220-“The Savages”

“The Savages”

Original Airdate:  (March 16, 1963)

Paladin guides an art collector and his daughter into the wilderness in search of a reclusive sculptor.

JUDI MEREDITH as Gina
PATRIC KNOWLES as August
JAMES GRIFFITH as Spencer

JUDI MEREDITH also appeared in: (Memories of Monica, 1962) as Monica Reagan, (Bearbait, 1961) as Sally. PATRIC KNOWLES also appeared in: (Fogg Bound, 1960) as Phileas Fogg, (Champagne Safari, 1959) as Charles Trevington. JAMES GRIFFITH also appeared in: (The Predators, 1962) as Marauder, (The Waiting Room, 1962) as Dave Wilder.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

At the seashore.

PALADIN
Is this the camp of Vernor August?
In Santa Barbara they told me that he and his daughter had come this way.
Well, at any rate, your beauty has repaid me for my trip. Every mile of it.

GINA
See what I’m making for my baby? Come and I’ll show you.

VERNOR AUGUST
A moment, please. I regret, sir, that the reputation of this wild country does not permit hospitality. I’d appreciate your leaving.

CARD

VERNOR AUGUST
I’m Vernor August.
I waited an extra day for you in Santa Barbara but decided you wouldn’t come.

PALADIN
Well, it is a long trip from San Francisco.

VERNOR AUGUST
lf you wish to be certain it was I who wrote you…

PALADIN
No. I once had the pleasure of viewing one of your art collections in Boston.
I knew who you were before your letter arrived.

VERNOR AUGUST
Oh. Mr. Paladin, my daughter Gina. You are most happy to meet…

GINA
I am most happy to meet you.

PALADIN
When I first met your daughter, I had the strong feeling that I’d seen her someplace before.

VERNOR AUGUST
That’s quite impossible, sir.

PALADIN
Well, then the loss is mine, madam.

VERNOR AUGUST
It’s miss. The small clothing and the talk of a baby, it’s…it’s a little joke of ours.
Please, sir, do me the honor. Gina, the wine for our guest.

GINA
Yes.

VERNOR AUGUST
I was afraid you wouldn’t come. This country is so wild, so wide and different from the East. But, then, you know that.

PALADIN
The reason I came was that your letter was not exactly specific as to why you wanted
to see Elliot Spencer.

VERNOR AUGUST
Ah, surely you’re joking, sir. Have you no conception of the genius of this man?

PALADIN
Well, I did see his Tuscan Lake Nymph in the Louvre, and that gave me a vague idea.

VERNOR AUGUST
Well, then, 20 years ago he created his last great work, then he disappeared.
Everyone wanted to know…will the great Spencer ever work again?
Then I find you’re the last man to see him.

PALADIN
The man I left in the wilderness three years ago was looking for peace, not work.

VERNOR AUGUST
Then he’s changed his mind.
That’s why I’m willing to pay you $2,000 to take me to him.

PALADIN
I have only agreed to meet you, and I find it very difficult to believe that Spencer has changed his mind.

VERNOR AUGUST
I have but one argument for that. Gina. The Savages.

PALADIN
Je suis tres touché. (I am very touched)

VERNOR AUGUST
You recognize the stone?

PALADIN
Yes.

PALADIN
Afro-Asian aboriginals in the marble of West America.

VERNOR AUGUST
It’s taken me a whole year to trace them to a thief who stole them from a strange man
who he said lives south of here. So you see…Spencer does work again.

PALADIN
Yes.

GINA
She is very beautif…

VERNOR AUGUST
Gina! You’re tired.

PALADIN
Your argument is very powerful, sir. This is Spencer’s work, no doubt about it.
The slight elongation of the torso…thigh. Double symmetry. The symbolism.
Now…if we find him…if we find Spencer and he does not want to see you, what then?

VERNOR AUGUST
Then I’ve come a long way for nothing. You have my word, sir.

PALADIN
All right, we’ll start in the morning.

EXT. SANTA BARBARA SEASHORE – MORNING

GINA
Do you like working with your hands, Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
Very much. Well, you show a remarkable skill.

GINA
A man taught me when I was very small. I can’t make her as beautiful as she really was. Yours is not so beautiful.

PALADIN
No.

GINA
But I like you.

PALADIN
Where’s your mother, Gina?

GINA
She sleeps in the ground. I used to put flowers there, but Father forbade it.

PALADIN
You say a man taught you to do this. Who, Gina? Who?

GINA
He was my best friend next to my mother. He used to swing me in his arms and say I was
his beautiful little one. Those were the happy days, when I was very small.

PALADIN
And still, we all must grow up…mustn’t we?

GINA
Why must we? There! lt’ll stay like it is, no matter what my father says, or you! I am like the woman in The Savages, aren’t I, Mr. Paladin?

PALADIN
Remarkably so.

GINA
Will you swing me in your arms?

PALADIN
I think not.

GINA
Why?

PALADIN
Because I might like that, and it might not be what you expected at all.

GINA
It is better to stay a child…so then people can love you. And there is no hate.

VERNOR AUGUST
Mr. Paladin. Our agreement does not concern talking to my daughter.
We’ll break camp immediately.

EXT. ON THE TRAIL – DAY

VERNOR AUGUST
Oh, shut up, will you?

GINA
Spencer?

ELLIOT SPENCER
I’m afraid this is a private encamp…Paladin! Oh, my good friend!

GINA
Here.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Oh. What’s this all about? Ah, August. Colette?
So much like her.

PALADIN
Her name is Gina, not Colette.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Gina.

VERNOR AUGUST
Surely you remember the child you found so charming once upon a time.

GINA
You are like someone I should remember.

VERNOR AUGUST
Colette…my wife is dead.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Colette, dead?

VERNOR AUGUST
To me, for many years. To others, for only three. Despite her years, she still remains a child, Spencer. Like her father, I would say.

ELLIOT SPENCER
You go too far.

VERNOR AUGUST
There are ways for gentlemen to settle such things.

ELLIOT SPENCER
My camp is right over there. I’m pleased to welcome an old acquaintance.
Would you like to walk with me?

PALADIN
August. You had better go and get your wagon.

PALADIN
Well, I suspected he was lying. Still, he would have just kept on searching for you until he found you.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Of course.

PALADIN
I wondered how you happened to choose this particular place. Did you notice the rhombohedral cleavages in the outcroppings?

ELLIOT SPENCER
Perhaps I did, unconsciously. It’s like a Carrara. It’s quite a good marble.

PALADIN
Well, of course. I thought I recognized her. It’s the Tuscan water nymph.
That’s her mother.

VERNOR AUGUST
Ah, yes. I heard them as they stared at that statue. “So lovely, so beautiful,” they said. “The wife of Vernor August. And he? Such a blind, stupid fool.”

ELLIOT SPENCER
They are the ones who are blind, August. Loveliness like hers comes only from within. Her very faithfulness is what gave her beauty.

VERNOR AUGUST
Do you wish to inspect the pistols?

PALADIN
August, in your own words, you have made a very long journey for nothing.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Yes. I’m not afraid of death, but I will not take life.

VERNOR AUGUST
Even if I tell you it was Colette’s wish? Gina! She even made a mark on the pistol which would be known only to you. Tell him who gave me the pistols.

GINA
Mama gave them to you.

ELLIOT SPENCER
A water lily. The water lily here. It was a private joke between us. That… how wonderful it would be if our feet could root in the lake bottom and we could die each winter and be newly born each spring.

VERNOR AUGUST
Without the encumbrance of a husband, of course.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Perhaps I hoped she felt that. She never said.

VERNOR AUGUST
I even had Gina polish them for me. And now I think it appropriate that the seed of the water lily witness their final use.

ELLIOT SPENCER
I see. You destroy one and wound the other. And all for nothing. The child is yours.
Your flesh and blood.

VERNOR AUGUST
You have Colette’s message in your hand. Do you deny her last wish?

PALADIN
Spencer, have you ever held a pistol in your hand before?

ELLIOT SPENCER
No. But when it’s over, I want Paladin to take her. Find a place for her that she’ll…

PALADIN
This child is not a piece of merchandise for bargaining.

ELLIOT SPENCER
I agree! She’s the only human thing in this whole affair. But I want her away from you.
Away from your hate.

VERNOR AUGUST
Even you ought to be able to tell her head’s too empty for hate. Or anything else.

PALADIN
If there is a person here without understanding, it’s you, August.

VERNOR AUGUST
This is none of your affair.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Yes, to that I must agree.

PALADIN
Well, I am forced to disagree with both of you. Now…I’m gonna ask you people
one time…not to go through with this. August, you’re an intelligent man, an educated man. Give credence to the idea that he may be telling the truth. No? Well, then, have the charity to forgive him for what you believe happened. He was a very young man, and you say yourself that your wife was a rarely beautiful woman.

VERNOR AUGUST
You waste time, sir.

PALADIN
Spencer. This is exactly the kind of a thing that drove you out here.
You were a man sick, revolted, preferring death to living in a world filled with ugliness.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Somewhere a poet must have said, “To truly love beauty is to be wiling to die
for it, if necessary.” But I feel sorry for you. To have had a beautiful woman
and a lovely child, and to have known the wonder of neither.

PALADIN
Two gentlemen. Two gentlemen so mired in the muck of their own self-pity that they can’t see the obvious. What do you think the death
of either one of you is gonna mean to this girl?

VERNOR AUGUST
Where there is no mind, there can be no effect.

PALADIN
You insist on going through with this? Very well, since I have a certain professional interest in the safety of my clients, and since August hired me…Spencer.

ELLIOT SPENCER
You mean… you’ll…

PALADIN
The gun is loaded, primed, cocked. All you need do is pull the trigger to fire it. We’ll move on the count. Count of five, turn and fire.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Perhaps this is what she meant by the water lily. It is almost winter, isn’t it?

PALADIN
One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

GINA
Paladin, no, you’re my friend.

PALADIN
All right. All right. All right, now. I’m not gonna kill him, Gina. Here. These are very fine
dueling pistols. But I suspect they’ve been tampered with. I suspect that any person pulling the trigger would indeed be taking his own life.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Colette… Colette planned this?

PALADIN
I think she must have known that sooner or later, he’d find you. And I think she must
also have known that you would never pull the trigger.

VERNOR AUGUST
No. No, you’re wrong! You’re wrong!

EXT. SCULPTOR WORKING IN CLAY

PALADIN
Gina, August said you knew that those guns had been tampered with. Did you know?

GINA
No. You’re the man who taught me how to make beautiful things with my hands when I was little, aren’t you?

ELLIOT SPENCER
Yes.

PALADIN
Spencer…will you go back to San Francisco with us?

ELLIOT SPENCER
Not yet. But I have two friends that’ll know where I am, and I know where you’ll be.

PALADIN
And as for you, young lady…when I get you to San Francisco, the first thing I am going to do is put you in some clothes that befit your years.

GINA
Do I have to wear shoes?

PALADIN
Yes, you have to wear shoes. Spencer, this may not be the best of all possible worlds, but if we try, we can make it the best of all possible compromises.

ELLIOT SPENCER
Gina?

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