184-“Silent Death, Secret Death”

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Jack Laird.

Robert Emhardt as Sam Hodges / Courtney Burgess
John Holland as the Colonel
Michael Pate as Chief Tamasun
Russ Bender as Arthur – Beatrice’s Husband
Shug Fisher as Wilhoit
Regina Gleason as Beatrice – Burgess’ Sister
Mutiny’s a big word, Hodges, but panic I understand.But mutiny?
What gave Colonel Burgess life-and-death autonomy over these people?

INT. HOTEL CARLTON – DAY

BEATRICE BURGESS
It’s my brother Courtney, Mr. Paladin. He’s vanished. I want you to find him.
I don’t care what it costs. Find him.

HEY BOY
Drink?

BEATRICE BURGESS
No, thank you.

PALADIN
Thank you, no, Hey Boy. You suspect violence?

ARTHUR – BEATRICE’S HUSBAND
Hmm. With brother Courtney the victim? It’s hardly likely.

BEATRICE BURGESS
How can you say that?

ARTHUR – BEATRICE’S HUSBAND
Because I’ve encountered hundreds like him. This nation has produced a bumper crop.
The bad check fraternity, brotherhood of the I.O.U.

BEATRICE BURGESS
That’s not being fair!

ARTHUR – BEATRICE’S HUSBAND
I’m being honest! That’s what Mr. Paladin needs, honesty at this end…if not at the other.
The quick smile, the empty promise, the moist handshake, that’s what you look for.
And when you feel the sudden thrust of a knife between your shoulders, that’s when you know you’ve found Courtney Burgess.

BEATRICE BURGESS
My husband’s merchant mind fails to acknowledge that some men are born special,
destined for more than keeping ledgers.

ARTHUR – BEATRICE’S HUSBAND
It’s what she wants, Mr. Paladin. Give her what she wants.

BEATRICE BURGESS
Courtney wrote last from Sacramento to tell me he was heading north in search of the future. This time he said he was determined to make good for himself.

PALADIN
Well, I don’t see that you really need me at all, surely the Sacramento police.

BEATRICE BURGESS
I don’t think you understand, Mr. Paladin. Courtney disappeared seven years ago.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

EMMETT WILHOIT
Hot enough for you?

PALADIN
lt’ll do.

EMMETT WILHOIT
Emmett Wilhoit, Grand Rapids.

PALADIN
Paladin, San Francisco. Who shot you?

EMMETT WILHOIT
Indians, up trail. In case your going what way. It’ll be all right. A little rest is all I need.

PALADIN
Sure.

EMMETT WILHOIT
You best turn on back. They even burned old Burgess’ fort up ahead, so they say.

PALADIN
Burgess?

EMMETT WILHOIT
Know him?

PALADIN
I’ve been looking for him for two months.

EMMETT WILHOIT
Well, he ain’t hiding, not Colonel Burgess.

PALADIN
Colonel? Burgess never spent a day in the army in his life.

EMMETT WILHOIT
No, not our army, his own army. His own fort. This country’s his…unless the Indians take it back all from Colonel Burgess. They shoot good, too. You look out now.

PALADIN
Yeah. I’ll look out now.

PALADIN
Anybody here? Hello?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Uhh! You must be fond of that gun.

PALADIN
I’ve grown attached to it.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Are you going to kill me?

PALADIN
Should I?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
If you’re taking a ballot, I vote no. It’s the Colonel you’ve come for, I suppose?

PALADIN
Now how would you know that?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Well, mister, everybody comes looking for the Colonel. It’s a regional sport, like lacrosse.
He’d tell you so himself, if he weren’t presently indisposed.

PALADIN
That’s Courtney Burgess?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
What’s left of him. Me, I’m the ever-faithful Sam Hodges, the Colonel’s dog-robber.
Can I get up now?

PALADIN
This man isn’t drunk, he’s ill.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Typhoid.

PALADIN
Typhoid? That would account for the empty water barrels. But what about those three in the orderly room? Now typhoid didn’t take them out.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Would you believe it? Out of a company of 12, all but those three defected. You know, once nature turns on man, it’ ain’t but a hop, skip, and a jump until man turns on himself.

PALADIN
Why were they shot, and where are the others?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Well, it’s a long story. Have you got a minute?

PALADIN
Well, I do, but I’m not so sure about your Colonel.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
He’s not going anyplace. Chief Tamasun and his war party arrived ten days ago. They didn’t even bother to attack. They knew they didn’t have to. Thirst was on their side, thirst and fever.

PALADIN
What stirred them up?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Well, a slight misunderstanding between Tamasun and the Colonel. You know, when it comes to progress, you can depend on the Chief to be on the conservative side every time.
Well, the Colonel had only 12 men to keep order. There was near to 80 settles. They were rubbing each other raw. Food was running low, then the water turned. Six cases of typhoid in one day. Four of them buried out behind the stables. Yes, sir. That’s what started the mutiny. You know, it was just as if a mad dog had been set loose in the fort.
The Colonel tried to reason with them. They wouldn’t listen. They were going. There wasn’t nobody going to stop them. They’d rather take their chances with the Nez Perce Indians than stick and risk the fever.

PALADIN
Mutiny, Hodges? Mutiny’s a pretty strong word. Panic I can understand. But mutiny?
Against what? What gave the Colonel and his private militia life-or-death autonomy over those settlers?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
When Moses led his people out of Egypt, did anybody challenge his qualifications?

PALADIN
Well, that’s a pretty ambitious analogy.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Mister, when the Colonel came here, this was wilderness. Everything you see here he made happen. Because of a dream. When a man sets up housekeeping in another
man’s dream, the Colonel figured the landlord had the right to set up a few rules.

PALADIN
That’s fair enough, but what rules?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Colonel Burgess put a roof over their head, clothes on their back, vittles in their belly.
And if he taxed them, if he demanded strict obedience and a share of their crops, it was his rightful due.

PALADIN
And you stuck with him. Why? Typhoid doesn’t worry you?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Of course it worries me. But abandoning the Colonel to die alone, that worries me more.

PALADIN
You couldn’t take him with you?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Oh, the Indians. They let the others through. All they want is the Colonel.

PALADIN
Well, this man’s sick. He needs a doctor. He needs medicine.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
And folks in hell are needing ice water. Maybe there’s something in the stores,
I don’t know. We can see.

MAN
Don’t let them kill me!

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Now, nobody’s going to kill you, I promise.

MAN
Please, I don’t want to stay. Ask him to take me with him.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
When you’re better. You never did say who it was who sent you.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Was it Floyd Miniver, Denver Mine and Ore?

PALADIN
Nope.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Hope you brought a horse.

PALADIN
Only as far as the woods.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
I don’t hear anybody laying railroad track. How are you planning to bust out of here?

PALADIN
That’s a good question. How are you?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
As long as Tamasun doesn’t attack, there’s hope. I’m still alive.

PALADIN
Well, he knows this fort is unprotected. What’s holding him back?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
A healthy fear of typhoid. That’s my little ace. I ain’t played the big ace yet.

PALADIN
No horses, no water, 200 miles from nowhere, besieged by hostile Indians and fever.
What are you saving it for?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
You play your hand, I’ll play mine. Was it the Merchant Trust in Abilene?

PALADIN
Nope.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Luke Frost sent you.

PALADIN
Nope.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Then it was the Colbert brothers.

PALADIN
The way you keep rattling off names, one might get the impression that your Colonel had left a fairly spotty back trail.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
A man in a hurry’s bound to pick up a few enemies. You know, you don’t just plant a seed and up pops a fort. It takes planning, sweat.

PALADIN
Indian sweat?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Like the Colonel always says, it wasn’t kindness that built the pyramids.
So a few savages die. What of it? The end result, that’s what counts.

PALADIN
Apparently, Chief Tamasun doesn’t share your Colonel’s opinion.
Here’s some choral hydrate. That ought to ease his pain a little bit.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
What did they tell you about him?

PALADIN
They?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Whoever sent you.

PALADIN
They told me never to turn my back on him.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
On anyone, friend.

PALADIN
Now what is this going to buy you?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
One less complication.

PALADIN
Oh, no, you’re gonna need me before long, friend.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Against a hundred Nez Perce? Uh-uh. All I need is the Colonel. He’s my property.
Oh, no! If he’s killed, we’re finished! I knew it. Here he comes, the head man himself,
Tamasun. Stay away! This is my ace, and here’s where I play it!

CHIEF TAMASUN
Palau! Tamasun will talk.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
It took you long enough! All right, I’m listening! But talk fast! It’s hot out here!

CHIEF TAMASUN
Speak true, Ametsun. Plenty hot here. Tamasun make trade. Give us Oak Leaf chief, we go. No more blood.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
That’s no bargain.

CHIEF TAMASUN
Like maybe Tamasun burn fort, huh?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
You won’t do that. You want the Oak Leaf chief alive. The dirty heathens, they want to torture him!

CHIEF TAMASUN
Maybe Tamasun come get him.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Into the camp of the big fever? Not likely. Face it, Chief, your braves are bored and restless. For ten days they’ve been cooking in this hot sun. They want to get back to their squaws. Two ponies, a fresh supply of water, guaranteed safe passage, those are my terms.

CHIEF TAMASUN
For Oak Leaf chief?

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Signed, sealed and delivered.

CHIEF TAMASUN
You wait.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
I’m not going anywhere.
I told you I had the big ace!

PALADIN
You can’t turn this man over to them to be
tortured, no matter what he’s done.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Look at him. There’s not much
left of him.
A few minutes off his life,
that’s all I want to borrow.
The Colonel’s jacket’s
hanging in his office.
Get it.

PALADIN
Why stand on ceremony?
Just throw him out like he is.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
There’s a lot you don’t understand about Nez Perce logic. To them, the uniform is the authority. The same as a tribal chief’s known by his bonnet. It’s the uniform they want to punish. If I hung those oak leaves on your shoulder, you’d be the Colonel to them.
Now, you get that jacket before I take it
into my head to do just that.
You ain’t going nowhere.

PALADIN
Over here.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
All right, fun’s over!
Give me the jacket!

PALADIN
No sale.

SAM HODGES/COURTNEY BURGESS
Over your dead body then.
Awful place to shoot a man.

PALADIN
I’ve been hoping all day you wouldn’t force me do that, Mr. Burgess.

COURTNEY BURGESS
You knew. Was it Sy Ingersoll? Did he send you? You can’t let a fellow check out with a puzzlement on his mind.

PALADIN
It was your sister.

COURTNEY BURGESS
You’re supposed to bring me back.

PALADIN
No, she just wondered what was happening.
She was concerned.

COURTNEY BURGESS
I bet I know who it was who told you never to turn your back on me. That stiff-necked brother-in-law of mine. He always said I’d come to a bad end. This fort, this business, it wasn’t so bad.

PALADIN
Mr. Burgess, you and I are both near dead.

COURTNEY BURGESS
I got use for you yet. Give me the jacket. I got no time to argue! Put it on. Put it on. When you get back, and you better get back, mister, this is the part I want you to tell them.
Tell my brother-in-law the kind of end I came to. Do you understand?

PALADIN
I understand.

PALADIN
He’s dead!

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