48-“Young Gun”

Directed by Lamont Johnson, Written by Albert Aley.

ROBERT F. SIMON as Frank Wellman
DICK FORAN as Roy Calvert
PAUL CARR as Jeff Calvert
ABBY DALTON as Meg Wellman
MEG WYLLIE as Mrs. Wellman
RICK MILLER as Casey
GENE ROTHE as Barney – Bartender
RAY JONES as Barfly (uncredited)
ROBERT ROBINSON as Barfly (uncredited)

Easy, Calvert.
I know your name was a death sentence to 20 men.
But this isn’t El Paso.
And you’re not as young as you used to be.

PALADIN (reading to himself)
“Ranch war in Wyoming. Benedict, Wyoming. According to C.W. Wellman, the refusal of a local rancher to permit access to the sole remaining source of water in this drought-stricken area has resulted in the deaths of two men and threatens open warfare.”

HEY BOY
Excuse me, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Yes, hey boy?

HEY BOY
The gentlemen in 312…They are expecting you.

PALADIN
Tell them I’ll be right there.

HEY BOY
They sitting at table now, very anxious. They ready to deal out cards.

PALADIN
Well Hey Boy, tell them I’ll be there in a few moments.

EXT. TOWN OF BENEDICT, WYOMING – DAY

INT. BENEDICT SALOON

PALADIN
Something long, cold and wet.

BARNEY – BARTENDER
Yes, sir.

PALADIN
It’s a pretty quiet town.

JEFF CALVERT
No more than most.

PALADIN
Direct me to the Wellman Ranch?

BARNEY – BARTENDER
North road, about three miles.

PALADIN
Thanks.

JEFF CALVERT
You a friend of the Wellmans?

PALADIN
No.

JEFF CALVERT
You’re looking for work?

PALADIN
In a way. What’s everybody waiting for?

JEFF CALVERT
Me to get killed. Looks like the waitin’s about over. That squares us, Barney.

PALADIN
Excuse me.

JEFF CALVERT
Don’t, Casey! There’s no sense to this. What do you want, an apology? All right, I apologize. Casey, don’t. Listen to me, please!

PALADIN
You knew you could beat him.

JEFF CALVERT
Knowing and doing are two different things. I guess you’ll just have to keep on waitin’. There’s a job open at the Wellman’s now. His.

MRS. WELLMAN
It’s dry. But I can let you have a bucket From the kitchen pump, if you’d like.

PALADIN
I’d appreciate that. It’s been a long ride.

MRS. WELLMAN
Just help yourself.

PALADIN
Thank you, My name is Paladin. I’m here to see Mr. Wellman.

MRS. WELLMAN
He’s not here right now. But he should be back soon.

INT. RANCH HOUSE – DAY

PALADIN
Good morning.

MEG WELLMAN
Did you just come from town?

PALADIN
Benedict? Yes.

MEG WELLMAN
Was there…I mean, did you see anything happen?

PALADIN
There was a man killed, if that’s what you mean.

MEG WELLMAN
Who?

PALADIN
I believe his name was Casey.

MRS. WELLMAN
Meg. You know what your father said about speaking to strangers. No offense meant. Mr. Wellman is very strict about these things.

PALADIN
I understand.

MRS. WELLMAN
You said Casey was killed.

PALADIN
That’s right.

MRS. WELLMAN
Jeff do it?

PALADIN
I didn’t catch his name.

MRS. WELLMAN
Jeff. Poor boy.

PALADIN
Well, he’s alive.

MRS. WELLMAN
How long can a man live by a gun, Mr. Paladin? Especially when he doesn’t want to.

FRANK WELLMAN
Casey’s dead. Young calvert gunned him down.

MRS. WELLMAN
I know. Mr. Paladin told me.

FRANK WELLMAN
Paladin?

PALADIN
Mr. Wellman. I was passing through Benedict, I saw it happen.

FRANK WELLMAN
You think you can stand up to Calvert?

PALADIN
If there’s a good enough reason.

FRANK WELLMAN
Well, that’s your job. Get rid of him.

PALADIN
I don’t think we understand each other, mr. Wellman. I offered my services to help you get water.

FRANK WELLMAN
This is your card, isn’t it? The one you sent me?

PALADIN
Yes.

FRANK WELLMAN
“Have Gun, Will Travel.” as far as I know, that means one thing.
That’s the reason I hired you.

PALADIN
Well, we do misunderstand each other. I’m not an executioner. I’ll just water my horse and be on my way.

INT. SALOON – DAY

FRANK WELLMAN
All right, I’m sorry. I was upset about casey. I wasn’t thinking straight.
But I need your help. We all do.

PALADIN
I told you I didn’t offer that kind of help.

FRANK WELLMAN
It’s part and parcel of the same thing. Look, can I talk to you or not?

PALADIN
Sit down.

FRANK WELLMAN
We’re desperate, paladin. Our water holes are drying up. Even the deep wells are going dry. Another week of this and our herds’ll be buzzard bait. Calvert’s ruining us.

PALADIN
Let’s take it one thing at a time. How can a boy like that ruin you?

FRANK WELLMAN
Boy?! I’m not talking about jeff. It’s his father, roy calvert. He owns the six iron ranch, over in the valley.

PALADIN
Roy calvert. Three years ago in the southwest, There was a gunfighter by that name.

FRANK WELLMAN
That’s the same one. Only he’s here now. Bought this ranch about three years ago. I knew there’d be trouble, even then. With a man like that.

PALADIN
How can Roy Calvert block your water supply?

FRANK WELLMAN
There’s a lake in back of his ranch. But Calvert’s ranch runs right across the valley. It’s the only approach to the lake. He only let us use it the first year. Now he’s fenced it off and won’t let us through.

PALADIN
Why not?

FRANK WELLMAN
So help me, I don’t know. He just closed us off. A couple of weeks ago, Harry Craig got mad. Tried to drive his herds through, And young Calvert killed two of his men.

PALADIN
Just the two of them? Roy calvert and his son?

FRANK WELLMAN
They’ve had a few hands. But Jeff is the gun. His father’s turned him into a worse killer Than he ever was. I tell you, there’s only one way to break Calvert. Get that boy.

PALADIN
Now what do you really want? You want water? Or that boy’s death?

FRANK WELLMAN
I want results. And fast.

PALADIN
I’ll get him for you. My way.

FRANK WELLMAN
What are you gonna do?

PALADIN
I’m going to talk to Roy Calvert. Maybe he’ll tell me the whole story.

EXT. AT THE CALVERT RANCH – DAY

ROY CALVERT
No, no, no! Blast your eyes! You’re late on the trigger.
Your barrel came up too far, made your shot too high.

JEFF CALVERT
All right Pa, but I hit him. He would have been hurt.

ROY CALVERT
That’s not good enough. How many times do I have to tell you, When you draw, you shoot to kill. From here to here. Understand? No place else.

PALADIN
That’s good advice. If all you want to do is kill. Take it easy, Calvert. This isn’t El Paso, And you’re not as young as you used to be.

ROY CALVERT
Who are you? What do you want?

PALADIN
Five minutes of your time, I want. And my name is Paladin. To paraphrase Shakespeare, our names are advertised by our loving friends.
Son, you can put that up. I’m not here to cause trouble.

JEFF CALVERT
You get that job at the Wellman’s?

PALADIN
I got a job at the Wellman’s. Whether it’s the same one remains to be seen.

ROY CALVERT
Anybody who works for Wellman has no business here.

PALADIN
Anybody who denies water to his neighbors, has no business being a rancher.

ROY CALVERT
Oh, so that’s it.

PALADIN
Talk it over?

ROY CALVERT
Let me show you something. Then you decide what we got to talk over. Keep at it.

ROY CALVERT
This is all I got to say, Paladin. My wife’s grave. This town put her there. Still want to talk it over?

PALADIN
Yes. That’s not all there is to it.

ROY CALVERT
20 years we were married. She was a kind woman.

PALADIN
You must have loved her very much.

ROY CALVERT
All I wanted was a place where she could Say hello to somebody without them looking past her.

PALADIN
The name Calvert was a death sentence to more than 20 men. You really think you could hide it?

ROY CALVERT
Nobody would have known. But wellman found it out and he passed the word. Gunslinger’s wife. Killer’s wife. She was alone again. When she took sick, nobody came to call but the doctor. Then she died. Pneumonia, he said. But she just gave up. Nobody came to her funeral. You hear me? Nobody came to her funeral. I’m gonna kill this town, Paladin. That’s all I want.

PALADIN
The ranchers will drive through.

ROY CALVERT
They tried it once. And it cost ’em!

PALADIN
Maybe next time it’ll cost you.

ROY CALVERT
Not likely with Jeff playing my hand.

PALADIN
I have more respect for a man who plays his own.

ROY CALVERT
I can’t. I promised that I’d never draw this on another man.

EXT. ON THE RANCH – DAY

MEG WELLMAN
Now, Jeff. Today, please! We’ll go away together.

JEFF CALVERT
You can’t leave your folks, Anymore than I can leave my father.

MEG WELLMAN
Well, we can’t go on like this. Dad’s almost desperate now. And after this morning when Casey…

JEFF CALVERT
I tried to stop him, meg.

MEG WELLMAN
I know, I know! Oh Jeff, what are we going to do?

PALADIN
Excuse me. I don’t mean to intrude. I’d just like to get my horse. Miss Wellman, I thought you and the fella that was killed…

MEG WELLMAN
No, no. I only went to a dance with him last night, Because my father wouldn’t let Jeff take me.

JEFF CALVERT
He tried to pick a fight with me When I asked Meg to dance. He said he was gonna look for me in town today. I didn’t want it to happen, Paladin.

MEG WELLMAN
Jeff isn’t a killer. I don’t care what my father says.

PALADIN
Somebody’s gonna have to knock some sense Into your father. And yours too. I know he’s been hurt, hurt badly. But now the ranchers are being hurt, The town’s being hurt. Where’s it going to stop?

JEFF CALVERT
That’s up to Pa.

PALADIN
It’s up to you too, Jeff. You’re in this. Right square in the middle. What are you going to do about it?

MEG WELLMAN
Jeff…

JEFF CALVERT
There’s nothing I can do. I’m sorry, Meg. Get her out of here, Paladin.

PALADIN
Miss Wellman…He can only fight one fight at a time. Come on, I’ll take you home.

INT. WELLMAN RANCH HOUSE

MEG WELLMAN
I just went out for a ride. We met on the way home.

FRANK WELLMAN
Well? Is Calvert going to let us through?

PALADIN
You can’t expect me to wipe out three years of hate in one afternoon. He told me about his wife.

FRANK WELLMAN
His wife? She’s dead. She was sick. We had nothing to do with it.

PALADIN
I know, you had nothing to do with the calverts at all.

FRANK WELLMAN
All I know is, if we don’t get To that lake, we’re wiped out. Now, do we get through or not?

PALADIN
As of now, no. But maybe.

FRANK WELLMAN
Then we’ll drive our way through. And you’ll get rid of young calvert.

PALADIN
I told you before, I’ll do this job my way.

FRANK WELLMAN
Not if you’re working for me. Get rid of young calvert or cut out.

MRS. WELLMAN
Mr. Paladin, wait. You’re leaving?

PALADIN
I can’t do this job his way.

MRS. WELLMAN
He’ll go ahead without you. He and the others. There’ll be fighting, shooting. Some of them will be killed. Men with wives and families.

PALADIN
Are you asking me to decide who’s gonna die?

MRS. WELLMAN
I’m asking you to measure one life against many. One family against a whole town.
I pray that god forgives me.

EXT. RANCH – MORNING

PALADIN
Good morning. What’s the matter? He think you’re good enough yet?

JEFF CALVERT
Can’t be good enough or you’re dead.

PALADIN
Now that sounds like your father talking.

JEFF CALVERT
What are you doing here? If you’re working for wellman, Sooner or later we gotta shoot it out.

PALADIN
That all you know? Shoot it out? You killed three men already. You have a taste for it now?

JEFF CALVERT
Don’t you?

PALADIN
A man draws a gun for a reason. Every man has his own. But most men have a point where they draw the line. I have mine. What’s yours?

JEFF CALVERT
You think I like it? You think I want to watch somebody coming at me? Like casey this morning. I had to kill him.

PALADIN
Did you?

JEFF CALVERT
He would have killed me.

PALADIN
That’s your excuse today, Jeff. What’ll it be tomorrow? Where do you draw the line?

JEFF CALVERT
It’s all I know.

ROY CALVERT
Jeff! I thought you were…What’s the matter? Haven’t we talked enough?

PALADIN
You did all the talking last time. Wellman’s organizing the rest of the ranchers. They’re going to drive those cattle to the lake.

ROY CALVERT
You mean they’re going to try. We’ll be ready for them.

PALADIN
And if you stop them? If you kill some of them, That make your wife rest easier in her grave?

ROY CALVERT
It’ll make me rest easier.

PALADIN
How about you, Jeff? Now, those cattle are going through tomorrow afternoon. I’ll see to it myself. You have any objections, I’ll be in town all morning. We can settle it then.

ROY CALVERT
We’ll be glad to oblige.

PALADIN
You or jeff?

JEFF CALVERT
Me.

PALADIN
Well…Getting easier all the time, isn’t it? You oughta be very proud of yourself. You’ve turned this boy into a killer. He’s going to enjoy the same life you have. If he lives long enough.

EXT. IN TOWN – DAY

INT. BENEDICT SALOON

BARNEY – BARTENDER
He’s riding in. Roy calvert’s coming in too.

Paladin is leaning against the bar leisurely smoking a cigar.

PALADIN
Well, I hope the show is worth the price. Barney, thank you very much.

ROY CALVERT
You all right?

JEFF CALVERT
Yeah.

ROY CALVERT
No, you’re not. There’s something wrong. I can feel it. You’re not up to it.

JEFF CALVERT
What difference does it make now?

PALADIN
It won’t be self-defense this time. You’ll have to draw first.
All right, jeff. Whenever you’re ready.

ROY CALVERT
No, paladin! Me!

Roy draws on Paladin and Paladin responds by shooting him in the hand.

PALADIN
Let’s get him to the doctor. Unless we’re not finished.

JEFF CALVERT
We’re finished.

ROY CALVERT
You see, paladin? I didn’t turn him into a killer.

EXT. CALVERT RANCH

ROY CALVERT
What are they doing here?

PALADIN
Why don’t you at least listen and find out?

MRS. CALVERT
Mr. Calvert? A long time has passed, And there’s been too much bitterness for apologies. But I’d appreciate it if you would allow me To pay my respects at your wife’s grave.

ROY CALVERT
It’s a little late for that, isn’t it?

PALADIN
Roy…When you first came to this town, You expected these people to forget the past. Now they’re asking exactly the same thing of you. Let it end.

ROY CALVERT
All right, go ahead.

MRS. CALVERT
Thank you.

ROY CALVERT
What are you two up to?

JEFF CALVERT
This barn’s needed a coat of paint for a long time.

PALADIN
That stock’s still going to need water.

ROY CALVERT
Don’t rush me all at once. I’ll be talking to wellman later.

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