A Stone for Benny French Recap

Morgan Larker and his gang ride into Big Rescue and approach the bank. Morgan asks one of his men, Benny French, if he's okay. Benny insists that he is and assures him that he's always done right by him before. While Benny stands lookout, Morgan and the other two outlaws go in. Benny spots Hoby and the town sheriff come out on the street, and gunshots go off from inside the bank. The horses run off and Benny goes after them. As Hoby and the sheriff open fire, Morgan and his men take cover and fire back. Morgan calls to Benny and shoots him when he turns. The wounded Benny runs off into an alleyway.

After the shootout, Hoby and the sheriff capture the Larker gang and lock them up. Hoby has turn a local drunk, Adrian Zach, out of his cell to make room. Morgan complains that they only got caught because Benny turned yellow, just like Benny's father, and offers to tell Hoby where Benny is if he gives him one minute alone with him. Hoby refuses to deal, saying he'll get the information from one of the others, and Morgan tells him that Benny went to a cabin at a deserted silver mine because he's got nowhere else to go. As Hoby leaves, he sees Adrian looking at a wanted post for the Larker gang, including Benny.

Hoby goes to the cabin and breaks in, gun ready. There's no sign of Benny inside and Hoby goes up to the nearby mine. Inside, Hoby searches the place and finds Benny lying in the dark. Benny clutches his wounded arm and Hoby him not to shoot him.

The Ranger takes Benny to the cabin and applies a cobweb poultice to his wound. Benny figures that Morgan told them where he was, and is eager to say that all he's ever done is hold the horses for them and cook. Hoby ignores him and says that he's taking him into town. Benny begs him not to take him place because they'll hang him with Morgan and the others. He insists that he didn't kill anyone, but Hoby says that a judge and jury will decide that. As Benny goes out, someone fires and Hoby yanks Benny back in.

Four men take up positions outside and one of them calls to Benny by name. Hoby realizes that it's Eli Zach and his boys who live outside of Big Rescue on a rock field. Eli tells him sons to hold his fire, and then tells Hoby that he wants to come in and talk to him. Hoby tells him to drop his rifle and come in, and Eli agrees. He greets Benny and says that Adrian told him Benny was there. Eli asks for some booze and Hoby has Benny point it out. The old man claims that they figured Hoby needs a little help and suggests that they could escort Hoby back. Hoby says that he'll manage, and Eli points out that there's a $200 reward on his head.

A shot rings out and Eli yells out the window at his sons. Gale apologizes, saying it was a gopher. Eli apologizes to Hoby, who says that Eli isn't going to collect any money and his business is taking Benny in for trial. The old man figures that they can use the $200 to get some decent farmland, and suggests that Hoby agree with him when they say that they shot down Eli when he tried to jump Hoby. Hoby isn't interested and orders Eli out, and Eli grabs the bottle and goes.

Benny begs Hoby to stop them, and Hoby slaps him and tells him to do what he wants but to stay out of his way. The outlaw says that people judge him from what his father did, and he tried to make up for it. Unimpressed, Hoby figures that Benny needed someone like Morgan and took on every dirty job he gave him. Benny says that his father made him that way, and Hoby tells him to stand up on h is own two feet for once.

The Zach clan slip away, and Benny figures that they talked it over and left. A shot rings out, taking Hoby in the shoulder, and the Zachs open fire. Hoby shoots back while Benny cowers in the back. Once the shooting dies down, Hoby figures that they're going to draw his fire until he runs out of ammo. Benny suggests that there's a way out for Hoby and draws a gun on him. He explains that it was hidden under the mattress, and prepares to go out. Benny figures that if he goes out it's just him, prays to God for strength, and goes out. He runs up the hill and one of the Zachs shoots him. Wounded, Benny shoots the Zachs coming after him and runs into the mine, while the last one keeps Hoby pinned down.

Eli and his two sons fire at Benny, who goes down. Dying, Benny shoots at the ceiling above him. The rock comes down, burying him while Eli's sons hold him back. Hoby runs up and finds Eli trying to dig Benny's body out. The Ranger takes their guns and tells Eli to stop, and the old man stares at the rocks covering his lost money and cries.

Later back at Big Rescue, the sheriff points out that Hoby wrote up the Zach family so that they won't get more than three months. Hoby doesn't see the point of laying it on, and the sheriff tells him not to waste any time bleeding over Benny. The Ranger says that for three minutes, he saw a brave man, and that isn't something he likes to see destroyed.

Written by Gadfly on Feb 5, 2017