41-“In an Evil Time”

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Shimon Wincelberg.
Joan Scott     …     (uncredited)

HANK PATTERSON as Pappy French
WILLIAM STEVENS as Morley
CHARLES HORVATH as Bull Swanson

Your gun won’t help now, pappy.
For as birds are caught in a snare,
So are the sons of men snared…In an evil time.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

Paladin is riding along and comes upon a man’s hat. He dismounts his horse to pick it up. Then, there’s a close gunshot.

PAPPY FRENCH
You! Step over here a minute! Gimme a hand up.

PAPPY FRENCH
Don’t worry about it. I just used that to attract your attention.

PALADIN
Well, I’m here now. You’d better keep your weight off that broken leg.

PAPPY FRENCH
Are you a doctor?

PALADIN
No.

PAPPY FRENCH
How’d you know it was broke? Gimme a hand up.

PALADIN
All right.

PAPPY FRENCH
Let’s try it again.

PALADIN
What are you trying to do? See how much pain you can take?

PAPPY FRENCH
No, I ain’t afraid of a little pain.

PALADIN
No? Well…You just hold on now. Easy, now. There we go.

PAPPY FRENCH
Of all the fool things that can happen to a man.
I reckon fallin’ off his own horse is the dumbest.

PALADIN
Let me have a look.

PAPPY FRENCH
Never mind. Leave it be. Just get a good, straight stick And I’ll tie it up as good as it needs.

PALADIN
All right.

PAPPY FRENCH
Never mind, just let me have it. I’ll tie it up myself. I’ve fixed so many of ’em.
Ah, confound it. You know anything about setting bones?

PALADIN
I know enough about it to get you to a doctor.

PAPPY FRENCH
I don’t want no doctor. You fix it. Go on. Ain’t much different than fixing it for a horse.

PALADIN
Except a horse would be smarter than to make it worse.

PAPPY FRENCH
You be gentle there. Take it gentle now. You clumsy ox!

PALADIN
Now, this is gonna hurt a little. Think you can stand it?

PAPPY FRENCH
There ain’t no man big enough To do a thing that old pappy can’t stand.

PALADIN
Then you are Pappy French.

PAPPY FRENCH
What’s it to you?

PALADIN
We’ll talk about that later. Let’s just get you fixed up here.
Easy now.

PAPPY FRENCH
Well, now. That’s a pretty good job You done on that leg.
I reckon that’ll get me where I want to go.

PALADIN
Where’s that?

PAPPY FRENCH
I didn’t ask
your business, did I?

PALADIN
I don’t think you’re gonna get very far on foot.

PAPPY FRENCH
I don’t intend to be on foot. I aim to borrow your horse.
You have no objection, have you?

PALADIN
No! How could I? If you did…

PALADIN
Was this what you were looking for?

PAPPY FRENCH
Are you a card! I like you. You got a sense of humor. Hey, if you don’t mind me askin’,
What is your particular line of endeavor?

CARD

PAPPY FRENCH
If you hire out, how would you like to hire out to me?

PALADIN
For what purpose?

PAPPY FRENCH
Get me where I wanna go, and I’ll cut you in.

PALADIN
You’ll cut me in on what?

PAPPY FRENCH
You don’t wanna go askin’ a lot of fool questions from a man that’s about to hire you.
You’ll have no complaint about the wages.

PALADIN
That depends on where they come from.

PAPPY FRENCH
Out of a satchel. A satchel with $50,000 in it. Is that good enough for you?
What would you say if I’d cut you in for 10% of that?

PALADIN
It would still depend on whose money it was.

PAPPY FRENCH
It would be your money after I’d give it to you!
Why do you want to ask so many fool questions for?

PALADIN
I’d like to know what my prospects are before I drop my present job.

PAPPY FRENCH
What job is that?

PALADIN
Recovering some money that was robbed from a bank in Merced last week.

PAPPY FRENCH
Oh, is that so? Mm-hmm.

PALADIN
$50,000 to be exact.

PAPPY FRENCH
Ain’t that a coincidence? Shake, partner.

PALADIN
Are you gonna lead me to it?

PAPPY FRENCH
That’s a nice resting spot.

PALADIN
There’s not much cover here. In case anyone’s looking for you.

PAPPY FRENCH
Who’d be looking for me, ‘cept you?

PALADIN
I guess you’d know better about that than I would.

PAPPY FRENCH
Maybe we’d better move on a little farther before we stop.

PALADIN
Easy, now. Ah!

PAPPY FRENCH
I’ll be the first to own up to it. I’m not the man I used to be. No. I’m slowin’ down.

PALADIN
Pappy, a broken leg like that would slow anyone down.

PAPPY FRENCH
There was a time when I could ride until the horse dropped under me. There wasn’t a lawman or woman either that could keep pappy french nailed down to one spot.
And here I am, brought to my knees by the dumbest creature in all creation. A horse.

PALADIN
Pappy, whatever made you go sour on common, everyday justice?
Was it the lack of meeting up with it?

PAPPY FRENCH
A couple of fellas with tin badges trying to make a reputation for themselves with an election coming up. Folks had been missing horses. The law was kind of anxious to balance it out with a hanging.

PALADIN
That’s always an awkward time for strangers.

PAPPY FRENCH
I wasn’t a complete stranger. Not to the missing horses, anyhow. By morning, passion for justice had cooled off a bit. And they let me off with nothing worse than a coat of tar.
But me and the law. We’ve never been quite the same to each other since. I guess I’ve had enough of it. A man’s a fool to stay beyond his time.

PALADIN
Surely you’ve never thought of yourself as passing that stage.

PAPPY FRENCH
I’ve had 40 years of it. Not a slice nor scar nor bullet hole. Never spent a day behind the bars. Pappy french since that time was never the man to let another man get the best of him.

PALADIN
That’s a very impressive statement, pappy. What have you got to show for it?

PAPPY FRENCH
Forty-two dollars. And some small silver. That comes to about a dollar a year, don’t it? A little over. You know of any chinese cooley that’d work for that? And here I had $50,000 just waiting for me to pick it up. The chance to live out my years in comfort and respect.
And I have to go and break my fool leg. That’s it. You get old, and your own body betrays you.

PALADIN
And your friends just abandoned you.

PAPPY FRENCH
Aw, I never had no friends.

PALADIN
What about your partners in the robbery?

PAPPY FRENCH
That ain’t the same as friends.

PALADIN
You ran off and left them. Didn’t you, pappy? You took the money, ran off and left them
To shoot it out with the deputies.

PAPPY FRENCH
That’s their look on it. They’re young. They can make themselves another stake.
For me, it’s my last chance. Besides, they probably all got killed.

PALADIN
Don’t bet too heavily on that.

PAPPY FRENCH
Why? Where are they?

PALADIN
Two of them were shot down, one gave up.

PAPPY FRENCH
And the other two?

PALADIN
I imagine they’d be very interested in knowing what their leader did with all that money.

PAPPY FRENCH
Which two was it? Was that young punk morley with the two-hair moustache one of ’em?
He always did want to carve himself A reputation out of my hide.

PALADIN
He got away.

PAPPY FRENCH
Let’s get out of here. This place is too exposed. Too open. That young punk morley would shoot us In the back as quick as look at us.

PALADIN
I don’t think he’d do that, pappy. At least not until he finds out what you did with that money. Why didn’t you hang on to it?

PAPPY FRENCH
The deputies were chasing me ’til dark And I figured if they caught me,
They wouldn’t catch me with the goods. Besides, I might have been able to buy them off.
A man’s honest as long as it pays him to be. There never was a man who didn’t have his price.

PALADIN
Let’s go. There’s no telling how close your friends may be.

EXT. MORLEY’S CAMP

mor
I told you he’d be heading this way. Pappy’s too old a dog to change his tricks.

2
I was aiming at the other fella.

1
Pappy needs help to lead us to that money. Afterwards. You just remember one thing.
That old man’s mine. I want that old snake to see it coming. Slow.

EXT. CAMP

PAPPY FRENCH
Paladin, you’re a hard man to do business with. I think I’ll have to offer you half that money.

PALADIN
The money is going back to the bank, pappy. Every cent of it.

PAPPY FRENCH
I’ve seen bandits in my time, But you top ’em all.

PALADIN
You wouldn’t recognize an honest man if you fell over him in broad daylight, pappy.

PAPPY FRENCH
Suppose I change my mind? Go on. Take me back in. Let ’em put me in jail.
At least I’ll get some rest. The man that hired you ain’t never gonna see that money again.
Where are you going?

PALADIN
I’m not making any money sitting there looking at you. So I figured I might as well go into town and get myself a good night’s sleep in a hotel bed.

PAPPY FRENCH
What about me?

PALADIN
I’ll send some people out to find you first thing in the morning.
I’ll tell them to bring both a shovel and a stretcher.
They can use either one depending on who finds you first.
Them, or your friends.

PAPPY FRENCH
Paladin…Paladin! All right, you win. I’ll take you there in the morning.
I still think you want it all for yourself, though.

PALADIN
There’s always that possibility.

PAPPY FRENCH
Ain’t you got no pity on an old man?

PALADIN
Which old man, pappy? The old man that owns the bank?

I haven’t any pity for him at all. I won’t give him one cent more than he lost.

PAPPY FRENCH
Yes, I’ve heard a lot of them talk big before they had temptation laid in front of them.
The sung a different tune then, you bet.

PALADIN
Good night, Pappy.

PAPPY FRENCH
Ain’t we gonna share a standing watch?

PALADIN
Are you expecting company?

PAPPY FRENCH
That kid Morley can track like an Indian.
I ain’t so clean that he couldn’t smell me a good ways off.

PALADIN
Wake me when you get tired. I don’t think your friends will bother us any until we have the money.

PAPPY FRENCH
Do you expect me to stand watch without a gun? Oh, no.

PALADIN
Now don’t go shooting up any ghosts. That’s the quickest way to invite visitors.

PAPPY FRENCH
Oh, I’ve camped out a few times in my life. I reckon I know a ghost from a coyote.
What’s to keep me from shooting you in the back? He thinks I need him too bad.
I don’t need any man’s charity. Leaving me to stand watch with an empty gun.
Well, I think I know where cartridges can be had. Ain’t nobody gonna find me if I sit still.
Morley? You out there? Morley? Ain’t you gonna come and help old pappy?
Don’t come near me! Don’t come near me. I’ll shoot! I’ll shoot!

EXT. MORLEY’S HIDEOUT
I guess we can get some sleep now. Ten to one they’ll be up shivering all night.

EXT. PALADIN’S CAMP
Morley!

PALADIN
We’re gonna have to keep moving. It wouldn’t be that quiet out there if there weren’t other men around.

EXT. MORLE
We got ’em rattled now. He’s firing at shadows. Come on.
By morning, they’ll both be too tired to give us much fuss.
Wake me up in three hours.

EXT. PALADIN

PALADIN
why don’t you…Shh!

PAPPY FRENCH
Would you let me keep ten thousand And a day’s head start to the border?

PALADIN
You’d never make it.

PAPPY FRENCH
I still think
you want it all for yourself.

PALADIN
Under this one? How did you ever lift it up?

PAPPY FRENCH
My leg wasn’t busted then. Can’t you hurry it up a little?
They’re liable to be here any minute.

PALADIN
Just keep your eyes open.

PAPPY FRENCH
All right. Let’s start dividin’. I mean to stick by my original bargain.
You’ll get your ten percent. I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong.
It’s loaded.

PALADIN
Aren’t you taking an awful chance calling your friends that way?

PAPPY FRENCH
If they’d kill for money, Don’t you think they’d be darn fools not to let me live for money?

PALADIN
I guess you know them better than I do.

PAPPY FRENCH
Don’t you think it’d be a bad bargain for me to go along with you and maybe get the rope? When all I got to do is to split this money with my friends?
Now load up them saddlebags. And don’t look so injured.
I intend to pay you for your horse. Think $500 is about right?

PALADIN
It would be if I intended to sell him.

PAPPY FRENCH
You’ll sell him all right. Now start filling up them bags. Hey, morley! Come on up!
It’s payday! Share and share alike!

PALADIN
What are you trying to do? Spoil a forty-year record?
Let me see this. It’s a good thing that was on an angle.
Stay down before you really get hurt.

PAPPY FRENCH
They aim to kill me. I offered to split the money with them and they shoot at me just like I was a dog.

PALADIN
Some people don’t have any finer feelings.

PAPPY FRENCH
That’s the truth.

PALADIN
Pappy, this is not a very convenient place to hide. How is your leg?

PAPPY FRENCH
What’s my leg got to do with it?

PALADIN
We’ve got to move. Not enough cover here.

PAPPY FRENCH
You’re still gonna try to keep me alive After what I was fixin’ to do to you?

PALADIN
They’d have found us even without your help. Come on.

PAPPY FRENCH
Don’t you know when to cut your losses? Without me you got a chance.

PALADIN
Pappy, we get out of this thing together Or we won’t get out at all.

PAPPY FRENCH
You’re including me?

PALADIN
I’m including you. If you’d like to cover me, I might be able to crawl around behind.

PAPPY FRENCH
I’ll cover you.

M1
throw out that money, pappy! It ain’t gonna do you no good where you’re going.

PAPPY FRENCH
It’ll take more of a man than you’ll ever be To take a thing away from old pappy!

M1
Out of ammunition, pappy? I got more bullets than I know what to do with.
That is, all except one! I know what to do with that one.

PAPPY FRENCH
Go ahead and shoot! What are you waiting for?

M1
I want to see you sweat, pappy! I’ve waiteda long time for this. Makes me feel good to see you sweat. You never thought old morley could make you sweat, did you?

PAPPY FRENCH
I guess I’m getting too old for this game. Time to rest.
A man ought to know when it’s time to quit.
Paladin, would you laugh if I asked you to say some words over me?
Not that I’m asking Him…For any favors. You understand?
I’d just like to hear How you might say it.

PALADIN
“I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift,
or the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise,
nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill;
but time and chance happeneth to them all. For man also knoweth not his time:
as fishes that are taken in an evil net, as birds that are caught in a snare;
so are the sons of men snared in an evil time,
when it falleth suddenly upon them.”

ECCLESIASTES 9:11,12

11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

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