94-“The Prophet”

Have Gun – Will Travel: Season 3, Episode 16

The Prophet (2 Jan. 1960)

A U.S. general is teaching Apaches European military tactics, so Paladin is hired by military intelligence to capture or kill the deserter. The general’s Apache wife was raped by his own troops, so now General Nunez’s combined forces with her tribe near Alamogordo to start a war against the U.S. Cavalry. Paladin served with the General in the Union Army, and is skeptical about the fierce, All Army ex-Indian fighter.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen, Writers: Shimon Wincelberg, Herb Meadow

SHEPPERD STRUDWICK as Colonel Benjamin Nunez, LORNA THAYER as Serafina, BARNEY PHILLIPS as Major Leonard Ferber, FLORENCE MARLY as Madam L – Paladin’s Chess Opponent, BRAD VON BELTZ as Serafina’s Brother, EDDIE LITTLE SKY as Indian Scout

INT. HOTEL CARLTON LOBBY -DAY

MADAM L
Check. Your move, sir.

PALADIN
Hmm.

HEY BOY
A gentleman wants to see you.

MADAM L
I’ve heard that one before.

PALADIN
I beg your pardon?

MADAM L
Called away on urgent business. Just when I have you with your back against the wall.

PALADIN
Madame, I haven’t left the table yet.

HEY BOY
He say you better come right away.

PALADIN
Oh, does he?

MADAM L
You have bet a hundred dollars on this game, sir. And you’re not going to leave until it’s finished.

PALADIN
Who is this impatient gentleman, Hey Boy?

HEY BOY
He say Major, but not in Major uniform.

MADAM L
Mister. I have a witness. If you try to duck out of this game, I shall call a Gendarme.

PALADIN
If you’ll permit me…Check. And the queen’s sacrificed, naturally. Checkmate.
Hey boy, this Major of yours had better be worth at least a hundred dollars.
Excuse me.

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
Is this the man?

HEY BOY
Yes, sir.

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
Major Leonard Ferber, Army Intelligence. Can you identify yourself?

CARD

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
If you don’t mind, we’ll talk up in your room.

PALADIN
After you, Major. It’s the peacetime army, Hey Boy. Up the stairs and to the right.

INT. PALADIN’S HOTEL ROOM – DAY

PALADIN
Col. Benjamin Nuñez. I only met him once. Heard enough about him, of course. He was almost legendary as an Indian fighter. A sort of inspired lunatic who loved the army Almost as much as he hated everybody in it. I never could quite picture him as a peacetime officer.

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
Neither could he. He was married to an Apache woman, you know.

PALADIN
Now, what did that have to do with it?

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
Unfortunately, everything. One day, while he was away at Douglas, a couple of drunken sergeants broke into his house. His wife was there all alone. We all dreaded what would
happen when he came back. But he didn’t say a word. He rode straight over to the post hospital, got his wife up out of bed. She was in a bad state, but he’d have killed anybody who tried to stop him, and rode off with her. That’s the last anybody heard about him.
Until now.

PALADIN
“Army fears Apache uprising.” What makes you think he’s behind it?

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
Reports, rumors, warnings about a white war chief who was trying to organize them like a modern army.

PALADIN
How do they fight now, Major? Like Indians or like the Army?

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
Still like Indians. We sent a peace party to the White Chief. He was supposed to be training his army just east of a place called Alamogordo in New Mexico.

PALADIN
They find him?

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
He sent them back wrapped in their own white flags. We’ll have to fight him. But my superiors felt that one more attempt ought to be made.

PALADIN
By a civilian. Why?

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
Because it might prove to be necessary to…

PALADIN
Kill him in cold blood.

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
I can’t ask an American officer to execute a man without a proper trial.

PALADIN
But if you hire a gunman, it’s all right.

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
I can only impress upon you that averting this war by any means would be saving
several thousand lives.

PALADIN
Good day, Sir. I may no longer be an officer and a gentleman, but I am not an assassin.

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
I’m not interested in your methods, only in results. If you can bring Nuñez back to stand trial for high treason and desertion, so much the better.

PALADIN
All right.

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
You’ll leave at once.

PALADIN
Major…

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
I’ll expect a report from you within ten days, If you’re still alive.

PALADIN
Major, haven’t you forgotten something?

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
What?

PALADIN
Well, civilians usually get paid for their work.

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
If and when you return, you will submit a detailed report along with a list of your expenses. As soon as we get an authorization to reimburse you…

PALADIN
I was beginning to think the army had changed.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL -DAY

Paladin chances upon a burned out farmhouse. Then spots an Indian and jumps him. The Indian is subdued and Paladin forces him to dig a grave for the white settlers that were killed by he Indians.

PALADIN

(Paladin quotes the English poet John Donne (1572–1631) “Holy Sonnet X”.)  “Death be not proud. though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so. One short sleep past, we wake eternally and death shall be no more. Death, thou shalt die.”

We’re going to the white war chief, you understand?

Paladin speaks to the Indian in Apache language.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL -DAY

PALADIN
Yeah, we rest here.

The Indian runs off up to a high precipice apparently willing to jump to his death.

PALADIN
Now, son, that’s a hundred-foot drop off of there.

The Indian jumps to his death. Paladin wags his head. Then he finds the Indian fort and gets shot at.

PALADIN
Nuñez! Col. Nuñez! May I speak to your husband?

SERAFINA
Why?

PALADIN
Man’s business. Or has nuñez grown so old that he’s lost his teeth And needs a woman now to chew his words?

SERAFINA
Throw your belt up to me.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Who are you?

PALADIN
You are col. Nuñez, aren’t you?

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
I am.

PALADIN
My name is paladin. We were on a patrol together once. McKenzie’s expedition
against the Comanche.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
No longer with the army, are you? So they’ve hounded you out, too, have they?

PALADIN
No. I left by choice.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Nonsense. A man doesn’t choose to leave the army Any more than he’d deny his own mother. You’ve come to join with me, then. You’ve come to spy on me. The army sent you.
Of course. They wouldn’t dare put troops in the field against me. They want to snare me.
With haunted words. With treachery. They sent you, didn’t they?

PALADIN
Yes. The army knows you have a fair grievance. They also know if you’re really interested in justice For your wife or yourself, You’ll never get it this way.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Justice! Do they expect me to beg for it, cap in hand? I’ve gone too far for that.
I’ll write my own verdict of justice…With their blood.

PALADIN
And the blood of your wife’s people?

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
They’re used to bleeding. My wife says the army sent you to kill me.

PALADIN
The army sent me to try and head off A useless slaughter on both sides.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
It will not be useless. It will give these poor devils a chance To get some of their own back.
“Vengeance is mine. I will repay, Saith the lord.”

PALADIN
That’s the message you want me to carry back?

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
I’m sorry, Mister. But you’re not going back.

PALADIN
Colonel, I’ve been sitting here one long day. You killed the other two peace emissaries the army sent here. How long did it take you to make up your mind about them?

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
I never even saw those two men. So we were on the McKenzie expedition, huh?
What’s happened to General Fremont?

PALADIN
He’s gone into politics. He’s doing pretty well.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Certainly did him no harm To be married to a senator’s daughter, Instead of a squaw.

SERAFINA
My brother was right. You didn’t leave your people for my sake, But for the sake
of your own pride. You never loved my people. You only hated your own.
And now your blood is too thin, Even for that.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
It was a grand gesture I made, Giving up everything for her.

PALADIN
You haven’t gone so far that you can’t turn back.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Trying to get around me with words now. Is that the game? Because they have no belly
for honest combat?

PALADIN
You once had a reputation for never risking a life unnecessarily.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Yes. And where did it get me? When the battle was done, who got the plums, The promotions, the political appointments?

PALADIN
If that’s all you were fighting for, the army didn’t lose much.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Show me a soldier who never cared for recognition, honor, respect.

PALADIN
And your wife never entered into it. She was just your excuse for quitting.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
It wouldn’t be the first time A man like me had to go his own lonely way.
“Oh, that I were in the wilderness, that I might leave my people and go from them, for they are an assembly of the traitors. They bend their tongue, their bow of falsehood. And they are grown mighty in the land. But not for truth! And they proceed from evil unto Him.”

*I don’t know where the writers of the script got this Bible quote from.  It is in no know version of the Bible. Apparently, they took liberties with the quotation. The following is the real version…

Jeremiah 9:1-3King James Version (KJV)

Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.

And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord.

 

PALADIN
Jeremiah. Only 22 chapters later, he also said, “And they shall come back from the land of the enemy, and there is hope for thy future, Saith the Lord.”

Jerimiah 31:16-17  Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
I tell you there was no hope In that cesspool of politics and corruption for a fighting man!
What did they know of loyalty, tradition, respect for rank?

PALADIN
Unlike the apache. Colonel, man for man, These Apaches are the finest soldiers in the world. Did you really believe they’d let you lead them? Has it occurred to you that they’re using you as a traitor to the army, to learn army tactics?

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
They trust me. They believe in me.

PALADIN
Have they ever let you lead them in combat?

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
The time wasn’t right.

PALADIN
You’re not their leader. You’re their prisoner.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Shut up!

PALADIN
And the army thought of you as a threat.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
They tracked you in here. Three, maybe five ponies.

PALADIN
What are you so nervous about, Nuñez? You have only to do what your wife tells you to do
Or let the apaches do it for you. Maybe they’ll let you live a little longer In the comforts and satisfaction of your old age. They’ll begin by peeling my forehead down.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
I know what they’ll do.

PALADIN
Give me my gun, old man. You can’t stop them from doing it to me. And you can’t stop them from doing it to you either.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
I am their general officer.
They are my army.

PALADIN
Give me my gun, old man.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
It won’t work. Stand there next to the ladder and put your arms up. You wanna die right now? Move over. Serafina. Might have known it was your brother.
Found an indian boy you killed, you swine!

SERAFINA

Like a woman!

PALADIN
She’ll use that knife on you when the time comes, old man.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Leave him! This is a military prisoner. We’ll have military order and discipline here. We’ve got to question the prisoner. You are brave and you win all the little fights. But the army wins the war because you fight like animals. This man knows everything we need, Where the troops are, what they plan to do. You throw all that away for the pleasure of torturing him to death. And the army wins the war because they fight like men. Now, get out. I’ll question him in my own way. You may have him when I’m done. But not until I’m done. Get out and let me get on with it.

PALADIN
Well, old man, you handled that beautifully. Now you can save your life By doing to me what they surely will do If you don’t.

SERAFINA
You will let him live? Your heart is still with them.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
What do you know of a man’s heart, you bloody savage?

PALADIN
Make up your mind, general of the apache armies.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
My army. Mine. Fremont…Fremont in politics. Fremont. Why, the poor fool thought he was a king in st. Louis. Like a little boy playing a game. They murdered his army, the confederates. Fremont running for president. And nuñez is leading a gang of apache.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Wake up.

PALADIN
What happened?

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
My wife. She went off during the night. Back to her people.

PALADIN
Why didn’t you kill me? That would have convinced them they can still trust you.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Maybe I’m tired of living on the edge of a knife. Maybe I don’t want their trust anymore, not that way. If I’d wanted to skunk my way through life, I’d have stayed on and turned the other cheek And maybe gotten rid of my half-savage squaw And smiled my way into the heart of some…Nice little society gal And drank and sported With staff officers and politicians And showed ’em What a nice, housebroken major general I’d make.
You think the army would take me back After I had my court-martial?

PALADIN
Maybe.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
I know they’ll never give me back my command. I’ll do well enough if I don’t get the rope.

PALADIN
They’ve cut us off. Any other way out of here?

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
I said I wasn’t about to run from my own troops.

PALADIN
Those aren’t your own troops anymore, colonel, if they ever were. Your wife’s with them.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Gone back to her brother. Treacherous, ungrateful savage. After all I’ve sacrificed for her.

PALADIN
Maybe she did get tired of hearing about it.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
By thunder, this is more than I will take…

PALADIN
Stay down. Stay down.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Lie still in ambush for that pack of mutineers? By heaven, what do you take me for?

PALADIN
Don’t be a fool.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
You said they wouldn’t trust me to lead them?

PALADIN
If you go down there, there’s nothing can stop those people from murdering you.
You go down there and I won’t be able to help you.

COL. BENJAMIN NUÑEZ
Always when the chips are down, I have to do it myself. Go back! Go back to your units until I’ve sent for you! You pack of undisciplined recruits! Back with you! Do you hear me?
Mutineers! Disorderly savages! I’ll drill some discipline into you, If I have to do it at the point of a bayonet! Savages! Renegades! Dismount! Take cover, men! Take cover, blast your hides! Concentrate! Go back! Delilah! Jezebel! Ungrateful savage!

PALADIN
Nuñez!

SERAFINA
This part of my husband, You take back.

INT. PALADIN’S HOTEL ROOM -DAY

PALADIN
There’ll be no written report, major. Tell them he died in the uniform of an american officer.

MAJOR LEONARD FERBER
What about your wages?

PALADIN
Just ask them to put a headstone over this.