149-“Broken Image”

Season 4, Episode 32 – Original Airdate: (April 29, 1961)

<= 148 – “Duke of Texas == Brother’s Keeper” – 150 =>

Directed by Richard Boone, Written by Lou Shaw and Peggy O’Shea

KENNETH TOBEY as Tim Decker
KUNG FU (Alethea, 1973) as Sheriff Ingram
JUNE VINCENT as Jeanie Decker
(Everyman, 1961) as Mme. Destin
(Black Sheep, 1960) as Mrs. Duvoisin / Mrs. McNabb
(The Colonel and the Lady, 1957) as Martha Lathrop
(Strange Vendetta, 1957) as Maria Rojas
KUNG FU (The Way of Violence Has No Mind, 1974) as Meg
JOHNNY EIMEN as Larry Decker
(Episode in Laredo, 1959) as Sam Tuttle, Jr.
HAL NEEDHAM as Lookout – Bradley Gang
BOB WOODWARD as Sheriff
(The Treasure, 1962) as Gruber
(Bandit, 1962) as Floyd
(The Tax Gatherer, 1961) as Jerry
RICK SILVER as Farmer
(The Mark of Cain, 1962) as Enoch Harrison
(Ben Jalisco, 1961) as Will Tay
(The Trial, 1960) as Guard
TED SMILE as Saloon Owner
(The Search, 1960) as Blacksmith
KUNG FU (The Third Man, 1973) as Trooper
STEWART EAST as Townsman
LISA LU as Hey Girl
JOAN DUPUIS as Ballerina

INT. HOTEL CARLTON GAME ROOM

PALADIN
Jean De La Fontaine has said that man is so made that when anything touches his soul, impossibilities disappear. Now, do you or do you not wish to join the San Francisco Opera Ballet Company?

BALLERINA
Yes.

PALADIN
Very well, then. Encore. There, now, you see? Anything is possible. Anything.

BALLERINA
Then you will arrange the audition for me?

PALADIN
I will, indeed. Come in, Hey Girl.

HEY GIRL
I’m sorry. I would not interrupt, except for important business. This just came in by messenger.

PALADIN
“Hero Refuses to Track Outlaws. Big Oak, Arizona. Tim Decker, the man who became famous eight years ago for the successful one-man roundup and killing of the Stoner gang of outlaws again refused to go after the Bradley gang, presently hiding out in the hills outside Big Oak. Citizens Committee…$1,000…”

PALADIN
And, um… Hmm. Here, my love. Give this to a Gronski at the opera house. And I hope I’m back in time for your… debut.

EXT. BIG OAK, ARIZONA – DAY

LARRY DECKER
Gee, thanks.

PALADIN
Mrs. Decker around?

LARRY DECKER
Hey, Ma, a customer.

LARRY DECKER
Can I help you, mister?

PALADIN
No, thanks. You Tim Decker’s son?

LARRY DECKER
Yes, sir.

JEANIE DECKER
You must be Mr. Paladin. You look exactly as I expected you to. This is my husband, Tim Decker.

PALADIN
Mr. Decker.

TIM DECKER
You sent for him? Why?

JEANIE DECKER
Because it’s his job to go after outlaws, Tim, and I want him to do just that.

TIM DECKER
I’m sorry she wasted your time, Mr. Paladin. I’ll be glad to pay for your trouble.

PALADIN
It’s quite all right. But that doesn’t solve the town’s problem with the Bradleys, does it?
They fairly blew that bank to pieces.

LARRY DECKER
Well, he got the Stoners.

PALADIN
Hmm.

LARRY DECKER
And everybody says he’s the only man who can get the Bradleys.

JEANIE DECKER
Child, hush…

PALADIN
The town wants to hear its hero sound the trumpet again, that it?

TIM DECKER
Well, that’s the way it’s been. That’s the way it’s been for 11 years.

JEANIE DECKER
Everyone pressures him. Even his son.

PALADIN
Voltaire once said, “It is a heavy burden to bear a name that is too famous.”

TIM DECKER
You know, all I want on this earth is to love my wife and…raise my boy and be a simple storekeeper. Jeannie, I guess you know what folks would say if I let somebody else do it.

LARRY DECKER
Are you going, Pa? Are you going?

TIM DECKER
I’m going.

LARRY DECKER
Yippee! Yippee!

PALADIN
Good luck, Decker. Mrs. Decker.

TIM DECKER
Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
Hmm?

TIM DECKER
I’d like you to go with me.

PALADIN
Decker?

TIM DECKER
What’s the trouble?

PALADIN
When we left that trail back there, I thought you knew some shortcut, but I confess I don’t see how we’re gonna get through that mountain from here.

TIM DECKER
You saying I don’t know what I’m doing?

PALADIN
Now, wait a minute, Decker. You brought the Stoners in single-handed, and I have every confidence that you’ll round up the Bradleys. I’d just like to know the reasons for what I’m doing, all right?

TIM DECKER
You want to take over, go ahead. Maybe it’s just as well we don’t take the shortcut, after all. Go ahead, Paladin. I’ll grab a snooze in the saddle.

PALADIN
All right. If that’s the way you want it.

TIM DECKER
Coffee, Paladin? Well, how long do you think? I mean, till we catch up with ’em?

PALADIN
Not too long. Tomorrow night, probably, unless they’ve grown wings.

TIM DECKER
We gonna sleep here, or push on after ’em?

PALADIN
Well, let’s stay on their trail until daylight, rest, and make a move tomorrow night.

TIM DECKER
You know, I… I got to hand it to you, Paladin. You’re a mighty fine tracker. I’m sorry I wasn’t as sharp as I should have been. 11 years is a long time. And, uh, this terrain has changed a lot since I was here last.

PALADIN
Still, that shouldn’t get in the way of a man following a trail, should it?

TIM DECKER
Sure cold.

PALADIN
Are you trying to warn them? That it, Decker? You don’t want to find the Bradleys? That’s why you lost the trail? That’s why you’re trying to light up the sky?

TIM DECKER
Paladin…Paladin, I want the Bradleys. Whatever else you believe, believe that.

PALADIN
If I believe that, then I have to look someplace else for the reason you’re doing everything wrong, don’t I? Decker! Why don’t you go on back?

TIM DECKER
Whatever else I am, I’m not a coward.

PALADIN
There’s no dishonor in fear. It doesn’t make you a coward.

TIM DECKER
You don’t know anything about fear, do you, Paladin?

PALADIN
Well, I don’t have a wife and a child. This isn’t your job, Decker. You’re a storekeeper, you’re a man with a family.

TIM DECKER
They expect me to do it for ’em.

PALADIN
They’re counting on their hero of 11 years ago, and he’s not the same man. He’s changed. Think your wife knew that when she sent for me? She knew it when she begged you not to go!

TIM DECKER
Paladin…I’m gonna get the Bradleys, if it’s the last thing I do.

PALADIN
Well, there’s always that gamble.

PALADIN
Whew! Three horses on the far side, a lookout on the roof, two men inside.
Now, I’ve got to get as close to that shack as I can before any shots are fired.

TIM DECKER
We’ll have to get the lookout before you make your run.

PALADIN
We’ve got to play for split-second timing. I start my run, the lookout takes aim at me, and you get him then and not before. And a favor, friend? Don’t miss, because I’ll purely be a sweet target all the way.

TIM DECKER
Paladin…you’re counting on me. I can’t let you do it. I’m not that good a shot. I’m not that good at anything.

PALADIN
That what’s been the trouble all along? You never hunted anything or tracked anything or shot anything in your life, and you didn’t get the Stoners, either, did you? Did you?

TIM DECKER
Uh-uh. They were all dead when I found ’em. I guess they fought over the money and killed each other. I just happened along by accident. I mean, sure, I…I took the bodies and-and the money, but…I didn’t lie. I didn’t say I got them. I just rode in with them.
It was kind of like I was struck dumb when they handed me the reward money and folks I never even knew rushed up to shake my hand.

PALADIN
Well, thanks for telling me, Decker.

TIM DECKER
I’ll try, Paladin. I’ll do my best.

PALADIN
Yeah. Yeah.

TIM DECKER
Here. You earned it.

PALADIN
Well, that can wait till we get back into town.

TIM DECKER
Well… there’s no need for you to go all the way back.
I mean, I can handle it.

PALADIN
Oh, I see. You ride into town with the bodies draped over horses and let people assume whatever they want to, hmm? Well, you ought to just about be over your ears in glory this time. I can see those blazoning headlines now. “Heroic Tim Decker Bags Three More Outlaws.” Be a proud moment for your wife and your son, too, won’t it?

TIM DECKER
I know what you’re thinkin’. Maybe, deep down, I think the same, but I do what I gotta do.

PALADIN
What you gotta do?! Decker, what kind of a man has gotta do what you’re doing?

TIM DECKER
A man like me, Paladin, who had nothing and was nothing! I…I… I don’t want to steal your glory, but I have to.

PALADIN
My glory?! Well, you just take it. I got nothing to prove. On second thought…I’ll ride along with you.

TIM DECKER
I’ll get him to a doctor, if he lives. I don’t need your help.

PALADIN
Nevertheless, I’ll ride along until he’s handled one way or the other.

TIM DECKER
Are you saying that I’d kill him to keep him from talking?

PALADIN

No. No, I’m not saying it. You are.

PALADIN
Oop. Well, Big Oak, right over the next rise, hmm?

TIM DECKER
It ain’t fair.

PALADIN
It’s not?

TIM DECKER
It just ain’t fair, on account of a killer, I got to lose everything I got- everything.

PALADIN
Decker, it wasn’t yours to lose.

TIM DECKER
I want to tell you something. I used to be a drifter; nobody to care whether I came or went. I had no learnin’. Wasn’t much good at anything I tried. Folks didn’t mind me. They… nobody wanted to do any harm to me. But they just didn’t seem to notice if I was around or not, especially the women. Then this business with the Stoner gang happened. You know?

PALADIN
Well, I can understand. It made you a very famous man.

TIM DECKER
Oh, they turned the town over to me. Nothing they wouldn’t do. Why, I had so many job offers, I didn’t know which way to turn. And the women started eyeing me for their daughters. Now, you got to understand what I’m saying. I let them believe a lie, but I didn’t just take from them. I turned myself inside out not to let them down. I done good things for that town. And my son- you saw the way he looks at me. Now, that man’s a thief and a killer, and he’s going to hang anyhow.

PALADIN
Maybe.

TIM DECKER
I ain’t going to lose it, Paladin. On account of a killer, I ain’t gonna lose everything I got!

PALADIN
I started out feeling sorry for you, Decker. You were an ordinary man who stumbled into a moment of time and place that brought you fame and respect, so you lived your little lie and played hero while the Sword of Damocles hung over your head and exposure and disgrace waited in the shadows. And the worst thing of all, the woman you love…she loved a fake. And your son… your son said “father” to a ghost, and you were pitiable. But now, Decker…Now…!

TIM DECKER
Oh, God, help me. I was gonna kill him.

PALADIN
Well, Decker, your problems are over. He’s dead. Now let’s get the body over a horse, and then I’ll ride back into town with you and watch the hero’s welcome.

B
He’s comin’!

BAR
How about a big hooray for Tim Decker!

T
Hip-hip…Hooray! Hip-hip…Hooray! Hip-hip…Hooray!

T
Good boy, Tim. You’re all right!
This man’s had a hard trip.
Chuck, take these horses out of here.
There! There! How about your daddy?

B
Dad, I knew you’d do it. You must be the fastest gun in the world.

T
Nice job, Tim. I don’t have to tell you how proud we are of you, Tim. If this town
had any sense, they’d put you in my job as sheriff.

BAR
You’ll never have to buy a drink again in your life, Tim Decker. Come in my saloon any hour of the night or day.

F
Hope we can let you settle down now, Tim. But it’s mighty comforting to know we got a man like you around when we need him.
You’re the best man this town ever saw.

TIM DECKER
Paladin!

TIM DECKER
Larry…I want you to listen to me. I didn’t kill those men. He did.
And I didn’t catch the Stoners, either. Hear what I’m saying?
None of the things you thought about me all of your life are true.
Except I’m your father…and I love you.

PALADIN
Thank you, Decker.

TIM DECKER
Thank me?

PALADIN
A man like me tends to forget how many different ways there are to show courage.
I have no idea how I’d stand up to a ten-year-old boy. I thank you.

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