82-“The Posse”

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen. Writers: Gene Roddenberry, Herb Meadow (creator)

PERRY COOK as Dobie O’Brien. DENVER PYLE as McKay
HARRY CAREY JR. as Sheriff. KEN CURTIS as Curley
PAUL SORENSEN as 1st Posseman (as Paul Sorenson)
WILLIAM WELLMAN JR. as 2nd Posseman (as Bill Wellman Jr.)
HAL NEEDHAM as 3rd Posseman

You’re like men killing a rabbit with clubs.
The more it squeals and runs, the harder you beat at it.
I want you to think.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Lookin’ for something, Mister?

PALADIN
Now, I suggest you point that gun at me, or someplace else.
One of the two.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
No- no hard feelings, I was taking a nap over there in the grass.
You kind of startled me.

PALADIN
Wonder if you could point out the best trail to me?
Understand the old trail to Santa Fe goes through here.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Ah, you come a long way?

PALADIN
That’s right.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Ah, guess you passed through town back there a bit?

PALADIN
No, I came in from the north.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Ah, getting kind of late. You ought to bed down right here.
You’d miss that old trail in the dark.
This here is wild grass. Won’t find no better feed for your animal in 100 miles.
That old pinto of mine, he won’t eat nothing else.

PALADIN
I ran into a bunch of horsemen about 12 miles back.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Headin’ this way?

PALADIN
Possibly, why?

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Bunch of my friends, I’ve been trying to join up with ’em. Say, you ain’t got some idea they’re looking for me?

PALADIN
Well, the possibility had occurred to me.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Ha, I guess that ought to change your mind, huh?
I’ll give you a hand setting up camp while I wait for them.
You got the makings, I sure would like some hot java.
You’ll find dry wood under the tree there.
Look, just ’cause two strangers meet, they don’t got to be suspicious of each other.
Now, I gave you my gun. Offered to help with your stuff.
Look, I’m trying to maybe make a friend, that’s all.
Is… Is there something wrong with that?

PALADIN
I’ll go build a fire.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Ha, only got two hands. Just put it up under the tree. Hah, that’s mighty good trail chow.
Lucky I run into you. Yes, siree. Mighty lucky. Truth is, I planned it just this way.
Well, I figured if I helped you with your gear, you’d furnish the grub.
I was mighty hungry. ‘course, being hungry ain’t nothing new to me.
Been riding sort of a bad luck trail all my life. Kicked around by folks. Cheated.
Listen. Hm. Posse. Figured they’d make it before dark.
I guess I should’ve told you something. I killed a man and woman this morning.
That’s what I’m really waiting here for. I wanted to give myself up.

PALADIN
Well, why were you so anxious to keep me here?

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Well, I figured you’d keep ’em from stringing me up. They’re riding kind of excited.

MCKAY
All right, mister, who are you?

PALADIN
My name’s paladin.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Help! Mckay! Sheriff! Grab him!
Dobie.

You better freeze, cowboy.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
He killed the Willis family. Trailed him in from the south, but he got the drop on me.

PALADIN
Now, that is so obviously a lie, I…

S
Shut up. Somebody untie Dobie.

H
Funny thing, Dobie. We was half-way looking for you.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
I always get the blame, don’t I?
Better grab his gun.
Drop the carbine, cowboy.

PALADIN
You got a badge on that vest. You in charge of this…?
You been told to shut up, ain’t you? You better drop your gun belt, Mister.
Folks here a little excited. You’ll get your chance to talk, I promise you.
.4440.
His carbine’s the same caliber that killed the willises.

PALADIN
Well, that’s just fine, except that’s not my gun…
I warned you!
Hold it, curley!

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Hold on nothing! Look what he did to me!
Hold it, you gonna kill him!

H
Well, ain’t that what we come out here for?

S
That’s enough, curley. Mckay, curley, all of you. This is a legal posse, you hear?
And it’s gonna be run that way.
Sure, sheriff, we understand that.
You better tie him up.
If that’s all right with you?
Well, might as well play it safe.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
We’re gonna string him up, ain’t we?
Don’t know, dobie. That depends on what you got on him.
Drag him up under that tree. Mckay?
We’re just gonna ask him a few questions. Right again?
Right.
As long as we don’t make no mistakes.

S
Well, that’s what I’m here for. See that you don’t.

COMMERCIAL BREAK
All right, Dobie. Go ahead.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Well, I was coming in from the south, stopped to water my horse at the Willis’s place.
Found him and his wife dead. He used a knife on ’em before he shot ’em.
Yeah, we seen ’em, too. He made ’em tell where they hid their money.
Ought to do the same to him.
Yeah, or worse.
You can drop that kind of talk. How come you didn’t ride straight into town, Dobie?

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Well, you know me, sheriff.

S
Yeah, I know you. That’s why I’m asking questions.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Well, simple as ‘tato pie, I saw his tracks and I followed him.
I knew you folks would get a posse up.
I didn’t want him to get out of the county.
Good thinking, dobie.
Dobie always was a foxy one.
Ha! So foxy, we started out looking for him.
Our mistake, dobie.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Well, like I say, I would’ve had him, too. But he got the drop on me.
Just look at him, there, sitting. Watching us.
Why don’t you admit it to ’em, like you did to me?
I promised you a chance to talk, Mister. You better take it while you can.
Why’d you kill the willises?

PALADIN
Guilty until proven innocent? That it, sheriff?
I’ll close that smart mouth of his!
Curley!

S
There’ll be plenty of time for that. Where’s his gear?
Right over there.
Go through it, curley.
Just like we figured. Part of old Willis’s savings.

S
Five or six hundred dollars. Where’d you hide the rest of it?

PALADIN
Would you like me to give you the name of the bank I drew that money out of?
Or is fact admissible, according to your rules of evidence?
Shut up!

PALADIN
The prosecutor has an objection, sheriff. Sustained or overruled?
That kind of talk ain’t gonna help you, mister.

PALADIN
What is gonna help me? A false confession?
I know ways of making him talk.
We ought to take him into town. Give him a fair hearing.
We ain’t got time for that. Cattle buyer’s waiting, and we all got cattle to move.
We ain’t on salary like you, sheriff.
Let’s do what we got to do.
Hey, maybe this’ll help us make up our minds.
All right, Perc.
Gunman. Figures, don’t it?
Take a cold-blooded killer to do what he did to the Willises.
An innocent man would be begging now, Mister.

PALADIN
So would a guilty one. You ever see men armed with clubs go after a rabbit?
What do you mean?

PALADIN
The more the rabbit runs and screams and tries to get away, the harder they beat at it.
No, I’d rather give this gathering a chance to do some thinking.
There’s two sides to everything, Mister. We’d like to hear yours. Ain’t that right, McKay?

MCKAY
There any more of that coffee left?
Yes, sir, Mr. Mckay.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Tuck that loose end away. The last one you made nearly didn’t do the job.
Hey, that’s right…
Second time in two years you went and caught a killer.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
That’s okay, I ain’t looking for no credit.
Ain’t you, now? That’s a laugh. You’ll be bragging all over town tonight.
’bout ready?
We better hurry this up.
I don’t like this way of doing it.

MCKAY
Well, I ain’t moving into town.
We’d have the same men on the jury there.
There’s a difference.
He’s just got you nervous.
If he was down on his knees, crying and begging,
This whole thing would go faster.

PALADIN
Wise words, sheriff. A good lynching needs tears and screams and terror.
The more excitement, the less thinking.
Big talk for a killer.

PALADIN
The ideal victim is mentally or emotionally ill.
‘course, the professional hangman will get the first chance at him.
Lynchers have to be content with people that are merely a little bit different.
Little people, the weaker they are the better.
We have to listen to him?
You shut up, too! I’m running this.

PALADIN
And in anger, our lips shall form the truth. Erodius, the second essay.
Be better if she was waxed.
Mister, please. Haven’t you got something to say?

PALADIN
Not to you, sheriff. Only to the man who admits he’s in charge here.
And only when he’s ready to listen.
Let’s get this thing over with.
Ain’t got all day.
Hold on!

COMMERCIAL BREAK

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Here, let me do it. I thought you were gonna be more trouble.
Look, Mister, we got a bottle. You want a drink?
Well, for luck, kinda.
Ready, Mr. McKay.
All right, Sheriff, have him speak his peace.
He said he wants you to ask him, McKay.
He wants to make sure you’re listening.

MCKAY
Maybe he should know a few things about us.
Mister, it wasn’t easy opening up this land of ours. First week I was here, somebody poisoned my watering hole. And I got a boy buried on my place to prove it.
After we cleaned out the mountain cats to save our stock, there was the Indians, and then the Outlaws. And it wasn’t the law that done that.
Lot of hard work. Sweat. A few guns. Couple of ropes.
If you think we’re gonna turn all this over to somebody that’s too weak or
lazy to make a go at ranching, You’re mistaken. Sheriff’s got a gun.
And if he’s man enough to carry on what we’ve started,
I’ll be more than glad to turn it over to him.
I ain’t got no quarrel with you, McKay.

MCKAY
That’s why we got more faith in trees than courthouses. You understand?

PALADIN
I understand, McKay. This is your apology to yourself.

MCKAY
You got wax in your ears? I’m saying we’re good people doing what we got to do.
What we do is good.

PALADIN
And his third essay, Erodius said, “we can contend with the evil that men do in the name of evil, but heaven protect us from what they do in the name of good.”

curly
Let’s string him up!
Let’s quit wasting time. Everybody settle down!

MCKAY
I’m accusing you of killing the Willises.

PALADIN
Are you asking me for a statement?

MCKAY
All right. I am. Go ahead, man. Speak up.

PALADIN
Thank you. Now, what were you doing when I rode up? Hiding the money?

DOBIE O’BRIEN
That won’t work. He overheard you started out looking for me.

PALADIN
And why they started out looking for you, I’d like to know.
You must have a very interesting reputation.
You say this is a crafty man? That a good word for him? Crafty?
Is he the kind of a man who’d fight, Or would he run?
Would he shift the blame to somebody else?

That’s Dobie, alright.

MCKAY
We all know what kind of a man Dobie is. Right now, we’re interested in you.

PALADIN
If you can see through your anger, the signs are all around you.
Take a look at that gun in my holster. Hand-crafted. Balanced. Polished.
Would a man who carries a weapon like that also carry a rusty old carbine?
That fire you heated your coffee on.
Would a murderer stop to camp only a few miles from his crime?
And most important of all, did you think to backtrack my trail?
Which way did the hoof prints lead?

black hat
You think we’re stupid? We already done that.
This here animal came in from the south.

PALADIN
That’s not my horse.

MCKAY
I’m glad to hear you say that. ’cause that horse was stolen from perc three days ago.
And we swing ’em for horse stealing, too.

PALADIN
Well, match my blanket and the saddle to the sweat marks on that horse.
And see if they match.
Where’s his saddle?
You admit that this is your saddle?
Tell you in five seconds which horse he rode in on.

MCKAY
Mount him up.
Get the leg over. Let her go!
Hyah!
Get him, curley!

DOBIE O’BRIEN
You gotta hold the hammer back. The spring’s broke!
Get up here and fire it!
Mckay!
hyah!
How come Dobie knows that?

MCKAY
Looks like we nearly hung the wrong man.
Hold him here. Get some slack.

S
I hope they catch him, McKay. ’cause when they bring him back, I wanna see what
you got to say to him.
Untie him. He’s innocent. It was Dobie, like we thought in the first place.
Figured you had enough of this place.
So I saddled up your horse for you.
It was our mistake, mr. Paladin.
We had no way of…

PALADIN
I was heading for Santa Fe. You point out the old trail to me?
Sure. Ride southeast about three miles. Turn off at the first arroyo.
You can’t miss it.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Mister, help me!

PALADIN
And Dobie O’Brien?

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Mister, help me!
Please, mister, you know how it feels!

You found out what kind of a man I am, Mr. Paladin.

I guess it all depends on whether or
not McKay learned a lesson from this.

I’m sorry about you.

PALADIN
Just you remember, what you do here today,
You’ll live with the rest of your life.

DOBIE O’BRIEN
Help me!
Please, mister,
you know how it feels!

whoa, boy. Whoa.

Get him up there.

Hyah!

PALADIN
Heaven help us from what
men do in the name of good.