199-“Bird of Time”

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Don Ingalls.

GEORGE MATHEWS as Ahab Tyson
JOHN HOYT as Stryker
FRANCIS DE SALES as Doc Kelly
DAL JENKINS as Young Man
HAL NEEDHAM as Henchman

GEORGE MATHEWS also appeared in: (One Came Back, 1959) as Ben Harvey

JOHN HOYT played a ship’s doctor (Phil Boyce) in the pilot movie for the original Star Trek TV series “The Cage”. Phil Boyce was the Chief Medical Officer on board the U.S.S. Enterprise under the command of Capt. Christopher Pike in the mid-23rd century.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

PALADIN
Here. Blood starts circulating, these are going to hurt.

STRYKER
Who are you?

CARD

STRYKER
Ah. My name’s Stryker. I’m obliged to you. You, uh…you after the old man?

PALADIN
I’m after Ahab Tyson, with a warrant.

STRYKER
I-I got stronger reasons. That was my only brother he killed at Benedict Pass.

PALADIN
The old man do this to you?

STRYKER
Yeah. Trapped me like a coyote ’cause I was too anxious. But he made a mistake when he left me alive. You know that weapon, Paladin?

PALADIN
Buffalo gun, Sharps.

STRYKER
Powerful enough to knock down a bull with one shot. Yes, mister, this one kills big. You know, Paladin, I got more Old Testament in me than New. I believe in an eye for an eye. And I’m gonna get that old man. But this time, I’ll bring some help along with me.

PALADIN
Don’t use up all your luck.

STRYKER
Paladin, my brother was all I had. That old man strung me up like a butchered animal.
Now I owe you something. And I hope I’m not gonna have to kill you over a thing like him.

PALADIN
He dig that grave for you?

STRYKER
Yeah. In case I was found too late, he said.

PALADIN
Stryker, for what that old man had in mind, it’s never too late.

EXT. SHEEP FARM – DAY

PALADIN
Well, now, air is sweet, the grass is the same, and you do have fine sheep.

YOUNG MAN
You can see for yourself.

PALADIN
I followed a man’s trail to this place. A man named Ahab Tyson.

YOUNG MAN
Will you have something cool to drink?

PALADIN
No, thanks. They say that Tyson killed a man.

YOUNG MAN
When I was ten, the Boston doctor said I had a year to live. My parents sent me here as a last hope. Perhaps merely to die. The good air made a liar of that doctor and made me a friend to all of those who chanced by. Mr. Tyson made me this. He said, “Boy, King David could use a slingshot. “To kill a lion, a wolf…or an enemy of the Lord. Now, you practice and do the same.”

PALADIN
And did you?

YOUNG MAN
Yes.

PALADIN
Well…you practiced well indeed. Still, I’m surprised that Ahab Tyson would hide behind the arm of a boy. Even a young King David.
Ahab Tyson?

AHAB TYSON
I like this boy. I’d been hoping there would be no blood spilled on his land.
But I guess either you or I are going to make a grave in it.

PALADIN
Stop. Boy, you just made a choice. Don’t force me to make one. Put it down. Now, go get his horse.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

“GOLD SPRINGS STAGE STATION”

PALADIN
Well, it’s got roof enough to keep us dry tonight. Inside.

AHAB TYSON

Paladin, you heard of Sky Blue?

PALADIN
No.

AHAB TYSON
Sky Blue’s apple country. Apples so hard that when you bite into them, they pop like balls of ice.

PALADIN
Hmm. Well, Tyson, I am very fond of apples, but tomorrow… is a long day.

AHAB TYSON
Who’d be out there?

PALADIN
A man you dug a grave for,
I suspect.

STRYKER
Paladin!

PALADIN
What do you want, Stryker?

STRYKER
Talk first.

STRYKER
The old man, Paladin. I want him.

PALADIN
You can’t have him.

STRYKER
I got to take him, is that it?

PALADIN
Stryker, one more step cuts the cord.

STRYKER
You figure he’s worth dying for?

PALADIN
Do you?

STRYKER
Well, I did owe you this much.

SHOOTOUT

PALADIN
Where?

AHAB TYSON
Leg.

PALADIN
There a town near here with a doctor?

AHAB TYSON
Maybe. Mining camp. Half day’s ride.

PALADIN
I’ll get the horses.

DOC KELLY
Well, what is it? Oh, it’s a man.

PALADIN
Of course it’s a man. You’re a doctor, aren’t you?

DOC KELLY
Veterinarian. Same thing. At least the people hereabouts think so, and they might just as well. Ain’t another medical man 150 miles in any direction.

AHAB TYSON
You ain’t going to let no cow doctor dig into me, are you?

DOC KELLY
Oh, now, hush up, old man. I’ve patched up more human animals than the other kind. Now, fill that kettle. The pump’s out back. We’ll get to this in just a jiffy. This might hurt a mite. Just… take it easy, now. Easy will do it.

DOC KELLY

This valley reaches 200 miles to the north and 50 miles to the south. And Stryker rules it like a kingdom. Now, he didn’t just kill a man. He killed a prince. I know that Sharps of his. Stoic. That’s men for you. But no, a cow is different. I’ll do what I can, but I don’t think it’s going to make much difference. That Sharps left a dirty hole, and he’s an old man.

PALADIN
How long?

DOC KELLY
Well, it’s already in the blood. And the fever he’s shaking with now will peak by tomorrow. And he may have, oh, 24 hours after that.

DOC KELLY
Do you always sleep with a hand on your gun?

PALADIN
No. It’s an occupational disease. Thank you. Will Stryker stop?

DOC KELLY
If you kill him.

PALADIN
No. No, I mean if I get Tyson out of the state, into Nevada.

DOC KELLY
10,000 horses couldn’t take you far enough. And he? He wouldn’t be able to make it.
He’s been doing a lot of wild talking about Sky Blue.

PALADIN
Hmm. You mentioned that before. What is it?

DOC KELLY
A ghost town in the mountains, about 20 miles.

AHAB TYSON
Paladin. You… you got to get me back to Sky Blue.

PALADIN
What do you expect to find there?

AHAB TYSON
I got a wife there. Brown hair and eyes…soft hands…and a… a dimple right here. This is hers.

PALADIN
How long since you’ve seen her?

AHAB TYSON
I… I don’t know. Three…four seasons, maybe. It’s near winter there. I can feel cold in the air. Cold and…icy and… sad.

DOC KELLY

Sky Blue’s been a ghost for ten years.

AHAB TYSON
That’s a lie! You got to get me there. And there ain’t much time.

DOC KELLY
Hmm? There’s worse things than…than dying happy.

PALADIN
Yeah.

PALADIN
All right. All right, Tyson. Here. I’ll take you there. Now, Stryker said he was more Old Testament than New, and I believe him. He’s not going to take kindly to you helping his enemy.

DOC KELLY

I’m an Irishman myself. And I never did care for kings or royalty.

PALADIN
Still, I’d appreciate your staying close.

DOC KELLY

Well, now, I…I might want to see Sky Blue again myself.

PALADIN
Well, old man, you’ve come home.

AHAB TYSON
What’s wrong? Where… where is everybody? Mack! It’s Ahab Tyson! You hear me, Mack? Now, quit your fooling. You come out here. It’s Ahab! Mack? It’s Ahab Tyson. Mack?
Where are you? Mack, it’s Ahab.
He… he ain’t there. Annie. Annie! Annie. Annie! Annie! Annie!
Hey! Annie! Annie. Annie! Annie. Where… where are they?

PALADIN
They’re all gone, old man.

DOC KELLY
Ten long years from a man remembering.

AHAB TYSON
No. No. This rope was for me. I remember now. It was for me.

PALADIN
Why?

AHAB TYSON
Paladin…I killed them. Three of them. To make sure I did that.

PALADIN
To make sure of what?

AHAB TYSON
To make sure I killed the right one. Say that for me, Paladin. He killed my wife first. He killed my wife first!

SHOOTOUT

PALADIN
You want to stay alive, turn the guns loose. You can try it if you want. Two of you will die right where you’re standing. Now the handguns. Now, get on those horses and get out of here. Friend, I don’t want to kill you.

HENCHMAN
It ain’t Stryker’s money, mister. It’s just, that man that you killed at the shack is a friend of mine.

PALADIN
Or is it because you just like to use that big gun?

HENCHMAN
Maybe it’s both.

PALADIN
Dead?

STRYKER
Yeah. But I didn’t have the pleasure. He was already dead. Old man cheated me all the way. Paladin…why do you suppose animals like him are ever born? You the one who dressed his leg, cow doctor?

DOC KELLY
Aye.

STRYKER
He who gives succor to my enemy becomes my enemy. I had one brother…I’ll see you, friend…in perdition.

DOC KELLY
Sky Blue. Where it started and ended.

PALADIN
And in between, the bird of time had but a little way to flutter. And the bird is on the wing.

Tyson, you kill a man in Benedict Pass?
He tried to hold me up, take my horse. I couldn’t let him do that.
Tyson, he was only a boy. The law would have been much more inclined to listen then than now.
There was no time for explanations.
Yeah, smoke. They’re in there, all right. When I tell you.

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