At the Carlton, Paladin is enjoying himself with a lady in the lobby as two men, Clyde Tatum and Otis Woodward, explain that their town Sunshine Creek is facing a major crisis. Shep Montrose comes into town twice a year after boarding up his silver mine, and tears up the place celebrating. Shep is an expert shooter, and they don't want Shep killed: they just want him to act decent. Paladin agrees as long as they let him do it his way. They agree and Paladin escorts his lady on her way.
A few days later, Paladin rides into Sunshine Creek and Otis tells him that Shep is at the Green Front Saloon. Paladin enters the saloon as Shep is ranting to the crowd from atop the bar. The gunfighter applauds and says that he's paying tribute, and offers to buy the first round. Shep agrees and immediately takes offense when someone bumps into him. Paladin takes a long swig from the bottle, impressing Shep, and gives the mountain man his card. Shep assures him that he'll fight at the drop of a hat, and Paladin sarcastically says that he's a cantankerous old man. The mountain man takes that in and then slaps Paladin on the shoulder, impressed with his bravery.
Two cowhands come in looking for the pool table, and Shep offers to take Paladin on in a game. When the cowhands insist that they were there first, Shep says that it's his pool table and offers the bartender a thousand dollars to buy it. The cowhands take offense and say that they came forty miles for a game of pool. When Shep casually says that he'll kill them, Paladin tells the mountain man to let them play. He figures that Shep is spoiling for action, and suggests that they take it outside. Shep sucker-punches him out into the street, and the laughing mountain man goes out. Paladin tosses him to the street and punches him while the onlookers take bets. After a brutal fight, Paladin and Shep finally end up lying next to each other, stunned. The sheriff arrives and the two men, grinning, ask if there's something they can do for him.
Paladin and Shep go back inside for a drink and Shep complains that the West is becoming too civilized for him. When Paladin warns him that he can't fight the future, Shep isn't convinced. Shep is offended that Paladin ruined his reputation, and wonders why Paladin picked a fight. Paladin claims that he came to Sunshine Creek for a quiet weekend, and Shep offers to hire him for the weekend so they can destroy the town together. Paladin refuses and Shep hopes that Paladin won't interfere with his drinking.
Shep gets a couple of bottles of whiskey and they share a toast. Paladin starts to give Shep some advice and then passes out from the alcohol. Shep wishes him a nice sleep and heads out.
That night, Paladin wakes up on the pool table and hears Shep howling and shooting his gun. The saloon is torn up, and Paladin slugs the bartender before going outside. Following the trail of destruction, Paladin finally locates the sheriff, unconscious and surrounded by townspeople. Otis complains that Paladin failed and the sheriff's skull is fractured. Old Valentine Collins took Shep off and Paladin goes after them. Shep is in a woman's house and the woman Peggy runs out, laughing. When Shep comes out after her, Paladin kicks him down the stairs and knocks him out. Peggy says that Shep is her husband.
Later at the saloon, Paladin has Shep pay for all the damages. Shep orders another bottle and buys a drink for Valentine. Valentine says that they're related because Peggy is his daughter. He introduces himself to Paladin, and Shep figures that Valentine tricked him into marrying him to get his money. Valentine tells Shep that he's a joke and the townspeople only tolerate him because of his money. When Shep goes for his gun, Paladin steps him and points out that he's never been accused of shooting an unarmed man. Unimpressed, Shep runs out after Valentine, and Paladin tells Peggy and Valentine's wife to get him away.
Paladin tells Shep that Shep knows he'll have to stop him and orders him to come along. Shep fires a shot into the air and calls Paladin out. Everyone clears the streets and Paladin shoots Shep. He goes over to the dying man and holds him in his arms. Shep says that the sun got in his eyes and asks Paladin if Valentine was right and he's a joke. Paladin assures him that he isn't as Shep dies. Disgusted, Paladin looks at the townspeople and walks away.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 22, 2017