105-“The Gladiators”

Season 3, Episode 27 – Original Airdate: (March 19, 1960)

Director: Alvin Ganzer, Written by: Robert C. Dennis

PAUL CAVANAGH as Mr. Windrom
DOLORES DONLON as Allison Windrom
(A Knight to Remember, 1961) as Dulcinea Caloca
GEORGE N. NEISE as Graham Beckley
JAMES COBURN as Bill Sledge
(One Came Back, 1959) as Jack Harvey
CHET STRATTON as Harry
(The Gold Bar, 1961) as Bank Examiner
(The Ballad of Oscar Wilde, 1958) as Secretary
OWEN CUNNINGHAM as Referee
Frank Baker as Club Member
Stewart East as Club Member
James Gonzalez as Club Member
Stuart Hall as Club Member
John Roy as Club Member
Norman Stevans as Club Member
Bert Stevens as Club Member
Terry Terrill as Hotel Carlton Desk Clerk

The rules say we have our choice of weapons, Mr. Sledge.
Silly, but what would you expect? We have fallen among idiots.

INT. HOTEL CARLTON LOBBY – DAY

ALLISON WINDROM
Excuse me? Would you tell Mr. Paladin
That Miss Windrom is here to see him?

HOTEL CARLTON DESK CLERK
Yes, ma’am. Miss Windrom, Mr. Paladin is expecting you.

ALLISON WINDROM
So it would seem.

HOTEL CARLTON DESK CLERK
Follow me, please.

HEY BOY
Right here. Lady coming.

PALADIN
You may make one parting remark.

HEY BOY
A time like this, what is there to say? Oh, uh…

ALLISON WINDROM
So, this is where you live. Yes. It’s very much the way I expected.

PALADIN
Well, I’d always thought of it as just a hotel room.
But let me see it through your eyes.

ALLISON WINDROM
Oh, I’d say the man who lives here is unbridled, rigid, austere,
Yet one who likes his comfort as well as luxury,
Though he could never quite forget he was once a soldier.

PALADIN
Someone has been telling you things about me.

ALLISON WINDROM
Mr. Paladin, back in Louisiana, I’m considered a pretty good judge of horse flesh.
I’d say the standards are not very much different.

PALADIN
Well, there is considerable difference between the western mustang and the pampered geldings that pass for horses in your part of the country.

ALLISON WINDROM
I hadn’t noticed. Oh. Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
May I pour you a glass of champagne?

ALLISON WINDROM
Yes. No. I really don’t have time. I’m returning to New Orleans immediately.
But not tonight.

ALLISON WINDROM
Yes, I am. I must. My father’s fighting a duel.
I got the letter this morning. He’s a very proud man, Mr. Paladin.
He’d rather die than yield.

PALADIN
Is that a family trait?

ALLISON WINDROM
Well, you’d have to know my father to understand what honor means to him.

PALADIN
“When honor dies, When faith is lost, the man is dead.”
John Greenleaf Whittier. Or the other side of the coin, Falstaff.
“Who hath honor? He who died a-Wednesday, doth he feel it? No.
Therefore, I’ll none of it.”

ALLISON WINDROM
It’s nothing to laugh at. He’s an old man. And it’s what he believes in, right or wrong.
Please. Will you travel as far as New Orleans?

PALADIN
Why?

ALLISON WINDROM
Because my father’s going to be murdered.
He calls it dueling. But he hasn’t held a gun in 30 years.
And it’s not dueling. It’s murder, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
And you want me to…

ALLISON WINDROM
Show yourself with father. Beckley will back out the moment he finds out father has expert help.

PALADIN
“Expert.” Well, Miss Windrom, Since our relationship has now changed from pleasure to business…

ALLISON WINDROM
Oh, yes. Of course. Your fee.

PALADIN
Mm.

ALLISON WINDROM
But, Paladin?

PALADIN
Hmm?

ALLISON WINDROM
When this is all over, When you have saved my father’s…Oh, mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Madam.

EXT. NEW ORLEANS – DAY

MR. WINDROM
Your name’s Paladin, eh?
Nothing better to do than prance around my daughter?

PALADIN
You’re spilling your drink.

MR. WINDROM
Allison tell you what happened to the last one?

PALADIN
The one before me?

MR. WINDROM
Graham Beckley.
I threw my drink in his face.

ALLISON WINDROM
You didn’t.

MR. WINDROM
At the club. In front of a dozen witnesses.
I warned the young pup to stay away from Allison.
And I packed her off to San Francisco so he’d have to.
He had the impudence to demand an explanation.

PALADIN
And you gave him one?

MR. WINDROM
Right in the face.
That ever happen
to you, mr. Paladin?

ALLISON WINDROM
Father!

MR. WINDROM
Don’t worry. I’m not gonna do it to mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
What did mr. Beckley do?

MR. WINDROM
What could he do? He makes the pretense of being a gentleman.
So he had no choice but to challenge me to a duel.

PALADIN
You brought me all the way from san francisco for this?

ALLISON WINDROM
His life is in danger. And at his age, he could easily get killed.

PALADIN
There must be somebody in the entire city of new orleans
Who can talk some sense into his head?

ALLISON WINDROM
Try it, Mr. Paladin. You’ll know why I brought you all the way from California.

PALADIN
When does this bloodletting take place?

MR. WINDROM
Friday. 5:00 a.M. Since you’re Allison’s guest, I suppose I’ll have to invite you to be present.

PALADIN
This is by invitation only?

MR. WINDROM
Certainly. I expect 40 or 50 people, at least.

PALADIN
Call it off.

MR. WINDROM
Never. I was insulted. I’ll have satisfaction. Do you think young Beckley will dare fight me? I’m an old man. He’d be stoned out of town. Wait and see. In the end, he’ll turn tail like a yellow dog.

PALADIN
In front of 40 or 50 people.

MR. WINDROM
That’ll teach him a lesson he’ll never get over.

ALLISON WINDROM
Now do you see what I mean?

PALADIN
He doesn’t need any help. This whole thing’s a farce.

ALLISON WINDROM
No, mr. Paladin. Graham Beckley will not back down.
Father is wrong in thinking he has nothing to win by fighting.

PALADIN
Oh? What does he have to gain?

ALLISON WINDROM
His self-respect. He’s every bit as proud as father.

PALADIN
And what else? You?

ALLISON WINDROM
I can’t help what Graham thinks.

PALADIN
All right. I’ll stop him.

INT. ALBATROSS CLUB – EVENING

PALADIN
Can you tell me which one of these gentlemen is Mr. Beckley?
Thank you. Mr. Beckley?

GRAHAM BECKLEY
I’m afraid you have the advantage of me, sir.

PALADIN
My name is Paladin. I’d like to talk to you.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
In a moment, when I’ve finished here.

PALADIN
Now, Mr. Beckley.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Why, Mr. Paladin, Must it be right now?

PALADIN
Because my time is too valuable to be wasted on matters of such stupidity.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
May I trouble you to explain that remark, sir?

PALADIN
I’ll be very happy to. I’m referring to the public spectacle of Friday.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Oh? And in what way does this concern you?

PALADIN
I’ve been asked to put a stop to it.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Really? Well, I must say, Mr. Paladin, That you’re a singular choice for a mediator.
For one thing, sir, this time and place indicates A shocking disregard for good taste.
And for another thing, I personally find your manner most obnoxious. However, certain overtures have been made, and it’s only right that I acknowledge them. Very well, mr. Paladin. These are my terms. Since my worthy opponent chose to insult me in public
In front of witnesses, I shall accept an apology delivered in the same way
And in the same place. That’s all. I believe it’s my move, Henry.

PALADIN
Mr. Beckley, Windrom is not going to apologize Any time or any place.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Very well. I shall await his convenience next Friday morning.

PALADIN
Windrom is a fool. And the only difference between the two of you is 30 years.
He’s too old to fight a duel.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Well, then, may I assume, mr. Paladin,
That you are not too old, sir?

PALADIN
No. No, I’m not too old. Nor is 5:00 a.M. Too early for me to rise.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Well, in that case, sir…

PALADIN
Not necessary, mr. Beckley.
I have already accepted the challenge on behalf of Mr. Windrom.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
You… You did what? That’s absolutely ridiculous, sir.
Well, I never heard of such a thing.
It’s in absolute violation of the dueling code.

PALADIN
I’ll be there, mr. Beckley. And… Now…It’s your move.

ALLISON WINDROM
Paladin! You nincompoop. I ought to have you horse-whipped within an inch of your life.
By what right do you interfere…

PALADIN
This will steady your nerves.

ALLISON WINDROM
Father! Mr. Paladin!

MR. WINDROM
I suppose you put him up to it.

ALLISON WINDROM
Yes, I did.

MR. WINDROM
Then you’re as big an imbecile as he is.
You know what you did with your stupid meddling?

PALADIN
Saved your life, most likely.
Why, I am not certain.

MR. WINDROM
You cheated me out of my satisfaction.
I had Beckley right where I wanted him.
He’d have been forced to back down.

PALADIN
Mr. Windrom, you are a fool.
Beckley would have killed you and married your daughter
As soon as you were in the ground.

MR. WINDROM

What?

PALADIN
And if you had backed down at the last moment,
Which is extremely likely, Not even your servants would have taken orders
From you any longer.
I offered you both a chance to save face.
It was a mistake. I withdraw.

MR. WINDROM
Oh, no, you don’t, Paladin.
It’s not as simple as that.
Beckley is getting somebody to do his fighting for him.
He sent for a Texan, a hired gunfighter.
And just what do you propose to do about that?

PALADIN
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
He wins by default.

MR. WINDROM
But this is an affair of honor.

PALADIN
Mr. Windrom, the amount of honor I have involved is so slight
That I’m not concerned about it.
It will be no reflection on you
When this Texan scares me out of New Orleans.

MR. WINDROM
In that event, Sir, I have no option but to face this ruffian myself.
It’s not something I could expect you to understand.
Among gentlemen, life without honor is meaningless.
This thing’s gone beyond apologies or retreat.
It can be settled in only one way.
If you refuse to meet your obligations, I’ll do it for you.

ALLISON WINDROM
Mr. Paladin! He means it.
And against a gunfighter, he wouldn’t stand a chance.

PALADIN
There has to be a fight? That it?

MR. WINDROM
Neither Beckley nor I would be satisfied with anything less.

PALADIN
How much blood will you settle for?

INT. HOTEL ROOM BILL SLEDGE

BILL SLEDGE
It’s open.

PALADIN
You bill sledge?

BILL SLEDGE
I once knew a man That could make a coin vanish right in front of your eyes.
Bring it back, too.

PALADIN
That’s the part of the trick I never mastered.

BILL SLEDGE
Well, didn’t help him much. He died broke.
Getting back to your question, I am bill sledge.

PALADIN
My name is paladin.

BILL SLEDGE
You’re a couple of days early, ain’t ya?

PALADIN
Not why I’m here.

BILL SLEDGE
I never ran into this kind of fighting in texas.
I hear tell there’s rules. Somebody else is supposed to do the talking.

PALADIN
You pay much attention to rules?

BILL SLEDGE
I never have yet. Have a seat, paladin.

PALADIN
Thank you.

BILL SLEDGE
Been in town long?

PALADIN
Most of a week.

BILL SLEDGE
I only got here this morning.
Maybe you can tell me why I’m gonna kill you.

PALADIN
Mr. Sledge, I’m not even clear on why I’m gonna kill you.

BILL SLEDGE
There was a time when a man brought a fight with him,
He had to bring a reason, too.
Now I just ask how much it pays and let it go at that.

PALADIN
There’s no land, no cattle, no water rights involved.

BILL SLEDGE
What’s left?

PALADIN
Nothing. They just want the sight of blood.

BILL SLEDGE
Oh. Well, they ain’t paying enough anyway.
Heading back to california? I’ll ride as far as texas with you.

PALADIN
No. There’s got to be a fight.

BILL SLEDGE
You fast with a gun, paladin?

PALADIN
If I’d lost many, I wouldn’t be here. How are you with your fists?

BILL SLEDGE
Why?

PALADIN
These rules say that we get the choice of weapons.

BILL SLEDGE
Oh. Well, a man’s got to start living by the rules
Sooner or later. Still seems kind of silly.

PALADIN
Mr. Sledge, what can you expect? We have fallen among idiots.

REFEREE
Where is your sporting blood, gentlemen?
I am offering you 3-2 odds on Beckley’s gladiator.
Well, it’s your last chance. Tomorrow’s the big day.
Which one of you gentlemen can I mark down for, say,
A hundred dollars? Now, there’s a man with convictions.
You are on, sir. To be paid on the first man to draw blood.
Now, anyone else?

GRAHAM BECKLEY
I was just on my way out, Sir. The club is yours.

ALLISON WINDROM
Stay if you like. I can avoid you until morning.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Yes, of course. Now, if you have any confidence in your man,
I’m sure harry will be only too happy to accommodate you.

ALLISON WINDROM
I’ll have the best of that bargain.
Losing my money would be compensated by getting rid of Paladin.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
The man is a rough diamond, Sir. But it seems to appeal to Allison.

ALLISON WINDROM
Then she’s gone from bad to worse. I’ll give you this much, Beckley.
You at least behave like a gentleman.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Well, thank you, Sir. It’s small credit to me. I completely lost my head.

ALLISON WINDROM
A weakness of youth. You’ll overcome it in time.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Now, sir, that’s very handsome of you.

HARRY
Graham? I think you ought to know…Good evening, sir.
Graham, all bets are off. I will not be a party to such a farce.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Now, what are you talking about?

HARRY
We have been taken. There’s not going to be a duel.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
What?

HARRY
Those men have agreed to brawl with their fists.
Why, we’d be the laughingstock of New Orleans.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Are you positive of this, sir?

HARRY
I have it on the best of authority.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
It seems that your man paladin has developed cold feet.

MR. WINDROM
Speak for your own man, Beckley.

GRAHAM BECKLEY
Very well, sir, I will. I’ll guarantee that my man will appear on the field of honor
Completely armed. The rest is up to you.

MR. WINDROM
Then tell him to defend himself. Paladin will have a gun.

EXT.

ALLISON WINDROM
Paladin?

PALADIN
Hmm?

ALLISON WINDROM
Am I intruding? I hope not, my dear. I don’t want you to be alone tonight.

PALADIN
I was just enjoying the moonlight.

ALLISON WINDROM
It is a beautiful night. Paladin?

PALADIN
Hmm?

ALLISON WINDROM
Do you remember that night…It seems so long ago. In san francisco?

PALADIN
I remember it vividly.

ALLISON WINDROM
We didn’t have time for that glass of champagne.
So I made you a promise. Tomorrow might be too late.

PALADIN
And the garden’s like a picture in a book. None of it’s real, is it? Your father and his friends making ridiculous rules and games about killing.
You making a sport out of love, Trying to pretend it’s all so sad, so tragic.
In killing…Or in making love, I don’t pretend.

EXT. FIELD OF HONOR

MR. WINDROM
I took the liberty.

PALADIN
In this case, Mr. Windrom, that is the wrong weapon.

MR. WINDROM
But this is an affair of honor. It’ll be fought as such.

PALADIN
You’ll get your carnival. I’ll do it my own way.

MR. WINDROM
You think so? Then you’re the only one who does.
Your opponent will have a pistol under his shirt.
You may believe me, Mr. Paladin.
Beckley has offered the Texan double price.
If you walk out there unarmed, it’ll cost you your life.

PALADIN
I don’t believe you.

REFEREE
Sir, I must protest these arrangements.
This is not a dueling with pistols.

MR. WINDROM
Both weapons are equal, aren’t they?

REFEREE

Yes, but…

MR. WINDROM
Then get on with your instructions.

REFEREE

Why bother? Not one of the rules applies here.
You will stand back-to-back. On my signal, the word “now,”
You will each take ten paces in a direct line,
Turn and fire. There’s a doctor in attendance. Good luck.

MR. WINDROM
Whenever you’re ready, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
What’s the job pay now?

BILL SLEDGE
Winner take all.

PALADIN
Worth that much to you?

BILL SLEDGE
Money, no.
But I only got one life.

PALADIN
That’s what I thought. They sold us both the same bill of goods.

BILL SLEDGE
You wearing a gun under that shirt?

PALADIN
That’s right.

REFEREE
Gentlemen, are you ready?

BILL SLEDGE
They must’ve talked it over.
What else is there to fight about?

PALADIN
You ask me for a reason, I can’t give you one. But they want blood.

BILL SLEDGE
Ten paces enough?

PALADIN
Not for me.

BILL SLEDGE
Just keep right on walking. Never look back.

REFEREE
Now.

PALADIN
Well, what did you expect? A slight flesh wound to save the honor of two men who never had any? That’s what you paid for. Go ahead. Enjoy it. You’ve had your blood. Let’s celebrate. Have a drink. Step up. You want a drink? No? All right! Tell you why you can’t drink. You couldn’t keep it down. A toast to you, gentlemen.
And to you, allison, The one we didn’t have in San Francisco.
Gentlemen, To you and your code.

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