A man, Ed Teller, rides into Crater Junction with a body tied to his packhorse. Ed goes to the barber shop and the barber, Nub Beamer, admits that he's the local official The man says that he came to claim the Rangers' reward on the dead man, Cass Desmond. Ed hands over Cass' wallet and says that Cass drew first and he fired back in self-defense. Nub warns that Ed might have to stick around a few days, and Ed says that there's only one man who can identify Cass and he'll be happy to wait for him.
At the Rangers' recruit training camp, Captain Selby receives word of Ed's request. Stan Elliott is a former Ranger who was surveyed out of the force due to physical incapacity. Hoby is there and looks on as Selby asks Stan to help. Stan is glad to assist, and admits that he knew Cass was coming after him. If the body isn't Cass then he'll keep looking over his shoulder. Stan admits that he can't shoot because of his missing right arm, and Hoby agrees to go to represent Ranger authority.
As they mount up, Stan tells Hoby that he last saw Cass two years ago when he lost his arm. The Kesters ran a way station, and they were having trouble with wild horses. Cass Desmond found out that there was $7,000 stored there . By the time Stan got there, the Kesters were dead and Cass was tearing the place apart for the money. He shot at Stan and took out his arm, and escaped. Stan is the only one alive who knows what Cass looks like, and his eyes were cold. He's sure that he'll recognize Cass when he sees him. Stan hasn't been able to settle down for fear that Cass will catch up to him, and figures the Rangers are doing him a favor.
Hoby and Stan ride to Crater Junction. On the second night after they make camp, Stan talks about how he's been drifting to avoid Cass, but never knew anything different. He tells Hoby to turn in while he tends to the fire.
When the two men arrive at Crater Junction, Ed spots them from his window and packs. Meanwhile, Hoby and Stan meet with Nub. Nub says that he has the body in the storeroom and nobody else in town wants the job of sheriff. Stan looks at the body and discovers that Ed shot Cass with a shotgun. There not enough left to identify him, but there's no scar from where Stan shot him two years ago. Stan tells Hoby that knowing is better than not knowing, and says that he's got a job waiting. Hoby refuses to leave without talking to Ed, and points out that if the dead man had Cass' wallet on him. Cass might still be around. Stan points out that's just a guest and leaves.
Nub directs Hoby to the hotel, and insists on going with Hoby. The clerk gives them the room number, and the two men go upstairs. When no one answers their knock, they bust in and discover that Ed let in a hurry and didn't pay his bill. Hoby gets Ed's description from Nub and realizes that it doesn't fit Stan's description of Cass. They go to the livery stable where Ed left his horse, and the owner says that Ed got his horse without waiting for it to be shoed. Ed said that he wanted heavy shoes for his horse because he was traveling through rough country, and Nub figures that it's south. Nub and Hoby both realize that Ed left just after Stan, and they were both heading south.
Hoby tracks Ed's horse and realizes that he's tracking Stan. Meanwhile, Ed meets with Cass and says that Stan is just ahead of him. Cass says that he wants to make sure the odds are against Stan, and figures Hoby won't work things out until it's too late. He assures Ed that nobody will ever find Stan's body.
Cass and Ed ride after Stan, and Cass says that they had to send Stan because he's the only one who could identify him. Meanwhile, Hoby finds both sets of tracks and figures that the second man is Cass.
That night, Stan makes camp and Cass and Ed walk in. Cass assures Ed that Stan won't suspect him. The dead man was a drifter, John Otis, and Ed worries that Stan has a good description of him. Ed insists that he's thinking of both of them, and suggests that they wait a little longer to see if Hoby is following them. Cass tells him to stand guard for Hoby while he goes in, and kill him if he shows up.
Cass moves up on Stan and fires, but misses. As Stan takes cover, Hoby hears the shots and heads in on foot. Meanwhile, Cass goes to Stan and says that it's just a matter of time.
Ed spots Hoby coming and prepares to shoot him. he wings Hoby, who ducks and fires back, killing Ed.
Cass tells Stan that Ed took care of Hoby.
Hoby confirms that Ed is dead.
Cass offers Stan the chance to have a gunfight and get it over with. He admits that he has the edge but points out that it's a better chance than Stan has. Stan steps out and holsters his gun, and Cass does likewise. As they prepare to draw, Hoby tells Cass to put his hands up. Cass turns and goes for his gun, and Hoby kills him. Stan says that he figured it was better to go for the gunfight and get it over with one way or the other, and confirms Cass' identity.
Later back at the training camp, Selby congratulates Stan and gives Hoby the paperwork on Johnny. Hoby has learned his identity from the man's wallet, which Cass had on him. Selby thanks Stan again, figuring that if Cass hadn't come after him then he'd still be walking around. Stan says that Cass made the mistake of pushing the Rangers and they push back.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 28, 2017