At a saloon in Steven's Creek near Porter, Jed Daws is carving notches into the butt of his revolver and walks out. The bartender notes to customer Ed Bryant that Jud has killed six people since he arrived in town, and that Jud is moving on to Porter. Ed says that he's heading there himself and figures he should tip off sheriff. The bartender says that Porter doesn't have a sheriff: just Ranger Hoby Gilman acting as the temporary replacement.
After discovering that no one is offering to run as sheriff, Hoby meets with Aaron. Ed is in the back of the barber shop, taking a bath, and tells Hoby that Jed is coming to Porter. Hoby has never heard of him, and Aaron says that Jed is the Pueblo Kid. Ed warns that Jed has killed a seventh person since Ed left for Porter, and Arron explains that Jed grew up in Porter.
Hoby meets with Henrietta, who talks about all the newspapers she gets from across the country. She figures Hoby came to ask her about Jed, and tells him that Jed was born in an old shack outside of town. Jed's folks never amounted to much, and let Jed do what he want. When Jed's father died, Jed disappeared but never got into any trouble before then. Henrietta suggests that Jed is coming to see Lucy Franklin, who works at the general store. She and Jed were in love, and Henrietta asks how Penny is getting along with Penny. Hoby says that they're fine, and Henrietta offers to print wedding invitations.
At the general store, Dave Phillips is trying to kiss Lucy, who tells him to go. Hoby comes in and she says that Dave was just leaving. Dave asks Hoby if he can outshoot Jed, and says that he beat Jed a half-dozen times before Jed left town, and figures he can do the same with a gun and make the town notice him. Once Dave leaves, Hoby asks Lucy about Jed. She says that Jed has written a couple of letters, but not in several months. As Hoby goes, Lucy says that Jed might have had to shoot but Hoby is skeptical.
Jed enters the saloon and everyone steps away. When the bartender comes over, Jed reminds him that he used to throw him out. The bartender says that he was too young to hang around saloons and quickly leaves. Ed is drinking and Jed takes offense at him staring at him. When Ed denies it, Jed doesn't believe it and tells him to move on. Dave comes in and suggests that they ought to be friends. Hoby enters and introduces himself, and tells him not to shoot anyone. He makes it clear that no one else is going to get a reputation by drawing on Jed and leaves.
Later, Penny approaches Hoby and says that Lucy is at her house and wants to talk to Hoby. Hoby goes there and Lucy explains that Jed and Dave had a fight after Hoby left, and they're going to shoot it out at Jed's old farm at 10 o'clock. The woman blames herself for Jed coming back because of her, and explains that Jed asked her to marry her. Lucy said that she couldn't live her life worrying about her husband dying, and Jed told her that he has hasn't killed anyone.
Hoby spends 30 minutes at the Porter Enterprise going over newspaper articles with Henrietta. He then goes to the hotel where Jed is staying and repeats what Lucy said. Jed claims that he just told Lucy he wasn't a killer to get her to go with him. Hoby says that he checked the papers and two of Jed's supposed shootings took place a day apart... and 1,600 miles. Jed finally admits that he rode in after a shooter in Pueblo, and he looked like the killer. He figured it was his chance to come back to Porter as more than dirt, and Hoby warns that he'll get himself killed. Jed figures that Dave will back down, but he'll kill him if he doesn't. Hoby tells Jed what he has to look forward to if he kills someone, and warns that if Jed runs then someone will come after the Pueblo Kid. Jed insists that he's no coward, and Hoby warns him that whether he kills or will be killed, it'll be the end of Jed's chances with Lucy. The Ranger advises Jed to tell everyone the truth about the Pueblo Kid and asks how brave he really is.
Later, Jed goes to Hawkins' Livery and says that he wants to buy a rig to get out of town. Dave comes in and accuses him of being a coward. He orders Hawkins out and the blacksmith reluctantly leaves. Jed says that he isn't going to shoot, and Dave offers him one of his. Jed says that he put the notches on his revolver because he wanted to be a big man... just like Dave does. He tells Dave that he'll be the big man in Porter, but Dave would rather shoot it out. With that, he marches Jed over to the saloon.
The townspeople gather as Dave orders Jed to tell everyone what he told Dave. When Jed refuses, Dave offers him a gun. Jed refuses to take it, and finally admits that there is no Pueblo Kid. When he tries to walk out, Dave shoots at his feet and a man offers Jed his guns. When Jed refuses to take them, Dave has two men strap them on. Jed insists that he won't draw, and Dave throws a drink in his face. Meanwhile, Aaron slips out to get Hoby.
Dave starts taunting Jed about Lucy, and says that she's been popular since Jed left. Hoby comes in as Jed draws and clears leather before Dave is. Dave quickly apologizes, and Jed removes the gun belt and walks off. Hoby takes Dave's guns and leaves.
Later, Hoby reads Henrietta's story about Lucy and Jed are getting married. She's disappointed that there's no mention of the Pueblo Kid, and no other newspaper will be interested in picking up her story. Hoby points out that there never was a Pueblo Kid so there's no one to write about, and leaves.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 5, 2017