211-“Bob Wire”

Well, if it isn’t Mr. Paladin in the flesh.

PALADIN
As he usually is, and how are the Irish this morning?
Oh, tolerable. You’re not coming down with a cold, are you?

PALADIN
No, Maggie, I never felt better.

M
Oh, I don’t know. You’ve got a little touch of red to your nose there, and…You’re not wearing your longies.

PALADIN
Maggie, it’s summer. Temperature is 72, and the birds are singing in the trees.
Well, it’s freezing in the high mountain areas, and who knows where you’re
gonna be traipsing off to next? I mean, sending out your fancy cards and all.

PALADIN
Cards?

M
Well, as a matter of fact, what brought it to mind waswhen I was dusting your room
this evening, and I-I noticed that your supply had vanished.
I mean, uh, like the little folks themselves had got at ’em.

PALADIN
Maggie, as of yesterday there were over 100 cards in that desk.
Well, now, it’s not worth getting yourself excited about. I mean, Mr. Paladin, after all, what’s a friend for but to help one what needs it?

PALADIN
Help? Now, what kind of help are you talking about? And I have a terrible feeling I should never have asked that question.
Mr. Paladin, your worries are over. Come with me. Behold. Me finance, Big John Donovan. He’s lately retired from his ship, and he’s going into the…

PALADIN
Printing business.
Well, now, how did you know about that? Show him. Well, what do you think of it, dearie?

INT. PRINTING SHOP – DAY

PALADIN
200 of those, please.

44
00:03:20,514 –> 00:03:21,913
Mr., uh, Paladin?

PALADIN
That’s correct. This is the plate, which I’ll want returned.

PRINTER
A chess knight. Well, a little obvious, shall we say?
Perhaps a coat of arms? Something suggesting a Saracen, of course. Your knight charged rampant upon a field of…

PALADIN
As is.

53
00:03:45,272 –> 00:03:46,500
Beg pardon. Large order, please. Pressing business. 100.

57
00:04:01,521 –> 00:04:03,386
Paladin? What a rare stroke of fate. Timed to perfection. I need your services.
Name’s Wire, Bob Wire. Now…if you’ll just step outside. Not for usual reason, of course.

64
00:04:25,345 –> 00:04:26,642
Good, very good.

65
00:04:26,780 –> 00:04:27,872
Now, where did I put my? Oh, yes, here it is. Salesman.

PALADIN
Well, Mr. Wire, you made some mention of requiring my services.

70
00:04:38,091 –> 00:04:40,059
A very valuable wagonload. Must take to right market.

PALADIN
And where’s the right market?

B
200 miles. Town of Anderson. Rough trail, looters. I’m a salesman, not gunman. Do need protection.

PALADIN
My fee is a thousand dollars.

79
00:04:54,708 –> 00:04:56,471
Oh. Pay when delivered?

PALADIN
Pay on delivery.

82
00:05:00,747 –> 00:05:02,612
Done.

PALADIN
Now, what in the world is so important? Ow! Well, what else? Bob Wire.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

PALADIN
Whoa.

Journey’s end.

PALADIN
That’s right. And so far, no complaints about overexcitement.

92
00:06:29,169 –> 00:06:31,603
Pay on delivery agreement.

PALADIN
Now, I think the most interesting unanswered question would be why this load is worth a thousand dollars of insurance.

95
00:06:39,245 –> 00:06:41,008
Fetch five on delivery.

PALADIN
Well, that’s a high price, but…
You’re strangers here, ain’t you?

PALADIN
That’s right.

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00:06:54,027 –> 00:06:56,359
What are you coming to this town for?

100
00:06:56,496 –> 00:06:58,123
Mercantile interest, sell goods, exchange for money.

PALADIN
Free enterprise, the American system.

B
Good day, ma’am. My, my. A sight for eyes. A morning in May. Love’s young dream.
You watch your tongue.

PALADIN
Well, this has been very interesting, but if you will excuse us.
Just hold on. What are you toting on this wagon?

PALADIN
Now, that is our business.
Mister, this is cattle country, it always has been, and right now there’s a bunch of farmers meeting in this town, talking over cutting up the rangeland with fences.

B
Free country.
The name of this town is Anderson. Mr. Anderson is a cowman, and Mr. Anderson hired me to look after his interests. Now, what’s on the wagon?

PALADIN
Pack it up, ah-ha.

G
Ain’t he something, though?
He ain’t so much, a bullet won’t cut him to size. That fancy gun and all.
Oh, not that one. I mean the little fella, the one with the fancy words.

PALADIN
Protecting you from looters is one thing. Bringing that wire into the middle of a range war is quite another.

B
Good market, premium price, premium fee.

PALADIN
Well, the fee would have been higher. If I’d known what I was getting into, I probably wouldn’t have come at all.
Exactly, but I know your reputation. Now here, will perform duty.

PALADIN

Which is to deliver you here safely.
Now, don’t forget, pay on delivery.

PALADIN
Collect fee, punch nose, no extra charge. Deliver eulogy if necessary.
Get around there, hyah! Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Hey, wait a minute, that’s not…
The time has come for action instead of words.
The, uh…We all have plenty to lose if…
Gentlemen. I beg to intrude. I bear glad tidings. I’ve just arrived through deadly peril with essential item. March of progress, unstoppable. Destiny of land. Outside, a wagonload of fate. Permanent nomenclature.
What’s your name, squirt?
Wire, Bob Wire. Yes, sirs. Wire, the perfect barrier. Sea to sea, the farmer’s lifeline.

PALADIN
Gentlemen. Gentlemen, I apologize for his bursting in here like this. I suggest you look at the legs of these men. I further suggest to you that they are not farmers.

B
Wrong meeting.

PALADIN
Now I’ll take him out of here. I hope without any interference.
No, n-not so fast.
You know the name of this town, sonny?

B
Anderson. Handsome village. Booming, soon metropolis. Farmer’s para… dise.
I’m Anderson.

B
How do you do?
You know what him and this runt have a wagonload of outside?
What?

Wire. Barbed wire.

B
This is church. Claim sanctuary.

PALADIN
Gentlemen, guns are my business.
There’s a bunch of clodbusters holding a meeting down at the general store. Now, about all that’s needed is one gunshot to set off the fuse. You figure to spark that?

PALADIN
No, sir. No, sir, Mr. Anderson, not if I can possibly avoid it. Especially with that young lady present.
Anna!
Yes, Father?
Stop simpering at that fool.

B
Your father?

PALADIN
Mr. Anderson, I suggest we talk this over in private.
Let me take care of ’em, Mr. Anderson, I’ll…
Shut up, Dane! You lose your gun someplace? Are you indicating we have something to discuss?

PALADIN
I am.
All right, mister. We’ll talk. Outside. Alone.
Simple error. Wrong meeting. Understandable. Very sorry. Lovely girl.
I walked out of there because I’m a peaceful man by choice and because you sound like a man who’ll bargain.

PALADIN
Excuse me. Don’t interrupt! Now, I’ve got a thousand-dollar fee coming when he sells that wire. He expects to get $5,000 from the farmer. I will sell it to anybody for $4,000.
$4,000, hmm? Yeah, we could ship it to St. Louis and get most of that back. All right. It’s a deal. I’ll go tell the boys. May help prevent a shooting war, anyway.

PALADIN
Well, blessed are the peacemakers.

B
Fine, fine. Agreed, Mr. Tagg. Oh, my, uh, associate. Pardon, please.

PALADIN
What did you tell those people?

B
Have wire, will sell.

PALADIN
I just sold the wire to Anderson.

B
Impossible. Just sold to Tagg.

PALADIN
Mr. Wire, you are a natural idiot. How much?

B
$3,000. Quick deal. Uncertain future here.

B
Anderson? How much?

PALADIN
$4,000.

B
Ouch. Mr. Tagg, I deeply regret. Behind my back, my…
I told you it was some kind of a trick. He’s dickering with Tagg.
Anderson… it’s a trap!

B
Bad wound?

PALADIN
‘Tis not so deep as a well nor so wide as a church door, but ’twill serve.

B
I’m killed.

PALADIN
You fainted.

B
Faint from hunger, no food all day.

PALADIN
Back in San Francisco you said you knew my name. Since it is probably the last thing that I will ever learn, from where?

B
Well…last year, selling perfumes, an actress. Beautiful woman. Face of goddess.
Red-gold hair. Like ivory cameo. Sacramento.

PALADIN
Like an ivory cameo, red-gold hair…beautiful face. She always was trouble.
Anderson!
I hear you!

PALADIN
Tagg!
What do you want?!

PALADIN
Let’s parley before someone gets killed!
What do you say, Tagg?
Talk’s cheap, but all right. No funny stuff.

PALADIN
Did you order that wire?
Yeah. We made up our minds to fence off our land. You ever see what cattle do to crops?

PALADIN
Now you people are gonna have to settle this thing peacefully. You can’t just go on shooting at one another. You’ve already hired a gunfighter. Tagg’s recourse to that will be to hire one of his own. That’s gonna lead to burnings, killings, bloodshed.
Well, if that’s what it takes to put up that wire and keep it up, that’s what we’ll do.
Don’t you even lay your hands on it.
Did you ever see what barbed wire does to a cow?
Ordinary wire won’t stop cattle!
It will unless they’re stampeding!

PALADIN
Now, wait a minute. There is a solution.
Like what?

PALADIN
Let him string his wire.
What kind of a solution is that? All you want is to get paid.

PALADIN
You’re missing the logic. If what he says is true, let him string his barbed wire. Outside the barbed wire, you string smooth wire. His crops will be protected and your cattle will be protected.
I don’t buy your double-talk, mister. Dane, let her go. Not yet, old man. I got a score to settle, and I ain’t taking any chances on it backfiring.

PALADIN
Turn her loose. I’ll oblige you.
Not your way, gunfighter. Mine!

PALADIN
Any way will do.
Good. Give him your holster. I won’t hesitate to shoot! Take out all but two bullets.
Give it to him. Now, no fancy draw, gunfighter. Just one gun and two bullets for each man. Now tell ’em to clear out.

PALADIN
Hyah!
That’s his two shots!

PALADIN
All right, those are your two shots. Now, I don’t want to kill you. Just get on a horse and get out of here.
That’s sporting of you, gunfighter.

PALADIN
Well, you don’t count very well.
Now get him out of there. Get him to a doctor and get that arm fixed up. Then get him out of town. I wish you’d stop giving guns to people like him.
Mister, I’ve been thinking about what you said about the plain wire and the barbed wire.

PALADIN
Well, unfortunately, we don’t have any plain wire.
Yeah. I mean, no. I thought it sounded too easy.
Gentlemen, let’s first settle barbed wire price.
$1,000.
Insult.
– $2,000.
– $3,000.

PALADIN
Sold for $2,000.
– Wait a minute. I’ve got a bid!

PALADIN
$2,000.
Well, what about the plain wire?

PALADIN
If you’ll excuse me, gentlemen, I think I have an idea where we might get some.
How much has he done?
Feet or yards?
Dollars.
Oh, about $600.

PALADIN
He owes me a thousand.
You don’t suppose that squirt and Anna?
Oh, Paladin…how much more to take him with you?

PALADIN
Not for all the wire in America, Mr. Anderson. However, if things get too tough, just wire Paladin, San Francisco.