Sheriff Reagan stands in the middle of Valley Heart's main street, holding a rifle. Paladin and his prisoner Dink ride into town and Paladin greets the sheriff by name. Reagan says that he met Ben at the old way station and the old man there is dead, and Dink kicks Reagan in the face. Paladin drags Ben off the horse but stops Reagan from killing him. When Reagan points out that Ben will die sooner or later, Paladin says that Ben's hands are tied and he doesn't have a gun.
Reagan and Paladin lock Dink up and Reagan introduces his deputy, Ed Buhl. The sheriff admits that he's glad Paladin came, and Paladin reads the letter that Reagan sent him calling in his debt for saving Paladin's life. Paladin demands an explanation, and Reagan explains that his wife Monica is a beautiful woman. It's her home town, and the home town of Ben Turner who is coming home after six years in Yuma Prison. Ben sent Ben sent a letter saying that he's be there in ten days for Monica, and would enjoy killing Reagan if he gets in the way. Reagan explains that Monica chose to marry him rather than wait for Ben. Besides the man that Paladin captured, Reagan figures there are more men coming in to help Ben. As Reagan goes to get a meal, Dink tells him that Ben will have four bullets in him before he knows what happened.
Reagan takes Paladin to his home and introduces him to Monica. She thanks Paladin for being there, and once she goes to get the food, Paladin tells Reagan that Monica is beautiful and a woman. They sit down and Paladin asks Reagan who else will help them besides Buhl. The couple tell him that it's Ben's hometown and they remember him fondly. Reagan implies that Monica was with Ben willingly, and his wife glares at him and then goes to get coffee. The men that don't know Ben know of his reputation since he's killed 40 men, and they're afraid to get involved. After Reagan leaves, Monica asks if Paladin can stop it. He says that he probably can't and Monica tells him that he's a good man now. Paladin wonders which man she's referring to, Ben or Reagan.
When Reagan returns to his office, he notices that Buhl doesn't have his gun. Buhl says that it's inside and he's decided not to die. He tells Buhl that the whole thing is between Ben, Reagan, and Monica, and Reagan punches him. Paladin arrives as Reagan rips the badge off of Buhl's shirt and tells him to crawl off. Once Buhl leaves, Reagan throws the badge down in disgust and they go inside. Dink asks Paladin why he's so anxious to die, and Paladin asks him what Ben is to him. The prisoner says that Ben picked him off a saloon floor, patched up some bullet holes in him, and Dink took his last name. Dink tells Reagan that Ben don't need any help to kill him,
Two men ride into town and Reagan figures that they're with Dink. Paladin isn't so sure and Reagan points out that he could keep walking. The gunfighter admits that he could, and Reagan asks him if he's ever afraid. Paladin nods that he is and goes out.
Paladin approaches the two men, and they hope Paladin will be around when Ben gets there. They go into the saloon, and Paladin goes over to Charlie the carpenter. Later he goes back to the sheriff's office and Dink says that he and Reagan both figured Paladin would have left town. There's a knock at the door, and Paladin carefully opens it. It's Monica, who has brought food. Charlie is in the street building a coffin, and Paladin says that he ordered it for Ben. He explains that he wants every person in town to see it and think about it,
Four more men ride into town and Ben isn't one of them. Paladin admits that their chance is a slim one, and Monica tells both men that they don't have to be there when Ben comes. As for her, if she's there when Ben won't have to look for her. Paladin just tells Reagan that Monica is a woman and leaves.
Paladin goes out to Charlie and congratulates him on his work. Charlie says that he knew Ben when he was a wild kid and liked him, and likes Paladin and doesn't want to see him go. He gives Paladin his money back, and Reagan and Monica come out as Ben rides into town. Paladin tells Charlie to go, but Charlie draws his gun and says that it's too late. Reagan tells Paladin that he's not holding him to his debt, and says that he's walking away from it. He takes off his gun belt and says that Monica isn't worth dying for, and runs off.
Ben rides into town and Monica tells Paladin that she'll stand and face her fate. She takes a shotgun and joins Charlie, and Ben tells her that she's a beautiful woman. Paladin orders him to leave the town and Monica in peace, and Ben tells him that he's come a thousand miles to see the town and the memory of Monica kept him sane. He says that nothing will make him turn around, and Paladin realizes that he's serious. Ben points out that there was a time when Monica would have come to him, and she says no more. He tells her that it doesn't change anything and tells Paladin to step aside.
Monica shoots Ben, and Paladin guns down one man while Charlie kills another when he shoots. The remaining men think better of drawing. Monica is hit and Paladin takes the woman into the sheriff's office. Dying, she tells Paladin not to judge Reagan too harshly because he's a good man. Paladin tells Charlie to let Dink out so that he can bury his friend Ben.
Reagan comes back and goes to Monica's body. He looks at his wife in shock, and Paladin says that her memory kept Ben alive for a thousand years in hell. He hopes that Reagan is more fortunate and leaves.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 30, 2017