89-“Tiger”

Director: Don Taylor, Writers: Gene Roddenberry, Herb Meadow (creator)

PARLEY BAER as John Ellsworth, PAUL CLARKE as Pahndu
ELSA CARDENAS as Lahri, CLEGG HOYT as Joe – Trainer
TERENCE DE MARNEY as J. Hawkins (as Terence DeMarney)
MICKEY FINN as Loafer, MAX SLATEN as Helper
DENNIS MOORE as 1st Rancher, RALPH NEFF as Laborer

Paladin receives a bank draft for $1000 asking him to “come kill a tiger before it kills me.” In his host’s mind this tiger curse is warranted as he wounded a tiger while in India and it came back to a village only to slaughter 100 of its residents. Paladin then learns of a circus coming to town. Its main attraction – a tiger!

PALADIN
Morning, hey boy. Thank you.

Look at my right hand very carefully, friend. The caliber of this derringer is.38. It’s capable of putting a stain on the carpet Hey Boy could never remove. Now, very slowly And very carefully take your hand out of that coat.

Hawkins presents his card.

PALADIN
What do you want?

J. HAWKINS
Some identification on you, sir, if you please.

Paladin presents his card.

PALADIN
I do apologize, Mr. Hawkins. It’s a practiced reflex.
Let me apologize with a brandy. Hey boy.

J. HAWKINS
Thank you very much, but I never touch the grape, if it’s all the same to you.
The last address my client had on you was in Calcutta.
It was quite a job tracing you down. Uh, good day, sir.

PALADIN
Well, just a minute.

J. HAWKINS
Thank you, but I’ve had quite enough. Please transmit my regards to our client.
Good day, sir.

PALADIN
Hey boy, what’s wrong? Well, drink the brandy.
It’s all right. We’ll call it medicinal, huh? That’s the boy.

PALADIN
It’s a bank draft for a thousand dollars. Bank of Argus, Texas.
“Come kill the tiger before it kills me.” Signed John Ellsworth, Argus, Texas.
Hey boy, what do you make of that?

HEY BOY
Tiger, Mr. Paladin? They are evil things.

PALADIN
Well, I’ve heard that Texas has everything, But I didn’t know it included tigers.
Hey boy, you’re gonna buy me a railroad ticket. On your way.

HEY BOY
Tiger not like other animal. They have evil wisdom. Inside them is devil.

WOMAN
Good morning, paladin.

PALADIN
Hey boy. The devil can be found in many shapes. Round-trip to Argus, Texas,And tell the agency to have a good saddle horse waiting for me. On your way. No.

EXT. ARGUS, TEXAS -DAY

PAHNDU

Go away! Good-bye, sir.

PALADIN
Will you just take the bags off my saddle, please?

PAHNDU
Oh, I am sorry, sir. Indeed, most genteelly sorry. But I must insist that you……

PALADIN
Paladin.

PAHNDU
Of course! Paladin! You will not believe this, but I am from the village of Kulwadi.
Many years ago, you killed a tiger there. It was I who recommended you to Sahib Ellsworth.

PALADIN
Kulwadi. Is John Magar still head man there?

PAHNDU
He is my father. He has spoken of you many times. The greatest of tiger hunters!
Indeed, sir, I have sat and heard your name Blessed many times over my bread.
You would not believe this. I thought you were one of the natives here.

PALADIN
Natives? Oh, yes, a quaint lot.

PAHNDU
Very strange and, I’m afraid, dangerous.

PALADIN
Only when restless.

PAHNDU
You should have been here a fortnight ago. One of their festivals, a box dance?

PALADIN
Box dance?

PAHNDU
For no reason at all, they begin to appear oh, a square dance.
From miles around, carrying fermented liquors.

PALADIN
I presume you work for john ellsworth.

PAHNDU
Oh, yes, sir. He engaged me in bombay. Now, sir, in this dance, they pair off.
Males to one side; females to the other. I should guess part of their mating custom.

PALADIN
Mr. Ellsworth sent me a note. He seems to feel he’s in grave danger.

PAHNDU
Oh, yes, sir. Sahib Ellsworth is summoning up a tiger.
Now, sir, after they have paired off…

PALADIN
He is summoning up a tiger?

PAHNDU
Would the son of john magar lie, sir? When the tiger appears, You will shoot it before it kills the sahib. Now, sir, the festival. After the natives…

PALADIN
The son of john magar would not lie.

Neither will he stop talking.
In your father’s name, I may have to box your ears.

PAHNDU
I will most quietly take you to my master.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
And next my investigators traced you to China. And then to Europe. Of course, there were other hunters I could have hired, But the more difficult it was to find you, The more determined I was that you were to be my man. Tell me, mr. Paladin, what made you accept? Was it the mystery, or was it the money?

PALADIN
Tell me about your tiger, mr. Ellsworth.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
straight to the point. Just as I imagined. I’m indebted to my servant for having suggested such a…Colorful personality.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
You were a great friend of Pahndu’s father, I believe, huh?
In point, you’ve spent considerable time in india, Arriving there April 4, 1857.
You know quite a lot about tiger hunting. According to my investigators, You made your first kill June the 20th, A notorious man-eater near the village of Jaunpur.
Your next, Along the East Slope of the Sidhpura Range.
No wonder you were so popular with the natives.

PALADIN
I made some friends.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
And some enemies? At mysore? Tell me, mr. Paladin. Was she as beautiful as they say?
Ah, I can see by your face that she was. A great tragedy. You could learn from my example.
When I see something I want…I buy it.

PALADIN
Lovely.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
And in her own way, Lahri is well-educated. As you know so well, Mr. Paladin, the temple girls are trained in subtle and curious ways, which bothers Pahndu considerably.
As you will note sooner or later, Pahndu is very much in love with Lahri.
Pahndu, tell us of your great love.

PAHNDU
I am your servant. I would never touch her. We are both honorable people, sir.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
A powerful emotion, young love, mr. Paladin. Fascinating to watch it grow
until it becomes unbearable. Is it not, Pahndu?
Kill it! Kill it!

PALADIN
That’ll be all. Leave us.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
How dare you give orders to my servants! Come back here, pa-

PALADIN
Sit down. Please. Ellsworth, I don’t like you. I don’t like the way you find your pleasures.
I don’t like anything about you. But I am interested. I’ve heard of cases like yours.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
Just what do you think my case is, Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
You imagine yourself the victim Of an old Bengali legend. A tiger curse.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
What do you know of the Bengali legend?

PALADIN
It’s not very complicated. Man begins to think about tigers. The harder he tries not to,
the more he sees the massive head and green eyes. Tiger invades his dreams, turns them into nightmares. Then the man begins to see tigers when he’s awake. The obsession grows
stronger and stronger until finally the very power of it summons up the beast, which, of course, kills and eats the man.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
Do you believe in it?

PALADIN
More important, do you?

JOHN ELLSWORTH
I’ve run halfway round the world trying to get away from it. I finally settled in this…
Miserable, forsaken place,As far away from India as a man can get.
Either that curse is a fact, or I am insane. Suppose you tell me which.

PALADIN
I always found the Bengalis to be a very gentle people.
Why would they put a fatal curse on a man, assuming that they could?

JOHN ELLSWORTH
I was hunting in Javal. I stumbled across this spoor. A big cat.
The biggest prince I’d ever seen. Naturally, I had to have the trophy.
So I tracked it. Finally managed to get in a shot. I only wounded it.
You know how a tiger can fade away once it gets into the bush.
And it can be very dangerous. I lost it.

PALADIN
You’re a liar.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
If I didn’t have this gout, I’d…Yes, I…I was afraid to follow it. Well, he had to find
some easy way to get his food While his leg was mending. So he became a man-eater.
He killed a hundred or so natives. I’m not the first person who turned a tiger into a man-eater!

PALADIN
It’s very strange, Mr. Ellsworth. You seem to attract cats.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
The next-to-final stage of the curse. Isn’t that what the legend says?
The cats grow larger and more vicious until finally the tiger comes.
I need help, Mr. Paladin. Let’s see if this convinces you.

PALADIN
Get some brandy.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
All right. Is it my imagination, Mr. Paladin? Answer that!
No, I…

PALADIN
Pour it on the wound. Wash it out.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
All right. Maybe I am a coward. I ran away from a tiger. Perhaps I’ve done even worse things. Maybe I am responsible for a few miserable natives dying. But you go around
judging people? Are you going to help me?

PALADIN
I’m not sure.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
I haven’t got time to find another man with your experience. My tiger is on its way.
I sense it. Get the Javali cards. We’ll find out just how wise Mr. Paladin really is.
Do you recognize those?

PALADIN
Yes. They’re used in a game similar to our poker.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
There are 41 cards in the deck; Five bearing pictures of sacred cows, Five monkeys, five pigs, five dogs, and so on. The 41st card is a tiger. There’s one tiger in the deck.
You imply it’s only my imagination? You saw the cards shuffled. You cut them.
I simply took one off the top. Now I’d like you to see why you’re really here.

COMMERCIAL BREAK
Best watchdog in the world. There’s something moving around out there.

PALADIN
That’s all right. It’s a coyote, and it’s your move.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
You disappoint me.

PALADIN
Checkmate. There are, of course, certain unexplained mysteries, Certain things in life for which we have no logical explanation.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
Such as the power of a thousand dollars?

PALADIN
A thousand dollars, Ellsworth, would scarcely pay me For the pain of enduring your company. I’d have to have at least another thousand to protect you from a tiger, paid in advance, whether or not I succeed.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
I can buy and sell people like you, Mr. Gunman.

PALADIN
Oh?

JOHN ELLSWORTH
Paladin, One thousand dollars…Even. There’s your second thousand.

PALADIN
Tell me, when you draw the card, does the girl Lahri always shuffle them?

JOHN ELLSWORTH
You think I haven’t considered that? You shuffle them yourself this time.

PALADIN
They’re shuffled. Elephant.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
Wait a minute. Two of them are stuck together.

PALADIN
That’s strange. I never heard of one penetrating this far into a town.
That sounded like a mountain lion.

JOHN ELLSWORTH
You’ve never heard of tigers in Texas either, But one is coming.

EXT. ELLSWORTH’S GARDEN -DAY

PAHNDU
You tell me it is not even the size of a small tiger.
Even in animals, this is an inferior continent.

PALADIN
What’s in there?

PAHNDU
Smokehouse.

PALADIN
Smokehouse?

PAHNDU
We have always had a smokehouse. We have never, until now, had tigers.

PALADIN
Mountain lions.

PAHNDU
Oh, yes. Mountain lions and house cats.
There are cats wherever there are men. Haven’t you noticed how cats force themselves on people who are afraid of them?

PAHNDU
What about the cards? Perhaps, when the tiger comes, he will eat us all. Life is a strange thing. To be eaten by a tiger in a foreign land. Of course I already know how this feels.
My heart has grown teeth and eats at my own body.

PALADIN
Pahndu, just how much do you dislike Mr. Ellsworth?

PAHNDU
How much, sir? A man who takes his pleasures as he does?
To see Lahri and me together as souls on fire?
He encourages us to show our respect for the other.
He delights in building in us love, which he makes impossible.
Tell me, Sahib Paladin, how much could a man hate him?

PALADIN
Perhaps enough to force him into an act of desperation.

PAHNDU
You forget I am the son of John Magar.

PALADIN
In your father’s name, I apologize.

PAHNDU
Perhaps you would care to apologize with a pound of tobacco. My purse is very empty.

PALADIN
I never could stand the sight of a man in pain. There must be a tobacconist in town.

EXT. TOWN TOBACCONIST’S SHOP -DAY

LOAFER
Well, look who’s here! Ellsworth’s injun. Some injun. Come on, boy. Tell us again
that tribe you’re from.

CIRCUS MAN
Someone mind holding this for me?

PAHNDU
I would be most happy to assist, Sir.

CIRCUS MAN
Biggest circus ever to hit this state. Be here tomorrow. Fat ladies, freaks, wild animal acts.
Some tiger, huh, boy?

PAHNDU
Sahib Paladin!

CIRCUS MAN
Have your boy take that to our office in the hotel lobby.
They’ll give him a pass for helping me.

LOAFER
Better go get your boy before he gets to the circus. They’re liable to keep him there! Oh!

LAHRI
Oh, sahib!

PALADIN
Tell Ellsworth I want to see him.

LAHRI
Not possible, Sahib. Please?

PAHNDU
Paladin! I have already warned Ellsworth. He has ridden to the next town.
He instructs you to kill the t

PALADIN
– pahndu. Pahndu!
Now, think carefully. Was the name of the town Seely?
Concord? Hempstead? Was it humboldt?

PAHNDU
Ah, yes. That is the name. The town of humboldt.

PALADIN
The circus is due to lay over in humboldt tonight.
You’d better saddle my horse. May I?

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

ROAD MAN
Better turn back, Mister. Been an accident up ahead.

PALADIN
What happened?

ROAD MAN
Circus wagon turned over. Some wild animals got loose. Could be dangerous.

PALADIN
And you two stopped everybody who came along this path except a fat man.

ROAD MAN
How did you know that? We tried to flag him down, but he wouldn’t stop to hear…

TRAINER
No! Kitty, kitty, kitty. Come on, baby. That’s it, johnny. Come to papa. Come on, baby.
Come on. That’s a baby. Open that door! It’s opened. Close it!

HELPER
Is she all right?

TRAINER
Is she all right? We saved her life. You stupid, flea-bitten cat. You’d starve to death out here.

HELPER
Joe.

TRAINER
You lookin’ for somethin’?

HELPER
Watch where you point that thing. We got a valuable animal in here.

PALADIN
At least 20 years old, exhausted, frightened, his teeth falling out… About as dangerous as somebody’s grandfather.

TRAINER
You got no call to down-talk johnny to his face.

HELPER
That cat’s got feelings, too, Rube.

PALADIN
Of course you’re right. Johnny, I beg your pardon. I got no call to down-talk you. No, sir. I got no… Ellsworth! Ellsworth, you out there? Ellsworth! Ellsworth!

HELPER
We better see what’s up.

PALADIN
A man blinded by fear. To run straight off a 200-foot drop like that.
I’ll have my boys take care of the body.

PALADIN
Will you have ’em take him to Argus?

HELPER
Happens to be right where we’re headed.

PALADIN
Yes, I know. I’ll go on ahead. I wanna buy some boat tickets to India.

TRAINER
India?

PALADIN
That’s right. Couple of friends of mine, they’ll be newly married, And I’d like to wish them bon voyage.

TRAINER
One man dies, another gets married. Man never knows, does he?

PALADIN
On the contrary, Sometimes a man knows his next appointment too well.