207-“Trial at Tablerock”

Directed by Jerry Hopper, Written by Gene Roddenberry.

BARRY KELLEY as Judge Bryant
WILLIAM MIMS as Adams
GREG PALMER as Sheriff Matthew Tyler
SHERWOOD PRICE as Virge Beech
JOHN DAMLER as Bartender
JOE HIGGINS as Foreman
DAVID POTTER as Elmo Haskins
John Barton as Juror (uncredited)
Nick Borgani as Trial Spectator (uncredited)
Herman Hack as Juror (uncredited)
Ethan Laidlaw as Juror (uncredited)
Bert Madrid as Juror (uncredited)
William Meader as Juror (uncredited)

BARRY KELLEY also appeared in: (Everyman, 1961) as Danceman, (The Prisoner, 1960) as Sheriff Carlton. WILLIAM MIMS also appeared in: (Champagne Safari, 1959) as Bill Gravely, (Sons of Aaron Murdock, 1959) as Man. GREG PALMER also appeared in: (Fight at Adobe Wells, 1960) as Ben Mattock, (The Misguided Father, 1960) as Brogan, (Fragile, 1959) as Drunk. JOHN DAMLER also appeared in: (Marshal of Sweetwater, 1962) as Storekeeper.

EXT. IN TOWN – DAY

INT. SALOON – DAY

BARTENDER
Eddy, see that this gent’s horse gets taken care of. That’s Mr. Adams at the poker table there. He’s expecting you.

PALADIN
I was told I could find a Mr. Adams here.

ADAMS
Here. Over here. Well, you didn’t waste any time getting acquainted with him.
That man you bumped into. You could have earned your thousand dollars right there.

ELMO HASKINS
And I’m telling you I’ll do the same job for half that.

ADAMS
I pay top money for top men.

PALADIN
Mr. Adams, your letter identified you as a district prosecutor
who is unable to obtain certain evidence.

ADAMS
That’s right. I’ll spell it out for you. That man, Virge Beech, killed my brother.
Do you know what good being district prosecutor did me? None.
When Beech wants to kill a man, he simply pushes him into drawing first,
and then he claims self-defense.

PALADIN
Mr. Adams, I do not hire out as an assassin. And it’s perfectly possible to bring a gunfighter into court on charges of deliberately provoking a fight.

ADAMS
You don’t understand, Mr. Paladin. I want Beech to know he’s being cheated, the same way he cheated my brother. I want him beat before he starts…trapped and squirming
and knowing he’s going to die.

PALADIN
Mr. Adams, you have made a serious mistake. I’m not an executioner.

ADAMS
You know, I’m not the only one that feels this way.
The whole town feels as I do. You were our first choice.
Well, maybe second choice will work just as well.
One way or another.

ELMO HASKINS
Beech. Turn and get it!

SHOOTOUT

ADAMS
Another murder, Beech?

VIRGE BEECH
What are you saying? Everybody here saw Haskins with his gun already out.

ADAMS
No. All we saw was…you draw first.
Well…I reckon somebody ought to get the judge.

INT. SALOON – LATER IN THE DAY

Paladin walks into the saloon which has now become an improvised courtroom. He surrenders his gunbelt.  Judge Bryant is at the bar downing a glass of whiskey.

BARTENDER
Won’t take long, will it, Judge? Costs me money every time you shut down the bar.

The judge pours himself another full glass of whiskey.

PALADIN
Sir, this will be a legally constituted court, won’t it?

JUDGE BRYANT
Tablerock District Territorial Circuit Court. Informal but legal.

PALADIN
Are you aware, sir, that the murder charges against the defendant are completely fraudulent?

JUDGE BRYANT
A believer in reason and law. I felt the same way once, until the good citizens of my home state impeached me for actually dispensing justice, logically and lawfully.

PALADIN
And what does His Honor believe in now?

JUDGE BRYANT
What every honest man ultimately admits: my belly full, my skin intact.

PALADIN
Reason and law.

VIRGE BEECH
You tell ’em the truth. You tell ’em what happened.

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
Get it in your skull. You ain’t giving the orders anymore!

VIRGE BEECH
Ain’t you got brave, though? Only this morning it was, “Yes, Mr. Beech, sir.”

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
How about it, Judge? Am I allowed?

JUDGE BRYANT
If he gets too noisy.

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
Sit down.

JUDGE BRYANT
That’ll do, gentlemen. Opera house accommodations are not required for a penny puppet show. Sheriff, call the court to session.

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
All right, folks, everybody shut up and grab a seat.

JUDGE BRYANT
Are you staying for the proceedings, sir?

PALADIN
Yes, sir, I’m staying.

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
Now, this is a legal court under the laws of Arizona Territory.
There’ll be no drinking or dancing allowed until we’re finished.

JUDGE BRYANT
It seems our able district prosecutor has snared a sinner. Let’s hear the charges.

ADAMS
We’re charging Virge Beech with murder in the first degree, Your Honor.
He drew down on Elmo Haskins and killed him in cold blood.

VIRGE BEECH
You’re a liar!

JUDGE BRYANT
Is that your defense, Beech?

VIRGE BEECH
My defense is, Haskins had a gun out pointing at my back.

JURY FOREMAN
Oh, that’s always been your claim, hasn’t it, Beech?
What about Pete Jarret, Tom Miller, the Lacey kid, Mr. Adams’ brother?

VIRGE BEECH
Those were fair fights.

ADAMS
Killing my brother was no fair fight, Beech!
Ridiculing him, insulting him, driving him into it!

JUDGE BRYANT
You can call any witnesses
who may feel impelled to testify
on your behalf, Mr. Beech.

VIRGE BEECH
You know blasted well there isn’t anyone here who’s gonna take my side.

JUDGE BRYANT
Then call your first witness, Prosecutor.

PALADIN
If it please the court, may I call your attention to the fact that defense has no counsel.

JUDGE BRYANT
Uh, $25 fine for interrupting the proceedings.

PALADIN
Well, now, may I also call attention…to the laws of this territory, which provide that any citizen being tried for a capital offense is entitled to defense counsel…defense counsel of his own choosing, or he’s entitled to have the court appoint the best available defense counsel.

JUDGE BRYANT
Sheriff, take this man into custody.

PALADIN
Your Honor, I think you should tell all of these people present…that under the rules of Gisky v. Territory, the absence of defense counsel not only jeopardizes the legality of these entire proceedings, but it makes every person in this room liable to prosecution.

ADAMS
Uh…that is correct, Your Honor. I don’t mind doing it legally.

JUDGE BRYANT
You’re a fool, Adams.

PALADIN
Oh, I think, sir, that Mr. Adams means he doesn’t care how we do it,

as long as Mr. Beech hangs.

JURY FOREMAN
Hey, throw him out of here!

JUDGE BRYANT
Order! Order in the court! Order!

JUDGE BRYANT
Um…Charge, countercharge, lie, cheat, kill, bury. I wonder how many of us appreciate the…sheer brilliance of our philosophical and legal systems that enable a man to be anything from angel to devil.

PALADIN
And with the slightest bit of cleverness, be able to avoid the responsibilities, the pitfalls,
the negative aspects of both.

JUDGE BRYANT
I admire your perceptiveness and wit, Mr. Paladin. But don’t doubt for one moment that this public servant is going to give those fine, upstanding, vengeful voters out there exactly what they want.

ADAMS
Now, perhaps since Mr. Paladin is such an expert on law,

he’d be willing to act for the defense, Your Honor.

JUDGE BRYANT
Mm. Has it occurred to you that he may even have been waiting for you to suggest that?

PALADIN
I accept.

JUDGE BRYANT
Ah. Well, now, agreeing that Mr. Beech is entitled to the best available,
and seeing how you are the only available, we’ve complied with the law.
Call your first witness, Prosecutor.

PALADIN
Uh, sir, Your Honor…the defense moves for a change of venue.

JUDGE BRYANT
Denied.

PALADIN
Then, sir, the defense requests a delay in the proceedings.

JUDGE BRYANT
Denied.

PALADIN
Your Honor, the defense requests a short recess.

JUDGE BRYANT
Denied. I did warn you, sir. Uh, call your first witness, Prosecutor.

ADAMS
The prosecution calls Sheriff Matthew Tyler.

PALADIN
Your Honor…I believe the sheriff might, uh, find that chair slightly less comfortable
if we complied with the territory statutes requiring witness oaths.

JUDGE BRYANT
Mm. Raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
I do.

JUDGE BRYANT
Proceed.

VIRGE BEECH
Just what’s in this for you, gunfighter?

PALADIN
Well, Mr. Beech, some people might call it justice.

VIRGE BEECH
You and your words don’t make any sense.

PALADIN
Well, you better hope I do. ‘Cause that’s the only thing that’ll keep you alive.

ADAMS
Tell us what you saw, Sheriff.

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
Well, Beech and Haskins had been arguing all afternoon.

VIRGE BEECH
That’s a stinkin’ lie right off! I never even spoke to him today.

JUDGE BRYANT
Mr. Paladin, now, you’re the one who insisted we do this by the rules.

PALADIN
Yes, sir, Your Honor. I apologize for the conduct of my client. Sit down, Mr. Beech.

VIRGE BEECH
You make me…[sick]

ADAMS
Go ahead, Sheriff.

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
Well, Beech there suddenly drew down on Elmo. And you all know how fast Beech is.
Elmo didn’t even get his gun out. Defendant drew on victim, killed him. Sworn to by your own sheriff.

JUDGE BRYANT
Any cross-examination, Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
Yes, sir. Sheriff, will you repeat your oath of office?

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
What is this?

ADAMS
The defense is limited to subjects introduced on direct examination.

PALADIN
Well, I’m very grateful to the prosecutor for instructing me. However, the, uh, prosecutor has brought out the fact that this was testimony by the township’s sheriff, and I’m simply trying to establish what special significance that fact holds.

JUDGE BRYANT
I… can’t deny the logic in that, Adams. You had to stress the fact that Tyler is our sheriff.
Tell him what you can.

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
Well, as…as far as I can remember, I said I’d support and defend the constitution of the land and the laws of the territory.

PALADIN
Nothing about quelling riots, insurrections, arresting criminals, protecting women and children?

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
Well, now, ain’t that all included when you say you’ll uphold the law?

PALADIN
Yeah, but it’s complicated, isn’t it, Sheriff? It’s a vast system. It’s not a system.
It’s a labyrinth of laws and legal procedures. Why, a man could spend the better part of his life learning just one small part of it.

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
It’s too doggone mixed up and tangled up for my taste.

PALADIN
Hmm. Well, Sheriff, would you say that it might be a better idea to, say, uh, select the sheriff and the judge and the prosecutor, and allow them to settle questions of right and wrong as each one came up?

SHERIFF MATTHEW TYLER
Well, now, I… I’d reckon I’d trust my judgment all right, but, uh…

ADAMS
Your Honor, he’s leading this into completely immaterial areas!

JUDGE BRYANT
Well, be a little quicker on your feet! He’s already made his point.

ADAMS
Well, well, tell the jury not to pay any attention to all of this!

JUDGE BRYANT
Disregard what you’ve heard. And you quit telling me how to run my court.

PALADIN
I’m beginning to doubt you even saw the shooting.

BARTENDER
I was standing less than ten feet away!

PALADIN
Less than ten feet away? Why didn’t you interfere when Haskins drew his gun?

BARTENDER
He had it out before I could move.

PALADIN
The sheriff has just testified that he didn’t even draw his gun!

BARTENDER
Well, I…

PALADIN
Weren’t you listening when the sheriff testified?

BARTENDER
I tried to listen, and to get the story straight, but…

PALADIN
That’s all. No further questions. Now, it is a remarkable facet of our system of jurisprudence. We take a perfectly ordinary chair, just like that one there, we put a supposed thoroughbred in it, and he immediately betrays himself by braying like a jackass!

ADAMS
Now, wait a minute, Paladin. You’ve got no right to make…make a speech every time you stand up.

PALADIN
Sir, I was simply trying to point out that our system of jurisprudence is remarkably efficient. Now, you do agree with that, don’t you?

ADAMS
I never said I didn’t. I-I’m just complaining that every time you…

PALADIN
Sir, I was simply trying to say that our system of jurisprudence, whatever its faults, and its lengthy, time-consuming formalities, is still productive, generally speaking, of justice.
Or does our learned county prosecutor disagree with that?

ADAMS
Aren’t you going to keep him in order?!

JUDGE BRYANT
Mr. Paladin, um, I’m cautioning you that, uh…that this is not a…an exercise in citizenship. Uh, uh, what I’m saying is that, uh, it is not necessary for the court or its officers to constantly reaffirm a belief in this country’s laws or principles. Uh…Mr. Paladin, this is not an elocution platform. The purpose of a trial is simply to determine whether or not the defendant is innocent or guilty.

PALADIN
Yes, sir, Your Honor. And any other reason for holding a trial…would be…
hypocrisy. I apologize for wasting the court’s time on a matter so obvious.

JUDGE BRYANT
Well, Prosecutor, do you have another witness to call or not?

ADAMS
The prosecution calls Thomas Beeker.

JURY FOREMAN
I saw him sneak out about a minute ago.

ADAMS
Josh Cassidy. Get up here, Josh. Josh! Josh! Look, all we need is one person to corroborate the sheriffts testimony.

PALADIN
You mean, tell the same story.

ADAMS
I don’t need your help! Well, come on! There were dozens of you willing an hour ago!
Well, what difference does it make?! Look, it seems to me you’re forgetting the real reason we’re holding this trial!

JUDGE BRYANT
A trial is a search for truth, Prosecutor.

ADAMS
Virge Beech is a murderer! That’s your precious truth!
I’ve seen him take life. Every man in this room has seen the same!

JUDGE BRYANT
If you must string him up, take him out and do it for something he’s actually done.
But don’t ask me to-to run a proper court, and then whine that the law casts too bright a light for a… for a lynching!

ADAMS
Look, I say we have had a fair trial, and it’s time for a verdict!

JUDGE BRYANT
Does the prosecution rest?

ADAMS
Yes!

JUDGE BRYANT
Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
Your Honor, I believe I’ve said enough.

JURY FOREMAN
Mm-hmm. Like the judge was saying, Mr. Adams, talking about lynching’s one thing, but sitting in a courtroom and…twisting around with the law…that’s something else again.

PALADIN
Mr. Foreman, I believe you have a very good point there.
The law should be something like…well, something like church.

ADAMS
Can’t you shut him up?!

JUDGE BRYANT
I’m forced to find you in contempt of court, Prosecutor, and assign…

Beech grabs the Deputy’s shotgun and points it at Adams.

VIRGE BEECH
You’re a dead man, Adams.

ADAMS
There. You see? He was already pulling the trigger.
Now, it didn’t matter how many of you behind me the blast got to!
Now, when there’s a rattler loose in the room, do you debate, or do you stomp on it?!

PALADIN
If it please the court…having undertaken the defense of Mr. Beech…

ADAMS
Now do you see that we’re only trying to protect ourselves?

PALADIN
I see, Mr. Adams. I always have. What you’re saying is that if most of the members of any community decide that one other member is dangerous and should be done away with, then it should be done quickly, without the delays and risks inherent in a court trial.

ADAMS
Well, that’s about it.

PALADIN
Well, sir, I’m prepared to withdraw from this case, I’m prepared to leave this town, if you are prepared to accept an equally fair and simple request. See…in order to guarantee equal treatment, as is right and necessary in a democracy, you will agree to distribute, periodically, secret ballots containing the names of each member of this community. Those ballots will be marked by every other member of this community: yes or no, life or death!

JUDGE BRYANT
I’m surprised no one has used this before. Marvelously simple, efficient, bound to curb theft, uh, adultery, gossip. Uh, it may even stamp out bragging, jealousy, uh, short-weighing by merchants, overdue bills from customers.

PALADIN
A golden era. Friendship, mercy, kindness, love. Your Honor, I seem to detect some resistance to innovation.

JUDGE BRYANT
Yeah. Well, now, since obviously you all wish to return to the rather, uh, inefficient and archaic system we’ve been using, the court, uh, reluctantly in this instance, must follow the dictates of law, rather than personal dislike, fear or desire. Noting that the testimony
offered by the prosecution has been conflicting and without corroboration, the court rules that no prima facie case has been proven, and directs the sheriff to release the defendant.

JUDGE BRYANT
There is a condition. Defendant is herewith enjoined from using firearms in this township, and Mr. Paladin appointed agent of the court in enforcing that order.
Court is adjourned.

PALADIN
Fairly? Legally?

VIRGE BEECH
I’d, uh, hate for you to think I’m not the appreciative sort, but the, uh, old man did kind of put you in my way.

PALADIN SHOOTS BEECH

JUDGE BRYANT
I’m, uh, sorry I put you in that position, but, uh, a court must be practical, as well as legal.

PALADIN
I suppose I understand, Your Honor. Now, on the contempt charge against the prosecutor, I’d appreciate it if you’d fine him exactly $1,000.

JUDGE BRYANT
Are you charging us for killing Beech?

PALADIN
No, sir. For defending him.

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