(3) “The Great Mojave Chase”

Original Airdate:  (September 28, 1957)

A sportsman sponsors a contest, betting that no one can elude his posse in the Mojave Desert. When Paladin shows up riding a camel, the man decides that the only way he can still win is to get rid of Paladin.

Guest Starring:

LAWRENCE DOBKIN as Billy Joe Kane, CLAUDE AKINS as Dever, EARLE HODGINS as Old Timer, JONATHAN HOLE as Elkins, WILLIAM FAWCETT as Jake, HAL SMITH as Bartender, WALTER REED as Captain

“I’ve seen you lie, cheat, steal and try murder. You’ve tried everything but begging..now get down on your knees and beg!”

CAPTAIN
Camels. Bah. I suppose you think it’s funny.

PALADIN
No, John, I think the desert camel corps was a good idea.

CAPTAIN
Well, maybe you never had to ride a camel.

PALADIN
Yes, I did, as a matter of fact, years ago. It was a good idea and it should have worked. Trouble with you cavalry people is that you tried to use camels like horses. Camel is a sand animal. You should have kept it on the desert.

CAPTAIN
Well, thank Christopher it’s all over with. I sold the last one for him in Elkhorn, Nevada. And I need something to get my mind off of camels and this isn’t doing it. I’m beginning to see pink ones.

PALADIN
“For the third year, Mojave business man Billy Joe Kane will bet that no rider can elude the town’s posse for 48 hours. The game is open to any rider who will cover Mr. Kane’s bet. By surrounding the desert water hole, the posse has captured every contestant so far in less than 30 hours.”

CAPTAIN
Are you listening? I said I’m going to bathe in eau de cologne,get rid of the smell. Then I’m going to find some excitement.

PALADIN
You said you sold the last one in Elkhorn, Nevada?

CAPTAIN
Mm-hmm. To a prospector. (laughs heartily) Now, what kind of a fool would want to buy a camel?

PALADIN
Well, John, you never can tell. Sometimes your best friend.

CAPTAIN
(puzzled)
Huh?

EXT. OLD TIMER’S RANCH HOUSE -DAY

OLD TIMER
I must have been crazy bidding on that thing. Well, if you’re crazy enough to turn me a profit, I’ll throw in that seat for nothing. That’s a genuine Army copy of one of them Araby saddles. Also for free, I’m advising you- you’re crazy. Billy Joe Kane didn’t invent this chase to lose money. One canteen of water you’re allowed. That ain’t enough for yourself much less your animal.

PALADIN
Ezekiel here carries his own water.

OLD TIMER
A fat lot of good that will do you. Well, you’re going to be out on the Mojave, Mister, where the sun is so bright,you can see it with your eyes shut…so dry your tongue swells up,and so hot it boils water out of your body.

PALADIN
Well, every desert has water holes.

OLD TIMER
Yeah, and Kane’s posse knows where they are.
You think they’re going to let you near the water?

PALADIN
With those big flat feet of his,Ezekiel can outrun any horse that ever lived.

OLD TIMER
(sighs)
I don’t know, Mister. You might want your money back.

PALADIN
Why?

OLD TIMER
First thing, you need a ladder to get up into that saddle. If you manage that, you can whip him and spur him and cuss him out. You got a nice view from up there, but you ain’t goin’ noplace.

PALADIN
You don’t mind if I try?

OLD TIMER
Yup.

PALADIN
Kush, kush. All the way down.Kush, kush. Kush. All the way down. Kush, kush. Quit that.

PALADIN
Good bye, old timer.

OLD TIMER
Good bye. Good luck.

(HGWT intro music)
There. Now stay put.
<Kush, kush.
Kush, kush,
kush, kush…
Kush… kush…

TOWNSMAN
Say, Mister, one of them horses that you just
run off belongs to Mr. Kane.

PALADIN

Well, I imagine this will take care of rounding him up.

PALADIN
You might tell Mr. Kane he’s got a customer.

TOWNSMAN
Oh. You going to ride that thing in chase?

PALADIN
Mm-hmm.

TOWNSMAN
Well, all I can say is, welcome to Mojave.

PALADIN
Thank you.
What do you want…?
Oh, yeah.
Say, Mister as long as you’re paying
for damages…
You’re welcome.

TOWNSMAN
Oh, well, he don’t talk very much. Uh, he don’t have to. He’s a, he’s an animal doctor. I-I help him. Yeah, but you know, I-I-I never did see one of these um, these, uh… uh, one of them contraptions before. Huh! Kind of… Kind of got the… got the head… the long head of a moose, ain’t he? Silly expression on his face just like a jackass. Bent legs like a goat. Say, Mister. There’s just one question I’d like to ask you. Is he vicious?

PALADIN
No, he won’t bite you.

TOWNSMAN
Just one question. How does a man breed all of them together?

PALADIN
Well, it’s not easy. They really have to be in love.

TOWNSMAN
Ah.

PALADIN
In various countries I’ve been served sheep eyes, roast dog and stewed lizard.
Compared to this, they were a bargain.

BARTENDER
Well, it ain’t the food that costs here, Mister. It’s the water.
Water I cooked in, water you drank.
Water I got to wash up in. All for a dollar a gallon.

PALADIN
The Mojave pays high for the privilege of staying alive.

BARTENDER
I can’t afford to say nothing against Mr. Kane.

PALADIN
Billy Joe Kane? You afraid of him?

BARTENDER
He won’t shoot me, if that’s what you mean.
What happens if he won’t sell me water?

PALADIN
There’s a town in New Mexico that had a similar problem. Businessmen read that card carefully. They didn’t talk too much. Then they came to see me. I solved their problem. Think about it.

INT. ELKINS BANK OFFICE -DAY

BANKER ELKINS
Yes, sir. We got a wire from your bank establishing credit.
Step inside, sir. At your service.

PALADIN
Thank you.

BANKER ELKINS
We’ve been expecting you for several days.
Now, then, just what kind of an investment do you have in mind?

PALADIN
The Mojave Chase.

BANKER ELKINS
Sir?

PALADIN
I’m the man with the camel.

BANKER ELKINS
Uh, as your temporary banker, sir,
I don’t recommend that as a sound investment.

PALADIN
Are you suggesting that the great Mojave Chase is run dishonestly?

BANKER ELKINS
I am not, sir. Mr. Kane is a reputable businessman.

PALADIN
Mr. Elkins, I’m curious. How does a man get hold of a town’s water supply?

BANKER ELKINS
Billy Joe Kane ran across an old land sale law that folks had forgotten.
First thing we knew, he owned all our water.

PALADIN
Well, it’s probably legal. Mr. Elkins, is a dollar a gallon moral?
And this chase, I suppose he finds that as profitable.

BANKER ELKINS
It’s folks like you that make it profitable.
He knows you’re a city man, sir.
He knows your beast was found unsatisfactory by the Army.
No offense meant, sir, but, uh, you’ve been talking too much.

PALADIN
Well, there’s one other possibility, Mr. Elkins.
Maybe Mr. Kane has been listening too much.
May I have a draft, please?

BANKER ELKINS
Yes, sir.

PALADIN
I’ll need $5,000 in cash.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

EXT. TOWN’S MAIN STREET – DAY

TOWNSMAN
Say, if you had a few of these things around, Mr. Kane, you’d sell plenty of water. Well, not that you’re not doing all right as it is. Why, that thing smells
just as ugly as it looks. Part jackass, part mule…

KANE
You’re the jackass, old friend. That’s a camel.

TOWNSMAN
Camel?
(thinking carefully)
Oh, yeah. Now, let me see, how did that go?
Three wise men appeared on camels traveling to Bethlehem.
Well, I’ll be spit on. It makes me feel holy just watering it.

KANE
How much does it take?

TOWNSMAN
Oh, one, two, about four gallons I guess.
Say, I better go warn that fella.
An animal that needs that much water ain’t fit to ride out in the desert.

STEVER
You keep your ugly face shut.

KANE
Stever. Pay him.

STEVER
I can shut him up
a lot easier.

KANE
That fist of yours will look bigger with money in it.
You, old friend, you spread the word for me,
I’ll pay for information about him or his animal.
Stay right here, son. I’ll be right back.

INT. BARTENDER’S CAFE – DAY

BARTENDER
I talked to some folks about your offer.
They like the deal but they don’t want no killing.

PALADIN
Neither do I.

BARTENDER
How much?

PALADIN
$1,000 on delivery of the water rights to the open market.

BARTENDER
You got a deal.

KANE
Mr. Paladin, Kane is my name.
My friends call me Billy Joe.

PALADIN
You took your time looking me up, Mr. Kane.

KANE
You’re from San Francisco, I understand.
Now there’s a lovely city.
Full of up-to-date buildings and pretty women.

PALADIN
Did you come here to pass the time of day or talk business?

KANE
Well, fine. Direct and to the point.
You’re the kind of man I like.

PALADIN
I can’t say the same.

KANE
Stever. All right, Mister.
If you came here to make a bet, make it.

PALADIN
$5,000 and it’s counted.

KANE
Well, looks like we got off on the wrong foot.
No need for two sportsmen to have an argument.
I’ll just cover your bet.

PALADIN
What odds?

KANE
Odds, Mr. Paladin? Well, after all…
I’ll give you two to one.

PALADIN
Five to one or no bet.

KANE
I’d have to put up $25,000.
That’s not good business, Mister.

PALADIN
Elkins.

KANE
Four-to-one.
That’s my best offer.

PALADIN
Elkins, I won’t be needing this money.

Well, I wouldn’t ask you in here if I didn’t think…

Hey, doggone it, you can’t be that drunk.
You only had a quart of whiskey.

Say, Mr. Kane. Mr. Kane, are you still buying information?

Shut up.

Well, you better
read this book here

if I can…

BANKER ELKINS
Maybe it’s just as well, Mr. Kane.
You’ve been buying land pretty heavy.

KANE
Keep your advice to yourself, Elkins.

BANKER ELKINS
I can’t. The point is, you haven’t got $25,000 in cash.

PALADIN
Well, sounds like I’ve been wasting my time and my money on a lot of big talk.
Say, Mr. Kane, you better read this book.
Shut up. Riley, get these two out of here.
Oh, no, this book…
Come on, outside.

PALADIN
Your a strange mixture, Kane.
So far you’ve gotten what you want without violence, without really breaking the law. But you’re being pushed now, and I wonder what that’ll do to you.

KANE
When I want moralizing, Mister,
I’ll hire me a preacher.

PALADIN
No, you won’t.
There’s no immediate profit in it.
Elkins, just close my account.

KANE
Get me the money, Elkins.

BANKER ELKINS
I told you, Billy Joe, you got maybe $10,000 in cash, that’s all.

KANE
I got ten times that in land, haven’t I?
I’ll give you collateral for the other $15,000.
I’ll sign over acreage.

PALADIN
Acreage, Mr. Kane?
I might accept a deed to your water rights.

BANKER ELKINS
I can’t advise that.

PALADIN
Ante, Mister, or leave the game.

KANE
Get the deed to the water.

PALADIN
And the $10,000.

KANE
And the cash.

(extends hand to Paladin)
Take Billy Joe Kane’s hand now, Mister.
You’ve got a firm deal.

PALADIN
I hope so.

INT. BARTENDER’S CAFE -DAY

(Paladin and Kane are seated at a table)

BANKER ELKINS
“The transfer of water rights is described below after fulfillment
of certain conditions,id es- that is, a wager by the party of…”

KANE
Got a pencil?
If pencil’s agreeable to you…

STEVER
Hold it, Mr. Kane.

OLD TIMER
I say, you give me that book now.

STEVER
You better take a look at this book.
That old coot had something after all.

OLD TIMER
Hey, now, Mr. Kane, you said that you’d pay for information.
That book is my property. Now, listen…

PALADIN
Go on home, old timer.

KANE
Mr. Elkins, would you read this?

BANKER KANE
“The camel..oldest domesticated animal. Water stored chiefly in the hump, enabling it to travel up to three days without water.”

STEVER
No wonder it drank five gallons.

BANKER ELKINS
“Camels have been known to travel 150 miles in less than 11 hours.”

KANE
Well, that’s incredible.

PALADIN
Kane, I’m still waiting for you to sign like you say we’ve got a firm deal.

STEVER
Firm deal? Since when is betting with a crook a firm deal?

KANE
Well, the law says that any man who misrepresents himself
or his gaming equipment for purposes of a bet is guilty of a crime.

PALADIN
Now, that’s a law I happen to agree with.
Suppose you tell us who misrepresented anything?

KANE
Suppose you tell us, Mister… who was it said the Army found camels
no good? Who was parading how much water his animal needed?
Who acted the dude out of Frisco?

PALADIN
I merely presented certain facts.
You drew the conclusions.

STEVER
(pointing a gun at Paladin’s head)
You draw a conclusion from this.
Billy Joe. My water rights are at stake, Elkins.

KANE
It’s legal to protect yourself from a confidence man.
Now, I’m sayin’ he forfeited that bet and he forfeited the money.
Now, Mr. Paladin, we’ll just see you out of this town.

PALADIN
I’ll walk!
The Great Mojave Chase, Mr. Kane- it’s on with one improvement.
I’m holding the stakes!

KANE
Give me a gun! Give me that!
Billy Joe, have you gone crazy?!
He’s a liar, and he’s a cheat!
You’re the one that’s lying to yourself.

KANE
Get after him! He’s only got but one bullet in that Deringer.
He dropped the gun.

TOWNSMAN
Hey, Mr. Paladin… you forgot your water!
Water!

HORSEMEN
Hyah! Hyah!

OLD TIMER
Oh, shucks. Poor fella forgot his water.
He won’t last long without water.
Well, that’s life. In his case, death.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

We see Paladin riding through the desert on the camel being chased by Kane’s posse.

KANE’S POSSE
Hyah! Hyah!

EXT. SHOT OF PALADIN SWEATING ON THE CAMEL – DAY

PALADIN
Come on. Come on.
If I had some friend,
that looks like water. Come on.
Kush. Kush. Kush.

Paladin tries to drink water from sandy soil, he is shot at by Kane’s men.

We see the burning Mojave sun.

We see Kane’s posse coming up on Paladin’s trail.

KANE
Ooh.
Was crawlin’.
Got back up again.

STEVER
He won’t last long
without water.

KANE
I give him
’bout an hour more.

Paladin drinks water from the flesh of cactus

EXT.  KANE’S CAMPSITE – NIGHT

Paladin sneaks into their camp, slits the water bags and runs off their horses.

STEVER
Hey, Billy Joe! Hey, wake up.
The horses.
Oh!

EXT. PALADIN’S TEMPORARY CAMP -DAY

Paladins finds a water hole in the desert.

KANE AND HIS MEN
walking in the desert without water

Come on. Come on.
Come on, just over…
next rise.

PALADIN
That’s far enough, gentlemen.

Paladin fires a warning shot in their direction.

KANE
All right, Paladin,
let’s have the water.
My men need it bad.

Paladin throws them a water canteen, then fires an shot that pierces the canteen.

We see water leaking  out onto the desert sand.

KANE
We stacked our weapons.

PALADIN
Duncan says you’re an honest man, Billy Joe Kane.
Are you? So far, I’ve seen you lie, cheat, steal, and try murder.
You tried everything but begging.
Now get down on your knees, Billy Joe.

KANE
You don’t know what water means out here.

PALADIN
You gave me a rough idea yesterday.

KANE
Now that I’ve been walking for hours…
I could say I’m wrong. I could say I’m sorry.
You wouldn’t believe me.

PALADIN
Are you down on your knees, Billy Joe?
Are you beggin’?!

KANE
I’m not begging!
I’m saying
I lost the race.
I’m saying
I forfeit the chase.
I’ll sign the paper.

PALADIN
That means
you’re finished.

KANE
I worked land when I first came here.
I’ll work land again.
I’m coming up to sign that paper.
You shoot, Paladin.
You shoot if you want to.

We see Kane’s men drinking from the water hole.

KANE
Guess you’ll be wanting
your own gun back.

PALADIN
I’ll get the deed.

KANE
Better hang onto
that one, too.

PALADIN
Thanks.
Thank you.
An empty gun can tell a man a lot of things.
Suppose you load this, keep it?
Here’s the deed.
Do you mind delivering that to Elkins at the bank?
Tell him the town owns the water rights.
Our wager will more than cover my fee.

KANE
And the town owns the water, huh?
Maybe that’s the way it should’ve been done long ago.

PALADIN
My hand, Billy Joe Kane. On the end of the Great Mojave Chase, you’re a poor winner, but you’re an excellent loser. I’ll ride Ezekiel back into town, send horses out for you. And I think the townspeople might like a living monument to the day they got back their water rights.

(Paladin turns to Ezekiel)
Ezekiel… I’m giving you to the town of Mojave.
Well, I’m terribly sorry about it, old friend, but my hotel has
very strict rules about pets.
Now, what can I do about that?

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