Paladin is riding through town when he sees a gallows. Next to it is the True Blue American Bar, owned by U.S. District court judge Elroy P. Greenleaf. A man is chained up on the street in the noonday sun, and the guard Moley kicks away a nearby bucket of water. Paladin offers the prisoner his canteen, and the man--Dr. Simeon Loving--gratefully drinks from it. Greenleaf and his men watch from the balcony as Simeon calls Paladin a bloody fool.
Greenleaf calls down and says that Paladin is the counsel for the defense. He says that he's been waiting until someone came by to defend Simeon. The judge knows who Paladin is, and they picked Paladin because no one local would go against him. Greenleaf says that he's the only authority in "his" country. If Paladin doesn't help then Simeon will hang. Paladin offers to do Simeon what he can, and Simeon refuses. Moley slaps Simeon, and Paladin knocks Moley to the ground. Satisfied, Greenleaf tells Paladin that he has ten minutes to confer with his "client" and goes inside.
Simeon says that he's a surgeon and that his indictment has been simplified to murder. He explains that a man came to him with gunshot wounds. Simeon treated him and sent him on his way, and a day later the patient killed the deputy, Tom Chisholm, pursuing him. The surgeon is being tried and hung in the prisoner's stance. Simeon didn't inquire as to the prisoner's occupation, and was glad to go up against Greenleaf in any case. Paladin says that he's going to send a telegram to summon a Federal judge and end the farce.
The townspeople gather in the bar and Greenleaf serves free drinks to the first twelve men who "volunteer" as jurors. He then calls the trial to order and Paladin immediately challenges the jury selection. Greenleaf invites him to choose someone less biased, and Paladin picks out a merchant man in the audience. The judge asks if the merchant has formed an opinion. When he admits that he has, Greenleaf dismisses him. Paladin removes the challenge and offers Greenleaf a bet on the outcome. He points out that if he loses then his client gets hung, and asks who gets hung if Greenleaf loses, on the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. His pride pricked, Greenleaf agrees but says that the gallows can hold two on the same charge of conspiracy.
The trial begins and Paladin says that Simeon did his sworn duty as a physician. He reminds the jury that they could be next for any reason, and Greenleaf makes the prosecution's statement. Greenleaf looks them in the eyes and then reminds one juror, Cutler, that he saved him when he stole some cows. He continues to remind the other jurors of everything he's done for them, including loaning one man Homer some money. Paladin points out that Greenleaf is intimidating the witness. Greenleaf merely says that they're partial to their own interests.
The telegram clerk arrives with a response for Paladin's message. Paladin quickly grabs it from him before Greenleaf can take it, and Greenleaf says that Simone will be hung before any lawyer can get there. The gunslinger tells Simeon that a Federal judge on the way and will be there tonight with authority to put Greenleaf where he belongs. Simeon points out that the trial will be over in ten minutes, and Paladin says that he'll have to stall.
Paladin fills a hat with money and confirms that Homer owes $112.30. Homer admits that Greenleaf could take his farm away if he crossed him, and Paladin points out that he's been bought. He gives Homer the money and says that he can vote however he wants, and Homer admits that he might not vote the way Greenleaf wants. Paladin asks Greenleaf if he wants to file a complaint and have the attorney general investigate, and Greenleaf invites him to bribe the other jurors. Cutler is next, saying that he's looking out for himself and his family. Paladin tosses a coin into the air and shoots a hole in it, and then tells Cutler that if he helps hang Simeon then he'll never know when he'll call on him. He tells Cutler to choose whether he'll face Paladin or Greenleaf, and Greenleaf accuses him of intimidating Cutler. Paladin says that it's Greenleaf's jury, and he can't blame them for being partial to their interests.
Greenleaf addresses the jury and says that Simeon thinks that he's superior to the rest of them. He then asks them to determine if Simeon is guilty of complicity in Chisholm's murder. Greenleaf sends them to deliberate, and then brings them in a short time later. Paladin tells Simeon that he still has a few cards left to play. Greenleaf has Simeon rise, and Homer as the foreman give the jury's verdict. Before Homer can speak, Paladin asks Greenleaf if their side bet is still on. Greenleaf tells Moley to disarm Paladin, and Moley takes Paladin's revolver. Paladin shows the jury the telegram and says that they'll be relieved of their responsibilities. Simeon will then be tried in a real court of law. Paladin advises them to think well before they speak, because they'll have to account for Simeon's execution.
Paladin moves to Greenleaf's bench and grabs the judge's revolver, and wounds Moley and kills Greenleaf's other guard. Simeon sends someone to get his bag to tend to Moley, Greenleaf rants that Paladin is an insurrectionist, but Paladin tells the jury to give their verdict. Greenleaf runs for the door and Paladin trips him, and then says that the court is dismissed.
After the Federal judge relieves Greenleaf and arrests him, Paladin rides out of town past Greenleaf... chained up where Simeon was. Townspeople are taking down the gallows, and Paladin watches them for a moment in satisfaction before riding out.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 8, 2017