102-“The Misguided Father”

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen, Writers: Donn Mullally, Herb Meadow (creator)

DOUGLAS KENNEDY as Wynn Loring, HAMPTON FANCHER as Keith Loring, HARRY CAREY JR. as Sheriff Stander, LEE SANDS as Hal Sims, GREGG PALMER as Brogan, HARRY FLEER as Logger, EUGENE BORDEN as Andre – Hotel Carlton Chef

HAMPTON FANCHER also appears in: (Unforgiven, 1959) as Beau Crommer, (The Manhunter, 1958) as Ben Dawes. HARRY CAREY JR. also appears in: (Face of a Shadow, 1963) as Earl Tibner, (Sweet Lady of the Moon, 1963) as Ben Murdock, (Taylor’s Woman, 1962) as Thad Taylor, (Jonah and the Trout, 1962) as Jonah Quincy, (The Revenger, 1961) as Conlon, (The Tax Gatherer, 1961) as Jess Turner, (The Legacy, 1960) as Banker Burton, (The Marshal’s Boy, 1960) as Frank Gulley, (The Posse, 1959) as Sheriff, (The Road to Wickenburg, 1958) as Sheriff Jack Goodfellow, (The Man Who Wouldn’t Talk, 1958) as Bud Sorenson. LEE SANDS also appears in: (Long Weekend, 1961) as Townsman (uncredited), (The Fatalist, 1960) as Messenger. GREGG PALMER also appears in: (Trial at Tablerock, 1962) as Sheriff Matthew Tyler, (Fight at Adobe Wells, 1960) as Ben Mattock, (Fragile, 1959) as Drunk. HARRY FLEER also appears in: (The Day of the Bad Man, 1960) as Bart Reynolds.

Paladin finds his friend Charlie Blackburn dead on his davenport. When he returns him to his hometown of Alimo for burial, he finds that neither he nor Charlie is very welcome.

Trivia: The Loring estate seen in this episode was later reused as the Haskell estate in “Love of a Bad Woman” later in the season.

You call yourself Charlie Blackburn’s friend, Sheriff?
Well, if his friends won’t give him a decent burial, I’d better try his enemies.

INT. HOTEL CARLETON LOBBY -DAY

PALADIN
That will do very nicely.

CHEF
Monsieur, pardon. Drove to pick zucchini blossoms as they opened with the first rays of the sun.

PALADIN
Well, we shan’t keep them waiting.

CHEF
Regardez. (Look)

HEY BOY (frantically speaking Chinese)

CHEF
C’est bon, n’est pas? Oui. (That’s good, is it not? Yes.)

HEY BOY
Pardon.

PALADIN
Hey boy!

HEY BOY
Oh, sorry. Mr. Paladin, a Mr. Blackburn. He sleep on your davenport.

PALADIN
Asleep on my davenport?

HEY BOY
Yes. With shoes on.

PALADIN
Oh.

INT. PALADIN’S HOTEL ROOM -DAY

PALADIN
Well, Charlie Blackburn, get up. Get up or sober up. Charlie, you’re pushing a good friendship a little bit too far. You’re on my settee with your dirty boots. Now, come on. Get up, Charlie. Get up! He’s dead. Hey Boy, get the police up here.

CHEF
Monsieur Paladin, My great masterpiece now will be garbage.

PALADIN
Console yourself, Andre. The sun will rise again tomorrow morning. There’ll be more zucchini blossoms. But Charlie Blackburn won’t see them.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL -DAY

TOWNSMAN
Hey! Who is it?

PALADIN
His name was Charlie Blackburn.

Whoa. Slow down. Whoa. Sheriff, I brought Charlie Blackburn home.

SHERIFF STANDER
He ain’t got any home around here. Fact is, he ain’t no more welcome dead Than he was alive.

PALADIN
I understand, sheriff. That’s one of mankind’s finer instincts. Respect for the dead.

SHERIFF STANDER
Uh, where you taking him?

PALADIN
Well, if Charlie Blackburn’s friends won’t give him a decent burial, I’d better talk to his enemies. Giddyup now.

EXT. LORING ESTATE -DAY

PALADIN
Whoa.

KEITH LORING
I beg your pardon? My father’s in San Francisco, So I wouldn’t know about it.
But is this something he ordered?

PALADIN
I believe it is. That’s Charles Blackburn’s body. Bury it.

KEITH LORING
Bury it? I wasn’t aware that Mr. Blackburn was one of our immediate family.

PALADIN
He is now. I’ll be back for the wagon.

EXT. SHERIFF’S OFFICE -DAY

SHERIFF STANDER
Well, back, huh? Get rid of the body?

PALADIN
The Lorings are taking care of it.

SHERIFF STANDER
Wynn Loring wouldn’t give Blackburn the time of day.

PALADIN
Sheriff, this may come as a great surprise to you. It costs as much as ten, even $15 To get a man shot in San Francisco.

SHERIFF STANDER
You, uh, going back to San Francisco?

PALADIN
Where did Blackburn do business?

SHERIFF STANDER
Brecker Saloon.

INT. BRECKER SALOON -DAY

KEITH LORING
I understand you haven’t finished your business here.

PALADIN
Well, news travels fast in Alimo.

KEITH LORING
You know how it is in a small community. An outsider can’t make a move that isn’t watched.

PALADIN
So I’ve noticed.

KEITH LORING
My name’s Keith Loring, in case I forgot to mention it While you were at the house the other day. This is Mr. Sims. Hal Sims. I’ve been led to understand he’s somewhat famous for being fast with a gun. I’ve been admiring your gun. Beautiful craftsmanship. What I can see of it. The balance must be excellent. May I hold it?

HAL SIMS (FAST DRAWS)
Don’t touch it.

PALADIN
Sims, put the gun away. You don’t have to protect him from me.

HAL SIMS
That’s not the idea. I’m here to protect you. And me.

PALADIN
From him? I’ve observed that he has excellent teeth. Am I in mortal danger of being bitten?

HAL SIMS
Never mind that. Just do what I tell you. And don’t let him get his hands on your gun.

KEITH LORING
Sims takes his job very seriously.

PALADIN
And the job?

HAL SIMS
I work for his old man.

KEITH LORING
Someone had to take steps. Brecker was willing to hang out for timber pirates.

PALADIN
Like Charlie Blackburn?

KEITH LORING
He was the worst. Ask my father. He cost us thousands of dollars.

PALADIN
Now, this is probably just a vicious rumor, But I’ve heard it said in San Francisco That if a man wants to be a logger in this county, He works for the Lorings or he pirates.

KEITH LORING
That’s logging, like any other business. We offered Blackburn a fair price for his redwood. Wouldn’t deal. What could we do, let him cut a logging road through our timber?

PALADIN
I told him he couldn’t shoot his way across another man’s land. I told him to get a lawyer,
file suit to set aside the deeds that had him landlocked.

KEITH LORING
You may have told him he couldn’t shoot his way across another man’s land, But he was going to try. This is where he planned the whole thing. Got his gang.

PALADIN
And did it happen?

KEITH LORING
Fortunately, I found out what Blackburn was up to in plenty of time.

PALADIN
And from what I can see, justice triumphed.

KEITH LORING
I’m glad you see it that way. Now, Mr., uh…

PALADIN
Paladin.

KEITH LORING
Paladin. Have a good trip back to the city.

EXT. TOWN

SHERIFF STANDER
Got a jug open in the office. Buy you a drink? One for the road?

PALADIN
You’re just like everybody else I meet in this town. You keep trying to get me on that road.

SHERIFF STANDER
You don’t haul bodies as a regular thing?

PALADIN
No, hardly ever.

SHERIFF STANDER
But you hauled this one over 40 miles. Seems to me you got something else in mind, Besides having Charlie Blackburn buried in Alimo.

PALADIN
And what would you think that’d be, Sheriff?

SHERIFF STANDER
I was hoping you’d tell me.

PALADIN
No, the game’s more exciting if you tell me.

SHERIFF STANDER
You’re after Wynn Loring ’cause you think he had Blackburn killed in the city.

PALADIN
There now. You see? You knew.

SHERIFF STANDER
Now, just a minute. Wynn Loring’s had a lot of trouble raising that boy. But he stood up to it like a man. He could have thrown Keith out long ago. He could’ve disowned him. A lot of fathers would have. You got to hand it to Wynn Loring. He ain’t a man to shun his responsibility.

PALADIN
Well, that’s good news, sheriff. ’cause I got some to throw his way.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL -DAY

PALADIN
I know why you gentlemen are here. You think I’m lost.

LOGGER
You’re not only lost. You’re headed in the wrong direction. San Francisco’s that way.

PALADIN
I have no quarrel with your geography. But I know where I’m going. The Loring house is that way.

LOGGER
I repeat, mister, San Francisco’s that way.

(Paladin gets it with a baseball bat)

KEITH LORING
Father?

WYNN LORING
What’s this?

KEITH LORING
Charlie Blackburn. It would seem he beat you back from San Francisco.

WYNN LORING
How’d it get here?

KEITH LORING
A man named Paladin. Said it was up to us to bury Charlie.

WYNN LORING
See to it, Sims.

KEITH LORING
Won’t that look as though you had something to do with Blackburn’s death?

WYNN LORING
I did.

HAL SIMS
Mr. Loring, wait..

WYNN LORING
I said, bury him!

KEITH LORING
You heard my father. See to it, Sims.

HAL SIMS
I can’t do it by myself. I’ll get some men.

KEITH LORING
Don’t bother. I’ll help you.

WYNN LORING
Who are you? What are you doing here?

PALADIN
I’m enjoying your tobacco and your wine. And I believe I’ve earned the privilege.

WYNN LORING
I said, who are you?

CARD

PALADIN
Paladin. Blackburn’s man.

PALADIN
My own man. Blackburn’s friend.

WYNN LORING
How’d you get in here?

PALADIN
Your son told me you were expected momentarily from San Francisco and asked me if I’d mind waiting.

WYNN LORING
He wasted your time.

PALADIN
Mr. Loring, I don’t believe so. Keith showed me through your house. It’s beautiful.
I congratulate you on your excellent taste.

WYNN LORING
Not mine, Mr. Paladin. My wife’s. This house, everything in it was her idea. This furniture came all the way from Europe, around The Horn. Mrs. Loring was a particular woman.
God rest her.

PALADIN
Mr. Loring. What happened the other night in Brecker Saloon?

WYNN LORING
We have nothing to discuss, Mr. Paladin.

KEITH LORING
Father, you’re being rude.

WYNN LORING
Keith, I told you to knock before coming into my study.

KEITH LORING
Mr. Paladin has made a long and tiring journey. He’s a man of obvious culture and refinement. I think we should cooperate with him.

WYNN LORING
Will you please get out of here?

KEITH LORING
Sorry, father. I choose to remain and answer Mr. Paladin.

WYNN LORING
All right, then. I’ll answer him. Brecker Saloon. A few nights ago. As I heard it, there was a dispute among the lumberjacks. Some of theirs, some of mine. That’s all there is to it.

KEITH LORING
Father isn’t really lying to you, Mr. Paladin.

WYNN LORING
Keith!

KEITH LORING
It’s simply that he’s very busy. Some of the details escape him.

WYNN LORING
Get out of here and let me handle it!

KEITH LORING
Don’t shout at me! I’m only trying to help you answer Mr. Paladin. Father has forgotten. There were six men killed in Brecker Saloon.

PALADIN
Only six? You’re sure there weren’t more?

KEITH LORING
Positive. My gun was empty by then.

PALADIN
Where was Sims while all this was going on?

KEITH LORING
Sims had a predecessor. Excellent hand with a gun. With us over a year.

PALADIN
Long enough to grow careless? He was one of the men killed in Brecker Saloon.

KEITH LORING
The first. It was his gun. He was the closest.

PALADIN
And how many fast-gun nursemaids has Keith gone through?

KEITH LORING
Only two before Sims came with us.

WYNN LORING
The first one was shot defending Keith. He only shot one.

PALADIN
“he only shot one.”

WYNN LORING
Mr. Paladin, when you’re up on top, Every two-bit tinhorn with no brains and big ideas is trying to shove you off. I’ve been lied to, swindled, cheated, shot at. That’s how his mother was killed. With a bullet that was meant for me. You’ve got to protect yourself. You’ve got to give your boy some help.

PALADIN
Or protect the men who make the mistake of trying to defend themselves against Keith.
Protect the public. Make the town go along because you own them. Of course, a scheme like that has one great advantage. It gives the town something else to think about;
Something other than how you own them-What you’ve done to men. Men like Charlie Blackburn.

KEITH LORING
They killed my mother. You didn’t know that?

PALADIN
I knew it.

KEITH LORING
It’s all right if they killed my mother?

PALADIN
No, it’s not all right. It’s not any more all right Than what your father is doing about you.

KEITH LORING
Father’s choice is limited, Mr. Paladin. He isn’t going to sign commitment papers on his only son.

PALADIN
I am.

WYNN LORING
You’re not gonna sign a thing. Whatever else Keith may be, he’s still my son. He’s my flesh and blood.

KEITH LORING
You see, Mr. Paladin, That was your friend Blackburn’s mistake. After the Brecker Saloon shooting, He talked about how I wasn’t normal. He was going to the city, have the authorities put me away.

PALADIN
It makes a great deal of difference who’s doing the talking. I’m not Charlie Blackburn.

WYNN LORING
Sims. Sims!

KEITH LORING
Sorry, father. I don’t think we can count on Sims.

WYNN LORING
You!

KEITH LORING
It was almost an accident, Father. The coffin slipped.

WYNN LORING
Slipped?

KEITH LORING
Well, maybe I did push it just a little, At an unfortunate time for Sims. But I needed his gun.

PALADIN
Leave it where it is, Keith.

KEITH LORING
You’d shoot me.

PALADIN
Only if I have to. Now, I want the gun.

KEITH LORING
That makes a problem, doesn’t it? Because I also want it. Hardly be keeping faith with Sims if I gave it up so easily.

PALADIN
Keith. Turn around, keith. Hands on the mantel.

KEITH LORING
I’m afraid you’re gonna have to shoot me, Mr. Paladin. Shoot to kill, because if I get this gun out, I’ll kill you.

PALADIN
I promise you, you never will.

WYNN LORING
Paladin! Don’t move!

KEITH LORING
Why?

WYNN LORING
Don’t you realize, you’re only able to stay in this house to stay alive because of my will to protect you at all costs.

KEITH LORING
That’s a father’s duty.

WYNN LORING
Maybe so. But don’t count on it. Don’t count on it anymore. Because if you ever use a gun again for murder, I’m gonna close my eyes to any pity, Any fatherly love I may have for you. And I’ll only open them to see you swinging at the end of a rope.

KEITH LORING
You don’t mean that.

WYNN LORING
Oh, yes, I do. You’re right, son. There was a time when I didn’t, but this time I do. I mean it more than any promise I ever made to your mother. May she forgive me. But if you’re gonna use the gun, use it on me. At least, whatever happens to you afterwards, I won’t know about it. Now, let me have it.

KEITH LORING
No.

WYNN LORING
Keith!

Paladin and Mr. Loring fight it out.

Paladin returns to the town only to find several townsmen shot dead by Keith.

SHERIFF STANDER
Keith, you put that gun down on the end of the bar and you walk away from it.
Ain’t nobody gonna hurt you. I promised you that before, right here in this saloon. And I kept that promise.

KEITH LORING
That was different, Sheriff. The gun I had then was empty. I have lots of bullets.
Shouldn’t waste them.

SHERIFF STANDER
Listen to me, Keith.

KEITH LORING
Why? Haven’t I already heard everything you’ve got to say?

SHERIFF STANDER
Keith, I’m your friend.

KEITH LORING
That makes you special. Anybody can kill an enemy.

PALADIN
Keith!

KEITH LORING
Yes, Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
He’s dead, Mr. Loring. Your mistakes, my bullet.

WYNN LORING
All right, Paladin. Use the gun again. This time on the right man. I had Charlie Blackburn killed. I admit it. Use the gun!

PALADIN
Murder shrieks out in the voice of the murderer. You’ll be heard, Mr. Loring, If you shriek loud enough.