100-“The Ledge”

Season 3, Episode 22 – Original Airdate: (Feb 13, 1960)

Paladin rides upon a group of men heading to Mercerville. When they see a stranger on the cliff side swept away by an avalanche…

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen, Writers: Frank Pierson, Joel Kane

JOHN HOYT as Dr. Stark
(The Bird of Time, 1962) as Stryker
STAR TREK (The Cage, 1965) as Dr. Phillip Boyce
RICHARD SHANNON as Cass Richards
(Sweet Lady of the Moon, 1963) as Dr. Weiser
(Alice, 1962) as Morgan
(A Knight to Remember, 1961) as the Escort
(Alaska, 1959) as Carl Grimes
(The Moor’s Revenge, 1958) as Ben Jackson
(The Ballad of Oscar Wilde, 1958) as Jim Rook
(Bitter Wine, 1958) as Tim Gorman
DON BEDDOE as Stebbins – Storekeeper
(Justice in Hell, 1962) as Salem Wagner
(The Uneasy Grave, 1961) as Marshal
(The Hanging Cross, 1957) as Tater – Foreman
RICHARD RUST as Corey
(Darwin’s Man, 1962) as Jayce Coombs
(Bearbait, 1961) as Sim

Take the rifle and aim it and fire it, doctor.
You said your patient was already dead.
Or were you wrong?

PALADIN
Howdy.

DR. STARK
Goin’ to Mercyville?

PALADIN
I was.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
We’re waitin’ to make up a party. They said there was a few Pyotes ridin’ ahead a few miles. You ride with us?

PALADIN
Glad to.

CASS RICHARDS
Good enough. Let’s get outta here.

DR. STARK
All right?

COREY
You go ahead. I’m goin’ around the Telford route.

CASS RICHARDS
Let the horse take you across. He won’t let you down. He’s afraid of high places.

DR. STARK
Don’t be silly, Corey.
We’ve been waitin’ here three hours. Now you change your mind.

COREY
It’s easy for you, doc. They say it’s in my mind. You don’t know.

M
Hi there.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Hi there.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
What are you doing?

DR. STARK
Getting my instruments. He may need a doctor.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
It’s all right to be afraid, boy.

CASS RICHARDS
Can you see him?

PALADIN
Hello! Can you hear us?

CASS RICHARDS
Likely knocked out.

PALADIN
Give us a sound!

CASS RICHARDS
Maybe he’s hung up. If he hollers, he’ll fall off.

PALADIN
Let me listen.

COREY
Mister? There he is! See? There.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
He’s dead.

COREY
Is he dead?

PALADIN
Can you move?
We can see your
hand and foot.
Try and move ’em!

PALADIN
Mister…

CASS RICHARDS
Cass richards.

PALADIN
Cass Richards, will you belay us at the end of that line?
Wanna let the doctor down the cliff to have a look at him.
We’ll put you just on this rock ledge down here.
You won’t have to do any
climbin’. Just hold the line.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
On that rock? No, sir. I’ve never done this before.

PALADIN
You’re refusing?

CASS RICHARDS
He’s got the brains in the head, that one.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Well, I-I’m willing to do what I can, But I-I got a family and a business.
Wouldn’t be fair to them to risk my life.

PALADIN
You?

COREY
You give me a place where I don’t have to look down, and I’ll do anything.

PALADIN
Yeah. Well, you really aren’t much help to us, then, are you?
You two make some coffee. We’re gonna be here a while.

DR. STARK
We better hurry.

PALADIN
Yep.

PALADIN
All right, Cass. Come on. Give me some.
Pull on it, Cass!

CASS RICHARDS
Here she comes!
Hold it! That’s all there is! Ain’t no more!

PALADIN
That’s it. Can you reach him?

DR. STARK

Can you hear me? If you can’t talk, move your fingers. All right. Pull me up.

CASS RICHARDS
For a minute I thought you got off the hook!

PALADIN

Ha-ha. Yeah.

PALADIN
Come on.

CASS RICHARDS
Well, here’s the boys. Kept the home fires burnin’.

PALADIN
Pour me some of that coffee, will you?

COREY
I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t go out there.
You know I’d just be a danger to you as well as myself.

PALADIN
Doctor, what do you think?

DR. STARK
He’s got a deep cut
on the occipital region.
Lost some blood,
but the bleeding stopped.
From the way he’s lying,
his shoulder’s dislocated
Or his neck is broken.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
I knew he was dead. He couldn’t live through that.

COREY
He was just smilin’ and yellin’ out, and then gone.

CASS RICHARDS
He didn’t ask for a vote.

PALADIN
Doctor?

DR
He’s dead.

PALADIN
Do you often pronounce your patients dead from ten feet?

DR. STARK
I know my business. He’s dead as a mackerel.

PALADIN
Doctor, don’t try to put me off with that… Professional, Callous, man-of-experience talk.

DR. STARK
It is my professional opinion that the man is dead.

PALADIN
Are you sure enough he’s dead to ride off and leave him?

DR. STARK
I’m sure enough he’s dead so I’m not goin’ down there again.
And don’t remind me of my responsibilities. I’ve spent a lifetime learning them.
For a hundred miles around, I’m the only doctor these people have.
I owe them something, too. Something I’m… Sure of.
There’s time yet to get around by the telford way before dark.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
I’m with you, doc.

CASS RICHARDS

We done what we could. Can’t do it alone. ‘sides, there’s too many gals I ain’t courted yet
And too many saloons I ain’t drunk in yet. I don’t aim to give ’em up on account of some dead body Lyin’ at the bottom of a cliff.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Where’s the kid?

PALADIN
Corey?

CASS RICHARDS
Why, he’s taken off.

COREY
Help! Help! Help!

PALADIN
Get this line around the rock. Come on, boy. You’re all right now. steady.

COREY
Please get me…

PALADIN
Easy, now. Just hang on.

COREY
Oh, God. Please get me back up! Please!

PALADIN
Easy, now.

COREY
Oh, please.

PALADIN
Steady, now, son.

COREY
Help me.

PALADIN
Don’t wanna lose the best coffee maker this side of Santa Fe. Come on, now.
I’m gonna get this rope around you real easy, now. Easy. That’s a boy. Easy does it, now.
With this rope tied around you, you’re gonna be fine. You couldn’t fall off even if you tried to. Uh-huh. All right? Now, they’re watchin’ it up on top. Just you go easy, now.
All right? Breathe deep. Stay relaxed. We’ll pull you up outta here in just about two seconds.

COREY
Doctor.

PALADIN
Easy, now. Just you breathe easy. All right.

COREY
I’m gonna fall.

PALADIN
No, you’re not. Come on. Come on. Help yourself a little bit. Come on. Come on.
Now, what were you tryin’ to prove by that?

COREY
I had to find out.

DR. STARK
Did you?

COREY
Oh, I just can’t do it!

CASS RICHARDS
he’s just bound
to grow up, ain’t he?
Like a little fella.
He’ll learn to walk
If enough people pick
him up when he falls.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Oh, stop that hyena laugh.
The kid feels terrible.

CASS RICHARDS
You just keep a civil tongue in your head.

PALADIN
Why don’t you both keep a civil tongue in your head.

CASS RICHARDS
Well, how you gonna get him?
Doctor says he’s dead.
Kid’s a-scared of heights.
Stebbins, he’s…

PALADIN
Stebbins got a family. Well, go ahead!
Why don’t all of you just ride out.

COREY
I’ll stay, but I just can’t go down there!

PALADIN
Son, that does not help the man.
He is not gonna be rescued by magic
Because you happen to be here on this ledge
And not 350 miles away from him.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Oh, mr. Paladin.

[]

PALADIN
What did you do, search my saddlebags?

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
You can’t talk to me like that.
You come ridin’ in here with your gun tied down low.
I got the right and the obligation
To know who I’m ridin’ with.
All right, now, doc, you say the man’s dead.

DR. STARK
Yes.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
You have doubts.

PALADIN
Right. I’ve got doubts. I’m not gonna carry ’em around with me for the rest of my life.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
All right, then. Satisfy yourself. Go ahead. If he’s dead, it doesn’t matter.
If he’s still alive, it’ll be a merciful end, compared to lyin’ out there takin’ a week to die.
Besides, you’re used to it. I was even gonna pay you.

PALADIN
Stebbins, you can’t buy your way outta this.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
My offer still stands.

PALADIN
My usual fee is a thousand dollars.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
I can pay that.

PALADIN
That’s a cheap price, stebbins, for unloading the kind of nightmares you’re gonna have for the rest of your life.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
What’s my nightmares got to do with it? If you kill, you kill. That’s your business. If you’re that particular about how you do it, You could see what it’d be to do it for somebody who needs it.

CASS RICHARDS
Really put it on the line.

DR. STARK
Stebbins, I never thought I’d feel disgust For anyone like I feel for you.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
What’s the matter with you? You said he was dead. What difference could it make?

COREY
Please. He’s dead anyway.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
That’s right. If you’re that particular about the money angle, Just figure you’re doing it
for sufferin’ humanity.

CASS RICHARDS
Only way. If I was in his place, A bullet would be what I’d beg for. Quick and sure.

PALADIN
All right. Here, doctor. You take the rifle.

DR. STARK
Yes. Of course. Show me how to use it.

PALADIN
there you are.

DR. STARK
No reason to be squeamish. Just putting a bullet into something dead.

PALADIN
If that’s the way you practice medicine. Fix a bad leg, broken arm, aching stomach.
Same way you’d repair a fence Or mend a tear in a pair of pants.
That’s the way you practice medicine, doctor. You don’t have to worry about that man. Do you?

COREY
Paladin, it’s all decided.

DR. STARK
I’ll need help to get down to where I can hit him.

PALADIN
Stebbins? Well, doctor, Unless cass can get you in position for a good shot, You’re gonna have to fly.

DR. STARK
You won’t help?

PALADIN
Not a chance.

CASS RICHARDS
Come on, doc! Old cass’ll be anchorman and let you down.

DR. STARK
Rope!

CASS RICHARDS
More?

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Why don’t he shoot?

DR. STARK
I got to get a better shot.

M
All right.

DR. STARK
Pull me up. I’m sorry. I couldn’t do it.

PALADIN
Well, we all set ourselves up as God enough To pass judgment on another man,
And none of us is man enough to execute the judgment.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
But he’s just dead. What’s the matter with you?

COREY
Why? What makes you so sure he’s dead? You haven’t even tried. You just stood here.

DR. STARK
He could be alive.

PALADIN
You were so sure he was dead.

DR. STARK
Listen, Paladin. I’m a man with doubts like anyone else.
Nobody asked you to kill yourself to save another man’s life.
The first law is self-preservation.
You kill to protect yourself. Am I right?

PALADIN
I don’t know, doctor. How do you feel? You feel like stebbins?
He wanted to give me A thousand dollars to get rid of a bad memory.
Something bothering you?

PALADIN
Come on, Cass.

DR. STARK
Paladin. I better go first.

PALADIN
All right, doctor. Corey?

COREY
How? Every time I look over that edge…It’s like weights pullin’ me over.

PALADIN
Blindfolded?

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Blindfolded? You’ll get the kid killed.

COREY
You leave me alone. I’m not like you. I don’t want your help.
I’ll try it blindfolded. If you’re willing to risk it, So am I.

PALADIN
All right, Corey. Now, what about you?

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Y’all gonna do this. Hmm? Well, I’m not a strong man, but I’ll… I’ll do what you want.

PALADIN
Thank you, stebbins.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Just remember I got a family. Not like the rest of you.

PALADIN
All right. All right. Now, I’ll hold the doctor. And cass. We’ll put corey on this ledge
So he won’t have the hard part of the climb. Stebbins, you belay us here on the rock.

COREY
Supposing he drops us?

PALADIN
Corey, you’ll trust Stebbins because you’ve got to.

CASS RICHARDS
Just a minute, Mr. Paladin. You go on down there. But you ain’t got me.

PALADIN
Now, what’s the matter with you?

CASS RICHARDS
I ain’t gonna go down no rope that the other end’s being held by a old storekeeper and a kid that’s gotta be blindfolded before he can get hisself over the front stoop.

COREY
I had enough from you.

CASS RICHARDS
You did, eh? You forget I’m a grown man.
I held everybody at the end of that rope.

COREY
And I say you’re a coward.

CASS RICHARDS
What was that?

COREY
You held the rope for everybody else,
But you’re scared to let somebody hold it for you.

CASS RICHARDS
I ain’t a-scared of nothin’. Now, don’t you get up.
’cause I don’t wanna do what I have to do.
Now, you tell me I’m no coward.

PALADIN
You are a coward, Cass.

CASS RICHARDS
You can’t call me a cow-I’ll punch you like the kid.

PALADIN
You’ll fight me, but you won’t follow me down that cliff.

CASS RICHARDS
You callin’ me a coward?

PALADIN
That’s right. You’re a coward. Even the doctor’ll go where you don’t dare to.

CASS RICHARDS
I’ll go down there! I’ll show ya!

PALADIN
You’re ready to prove that, then we don’t have any problems. We can get started.
Can’t we?

CASS RICHARDS
I ain’t afraid!

PALADIN
All right. Corey? Doctor? Everybody tight? We gotta swing out now.

COREY
Mr. Stebbins?

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
What, boy?

COREY
They’re gonna swing out now. C-can you see him?

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Yeah. It’s all right. You’re all right.

COREY
Tell me what’s happenin’.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Sure. You all right, boy?

COREY
I-I-I think so.

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Now.

COREY
Mr. Stebbins, what are they doin’ now?

S
They’re puttin’ him on the ledge.
They’re just about there.

DR. STARK
He’s dead. He’s been dead all along.

COREY
Mr. Stebbins, what is he laughin’ about?

STEBBINS – STOREKEEPER
Because we near got ourselves killed…For a dead man.

COREY
Oh, I’m sorry he’s dead.

DR. STARK
All right. Get me outta here. This was a stupid risk to take.

PALADIN
Yeah.

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