66 – “Incident at Borrasca Bend”

Original Airdate:  (March 21, 1959)

Paladin is falsely charged with a murder when he returns money to a prospector at a miners’ tent town.

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Jay Simms.

JACQUES AUBUCHON as Judge Wesson
PERRY COOK as Sugie
BEN WRIGHT as Jackson
EDWARD FAULKNER as Curly
TED MARKLAND as Patterson
STEWART EAST as Swede

EXT. MINING CAMP – DAY

JACKSON
Hello. My name’s jackson.

PALADIN
Jackson. What’s going on over there?

JACKSON
It’s the Watson boys having their Saturday fight.

PALADIN
That happens every Saturday?

JACKSON
Yeah, usually about lunchtime.

PALADIN
Does this one always win?

JACKSON
The first time in three weeks.

JUDGE WESSON
Howdy, stranger.

PALADIN
Howdy.

JUDGE WESSON
I’m judge wesson.

PALADIN
Judge?

JUDGE WESSON
That horse…I’d like to buy him.

PALADIN
Aren’t there any horses around here?

JUDGE WESSON
A couple, but the indians steal ’em as fast as somebody rides ’em in.
I’ll give you a price and a half for him.

PALADIN
Sorry, no thanks. Is there a Circle J Ranch anywhere around here?

JUDGE WESSON
Not that I know of. Unless, of course, old circle jibes wanted to call his claim a ranch. Just a couple hundred yards square.

PALADIN
Circle Jibes?

JUDGE WESSON
I didn’t name him.

PALADIN
Well, is he in town?

JUDGE WESSON
Yeah.

PALADIN
Can you tell me how far it is to Borrasca Bend?

JUDGE WESSON
Come over here. I reckon you’re standing right in the geographical dead center of it.

PALADIN
This is quite a city.

JUDGE WESSON
No, this is only a town. Nearest city is juniper, 13 miles north.
There they got a bank and a store, And a bar with a mirror in it.

PALADIN
Now if you’ll just tell me where I can find circle jibes.

JUDGE WESSON
He’s right in the saloon.

PALADIN
The saloon?

JUDGE WESSON
Right there.

PALADIN
Thank you. I want to talk to him.

JUDGE WESSON
Nothing’s to stop you from doing that.

PALADIN
He’s dead!

JUDGE
We noticed that. Is he a friend of yours?

PALADIN
No. No, he isn’t. But he must have had a pretty good claim.

JUDGE
What makes you say that?

PALADIN
I just made an observation.

JUDGE WESSON
Well, you didn’t know him. You knew he had a good claim. How?

PALADIN
It’s perfectly simple. I can explain.

JUDGE WESSON
Anybody recognize this?
Mine. Lent it to him last week.

JUDGE WESSON
You better get your hands up.

JUDGE WESSON
Swede, look in his saddlepacks.

PALADIN
Wait a minute! I can explain this.

JUDGE WESSON
You want to confess?

PALADIN
I got nothing to confess!

JUDGE WESSON
Then why did you bolt?

SWEDE
Here.

JUDGE WESSON
$4,000 here in dust. That’s a good motive. Search him! Let me see that.

JACKSON
That’s circle’s all right.

JUDGE WESSON
Search him, jackson.

PALADIN
Now wait a minute! I told you I can explain this!

JUDGE WESSON
All in good time. What are we waiting for? Let’s get on with the trial.

PALADIN
The trial!

JACKSON
There’s nothing else on him. You go ahead with the trial and I’ll get the rope.

JUDGE
Hear ye, the court will now come to order.

JACKSON
Hang him.

JUDGE WESSON
I said, “hear ye.” that means listen. You be still. Now then…Everybody on this side of the line…You be the jury.

JUDGE WESSON
You be quiet, or I’ll clear the court! Patterson, you’re the bailiff. Swear him in.

PALADIN
Justice is fairly summary around here.

JUDGE WESSON
It’s got to be, we got no jail.

PALADIN
I’d like to see your authority for jurisdiction.

JUDGE WESSON
Right here. I’ve got it and you ain’t.

PALADIN
You know that jury is prejudiced.

JUDGE WESSON
Last month when Red Stanley was killed, We didn’t think nothing of it. But in the last couple days since you killed circle jibes, Everybody around here’s been sleeping with one eye open.

PALADIN
The last month. Last month I was in Santa Barbara.

JUDGE WESSON
Can you prove it?

PALADIN
If I have some time.

JUDGE WESSON
Ten minutes enough?

PALADIN
Certainly not!

JUDGE WESSON
That’s too bad. Swear him in. We can get a conviction just trying you for circle jibes.

PALADIN
This is a travesty.

JUDGE WESSON
We don’t have any trimmings. This is not a walnut bench, And I don’t have a big flag behind me. And if you’re found guilty, ain’t gonna be no fancy gallows. We’ll just string you up from the limb of a tree. But I’ll tell you something. You’ll be just as dead, And just as harmless as if you’d been tried By the supreme court. Now swear him in.

SWEDE
Do you swear to tell the truth?

JUDGE WESSON
Wait a minute, where’s the bible? You can’t swear him in without a bible.
Well look here, you gonna tell the truth?

PALADIN
I am.

JACKSON
I think he’s lying.

JUDGE WESSON
Now, supposing you give us your version Of what led up to the murder. So an indian ran off and you didn’t chase him, huh?

PALADIN
No, I didn’t. I backtracked him to circle jibes’ place, And then I rode on in here.
I thought jibes would rather have his gold back, Than to have me chase somebody off into Indian territory.

JUDGE WESSON
You were going to give it back?

PALADIN
I was!

JUDGE WESSON
That’s a funny thing. You hadn’t mentioned it before I caught you.

PALADIN
I didn’t have a chance. If I did it, how do you account for the fact That I didn’t have any of his other things?

JUDGE WESSON
Now you’ve trapped yourself. If you didn’t do it,
How’d you know there was
something else missing?
Circle had a diamond ring. And a gold watch, a derringer and a rifle…Wallet, none of them found in his camp.

PALADIN
I saw the indian pick up a lot of things. Would I keep a 20 cent bandanna, And throw away a gold watch and a diamond ring?

JUDGE WESSON
That’s a logical point.

JACKSON
We’re not interested in logic. What we want is justice.

MEN
yeah, yeah!

JUDGE WESSON
Come to order! Or I’ll declare a mistrial and there won’t be no hanging!

PALADIN
If an indian killed old jibes, Why didn’t he scalp him?

JUDGE WESSON
There are no scalpin’ indians here. No. Nor killin’ tribes neither. Only thieves.

JACKSON
I say let’s hang him!

JUDGE WESSON
And I say you be quiet or I’ll hold you in contempt. And in my court, that’s a hangin’ offense!

PALADIN
Would I kill a man…Rob him…Take a poke with his name on it, And then ride into this town looking for him?
I’m beginning to think this murderer might be innocent.

JUDGE WESSON
Now you jurors stop talking. Now we’re gonna hang this man legal, or we’re not going to hang him at all. I’d like to weigh the evidence. Circle jibes is dead, and you’ve got his poke. Any more incriminating evidence?

PALADIN
I told you exactly what happened. The indian…

JUDGE WESSON
We don’t have an indian. But we do have you. It’s true, they do steal.
And we do string one up once in a while, On a quiet weekend.

PALADIN
Like this one.

JUDGE WESSON
Oh now, don’t go getting mad before we convict you.

PALADIN
Look, I’m not saying you can’t hang me. I know you can.
The law is only enough people to enforce it.
But I’ll tell you one thing…

SUGIE
Yahoo! Hey, there’s a woman up in juniper! A real live woman up in juniper.
Dick’s got a woman up in juniper. She sings, dances.
She’s got long yellow hair.

MEN
long yellow hair? Let’s go! Come on, hurry up.

SUGIE
Hold it! That’ll be two pieces for transportion. Go ahead and walk. Go ahead.

JUDGE WESSON
Boys! What about this hanging?

We’re a lot longer on hanging material Than we are on women material.
let’s go to juniper!
You take care of it, judge. You got our proxy.

PALADIN
Well, what happens now?

JUDGE WESSON
Case dismissed. He wasn’t shot. He was hit in the back of the head with a rock.
I knew you were innocent.

PALADIN
How?

JUDGE WESSON
In the first place, Anybody willing to take on our whole camp, Wouldn’t sneak up on a runt like jibes.

PALADIN
And the second place?

JUDGE WESSON
Well, in the second place…I found this in your saddlebag when they were tying you up.
Santa Barbara papers. Shows you were telling the truth.

PALADIN
Then why the trial?

JUDGE WESSON
Well, you know…The watson brothers was all through fighting.
Sugie hadn’t gotten back from juniper with the whiskey.
Things were dulling down a little. We hold a kangaroo court on all strangers.
Just in your case, we had a little evidence. Just funnin’ a little, you know.

PALADIN
That fun could have wound up with you dead.

Paladin pulls out his trusty derringer and shows it to Wesson.

JUDGE WESSON
Did you have that all the time?

PALADIN
Just waiting for you to pronounce me guilty. Now, I’ll be on my way.
I should be back in civilization in a week or 10 days.
Anybody should wire about jibes?

JUDGE WESSON
No, he left nobody.

PALADIN
Say, if jibes didn’t leave anybody…What’s going to happen to the gold?

JUDGE WESSON
Goes to the town authorities.

PALADIN
And the town authorities are…

JUDGE WESSON
Me.

PALADIN
There is a murderer loose in your community.
I think jibes would have been interested in seeing him brought to justice.

JUDGE WESSON
How interested?

PALADIN
Oh, I’d say half that poke.

JUDGE WESSON
Mister, who are you?

JUDGE WESSON
We better get a fire ready. This ground’s hard digging.
And I tell you, Mr. Jibes has got to be put away.

PALADIN
Well, that takes care of Swede. Now what about the one that drives the wagon?

JUDGE WESSON
Sugie?

PALADIN
Um hmmm.

JUDGE WESSON
He came here with a shovel, and some barrels of whiskey. Set up his claim over there.
He made more money selling whiskey than he did digging for gold.
He put a tent over his claim and turned merchant.
He does all the banking for the boys, you know.
Takes the dust into juniper when he goes to get the whiskey. He’s honest.

PALADIN
How about the one who was yelling for a hanging?

JUDGE WESSON
Jackson?

JUDGE WESSON
He’s a mean drunk. Pretty mean sober too. He’s got a fair claim. Pulls out $200 a week.

PALADIN
And the others?

JUDGE WESSON
Patterson’s a fallen riven salesman. Mike’s a devout pickpocket.
The Watson brothers just gunfightin’ farmers, And curly’s a triple bigamist.
Just run-of-the-mill types.

PALADIN
And they’re all looking to strike it rich?

JUDGE WESSON
Well, most of ’em.

PALADIN
When are they coming back?

JUDGE WESSON
Sometime tomorrow.

PALADIN
Half the poke?

JUDGE WESSON
If you bring him in, half. That’s deep enough. I’ll go get jibes.

PALADIN
Well, judge…I’ll see you in the morning.

JUDGE WESSON
Where you going?

PALADIN
I’ll be nearby. I’m going to bed down.

JUDGE WESSON
Why don’t you stay here by the fire?

PALADIN
Well, I know I didn’t kill those men. But judge, I don’t know you didn’t.

EXT. WAGON FULL OF MINERS ROLLS INTO CAMP – DAY

SUGIE
Home is the sailor, home from the seas. Everybody off. Come on, get off.

PALADIN
You’ll have this load ’til noon.

SUGIE
Stranger, give me a hand and I’ll give you some advice.

PALADIN
What?

SUGIE
Help me get these monkeys off this wagon and light out.
They always hold court on a newcomer around here.

PALADIN
Didn’t they tell you? I’ve been initiated.

SUGIE
All the way into juniper they talked about the woman.
Coming back they couldn’t talk about nothing.

PALADIN
What’s your usual procedure?

SUGIE
We just roll ’em off in the water. They can’t buy whiskey if they’re asleep.

PALADIN
Like this? Come on! Come on! Sugie…You lose many customers that way?

SUGIE
I got the only store around here. They’re married to me.

PALADIN
Until death do you part.

SUGIE
That’s happened a couple of times lately. Went downstream night before last to pick one up. Circle jibes.

PALADIN
Yeah, I…

PALADIN
Downstream, sugie? You went downstream to pick jibes up?

SUGIE
Sure, that’s where his diggings are. Well, were.

PALADIN
The camp I rode into was upstream. I just assumed it was jibes’ but it couldn’t have been.
You familiar with the claims around here?

SUGIE
I grubstake the boys. I couldn’t do that without looking at the claims.

PALADIN
No, of course you couldn’t. Want to take a ride with me for an hour or so?

SUGIE
Who do you think did it?

PALADIN
I don’t know. I thought it was the Indian. Then I figured it had to be whoever didn’t come back from juniper, but they all came back. So now you and I will just have to go and see.

SUGIE
Ain’t no way to lock up your valuables around here. Can’t carry ’em with you.
Boys come in for the weekend, They usually hide their valuables under a tree trunk,
or under some rocks or something.

PALADIN
Sugie! Come here! Sugie, come here and look at this.

SUGIE
Yeah, by golly, this is where it was. You see, the Indians watch the boys bury their stuff.
Wait for ’em to leave camp, then move in and make off with it.
Stuff they can’t use they throw away real quick.
By golly, that’s Hernando there. Red stanley.

PALADIN
This Hernando’s camp?

SUGIE
No, he disappeared about two months ago. This spread belonged to a fella named Jackson.

PALADIN
Jackson?

SUGIE
Yeah. Yeah, jackson. He wouldn’t phase at a killing or two. Say he killed circle sometime Thursday…The indian watched him bury the loot, And made off with it when Jackson went into town yesterday.

PALADIN
No wonder jackson wanted to see me hung. He didn’t even know he’d been robbed until I showed up in town with Jibes’ poke. He figured hanging me would clear the slate for him. Why in the world did he come back?

SUGIE
Well, he probably didn’t figure to. The boys were drinking pretty good, And come time to leave I just loaded the ones on that couldn’t walk or talk and lit right out.

EXT. CAMP

Sugie goes over to the Judge and explains.

JUDGE WESSON
Jackson.

JACKSON
How did you get loose?

JUDGE WESSON
You ever seen these before?

JACKSON
No.

JUDGE WESSON
They were found up at your place.

JACKSON
That’s what he says, is it? Then he must have sorted them there.

SUGIE
You been banking 20 to 30 ounces a month.

JACKSON
Well, I got meself a good claim.

SUGIE
Your equipment ain’t been used for months. Your claim’s burned out.

JACKSON
I haven’t been washing, see? I got myself a dry stake up in the hills, Above the river.

PALADIN
Where?

JACKSON
Ho! I’m not going to tell you. I’m not telling nobody. I haven’t filed a claim for title yet.
Dry mining gives you nuggets. You been banking dust.

JACKSON
He did it. That one. We got to hang him. Just like we started to do yesterday.
He’s the one that did it. Him! He killed circle, and he killed Stanley, And he killed old Hernando.

JUDGE WESSON
Hernando’s dead?

JACKSON
I hope you haven’t got a deep attachment to this horse.
Hold it! You crazy?

PALADIN
That’s a very lethal weapon you’ve got. I’ve seen those things blow up.
That one won’t blow up. Won’t even go off, it’s wet.
You had it in your pocket when you went in the river.

JACKSON
Don’t you try anything. They can’t hang me any higher, If I prove you wrong.

JACKSON
Oh, my leg!

SWEDE
It just opened him up a little bit. He’s all right. It’s only going to hurt a little while.

Trial shouldn’t take too long at all.

PALADIN
You know, I’d have bet $1,000 that thing wouldn’t go off.

JUDGE WESSON
You bet more than that. You bet your life.

PALADIN
They aren’t very accurate over 10 feet. That’s why I moved out before I called him.

JUDGE WESSON
Hmmm? Oh!

PALADIN
That’s right, isn’t it Judge? They were even?

JUDGE WESSON
Come on boys, get the bench. Why don’t you stay on?
After we hang jackson, I’ll play you a nice game of pinochle.

PALADIN
Well, I’m not quite sure about the rules of the game here. Winning might be a capital offense. Judge.

JUDGE WESSON
Come on boys, let’s get on with the trial. Charlie, get movin’.

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