209-“The Treasure”

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Robert E. Thompson and Herb Meadow.

Jeanne Cooper as Edna Harden
Jim Davis as Al Long
DeForest Kelley as Deakin
Lee Van Cleef as Corbin
Bob Woodward as Gruber
Buck Taylor as Eddie
Stewart East Waiter
Herschel Graham as Hotel Guest (uncredited)
Stuart Holmes as Gambler (uncredited)
William Meader as Gambler (uncredited)
Clark Ross as Pool Player (uncredited)
Cosmo Sardo as Gambler (uncredited)

INT. HOTEL CARLTON – PALADIN’S SUITE – EVENING

PALADIN
Stewart, there are three basic ingredients for a good salad: a miser for the vinegar, a spendthrift for the oil…and a madman for the tossing.

STEWART
I assure you, Mr. Paladin, the next time, I will remember.

PALADIN
Mmm. Well, when you do remember…I have the other half.

HEY BOY
Mr. Paladin now will go play blackjack?

PALADIN
Mr. Paladin will now enjoy his brandy, his coffee and his cigars.

HEY BOY
But very lucky day. Uh, Hey Boy read Mr. Paladin fortune. Today everything lucky.
Female woman say to Hey Boy, “Tell Mr. Paladin he come play blackjack.”

PALADIN
“Lady,” Hey Boy. Not “female woman.”

HEY BOY
“Lady”? Maybe so. She deal cards. Blackjack.

PALADIN
A woman dealer in the Carlton?

HEY BOY
She take employment while you away. Very nice. Nice here, nice there, nice…

PALADIN
Mmm. Well, as Hey Boy says, Mr. Paladin will now go play blackjack.

STEWART
Thank you, sir.

INT. HOTEL CARLTON GAMING ROOM – EVENING

EDNA HARDEN
Twenty-one. Sorry, gentlemen. From now on, no bets under $100.

TOP HAT
I never heard anything like that.

OTHER GUY
That’s too much for me.

EDNA HARDEN
Sorry.

They leave.

EDNA HARDEN
Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Well, now. Is that surprise, criticism or pleasure?

EDNA HARDEN
That yours?

CARD

PALADIN
Mine.

EDNA HARDEN
My husband sent it to me. From prison. Doesn’t that make you want to know who I am?

PALADIN
I have a great feeling you’re about to tell me.

EDNA HARDEN
I’m Jess Harden’s wife. Jess Harden. Well, they say he stole $80,000 from the bank in War Lance.

PALADIN
Well, I never heard of War Lance or Jess Harden.

EDNA HARDEN
War Lance is dead now. Ghost town. Several years ago, it amounted to something.
Jess used to clerk in the general store there.
Then, one night, the bank vault was blown up.
They say Jess did it.

PALADIN
Do you believe he did?

EDNA HARDEN
I don’t know. But I will next week…when he comes home.

PALADIN
Money?

EDNA HARDEN
Never turned up.

PALADIN
Does Harden know what War Lance is now?

EDNA HARDEN
He told me that he’d be back and meet me in the very same spot in the general store,
just like nothing happened in between.

PALADIN
Well, now, if Harden did steal that money, there’ll be a lot of people who believe it’s hidden in War Lance or close by.

EDNA HARDEN
Mm-hmm. And they’ll be waiting for Jess, too. I need somebody on my side.

PALADIN
And, uh, this, I take it, is your offer for my services.

EDNA HARDEN
Are you accepting?

PALADIN
Well, if I weren’t, I should have protested your method of dealing some moments ago.
Where do I cash these in?

EDNA HARDEN
I’ll be waiting for you in War Lance…next Wednesday?

PALADIN
In a ghost town?

EDNA HARDEN
Mm-hmm.

PALADIN (WHISPERS)
I’ll take the cash.

EDNA HARDEN
Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Mrs. Harden, thank you.

EXT. GHOST TOWN – DAY

INT. UPSTAIRS HIDEOUT

CORBIN
You reckon it’s him?

DEAKIN
Hang tight. If it is Harden and you plug him, we got nothing.

CORBIN
We got his woman.

DEAKIN
She might not know where the money is.

Deakin breaks a window out and starts shooting at Paladin.

CORBIN
Well, that’s fine! You just told him there’s some real friendly folks in here.

DEAKIN
Yeah, well, his jumping that way made me nervous.

She shoots at them in retaliation.

CORBIN
There’s another one.

A shootout ensues among all parties.

CORBIN
I get my hands on you, you ornery female, you’ll wish a bullet got you first!
I’ll break every bone!

INT. SALOON

PALADIN
Easy. I said, “Easy.” The door is barricaded.

EDNA HARDEN
How did you?

PALADIN
High ceiling. High ceilings mean attics, and attics have crawl holes.
And sooner or later, they’re gonna figure that out.

PALADIN
Well, all those happy warriors waiting for Jess Harden to lead them to the pot of gold, hmm?

EDNA HARDEN
They’re gonna be disappointed. Buzzards, trying to grab everything they can.

PALADIN
You know that one out there on the street?

EDNA HARDEN
No. The horse is mine. Deliberately shot it so I couldn’t break away.

PALADIN
Who shot the man?

Edna gives Paladin a knowing look.

PALADIN
You’re very interesting.

EDNA HARDEN
So are you. I paid $1,000 for the hire of that gun, but you don’t seem ready to use it.

PALADIN
Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t really enjoy my work.
And I think I’ll see what the boys in the back room will have.

EDNA HARDEN
Don’t be a fool.

PALADIN
That hotel does have to be cleaned out.

EDNA HARDEN
Alone? You’re gonna go in there?

PALADIN
Yes, I am. And you’re gonna cover me.

EDNA HARDEN
What’s the sense in hiring you if you’re gonna get yourself killed right off?

PALADIN
Well, I-I think it’ll take me about four seconds to get out of here and into that saloon
right next to the hotel. Surprise will buy me one second.
You start shooting, that’ll buy me two more.

EDNA HARDEN
That only adds up to three.

PALADIN
I know.

EDNA HARDEN
Ready.

Paladin makes a break for the saloon.

INT. UPSTAIRS HIDEOUT

CORBIN
That’s the fella that rode in.

DEAKIN
Yeah, yeah, I know, but where’d that other one come from?

When did he sneak in the saloon?

INT. SALOON

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
What were you up to over there?

PALADIN
You gonna put that down?

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
Don’t let this make you feel too easy. I still want to know what you were doing over there.

PALADIN
Well, let’s say the parting was less than friendly.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
Pretty woman… you talk to her?

PALADIN
I should have talked less and listened more.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
Jess Harden’s $80,000 is…sure repopulating this town.

PALADIN
I wouldn’t want that money to end up in anybody’s hands – who didn’t know how
to spend it.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
Yeah! I’m still able.

PALADIN
Why’d you help me out there?

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
Curiosity. Wanted to know how come you were in there with her.
You know, it…it’s not the bullet that a man should be afraid of. It’s the hole it leaves.

PALADIN
Let me look at it.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
You stay put. Iron cuffs. They leave their mark if you wear them long enough.

PALADIN
So I understand.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
Shared a cell with Jess Harden once. That’s how I know about this party.

PALADIN
I don’t suppose there’s any whiskey left in this place.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
I’ve looked.

INT. UPSTAIRS HIDEOUT

CORBIN
Jess Harden doesn’t show up pretty soon, this place is going to start looking like a boomtown again.

DEAKIN
Nobody cuts in. I had this idea first seven years ago.

CORBIN
Everybody out there is saying that, too. Even her.

INT. SALOON

PALADIN
You ready for this?

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
Yeah. My name’s Al Long. Mean anything to you?

PALADIN
No.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
Didn’t think it would. I’ve had what the poet would call a wasted life.
Even figured out what I…what I want on my tombstone.
“Here lies Long. In too many ways, he was short.”

INT. UPSTAIRS HIDEOUT

DEAKIN
Should’ve rushed that female yesterday when we were still the only ones in town. Harden shows up, he’d be pie. Just pie to deal with if…we had a gun against her pretty head.

CORBIN
You keep flapping about “when Harden shows up.”
What happens if he don’t show up?

DEAKIN
I’ll give you two good reasons why Harden is gonna show up.
Number one, his wife’s here. Number two, that means the money’s here.

CORBIN
Half the Western Territory is here, too. You listen to me in the first place, we’d be moseying around down there before Harden comes in, see to it we ain’t got no sudden partners hanging on our coattails.

DEAKIN
I waited a long time for this gold strike, Corbin. Seven years. Ever since I heard he first got sent up. I reckon I done spent that money, oh, 100 times in my mind. Ooh, places I’d go. You know, every time I’d look at a pretty woman, I’d just pick and choose just like as if I already had that $80,000.

CORBIN
$40,000.

DEAKIN
Yeah. $40,000.

CORBIN
We got to get it first.

INT. SALOON

PALADIN
Well, that’s just about the best I can do for now.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
You might have asked me if I…wanted that for a watch fob.

PALADIN
I’m sorry. Would you like it?

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
No, I guess it don’t make any difference. Every man’s got to die sooner or later.

PALADIN
And some men die both ways.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
Yeah. Prison taught me that. You know, it might…might seem kind of silly to you, but…
I would like that bullet.

PALADIN
All right.

EDDIE
Your gun, mister. Start backing.

Corbin shoots Eddie.

AL LONG/JESS HARDEN
You’re one of them that was shooting at my wife, wasn’t you?

CORBIN
That’s right, Harden. Step aside, mister.

Paladin shoots Corbin with his trusty derringer.

JESS HARDEN
There’ll be others come along. You knew all along I was Harden?

PALADIN
I wasn’t sure.

JESS HARDEN
I left this town a two-bit store clerk. I’m something else now, ain’t I?

PALADIN
Prison can be very educational.

JESS HARDEN
Break a man’s heart. You want me to break your heart?

PALADIN
Why don’t I just get you across the street to your wife?

JESS HARDEN
You better wait first. You better listen. See…I didn’t steal that $80,000. It wasn’t there. Edna’s the only treasure I left in this town. Sure, I blew open the bank vault.
We sold black powder in the store. There wasn’t any money in that vault.
I tried to tell that to the court. They wouldn’t believe me. Not even Edna.
I wanted that money so bad for her. She said she’d die if we didn’t get out of this town.

EDNA HARDEN
He’s a liar. No, he’s got to be a liar.

PALADIN
He’s dying.

EDNA HARDEN
Dying? He’s been dead to me for seven years. The work I’ve done to get him out,
money I could have spent on myself. Do you want to know what he’s made of me?
A card dealer. Well, sir, I’m gonna make him tell me the truth.

PALADIN
That man’s dying, and all he’s got left in this world is his memory of you, and you can’t give him that?

EDNA HARDEN
Paladin, what if he is lying? After he’s dead, that money is lost to everybody.
Well, can’t you understand that? There’s enough money for both of us.
We could spend it together. Well, he’ll tell me the truth, and you can trust me.

PALADIN
I trusted you when I crossed the street. Now, I think, if your shot had been a little better, you could have convinced the others that I was Jess Harden, and with Harden dead, the others would have stopped trying.

EDNA HARDEN
No.

PALADIN
Oh, you are a gem.

JESS HARDEN
Edna? Edna.

EDNA HARDEN
Yeah. Jess. Jess, I want to ask you something.

JESS HARDEN
You know the answer. I love you.

EDNA HARDEN
Paladin. It isn’t fair.

DEAKIN
He tell you where he hid the money?

PALADIN
No, not me. Of course, she’d be the one he’d tell.

EDNA HARDEN
Now… now, you heard him. Well, there isn’t any money.

DEAKIN
Now, I’m gonna tell you something, Miss Harden. You’re a liar, because you’re the only one he would tell the truth to. And I just want you to know that I am sticking to your heels like a leech until you decide to cut me in.

PALADIN
Now, sir, this lady might hold out for a very long time.

DEAKIN
I don’t care if it’s another seven years.

EDNA HARDEN
Now, you tell him the truth.

PALADIN
Mrs. Harden, I did tell him the truth.

DEAKIN
Now, you just better learn to like looking at this face, because every time you turn around, I’m going to be there.

PALADIN
Well, I do hope you two will be very happy.