86-The Unforgiven

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen Writers: Jay Simms, Herb Meadow (creator)

DAVID WHITE as General Crommer, HANK PATTERSON as Ronson
HAMPTON FANCHER as Beau Crommer, JOEL ASHLEY as Caterall
JOHN O’MALLEY as Gambler, BOB HOPKINS as Bartender
GORDON POLK as Smith, JANET LAKE as Reeva – Paladin’s Love Interest
C. LINDSAY WORKMAN as Doctor, JOSEPH BREEN as Trailhand
STEWART EAST as Servant

JOHN O’MALLEY also appears in: (the Ballad of Oscar Wilde, 1958) as Oscar Wilde.
JOEL ASHLEY also appears in: (A Snare for Murder, 1958) as Jack Martin

Actors Notes: Hampton Fancher went on to write the screenplay for the science-fiction classic movie, Bladerunner.

A disgraced General summons Paladin to his deathbed to deliver a message to a personal enemy. Gen. Crommer tried to court-martial Paladin in the Civil War, so Paladin’s a very reluctant messenger. Paladin returned the favor then and takes the assignment now, while back at the wealthy Crommer’s mansion, his heirs celebrate the miser’s impending demise.

Ronson, you’re a bushwhacker. My back’s not turned. I’m not asleep.
I know both ends of the gun, and that’s not the way you like it.

PALADIN
Hey boy.

HEY BOY
I come back, help you get ready.

PALADIN
I’m not going anyplace, hey boy.

HEY BOY
Oh, yes, you are.

PALADIN
Good-bye, hey boy.

“General Crommer, not expected to live, suggests, to your financial benefit, to attend him immediately. Beauregard Crommer.”
Huh. Want some more caviar? It’s the greatest thing to come out of Russia
Since the news of the death of Ivan the Terrible.

REEVA
Later, thank you. Bad news?

PALADIN
Well… A man is dying. I’m afraid I’ll have to excuse myself.

REEVA
But I thought…

PALADIN
“The feast of the rose is in the eyes and the nose And not in the lips.”

REEVA
Soon?

PALADIN
Hey boy.

EXT. PRARIE – DAY

INT. HOUSE OF GENERAL CROMMER – EVENING

PALADIN
I’m looking for Beauregard Crommer.

BEAU CROMMER
You have that pleasure.

PALADIN
My name is Paladin. I’d like to freshen up.

BEAU CROMMER
Of course. Grandfather’s sleeping. Show Mr. Paladin to the stable.

SERVANT
This way, please.

BEAU CROMMER
Eavesdropping?

PALADIN
Well, that’s hardly necessary. What’s all that?

BEAU CROMMER
Cousins, nephews, grandchildren.

PALADIN
They’re rather festive for a house of death, aren’t they?

BEAU CROMMER
Grief, Mr. Paladin. That’s a bourgeois notion.
Only the poor are to be pitied in death, because they fail to inherit.

SERVANT
Sir, the general has asked for you. It’s the door on the right.

PALADIN
Thank you.

GENERAL CROMMER
Paladin?

PALADIN
That’s right.

GENERAL CROMMER
Sit down. I suppose you met that bunch of swaggering, posturing box of relatives.

PALADIN
Now I doubt there’s much point in our discussing that herd of swine.

GENERAL CROMMER
You hate me, don’t you, Paladin?

PALADIN
I dislike you.

GENERAL CROMMER
That’s more like it. Mine ain’t loaded. You really don’t like me, huh?

PALADIN
No.

GENERAL CROMMER
Paladin, you’re about as charitable as a water moccasin.

PALADIN
General, I saved your life under fire. I had to employ a loose interpretation of orders to do so, and you had me court-martialed for it.

GENERAL CROMMER
I don’t like to owe a debt I can’t pay.

PALADIN
Well, you chose a peculiar way to try and cancel it.

GENERAL CROMMER
I don’t know why you’re mad. You handled your own defense. You did it so well, you not only got off, but you got me court-martialed and cashiered. You almost put me in jail.

PALADIN
I still don’t understand how you managed to avoid it.

GENERAL CROMMER
Old now, paladin. Old. Not much time left. The other day, reading the dedication to “La Saisiaz…”

PALADIN
“Best to forget, good to forgive. Living we fret, dying we live.”

GENERAL CROMMER
Years ago, Antebellum had a partner named Caterall in a gold mine deal. I decided to kill him. Make a long story short, I missed him. That horn toad plugged me right in the stomach. Left me for dead.

PALADIN
That sounds fair to me.

GENERAL CROMMER
I mentioned you in my will. Caterall, too. Will you ride over and tell him?

PALADIN
Why don’t you wire him?

GENERAL CROMMER
He lives in San Anoi. No telegraph.

PALADIN
Well, write him a letter.

GENERAL CROMMER
Wrote three, no answer. Probably tore them up, unopened.

PALADIN
I’m mentioned in your will?

GENERAL CROMMER
In black and white.

PALADIN
Why me?

GENERAL CROMMER
Why anybody? As long as I’m buying your forgiveness, might as well get something for it.

PALADIN
I’ll go up and tell him on one condition.

GENERAL CROMMER
What condition?

PALADIN
That I be disinherited and instead given $5,000 in cash.

GENERAL CROMMER
Bad deal. I considered you for much more.

PALADIN
Give the rest to charity.

GENERAL CROMMER
You! Skinny one! Get in here!

PALADIN
His name is Beauregard.

GENERAL CROMMER
‘gard! Get in here!

BEAU CROMMER
Yes, grandpa?

GENERAL CROMMER
Give Paladin $5,000. I’m sure you know where the strongbox is. And stay away from my door, you nauseating castoff.

EXT. TOWN -DAY

BARTENDER
Howdy.

PALADIN
I’ll have a whiskey. A man named Caterall ever come in here?

BARTENDER
Oh, from time to time. He lives in this county.

PALADIN
How do I find him?

BARTENDER
Why don’t you just sit here? He’ll probably come in, by and by.

PALADIN
Thank you. Seat open?

GAMBLER
Help yourself.

PALADIN
Thank you.

INT. CATERALL’S OFFICE -DAY

SMITH
He’s here. Waiting for you.

CATERALL
Where?

SMITH
The saloon.

INT. SALOON

CATERALL
You looking for Caterall?

PALADIN
Mm-hmm.

CATERALL
What’s your business?

[Paladin hands him his calling card]

CATERALL
Why do you want him?

PALADIN
You Caterall?

CATERALL
I, uh, I’m his foreman.

PALADIN
Will you take me to him?

CATERALL
I’ll tell him you want to see him. Might not be back off the range for a couple of days.

PALADIN
Thanks. I’ll be here.

EXT. RANCH HOUSE – DUSK

RONSON
You wanted to see me?

CATERALL
He sent up another one, just like his telegram said.

RONSON
Another one? Don’t he ever get tired?

CATERALL
Evidently not.

RONSON
Have any idea who this one is?

CATERALL
His name is Paladin.

RONSON
Paladin? Never heard of him. Look mean?

CATERALL
More so than the others. Hundred dollars?

RONSON
$150.

CATERALL
Why the jump?

RONSON
Well, the general seen what happened to the other three. This is like to be a cut above ’em.

CATERALL
How do you want to handle him?

RONSON
Just like I did the other three. I know how to handle these youngsters.

CATERALL
How do you want your money?

RONSON
I want a half of it right now, and the other half when he’s laid out on the bar looking up at a roulette cover… And not seeing it. What’s this fellow look like?

EXT. ON THE STREET – DAY

RONSON
If you ain’t gone in a half hour, I’m gonna kill you.

PALADIN
Well, I don’t think I ever heard it put more succinctly.

RONSON
Well, I mean it.

PALADIN
Why?

RONSON
Because… I’m in the same business you are.

PALADIN
I’m not mad at anybody. I just have a message to deliver to a man.

RONSON
Well, I made a better deal than you did. All I got to do is to get rid of you. You’ve got to get me out of the way and then get rid of Caterall to get paid.

PALADIN
I don’t want to get rid of Caterall.

RONSON
Well, I want to get rid of you.

PALADIN
Well, I guess you’d better get at it.

RONSON
Go for your gun.

PALADIN
Nope, not till you holster yours.

RONSON
Now?

PALADIN
Nope.

RONSON
Now how about it?

PALADIN
No, I’m not going to provide your defense on a murder charge.

RONSON
No, you ain’t gonna do nothing. Then get out of town. Half hour, you hear?

GAMBLER…
I’ll take Ronson $85 to $100. Give 2-to-1 odds. 3-to-1 odds. I’ll take the man in the fancy jacket. Any amount, one… 3-to-1.

PALADIN
Well, dealer, I do appreciate your faith and confidence in me at odds of 3-to-1,
But you might as well give that money back. There isn’t gonna be any fight.

GAMBLER
You’re gonna cut and run?

PALADIN
Nope.

GAMBLER
Well, then the next time you see Ronson, You better be ready. Otherwise you’ll be dead.

RONSON
That old man really dangerous?

GAMBLER
Like a rattlesnake in your vest pocket.

PALADIN
And you bet on me?

GAMBLER
Because I’m going to tell you how he operates. That’s something the other three didn’t know about.

PALADIN
What other three?

GAMBLER
What, did he tell you you were the first one?

PALADIN
Did who tell me?

GAMBLER
The fella who hired ya. The one that done cutting under Caterall.

PALADIN
General Crommer?

GAMBLER
Yeah, I think that’s the name.

PALADIN
Who were the other three?

GAMBLER
Well, one was Hargreaves; one was Crandall; I forget the other one.

PALADIN
Those men weren’t gunfighters. They were businessmen.

GAMBLER
Yeah, they sure looked like it when they tangled with Ronson. Look, when you meet him, don’t let him get too close to you.

PALADIN
That old man won’t get within a mile of me. I’ll convince him I don’t want to kill Caterall.

GAMBLER
Well, that’s gonna be kind of hard to do with a mouthful of buckshot.

PALADIN
Buckshot?

GAMBLER
He was wearing a gun belt just now, but that’s to throw you off. Next time you see him, he’ll be carrying a double-barreled shotgun, sawed off. Mighty effective at close range.
Now the thing for you to do is to get into an alley and get behind him.

PALADIN
Friend, you stick to your gambling. I’ll stick to my business. Excuse me.

SHOPKEEPER
Here’s the best gun we have.

PALADIN
Won’t do. I want the longest barrel you’ve got. That second gun’s all right.

SHOPKEEPER
This here’s a fine gun. $20.

PALADIN
I don’t want to buy it. I just want to rent it.

SHOPKEEPER
For how long?

PALADIN
15 minutes?

SHOPKEEPER
A dollar sound all right?

PALADIN
Any shells?

SHOPKEEPER
A dollar a box.

PALADIN
How much apiece?

SHOPKEEPER
A nickel.

PALADIN
I’ll take two.

RONSON
All right, paladin! Time’s up! Come on out.

PALADIN
Take care of this for me, will you?

SHOPKEEPER
Where do you want it sent?

PALADIN
If I don’t claim it, frame it.

RONSON
I didn’t know you was a bird gun man.

PALADIN
I heard you were one.

RONSON
I hate to kill ya.

PALADIN
You won’t have to. Just hold it right there.

RONSON
We ain’t in fighting range.

PALADIN
You’re not, but I am. Now hold it there! You see the length of this barrel?

RONSON
That’s the first thing I seen.

PALADIN
Well, why don’t you just forget about it. I don’t want to kill you.

RONSON
Well, I don’t aim to let ya! No whippersnapper pushes me.

PALADIN
Ronson, you’re a bushwhacker. You’d shoot a man in the back of the head or an elbow. I’m not asleep and my back’s not turned. You’re out of your element. I know both ends of this gun, and you don’t like it that way.

RONSON
Oh, paladin, That’s all in the past. Last three men I faced head on. And you’re gonna be the fourth.

PALADIN
Now hold it right there! You make one more move and I’ll blow you in two.

RONSON
I ain’t a-scared of you, paladin. I ain’t a-scared of you. The whole town knows I ain’t a-scared of ya.

PALADIN
Idiot.

INT. DOCTOR’S OFFICE -DAY

DOCTOR
Ronson was a frightened fool.

PALADIN
Oh?

DOCTOR
You have to be frightened to show courage. You have to be a fool not to run.

PALADIN
Perhaps we’re all frightened fools. Perhaps.

PALADIN
What kind of man is Caterall to hire Ronson?

CATERALL
The kind that’s going to make sure he’s not going to die.

PALADIN
Well, mr. Caterall, you become brave very conveniently. I’m not a brave man, Mr. Paladin.

CATERALL
I’m not very fast with a gun. But I intend to be very slow to die.

PALADIN
It didn’t ever occur to you that I might have come here for some other reason than to kill you?

CATERALL
No. Didn’t Crommer hire you?

PALADIN
He did.

CATERALL
That’s like the general. Always gives fair warning. He telegraphed he was sending you up to get me. He always did.

PALADIN
He telegraphed?

CATERALL
Four times.

PALADIN
Doc, let’s get this finished up. Caterall, you and I may have some information to exchange.

INT. GENERAL HOUSE -DAY

SERVANT
Welcome back, sir.

PALADIN
Thank you.

BEAU CATERALL
You’re back? Somehow you seem less fierce without your gun, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
It’s dangerous to wear a gun if you can’t use it.

BEAU CATERALL
I resent your effrontery of three days ago. I demand satisfaction.

PALADIN
When I give a man satisfaction, he’s seldom satisfied. When that idiot comes to, tell him I’m at the Carlton hotel in San Francisco. I’ll give him his choice of weapons. We’ll make a side bet of $10,000. I have a price for swatting flies.

GENERAL CROMMER
Who is it?

PALADIN
Paladin.

GENERAL CROMMER
Then Caterall must be dead. Sit down, Paladin.

PALADIN
Caterall’s not dead. He’s forgiven.

GENERAL CROMMER
Forgiven?

PALADIN
Forgiveness isn’t involved, is it, general? Caterall and I won over you. Hargreaves took you in a railroad stock deal. Johnson got the best of you in those land right-aways, didn’t he?
You were pitting your victors against one another. Being forgiven is probably the worst curse of all. The damning evidence. The final admission that you’ve been wrong, Must be forgiven your weakness.

PALADIN
And you’re the one that has to be forgiven. You’re pitiful, pathetic, wrong. You tried to get me killed, and I forgive you that. You’re old. You’re twisted by old hates.

GENERAL CROMMER
I won, Paladin. I won.

PALADIN
You won what? That sorry crew downstairs Counting the seconds you have left? Honor? Reverence? What did you win? The right to die in undisputed arrogance? You didn’t even win vengeance.

GENERAL CROMMER
Paladin, you…

PALADIN
General, I forgive you. From my heart, I forgive you. I can forgive, general. You’ve lost again. Now you know, general. Now you know.

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