79-“First Catch a Tiger”

Two of the three men responsible for hanging Jacob Mordain’s son have been gunned down by Fred Horn. The third, heading to Wyoming to face him, is Paladin.

Director: Ida Lupino. Writers: Harry Julian Fink, Herb Meadow (creator)

PAMELA LINCOLN as Mary (Maid)
JOHN ANDERSON as Walt Dunne / Fred Horn
DON MEGOWAN as Abe Huston
STACY HARRIS as Starrett (Gun Drummer)
HARRY BARTELL as Jacob Mordain
KING CALDER as Droggan (Mordain Hotel Manager)

JOHN ANDERSON also appeared in: (Something to Live For, 1958) as Martin Wheeler, (The Return of Dr. Thackeray, 1958) as Fred Cooley.
DON MEGOWAN also appeared in: (Homecoming, 1959) as Ben Stacy, (Something to Live For, 1958) as Wichita Walker, (The Prize Fight Story, 1958) as Oren Gilliam.
STACY HARRIS also appeared in: (Black Sheep, 1960) as Maj. McNab.
HARRY BARTELL also appeared in: (A Snare for Murder, 1958) as Nick Talbot, (Birds of a Feather, 1958) as Sheriff Dave Quinn.
KING CALDER also appeared in: (The Prize Fight Story, 1958) as Sheriff Clint Forbes.

If you’ve been hired to kill me, Starrett,
Remember the recipe for Tiger Stew.
First, you have to catch the tiger.

PALADIN
Thank you, Hey Boy. Playing chess alone is dull stuff, Hey Boy. I always know what I’m going to do next. “Fred Horn strikes again. last night Judge O’reilly was murdered, shot-gunned in the back like Sheriff Ostler last week. It’s rumored that still another man connected with the hanging of Jacob Mordain’s son is to die this way.”

HEY BOY
Oh, trouble brewing, I think.

PALADIN
Hey boy, it’s boiled over. A murderer who uses the name of Fred Horn has killed two men. He’s hunting a third. Me.

HEY BOY
Who?

PALADIN
No one’s ever seen him. He only kills his victims when they’re alone, asleep, or with their backs turned.

HEY BOY
Will you shoot this Fred Horn?

PALADIN
Hey boy, there’s an old recipe for Tiger Stew. Do you know it?

HEY BOY
No, sir.

PALADIN
First, you must catch the tiger.

EXT. TOWN OF MORDAIN -DAY

INT. HOTEL MORDAIN

PALADIN
Put my horse away? Rub him down?

DROGGAN
Barn’s outside, Mister. You want him dry, you dry him yourself. Are you Paladin?

PALADIN
That’s right.

DROGGAN
Mordain said you’d come. I didn’t believe him. It’s ten dollars for the night, in advance.
I’ll take care of the horse.

PALADIN
Like he was your own.

DROGGAN
Only if you die, Mister. Otherwise, you keep him. Upstairs. They’re all empty, except one.

PALADIN
Who else is here?

DROGGAN
Just a drummer, gun salesman, came in this morning.
Uhh, Mister? Would you like her to bring you up some hot water?

PALADIN
That’d be fine.

INT. PALADIN’S HOTEL ROOM

PALADIN
Come in.

MARY
I thought you might need some extra towels.

PALADIN
Thanks.

MARY
They say you hunted Billy Mordain down for money. Is that right?

PALADIN
No. No, I took a murderer, turned him over to the law which hung him.
It was a job somebody had to do.

MARY
Why’d you come back? This man Mordain’s hired, he might never have found you.

PALADIN
And he might’ve. Some dark night, alone, in the back with a shotgun.
I don’t have the stomach for that kind of waiting.
And as the great scholar Erasmus said, “Fortune does favor the audacious.”

MARY
You always do jobs someone has to do?

PALADIN
No, not always. Like most people, I have to eat and I like to eat well.

MARY
You’re not like most people.

PALADIN
What is it? You want me to do something for you?

MARY
Droggan says I owe him and I got to pay him before I can get out of here.

PALADIN
Pay him?

MARY
I ran away from home, Mr. Paladin. A drummer, clean shirt, nice smile.
He sold me to Droggan as a kitchen maid…for fifty dollars.

PALADIN
Well, I’d say that comes under the category of jobs someone has to do.
I’ll speak to Droggan.

MARY
But Mordain’s bringing more men. Couldn’t we just get out of here now?

PALADIN
And wait for the shotgun in the back? First, Fred Horn.

MARY
Well…Thanks for the good thoughts, mr. Paladin. But if they kill you…

PALADIN
Is the drummer Fred Horn?

MARY
I don’t know. Like Droggan says, If you want anything, my name’s Mary.

STARRETT
Mister! It’s not loaded.

PALADIN
Why do you stand in doorways with a gun in your hand?

STARRETT
I sell guns, Mister.

PALADIN
You like the feel of a gun so much in your hand that you keep one there, is that it?

STARRETT
I figured I’d like to see how you handled yourself. I didn’t figure you’d have fired. You’re edgy, mister.

PALADIN
You sell these?

STARRETT
I sell them.

PALADIN
What about this one? It’s well worn.

STARRETT
That one’s not for sale, that’s my own.

PALADIN
That drummer?

STARRETT
That’s right.

PALADIN
I heard it was a gunfighter.

STARRETT
No more.

PALADIN
But you still do know how to use it, don’t you, Starrett?

STARRETT
It was my trade.

PALADIN
Mine, too. You been hired to kill me, you bear that in mind. I still practice it.

STARRETT
Like I said. You’re edgy.

PALADIN
That’s right. Your friend Starrett’s not hurt. Yet.

JACOB MORDAIN
Serve his food.

PALADIN
Thank you, Mary.

JACOB MORDAIN
Man on my right, Abe Huston. I saved his life during the war. He figures he owes me his.
This is Walt Dunne, my ramrod. Been with me a long time.
He figures loyalty to me goes with the job.
The drummer upstairs, has-been gunfighter who doesn’t like being has-been.
Any one of them would kill you for me, Paladin.
You only have to worry about one…The one I’m lying about.
One of ’em’s Fred Horn. The man that’s gonna kill you for me.

PALADIN
Only if I turn my back.

JACOB MORDAIN
Like my son did, Paladin?

PALADIN
Your boy wasn’t taken or killed from behind.

JACOB MORDAIN
A thousand dollars. He was worth more than a thousand dollars.

PALADIN
So was the man he murdered.

JACOB MORDAIN
Which one, Paladin? If you can begin asking yourself. Which one?

ABE HUSTON
I like Mordain, Mister. I don’t want to see him dirty his hands on you.
Why don’t you get on your horse and ride out?

PALADIN
No.

ABE HUSTON
Mordain told me to kill you, Mister.

I don’t like it. But I’m going to do it. Get rid of your gun.

PALADIN
Which one is it? Is it Starrett?! Is it Dunne?! He is your friend.

WALT DUNNE/FRED HORN
He is at that. Mister, No man would ever do that to me.

PALADIN
Nor to me.

INT. PALADIN’S HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

MARY
I’ll bring you some hot water.

PALADIN
Well, Huston’s not Fred Horn. Before horn took a beating like that, he…
Would’ve used a gun. And then it would’ve been all over.

MARY
I see.

INT. HOTEL LOBBY -DAY

PALADIN
Huston alright?

DROGGAN
He’ll live, that’s all.

PALADIN
Let me have a bottle of whiskey.

DROGGAN
That drummer asked for some… Towels. You better go on up.

PALADIN
Mary.

DROGGAN
Go on, girl.

PALADIN
How much is the whiskey?

DROGGAN
Five dollars.

PALADIN
Here’s five dollars for the bottle. And I believe…That’s what you paid for her.

DROGGAN
You be out by morning. There’s no free room and board here.

MARY
I’d better go pack.

PALADIN
Mary. You better take this, just to be safe.

MARY
If they kill you, he won’t let me go anyway.

PALADIN
Mr. Dunne, you walk very quietly.

WALT DUNNE/FRED HORN
Take the money, girl. If he dies, I’ll see you on your way.

Mary is endeared to Paladin. Droggan looks on with disgust.

WALT DUNNE/FRED HORN
See them all over the west. Children. Family’s too big. Not enough to eat.
Father’s dead. Mother…Worn beyond her strength.
Don’t leave much for the children. This for the girls, gun for the boys.
I don’t know, Mister. They didn’t ask to be born, did they?

PALADIN
Don, I didn’t ask for that fight.
And I don’t take any pleasure in beating a man that way.

WALT DUNNE/FRED HORN
I get no pleasure from my end. Mordain’s kid was no good.
I don’t pretend different. Huston tried to kill you.
You should’ve killed him first. Or run. You could still run.

PALADIN
Fred Horn could back away.

WALT DUNNE/FRED HORN
He could. But I’m told he’s never been known to.

Paladin falls asleep, but is startled awake by Mary.

MARY
It’s all right. I thought you might like some breakfast.

PALADIN
I was hoping he might come. I should’ve known better.

MARY
Which one?

PALADIN
We’ll find out now.

Paladin goes upstairs and kicks down Starrett’s door.

STARRETT
Five thousand dollars, that’s what Mordain offered me for you.
He knew I used to have a big reputation, once.

PALADIN
That money’ll take some earning.

STARRETT
Front, back, he doesn’t care.

PALADIN
Well, apparently, you do.

STARRETT
That’s purely right, Paladin. I saw you working the hall, remember?
I’ve seen faster. I’ve been faster. The worst day of my life, I could take you.

PALADIN
Like you took Pat Turney. He was a gunfighter, wasn’t he?
They say he made you crawl in the mud. Is that when you became Fred Horn?
That when you became a back-shooter? All right, you put that gun on.
I suppose you had to try again, sometime, someplace.
I don’t think I’m even gonna have to kill you.
Go on, Fred Horn. That Sheriff Ostler and the Judge O’reilly, they were decent men.
Go on, gunfighter. Put it on!

STARRETT
I’m not Fred Horn. I didn’t kill them, not that way. I’m not- I’m not Fred Horn.

PALADIN
I think you got Fred Horn’s kind of courage. It doesn’t take much to be a back-shooter.

STARRETT
Ah!

PALADIN
I did have to know. Fred horn wouldn’t have tried.

At this point Paladin knows that Dunne is really Fred Horn.

PALADIN
And then there was one.

FRED HORN
My gun’s in the shed, Paladin.

PALADIN
You’re wearing a gun.

FRED HORN
Not the one I work with.

PALADIN
Get it.

EXT. BARNYARD -DAY

PALADIN
Back-shooter, I never thought I’d see you in front of me.

FRED HORN
Sign of respect, Paladin. Nothing personal about the job. I like you.

PALADIN
I hate the sight of you, Dunne.

FRED HORN
Horn. Fred horn is the name.

Paladin draws and guns down Horn. He then walks over to Jacob Mordain.

PALADIN
Next time, gunfighter. Next time.

PALADIN
Where will you find another Fred Horn?

MARY
What you need is a woman to take care of you in San Francisco.

PALADIN
Mary…First you must catch the tiger.