176-“The Hunt”

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Written by Herman Groves
Joan Elan as Vanessa StuartVANESSA STUART
Edward Faulkner as Lieutenant Brager
Leonid Kinskey as Prince Boris Koslov Radachev
John Mitchum as Niki – Radachev’s Servant
Hank Patterson as Jesse – Old Man

All right, Radachev, I’ll play your game.
But I wanna warn you that I’m changing the rules.
From now on, we’re both hunters.

HEY BOY
Mr. Paladin, I have letter for you.

PALADIN
Hey Boy, do you want to deprive the world of something really precious?
The first Paladin concerto?
I only rob world in order not to rob poor distressed lady.

PALADIN
Whatever that means. “Mr. Paladin, my name is Vanessa Stuart and I am the widow of Sir Jack Stuart, whose name may not be unknown to you. My late husband’s timber holdings in central Oregon are being ruthlessly usurped, and I am in desperate need of help. Sincerely, Vanessa Stuart.”

Hey Boy, which do you think can best wait? The world or the widow?

HEY BOY
World wait so long already, maybe wait longer.

PALADIN
Pack the bags.

EXT. ON A RANCH – DAY

VANESSA STUART
And I can’t even explain how it happened. All I know is that one day I had title to the land
just as my husband left it to me and the next I learned that a complete stranger had purchased the mortgage and was foreclosing. You will help me, won’t you, Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
Mrs. Stuart, how did you happen to send for me?

VANESSA STUART
I was given your name…

PALADIN
By whom?

VANESSA STUART
By a very nice man named Radachev.

PALADIN
“By a very nice man named Radachev.”

VANESSA STUART
Yes, his full name’s Boris Karsinov Radachev.

PALADIN
Radachev. Where did you meet him?

VANESSA STUART
Why, he came here. Is something wrong?

PALADIN
Perhaps not, but it is interesting. I wonder what Prince Boris is doing in Oregon.

VANESSA STUART
Prince Boris. He didn’t say he was a Prince.

PALADIN
He’s eighth in line for a succession to the throne of the Russian Empire.

VANESSA STUART
Well, at least he was helpful.

PALADIN
Oh. Well, can you tell me where I’ll find your timberland?

VANESSA STUART
I can take you there.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Victor, they are our guests. I didn’t expect you, Mrs. Stuart. But now that you’re here, be comfortable. Radachev.

PALADIN
Paladin.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
I know.

PALADIN
How?

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
By investigation. I know all things about you to know.

PALADIN
Well, I sincerely hope not.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
It’s true. Niki. Niki, we eat. Mr. Paladin. I didn’t expect you to come back until everything is settled.

VANESSA STUART
It’s my land, Mr. Radachev, and my problem.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Yes, yes, it is your problem.

PALADIN
Well, I don’t usually dine so well in the wilderness.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
I do.

PALADIN
Now that the evening has reached cigars, perhaps I can turn the conversation to business. What is your interest in Mrs. Stuart?

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
She say she needs help.

PALADIN
She’s losing her land.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Is not losing. Is Radachev’s little joke. Niki. You see? And now Mrs. Stuart owns her land again.

VANESSA STUART
Mr. Radachev, I must ask you to explain.

PALADIN
You bought that mortgage so she’d think she was in trouble. Then you sent her to me.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
You are here.

VANESSA STUART
Is that true?

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Yes, it is true.

PALADIN
Why? Why did you go to all that trouble?

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Mr. Paladin, I’m a hunter. I’m also a soldier. I kill every animal all over world. I fight battles for Russia. I win medals medals, many medals. Mr. Paladin, I’m a brave man.

PALADIN
Congratulations.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
No, no, no, I’m brave because I am bored. See, the only thing that amuses me in this world is danger. And there is no real danger anymore. So that’s what you are for.

PALADIN
Oh.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
See, I hear about
gunfighters in American West.
I come, I study. I learn about you.
I trick you to come because I know you don’t come if I make you challenge.
Correct, huh?

PALADIN
What challenge?

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Mr. Paladin, I hunt you.
You hunt me.
If you win,
I pay you $5,000.
It’s easy, no?

PALADIN
You want us to hunt each other like animals?

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
You don’t like the idea?

PALADIN
No, I’m not an animal,
and I don’t want
to be hunted like one.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
But I said $5,000.

PALADIN
I don’t care
if you said $50,000.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
All right, $50,000!

PALADIN
No.
Be just as depraved
as you want to,
but you leave me
out of it.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
But you’re already in it, Mr. Paladin. And you also because you choose to come back.
I give you choice. You can ride with the hunter or the hunted.
With Mr. Paladin or with myself Radachev.

VANESSA STUART
I haven’t the least intention
of riding with either of you.
I shall simply go to the first
person in authority I find
and report you.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
If I think that you will
be burden, Mrs. Stuart,
I shoot you now.

PALADIN
Radachev,
you aren’t shooting anyone.
You’d best ride along
with me.
At least until we can find a sheriff to talk to.
Then we can go our separate ways.

VANESSA STUART
I thought I just made
it quite clear that l…

PALADIN
Don’t argue with me. Just do it.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
It’s a mistake, Paladin.
Shoot her.
Otherwise,
she’ll be burden to you,
and that gives me
an unfair advantage.

PALADIN
I’m very sorry if I shatter your code of sportsmanship, but I won’t shoot her.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
In that case, until we meet again, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Which I hope
we will not do, Prince.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Niki. To the beginning of the hunt.

PALADIN
A very nice man named Radachev.

PALADIN
Well, Lieutenant, I’m glad to see you.

LIEUTENANT BRAGER
Trouble?

PALADIN
We’re being hunted by a madman. I’d rather see him taken into custody than have to shoot him.

VANESSA STUART
It’s true, Lieutenant.

LIEUTENANT BRAGER
What do you mean “hunted”?

PALADIN
Exactly what I say. Hunted.

LIEUTENANT BRAGER
Well, have you done something? Is it the law that’s after you?

PALADIN
Well, here he comes. You can judge for yourself.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Good afternoon, gentlemen.
Lady.

LIEUTENANT BRAGER
Is this the man?
These people say you’re
hunting them. Is that right?

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Hunting? Hunting?
I’m a naturalist.
I hunt butterflies, birds.
Tell me, Lieutenant, is true that bald eagles live in these mountains?

LIEUTENANT BRAGER
I wouldn’t know about that. Now do you know
these people?

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
No, I don’t know
these people.

LIEUTENANT BRAGER
You got any kind of
identification?

PALADIN
This is Mrs. Vanessa Stuart.

LIEUTENANT BRAGER
And you, sir?
That seems in order, Mr. Radachev.
He has a Russian passport.
Official.

PALADIN
Lieutenant, if you don’t take this man into custody, I may have to kill him.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
It’s all right, Lieutenant. I don’t know why this man wishes to kill me, but I’m ready.

LIEUTENANT BRAGER
Now why don’t you be
on your way?
And I wouldn’t bother this man
again if I were you.

PALADIN
Radachev, if you push me any further, I will fight.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Good, good.

PALADIN
Mrs. Stuart.

LIEUTENANT BRAGER
Let me know if you have trouble with them again.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
You’re a worthy opponent, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Radachev, if I’ve passed your little test, perhaps you’ll be smart enough to let me alone.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
I could kill you now.
But is possible that you really thought you could refuse my offer.
Now you know it’s not possible.

PALADIN
All right, Radachev. I’ll play your game. From now on, we’re both hunters.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Good!

VANESSA STUART
It’s my ankle. I think it’s broken.

PALADIN
Let me see it.I’m gonna have to put a splint on this.

VANESSA STUART
You haven’t a chance against him now. This time I really will let you go on alone if you like.

PALADIN
And lose your scintillating companionship? Tsk tsk tsk.

PALADIN
We’ll cut through the underbrush now. By the time we get to Klamath Falls, we oughta be be all right. Keep that in the water.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
Paladin!

PALADIN
Radachev!

PALADIN
We should see Klamath Falls in a few hours. Should be a doctor there.

EXT. HOMESTEAD – DAY

JESSE – OLD MAN
Hey! Hey! Hi. I wonder if you can give me a little hand.

PALADIN
Sorry, afraid not.

JESSE – OLD MAN
This won’t take me just a minute. Just a minute.

PALADIN
Old man, I’m sorry. Another time maybe.

JESSE – OLD MAN
But it won’t take but just a minute!

PALADIN
Old man, get out of the way.

JESSE – OLD MAN
But you ain’t heard what’s the matter. It’s my woman Louise. Her time is come and it ain’t going right, and she needs looking at quick.

PALADIN
Old man, this woman needs a doctor. I’ll send somebody out from town for you.

JESSE – OLD MAN
That’ll be too late. This is our first, Louise and me. Maybe she’s too old.
I tell you, mister, she’s in a mighty bad way.
I just want you to help me get her up on the wagon so I can take her into town.

PALADIN
You seen anything
of another rider through here?

JESSE – OLD MAN
You’re the first
in more than a week.

PALADIN
Where’s your wagon?

JESSE – OLD MAN
It’s in the barn. You hitch up, and I’ll get Louise ready to travel.

PALADIN
This won’t take long. There’s some shade over there. You have a rest.

VANESSA STUART
I’ll be fine.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
You’re a fool, Mr. Paladin. And a sentimentalist. You could have won the game, but you prefer to leave a path to freedom.

PALADIN
Perhaps, I just wanted to see the end of it, Radachev.
Collect the winner’s share.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
You’re not the winner,
Mr. Paladin.
I am the winner.
You are an excellent quarry.
Better than most animals.
But like all animals,
you have a weakness
and this is…
And this is predictable.

PALADIN
You better have
that wound taken care of.

PRINCE BORIS KOSLOV RADACHEV
It is too late Mr. Paladin. Perhaps we’ll find our moment of death together.
This will be very amusing.

JESSE – OLD MAN
He gave me $40, said you and him had a grudge fight on. I figured you had the best of it.
I mean, the way he drug hisself in here.

PALADIN
Louise?

JESSE – OLD MAN
I ain’t got no woman.

PALADIN
You haven’t even got a wagon. If you want to earn that $40, go bury him.

NIKI – RADACHEV’S SERVANT
Prince Boris.

PALADIN
In the barn.

PALADIN
“Mr. Paladin, if you survive to read this, it will be because you have won the game,
and I will no longer be. Enjoy the fruits of your victory while you can, for a greater hunt begins when life ends. Until we meet again.”