. See you around.

FADE TO – SAN FRANCISCO

INT. HOTEL CARLTON LOBBY -DAY

HEYBOY
Mr. Paladin. Package for you just come.

PALADIN
That feels like a box of cigars.

PALADIN
“Dear paladin, I hope these cigars Don’t blow up in your face like some cigars I’ve seen. 10,000 thanks. Your friend, Coe”.

HEYBOY
Lots of thanks. 10,000, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Each thank is worth one dollar. Put those in my room, will you?

HEYBOY
Each thank?

Have Gun – Will Travel: Season 1, Episode 26

Birds of a Feather (8 Mar. 1958)

A right-of-way dispute has turned a small town into a seething

battleground for two railroads and Paladin intends to settle it

one way or another, whoever hires him.

Storyline

Two railroad companies are trapped in a deadlock in the town of Big Spur, Colorado. The

Texas Colorado & Overland Railroad and The Continental Divide Railroad are arguing over the

right-of-way over Raymond Gorge. The Continental Divide has the gorge but the Texas

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