(30) “The Prize Fight Story”

Original Airdate: (April 5, 1958)

Paladin heads to a mining town to promote a boxer in a prizefight, but when his boxer is arrested, Paladin must fight in his place.

Directed by: Andrew V. McLaglen
Written by: Ken Kolb

DON MEGOWON as Oren Gilliam (American prizefighter)
GEORGE E. STONE as Joe Roland (Oren’s manager)
GAGE CLARK as Jake Webber (saloon owner)
KING CALDER as Sheriff Clint Forbes
HAL BAYLOR as Bryan Sykes (British prizefighter)
BEN WRIGHT as Will Harvey (Bryan’s manager)
CARL SAXE as Man
BOYD “RED” MORGAN as Tom
JACK PERRY as Bartender

 I don’t like you, Forbes.
But I need much more provocation
To destroy a human life. Even yours.

PALADIN
Thank you.

JOE ROLAND
Honest! I tell you, I haven’t got it!

MAN
Hand it over or I’ll choke it out of you!

JOE ROLAND
Help! Now you did it. Now we’re really in a jam!
Why’d you hit him so hard?

OREN
What’d you want, joe? You said help.

PALADIN
Here’s the key to my suite. I’ll take care of this.

JOE ROLAND
Oh, thanks… Paladin!

PALADIN
Go on, joe.

JOE ROLAND
Come on, get up here. Why do you have to hit people so hard?
I’ve had trouble with you from the first day I met you.
Come on, get up there!

PALADIN
Perhaps you’d better send for the house physician.
This man seems to have fainted.

DESK CLERK
Yes, sir.

FADE TO
INT. PALADIN’S HOTEL SUITE – DAY

Paladin, Joe, and Oren are seated at a table. Oren is hungrily eating a leg of chicken.

PALADIN
What started the trouble?

JOE ROLAND
This guy wanted me to pay for his steer that Oren hit.

JOE ROLAND
Oren hit?

OREN
I didn’t hit it hard. It was an old steer. Besides, joe told me to.

JOE ROLAND
This big loudmouth was standing in the bar, And he wanted
to bet me that no one could hit a steer with one punch and knock him down.

OREN
I give him a straight right.

JOE ROLAND
He wanted me to pay the damages for the steer.
He was going to choke it out of me.

PALADIN
I noticed.

JOE ROLAND
Lucky thing you came along.

PALADIN
I’m always glad to return a favor.
I owe you one from Philadelphia.
Joe, what are you doing out here in the west?

JOE ROLAND
I wish you hadn’t asked me that.
I tell you, every time I think of the story, it just makes me sick.
Makes me sick! I spent every cent I had bringing Oren out here.
Paladin…Did you ever hear of a town called Limestone?

PALADIN
Yes, very tough place.

JOE ROLAND
Yeah, I know it is. But it’s a perfect spot for pugilism contests.
I brought Oren out here to meet the British champion, a fellow called Bryan Sykes.
He was gonna fight him for the title.

PALADIN
Joe, the British champ is Jim Mace.

JOE ROLAND
All right, so he was champion of Wales or something.

PALADIN
What happened, did Sykes back out?

JOE ROLAND
No, he didn’t. The sheriff came in and he wanted a third of the gate.
It was just pure graft, I tell you it was pure graft.
Well, this promoter Webber wouldn’t go for it,
Sykes’ manager wouldn’t and I wouldn’t go for it. So, no fight.

PALADIN
What was he promoter’s name?

JOE ROLAND
His name was Jake Webber, he owns a big saloon there.

PALADIN
I think I’ll drop Mr. Webber a line. Perhaps I can do some good for all of us.

JOE ROLAND
You can try it but I don’t think it’ll do any good.

PALADIN
Well, we’ll see. In the meantime, Joe, will you keep Oren away from steers?

JOE ROLAND
Yeah. Oren, stay away from steers!

OREN
Ohhh!

INT. JAKE WEBBER’S SALOON – DAY

JAKE WEBBER
Clint Forbes is no small-time grafter. He’s self-appointed sheriff of Limestone.
He’s killed six men. More or less in the line of duty. I don’t mean to be the seventh.

PALADIN
Neither do I.

JAKE WEBBER
No, take more than you to stand up to Forbes.
Go on back to San Francisco. You’re wasting my time.

PALADIN
As you like. But since I’ve come this far, I’ll have a drink anyway.

Jake acts as bartender in order to serve Paladin a whiskey.  He pours him a glass.

JAKE WEBBER
That’ll be a dollar.

Paladin slams down a five-dollar coin.

JAKE WEBBER
(Jake gives Paladin his change)
Out of five.

PALADIN
(looking at one of the dollar coins)
That one’s counterfeit.

JAKE WEBBER
Then, pass it on to somebody else.

PALADIN
No, I’ll take another dollar for that one please.

JAKE WEBBER
You’ll take yourself out of here on the shutter…

Jake threatens Paladin with a mallet, then Paladin draws out his derringer and points it at Jake.  Jake is visibly shaken.

PALADIN
I’ll take another dollar for that one, please.

Jake goes to get a genuine dollar coin and tosses it on the bar.

PALADIN

Thank you, and another drink.

Jake nervously pours Paladin another drink.

PALADIN
Thank you.
Bye.

JAKE WEBBER
Hey, wait a minute! You really thinking of putting through this fight deal?

PALADIN
What kind of a deal did you have in mind?

JAKE WEBBER
Well, I can’t pay much. I only got 50 percent of the purse.

PALADIN
The other half goes to fighters?

JAKE WEBBER
The winner. Both sykes and gilliam agree winner takes all.
I’ll give you 500 bucks, no more.

PALADIN
Well, it’s worth more but the interests of a friend are at stake so you make it a thousand, and you’ve got a deal.

JAKE WEBBER
Well, all right. But no fight, no pay.

PALADIN
All right.

JAKE WEBBER
I can send a wire to Sykes today. Where can I find Gilliam?

PALADIN

Here at the Lonestar Hotel.
He and his manager came with me from San Francisco.

JAKE WEBBER
You had this thing all figured out, didn’t you?

PALADIN
Yes, sir.

EXT. TOWN STREET – DAY

SHERIFF FORBES
Hold it, mister.

PALADIN
Have we met?

SHERIFF FORBES
Just now. And it’ll be the last time if you’re smart.

PALADIN
Is that a personal suggestion?

SHERIFF FORBES
That’s an official order.

PALADIN
Oh, I see. You represent the law here.

SHERIFF FORBES
I am the law here.

PALADIN
Well, what law is there that says a sheriff gets one third of every fight purse?

SHERIFF FORBES
The law I passed this morning. I got up early just to do that.

PALADIN
No one man is the law. Not here, not anyplace.
It’d be a pleasure to prove that to you, Forbes.

FORBES

There’s only one way to prove it.
You may as well try now.

PALADIN
Oh, no. No, I need a lot more provocation than that to destroy a human life. Even yours.

FORBES
All right, I’ll let you off this time. Next time it’ll be different.

PALADIN
You must figure you’re pretty fast with a gun.

FORBES
Fair. I don’t need to be too fast. Just careful.

CAMERA PANS UP TO THE RIGHT SCREEN VIEW A SECOND STOREY WINDOW WITH A GUNMAN TAKING AIM AT PALADIN.

PALADIN

(Paladin looks up)
Friend of yours?

FORBES
My deputy. You see, even if you’d gone for your gun,
It never would have cleared your holster.

PALADIN
I see. Well, I’m very sorry to disappoint you.

FADE OUT

EXT. TRAINING CAMP OUTSIDE OF TOWN – DAY

JOE
Come on, lean into it! Straighten that left out. Now hit him with the right.

OREN
That’s only red, Joe.

JOE
No, it isn’t. That’s Sykes! You remember that. You’re treating him
like your mother. Come on, go.

OREN
You worry too much.

JOE
Now look, you tend to your business
Or you’ll get two extra miles of roadwork.

PALADIN
Sykes is pretty rough,
isn’t he?

JOE
Oh, you don’t know. I wish I could change That arrangement of winner take all.

Forbes rides into camp with his goons.

FORBES
Well paladin, you got out of town alright, But you didn’t get out far enough.

PALADIN
This camp isn’t in your county, You don’t have any jurisdiction here.

FORBES
Jurisdiction’s what you make it. I told you either I get my share of the gate,
Or I’ll stop the fight.

PALADIN
Now, just how do you plan to do that?

FORBES
I’ll show you. All right, boys. Take this camp apart!

PALADIN
Hold it! Get their guns, Joe. Forbes, you’re wearing a star
But the next time you try to stop this fight, I’ll put a hole through it.
Now, you get those two tramps out of here.

Forbes and his goons leave. We see Paladin aiming his gun at them as they leave. Joe is holding several guns in his arms as Paladin looks down and starts laughing at Joe.

FADE OUT

EXT.

WILL HARVEY
You stop that!

SYKES
I didn’t even feel it!

WILL HARVEY
Just for that, you can lift
these weights for half an hour.

SYKES
I don’t need that.

WILL HARVEY
You do as I say!

SYKES
I ain’t going to do it,
Willie.
oh, me bunion!
You’re killing me!

WILL HARVEY
Then don’t answer back to your manager. Now pick up them weights.
Go on, pick ’em up. All right, you ready? Lift! Now, one… Two… Three… Fou…
Hullo! How long have you been there?

PALADIN
Four or five minutes, why?

WILL HARVEY
We don’t like no spies round our side of the training camp.

PALADIN
I’m not a spy, I’m your protection.

WILL HARVEY
You’re too friendly with Gilliam to suit me. You stay away from here.

PALADIN
Mr. Harvey, my job is to patrol this fight camp, All of it and I don’t take orders from you.

SYKES
Whoops! It slipped.

WILL HARVEY
You’re very fast on your feet, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
I’m very lucky, Mr. Harvey. I don’t have bunions.

FADE OUT

JAKE
Hello, sheriff. What’ll you have?

SHERIFF
Couple of minutes of your time. I hear you sold a lot of tickets to the fight.

JAKE
That’s right.

SHERIFF
Seems like you’re taking a big chance.

JAKE
Why don’t you say what’s on your mind, Sheriff?

SHERIFF
You want this fight to go on, don’t you? Well, so do I. I had quarrels over
whether I get my share. Right?

JAKE
Yeah.

SHERIFF
Now listen…
If we fix it so we know
who’s gonna win,
There’s more to be made
on bets than the gate.

JAKE
Well, naturally
I thought of that.
It’s kind of risky though.

SHERIFF
Your men are in the corner
as seconds.
Little whiff of something
between rounds would do it.

JAKE
You’re forgetting paladin.
I owe him money.

SHERIFF
You let me and my boys in,
And I’ll see to it
you don’t pay him a cent.
That’s uh…
Part of this agreement.
Not one cent for paladin.

FADE TO

EXT. CAMPSITE FIRE – NIGHT

Paladin and Joe are sitting at the campfire warming themselves.

JOE
I’ll be glad when
this fight is over.
Start living
decently again.
It’s a funny hole
and corner business,
This box fighting.

PALADIN
You know, the time’ll come
it’ll be widely accepted.
It’s an ancient sport.

JOE
Oh…It’s been popular in England
for over a hundred years.

PALADIN
It goes back much further
than that.
Homer writes of greek
pugilists in “the Iliad.”
And it’s related
of a certain Eurydimas
That when his teeth
were battered in,
He swallowed them rather
than show he was hurt.
He won the fight.

JOE
Wish I could have been
his manager,
We’d have cleaned up.

PALADIN
I’m afraid not.
Eurydimas fought purely
for the sport,
In the Olympic Games.

JOE
Euryminus?

PALADIN
Eurydimas.

JAKE
It’s only me.
Don’t shoot.
The fight’s all set.
The tickets are sold.

PALADIN
You didn’t come out here
to tell us that.

JAKE
No, I come here to tell you
I settled with forbes.
He made me an offer
and I took it.

PALADIN
At what price?

JAKE
That’s between
me and forbes.
Anyhow, him and his boys’ll
be at the fight.
So don’t make any trouble.
That’s what I come here
to tell you.

PALADIN
What about the purse?

JAKE
Don’t worry,
it’s in my safe.
And it takes three
separate keys to open it.

PALADIN
Ohhh!

PALADIN
Webber, I’m sorry.
Excuse me.
Good night.
I’ll see you tomorrow.

JOE
I’m beginning to wonder
about that guy.

PALADIN
So am I.
It’s time we did something
to protect our investment.

JOE
I see, you haven’t forgotten
a thing since philadelphia.

INT. SALOON – NIGHT

Paladin sneaks into Jake Webber’s saloon and opens the safe with the keys that he picked from Jake’s vest pocket at the camp.  He then exchanges the purse money with worthless paper and then hides the real money in an ornamental vase up on a shelf near the safe.

FADES TO COMMERCIAL BREAK

FADE TO

INT. SALOON – DAY

A very large crowd is present as the fight is ready to commence.

JOE
It looks like everything’s
coming off on schedule.
All we got to do now
is win it.

PALADIN
I don’t like it.
It’s too easy.

JOE
Why the worry?
Forbes just decided
He’d rather take a few bucks
less that go against you.
You scared him off.

PALADIN
No sir.
He doesn’t
scare that easy.

JAKE WEBBER
Everything set?

FORBES
I got bragg, gil, stoney
and five others
Spotted in the crowd.
We’ll handle paladin
or any other trouble.
Start when you’re ready.

JAKE
All right.
All right!
All right,
quiet everybody!
You’re about to see
what you come for.
The bare knuckle fight
of the century.
In this corner,
The american challenger,
Oren gilliam!

The crowd cheers Oren on. Then Forbes interferes with his announcement.

FORBES
Sorry to disappoint
everybody,
But there isn’t
going to be any fight.

The crowd grumbles at this. Then Forbes quiets them down.

FORBES
Wait a minute!
Hold it, please!
Quiet everybody!
Gilliam’s under arrest.
I’m taking him to jail.

JAKE
The cause?

FORBES
I advise everybody
To hold still and keep
their hands in sight.
My men have the place
covered with shotguns.

PALADIN
Wait a minute, forbes!
You can’t take
this man.

FORBES
You’re going to stand in
the way of the law, paladin?

PALADIN
I told you once before,
no one man is the law.

FORBES
I figured you’d be
a stickler about that.
Gilliam’s wanted on
a federal warrant
For beating up a
u.S. Marshal in topeka.
Here’s the paper
to prove it.

PALADIN
This true, oren?

OREN
Well yeah, it happened
a couple of years ago.
I didn’t kill nobody!
Just busted him up a little.

FORBES
You gonna fight
federal law, paladin?

PALADIN
No.

FORBES
I’m confiscating the purse
to this fight.
Gimme the keys
to your safe.

JAKE
I can’t, I don’t know
where they are.

FORBES
All right,
I’ll drill it open.
Red, get three of our men
And have ’em carry the safe
to my office.

MAN IN CROWD
what about our money?

FORBES
Paladin…
You learnin’ a little
respect for the law?

JAKE
You gotta do something!
Do something quick!
This mob’ll tear
this place apart.
And me with it.
You guaranteed this fight.

PALADIN
That’s right, I guranteed it,
that’s what I said.
And I wish I’d remembered
cervantes’ line.
” a closed mouth
catches no flies.”

JAKE
What?
Anyhow, you promised.

PALADIN
A fight, and so
you shall have one.
Red, did you bring your equipment?

RED

Sure.

JOE
Paladin. Do you know what you’re
getting yourself into?

JAKE
You?

PALADIN
Me!
Don’t just stand there,
go tell the people.

JAKE
Quiet!
Quiet, please!
In a few minutes, you’ll
get the fight you wanted.
I promise you.

FADES TO

JOE
Listen, this guy
hits with his right,
So keep your left hand
up high.
Stay in close and keep
pounding on his ribs.
This guy’s got a skull just like a
cannonball, so don’t hurt your hand.
The bartender’s
gonna help us.
While he works on you,
I’ll tell you what
you’re doing wrong.

WILLIE
This mob has come here
to see a fight.
You give ’em a good one.

JAKE
I promised you a fight
to the finish,
Between the british champion
and an american challenger.
That’s what you’ll get.
In this corner,
the british champion,
Bryan sykes.
And now…
The american challenger,
Bare knuckle champion
of the barbary coast…

PALADIN
I got a new title.

JAKE
Pride of san francisco,
Paladin!
Undefeated in 20 fights.

PALADIN
My record gets better
every day.

JOE
If you can fight as good
as he lies, it’s in the bag.

JAKE
This fight will be held under
the london prize ring rules.
A round ends when
a man falls down,
Or is knocked down.
The fight ends when he
can’t come to scratch
At the sound of the bell.
No wrastlin’,
no eye gouging allowed.
Let’s go!

Paladin starts off with four punches to Syke’s head. Then Sykes hits Paladin with a solid right which knocks Paladin down to the floor. The bartender rings the bell.

Paladin is pulled back into his corner then returns to deal a blow to Sykes stomach. Sykes and Paladin exchange stomach blows, then Paladin counters with a hard right to the chin. Sykes goes down.

JOE
That’s the stuff.
Now you got him.

PALADIN
It was a lucky punch.

JOE
Oh, lucky!

WILLIE
What’s the matter with you?
Ain’t you a professional?
Here’s this half-witted
so-called gentleman fighter,
And you can’t beat him?

CUT TO — Forbes’ men trying to open the safe. (two beats)

CUT TO — The fight

Paladin and Sykes exchange some serious blows with Paladin taking the brunt of the punishment.  Paladin is back in his corner.

PALADIN
How many times
I been down?

JOE
Eight.

At this point the fight gets really ugly with Paladin getting quite a beating.  Paladin gets knocked down perhaps for the last time but he is pulled back into his corner.

JAKE
Time.

The bartender rings the bell.

JAKE
Give this to him
between rounds.
We got too many bets out.
We can’t take any chances.

Paladin takes a tremendous beating then Sykes holds him by the hair ready to give the final blow but instead releases him to drop to the floor.

CUT TO — Forbes’ men finally open the safe.

FORBES
Yeah, here it is.
Nice payoff
for everybody.

MAN
it’s a fake. It’s cut-up newspaper!

FORBES
Get your shotgun!
We’re going back
and blow that place apart!

CUT TO — fight

WILLIE
It’s gone on long enough.
Finish him off now.

PALADIN
Ahhh!

JOE
Look, that’s enough.
I’m throwing in the sponge.

PALADIN
No!

RED

Take a smell of this.

JOE
let me see that.
Chloroform!

PALADIN
Chloroform?

Red immediately knocks out the guy that handed him the chloroform with a mallet.

JOE
Yes, chloroform.

MAN IN CROWD
Come on, paladin! Let him have it.
Watch his right.

Paladin uses a different strategy by stepping on his opponent’s bunions.  He does this again in order to throw Sykes off guard… then he finishes him off with a hard right and a hard left to the head landing Sykes down on his back.

FORBES
wait a minute, hold it!
Quiet, everybody!
Don’t move,
you’re all under arrest!
I’d advise everybody
to hold still,
And keep their hands
in sight.
My men have the place
covered with shotguns.

Paladin sees the hanging kerosene lamps and then dowses them with a pail of water. The room then goes dark.

Amidst the confusion, Joe is crawling on the floor. Paladin helps him escape.

PALADIN
Joe!

JOE
Paladin.

PALADIN
You all right?

JOE
Yeah.

PALADIN
Come on.

FADES TO — CARLTON HOTEL LOBBY – DAY

JOE
Listen to this.
The state authorities
have finally taken
The situation in hand
in limestone.
After the near recent riot,
Following the bare knuckle
fight of the century,
Both sheriff forbes and
promoter webber are in jail,
Making charges
and counter-charges.
Webber is charging forbes
with the theft
Of the missing fight purse
totaling over $4,000.
$4,000.
I’ll bet those rats
have it hidden somewhere.

PALADIN
How do you usually
split your purses?

JOE
Fifty-fifty, why?

PALADIN
Well, that’s the way
I split it.

JOE
Boy, oh boy.
I wish I could be
your manager.

PALADIN
Sorry.
I don’t think I was made
to keep training rules.
I think I’d rather be
a lover than a fighter.
Excuse me.

Paladin goes off to pursue a beautiful woman (O.S.)

Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rudy Bowman Rudy Bowman …
Fight Spectator (uncredited)
John George John George …
Fight Spectator (uncredited)
Chester Hayes Chester Hayes …
Fight Spectator (uncredited)
Jimmy Noel Jimmy Noel …
Fight Spectator (uncredited)
Buddy Roosevelt Buddy Roosevelt …
Fight Spectator (uncredited)
Cap Somers Cap Somers …
Fight Spectator (uncredited)

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