197-“A Place for Abel Hix”

“A Place for Abel Hix”

Original Airdate:  (October 6, 1962)

Paladin arrives in a town for a job only to find that his prospective client was just shot dead.

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Don Ingalls, Story by John Kneubuhl.

Robert Blake as LauroLAURO
Paul Tripp as Reverend Harper
Jean Engstrom as Mrs. Hix
Kevin Hagen as Judd Bowman
Stewart East as Man
Bill Hart as Olney
Jerry Gatlin as Weaver
Hal Needham as Zimmer
Tom Sweet as Moon
Linda Cordova as Linda
Ethan Laidlaw as Townsman (uncredited)

EXT. IN TOWN – DAY

PALADIN
Tell me where I’ll find Abel Hix.

TOWNSMAN
Sure. Down there. Church.

PALADIN
Thank you.

REVEREND HARPER
Some of ye could help!

TOWNSMAN
Nobody’s going to help you, Reverend. I told you that.

REVEREND HARPER
Abel Hix deserves Christian burial, same as anyone.
Maybe so. But not alongside our loved ones. There’s plenty of open country hereabouts.

PALADIN
Reverend, I’ll give you a hand, if you like.

T
Mister! You’re a stranger here. Abel Hix was a gunman.
A killer. We didn’t want his kind in our valley. We don’t want yours.

PALADIN
How did Abel Hix die?

REVEREND HARPER
Shot.

PALADIN
Well, now, that’s very interesting. Just how do you classify the person who shot him?

MRS. HIX
Stop it! Can’t you even leave the dead in peace? If you would please just help us back inside. You rest easy, Judd Bowman. We won’t desecrate your holy ground.

MRS. HIX
I do thank you.

PALADIN
You’re Mrs. Hix?

MRS. HIX
Yeah.

PALADIN
Well, Mrs. Hix, your husband asked me to come here.

MRS. HIX
Who are you? Paladin? I don’t know what he could have wanted.

37
00:03:32,859 –> 00:03:33,883
Well, whatever it was, it can’t make any difference now.

39
00:03:35,295 –> 00:03:38,162
Well, we can’t be quite sure of that.

40
00:03:38,298 –> 00:03:40,095
I’ll be here when you decide what to do. You scoot for now, boy. Mr. Paladin, Bowman was at least right about one thing: there is no place in this town for a gunman.
Whatever his reason for being here.

PALADIN
Did that include Abel Hix, Reverend?

MRS. HIX
It included Abel Hix, Mr. Paladin. Reverend Harper tried hard to be fair; he’s a good man.
It’s just that there hasn’t been any trouble here for such a long time.

PALADIN
Mrs. Hix, who was the man you called Bowman?

MRS. HIX
He owns and rules everything around here, from his office in the back of the town saloon.

PALADIN
Mrs. Hix…who killed your husband?

MRS. HIX
Judd Bowman.

PALADIN
Mrs. Hix. How did it happen?

MRS. HIX
Mr. Bowman says Abel forced a fight…and that he just plain outdrew him.

PALADIN
No witnesses?

MRS. HIX
No. My husband was a very sick man, Mr. Paladin. And he picked this town to…get away from his reputation. Bought a few sheep. He tried very hard. Mr. Paladin, he hadn’t worn his guns for nearly two years. Why did he, on that last day?
Well, I…suppose that question deserves answering. It’ll take me some time. Where will I find you?

MRS. HIX
I’ll be at home. It’s at the far end of the street, around the corner. The house all by itself.

LAURO
Senor Paladin? I am Lauro. I watch the sheeps for Senor Hix.

PALADIN
Well, it’s an ancient and honorable profession, Lauro.

LAURO
Si. Senor Hix give me something to keep for you. He did not want the senora to know.

You come with me now?

PALADIN
I would say now is an appropriate time.

LAURO
You could wait here?

PALADIN
I can wait here.

LAURO
I hide this very careful.

P
“Paladin, I couldn’t show up in person to collect the money I put into these banks, but you can, and that’s what you’re hired to do. Give it all to my wife, except 1,000 to the church, because my wife loves it. 1,000 to Lauro…because I love him as the son I never had. And 1,000 to you as your fee. Abel Hix.”
Well, Lauro…Abel Hix loved you very much.

LAURO
Si. I was his friend.

PALADIN
Yeah. You were his friend. Will you keep these and my horse for me,  for now?

LAURO
Oh, si. Hasta luego.

PALADIN
Nos vemos.

PALADIN
Reverend, what can you tell me about Abel Hix?

Ah, you do follow a scent close, Mr. Paladin. Well… came here with his wife.
He was a sick man taking a long time dying. He didn’t talk about himself. And after a while, he was accepted here. Then, one day, a pair of drifters came through.
They recognized him. And all of a sudden, he had a past again.

PALADIN
And from then on, things changed.

R
Aye. Things changed.

PALADIN
Abel Hix left a will. In the will was a bequest of $1,000 to this church. I suspect he made that bequest because his wife loved this church and Abel Hix loved his wife.

R
Salt in the wounds of my conscience, Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
Perhaps a little, Reverend.

You said there was no room in your town for a gunfighter, and yet there was room in that gunfighter’s heart for love.

A man grows old. And the fruits of his labor sometimes become more important than the work itself.

PALADIN
Reverend, it seems to me that Mrs. Hix deserves to hear that said. Um…one more thing, Reverend. Judd Bowman never saw the day he could outdraw Abel Hix in a fair fight. Things being what they are, what I do about that will be Mrs. Hix’s decision.
I told you once I didn’t want you in our valley. Will you be leaving now?

PALADIN
“Our valley,” Mr. Bowman? Their valley? Or is it only your valley, your people, your will be done?

I’d hoped you’d be a reasonable man.

PALADIN
Friend, will you excuse me?
Take him to the edge of town. Don’t kill him. Just come within an inch of it.

LAURO
The bones of your head are very sound, senor. Like the granite beneath Guadalajara.

PALADIN
Ah…

LAURO
Oh, I think you better don’t get up yet.

PALADIN
How’d I get here?

LAURO
I bring you. In the wheelbarrow. After the mens leave you on the trail.

PALADIN
Right. I think you’re right, I…better not try to get up.

LAURO
I fix you hot food, to give you strength.

PALADIN
Oh, you cook, too, huh?

LAURO
Oh, si. It’s almost ready.

PALADIN
Esta falda de cordero?
No.
Oh.

Las chuletas?

LAURO
Oh, por favor, senor. As the protector of the sheeps, how could I eat them? No. Estas gallina suprema.

PALADIN
Chicken supreme.

LAURO
Si.

I take it then, you’re not a protector of chickens.

LAURO
Oh, no. That’s the work for the womens. I do a man’s work, señor.

PALADIN
And where does such a man come by the ingredients for chicken supreme?

LAURO
Heaven provides, señor. Ah. What you do now, señor?

PALADIN
Well…I seem to be missing a holster and a gun or two I’d like to recover.

LAURO
It’s better to lose your gun than your life.

PALADIN
Like Abel Hix?

LAURO
Si. You’re very much like him. Oh, that’s a good thing, señor.
But you’re not old. You’re not sick. It’s enough to see one such man die.

PALADIN
Lauro… how did he die?

LAURO
A most wondrous thing, señor. In the back of the saloon is Senor Bowman’s office,
also room for storage.

PALADIN
And the back door?

LAURO
Si.

PALADIN
They say that in the barrancas east of Guadalajara, a brave man can catch himself a lion whose pelt will keep him warm in the winter and whose teeth will drive away the lesser ones.

LAURO
How you know that?

PALADIN
Is it true?

LAURO
Si. Not only lion, also have tiger. But tiger’s not so much courage.

PALADIN
Well, Lauro, you and I are just about to catch ourselves four such tigers.
Bye.
We’ll see you, Moon.

LAURO
Linda? Oye, Linda.
You want to buy this belt?

LAURO
Well, I don’t know. I have plenty moneys here. Oh, señor, mire.

PALADIN
Now, Lauro…if you were to lead him on a trail of money to this spot…Claro?

Clarisimos.
Aye!
What are you doing, chili picker?

LAURO
Oh, maybe it’s my patron saint. He throw it from heaven. Maybe just a rich man with a hole in his pocket. More moneys! Oh, so rich! Look all this moneys I have here. Oh, look at the moneys.
Hey, wait a minute!

LAURO
Where you are? I don’t see no more moneys. Ah. Oh, you find one, huh?
Hey! Help!
Let me down!

LAURO
What’s the matter?
Hey! What are you doing?! Let me down! Come on! What… what are you gonna do?! Hey! You better let me down from here! Whoa!
I think I’ll get a little shut-eye. Tell Bowman where I’m at if he wants me, okay? – Okay.

LAURO
Hola, señor. You, sir, are a miserable whelp, which my faithful sheepdog would not mother. Gracias. Oh. Hey, toro!

LAURO
Olé! Hey! Oh! Hello, Mr. Horse. You’re pretty nice. Oh, yeah. You’re a very good horse. Oh, I think…I think you better come with me, horse. Oh, yeah, I like you.
Hey, kid, get away from that horse.

LAURO
Oh, he’s my horse, mister.
Oh, no, he ain’t.

PALADIN
Lauro, we have captured our fourth tiger, and I think you’d better replace this step.

LAURO
Oh, muy bueno.

Listo.

PALADIN
Vamos.

LAURO
Oh, please, sir, it’s somebody here to see you. Now, please.

JUDD BOWMAN
What is it?

PALADIN
Oh, yes, they did a very neat job on me. Very neat indeed. Now get over there.

JUDD BOWMAN
What do you want?

PALADIN
The truth.

JUDD BOWMAN
Such as?

PALADIN
Sick to death, tired to exhaustion with two broken arms, Abel Hix could outdraw you 60 times every hour if it was a fair fight.

JUDD BOWMAN
Well, he didn’t. He didn’t outdraw me.

PALADIN
Bowman, I asked you for the truth. Somebody saw that fight. Lauro. Now, the truth is that Bowman wanted Abel Hix to leave this town, and finally, one day, he met Hix face to face. Hix had a gun on him for the first time in two years. He smiled at Bowman, and he said, “Now’s your chance.” Bowman drew, but before he could even clear leather, Hix had his gun on him. But Hix didn’t fire. Bowman did. And when Hix went down from the shot, he smiled at Bowman. And then, for a few seconds, he knelt there as if he were praying. And then he died. Now, I believe that Abel Hix was praying. I believe he was a man who was tired of dying an inch at a time. And I do believe he found your real talent, Bowman, as an executioner.

JUDD BOWMAN
No! That’s not the way it happened. You’re not going to believe him. That boy.

PALADIN
Abel Hix was the fastest man with a gun who ever lived. He was faster than I am.
So I should be very easy for you. Lauro.

JUDD BOWMAN
There’s no reason…

PALADIN
Will you draw that gun?

R
There’ll be no question now where Abel Hix is to be buried.

PALADIN
Thank you, Reverend. Mrs. Hix, should you need me again, you send for me. Lauro.

LAURO
You will go now, huh?

PALADIN
I think so, Lauro. My business is finished here.

LAURO
Oh.

PALADIN
You’ll be staying.

LAURO
Oh, si. Who would watch the sheeps? Who would love my pretty hills?

PALADIN
“To him, who in the love of nature, holds communion with her visible forms, she speaks a various language.”

LAURO
Oh, si. I understand.

PALADIN
Then shall we go find my horse?

LAURO
Si.

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