At the Carlton, Paladin is in the lobby with his date, a contessa. Hey Girl interrupts to say that Paladin has a client, just as his date's chaperone leads her away. Paladin meets with B.J. Throckton, who needs him to recover a gold bar worth $11,000. Throckton is sure that his head clerk, James Turner, took the bar. Paladin wonders why Throckton needs him, and the banker says that if the loss were known it would mean a run on his bank and a state examiner is coming that month. Paladin reluctantly agrees to accept the commission.
Later, Paladin rides off on Turner's trail. As he makes camp for the night, Turner rides up and Paladin orders the clerk off his horse. Turner readily does so, saying that he doesn't have a horse, and asks Paladin to come with him to a cabin a mile down the road. He offers to pay Paladin for his help, and Paladin agrees.
The two men ride to the cabin and Paladin notices Turner's discarded hat and jacket on the table. In the next room, a woman Leah is lying sick. The clerk says that he just went to get help, and Paladin confirms that the woman is pregnant. Turner explains that he found her there sick and Paladin sends him to get some brandy from his saddlebags. Leah explains that the baby's father left to get work and died drinking and fighting. Turner has been taking care of her since he found her.
Turner comes back with the brandy and Leah tells him that her time has come. He admits that he doesn't know what to do, and Paladin sends him to get some coffee. While he waits, Turner finds Paladin's card. He hastily pockets it when Paladin comes out and says that Leah hasn't delivered the baby yet but she should be okay. Paladin removes the card from his pocket and then takes the gold bar out of Turner's pack. Turner says that someone else will hunt Paladin down if he takes it, and Paladin finds the gold bar in his pack as well as tickets to Europe. The clerk explains that he spent years imagining the theft and just took the bar one day. But he stumbled across Leah and promised her that he wouldn't leave.
Leah goes into labor and Paladin enters the next room to help her. The delivery is a success, and Leah lets Turner hold the baby. She names the baby James after Turner, and Paladin suggests that they share a toast to the baby. When Turner goes to get the cups, Paladin kisses Leah's hand and then joins the clerk. Turner draws a gun on him and tells him to take the bar and get out. He plans to tell Throckton that Paladin stole the bar and then he followed Paladin to recover it. He wants to stay there to take care of Leah. Paladin points out that there are no bullets in it, and easily takes the gun away from Turner when he checks. Turner wishes he could give the bar back, but figures that Throckton will press charges against him no matter what. Paladin suggests that they take Leah and James to the city in a wagon, and put them into a hotel while he and Turner take the bar back to the bank.
When the group arrives in the city, Turner takes Paladin to the bank and a police officer comes out. He recognizes Turner and hails him, and Paladin leads the clerk off to the nearby temperance mission. They go inside to avoid attention and look over Turner's hand drawn floor plan of the bank.
Paladin and Turner are sitting down at a table when they discuss they're break-in plans. The Captain invites them to greet their new member, and Paladin and Turner are instantly standing up and the table is nowhere in sight. The Captain leads everyone out to sing, and Paladin and Turner have to go along to maintain their cover. When the band moves along, Paladin and Turner slip around the back and find a second-story window. Paladin climbs up a nearby fire escape ladder and gestures Turner up, and then they cross a pipe over to the window. Turner almost falls but Paladin catches him.
The two men go inside and Turner starts to open the safe. The church chimes go off at 9 pm, and Turner forgets the combination. Paladin irritably tells him to remember, and Turner gets the door open... too late. Paladin tells him to open it anyway and the alarm goes off. They put the gold bar back in, while the patrolman hears the alarm and comes in to investigate.
Paladin and Turner close the door--shutting off the alarm--and hide as the patrolman comes in and turns up the light. They slip out behind him and blend in with the mission band as they come back, enthusiastically singing. They put some money into the Captain's tambourine and walk away.
On Monday, the state examiner arrives and reviews the bank's assets. Throckton is opening the safe for the examiner when Paladin comes in. Paladin says that the thief has eluded him and Throckton threatens to take action against him. The manager has no choice but to open the safe, and Paladin tries to look innocent as the examiner confirms that the gold bar is inside and says that everything checks out. A puzzled Throckton closes the door and, after the examiner leaves, Paladin claims the bar was in the safe all along. Throckton doesn't believe it but has no other explanation.
Turner arrives for work, acting like nothing is amiss, and shares a secret smile with Paladin. Throckton figures that it's best not to ask any questions and has no one to prosecute, and goes about his business.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 8, 2017