(27) “The Teacher”

Season 1, Episode 27 – Original Airdate:  (March 15, 1958)

Paladin comes to the defense of a teacher who was threatened after she taught about war crimes that occurred during the Civil War.

Directed by Lamont Johnson, Written by Sam Rolfe.

MARIAN SELDES as Mollie Stanton
(The Bride, 1957) as Christie Smith
ANDREW DUGGAN as Daniel Weaver
JACK ALBERTSON as Jason Coldwell
(Out at the Old Ball Park, 1960) as Mayor Whiteside
(High Wire, 1957) as Bookie
DON KELLY as Coley
(The Day of the Bad Man, 1960) … Amos Saint
JIMMY BAIRD as Morse Weaver
LANA WOOD as Becky Coldwell
CARL BENSEN as Jackson Breck
PETER BRECK as Frank Weaver
(The Protégé, 1958) as Kurt Sprague
JACK HOGAN as Joel Weaver
(The Ballad of Oscar Wilde, 1958) as Chris Rook
Boyd ‘Red’ Morgan as Gang Member
Rocky Shahan as Gang member

“Go on Brex, start. You’ve got two hands, one of them holding a gun. standing on your own two feet, what do you want? An edge?

EXT. WESTERN TOWN MAIN STREET – DAY

INT. GENERAL STORE

MR. CALDWELL
That’ll be $16.22. I wonder if I could interest you in a new product that just came in.
It’s called “soap”.

MR. WEAVER
You tryin’ to make me look the fool, Mr. Caldwell?

MR. CALDWELL
Why no, Mr. Weaver. I just thought you might find a use for it.
Those ignorant fools. What can I do for you?

PALADIN
I want some breakfast. And a box of.45’s.

MR. CALDWELL
Yes, Sir. You visiting around here?

PALADIN
Just passing through on my way home. I have some business up north.

MR. CALDWELL
Must’ve been pretty noisy business.

PALADIN
Wasn’t that a school bell, Miss?

CALDWELL
Becky ain’t going to that school. Not ’til that schoolteacher gets out.

PALADIN
Oh? What’d she do?

WEAVER
Have you heard of a man called Jackson Breck?

PALADIN
Texas? Trying to beat the feds down there after the war?

MR. WEAVER
That’s the one. He was driving his herd up to Wichita, Passing through here. He heard what Marlee Stanton was teaching about the war. How did she put it?

GIRL
Quantrill and his guerrillas, Miss stanton says they were little more than thieves and murderers.

PALADIN
So?

CALDWELL
Breck rode with Quantrill. He wanted her to retract that. Said he’d be back, burn down the school And ride her right out of town if she didn’t. He’ll be passing through here any day.

PALADIN
I take it she hasn’t retracted.

CALDWELL
Why does she have to stir up a fuss like that?

PALADIN
She’s obviously just teaching history.
Mr. Breck’s the one who’s stirring up the fuss.

CALDWELL
But she had to go around teaching things that cause trouble.

PALADIN
One and one make two. Do you believe that?

CALDWELL
Sure, sure.

PALADIN
One and one make five. Wanna argue it?

CALDWELL
No, not that way. You can say it if you want. But we both know better.

PALADIN
Yes, we do. Don’t we? We also both know that Quantrill and his men did some bloody work. It’s history. Why shouldn’t it be taught?

CALDWELL
She don’t have to lie about it. All she has to do is say nothing at all about it.

PALADIN
I don’t like the number two. I want your teacher to leave it out.

She’s got 1, 3, 4, 5, 6…All the other numbers. But I want her to leave out two and Quantrill And any other fact that some people may not like.

CALDWELL
Breck and his men
mean trouble.
And Miss Stanton…
She’s the one causing it.
Other than that,
it’s a lot of talk.

PALADIN
Yes, it is. Isn’t it?
It’s all just talk.
Now where is this school?

CALDWELL
Just past the end of the street. The flagpole…You baitin’ me, Mister? Did Breck send you?

PALADIN
You think I’d ride a thousand miles to burn down a schoolhouse? Run a woman over the line? Becky, that’s a very good job. I really can’t see where you’ve mended it.

PALADIN
Wasn’t that a school bell? You’ll be late.

BOY
Yep.

PALADIN
Did you have to ride

BOY
About ten miles.

PALADIN
What do you expect to meet on the trail that you carry a rifle?

BOY
Indians. Rabbits.

PALADIN
Get over.

INT. SCHOOLHOUSE -DAY

PALADIN
‘morning. Where’s Miss Stanton? Thank you.

MISS STANTON
You wish to see me?

PALADIN
I’d like to speak to you alone.

MISS STANTON
Miss Grubb, kindly copy this lesson on the blackboard.

And the rest of you, read page 18 in McDuffy.

PALADIN
I’ll come straight to the point, Miss Stanton. I don’t like what you’ve been teaching about the Jayhawkers.

MISS STANTON
The Jayhawkers?

PALADIN
The Kansas and Missouri patriots Who organized to fight for the Union along the border. I understand you’ve been teaching that they committed many revengeful, vicious, unprincipled acts. Is that true?

MISS STANTON
There’s a man who doesn’t want me to teach about Quantrill and his atrocities. Now you don’t want me to teach about the Jayhawker’s atrocities Merely because they were on the union side. I will teach the truth as it is. Not as anyone would like it to be.

PALADIN
Hm. Good for you.

MISS STANTON
What?

PALADIN
I was merely trying to be certain you were telling both sides of the story.

MISS STANTON
Who are you?

PALADIN
Here’s my card.

MISS STANTON
Who has hired you? And for what?

PALADIN
No one’s hired me. I thought I’d help you.

MISS STANTON
Help…

PALADIN
You.

MISS STANTON
I’m terribly sorry. I’ve been very frightened. Jackson Breck and all his gunmen, And no one here brave enough to stop him.

PALADIN
Hasn’t anyone in this town tried to support you?

MISS STANTON
There used to be 18 pupils in there.

PALADIN
I’ll rest your mind to this extent. If this matter is to be settled by guns, You’ll have at least one on your side.

MISS STANTON
I can’t pay you.

PALADIN
We’ll call this a civic duty. As I take the time to vote or sit on a jury. I think I’d best stay here until we’ve settled this. Do you have a cot I could set up in the school room?

MISS STANTON
Of course. You look very tired. Make yourself at home here.

PALADIN
Thank you.

MISS STANTON
I must get back to my class.

FADE OUT

INT. SCHOOLHOUSE -DAY

SCHOOLCHILDREN
… Three make nine.

MISS STANTON
Three times four makes twelve.

SCHOOLCHILDREN
Three times…

COOLEY
Don’t stop all this educatin’ on account of me.

MISS STANTON
What do you want?

COOLEY
Mister Breck and his party…They’re coming through here tomorrow. I rode on ahead to see where they’re gonna make that camp fire.

MISS STANTON
Get out of here.

COOLEY
This here teacher of yours…Did she tell you how she lied about Quantrill?

MISS STANTON
Leave the children alone. I have not changed history for you.

COOLEY
Haven’t you? Now look what I went and done. I made a mess.

PALADIN
But you’ll clean it up.

COOLEY
Well, now. And who are you?

PALADIN
My name is Paladin. What do they call you when they’re being polite?

COOLEY
Cooley. That’s a name you remember.

PALADIN
I doubt it. Will you pick up that desk?

COOLEY
I’m going now. In your place I’d take back what I’ve been saying about Quantrill.

PALADIN
Pick up the desk. You wanna try again with that other gun?

COOLEY
I’m gonna bring back Mr. Breck and a couple of men to finish this job.

PALADIN
Pick up the desk.

COOLEY
I got a bullet in my arm!

PALADIN
Pick it up! Pick the papers up. All right.

COOLEY
I’m looking forward to our next meeting.

PALADIN
Miss Stanton…I think you understand the necessity for this. I hope you can explain it to them.

MISS STANTON
I believe we were up to three times five.

CHILDREN
Three times five makes fifteen.

MISS STANTON
three times five makes fifteen.

MISS STANTON
Three times six makes eighteen.

SCHOOLCHILDREN
three times six makes eighteen.

MISS STANTON
Three times seven makes twenty-one.

SCHOOLCHILDREN
Three times seven makes twenty-one.

MISS STANTON
Three times eight makes twenty-four.

SCHOOLCHILDREN
Three times nine…

MISS STANTON
And so ends perhaps my last day in this school.

PALADIN
Tomorrow may bring surprises.

MISS STANTON
Tomorrow will bring Jackson Breck and more of his gunmen.

PALADIN
Men like Breck. They always run in packs. You break any piece off that pack and pure yellow shows through.

MISS STANTON
You can’t fight them all alone.

PALADIN
I expect to have help.

MISS STANTON
From whom?

PALADIN

I want you to give me a list of all your students And where they live.

MISS STANTON
Oh. You think the men in the families will help us. Well, you’re wrong. You see how they’ve behaved so far.

PALADIN
They’ll have to defend you.

MISS STANTON
Really? Why? I’m just a stubborn old schoolteacher.

PALADIN
It’s right that you’re a teacher. And a teacher is something very special. Without teachers, every generation would have to start By discovering fire and inventing the wheel.

FADE TO

INT. GENERAL STORE -DAY

MR. CALDWELL
It’s my daughter. I’ll tell her what’s right for her.

PALADIN
Why do you let Breck tell her what’s right for her? That’s what he does when he says what she shall Or shall not be permitted to learn.

MR. CALDWELL
I’ll do as I see fit. And I don’t see that this is anything for anyone to fight over.

PALADIN
Jason, adults forget that children are learning all the time. Becky learns not only from what you tell her, But from the way she sees you behave. What do you think she’s learning right now? I’ve got a lot of people to see tonight. Becky? Good night. Good night.

INT. RANCH HOUSE – NIGHT

PALADIN
Good evening, son. Is your father home?

WEAVER BOY
Pa, the man wants you. He’s the one who went to school today. He won the fight.

PALADIN
May I come in, Mr. Weaver?

MR. WEAVER
Come along.

PALADIN
My name is paladin.

MR. WEAVER
I’m Daniel Weaver. Morris here you know. My boy, Joel. Frank over there.

PALADIN
Frank. Since Morris told you what happened at school today, I won’t have to fill in on the details.

MR. WEAVER
You want help tomorrow.

PALADIN
That’s right. I’m asking the people this concerns to help.

MR. WEAVER
So how have you been doing?

PALADIN
Poorly. I’ve been riding for six hours tonight. Talking, arguing, begging. It’s no use, they’re all afraid. You’re the furthest south and the last one on my list. Will you help? Sit down.

PALADIN
Sure. If I was to say no, would you figure It was because I was scared of Breck?

PALADIN
Why else would you say no? It might be because I figure he’s right.

PALADIN
He isn’t. This fight’s about Quantrill. What he was and what he done. Joe there left that arm in Chickamauga. Frank got shot up in Gettysburg.

PALADIN
There was one error in your statement. This fight isn’t about Quantrill. This is about whether a man named Jackson Breck Is gonna burn down a schoolhouse And drive a woman out of the county for teaching.

MR. WEAVER
We had a little farm down in Georgia before the war. Then Sherman and his army marched through. And when they’d gone, there wasn’t nothing left. Nothing. The only difference I can see ‘twixt Sherman and Quantrill Is that one did it to the Yankees And the other did it to us.

PALADIN
Morris. Morris, did Miss Stanton discuss Sherman’s March through Georgia with the class? Did she tell about the devastation that army caused? What did she say? Did she say it was a good thing or a bad thing?

MORRIS
Well…She did say it was something terrible. Then she said the whole war was terrible.

PALADIN
There you are, Mr. Weaver. Some Yankees would think that was sufficient grounds For burning down the schoolhouse. All right, don’t rattle me. I still don’t see it’s my fight. If everybody else was to take a stand I’d feel obliged to go along, But I don’t see doing their fighting for them.

PALADIN
It’s for yourself.

MR. WEAVER
Mr. Paladin, you’ve had your say and you’ve got your answer.

PALADIN
You’ve found a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t stand up to Jackson Breck. None of them are the real reason, are they? Why, what do you mean?

PALADIN
You’re like all the rest. You’re afraid. Only the rest of them admit it. You can’t call me a coward and just walk away.

PALADIN
Don’t tell me you’ll fight me. Tomorrow’s my day for fighting. You see me at the schoolhouse if you want to finish this. Unless you’d rather shoot me in the back tonight.

FADE OUT

EXT. SCHOOLHOUSE YARD -DAY

MISS STANTON
No students. No parents. There’s our support.

PALADIN
Then we’ll meet Breck alone.

Miss stanton! Miss stanton! I’m sorry I’m late.

MISS STANTON
You certainly have been a stranger, Miss Caldwell. Get to your desk. You have two weeks work to catch up on.

CALDWELL GIRL
Yes, ma’am.

PALADIN
I’ll wait out here. Good luck.

M
Becky!

PALADIN
You’re Jackson Breck. That’s him all right! I told you we’d bring along enough men to finish the job. So you’re gonna stop me?

PALADIN
That’s the idea. leave him alone! Leave him alone! Now see all the trouble you went and caused.

MISS STANTON
You animal! Too bad you didn’t pack your clothes when I asked you. Now they’ll just have to go up with the schoolhouse.

293
00:19:35,841 –> 00:19:37,340
Becky!
Becky!

294
00:19:37,342 –> 00:19:39,175
Get out, you.

PALADIN
Don’t do it, Breck!
Don’t do it!

MR. CALDWELL
You leave her alone! Git.

BRECK
Put that thing up. Look, boys. We got us here another one.

MR. WEAVER
Turn that man loose. He’s mine.

PALADIN
So you came to fight?

MR. WEAVER
That’s why the uniforms. We like to dress up for a fight.

PALADIN
All right. But you’ll have to wait your turn. Mr. Breck got here first.

308
00:20:42,007 –> 00:20:43,707
You others, stay out of this. Five to one I can’t stomach.

PALADIN
All right, Breck. Start. What are you waiting for? You got a gun in that holster. You got two good hands, you’re standing on your own two feet. What more do you want? Want an edge? Here, is that better? No? What’s it take to make you fight, Breck? You only draw on women and children? Or are schoolteachers your specialty? How about the rest of you? Anybody else? Do you want to try it again? I only got one good arm.

MR. WEAVER
Man wants to make it even, Joe. Accommodate him.

JOE
I’m at your disposal, sir.

PALADIN
You get out of here.

BRECK
Let’s go, boys. No sense all this fuss over a dirt splinter shack and an old maid schoolteacher.

PALADIN
Breck. Would you like to apologize for that?

BRECK
All right. I’m sorry.

PALADIN
Breck. Let it end here. Today.

MR. WEAVER
A big man like you shouldn’t be hard to spot at all.

BRECK
Shouldn’t be nothin’ to it.

MISS STANTON
Finished.

MR. WEAVER
Not quite. You called me a coward.

PALADIN
You know why. You wanted me To give you an excuse to come here today.

MR. WEAVER
You’re gonna have to take it back just the same.

PALADIN
I never meant it. I know what you were afraid of. You were afraid you’d fight for Caldwell and his friends. And they just laugh at you for being a fool.

MR. CALDWELL
I’m afraid you’re right.

PALADIN
Miss Stanton?

MISS STANTON
Recess has been long enough. Miss Caldwell, Mr. Weaver, back to your desks.

MR. WEAVER
Go on, son.

SON
It’s a fearful waste of time.

MR. WEAVER
You go learn and be a better man than your pa.

MISS STANTON
Dinner will be at six o’clock. I expect you all. Thank you.

PALADIN
Miss Stanton, we thank you.

MR. CALDWELL
Well, ain’t no sense you and your boys riding All the way home then back again. Why don’t you set over at my house ’til dinner? Come on, Daniel.

MR. WEAVER
Well, I don’t wanna be unneighborly.

MR. CALDWELL
Paladin?

PALADIN
I’ll join you.

FADE OUT

INT. SCHOOLHOUSE ROOM

…Who had joined the host of the crusaders in Palestine, and was pacing slowly along the sandy deserts which lie in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. His sircoat born in several places, the arms of the owner, although much defaced, these seemed to be a sleeping leopard…

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