161-“The Gospel Singer”

Season 5, Episode 6 – Original Airdate: (October 21, 1961)

Directed by  Byron Paul, Written by: Robert E. Thompson

SUZI CARNELL as Melissa
(Everyman, 1961) as Juney
JOHN MCLIAM as Mayor Harper
STAR TREK: TNG (Who Watches the Watchers, 1989) as Fento
ED PECK as Sims
STAR TREK (Tomorrow is Yesterday, 1967) as Col. Fellini
ROY ENGEL as Mr. Barber
(The Kid, 1961) as Rudy – Bartender
(The Piano, 1961) as Piano Thief
(Everyman, 1961) as Sheriff
(The Ballad of Oscar Wilde, 1958) as Matson
BRAD WESTON as Will Durbin
(The Siege, 1961) as Theo Brent
(The Search, 1960) as Messanger
(The Campaign of Billy Banjo, 1960) as Miner
(Fight at Adobe Wells, 1960) as Quanah Parker
(The Pledge, 1960) as Esteban – Indian Leader
(The Prophet, 1960) as Serafina’s Brother
(Return of Roy Carter, 1959) as Eddie Clinton
STAR TREK: TOS (The Devil in the Dark, 1967) as Appel
NOAH KEEN as Harry Durbin
(A Drop of Blood, 1961) as Billy Buckstone

You’re faith is beautiful, Melissa, but I was hired to clean up Bugbear. When I’ve finished, I’ll collect my fee…and I’ll have earned it.

INT. PALADIN’S HOTEL ROOM – DAY

PALADIN
Yeah, come in.

HEY BOY
Mr. Paladin. (Usan man na? Ne do)

HEY BOY
“Bugbear by any other name smells so like Bugbear. March the 9th. Once playground of wild bunch, Bugbear is cleaning house under a new mayor, and a new town spirit. First, town fathers announced they have change the name from Bugbear to Elysium. Next, they promise to rid the town of violence. But no one answered the toughest question. How?”

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

PALADIN
Good morning.

MELISSA
Good morning.

PALADIN
Yeah, rear slipped off that axle. Like me to fix it?

MELISSA
Well, I’d be extremely appreciative.

PALADIN
Now, when I lift…you push. You were supposed to push when I lifted.

MELISSA
I’m sorry, but I have to talk to you.

PALADIN
Talk? Talk?

MELISSA
About that.

PALADIN
Well, what about it?

MELISSA
I’m against it.

PALADIN
Well, so am I.

MELISSA
I’m serious.

PALADIN
So am I.

MELISSA
You seem like a gentleman. Why should you have to carry a gun?

PALADIN
Because in the world around us there are number of men who are not gentlemen.

MELISSA
Haven’t you chosen to be one of them? You go on killing. I’m sorry. I should be fair. I don’t know that you’ve killed anyone.

PALADIN
Well, I have.

MELISSA
So you’ll go on killing, until someone or something makes you understand.

PALADIN
Understand what?

MELISSA
That the only way to end it is to stop the violence. Take away the weapons. All it does is beget more.

PALADIN
I know that, probably better than you do. Now aren’t you getting far from the subject? We were fixing a wagon.

MELISSA
Your gun.

PALADIN
Young lady, may I ask where you’re going and what you think you’re doing?

MELISSA
I’m going to Bugbear, to take away their guns. I’ve shown the path of peace and light to men even more sunk in violence than you.

PALADIN
Well, I believe that.

MELISSA
Then you’ll give me the gun?

PALADIN
No, I may need it in Bugbear.

MELISSA
You’re going to Bugbear?

PALADIN
On business.

MELISSA
How can you say that? To you killing is only a business? How can you…

PALADIN
I’m not a gunman, Miss…

MELISSA
Melissa. Sister Melissa. I’m a missionary. I shall pray for you, Mr…

PALADIN
Paladin. And I thank you.

MELISSA
I’ll be there, to help, if you need me.

PALADIN
Is this your first mission alone?

MELISSA
At the mission school they said I was ready for it. They said they couldn’t hold me back anymore.

PALADIN
Oh, I believe that. You are beautiful, and your faith is beautiful. But sometimes the essence of beauty is its fragility. And Bugbear is not a good place to test it.

MELISSA
Are you afraid of a test?

PALADIN
No.

MELISSA
Nor am I. So if you’ll fix the wheel, then we can get on with it. I should think that thing would be very uncomfortable to wear. You’ll see Mr. Paladin how happy you’ll be without it.

PALADIN
Wheel.

EXT. TOWN STREET – DAY

WILL DURBAN
Tell him I’m here.

TOWNSMAN
There he is. That’s the one who did it.

WILL DURBAN
Do you want some of me, Harper?

MAYOR HARPER
No.

WILL DURBAN
Drinks are on Will Durbin.

PALADIN
Harper?

MAYOR HARPER
Right.

PALADIN
I got your wire.

MAYOR HARPER
Then you’d be Paladin.

MR. BARBER
My name’s Barber, Mr. Paladin. I’m glad you’re here.

PALADIN
Thank you.

MAYOR HARPER
You better come along with me.
We got a lot to talk about.

PALADIN
I can see that.

M
I won’t pretend I like what Paladin has to say.

MAYOR HARPER
All right, I admit, I was first to favor sending him money to do the job. But Paladin has ideas of his own, so I’ll let him explain it.

M
Well, let’s hear it.

PALADIN
Now, there is not one hooligan in this town who’s gonna give up his gun, or ever believe in law and order as long as law and order is applied to him alone, and all the rest of you are exceptions.

MR. BARBER
Well, what are we gonna do? We’re decent people.

MAYOR HARPER
What do you mean?

PALADIN
It means that if I disarm the hooligans, what’s to convince them that you people are not gonna massacre them? They wear their guns in self-protection the same as you do.

MAYOR HARPER
I say what you hired to do is to get out there and show ’em who can shoot faster.
Leave a couple of them dead out there, and run the rest out of town.
Use a whip, a club, a gun. That’s what they understand.

PALADIN
And you’re telling me that those people having nothing to fear from you? Now, if I take this job, the same rules apply to everybody. I disarm them, I disarm you. No other conditions!

MAYOR HARPER
I don’t know.

MR. BARBER
Hold it. I just want to say this. I never felt like shooting nobody anyhow.

M
You mean you’re running out on us.

MR. BARBER
That’s right! I’m with you, Paladin.

PALADIN
Thank you. Harper?

MAYOR HARPER
I’ll give mine when they give up theirs.

PALADIN
Now, wait a minute. Am I hired?

MAYOR HARPER
You got the job. I never went back on a promise. But I got to see results.

HOOLIGANS
Hey, give me a plate. Here you go. Now give me one of them. Okay.

PALADIN
All right, gentlemen, shower down. Thank you.

PALADIN
And thank you.
You gonna do it?
He ain’t done yet.
You got business, Johnny? Johnny, a little word. That don’t happen to be no rye finger saddlebum inside there. I guess you might’ve heard of the Durbins now, huh?

WILL DURBAN
Well, if he ain’t, he has now.

M
You sure scratched hide off the wrong brand, mister. When his brother hears, we’re gonna ride in. And when we do, we’ll take this town apart, board by board.

PALADIN
You’ll do it barehanded. Bring it over here. Now, put them in there. Put them in there!
Now, you just got started.

MELISSA
Whoa. You couldn’t wait for me, could you?

PALADIN
Or you might have said that I was smoothing the path for faith.

MELISSA
You poor, blind, deaf man. Listen. Listen! No, not to me. To the voice inside each of you.
To the voice of truth. The voice of charity. Listen with your hearts for that voice is in each of you, no matter how you seek to strangle its cries. And as each of you is the Lord’s
own begotten creature, so it will be there everlastingly. Do you hear it crying out
from the wilderness of your souls, beseeching, pleading, demanding? Do you hear it?

MAN
Hey, Sister, how about some cootch music?

MELISSA
Take strength from me. Feel the message from my hand. Put down your gun.
Now, do you feel the weight of terror that has been lifted from your soul?
I do feel it. I do feel it, Sister!

MELISSA
Oh, hallelujah! Hallelujah! Don’t be afraid now. Stand forth in the light. Give up your guns. His power and His glory are all the weapons you need. Thank you, brother. Feel the joy of men who have given up death and chosen life. Thank you. Take the pledge. Give up your guns forever.

MAYOR HARPER
Well, it’s working ain’t it?

PALADIN
It might.

MAYOR HARPER
Paladin, I’m gonna take the pledge for her.

MELISSA
Safe from fear and the enemies…Thank you. Thank you you all.

MR. BARBER
Here, Sister.

MELISSA
Do you swear never to touch a gun
even though you face death?

MAYOR HARPER
I’m through with killing.

MAN
Killing…He never killed nothing more scary in his life than a horsefly.

MELISSA
I know it isn’t easy to let in the light when there’s been darkness for so long. But the pleasure at the end is worth the pain at the beginning. Give up your guns. Look at your friends. They took the pledge. Take off your guns. Oh, thank you, brother. You won’t be sorry. You won’t be sorry.

PALADIN
Perhaps we could strike some kind of a compromise. I make it a practice never to wear a gun when I’m having dinner with a lady.

MELISSA
Perhaps that’s just when you should keep your powder dry, Mr. Paladin.

INT. HOTEL DINING ROOM – NIGHT
The cattlemen burned out all the other homesteaders in the valley, but my father wouldn’t run. He had right on his side, but they had guns. That’s how I came to the mission orphanage. They found me in the ashes of the house. I made a vow then. And I’ve kept faith with it. But I won’t rest until I see every gun, every weapon of violence in this land destroyed, including yours.

PALADIN
Well, you are a woman of great determination.

MELISSA
Does that frighten you? It’s frightened every other man.

PALADIN
No. But I do puzzle about you.

MELISSA
Perhaps you imagine me leading the martyrs into the Coliseum?

PALADIN
Oh, no, I shall be very concerned for the lions in that case.

MELISSA
Then how do you see me?

PALADIN
As a woman.

MELISSA
Yes, as a woman. Sew and cook and scrub and hope. And then sit meekly by while her men are shot down because they haven’t the simple faith and courage to stand unarmed in the sight of God.

PALADIN
Faith and courage.

MELISSA
Yes, faith and courage. They had courage today when they put down their guns. You saw them.

PALADIN
Melissa…

MELISSA
You think I don’t know what you’re going to say? They put down their guns today
because they were afraid of you. I’m not a fool.

PALADIN
And you still have faith?

MELISSA
God has chosen stranger instruments than you for his work.

PALADIN
God has chosen. Melissa, Mr. Harper and his friends chose me. They hired me to clean up this town. And when I’ve done it, I’ll collect a fee. And I will have earned it.

MELISSA
Mr. Harper? He took the pledge. Well, God has chosen stranger instruments than Mr. Harper for his work. And the important thing is that the guns are gone. Bugbear has changed.

PALADIN
Melissa, nothing in this town has been changed here by either one of us. In a year, perhaps in a month, this town will go back to being exactly what it always was. They’re afraid now or moved spiritually, but the first time they’re threatened they’ll scurry for their guns again. And if you can’t see that, then you’re terribly naive and terribly in need of protection.

MELISSA
Well, if you can believe that, then you’re very cynical and very much in need of faith.
And if I were a man…

PALADIN
If you were a man. Melissa…If you were a man, I think I should be very sorry.

MR. BARBER
Mr. Paladin! They’re coming. Durbin.

PALADIN
Where is Harper?

MR. BARBER
Where would you think? After his guns with the rest of them

MELISSA
No, you’ve all taken a pledge to give up gun forever, even at the cost of your own lives.

MAYOR HARPER
But this is real. Those Durbins still have their guns. You haven’t talked to them yet.

MELISSA
Please, listen to me! Please!
Who are you with, Paladin?

PALADIN
Now, you people made a pledge and you’re going to stand by it.

M
You got give us our guns back now.

PALADIN
You paid me to take them away from you!

M
Here they come right now.
You can’t take them alone. Give me a gun, I’ll stand by you.

PALADIN
You made a pledge, didn’t you?
I know, but…

PALADIN

Well, I didn’t. Now, get her out of here. All right, come on.

MELISSA
No. They didn’t really mean their pledges, did they?

PALADIN
They did then while you were talking to them.

MELISSA
Did they pay you for this?

PALADIN
Go on, get out of here. Go on!

MELISSA
Why would you risk your life for money? You’ve taken it upon yourself to do my job. But I can’t have your blood on my conscience.

PALADIN
I took a job.

MELISSA
I want you to know I’m very, very proud of you, and grateful to you. Whatever else happens today, I want you to know that.

PALADIN
Thank you.

MELISSA
But I can’t let you do it. There are no guns here to face you. And the only fear is that of the Lord.

m
Now, preacher lady, he’s got a gun.

PALADIN
Melissa.

MELISSA
No.
I’d do like he says, preacher lady. We’re gonna kill him. No point your getting in the way.

MELISSA
Will you put your guns, if they give up theirs?

MELISSA
I do like what she says. You ain’t got no chance anyhow.

PALADIN
That depends on your angle of vision. You I will kill. The chance is which one of those other two I’ll kill.

MELISSA
Your death and his, what will it prove when all you have to do is to put up your guns?
Maybe. But we sure ain’t laying ours down first.

PALADIN
I’m sorry, Melissa. I just don’t have your faith.

MELISSA
I won’t move.
Now yours.
Preacher lady…you ever see a pig shoot?

PALADIN
Now, will you get out of here?
Well, here it is. As some us feel by rights, you should split it.
You couldn’t have done it alone.

PALADIN
I didn’t say I could. But, since Melissa has your guns, and your pledges and that’s all she asked for. I will accept your money since that’s all I asked for.

MELISSA
That’s fair, I suppose, but, of course, I don’t have your pledge.

PALADIN
No.
Ain’t you going her way?

PALADIN
Heraclitus says that all the ways are the same way. And it could be that he’s right.

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