72-“Sons of Aaron Murdock”

TSeason 2, Episode 33 – Original Airdate: (May 9, 1959)

<= 71 – “The Return of Roy Carter == Comanche” – 73 =>

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Harold Jack Bloom.

PHILIP COOLIDGE as Aaron Murdock
(The Mark of Cain, 1962) as Dr. Leopold Avatar
LEE KINSOLVING as Jamie Murdock
WESLEY LAU as Lew Murdock
(Saturday Night, 1960) as Stub
ELIZABETH YORK as Mae Thompson
(Alaska, 1959) as Abby Morton
FRANK GORSHIN as Marty – Bully
STAR TREK: TOS (Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, 1969) as Bele
DALE CUMMINGS asWillie
WILLIAM SHAW as Carl
(The Taffeta Mayor, 1959) as Townsman
WILLIAM MIMS as Man
(Trial at Tablerock, 1962) as Adams
(Champagne Safari, 1959) as Bill Gravely
KUNG FU (Ambush, 1975) as Sheriff
KUNG FU (Alethea, 1973) as Jezdale
Ray Jones as Townsman (uncredited)

INT. HOTEL CARLTON LOBBY – DAY

HEY BOY
Sorry, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
It’s all right, Hey Boy. Just don’t burn me with your good intentions.

PALADIN
“Wyatt’s Landing, Arizona Territory. Peace officers were turned off Aaron Murdock’s ranch at gunpoint today when they went to investigate the whereabouts of his recently escaped outlaw son, Lew Murdock. Aaron Murdock denies harboring the fugitive or having any knowledge of where his son is hiding. The sheriff’s office stated they have reason to believe that Murdock’s younger son James was aiding and abetting the fugitive. The accusation was violently denied by Murdock at gunpoint as reported, and he was quoted saying, ‘You tell me where Lew is, and I’ll help you bring him in, dead or alive.'”

HEY BOY
You make the business face, I think.

PALADIN
Hey Boy, It’s not very often a father offers to hunt down and kill his own son, no matter what. Get me an envelope, and enough stamps to reach the Arizona Territory, please.

EXT. ON THE RANGE – DAY

AARON MURDOCK
Hold up there! Paladin?

PALADIN
That’s right. Murdock?

AARON MURDOCK
Coffee?

PALADIN
Thanks, I could use some. You know why I’m usually asked to people’s homes?

AARON MURDOCK
I don’t want to know, and I sent for you.

PALADIN
Well, somebody knows you sent for me.

AARON MURDOCK
Lew.

PALADIN
He’s too far now for anybody to catch him. But if he followed you he’ll know you met someone.

AARON MURDOCK
Like I wrote you, Lew is my son. But he’s a murderer. Stole a mining payroll. Got caught. Killed a deputy making his escape.

PALADIN
Mr. Murdock…Do you want to come to the point?

AARON MURDOCK
All right. I got another son. A good boy. “Boy,” I call him. He’s nearly 19. His name is James.

PALADIN
And James favors his older brother over you?

AARON MURDOCK
Yes.

PALADIN
Doesn’t James know what his brother did?

AARON MURDOCK
The facts, mostly, but not how it’s told. Lew didn’t have to kill that deputy to get away.
Sheriff told me…That Lew did it out of pure meanness.

PALADIN
You believe that?

AARON MURDOCK
I’ve seen Lew’s face when he was branding beef, Or raking his spurs into some unbroke horse. Lew takes pleasure in hurting what’s helpless. James came to me a couple of days ago. Wanted some money, for Lew. He wants to ride out with his older brother.

PALADIN
And you refused?

AARON MURDOCK
Uh huh.

PALADIN
And Jamie moved out on you.

AARON MURDOCK
He took his personal things, moved into town. He’s doing odd jobs at the blacksmith’s.

AARON MURDOCK
Paladin…I want you to find Lew. I want you to tell him I changed my mind. He can have the money. I’ll even help him ride out. Just so he rides out alone.

PALADIN
Mr. Murdock, your son is a murderer. The best I can promise is to bring him back as peacefully as he’ll allow me to.

AARON MURDOCK
You do it any way that suits you. If Lew insists on riding out with Jamie…You kill him.

EXT. IN TOWN

CARL
I never saw a rich man work so hard. Did you, Marty?

MARTY – BULLY
Must be the conscience of the damned, like old Parson Davis says. Come on, Jamie boy, tell us the truth. How much you getting out of that payroll your brother stole?

PALADIN
I’m looking for the smith.

JAMIE MURDOCK
He’s helping with a roundup. If you want to leave your horse, it’ll be 50 cents a night. Store, water, and feed.

PALADIN
Good enough.

M
Hey Carl, ask him again About deputy Johnson’s widow and kid.

C
Jamie feels mighty poorly about deputy Johnson’s murder. Hank Johnson was his friend, Ain’t that right, Jamie?

MARTY – BULLY
Of course, it weren’t really murder. Johnson had his whole back to fight against Lew’s little gun. Yeah, it…It was a fair fight…Murdock-style.

JAMIE MURDOCK
They were fighting. It was dark.

MARTY – BULLY
You’re a liar, Jamie boy. Your brother’s a yellow murderer, and you ain’t got the belly to tell us different.

C
Hit him! Come on, Marty. Hit him! Get him, Marty! Atta boy, Marty. Get ’em up!

PALADIN
You weren’t doing too good with your fist, were you?

MARTY – BULLY
Hey, Who are you? Why you butting in?

PALADIN
You had enough? That’s enough, you’ve made your point. Now you two take your friend, and duck him in the river.

JAMIE MURDOCK
Want to thank you, Mister.

PALADIN
Paladin.

JAMIE MURDOCK
Jamie Murdock.

PALADIN
You’re Lew’s brother.

JAMIE MURDOCK
You know Lew? That why you helped me?

PALADIN
I know Lew the way most everybody does, I guess. By what he’s done. You better put something on that lip before it swells. You really think your brother’s gone to Texas, as they say?

JAMIE MURDOCK
Like the sheriff says, he ought to know. You after a reward?

PALADIN
Wouldn’t make any difference if I were. There’s no price on Lew’s head.

JAMIE MURDOCK
Then why don’t you leave it be? Look mister, I appreciate what you did for me, Don’t think I don’t. If it’s stories you want, most folks around here Will tell you about my brother without being asked.

PALADIN
It’s that way every place. A murderer gets talked about.

JAMIE MURDOCK
It wasn’t murder.

PALADIN
Um hmm. How did your brother come to get himself blamed For that payroll robbery?

JAMIE MURDOCK
Blamed? How do you mean?

PALADIN
You’re talking like he was blamed For something he didn’t do. And he tried to break away, And the killing resulted from that. Guess he had hard luck all down the line.

JAMIE MURDOCK
Are you trying to have fun with me?

PALADIN
No, I’m trying to see it your way.

JAMIE MURDOCK
I never said Lew didn’t lift that payroll.

PALADIN
Oh, he did it. He must have needed the money very badly. Your father’s ranch having a hard time?

JAMIE MURDOCK
Ranch is going along good as most. What’s that got to do with anything?

PALADIN
Son, I’m no sheriff. And I’m no preacher. I figure that a man who deserves the kind of loyalty you’re giving your brother, must have something to favor his side of the story.

JAMIE MURDOCK
Ain’t it enough he’s my brother?

PALADIN
Cain was Abel’s brother. You won’t forget about my horse, will you?

INT. SHERIFF’S OFFICE

AARON MURDOCK
I no more than got back to the ranch, when I saw Lew again. Closer this time. I recognized him for sure. If a couple of my hands hadn’t showed up, I have a feeling he’d have come right down to the place. Something’s up, Paladin. Him showing himself this way…Whatever it is, I don’t want Jamie mixed up in it.

PALADIN
Well, Jamie is obviously in touch with Lew. They’ll have to get together sometime, someplace. Well, look at what we’ve got here.

AARON MURDOCK
That’s Jamie’s horse. He claimed he was strayed or stolen a week ago.

PALADIN
Well, he couldn’t admit he had given him to Lew. Looks like he was expected. I’m going down there. You wait at the ranch so I know where you are, in case I need you.

AARON MURDOCK
Jamie’s in no danger, is he?

PALADIN
Mr. Murdock, you know your sons, both of them. You tell me.

JAMIE MURDOCK
It’s been a while, boy. Running a little skinny, ain’t you? Well, don’t you worry.

PALADIN
Nice looking Grey. Yours?

JAMIE MURDOCK
Stable’s closed ’til six in the morning.

PALADIN
A man needs his horse, he needs his horse.

JAMIE MURDOCK
He’s right where you left him. But I took his right front shoe off Because he was stepping kind of tender. Wasn’t going to put it back on ’til morning.

PALADIN
That was very thoughtful of you. You buy this horse from the Navajo?

JAMIE MURDOCK
He’s my horse, I had him since he was weaned.

PALADIN
That’s interesting. Must be stolen then. This is a Navajo sign painted on him. Fresh, too.

JAMIE MURDOCK
You come for your horse, there he is.

PALADIN
You gonna meet a girl out in the moonlight?

JAMIE MURDOCK
Don’t pester me, mister. My comings and goings are no affair of yours, Unless you want trouble.

PALADIN
What kind of trouble?

JAMIE MURDOCK
This is all hard country around here, And I wouldn’t advise you to take a horse across it, Unless he’s got good iron on all four feet.

H
Is that you, Mr. Murdock?

AARON MURDOCK
It’s all right, boys. Go back to the bunkhouse and forget the whole thing.

H
But someone stole a horse!

AARON MURDOCK
I said, it’s all right.

PALADIN
Easy now…Was it Lew? He pistol-whipped you?

AARON MURDOCK
He robbed me. My own son! Jamie…

PALADIN

Just take it easy now. How much did lew get?

AARON MURDOCK
Three thousand.

PALADIN
Here you go.

AARON MURDOCK
All in silver.

PALADIN
Silver?

AARON MURDOCK
I never trusted paper money. Paladin…Nobody must know who done this. It’ll only hurt Jamie.

PALADIN
Maybe Jamie could use some of this kind of hurt. Murdock, can you tell me any reason why Lew should paint a Navajo sign on Jamie’s horse? It’s some kind of a signal between them, And I can’t place it. It looks something vaguely like this.

AARON MURDOCK
Yeah, I’ve seen that sign before.

PALADIN
Where?

AARON MURDOCK
When Lew was 16 he murdered a Navajo. It took everything I had to get him off.

PALADIN
What about the sign?

AARON MURDOCK
It was on the bracelet he took off the dead fella, and give his girl.

PALADIN
Who? What’s her name?

AARON MURDOCK
Mae Woolrich.

PALADIN
Where can I find her?

AARON MURDOCK
She married a wrangler named Bud Thompson. They live south of town.

PALADIN
I don’t think that head is too bad. It’ll be all right. Just rest here.

AARON MURDOCK
If you see Jamie…

PALADIN
If I see Jamie, he’ll be with Lew.

INT. FARMHOUSE

PALADIN
Mae?

MAE THOMPSON
I’m Mrs. Thompson. If you’re wanting my husband, he’s not home.

PALADIN
I beg your pardon, Mrs. Thompson. But it’s you I wanted to see.

MAE THOMPSON
What about?

PALADIN
Lew Murdock.

MAE THOMPSON
You a friend of Lew’s?

PALADIN
Are you?

MAE THOMPSON
Glory, no. Come on in.

PALADIN
Mrs. Thompson…Are you here all alone?

MAE THOMPSON
All the time. Except for them. You shut up in there, Or I’ll come in and whale the lot of you. It’s my kids.

PALADIN
How many do you have?

MAE THOMPSON
Three now. Old Lew… He’s really done it good this time. Murder, they say.

PALADIN
What do you mean, “this time?”

MAE THOMPSON
He always was a wild one. Finding trouble, making it. I remember one time he stole two mules And took me off riding with him. He was fun. Did you really come here expecting to find him?

PALADIN
Perhaps not Lew in person, But he did give you a small present one time. It had a marking on it, something like this.

MAE THOMPSON
Lew never gave…That’s right. That was that bracelet he took off the Indian he killed.

PALADIN
You still have it?

MAE THOMPSON
Oh, no. Sheriff took it back. Said Lew didn’t have no right to get it.

PALADIN
Lew took you to the place where he killed that Navajo. Can you tell me where it is?

MAE THOMPSON
That’s longer ago than I can remember now.

PALADIN
Could you draw out how to get from here to there?

MAE THOMPSON
I never was much hand at drawing.

PALADIN
Time is short.

MAE THOMPSON
But you see…Lew never did me no harm. Still, I guess I can’t hold with killing. No matter what.

PALADIN
Thank you, Mrs. Thompson.

MAE THOMPSON
Say…If you do see old Lew, Tell him hello from me. Will you?

EXT. ON THE TRAIL

JAMIE MURDOCK
Lew? Lew, you here?

LEW MURDOCK
I watched you all the way. Like an innocent lamb. Should’ve had your gun out and ready every minute.

JAMIE MURDOCK
That wouldn’t be too easy, I ain’t got a gun. You know pa never allowed me.

LEW MURDOCK
’cause of me? Here. You got one now. There. You look like a man.

LEW MURDOCK
As soon as it’s dark we’ll be riding. You ready to leave, kid?

JAMIE MURDOCK
Sure, but I didn’t bring good news. Pa wouldn’t give me the money. All I got’s a couple of dollars I made working.

LEW MURDOCK
I figured we couldn’t depend on the old man.

JAMIE MURDOCK
You know how it is. He’s getting on in years, And now with both of us gone…

LEW MURDOCK
Sure, sure. Forget it. Forget him, too. I got enough money to last us for a while.

JAMIE MURDOCK
Where’d you get money? I thought…

LEW MURDOCK
Just leave it up to your big brother, kid. This is just the beginning. Now we’ll take turns sleeping, So we’ll be wide awake tonight. Come on. Better go down to the canyon and hide your horse. That’s all.

PALADIN
Don’t move for that gun, lew.

JAMIE MURDOCK
Stop, paladin! I don’t want to shoot, but if you don’t leave him alone, I will.

LEW MURDOCK
You’re gonna be all right, kid. He might have brought some company with him. You keep your gun on him while I go find out. And don’t take any chances. If he moves, kill him.

JAMIE MURDOCK
I ain’t forgetting what you did for me in town. And I don’t want to kill you, but don’t try nothing.

PALADIN
Jamie, I’ve just come from your father.

JAMIE MURDOCK
So that’s why you’re here. How much is he paying you?

PALADIN
Jamie, your father’s hurt. He’s very badly hurt!

JAMIE MURDOCK
Now I know why you helped me. Pa paid you to.

PALADIN
Did Lew tell you that he went to see your father, After he painted the Navajo mark on the horse?

JAMIE MURDOCK
I don’t want to hear no more.

PALADIN
That Lew’s gun you’re holding?

JAMIE MURDOCK
Works just as good for me.

PALADIN
Somebody pistol-whipped your father, Jamie. Pistol-whipped him. That’s Lew’s gun. Take a look at it. See if there’s any dried blood on it. Go ahead, look at it!

LEW MURDOCK
Not a sign! He’s by himself, all right. We can put him out of misery Without worrying about anybody hearing. soft-hearted? I’ll do it with pleasure.

JAMIE MURDOCK
Wait a minute. Why don’t we tie him? You said yourself we’re pulling out when it’s dark.

LEW MURDOCK
Tie him and leave him to thirst and hunger? That ain’t the decent thing, Jamie boy.

PALADIN
Why don’t you tell Jamie why you’re willing to leave without the money he promised to bring you. Or better yet Jamie, go feel those saddlebags. $3,000 in silver.

LEW MURDOCK
This is gonna be right enjoyable.

JAMIE MURDOCK
Leave him be!

LEW MURDOCK
You gone crazy or something?

PALADIN
$3,000 in silver, Jamie. Know anybody else who keeps money like that around here, Except your father?

LEW MURDOCK
Now you shut up!

JAMIE MURDOCK
No, Lew!

LEW MURDOCK
Kid, it’s me. Your brother!

JAMIE MURDOCK
Did you take pa’s money?

LEW MURDOCK
What if I did? Who are you to ask questions?

PALADIN
Tell him how you pistol-whipped your father. Tell him how you pistol-whipped him With that gun he’s holding!

LEW MURDOCK
Jamie…

JAMIE MURDOCK
There’s dried blood on this gun. Is it pa’s?

LEW MURDOCK
Of course not. You ain’t gonna believe him over me.

JAMIE MURDOCK
That’s far enough. Why? You and me would’ve made out. Why’d you have to hurt pa?

LEW MURDOCK
Because he had it coming to him, you baby. Crying for that old fake. What’d he ever do for me, except give me hard work! I ain’t gonna waste my life chasing cows and eating beans. That money’s as much mine as his! And I’m gonna take it!

JAMIE MURDOCK
You can ride out any time you want, But you ain’t taking the money or me.

LEW MURDOCK
I gotta have that money. Else I’m heading straight for a rope.

JAMIE MURDOCK
You are riding without it.

LEW MURDOCK
I’m gonna take it, Just like I never saw you or him before.

JAMIE MURDOCK
No, you’re gonna stop. You’ve been using me and pa, And everyone else that’s had feelings for you. And you’re not going to do it anymore.

LEW MURDOCK
You couldn’t shoot him, and if you couldn’t shoot a stranger, you sure can’t shoot your brother. Can you, Jamie!

JAMIE MURDOCK
Lew…I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to.

PALADIN
A man does what has to be done, Jamie. Or he tries. That’s the only way a man can live…Or die.

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