(9) “Show of Force”

Original Airdate:  (November 9, 1957)

“I could have taken that letter when I wanted it..even when you held the gun on me..put the gun away counselor..what good is proof to a dead lawyer?”

Paladin gets himself in the middle of a range war after winning rifles in a poker game.

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Ken Kolb and Lee Erwin.

RODOLFO ACOSTA as Pedro Valdez
RUSS CONWAY as Jared Martin
PETER COE as Carlos Valdez
JOE BASSETT as Matt Garson
VIC PERRIN as Arnold Haskins
NED GLASS as Bernard
ANDY BRENNAN as Cowboy (as Walter Brennan Jr.)
ROBERT HAINES as Hotel Carlton Desk Clerk

The following actors appeared in other episodes of HGWT:

RODOLFO ACOSTA: (Fandango, 1961) as Sanchez (as Rudolph Acosta), (The Man Who Lost, 1959) as John Wildhorse. PETER COE: (Heritage of Anger, 1959) as Manuel Garcia. JOE BASSET: (Death of a Gunfighter, 1959) as Charlie Pitt. VIC PERRIN: (Everyman, 1961) as Drunk, (The Campaign of Billy Banjo, 1960) as Sheriff Cooley, (The Night the Town Died, 1960) as Frazier, (Show of Force, 1957) as Arnold Haskins, (Winchester Quarantine, 1957) as Rheinhart. NED GLASS: (Long Weekend, 1961) as Clyde Tatum, (Strange Vendetta, 1957) as Wilkins.

PALADIN
Morning, Hey Boy.

HEY BOY
Good morning, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Oh, thank you, Hey Boy.

HEY BOY
Hey, you still win?

PALADIN
I still win. Pass the cigars around.

BERNARD
Well, I figure they’re costing me a hundred apiece, Paladin. I’ll raise you $50.

PALADIN
I’ll see that $50 and raise you a hundred.

BERNARD

And another hundred to you. Now that about cleans me, Paladin, but temporarily. Only temporarily.

PALADIN
Call.

BERNARD

They’re all red. ….A full house.

PALADIN
Thank you, gentlemen. Thank you very much.

MAN

Well, I guess that’s all for us. Good night.

BERNARD

One hand to showdown for a thousand dollars, Paladin.

PALADIN
Well, Mr. Bernard, you don’t have any more money.

BERNARD

That’s a bill of sale for a box the hotel is keeping for me down in the cellar. 50 rifles and a thousand rounds of ammunition. What do you say?

PALADIN
You’re covered.

BERNARD

The two of hearts, a king, a six of clubs and a pair of kings. A four of hearts, an ace, a three of spades, and here’s three kings.

PALADIN
Deal ’em.

BERNARD

A five of diamonds and a seven of…a five of diamonds.

PALADIN
Mr. Bernard, that does look like a small straight, doesn’t it?

INT. BASEMENT

PALADIN
Oh, that Bernard. 50 rifles… 50 antiques, circa 1812.

HEY BOY
Manager say sorry, Mr. Bernard check out early and leave no forwarding address.

PALADIN
Thank you, Hey Boy.

“War brewing between ranchers. Angle Bar ready to fight Circle-O over cattle right of way, claiming that Pedro Valdez, owner of the Circle-O Ranch has blocked his cattle path leading to summer grazing lands. Jared Martin, owner of the Angle Bar Ranch in the Sierra Valley said today that Valdez’s actions can lead only to bloodshed.”

SHOT OF PALADIN’S CARD

PALADIN
Jared Martin…Sierra Valley.

Pedro Valdez.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

Whoa.

JARED MARTIN
Paladin?

PALADIN
That’s right.
Mr. Martin?

JARED MARTIN

Yes. Ross, have the men unload these rifles.

Sparky, you heard him. Get busy.
PALADIN
Now, wait a minute. We’ve got a little talking to do first.

JARED MARTIN

What about?

PALADIN
The price of these rifles for one thing.

JARED MARTIN

Why, of course. I forgot this is just a business transaction to you. Name your price.

PALADIN

I can’t do that until I’m sure how the rifles will be used.

JARED MARTIN

As a matter of fact, the guns won’t be used at all. My men have plenty of rifles.

PALADIN
What do you want with mine, then?

JARED MARTIN

I don’t. I just want to make sure that Valdez doesn’t get them.

COWHAND

Sparky, get a rope.

JARED MARTIN

Sierra Valley has a small post office, Paladin. There are two letters that came from the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco. One to me and one to Valdez. You made him the same offer, right?

PALADIN
No argument.

JARED MARTIN

Valdez has plenty of friends, but he only has half a dozen rifles among them. I plan to keep it that way.

PALADIN
So I see.

JARED MARTIN

I’d have done business with you on your terms but you started quibbling about morals.

PALADIN
Well, a man can have morals even in business.

Hi-ho!

All right, come on! We’ve got to stop him!

Hyah!

Hyah!

JARED MARTIN

How is it, Russ?

RUSS

I should have killed him when I had a hold of him.

JARED MARTIN

Don’t worry. I’ll see that you get another chance. Go get the wagon. Take him back to the bunkhouse. Check on Buck on the way. And get into town and round up every one of our men. Round up anybody else that has a gun and wants to make some money.

RUSS

What are you going to do?

JARED MARTIN

Now that Valdez has those guns, we’re going to have to move fast.

They won’t expect us to drive through the portals for a week.

RUSS

You can’t.

Not until the cattle are rounded up.

JARED MARTIN

No, but we can take it and hold it and that’s just what we’re going to do. Tonight. Come on. I’ll help you down.

PALADIN
Señor Valdez?

Yes?

Paladin. Con mucho gusto.

Señor Paladin.

PALADIN
Did you get my wire?

I received your answer.

I got your card, but I sent no answer, señor.

Pedro, I sent the answer.

You should not have done so.

I’m sorry to have inconvenienced you, señor, but I do not wish more trouble
than we already have.

Pedro, we do not seek trouble.

It is already upon us.

PALADIN
Ay, pobrecito.

You heard firing from the Martin Ranch a few moments ago.

We did.

PALADIN
I shot two of Martin’s men on that set-to, and…I brought these for you.

You see? This is how a professional does things.

I see.

What do you ask for the rifles?

You tell me after you’ve used them.

You’re not afraid that I will cheat you?

If that were my greatest fear, then I would indeed be fearless.

What were you doing at the Martin Ranch, señor?

PALADIN
Choosing my side.

And you choose this one?

PALADIN
I’m here.

Perhaps you have not chosen too wisely, Señor. We are greatly outnumbered.

PALADIN
Well, with just a few men, Jackson held New Orleans. And with fewer men, Washington took Trenton.

You speak knowingly of the art of war, señor.

PALADIN
I’ve had some training. I’d like to look over the disputed territory.

This is no dispute. The land belongs to us. We bought and paid for it.

PALADIN
You have proof of that?

The proof is with the man of the law in the town.

PALADIN
What does the lawyer say?

He says that a paper cannot stop Martin, so we must fight. I will provide a horse for you so you can inspect the portals. Juan, Chico.

Open up the box and hand out the rifles.

PALADIN
Momentito, muchachos. Por favor, señor, not yet.

Now you want money?

No.

The rifles are yours at your price when you want them. Well, then why do we have to wait?

PALADIN
Only to prevent an accident. These are extremely dangerous weapons.

Esta bien.

Mr. Paladin, I’ve done all I can to help the Valdez brothers, but their claim to the land has no legal validity whatsoever.

PALADIN
They told me that you had legal proof of their ownership of the portals and the high pasture land that leads to it.

Now, it may be proof to them, but to a court of law, never.

PALADIN
Is it proof to you?

What do you mean?

PALADIN
Mr. Haskins, do you think the Valdez boys own the land?

Of course. Pedro Valdez is a man of scrupulous honor. Why, I’d believe him even without the letter.

PALADIN
You have the letter?

Yes. Right here. In John Longworthy’s own handwriting.

PALADIN
Longworthy was the original owner?

Yes. I had the honor of being his attorney for many years. Unfortunately, I was in St. Louis at the time of this sale. Longworthy died before I returned.

PALADIN
And?

Pedro and Carlos worked with John on his ranch for over 20 years. They saved their money and finally bought that northern section.

PALADIN
Where does Martin come into the picture?

Well, after Longworthy died, Martin came in and purchased the entire ranch. The original ranch.

PALADIN
Wait a minute. You mean Valdez paid his money and got nothing to show for it?

They trusted one another. They’d been working together for 20 years. When they bought the land, it became theirs on Longworthy’s word. That was all the proof they needed.

PALADIN
So they didn’t bother to file a new deed? Pedro Valdez is a fine man, but he’s uneducated. Such things mean little to him.

PALADIN
What about Longworthy? He must have known there’d be complications after he died.

Yes, you’re right.

But which of us expects to die?

PALADIN
I’d like to see that letter if I may. The important passage is on the top of the page there where it’s marked.

PALADIN
This letter was written by Longworthy to Pedro Valdez, is that right?

That’s correct.

PALADIN
“You are an old, trusted friend, Pedro, and it gives me great satisfaction to know that now you have a fine ranch of your own. The northern quarter is good land and I would not have parted with it to anyone but you. You purchased it with faithful service as well as with dollars, John Longworthy…” Well, now. What’s that for?

Kindly return the letter to the envelope and hand it to me, please.

PALADIN
You’re not taking any chances, are you?

It has occurred to me that you might have been hired by Martin to destroy this bit of evidence.

PALADIN
You said that the letter is worthless as legal proof. Still, it’s all we have, and under certain circumstances, it might be made legally valid.

PALADIN
What circumstances? Well, Martin would have to acknowledge in writing that he accepts the letter as legal proof of Valdez’s claim.

PALADIN
Has Martin been approached on that basis? He has. That’s how Carlos Valdez got his broken arm.

PALADIN
Mr. Haskins, how long do you think we have to settle this? Well, Martin’s cattle will be rounded up within a week and he’ll try to drive them through the portal.

PALADIN
And Valdez will defend it. There will be a lot of bloodshed and a lot of innocent lives lost unless you can prevent it.

PALADIN
Thanks for your time, Mr. Haskins. Oh, sorry. Watch where you’re going, you clumsy ox.

PALADIN
Well, maybe I didn’t hear you right. You heard me. You’re a clumsy ox… Sorry. I guess you didn’t hear me right. After you. Say, the way you handle that gun, you ought to be coming with me.

PALADIN
Where?

275
00:15:00,966 –> 00:15:01,999
The Martin Ranch.

276
00:15:02,033 –> 00:15:04,468
They’re paying five dollars for one night’s work.

PALADIN
What’s the job?

MAN
Easy. Scare a few Mexicans out of Martin’s cattle path so he can take his herd through.

PALADIN
You sure about this? Ed Sandy rode through town about an hour ago, said any man that wanted to make an easy five ought to be out there tonight.

PALADIN
Tonight?

Sure.
Well, you coming?

PALADIN
I’ll see you there.

PALADIN
Mr. Haskins, I’ll have to trouble you for that letter. But… I can’t allow that.

PALADIN
I don’t have much time. Martin’s going to force a showdown tonight. I still don’t know you haven’t been hired by Martin.

PALADIN
If I had, this would be a lot simpler. What do you mean?

PALADIN
I could have killed you anytime and taken that letter, even when you had the gun on me.

PALADIN
Put the gun down, Mr. Haskins. The law is your business, guns are mine.

If you’re so good with a gun, you’ll never have a better chance to prove it.

PALADIN
What good is proof to a dead lawyer? Put it down. Thank you, sir. I’ll return this letter to you tomorrow.

The rifles are a very good joke, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Carlos, listen to me. Martin is planning to attack tonight. Not next week, tonight.

You’re going to stop him with these?

PALADIN
Yes, if you listen to me, we have a chance.

You are a worse enemy than Martin himself. You trick us with false hope to steal our money.

PALADIN
That’s not true. You say Martin attacks tonight?

We will be ready. But first we must deal with you. A traitor.

Ya esta listo. Muy bien.

PALADIN
Carlos. I challenge you to tell these men how I betrayed you. You brought us those old rifles to use against men armed with real weapons.

PALADIN
Did I ask you to pay for them? Didn’t I tell you you could give me what they were worth after you used them? He speaks truly, Carlos. After we use them? Would we be such fools as to fire them?

PALADIN
I hope not. The odds are they’d blow up in your face. You see, he admits it.

PALADIN
Pedro, those guns will stop Martin. How?

PALADIN
A show of force can win a battle before it begins. He lies to save his skin. He would have us face real bullets with those old relics.
Preparen!

PALADIN
I came to help you. I ask nothing of you.
Apunten!

PALADIN
Am I to die because you opened a box I asked you not to open? Carlos. Let him speak.
Esta bien, muchachos. Descansen.
All right, speak.

PALADIN
Martin doesn’t know those guns are antiques. What is your plan?

PALADIN
When Martin gets to the portals there should be a gun barrel sticking out from behind every rock. He’s not a fool. He’ll hesitate to attack a heavily fortified position. It seems possible. What do you think, Carlos? As I have said, he speaks knowingly of war.

PALADIN
It’s a gamble but it’s your only chance. Try and shoot it out with Martin’s men and you’ll be cut to pieces. That is the bitter truth.
Por favor. Las manos.
Gracias, gracias.

PALADIN
Carlos have your men get those old rifles.
Si.

PALADIN
Now, Pedro, how much coal oil can you get me? Coal oil? Mm-hmm.

RUSS

I wish I was riding with you.

JARED MARTIN

There won’t be much to it. Valdez might have a guard or two posted. We’ll pick them off.

RUSS

I’d give plenty for a shot at that Paladin.

JARED MARTIN

You’ll get one in good time.

Now, once we take the portals, we’ll dig in and hold it until we’ve driven all the cattle through. Then we’ll go after Valdez and Paladin. We’ll burn ’em out. All right, let’s go!

PALADIN
Esta bien, muchachos.
Now all we can do is wait. Did you have your men pour the coal oil?

Si, Señor.

It is the sound
of many horses.

PALADIN
Bueno, Carlos.
Get the men with the good rifles into position.

Pronto, pronto.
Si, Señor.

PALADIN
Martin, tell your men to hold their fire. You men want to stay alive, throw those guns down. You’re surrounded. How about it, Martin?

JARED MARTIN

We’re not licked yet. We can still make a fight out of it.

PALADIN
A lot of men will be killed on both sides. How many of these $5 helpers are going to stay with you? Carlos, tell your men to hold their fire.

JARED MARTIN

All right, you win this round, but we’ll be back. You can’t hold out forever.

PALADIN
There isn’t going to be another round. This is the finish. I’ve got a lot of guns behind me and you’ve got a choice. You can set off a massacre or you can settle this here, with me, alone, now.

JARED MARTIN

What’s on your mind, Paladin?

PALADIN
Get off that horse and come over here. I’ve got something I want you to sign. This letter says that Valdez bought his ranch and that he owns the ground you’re standing on. You’re going to write on it that you accept this as legal proof of his claim. Now write! The rest of you men throw those guns down. They’ll be returned to you tomorrow.

Pedro, Carlos, vengan!

Bring me one of the rifles- the special ones.

PALADIN
You file this with your lawyer in town tomorrow.

Our words cannot say our thanks, Señor Paladin.

Si, muchas gracias, Señor Paladin.

PALADIN
De nada, amigos. Look at this, Martin. This is what beat you. Now, gentlemen, I have for sale, 50 of these very fine rifles. What am I offered?

INT. HOTEL CARLTON

PALADIN

Mr. Bernard. Well, this is indeed a pleasure.

B

Now, please, Mr. Paladin. I can explain everything.

PALADIN
What is there to explain? I must thank you for those guns.

B

T-The… the guns?

PALADIN
Yes. I sold them at a very handsome profit. I’ll see you again. Mr. Bernard.

PALADIN

Yes?

PALADIN
If you’re in San Francisco for any length of time, we must have another poker game.

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