In the town of Coleman, Sheriff Warren Croft looks on as two older men ride past the town bank. Two more men ride into town and dismount near the bank, and go inside. Croft starts to go over and notices the first two men watching him. As he starts to go for his gun, the other two men come out peacefully and ride away. The first two men ride after them and they all gallop off. Croft runs into the bank and realizes that nothing happened. The teller says that the two men just came in to cash a bank note.
Later, Croft rides to Porter and tells Hoby what happened. He says that it was a perfect robbery setup, but they didn't do anything. He describes one of the men who walked in, with a mustache and a limp. Hoby offers to send in a report, but Croft figures that it would sound silly and there's no point.
Later, Hoby goes to the bank and asks the teller Jed if he could determine who bought a bank note. Jed warns that it's unlikely, and Hoby shows him the bank note that Croft gave him. The teller admits that it's not big enough to warrant any paperwork, but recognizes the town it came from, Morgan City. He checks the records and tells Hoby that a new law went into effect giving convicts $20 when they're released from the state penitentiary. The notes are drawn on the bank, and Jed says that the bank could tell Hoby from the serial number.
As Hoby leaves, he bumps into a man coming in. After Hoby leaves, the man claims that his name is Zachary Morgan and asks to see the manager, Phillips. Jed says that he's out to lunch and invites Zach to take a seat. As Zach sits down to wait, he checks out the bank.
Later, Ralph pulls up in a wagon and Hoby asks him to check on a telegram that he's expecting
Phillips arrives and Zach claims that he wants to make an investment. After they discuss the matter, Zach goes over to the sheriff's station. He claims that he's opening a masonry business in Porter and worries about being robbed. Hoby says that he has a clear view of the street, just as Ralph brings in the telegram. Hoby reads it and says that "he" is dead, and goes to see Henrietta.
At the newspaper office, Hoby says that he inquired about Ben Moss, who was killed 20 years ago. However, the telegram confirmed that the bank note was made out to Ben. Henrietta points out that according to the stories, Ben only robbed from the rich and gave to the poor, and supported an orphanage in Kansas. She says that Ben did some good and got the headlines, but too many men were on his trail and Ben was killed when he tried to shoot it out. Henrietta tells Hoby that Ben never shot a man unless he had to. Hoby wonders about the other three men, and figures that it could have been Ben's gang. Henrietta warns that Ben was never up to nothing.
Hoby returns to the sheriff's office and Ralph mentions "Zachary"'s bum leg. Hoby realizes that Zachary matches Croft's description, and Ralph says that the man left.
That night outside of Porter, Zachary--Ben--shows his gang the layout of the Porter bank. He insists that the practice in Coleman went perfect, but the others worry that a real robbery in Porter won't go so far. They were planning on something a little less like a stage stop, but Ben complains that he pulled them out of flophouses and now he plans to put them back on top. They warn him that they've turned slow in twenty years, but Ben promises them a new start in life at best, and what they've got at worst. He tells them that they're riding into town in 11:45.
The next day, Hoby meets with the local sheriff's. As they all confirm that they haven't seen Ben in their towns, and Hoby figures that Ben will come after one of their two towns. A drunk in the cells, Taverner--one of Ben's gang--makes a ruckus and demands some water. Hoby brings him a ladle, and Taverner grabs his gun and orders him to take him out. They go into the next room and Taverner gets the drop on the three sheriffs. He has them remove their gun belts and Croft lock the door, while two of Ben's gang ride into town.
Croft sees the two men and tells Hoby. Once Croft tosses the keys on the floor, Taverner has Hoby pick them up and toss them over. The rest of the gang rides into Porter, and Taverner tells the sheriffs to get into the cells. Hoby tells Taverner to give over the keys and warns that if the man kills him then the others will kill Taverner. Taverner gives up and Hoby runs out. He wings down one gang member and the sheriff's take away the other.
In the bank, Ben and his remaining man, Ward, have taken the money. Hoby calls on them to come out, and Jed warns that there no other way out. Ward asks Ben to let him go, admitting that he's forgotten how to be tough. Disgusted, Ben tells him to get out and Ward tosses out his gun and surrenders. Ben figures that he can use Jed as a hostage, but Hoby warns that he's not going to let him go. Hoby asks if Ben wants to be remembered as the outlaw who killed an innocent man, and says that everyone will be better off knowing the truth about Ben. After a minute, Ben comes out shooting. Croft has no choice but to gun him down, and wonders what made Ben try an obvious suicide run.
Later, Hoby sees two children playing Ben Moss and Hoby Gilman. Henrietta has run a story about how Ben spared Jed's life and died in a "heroic gun duel," but is disgusted that they're making a hero out of an outlaw, but Hoby figures that they should judge Ben for his reasons as much as what he actually did.
Narrator: Hoby didn't know himself why Ben Moss had done what he did. Because he was a brave coward, or a strong weakling. Hoby didn't know. He was only sure that the legend of Ben Moss was still growing.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 5, 2017