Hoby and night manager Mike Kilroy wait outside a Porter hotel room. When a man leaves a room, Hoby tells him to stop but the man runs. He gets to the widow and Hoby is forced to shoot. When the man goes down, Hoby runs over and confirms that he's still breathing. Mike tells Hoby to get the doctor and says that Hoby is in trouble because he just shot Milo York's son Gerald: a 16-year-old boy.
Later, Hoby goes to Mike's office and waits. Doc Calhoun comes out and says that he doesn't know yet if Calhoun will pull through. Calhoun asks what happened, and Hoby explains that they had a prowler at the hotel. He and Mike have been there for the last week, ever since Old Man Taste was pistol-whipped. Mike spotted someone and called Hoby up, and they saw Gerald come out of the room. When he refused to stop, Hoby shot him. Calhoun says that Hoby could have waited until he found out who he was dealing with, and warns that the townspeople won't be happy that Hoby gunned down a 16-year-old. Hoby insists that he didn't know who he was dealing with, However, he figures that he couldn't afford to wait. Calhoun asks who is going to tell Gerald's family, and Hoby realizes that he'll be the one to do it.
Hoby rides out to the York farm at 5 in the morning and knocks at the door. Summer York answers the door, and tells Hoby that he should ride back to town. Milo asks who it is, and comes to the door. Hoby says that Summer should stay and pushes his way in. He confirms that Gerald is their son and offers to take them into town. Milo demands an explanation, and Hoby tells him that Gerald is hurt. Summer asks what happened, and insists that Hoby is lying when Hoby says that he ran when he broke into a hotel room. Milo demands to know who shot Gerald, and Hoby admits that he did it. Summer says that she has faith and Gerald won't die, and Milo warns Hoby that his son had better not die.
Later that day, Henrietta visits Hoby at the sheriff's office and asks what happened. Hoby insists that he isn't interested in telling the town what happened when they don't want to understand, and Henrietta says that she wants to understand and might be able to make the townspeople understand. After a moment, Henrietta tells her the whole story. Two weeks ago a prowler was breaking into buildings around the hotel. The prowler eventually stole guns and ammo, and he picked the room of Jonathan Tate to break in. Calhoun had to put in 37 stitches on Tate, and Henrietta says that they're not letting anyone in to see Tate. Hoby says that there's not much holding Tate's ears together.
Henrietta says that Gerald isn't the kind to go around beating up old men, and Hoby wonders why Gerald was at the hotel and why he ran. He tells her that when he saw Gerald run, all he could remember was Tate's vague look. Henrietta says that she hopes for Hoby's sake that Gerald is guilty, but doesn't believe it and warns that the townspeople won't either. Hoby wonders how they'd think if he let the prowler go and it hadn't been a kid, and he killed someone. Calhoun comes in and tells them that Gerald just died.
Three days later, a coroner's hearing is held and Hoby, Henrietta, the witnesses, and Milo and Summer York are there. Mike testifies to what happened and Calhoun gives the legal cause of death and Tate's condition. Finally, Hoby takes the stand and answers questions for 27 minutes. The coroner, Petrie, concludes that Gerald was shot and killed resisting arrest. He tells Hoby that he was within his rights as a law enforcement officer, but the court should determine the actual guilt or innocent of Gerald and Hoby should be thankful that it's out of his jurisdiction. Petrie will recommend to Austin that Hoby be removed from his position. Disgusted, Milo storms out and Summer goes after him. Hoby goes out to the York wagon, and Milo says that he's coming back for his head that night.
That night in his office, Hoby rolls a smoke and checks the clock. He looks out the window but sees no one, and someone throws a rock at the window. Hoby takes cover and draws his gun, then blows out the lantern. Hoby spots a drunk in an alley and helps him up, and the drunk--Armadillo--says that Milo is going to kill Hoby.
Hoby rides out to the York farm to find proof that Gerald was the prowler. He sneaks into the house and goes through Gerald's things, and finds a box with the stolen personal belongings. Among them is Tate's pocket watch. As Hoby finds the stolen gun, Milo comes in, gun drawn, and tells Hoby to drop his gun. Hoby does so and tells Milo that he's got it wrong. The father doesn't care and leads Hoby out into the woods.
Milo tells Hoby that he's going to collect for his son, and Hoby tells him that he found the stolen belongings. The father says that Gerald was at the hotel trying to keep him out of trouble, and tells Hoby that he's going to die. First he says that he did the robbery, and Gerald found the stuff and came to the hotel to stop him. Summer arrives with a rifle and calls to Milo. He tells her to go home, but Summer figures that Milo got her baby killed. She says that Gerald was the only softness she ever knew and Milo killed him, and shoots her husband dead.
Hoby goes over to her and takes the rifle, and apologizes for killing Gerald. Summer tells him that Gerald would have died differently but it happened the way God intended. If He hadn’t then Hoby would have missed.
Later, Hoby rides back to Porter and turns Summer in. The townspeople think differently of Hoby, but he doesn't feel different about what happened. He tells them that he's riding to Austin to deal with some Ranger business. Henrietta tells him that no one holds it against him, and it'll be forgotten in a couple of weeks. Hoby thanks her for trying, but says that he and Summer will remember far longer.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 17, 2017