193-“The Knight”

Directed by Fred Jackman Jr., Written by John D.F. Black.

Jay Novello as Otto Von Albrecht
Jean Inness as Pegine
Will Corry as Carl Frome
Charles Kuenstle as Waco
Nick Borgani as Townsman (uncredited)
Herschel Graham as Hotel Guest (uncredited)
Bert Madrid as Townsman (uncredited)
Murray Pollack as Hotel Guest (uncredited)
Clark Ross as Hotel Guest (uncredited)
Sid Troy as Townsman (uncredited)
These people are not peasants.
They take their living from a very hard,
a very demanding land.

PALADIN
You know, it’s a very good thing that nature did not give you as much brains as she did beauty because then you would both be geniuses instead of the most attractive…

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
I understand you undertake certain types of employment, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Under certain conditions, yes.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Good. I am Otto Von Albrecht. I have a title… meaningless here, of course.
I wish you to find a man for me. May I talk to you in private?

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
As I said, Mr. Paladin, I wish you to find a man for me.

PALADIN
Who and why?

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Sir, my reasons are personal, and between gentlemen, I fervently hope that you will permit them to remain so. If your reputation is not distorted, I’m sure I can convince you
that this man should be found, quite apart from any personal motive I may have. If you are a connoisseur, you will recognize its value even with the naked eye. You may keep it as your fee.

PALADIN
You want this man very badly.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Now, to the man himself. Carl Frome. He has killed a dozen people. He is not only corrupt, but he is a corrupter as well. I have here a letter written by him only a month ago, postmarked Parrish, New Mexico. Also, there are newspaper clippings, posters issued for his arrest, sufficient proof of what he is.

PALADIN
Hm. All right, Mr. Von Albrecht, I can see from these that Carl Frome is a man who should be brought to justice. There is, however, one condition…I do not simply hire myself out to dispense justice with a gun.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
I do not intend that you should. We will leave in the morning, then. Do not let these alarm you, Mr. Paladin. When I am on a horse, its legs become mine. I rode before I walked.

PALADIN
While other men had first to crawl, hm?

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
You are a paradox, Sir Paladin…a gentlemen knight who risks lance and life for people he dislikes… or even hates…to get enough money to pamper his expensive tastes.
At the very best, or least, my dear Paladin, you are a spiritual assassin.

PALADIN
You do take advantage of your years, old man.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
I take every advantage, and why not? I am the creation of all the Von Albrechts who ever lived. In a sense, I’m 600-years old. Six centuries of breeding and tradition.

PALADIN
Well, when the meek finally do inherit the earth, my very strong conviction is that none of your bloodline will flow in the veins of the property owners. Excuse me. Ladies, do study your chess. Do.

EXT. A TOWN – DAY

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
A fit and filthy little town.

PALADIN
Today, yes. Once, it was something quite different.

WACO
You fast with that thing, mister?

PALADIN
Well, not quite as fast as you are with that door, son.

INT.

PALADIN
Hello? Anybody there?

WACO
S-See, Mama? Two of them, like I told you.

PEGINE
I got eyes.

PALADIN
We’d like a room, please.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
I suggest we make certain inquiries first.

PALADIN
First, I will have a hot meal and a bath…if that can be arranged.

PEGINE
Sure, the room and the hot meal, anyway. The bathing will have to be on your own.

PALADIN
Well, it usually is.

PEGINE
No cooking done here. You can get it at the cantina down the street. I run that, too.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
The room, please.

PEGINE
Waco, see to their horses. This way.

INT. ROOM

PEGINE
You want any more, the well’s out back.

PALADIN
Thank you.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Woman, we are looking for a man who calls himself Carl Frome.

PEGINE
Ain’t none of my business who you’re looking for, mister.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
I know he’s here or he’s been here. All we want from you is where to find him.
You can keep your impudence!

PALADIN
Mr. Von Albrecht.

PEGINE
If this old Billy goat’s your Pa, you’d do well to learn him some manners.

PALADIN
These people are not peasants. They take their living from a very hard, a very demanding land. That means they have strength, fortitude, and some amount of pride.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

INT. CANTINA

PEGINE
Where’s the old coot?

PALADIN
The old coot is resting.

PEGINE
Help yourself.

PALADIN
Thank you. Now about Carl Frome.

PEGINE
Look, mister, this ain’t much for a town anymore, but I make my living here, so I mind my own business.

PALADIN
I see. What about you gentlemen? I’m looking for a man named Carl Frome.
Thank you. Well, I guess that’s all for now. If you’d just get that food ready…

PEGINE
Sure. Food’s my business. I’ll bring it over at the hotel.

PALADIN
Thank you very much.

CARL FROME
Peg. The other one, the old coot…what’s he like?

PEGINE
Ooh, different, like a play actor. Stiff, snooty, treats people like they was his servants.

CARL FROME
Does he walk with canes?

PEGINE
Yeah. Fact is, he does.

WACO
Mr. Carl…you gonna do more practice shootin’ today?

CARL FROME
No. Say, Waco, I’ve got something for you. Come here.

INT. PALADIN’S ROOM

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Now, it is time you earned your fee, Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
That’s agreed…providing your democratic attitude hasn’t alienated the entire population.

KNOCK AT DOOR –

PALADIN
Oh, I’ll clean that up for you. Oh…Madam…Madam, you could save us considerable effort.
Carl Frome is a cold-blooded killer. He’s taken the lives of 12 human beings.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
And would take yours, too, if he thought it would profit him.

PEGINE
What you say a man is, don’t make it so.

PALADIN
In this case, it does. Is he here?

PEGINE
I mind my own business. That’s the decent and human thing to do.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Carl Frome is neither decent nor human.

PEGINE
I mind my own business.

PALADIN
If you know Carl Frome, this is your business.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Listen to me, please. This man uses people coldly without compassion. He knows no loyalty, no gratitude. In him there is no capacity to love, to pity, but only to take, destroy, murder.

PALADIN
Is he here?

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
I know this man. He’s ugly, twisted inside. He lives only to destroy,
if not with a gun or a knife, then by twisting the decency in other people
until they become warped, like himself.

PEGINE
Fancy words, but it’s only your say so.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
You said they were not peasants. Well, they still have not learned the difference between loyalty and stupidity.

PEGINE
I’ll be needing your room. I’ll thank you to be gone by morning.

PALADIN
If he’s here, we’ll find him.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Yes, let us find Carl Frome.

PALADIN
You all right?

PEGINE
That was a shot gun.

PALADIN
Yes, ma’am.

PEGINE
Who..

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
It was meant for me. Are assassins who shoot from ambush also none of your concern?

PALADIN
This wasn’t Carl Frome, Mr. Von Albrecht, at least not in person.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
What do you mean? Say it.

PALADIN
I saw the person who did that…just a glimpse.

PEGINE
Who?

PALADIN
Your son.

PEGINE
Liar!

PALADIN
No. No, I don’t lie.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

PEGINE
Anybody could have took it. But why? Waco’s never been bad. Well, he isn’t as bright as other boys his age, but he’s always been good. Remembering his pa… I saw to that.

PALADIN
If somebody your son liked and trusted told him to do this, perhaps even bribed him…

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Yes, it is like Carl.

PALADIN
Right now your son is probably frightened, probably hiding with the man who sent him.
Where?

PEGINE
Maybe… Maybe you’re wrong.

PALADIN
Maybe. Let’s find out.

PEGINE
Waco plays in there, calls it his secret place.
Even if he did the shooting, he’s not to blame. Do you understand?

PALADIN
I have no intention of harming your son. If he’s in there, get him out.

PEGINE
He’ll come out for me. Waco? Waco, are you in there?

WACO
What do you want, Mama?

PEGINE
Give me the shotgun, boy. You did do it. Why?

PALADIN
You know why. Waco…what did Carl pay you to shoot the old man?

WACO
Carl said it’d be all right. Everybody tells me what to do, slaps me.
Carl treats me good. He’s my friend. Now see what you did?

PALADIN
Waco… Waco…Waco…is Carl in there?

WACO
Why, of course he is.

PALADIN
Come on, let’s get the pennies. You get him out of the way. You keep him out of the way.

PEGINE
Frome! Frome! I want you!

PALADIN
Old man, you hold this gun? Just keep him here.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
It’s been a long, long time, Carl.

PALADIN
Well, I’m sure that’s extremely painful, but I think it’ll be all right. There a doctor in this town?

TOWNSMAN (O.S.)
Yes, sir.

PALADIN
Well, go and get him. Not minding one’s own business can be the most important thing one ever does.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
It was something I had to do, Paladin. When he was very young, he was a choirboy. 600 years for this…the hope of a great name destroyed…dead in the dirt of a strange land. Now, I am the very last of the Von Albrechts. Do you understand what I am saying?

PALADIN
“Well may the children weep before you. They know the grief of man, without its wisdom, They sink in man’s despair, without its calm.”

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
Whose fault, Paladin?

PALADIN
That’s a question each man will have to answer for himself.

OTTO VON ALBRECHT
For your sake, I am sorry, boy.

PALADIN
Old man, those words came just about 600 years too late.