Martin Westrope is studying Paladin's card when his nephew Gordon Dawes comes in to say that Paladin is there. Martin pours Paladin a bourbon and takes one for himself, and Gordon asks if it's wise. His uncle dismisses him and says that Gordon listens to Martin's doctor rather than Martin. Martin then says that he sent for Paladin mostly out of curiosity, and asks how Paladin can be of use to him. Paladin knows that Martin is looking for the girl who married Martin's son Michael just before he died, and believes he can find him. Michael was a cavalry officer killed at an outpost on the Mexican border, and died under unknown circumstances. In the last letter Martin received from Michael, Michael said that he found the girl he looked for all his life and was going to marry her, but didn't give her name. He said that the girl was from London, and the next telegram received said that Michael was dead. Martin wants the girl to come and be his daughter, and wonders if Paladin can find the girl with just a fast gun. Paladin says that he has more than a fast gun, and talks about Martin's secret bank dealings and health issues. Martin is satisfied with Paladin's investigative abilities and agrees to hire him.
Paladin rides to the outpost and bumps into Major R.G. Blaisdell. Blaisdell immediately tells Paladin to get off the post, and Paladin demands answers to his questions. When the major threatens to have him arrested, Paladin says that the Adjutant General will be interested to hear about his treatment. Blaisdell invites him in, and the soldier at the desk listens in as Paladin says that Lt. Westrope and two of his men died needlessly because someone is running contraband to a border pirate, Escobar. Paladin knows Escobar and figures he'll meet his price to tell him who was in charge of the illegal smuggling. He offers to stop his investigation if Blaisdell tells him who Lt. Westrope married, and Blaisdell insists that Westrope wasn't married. He offers Westrope's personal effects to take back to Martin, and Paladin takes them. The soldier quickly returns to his desk, and Paladin walks out past him.
Later in the nearby town, Paladin goes to the county clerk's office to see the marriage registry for the last two months. The soldier follows him as the clerk, Wilbur Macon, says that the registry is closed to the public. Paladin asks for a marriage license and tells the clerk to get out the registry so he can sign it. Wilbur does so in return for the $2 fee, and Paladin discovers that there's a page missing. When Wilbur feigns ignorance, Paladin draws his gun and Wilbur insists that he doesn't know Michael. After a moment, Paladin holsters his gun and walks out, and the soldier hands him a note. It's from a woman named Isobel, asking Paladin to meet him at the entrance to a church that night.
That night, Paladin goes to the church and finds Isobel waiting for him. She says that her last name is Westrope, and explains that the soldier was in Michael's platoon. Isobel tells him that someone tried to kill her a week ago, and she's stayed hidden since then. Paladin asks for proof that she was married to Isobel, explaining that the Westropes have a lot of money. Isobel admits that Michael didn't say anything about his family wealth, and she doesn't have her marriage license because someone set their cottage on fire. She doesn't know Martin's name, and talks about how she grew up in Piccadilly. Paladin says that he wants to take her to Martin in San Francisco, and Isobel immediately agrees.
On the train heading back to San Francisco, Isobel explains that her aunt said she moved to Tucson and she came to the States trying to find her. A man knocks on the carriage door and asks if Isobel is inside. When she says that she is, the man comes in aiming a gun and Paladin knocks him out. Isobel doesn't recognize him./
Later at the Westrope manor, Martin offers to reimburse Paladin for his troubles. He says that his daughter-in-law arrived a few days after Paladin left. Paladin asks to meet her, and Martin says that Gordon is showing her the town. When Paladin returns to his suite at the Carlton, he tells her that Michael's wife showed up, making Isobel an imposter and him a fool. Isobel insists that she is Michael's wife, and slaps Paladin when he says she could have done it for $500,000. Impressed, Paladin admits that she has conviction.
Paladin returns to the Westrope manor and asks for the privilege of meeting Michael's wife, Catherine. While they wait, Paladin admits that he admires Martin and says that most men would have demanded conclusive proof. Martin says that Catherine volunteered proof, including the marriage license. Gordon brings Catherine in, and Paladin offers them dinner at his hotel the next night in congratulations. As he goes, Paladin asks if Michael had a favorite wine. Catherine immediately recites Michael's wine preferences.
The next night before the dinner, Paladin pours out the wine and champagne. Afterward, Martin, Gordon, and Catherine enjoy the meal while Paladin secretly loosens the cushion on his chair. He then proposes a toast to Catherine, and Catherine corrects his information about her. Paladin says that he's familiar with Piccadilly, and then drops his napkin. He bends over to pick it up and then joins in their toast Martin proposes to cavalry.
Paladin then asks if Michael told Catherine about Blaisdell, and why they didn't go to him for permission to be married. Catherine says that Michael thought Blaisdell might refuse the request, and Paladin speculates that's why she didn't go to him to get Michael's personal effects, including the watch Catherine gave him. He then talks about the Great Exposition and she says that she was 16 at the time. Paladin says that she's charming... and a liar. The Great Exposition was held in 1851, before when Catherine claims that she was born. He points out the other flaws in her story, and says that anyone could have forged the marriage license.
When Martin points out that Catherine described things that only Michael would know, Paladin points out that the man who was raised with Michael would also know them. Gordon insists that Paladin is insane, and Paladin takes out a letter promising $1,000 for Isobel's death. He points out that the letter is in a woman's handwriting, and Catherine says that Gordon made her write the letter and planned the whole thing. Gordon tries to run... and discovers that Paladin ties the cushion rope around his feet. Martin tells Paladin to get them out of his sight rather than press charges, and Gordon and Catherine quickly leave.
Once they're alone, Paladin offers his condolences. When Martin bemoans the fact that he has nothing, Paladin brings Isobel in from the next room and presents her as Michael's wife. He tells Martin not to believe anything until her marriage is proven, and Isobel leads Martin off to talk about his son.
Later in the Carlton lobby, Isobel meets Paladin to thank him. She says that she and Martin are going on a troop, and she's going to show him the places where she grew up. Isobel gives Paladin her book of poems so that he won't forget her, and he points out that it's a valuable first edition. She insists that she wants him to have it, and they say their goodbyes.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 17, 2016