198-“Beau Geste”

Season 6, Episode 5 – Original Airdate:  (October 13, 1962)

<= 197 – “A Place for Abel Hix == Bird of Time” – 199 =>

A sheriff who’s about to retire refuses Paladin’s help against a group of gunmen.

Directed by Fred Jackman Jr., Written by Harold Jack Bloom.

PAUL RICHARDS as Sheriff John Dobbs
(The Chase, 1959) as Breck
FAITH DOMERGUE as Ria – Mexican Woman
(The Black Bull, 1963) as Elena Ybarra
RAYMOND GUTH as Turkey Tate – Gunman
HENRY BECKMAN as Les Horgan – Gunman
JOHN HALE as Jake Condos – Gunman
BRAD LOGAN as Barney – Blacksmith
NORMAN PABST as Willie – Bartender

EXT. TOWN – DAY

PALADIN
Tell me where I’d find Sheriff Dobbs this time of day.

BARNEY – BLACKSMITH
He ain’t around here; that’s all I can tell you.

PALADIN
You trying to tell me something more?

BARNEY – BLACKSMITH
You ain’t the only one coming to town asking after the sheriff.

PALADIN
Those be some of the other?

BARNEY – BLACKSMITH
Two of ’em. Another rode into town a while ago. I expect there’ll be more before 9:00 tomorrow morning. That’s when the sheriff turns in his badge.

PALADIN
Will you see my horse is cared for?

BARNEY – BLACKSMITH
What time do you want him?

PALADIN
Be shortly after 9:00 tomorrow.

EXT. BACK LOT

LES HORGAN
You looking for someone?

PALADIN
Probably the same man you are.

TURKEY TATE
You must mean Dobbs, yeah?

PALADIN
That could be.

LES HORGAN
Well, then. No need to pussyfoot with us, friend. I’m Les Horgan, my friend here’s Turkey Tate.

PALADIN
Paladin. What’s all this shooting about?

TURKEY TATE
Oh, we’re just passing the time. Them two colts want to get to their mamas. Now, the first man that cuts his rope wins a dollar. If we both cut a rope, the first colt that gets to his mama is the winner.

PALADIN
And if you hit a colt?

TURKEY TATE
You lose.

LES HORGAN
What you got to settle with Dobbs?

PALADIN
Nothing personal; I never met the man.

TURKEY TATE
You might have to wait in line. Jake Condos rolled into town this morning. Dobbs killed his two brothers a year ago, when he was trying to rob the Express office. He’s faster than a snake, that Condos.

PALADIN
Well, I have heard that a man couldn’t be faster than Dobbs.

LES HORGAN
Oh, once maybe. Nobody’s tried him in more than a year now. He sure ain’t gonna be fast enough with Condos and me and Turkey, and, uh, maybe you, all coming at him at the same time.

PALADIN
Well, now, I just don’t believe I’m gonna let it happen that way.

LES HORGAN
What do you mean?

PALADIN
I’ve been hired to deal with Dobbs. Somebody else gets to him first, I ride out of this town, my pockets just as empty as when I rode in. Go on.

EXT. SHERIFF’S HOME

PALADIN
Hello? I was told I could find the sheriff here…Mr. Dobbs?
(Paladin asks her again in Spanish)

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
I speak English.

PALADIN
Well, fine, then; you heard me the first time.

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
Wait here.

PALADIN
Mr. Dobbs?

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Yeah.

PALADIN’S CARD

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
This supposed to mean something to me?

PALADIN
Well, not if you have to ask. Someplace we can talk privately?

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Ria, uh, finish up out here. Come on.
Well, now, uh… what’s on your mind, Mister, um…

PALADIN
Paladin. It was on the card.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Oh, yeah, yeah, I guess it was.

PALADIN
You tying that gun down for my benefit?

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Well, I have to believe that you’re the stranger who stopped by the blacksmith’s barn and talked to those other two fellas.

PALADIN
Sheriff…there are a number of men in this town who are here for the express purpose of killing you as soon as you take that badge off. Why do you take it off?

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
I got to someday, but, um, look, it’s no business of yours now, is it?

PALADIN
Yes, it is. Yes, indeed it is. “Sheriff John Dobbs to Resign. John Dobbs, known as the West’s fastest draw lawman has announced his retirement after 15 years of facing down gunmen and outlaws. Local citizens fear trouble from relatives and friends of men who have fallen before Dobbs’s gun. Soon after Dobbs announced he was laying down his badge, strangers began drifting into town.” I received this…and some money.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Who sent it?

PALADIN
I don’t know. Probably a friend of yours; a friend here in this town who’s afraid to stand up with you now.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Or maybe somebody who wants to make sure that I’m dead tomorrow.

PALADIN
Now, I told those two men that they had to give me the first shot at you.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
All right, just leave us alone. It’ll be… it’ll be all right. Now, what were you saying?

PALADIN
I said I told those two men they had to give me the first crack at you.
If they wanted it, they’d have to fight me for it.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Well, maybe you were telling them the truth.

PALADIN
You want to kill somebody?

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
I don’t want to kill anybody unless I’m forced to.

PALADIN
Well, if I can convince those two to give me the first crack at you, I may be able to save their lives, as well as yours.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
But that would still mean that you’d be coming at me, don’t it?

PALADIN
That’s right. You win the draw and you shoot to miss.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
You know, now, I don’t know whether you’re a fool or if you’re just taking me for one. But let me tell you this. Now if you throw down at me, either tomorrow or anytime, you better be quick and you better be straight. You can, you can tell your friends the same thing, hm?

PALADIN
Sheriff, I’m gonna find the man who sent me the money. I’m gonna jam the money in his ear, and then I’m gonna stand there and watch you get your stubborn head shot right off.

LES HORGAN
That’s the guy, Jake.

[Paladin motions for the Bartender to come to him]

WILLIE – BARTENDER
Yeah?

PALADIN
You a friend of the sheriff’s?

WILLIE – BARTENDER
I’ve talked to him, sure, but…

PALADIN
Storm or fair weather, innkeeper. You tell it around that Paladin wants to give back the money that was sent to him.

WILLIE – BARTENDER
Tell who?

PALADIN
You just tell it around. The right man will know what you mean, and I’ll have some of your whiskey.

WILLIE – BARTENDER
Sure.

JAKE CONDOS
On me, Willie.

PALADIN
If the gentleman will have one on me.

JAKE CONDOS
My name is Condos, Jake Condos.

PALADIN
Paladin.

JAKE CONDOS
To the man who kills Dobbs. You’re not drinking.

PALADIN
Nope.

JAKE CONDOS
You disappoint me, gunfighter.

PALADIN
One whiskey, Willie. I’ll drink alone.

[]

PALADIN
Now I can make a nickel putting a bullet through your head. Don’t waste my time. Just unbuckle the gun belt. Now crawl out of it. I can drag you out of it. All right, now, you two. Add you guns to the kitty…right there.
Now I have one more argument with you people and you won’t be able to talk it afterwards.

PALADIN
Ria? Easy now, ooh, we’re just gonna talk about it.

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
You’ll kill me first, you hear? I swear I’ll kill you.

PALADIN
Now, it’s Dobbs you’re afraid for.
Where is he?

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
Away. With a prisoner.

PALADIN
Ria…I believe that you sent this to me. Now, how long did it take you to save ten dollars? A year? Two years?

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
What difference does it make? I sent for you to help him, and you talk just like the rest. How do you think I feel for that? How?

PALADIN
Does Dobbs know? Does Dobbs know that you’d kill for him? Or die?

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
That’s not important.

PALADIN
Ria…Ria, sit down. Sit down. Now…Now, I did come to this town to help him, but he won’t let me. All of that talk I spread around this town about wanting to kill him, that was only to encourage the others to fight me instead of him. I have spoken the truth.

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
He is a good man, but this time, he is afraid.

PALADIN
I sometimes think that all good men are afraid. But it’s also been said that fear is the beginning of wisdom. Ria…it’s your fear, too.

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
They will kill him.

PALADIN
Ria, I don’t understand. Now, men have tried to kill him before, but this time, you feel that they’ll succeed and he feels they will, too. Why? Why this time?

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
I can’t tell you. It would be to put his life in your hands, and…he would hate me.

PALADIN
How strong is your love? Hmm? Strong enough to bury his hate?

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
Come here, Mr. Paladin. This is what nobody knows.

PALADIN
How long’s it been?

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
One year now.

PALADIN
So he decided to quit, and you go to Oregon with him.

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
I’m just a serving woman.

PALADIN
Oh.

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
Will you help him?

PALADIN
I will help you.

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
Mr. Paladin…please…it’s very important to me to be able to do this one thing. Please.

PALADIN
You are a very beautiful woman.

INT. LIVERY STABLE

PALADIN
They were offering money, in the hotel last night, that you wouldn’t come back.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Isn’t that funny; after 15 years, people still can’t make up their mind about a man.

PALADIN
Dobbs, this sign. What does it say?

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
What’s the matter? Can’t you read?

PALADIN
You couldn’t read my card yesterday. I let it pass.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Well, now you’re just guessing about that, aren’t you?

PALADIN
No. No, I’m not guessing. That’s right. Ria. She loves you enough, Dobbs, to risk losing you. She knew I’d have to tell you this, and she knew that you’d blame me.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Paladin, if you got business of your own, you better go mind it. Now get out of here.

PALADIN
At 9:00 tomorrow morning, I’m gonna call you out for everybody to see.
I’ll reach for my gun, but you’ll shoot first, and I do hope you miss.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Well, don’t count on it!

PALADIN
If you kill me, it’ll be because I let you kill me, and you’ll never know whether it could’ve been any other way. That’s your choice, Dobbs. My way or your murder.

EXT. THE STREET

PALADIN
Dobbs! Well, Sheriff, our business is strictly personal now, isn’t it?

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
What’s on your mind, Paladin?

PALADIN
Well, I wanted to be sure we weren’t interrupted while I tell you that you’re a dirt-wallowing pig who used his badge to kill, and I’ll give you a count of three to make a play. I say one…I say two…I say three!

[Dobb’s shoots Paladin’s gun out of his hand…or so it appears!]

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Doing some coward’s work for money? Now, you’re not worth killing, but you better get before I change my mind.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Barney, check my wagon.

BARNEY – BLACKSMITH
All right, John.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

PALADIN
Dobbs! Ria, Dobbs. Since I will not be able to attend the wedding…

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
No.

PALADIN
Ria, I earned this money. I do have a right to give it. Now, here.

RIA – MEXICAN WOMAN
Thank you, Mr. Paladin.

SHERIFF JOHN DOBBS
Paladin…you know, when I pulled my gun, I hadn’t made up my mind yet.

PALADIN
Mr. Dobbs, that does not exactly surprise me. You know, I might have been a lot safer if I had asked you to shoot at me.

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