35-“The Return of Dr. Thackeray”

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Stanley H. Silverman and Sam Rolfe.
Story by Stanley H. Silverman.

JUNE LOCKHART as Dr. Phyllis Thackeray
GRANT WITHERS as Sam Barton
CHARLES AIDMAN as Tom Barton
JOHN ANDERSON as Fred Cooley
JOHNNY WESTERN as Steve Pauley
CY MALIS as Nate – the Sick Man
SAM GILMAN as Laird (uncredited)
FRED MCDOUGALL as Cowhand (uncredited)

JUNE LOCKHART also appeared in: (No Visitors, 1957) as Dr. Phyllis Thackeray.
GRANT WITHERS also appeared in: (No Visitors, 1957) as Jeremiah Mulrooney, (The Outlaw, 1957) as Sheriff Jake Ludlow. CHARLES AIDMAN also appeared in: (The Search, 1960) as Fred Harper / Martin Kilmer, (Return to Fort Benjamin, 1960) as Lt. Graham, (Girl from Piccadilly, 1958) as Gordon Dawes. JOHN ANDERSON also appeared in: (First, Catch a Tiger, 1959) as Walt Dunne / Fred Horn, (Something to Live For, 1958) as Martin Wheeler. CY MALIS also appeared in: (The Scorched Feather, 1959) as Piggo, (The Protégé, 1958) as Bartender. SAM GILMAN also appeared in: (Twenty-Four Hours at North Fork, 1958) as Clerk

I want to see Phyllis Thackeray. And I want to see her now. If she’s been harmed in any way, you two men can toss coins to see who I gun down first.

MR. LAIRD
I’ll give you $1,000 now, And you’ll promise to accept this job.
$1,000 later when you complete it.

PALADIN
I spend $2,000 a year on cigars, Mr. Laird.

MR. LAIRD
$3,000. That’s the best I can do.

PALADIN
You propose to ship half a million In gold bullion from your bank in Phoenix. Why don’t you get in touch with an express company?

MR. LAIRD
Four. You said yourself it was a simple job.

PALADIN
And I’ll discuss doing it for $10,000.

MR. LAIRD
That’s out of the question.

PALADIN
Good night, Mr. Laird.

MR. LAIRD
I’ll have to consult with my partners. I’ll stop by to see you tomorrow.

PALADIN
That’s fine if I’m still in town.

MR. LAIRD
You’re not negotiating with other parties, are you?

PALADIN
Who knows, Mr. Laird? I could be by tomorrow.

EXT. RANCH HOUSE – EVENING

TOM BARTON
It’s Nate, Pa.

SAM BARTON
I know who it is. Let’s get him in the house, Then send Charlie for that woman doctor. Too bad Doc Taney ain’t back from Laramie yet.

SAM BARTON
Near as I can make out, he’s had this fever for a week.
I guess when he got so sick he couldn’t pour the soup,
Fred sent him home.

TOM BARTON
Nate was out in the round-up, cooking for the hands.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
A cook. He could have infected all your men.

SAM BARTON
Infected? What do you mean?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
This man has smallpox.

SAM BARTON
Smallpox! Get him off the ranch.
Get a buckboard and get him to town.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
You can’t take him anywhere else. He’ll infect others.

SAM BARTON
That’s no concern of mine. Get him off this ranch!

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Mr. Barton, that man has to stay right here.

SAM BARTON
Lady, don’t you give me orders. Carry him out!

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
He must stay here. Look, there’s a supply of vaccine at Fort Landis. If we send a telegraph right away, That vaccine could be here within five days.

SAM BARTON
Don’t just stand there! Do as I say.

TOM BARTON
This is something the doctor knows more about than we do.

SAM BARTON
Tom, I said carry him out.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Leave him alone! I mean it.

SAM BARTON
You’re the wrong sex to be handling a gun.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
You touch him and you’ll get smallpox for sure.

TOM BARTON
You won’t need that with me.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
I couldn’t have pulled the trigger anyway.

TOM BARTON
Yeah, pa had you sized up that way.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Look, somebody has to send the telegram for the vaccine.

TOM BARTON
All right, I’ll do that. Only that’s just part of the trouble. The round-up’s about over. The men’ll be back soon.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
That’s good. We can keep them here until the vaccine arrives.

TOM BARTON
You don’t understand. They been working six months without a break. They’ll want to get to stockton so bad, nothing’s going to hold them. They get six month’s pay.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
They’ll stay when they understand about the smallpox.

TOM BARTON
They’ll run like rabbits.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
But they have to stay until they’re vaccinated. At the point of a gun, if necessary.

TOM BARTON
I’m not very good with a gun.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
I know someone who is. There’s his card.

INT. HOTEL CARLTON

PALADIN (READING TO HIMSELF)
Mr. Paladin, Carlton Hotel, San Francisco. Need you urgently. Barton ranch, Three Rivers, California. Phyllis Thackeray.

MR. LAIRD
Good morning, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Hello, Mr. Laird.

MR. LAIRD
I’m prepared to meet your terms in full now. $10,000, you said.

PALADIN
I’m sorry, I’ve had a better offer.

MR. LAIRD
Better offer? How much?

PALADIN
Mr. Laird, this offer has nothing to do with money. Goodbye, sir.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – EVENING

PALADIN
My name is Paladin. Where’s Doctor Thackeray?

SAM BARTON
My son told me he sent you a telegram. That was a mistake. Go back to San Francisco.

PALADIN
Now who are you?

TOM BARTON
This is Mr. Barton, my father. He owns this ranch. I’m Tom Barton.

PALADIN
I’m looking for Dr. Thackeray. Where is she?

SAM BARTON
I want you off my place.

PALADIN
Where?

SAM BARTON
Talk to me, mister. I’m the man around here.

PALADIN
I want to see Dr. Thackeray and I want to see her right now. If there’s anything wrong, if she’s been harmed or impeded in any way, you two men can toss coins to see who I take apart first.

SAM BARTON
Now you wait a minute…

PALADIN
That’s how long I’ll wait, one minute for you to show me that girl.

SAM BARTON
You walk into my house and threaten me?

TOM BARTON
There’s no need to make a fuss. He just wants to see the doctor.

SAM BARTON
That’s your way, isn’t it? Back away from anything tougher than a steak.
Fall down and play dead when the man tells you to.

TOM BARTON
That’s not true, pa. I just don’t believe in fighting when there’s no fight called for.

SAM BARTON
Or any other time! This man’s trespassing. If you’d like to do something useful for a change, Throw him off this ranch.

PALADIN
That’s your minute, Mister. I can’t wait for you to prove things to your father’s satisfaction. Where’s the doctor? Where?!

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Ahhh, come in. You better bolt the door. He’s very sick. And it’s contagious.

PALADIN
You all right?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Yes, I was vaccinated two years ago back east.

PALADIN
What’s he got?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Smallpox. I know, I should have said something in my telegram.

PALADIN
Afraid I wouldn’t come running?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Would you have?

PALADIN
If I didn’t have anything important to do. Besides, I’ve been vaccinated.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
I should have known.

PALADIN
Just how long have you been here alone?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Since last night. My patient has a lot of friends. I’ve had a hard time keeping them away.

PALADIN
You do take half a spoon of sugar, don’t you?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
You remembered.

PALADIN
Many things. Your patient’s friends don’t know he has smallpox.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Thank you. No. We’ve got to keep it a secret ’til the vaccine gets here.

PALADIN
When will that be?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
About three more days. They’re sending some over from Fort Landis.

PALADIN
And that’s not why you sent for me.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
No. I sent for you because Fred Cooley, the range boss Is something of a gunman. He’ll be back tomorrow with the men. They’ve got to be kept here. They won’t want to stay.

PALADIN
And you want me to keep them here?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
You have to. What’d you put in this? Sugar or sleeping powder?

PALADIN
You stay there.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
No, I can’t. He’s nearing the crisis.

PALADIN
You’re not going to be much help to him If you’re asleep on your feet.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
All right. I’ll lie down for 20 minutes then. Thank you. Give him water if he asks for it. You better wake me if he gets more feverish.

PALADIN
I’ll wake you. And by the way, hello. It’s all right. I told you I’ve been vaccinated.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Have you?

PALADIN
What?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Been vaccinated.

PALADIN
Um hmmm.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
When? When?

PALADIN
What?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Were you vaccinated.

PALADIN
Right after the war.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Oh. That’s all right then. Wait a minute, maybe it isn’t. That was years ago.

INT. PALADIN

EXT. ROUNDUP BOYS

SAM BARTON
You’re back early, Fred.

FRED COOLEY
Boys are in a hurry to get to Stockton. We figure to start the herd that way come morning.

STEVE PAULEY
Yeah, come early morning. Yee-hoo!

FRED COOLEY
Get down to the bunkhouse with the other boys. You’re making so much noise a man can’t hear himself talk.

SAM BARTON
You better come in the house, Fred. We gotta have a little talk before you go anywhere.

FRED COOLEY
Sure thing, soon as I get things put right. Why don’t you get our pay ready, meanwhile?

INT. SICK ROOM

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
How is he?

PALADIN
He’s more feverish.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Yes, I think you’re right.

PALADIN
Is this the crisis?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
The next few hours. Look, you better warn the Bartons. If he dies, there’ll be no way of concealing the cause. Everybody on this ranch’ll stampede in all directions. You think you can stop them?

INT. OUTER ROOM

PALADIN
Nate’s at the crisis. Could go either way.

TOM BARTON
Cooley and the men are back.

PALADIN
I heard them.

SAM BARTON
You’re not going to be able to handle those men.

PALADIN
I don’t want to handle them. They work for you. Which of you is going to order them to stay here?

SAM BARTON
I didn’t ask for this fuss. They’re free to go as far as I’m concerned.

PALADIN
Tom?

TOM BARTON
Waste of breath talking to Fred Cooley. He’ll do what he wants.

PALADIN
No, he won’t. He’ll do what he’s made to do.

TOM BARTON
Well, can’t you…

PALADIN
Handle it for you? Sure, I could. Be noisy. Guns are noisy.
Don’t you think you might try to talk first?

TOM BARTON
Fred won’t listen to me.

SAM BARTON
I don’t want this crew shot up. Tom, you brought him in against my orders. You tried to handle this your way. All right. I want to see you finish it.

PALADIN
Someday this’ll be your son’s ranch, won’t it?

SAM BARTON
He oughta be running it now.

PALADIN
Tom, sooner or later, whoever is foreman of this ranch Is gonna be taking orders from you. Nobody’s gonna stand next to you all your life, With a gun to make your orders stick.

TOM BARTON
Yeah. I guess you’re right.

PALADIN
Tom…You’re gonna have to keep these men here without telling them it’s because Nate has smallpox.

SAM BARTON
Tom’s been gone long enough. Could be he swung Fred Cooley into line, And he and Fred are bringing the rest of the men around. Yeah. That could be what’s taking the time. If he wasn’t such a weakling.

PALADIN
Is he such a weakling?

SAM BARTON
You’ve seen him. He’ll take it from anybody. He’s always been that way and always will be. He gets it from his mother, rest her soul.

PALADIN
No, I’d say he gets it from you. You’re a loudmouth bully. Yes, you are. It’s all talk. Vicious, cutting kind of talk that probably held that boy down. Gave him the idea he never could win, so he never tried.

SAM BARTON
All I ever tried to do was make a man out of him.

PALADIN
No, you’re scared to death he might really become a man. Then you’d become the little man around here.

SAM BARTON
That’s enough! I don’t have to explain to you how I feel about my son.

PALADIN
Oh, am I mistaken? Would you really like that boy to kick your teeth in?

SAM BARTON
I’d crack his skull if he did. But I’d love him if he tried.

PALADIN
For all our sakes, I hope you get your wish.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE RANCH HOUSE

STEVE PAULEY
Still think we ought to make him apologize.

FRED COOLEY
I know what the fellas are after and I’m gonna Get it for them like I always do.

STEVE PAULEY
Wait a minute! You’re gonna apologize first.

FRED COOLEY
Steve, you just simmer down. Ah…Mr. Barton…Steve Polley here thinks Tom was serious about us not taking the cattle out to Stockton this morning. I said old Tom was just funnin’ with us. Which one of us is right, Mr. Barton? Me or Steve?

SAM BARTON
I’d rather you didn’t leave this morning.

FRED COOLEY
When, then?

SAM BARTON
I’ll let you know.

FRED COOLEY
I believe you just got it turned around the other way. We’re letting you know. We’re moving out this morning, With or without your beef. That the way you men want it?

STEVE PAULEY
That’s right.

FRED COOLEY
That’s the way it’s gonna be then. I don’t know what’s going on around here, But it’s something I don’t like. You’re breaking a promise to your men now. There’s a strongbox in your study, Mr. Barton. Open it up and get our money out. We’re gonna ride at sun-up.

SAM BARTON
You’re talking to me now.
Not my son.

FRED COOLEY
I know who I’m talking to, all right. I’m telling you, there’s something funny going on. And with all respect, either you open that safe…Or we’re gonna break it open.

PALADIN
No, you don’t go in the house.

FRED COOLEY
Are you…You work here, mister…

PALADIN
Paladin. I’m just helping a friend.

FRED COOLEY
Got a specialty?

PALADIN
I use a little of everything.

FRED COOLEY
But in the end it comes down to that.

PALADIN
If there are no alternatives.

FRED COOLEY
All right. Sun-up’s in an hour. It’s gonna take me about an hour to get my gear Gathered together and get back here to get my pay. I’m riding out. Don’t try to stop me.

PALADIN
Your choice. I’d prefer to avoid violence.

STEVE PAULEY
hear that, Fred? He prefers to avoid violence. A professional gunfighter from the look of him, And he prefers to avoid violence. Well, I’m not gonna let you.

FRED COOLEY
Steve, cut it out.

STEVE PAULEY
I won’t cut it out. You know something, Paladin? I don’t figure to wait until sun-up. Now!

PALADIN SHOOTS HIM

FRED COOLEY
I’ll be back.

INT. RANCH HOUSE

PALADIN
Anything else I can do for him?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Still too fast. It’s a little steadier though. The fever’s no better though.

PALADIN
More quinine?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
No, not for a little while.

PALADIN
Is there anything more I can do for you?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Yes. Talk to me. Keep me awake.

PALADIN
Talk to you? Just like that? It’s not that easy.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
You’ve never had any trouble finding the right words.

PALADIN
It’s easy enough to talk. To find the right words, the common words, That men exchange with women. But you and I have grown too close for that.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
That’s a frightening thought.

PALADIN
It is. Because we’re the kind of people we are.
We’re neither one of us ready for marriage, are we?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Well, you’re certainly keeping me awake.

PALADIN
You have to go on with your work.
It’s important to you and it’s important to those who need you.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
And you have to go on with your work because…You’re the kind of a man you are.

PALADIN
I did hear a rumor once that people can change.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Do you believe that?

PALADIN
Yes, if they’re ready to change. And we’re not ready to change.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
I’m confused. Have you been proposing to me?

PALADIN
No. No, I’ve been explaining why I haven’t proposed.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
That’s very flattering. I’m sure there aren’t many women to whom you’d feel It was necessary to explain why you weren’t proposing.

PALADIN
This is the first time.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Oh, be quiet or I’ll wring your neck.

PALADIN
That won’t stop the sun from rising. I have an appointment at sunrise.

NATE
Doctor?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
I think he’s better. I think he’s going to live.

PALADIN
Perhaps that’s a good omen. Phyllis…

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
We understand each other. We both want it this way.

INT. OUTER ROOM

PALADIN
Have any cold water around here?

TOM BARTON
Room down the hall. There’s a basin.

PALADIN
Thank you.

SAM BARTON
Maybe fred won’t show up.

TOM BARTON
You know him better than that. He’s got six month’s wages owed him.
He’s not going to ride off without it.

SAM BARTON
We’re a fine pair. Letting an outsider do our job.

FRED COOLEY
It’s time. Where’s your gunman?

TOM BARTON
He’ll be here.

FRED COOLEY
As long as we gotta wait, You might as well open that safe.
We’re gonna want our pay.

SAM BARTON
I told you not to talk to me like that, Fred.

FRED COOLEY
All right, come on.

TOM BARTON
Take your hands off him.

FRED COOLEY
Come on, let’s go.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
You can’t come in here. The door should be bolted.

FRED COOLEY
You’re the one they kept locked up. I heard there was a woman doctor around here. You started it all?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Please get out of here!

FRED COOLEY
Ever since you come, nobody leaves the spread. Now why?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Because it’s necessary.

FRED COOLEY
Something to do with Nate. What’s the matter with him?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
He’s been very ill.

FRED COOLEY
How you feelin’, Nate? Boys out here…Nate!

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Yes, it’s smallpox.

FRED COOLEY
Smallpox?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Listen, there’s a vaccine on the way. It’s a kind of medicine. I’m going to vaccinate all of you.

FRED COOLEY
Are you loco?I’m gettin’ outta…

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
It’s the only way to protect you. Don’t you understand? Please listen to me.

PALADIN
Who did this to her? Who?!

TOM BARTON
Fred didn’t know what he was doing. He was out of his mind with fear.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Paladin!

Paladin pulls him off his horse.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Paladin, that’s enough! Don’t kill him! It’s all right.

TOM BARTON
No more, Paladin. Not this way. Please! I’ll put a bullet in you if I have to. I won’t stand by. This is my ranch. I’m responsible for Fred, for you and for everyone here. can’t you hear me?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Paladin, I’m all right. He didn’t hurt me. Look, I’m perfectly all right!

TOM BARTON
You’ll leave Fred to me now? Hmmm? I said, you won’t touch fred again? I’ll handle him.

PALADIN
That’s right. You run this place, don’t you?

TOM BARTON
Come on, Fred.

INT. RANCH HOUSE

PALADIN
I got the hands lined up outside. They don’t know quite what to expect,
But Tom’s holding them.

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Good. Better bring them in one by one.

PALADIN
All right, Tom. Start ’em in.

TOM BARTON
You first, Fred.

FRED COOLEY
I’m leaving.

TOM BARTON
Oh no, you’re not.

SAM BARTON
What are you whelps afraid of?

DR. PHYLLIS THACKERAY
Would you step over here, Mr. Barton? What’s the matter, Mr. Barton?

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