(5) “A Matter of Ethics”

Season 1, Episode 5 – Original Airdate: (October 12, 1957)

<= 999 – “xxx“ == ”xxx“ – 999 =>

An accused murderer who fears that he will be lynched before he can be returned to Bender, Wyoming, for trial, hires Paladin to make sure he gets there alive.

HAROLD J. STONE as Bart Holgate
(The Last Judgement, 1961) as Judge Greenleaf
(Helen of Abajinian, 1957) as Samuel Abajinian
(Lazarus, 1962) as Boise Peabody
(One Came Back, 1959) as Carew
(High Wire, 1957) as Dooley Delaware
ROY BARCROFT as Sheriff Swink
(Face of a Shadow, 1963) as Jim Sherwood
(Be Not Forgetful of Strangers, 1962) as Simon
(The Mark of Cain, 1962) as Jake Trueblood
(The Hanging of Aaron Gibbs, 1961) as Marshal
(Long Weekend, 1961) as Shep Montrose
(The Tax Gatherer, 1961) as Lewt Cutter
(The Legacy, 1960) as Judge Carter
(The Haunted Trees, 1959) as Flannigan
(Comanche, 1959) as Sgt. Barsky
(Killer’s Widow, 1958) as John Griffin
STEVEN TERELL as Deputy Harry Dill
KEN MAYER as Willie
(The Protégé, 1958) as Gun Instructor
(The O’Hare Story, 1958) as Eli Gardner
(Jonah and the Trout, 1962) as Sanders
(The Hunt, 1962) as Niki – Radachev’s Servant
(Birds of a Feather, 1958) as Crabbe
THEODORE MARCUSE as Folger – Salesman
(The Return of the Lady, 1959) as General Beauregard Grock
(High Wire, 1957) as Wally
(Three Bells to Perdido, 1957) as Bartender
STAR TREK: TOS (Catspaw, 1967) as Korob
PETER BROCCO as Hotel Carlton Desk Clerk
(Cream of the Jest, 1962) as Young Husband
(The Prisoner, 1960) as Samuels
(The Englishman, 1957) as Hotel Carlton Desk Clerk

“This gun says there will be no lynching here. There’s earth enough to bury every man who comes to me with a rope.”


Here you are Mr. Paladin; as you have designed it in almost solid platinum.

Closeup shot of Paladin’s signature chesspiece

Very nice. I know platinum is hard to work with. It requires great heat.

Yes, Sir. The combination of rare metal and great skill makes that quite an expensive ornament.

Naturally, leave your bill at the desk

Thank you Mr. Paladin.

Leave the bill…?

…at the desk. Good day sir.

Uh…Mr. Paladin..he’s uh..wealthy?

Here..always I bring Paladin newspaper from every place..him big tipper.

I’m to leave a bill for Mr. Paladin. It that all right

Quite all right, sir, this is his permanent residence

His credit?

You must be new to San Francisco. No one questions Mr. Paladin’s credit.


He’s engaged in business here?

He must have investments all over the West, he’s always going away on business trips.

PALADIN [reading silently from the newspaper] “Bartholemew Holgate, wanted for murder by the town of Bender in Wyoming Territory was captured in the foothills, south of Sacremento this morning. Holgate pleaded with the local authorities against being returned to Bender. The prisoner stated he would be turned over to a mob which would lynch him”

Everything’s taken care of Mr. Paladin..It’s a pleasure to do business with a gentleman of taste.

Barthomew Holgate…Care of jail…Sacremento California.

(inserts his business card)

Get out of the way.

PALADIN Seems you got tangled-up in some iron clothesline.

Stay put or I’ll blow you in half. I oughta pull the trigger and finish it right here. Thanks mister! Give me them irons!

HOLGATE: You can’t blame me you’ll take me back to be lynched.

You don’t deserve better. Now step out for a minute and Harry here tries to make it more comfortable. Kick him in the head and take off I’ll not be making the mistake of kindness again

You, I take it, are Bartholemew Holgate. You received my card.
I received your wire You!

I thought you was on my side

Who are you Mister?

My name is Paladin. Your name, Sheriff is?

Swink. And this young fellow who’s liable to blow a hole in you is my deputy, Harry Dill. What’s your business here?

PALADIN: That remains to be settled. What makes you think you’ll be lynched? HOLGATE: The town was named after Max Bender. The Benders are well liked. It was his son who caught my bullet.

I’ll tell you what I’ll do. For 200 dollars, I’ll guarantee to deliver you alive to stand trial.

Alright, Paladin, I’ll see that you get your money the moment I step in the courtroom.

Now, what do you think the chances are of my employer here being lynched? I think he’ll try it.Will you stop it.

Don’t ask him. PALADIN: I didn’t hear your answer Sheriff.

It’ll be a cruel hard decision.

Then we are on the same side.

The whole town on the other side, I don’t figure we’ll come out on top.

As the poet Browning wrote: “Tis’ is not what man does that exalts him, but what man would do.” And we three would do right.

Maybe that poet don’t mind failing. But me, when I put my hand to a thing I like to know it’s gonna be done!

PALADIN: “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?” That’s Browning, again.

(Paladin pulls his hat down and tries to sleep) Train running down the track.

Max, Amy. How’d you know we’d come in on this train?

We waited on all the trains. I wanted to see the man that killed my son!

He’s gonna get a trial, Max. AMY: My brother didn’t have a trial. SHERIFF: Amy!

He didn’t have a gun and didn’t have a trial with a smart lawyer to trick him to freedom or a prison sentence.

The man who killed your brother will have a trial Miss Bender.

Who are you!

My name is Paladin.

Holgate hired him to see that he ain’t lynched.

So, the gunfighters are all for law and order, if the price is right.

You don’t buy law and order,

Miss Bender, you fight for it.

Once you have it, you don’t throw it away.

Your father knows how hard law is to come by.

All this talk won’t change the writing on my brother’s tombstone!
Your neighbors will come for this man, Sheriff. And you’ll do what’s right!

He will. And so will you.

[commercial break]

You’re on your own, Harry. I’ll be back if trouble breaks.

Good work, Swink. Now that you’ve got the honey in the hive, the bees will be swarming around soon enough.

Sheriff, I’ll bed down on one of your office cots until the trial.

Alright, but I’ll be using the other one.

(Holgates’ lawyer, Fred Coombs enters the jailhouse)

Greetings, gentlemen!

You didn’t lose any time, did you Coombs?

My client and I must start preparing our defense. And mind you, Sheriff, I expect you to deliver us only to the court.


Who’s he?

Well, let’s say, I’m a deputy to assist the sheriff.

He’s all right. I hired his gun. He’ll see to it I get to the courtroom.

And you’ll see to it that your attorney turns the fee over to the person that I choose.

I’ll tell him.

Right now, we’d like privacy. My client and I must discuss the case.

Go ahead. Rap on the bars when you’re through.

Well, sir. I have been examining our case. Talking to the witnesses.
Searching for legal precedents.

Can you get me off?

No. However, we might make a case out of the fact that you assumed young Bender to be armed.

What does that get me?

Ten to twenty years, perhaps life.

That won’t hardly do, see!

I see, well Bart, we can merely present our defense. We cannot command a verdict.

Can we buy one?

No, no, no. Not in the present situation.

Then I better not stay around for the trial.

Well, you’re safer in this cell than you would be outside. If you fell into the hands of those townspeople.

The town can help me out of this mess. Yeah.  Let them come roaring up to the front of the jail in a mob yelling for my neck.

They’ll do that right enough.

And sweep that kid and Paladin will be out there trying to hold them off. There’ll be gunplay and noise aplenty.

There’ll be that too.

Let’s see. I still got a couple of friends. William McKethe. They still around?

Yes. They signed on at the Circle X Ranch.

HOLGATE: Well, uh, have them ride into town.

(fade to hangman’s noose in front of the Bender General Store)

COOMES: That’s Amy Bender’s doing. PALADIN: She keeps stirring the pot till it boils over.

COOMBS: She was always such a nice quiet girl. I never suspected that there was a streak of pure meanness under it all.

PALADIN: Meanness, Mr. Coomes, hardly. Amy Bender hates him with good cause. It’s frustrating for a woman to hate like this. She can’t strap on a gun and settle this affair with her own two hands.

[Int. – Day – Bender General Store]

PALADIN: Well? Miss Bender, I wonder if you’d hold some money for me. You’re not to give it to me until Holgate steps into the courtroom. If he does before that, return it to Mr. Coomes.

AMY: Think I’d hold your blood money. PALADIN: Blood money? For keeping a man alive? MAX: I’ll hold that money for you.

PALADIN: Thank you, Mr. Bender.

COOMBS: Well, you don’t need me any more.

AMY: If you won’t help us, at least stay out of it completely. Who needs weapons? TOWNSMAN: Lend me a shotgun, Amy. A double blast at the belly ought to cut a man in half.

PALADIN: That man wouldn’t be any deader than one with a 45 slug between his eyes. TOWNSMAN: Yeah, you’re a big man with a gun, ain’t you? PALADIN: And you’re a big man with a crowd. TOWNSMAN: Don’t need no crowd. I don’t need no gun!

(punches Paladin)

PALADIN: Stay away from the jail.

AMY: Don’t try to stop us, gunfighter. There’s room for another noose out there.

PALADIN: So there is. And earth enough to bury every man who comes to me with a rope!

(commercial break)

[EXT. – NIGHT – ]

PALADIN: How’s it been? SHERIFF: Quiet in here. It ain’t building up on the streets. PALADIN: Small groups, big talk.

HOLGATE: Nothings gonna happen tonight. They’ll wait till ward reaches the ranch and the nesters. I’ll make it to party tonight. PALADIN: Feels like it. HOLGATE: Get a good nights sleep, boys. Don’t want you dozing tomorrow night.

PALADIN: Holgate seems to be in a happier frame of mind tonight.

SHERIFF: He’s got no worries. We’re supposed to look after him in jail and Coomes’ll look after him in court.

PALADIN: Sheriff, I’ve got an idea Holgate can look after himself. Is there any place around here I can lock this up? I wouldn’t want it handled too much. SHERIFF: Well, this has got a key. You could put it in there. Thank you. SHERIFF: What do you got in that bag anyhow? PALADIN: Just some of the tools of my trade. SHERIFF: Uh, oh. Look it here. What do we got now? PALADIN: So? SHERIFF: Well, theys the McKees, his friends. That’s Fred Coomes place. Now what would he be wanting with Holgates lawyer?

PALADIN: Sheriff, if want to sit up tonight and ponder any answers to questions, I’ve got a better one for you to chew on. SHERIFF: What’s that?

PALADIN: Who do they figure to ride that extra horse?

[EXT. – DAY – ]

PALADIN: A man came by and said you wanted to see me. AMY: Now that you’ve had a night to sleep on it. Do you still intend to fight for Holgate? Nothings come up to change my position, Miss Bender. AMY: Something might. PALADIN: For instance? AMY: Mr. Paladin. I don’t want anyone hurt. I just want Holgate to pay for my brother’s death. PALADIN: So far, no argument.

AMY: I believe Sheriff Swink can be persuaded not to shoot at his friends. In that case, no harm will come to him. The same goes for his deputy.

PALADIN: That’s a lot of believing Miss Bender but go ahead.

AMY: That leaves just you. You’re not out to kill somebody and be killed in turn. PALADIN: It would seem so.

AMY: You’re doing this for money. What if I gave you more money to leave town now? PALADIN: That’s a definite offer, I take it.

AMY: Cash. I’ll get it for you. PALADIN: Don’t do that.

PALADIN: Switching sides for money, that’s most unethical. I’m afraid not. AMY: But, why?

PALADIN: Have you ever seen a lynching, Miss Bender?

AMY: No, I imagine it…

PALADIN: Your imagination would fall far short of the truth. No matter what Holgate’s done he won’t be handed over to feed the animal instincts of a mob! What’s the matter, is your conscience acting up?

AMY: I don’t want anyone hurt except Holgate.

PALADIN: That’s the trouble with a lynching, Miss Bender, you can’t have it ordered up all neat and dainty like a yard of Flemish lace. It’s something that cowards get whiskyed up and mumble over. Winding up with screams in the gutters of a dark night.

AMY: There’s nothing you can do to stop it!!

It’s all set, Amy.


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