182-“Alice”

Original Airdate:  (March 17, 1962)

 The daughter of “Blue Dollar Alice” asks Paladin to help locate her mother, last known to be running a saloon in Codeyville, Arizona. The daughter believes that her mother made money in cattle and silver, but the Codeyville banker declares that Alice died penniless. A suspicious Paladin decides to investigate further.

Directed by Gary Nelson, Written by Gene Roddenberry.

Jena Engstrom as Maya FergusonMAYA FERGUSON
Richard Shannon as Morgan
Perry Cook as Mr. Briggs
William Stevens as ReverendREVEREND
Mary Gregory as Mrs. Briggs
Chuck Couch as Kincaid
Wayne Burson as Man
Joe Yrigoyen as Driver
Katie Regan as Young Lady
Jeanette Nolan as Alice
Herschel Graham as Townsman (uncredited)
Hans Moebus as Hotel Guest (uncredited)
Tony Regan as Desk Clerk (uncredited)

Your type of woman isn’t strong enough to face wolves
and sweat and death, Maya, but your mother could
let men cry in her arms and make them laugh again.

PALADIN
I beg your pardon.

PASSING LADY
Good evening, Paladin.

PALADIN
Good evening. Oh, I can see from that look on your face that you’re looking for what you think is a real gunman. Leather britches and fringed shirt, and two guns down somewhere around his knees. Paladin, uncouthly and savagely at your service.

MAYA FERGUSON
Well, I, uh…I’m Alice Ferguson’s daughter Maya. You must know her. She gave me this card years ago, and told me that if I ever needed help, I was to come to you. I believe some people knew her as Blue Dollar Alice.

PALADIN
I see. Um…Your mother never used a last name, nor did she ever mention a daughter.

MAYA FERGUSON
Well, she sent me East to school when I was a child. She never let me visit Arizona.
I guess she was just too busy with her mines and ranches.

PALADIN
Hmm. Well, Miss Ferguson, what kind of help do you need?

MAYA FERGUSON
We’ve lived a life as mother and daughter through our letters.
And lately, they’ve been changed, and the money has stopped.

PALADIN
Have you been to Codyville?

MAYA FERGUSON
Yes. She wasn’t there. No one in Codyville even knew her name.

PALADIN
Well, I’ll ask the desk to arrange for our transportation.

MAYA FERGUSON
Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
Yes, ma’am?

MAYA FERGUSON
You will agree to remember at all times, please, that I’m a lady.

PALADIN
Well, your mother knew something that apparently they are not teaching young ladies in the schools in the East these days. The quickest way to bring out the worst out in a man is to make certain that it’s there.

MAYA FERGUSON
One more thing. My mother never mentioned that name before her last letter, Blue Dollar Alice. I want you to tell me what it means.

PALADIN
Well, it meant a number of things. And you and I will discuss it in Codyville.

EXT. ON THE STAGECOACH – DAY

MAYA FERGUSON
I could have told you they closed all their saloons. I hope that doesn’t spoil your trip.

45
00:04:19,973 –> 00:04:22,441
Back again, Miss Ferguson? Won’t take no for an answer, huh?

PALADIN
We’ll have the two best rooms available, please.

48
00:04:27,814 –> 00:04:29,338
Yes, sir.

PALADIN
Well, Codyville has changed. Last time I was here, the town was half tents, cattle in the streets, miners, trail hands crowding the saloons, stabbings and shootings.
Well, we, uh, growed out of that. We got law and order now. No guns worn in the street.
Mean it. Just a word to the wise, you know.

PALADIN
Well, that’s a very good rule, if your sheriff can enforce it.
Oh, it ain’t just him, the whole town. Well, I’ll get your bags.

MAYA FERGUSON
I didn’t realize you had been here before.

PALADIN
Your mother hired me to come to Codyville some years ago. She wanted me to kill a man. But what she wanted was murder, and I had to refuse.

MAYA FERGUSON
You’re a liar.

PALADIN
Later, she was very happy that I had refused, and we became very good friends.
My mother wouldn’t have considered killing for a moment. She was good and kind. I could see it in her letters. She wrote me every week, long, beautiful letters on the meaning of life and of goodness and of the rules she wanted me to live by.
My mother’s letters, Mr. Paladin, not my schooling were what made me a lady.
No. Her business may have been cattle and silver ore, but those letters came from a lady, a very great lady. And you ask me to believe she’d hire a…

P
She was a most remarkable woman.
You go on in. I’ll be right there.

M
Uh…I don’t recognize the name Paladin, sir. But your face, I wonder if we’ve met before.
I’m Eli Morgan. I own the bank here. I heard the young lady was looking for someone.
I thought I might be able to help.

P
Her mother, Mr. Morgan. A woman known as Blue Dollar Alice.

M
Oh, I’m sorry to bear this news, but she passed away several months ago.

PALADIN
Now I find that hard to believe.

M
I could hardly be mistaken, sir.
I probated the estate.

PALADIN
Without notifying her daughter?

M
We had no record of any relatives.

PALADIN
Where is she buried?
An unmarked grave. The few things she owned hardly covered her debts.

P
Strange. Nobody else mentioned the death of Blue Dollar Alice.

M
Perhaps they were trying to spare the girl’s feelings. She’ll be tortured less by a mother who never was than by the truth.

PALADIN
And what is your version of the truth?

M
Blue Dollar Alice was a dirty, evil, immoral woman. If you don’t know the facts, sir, and you have a good strong stomach, I’d be most happy to give them to you.

P
Was the burial service conducted by the local minister?

M
Is there any reason why you can’t take my word?

P
One. You’re a liar.

REVEREND
If he asks me, Eli, I’ll have to tell him the truth.

M
Alice’s daughter, this Paladin, you give them that and they’ll have the power to ruin nearly every man who sat in your congregation this morning. They fought to build a good town, Reverend. They’ve brought in good women and they’re raising families, and they’ll kill to keep all that.

REVEREND
Come in, please.

PALADIN
Reverend Bigley? My name is Paladin.

REVEREND
Yes, I know.

PALADIN
Well…Well, in that case, I won’t take up too much of your time.
I’d like the answer to a very simple question.

REVEREND
I’m afraid we’ll have to reach one agreement first, Mr. Paladin. Codyville is now a town without guns. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave yours with me as long as you’re visiting here.

PALADIN
Well, I had heard about the rule, but I had also presumed that the sheriff would collect the guns. You’re a very unusual man, Reverend. I’ll reserve the right to reclaim these
should I find that any of your lambs have claws.

REVEREND
And now? The woman called Blue Dollar Alice. What is your interest in her?

PALADIN
She was a friend.

REVEREND
That doesn’t tell me much.

PALADIN
Well, Reverend, I think if you look in your Bible, you’ll find that it says a good deal on the subject.

REVEREND
I doubt if I need instruction on love and friendship, Mr. Paladin, especially from a man who lives by the gun…or claims friendship with that kind of woman.

PALADIN
Reverend, the man whose teachings you profess to follow was not above forgiving that kind of woman, calling her His sister. You know, this is a very strange thing. I had thought that the answer to all this was relatively simple. Codyville has achieved respectability. It’s enjoying it, enjoying it so much that it wants to forget its past.
And the surest way to do that is to obliterate the memory of the one woman who represents everything the town once was. But obviously the answer is much more complicated than that.

REVEREND
If it were only a question of a few prudish people trying to pretend immorality never existed here, the answer would be quite simple. You’re right, Mr. Paladin. It’s much more complicated than that.

PALADIN
Reverend, wasn’t it MacCaulay who said “There is a universal solvent that dissolves
all riddles. Its name is truth”?

REVEREND
You place me in a terribly difficult position, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Well, Reverend, Maya Ferguson is undergoing some torture herself.
That girl would like to know whether her mother is alive or dead.

REVEREND
Alive and safe. I can’t withhold that from her own daughter.

P
Thank you.
Can you tell me where to find her?

WOMAN
Miss Ferguson? We’ve come to explain something to you about your mother that ain’t very pleasant for you. Mr. Morgan was all for coming himself, but I said let it be between us women. Come sit down.

M
Mr. Paladin. I, uh, have a confession I’d like to make. I’m ashamed to say it, but I lied to you earlier today.

P
Morgan, you’ve lied to me more than once. The first time was some years ago. It wasn’t Morgan then, it was Ferguson. It is amazing to me the things a woman will love.
A miserable man that wiped off her tables and swept her floors.

M
You’re lying.

P
So ashamed of his wife that he insisted the marriage be kept a secret, but not too ashamed to take her money.

M
You can’t prove any of this. No one will believe you.

P
And when you drained her for everything you could, you discovered respectability. Why do you suppose she kept the marriage a secret? She was more ashamed of it than you ever could have been.

M
You’re the one who came that night.

P
To kill you. Alice and I both made a mistake, Eli.

M
I’ll take you to see her, Mr. Paladin. It’s this way. It’s a small house around on the back street. See, she kept insisting upon…

PALADIN IS KNOCKED OUT

DRIVER
Hyah! Hyah!

P
Now, Maya, your mother is alive.

MAYA FERGUSON
I’m not interested.

DRIVER
Freeze it, cowboy, Nobody takes a passenger out of this coach.

P
You’re going to hear it, Maya. You’re going to hear it just the way it happened and then you can go wherever you like. Your mother owned this entire block. And her pride and joy…was this wheel in this saloon. The Blue Dollar. The only honest wheel in this entire territory. She was honest, Maya. Above everything else, she was honest with herself and with everybody she dealt with.

MAYA FERGUSON
I know what she was, Paladin,.
You can talk for days
without changing that!

P
Now you listen to me. What is evil in a place with white picket fences and starched curtains can be something entirely different in a place where there is nothing but mud and men and aching backs and loneliness!
Come here. I want to show you something.
Come on! Now I want to tell you what it is you’ve got to be ashamed of.
Your mother came here at a time when there was no other woman
within 500 miles.

MAYA FERGUSON
And opened a saloon.

P
That’s right, a saloon where a man could
have a drink and play cards.

MAYA FERGUSON
And meet over-painted women?

PALADIN
Well, Maya, I don’t think you would have been strong enough to face the wolves and the sweat and the death. Your mother loved those dirty, ugly men. Loved them, cared for them, mended their rips, let them cry on her arms when their friends were killed and then she made them laugh again.

MAYA FERGUSON
Oh, she dispensed laughter. Yes, that does sound a little better, doesn’t it?

P
Compassion was her product. Does that education she bought you include that word, compassion?

MAYA FERGUSON
She was a woman who did wrong!

P
Perhaps, by your standards. And it may even be that those are the right standards for today. But she never did evil.

MAYA FERGUSON
Why do they hate her?

P
Well, Maya…a town grows something like a man. A young town, like children, can do savage, foolish things. Alice knows which man stole from which, who killed whom, which was the liar, thief, the cheat.

MAYA FERGUSON
They trusted her once. Why should they be afraid now?

P
Well, I think if we knew the answer to that, we might know what’s become of her.

M
We tried, Mr. Paladin. We tried.
Aah!

247
00:20:02,414 –> 00:20:04,939
Hey! Where are you going with that?
Hey! There’s mud in those barrels!

P
Reverend, once again I thank you.

R
When our lambs grow claws, Mr. Paladin, then a wolf has need of his teeth.
I’ll take you to Alice now.

A
Hello, Paladin.

P
Hello, Alice.

A
Eli Morgan just tried to shotgun me. Proceeded to blow himself to pieces.
Gentlemen, it’s been a some time since you paid me a visit.

REVEREND
She’s been comfortable here. But we’ve been wrong. I should never have allowed it to happen.

P
Why did you, Reverend? Why did you allow these people to keep that woman a prisoner?

M
The book. She could have ruined us all!

A
This is all they wanted. They knew I’d written a book. My memoirs you might say.
When I wouldn’t tear it up, they feared the worst.

K
And it is all in there, isn’t it?

A
Yes, Mr. Kincaid.

B
You see? We can’t let her out with it.

A
Briggs, what are you ashamed of? I remember a night when you were as brave as a wildcat and had a whole alley full of maimed and injured to show it, just because they knew your wife was no schoolteacher. Oh, you were a terror.

P
That one?

A
Every man is half hero, half scared little boy.

P
Hmm.

A
A woman who wants to be a real woman always forgets the second part.

P
Alice, I think there’s somebody here that you should meet.

A
I know.

P
Now I find true that better is by evil still made better. And ruined love when it is built anew grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater. So I returned rebuked to my content and gain by ill thrice more than I have spent.

 

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