180-“The Trap”

Original Airdate:  (March 3, 1962)

On a stormy night, Paladin stops at an inn, where he finds a marshal holding a prisoner for murder. Paladin learns that fifteen men are in pursuit. He also learns that the situation is not as clear-cut as it seems.

Directed by Frank Pierson, Written by Archie Lawrence.

FRANK SUTTON as Davy Walsh
JEANETTE NOLAN as Jeri Marcus
CRAHAN DENTON as Marshal Jim Buell
RAYFORD BARNES as Roy Bissell

JEANETTE NOLAN also appeared in: (Alice, 1962) as Alice, (The Tender Gun, 1960) as Sheriff Maude J. Smuggly, (Gun Shy, 1958) as Ma Warren.

CRAHAN DENTON also appeared in: (Sweet Lady of the Moon, 1963) as Carl Soddenberg, (The Puppeteer, 1960) as Jack Burnaby (Dr. Humbug).

RAYFORD BARNES also appeared in: (Face of a Shadow, 1963) as Canning, (The Revenger, 1961) as Jelly, (Long Way Home, 1961) as Deputy Sheriff, (The Shooting of Jessie May, 1960) as Sim Lenzer, (Something to Live For, 1958) as Harleigh Preston, (The Road to Wickenburg, 1958) as Sol Goodfellow.

Madam, if I have to make a choice between fighting the marshal
and fighting you, I’m gonna choose the best way to survive,
and chivalry can wait.

HEYBOY
Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk. So very sad.

PALADIN
All right, Hey Boy. What is it?

HEYBOY
I read here of bloody ax killer man who goes berserk.
He kills all people on isolated farm where he works.

PALADIN
Hey Boy, do you remember when I taught you to read English?
Well, there must have been a reason. Let me see it.

HEYBOY
Paper Chinese.

PALADIN
“An itinerant farmhand is known to have killed at least nine persons, including two women and three children.”

HEYBOY
Poor children. So very sad.

PALADIN
Yes, it is, Hey Boy. So very sad. And someone must catch that fellow.

HEYBOY
Poor children.

PALADIN
Hey Boy, I am going after the man. But I am not going after him because you would make my life miserable if I didn’t. No, sir. I’m going because I’m tired of low ceilings. And the taste of champagne. I’d like some sunshine and fresh air for a change.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – RAINY –

PALADIN
You know, if I hadn’t found you, I was just about to take your lifeboat.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Step away, Jeri. Mister, you put your left hand over, take out your gun and put it on the table there.

PALADIN
No, I’m not I the habit of handing my gun over to just anyone who asks for it.

JERI MARCUS
You better do as he says, mister.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
I’m Jim Buell, marshal from Pine Bluff.

PALADIN
Oh, you’re afraid I came after him.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
I’m not taking any chances. That’s flat.

JERI MARCUS
He’s the marshal, all right.

DAVY WALSH
Mister, please…

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Shut up, Davy. Now, let’s get this over with. I’m not asking much.

DAVY WALSH
Don’t put your gun down, mister.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Shut up, Davy.

PALADIN
Let me hear what he has to say.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
I guess if I were in your position, I’d ask the same thing. All right, Davy. Speak up.

DAVY WALSH
The Marshal here is a little overstepped hisself. He’s got me here on an attempted murder warrant. I’m afraid he’s gonna be judge, jury, and hangman hisself.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
You shot at me, Davy.

DAVY WALSH
I’d taken a couple of shots at the jail. I was drunk.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Drunk! Like it was an excuse. Get yourself liquored up, fight like an animal, wake up the next morning, forget everything that happened. There was no excuse for Paley Bradford. That’s a man he killed last July.

DAVY WALSH
Self-defense. The jury said so. They let me off!

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
A man half your size, just married, a child four months off.

DAVY WALSH
He come at me with a pitchfork!

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
He was drunk, so it didn’t matter. Is that what you’re gonna say to me?

DAVY WALSH
Buell, you don’t have the right. You get me back to that jail where I belong.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
If you’d only hit him once, Davy. But you kept beating him with that two-by-four till there was nothing left but a resemblance. I had to take Paley’s wife there to identify him.

DAVY WALSH
Please…

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
That’s what he did.

PALADIN
Well, Marshal, where are you planning on taking him?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
That’s none of your affair. But do you think I have reason enough to ask you to cooperate?

DAVY WALSH
Mister, you’re a gunfighter, ain’t you?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
I guess you’d better answer that.

DAVY WALSH
Look, Paladin, what’s your price? I’ll pay it. I got near $40 on me and a couple hundred at home I can dig up. Just gun him down. I’ll pay you. He’s old. You can do it. I don’t want to die. I’m hiring you! Kill him!

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Well?

DAVY WALSH
Please, it ain’t just the money.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Jeri, get that grub.

JERI MARCUS
Oh, l… I couldn’t find the coffee, Jim.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Well, all right. Bring it dry. But hurry it up.

PALADIN
I could use some of whatever that is that’s about to burn.

JERI MARCUS
Oh, my biscuits!

PALADIN
And a room and somebody to take care of my horse.

JERI MARCUS
Well, you ride, and you curry him.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
She doesn’t keep a stable boy. Not on the business this place does. She oughta get married again, stop doing a man’s work.

JERI MARCUS
Oh, don’t go on with that.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Well, it’s true enough, isn’t it?

JERI MARCUS
Well, that doesn’t matter. It’s my place. Why should I give up everything I’ve worked hard for just to marry you?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Jeri, I am not going to come here and be your stable boy.

JERI MARCUS
I don’t want you to be my stable boy. Please, Jim, not tonight.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Jeri, I’m a Marshal. I can’t give it up. Not even for her. Oh, I’m hungry for her.

JERI MARCUS
I get better proposals every Saturday.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Well, whenever you make up your mind, just sing out.

JERI MARCUS
Jeri, don’t worry about the horse.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Where you going?

PALADIN
I’m gonna take care of my horse.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
You might have a rifle in your saddle boot.

PALADIN
Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
You stay here.

PALADIN
Now, Marshal, I have put myself in a very bad position here tonight without any real explanation from you as to what this is all about. I’ve done that out of respect for your badge and nothing more. If you want to come to the door, I’ll hand you the rifle. But I will not chance ruining a good animal just because you’re more nervous than any lawman has a right to be.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Paladin, I don’t play games.

DAVY WALSH
Back shoot him, Marshal! Back shoot him! You’re good at it!

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
I could drop you in the doorway.

PALADIN
Marshal, I hope not.

JERI MARCUS
Jim, you are nervous, like he said.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Jeri, get that grub. We’ve got to get out of here. They’ll be following us, rain or no rain.

DAVY WALSH
What happened, Marshal? Your gun jam?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Davy, shut up or I’ll…

DAVY WALSH
Or you’ll what? I can’t stand it, Buell. I can’t stand waiting for it. I want it now if it’s going to happen.

JERI MARCUS
Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Aha. Mine at last.

JERI MARCUS
That’s if you can get it down and keep it down and pay 25 cents for it.

PALADIN
Then it most definitely is mine.

JERI MARCUS
He’s a good man, mister. He shouldn’t have to die just because he’s got a passion for the law.

PALADIN
I’ll go along with that, Jeri. What are you driving at?

JERI MARCUS
This. If he thought you’d been sent here to…to kill him, he’d kill you. And I don’t want that. But as God is my judge, if you hurt him, I’ll kill you.

PALADIN
Jeri, what’s going on here?

JERI MARCUS
You don’t know?

PALADIN
I came from Coleville. How could I know what’s happening in Pine Bluff?

JERI MARCUS
Could you take Buell?

PALADIN
Jeri, one minute, you’re going to shoot me to protect Buell. The next minute, you want me to shoot him.
No!

JERI MARCUS
Just take his gun away from him without hurting him.

PALADIN
You don’t just take somebody’s gun away from them without hurting them. Now, either you use that shotgun, or you hang it back on the wall where it belongs.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Jeri, we’re ready. All right, Davy. All right, Davy. Stop wasting time.
You get your poncho. I’m sorry, Jeri. I forgot. You should chain the dogs outside. Here.
This’ll pay for the food and the busted crockery. All right now. Snap it up.
It’s a hard night’s ride to get to Coleville.

PALADIN
Coleville?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
What about it?

PALADIN
Marshal, you’ve got 60 yards of white water between you and Coleville.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Well, you came that way, then. You went over the bridge.

PALADIN
There isn’t any bridge.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Well, then, we’ll swim the horses.

PALADIN
Tried that. I almost didn’t make it, and it’s rained three inches since then.

DAVY WALSH
So the marshal can’t cross the divinity. Talk about the end of the road.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
You shut up!

DAVY WALSH
Well, let’s face it, Marshal. They got you trapped. You try to go on, you’ll get drowned. Try to go back, and you get shot. You stay here…Well, we’ll find out, won’t we? ‘Cause Roy Bissell’s coming, Marshal.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Don’t laugh too loud, boy. I’ll see you behind bars or I’ll see you dead.

PALADIN
Marshal, you think it’s just about time you explained this whole thing to me?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
This is none of your affair. I told you to keep out of this.

PALADIN
Now, if Roy Bissell and his friends are coming here for you, it’s my affair, whether you like it or not. I will take my guns back. It’s up to you whether or not I use them to help you. But I will defend myself.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Paladin, are you from Roy Bissell?

PALADIN
Ask her.

JERI MARCUS
I don’t know.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Jeri, what did he mean, “ask her”? What did you two talk about in there?

PALADIN
She tried to shotgun me one minute…to save you. The next minute, she asked me to take you.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
I can’t blame her for that. I’ve put her through a good deal of trouble. Davy there’s her brother’s oldest boy.

JERI MARCUS
Jim, turn Davy loose.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Paladin, Jeri thinks she’s doing this to help me. Jeri, the first thing I did when I came here was to take these shells out of that shotgun. Sooner or later, everyone thinks he can handle this job just a little bit better than I can. Even Jeri. Even Bissell and his posse.
Well, Davy, if they want you alive, they better leave you with me, because nobody’s gonna take you away from me alive.

PALADIN
What if Bissell calls your bluff?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Let’s put it this way, Paladin. It’s our last chance, Davy’s and mine. Either we live together, or we die together.

DAVY WALSH
Oh, no, you don’t. Keep away from me, Marshal.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Davy, I warned you just once.

DAVY WALSH
I got nothing to lose, and I ain’t gonna die easy.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Come on. I told you, Davy!

JERI MARCUS
Why don’t you stop it?

PALADIN
Which one do you want me to shoot?
All right, Marshal. This is it!
Oh!

PALADIN
Jeri. All right, Davy. That’s enough.
No!

PALADIN
Suit yourself. Get them back here. Get them back here! Come on! Well, Marshal, do I get an explanation now?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Roy Bissell and about 15 men are riding after us. They want to take my prisoner.
I never lost a prisoner. They’re not so hot to see that Davy’s set free.
They want to get at me. Davy… he’s nothing but the sneeze.

PALADIN
The sneeze?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Years ago, I used to ride trail drive. Once, we’re out about three weeks, and we ran into a dry well. That night, there was a summer storm. Thunder and lightning. You could smell water in the air, but there was no rain. Every time the sky lit up, we thought the beef would be up and running. Long about 4:00 in the morning, one of the boys sneezed. That beef was up and running like the sneeze was dynamite. Now, you could say that sneeze started the stampede, but I wouldn’t.

PALADIN
What would you say, Marshal?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
I’d say those beef were all ready to run, and if it hadn’t been the sneeze, something else would’ve started them. Davy… he’s nothing but a sneeze.

PALADIN
Still, those cattle did have a reason to run.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
You think those men coming here don’t?

DAVY WALSH
For the love of mercy, gimme a drink! I need a drink! They’re not gonna get me outta here alive. I’m gonna die. I can feel it.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Roy Bissell will be riding lead horse. He’s a good man. Two years ago, I had to bring his youngest son in to hang.

PALADIN
That was your job.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
That’s right. Well, it catches up with you, Jeri. Sooner or later, it all catches up.

JERI MARCUS
Please, if you won’t make him give Davy up, help him get to Coleville.

PALADIN
Marshal, you want my help?

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
I need it.

PALADIN
You have it.

DAVY WALSH
Mister, he’s gonna gun me. Will you help me?

PALADIN
I know. I heard it.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Jeri, get on back in the kitchen and stay there.

JERI MARCUS
I love him!

PALADIN
Then you leave this door locked, if you love him.

DEPUTY
Hey, Bissell, I found their horses. They must be in there.

ROY BISSEL
Buell! Buell, you in there? Can you hear me, Buell? This is Roy Bissell!

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Roy, you go on back to town and take your hooligans with you.

ROY BISSEL
Jim, I did all the talking that I’m gonna do back in town! Now, you send Davy out here, and you send him out alive!

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Roy…Roy, listen first. You start firing at me,I’ll shoot Davy before you can kill me.

ROY BISSEL
Jim, where’s this all gonna end? You thought about that? Now, we’re coming in, and, Jim, I better find that boy alive! Go and shot through that window.

PALADIN
Well, they called your bluff.

DEPUTY
Mrs. Marcus. Mrs. Marcus, open the door.

JERI MARCUS
No.

DAVY WALSH
Mister!

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Buell!

JERI MARCUS
Roy, it’s over!

ROY BISSEL
Hold it, Buell. You too, mister. We’re the law.

JERI MARCUS
He is. It’s true.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
So this is the end of it, Roy.

ROY BISSEL
I’m afraid so, Jim.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Well, you can drag me down. I’m just a man. But you can’t drag down 23 years of good law.

ROY BISSEL
Jim, we didn’t drag down the law, you did. The first time was when you killed that drifter last January. How many others were there, Jim? Remember? And, Jim, Davy here was drunk when he shot at your jail, that’s all. Lately, you’ve begun to think that you are judge, jury, and hangman.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
He’s going to kill again. You know that.

PALADIN
Maybe.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
Well, what am I going to say to the family of the next man he kills?

ROY BISSEL
That won’t be your problem, Marshal. That will be another man’s. Now, Jim, give me the keys for this boy’s leg irons. Take those chains off of him, get him outside, get him ready to ride. I’m sorry, Jim.

MARSHAL JIM BUELL
They won’t understand.

PALADIN
They understand. And I understand. Twenty-three years of intimacy with the misery and madness of men, wrapping bodies in ponchos, and kicking dust over the blood, and telling a wife you just shot her husband, or a father that his son must hang, and telling yourself that the law will be done no matter what the personal pain, anguish. I understand that 23 years of anguish, torture can twist a man. The ironic thing, Marshal, is that only the very best survive long enough to break.

ROY BISSEL
Let’s go, Davy.

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