Hoby rides into the town of Caldwell and goes to the office of Sheriff Dave Waterman. He says that he's looking for a man named Abe Perkins to talk, and Waterman takes Hoby to the cells where Abe in a cell, drunkenly singing. Waterman explains that Perkins had a son, Jim. There was a Ranger stationed there three years ago, Jim, and Jim got drunk and killed a boy in cold blood. Jim was convicted and went to prison for life with no chance of parole. Hoby tells Waterman to get Abe sober by the time the stage comes in, in 90 minutes. As he goes to get something to eat, Hoby says that it's important that he talks to Abe before the stage gets in... with Jim on it.
Waterman goes to the saloon and the office of half-breed George Caldwell. The sheriff pours himself a drink and says that the two of them had it figured perfect. They killed the Ranger and put the blame on Jim. But now Hoby is in town to talk to Abe. Waterman warns that Jim is coming in on the stage that night, George points that Jim is in prison for life, and Waterman suggests that somebody is sending Jim down because he remembered something from the killing. The sheriff figures that the Rangers would go a long ways to clear one of their own, and warns George that they're both dead if Jim comes after them. Waterman insists that Abe has nothing to tell,
The bartender comes in and tells George that it's Hector. Hector is at a card table dealing with a boy who said that he's a cheater. George's thug tells the boy to fight, and the boy insists that he doesn't want to fight. Hector isn't impressed and stands up, and says that they'll do it on three. Before Hector can count to three, Hoby comes in, gun drawn, and tells Hector to take off his gun. Hector does so and Hoby tells the boy to get his money and get out of town. Once the boy leaves, Hoby gives Waterman Hector's gun and Waterman says that he'll go back to deal with Abe.
As Hoby goes back to his table, Hector starts to insult him until George cuts him off. In private he tells Hector that he has a fat mouth and his "old friend" Jim is coming back into town. Satisfied, George goes over to Hoby and thanks him for his help. He introduces himself and says that he gives Abe drinks and has him do odd jobs. George talks about Jim and says that the two of them were close friends. Hoby points out that George's testimony put Jim in prison, and George says that it was his civic duty and there were two other witnesses: Waterman and Hector. Jim shot down the boy in the saloon after drinking heavily. Hoby points out that Jim said that Hector did the shooting, and George excuse himself..
Hector is waiting in George's office and points out that George was the one who had him kill the kid instead of Jim. George warns that the stage will be there in one hour, and tells him to kill Hoby first and then Jim. However, he wants Hector to hold Hoby until he talks to Abe and finds out what he knows.
After Hoby finishes his meal, he goes outside and finds Hector waiting for him. Hector calls him over and suggests that Hoby ask him for information. Hoby starts to walk away, and Hector says that he knows things. Hoby tells Hector that one day he'll pick on a boy that's more of a man than he thought,. Hector attacks him and Hoby easily takes him down. When Hector goes for his gun, Hoby draws first and has Hector toss his weapon away. He then takes Hector to the sheriff's office.
In the sheriff's office, Hector and George question Abe about what he thinks he knows. Abe is too drunk to respond, and George has Waterman slap him to sober him up. The old man passes out, and Waterman refuses to beat him. Hoby brings Hector in, and Hector sucker-punches Hoby and knocks him out.
When Hoby wakes up, he hears George talking and feigns unconsciousness. Hector tells George that he's going up to an upper room at the hotel, and when Perkins gets out, he'll open fire with his rifle. The saloon owner then tells Waterman that he'll take Hoby into Abe's cell and shoots the Ranger. Then Waterman will claim that Abe grabbed Hoby's gun and shot him. Waterman worries that Abe will tell someone the truth, but George assures him that everyone will figure him for a drunken fool. The sheriff suggests that they run, but George figures that he won't be accepted anywhere else. Jim chased people out of his saloon and closed down his tables, and George plans to fight and beat him again.
George says that he'll be in office when the stage arrives. He and Hector leave, and Waterman takes out his revolver and orders Hoby up. Hoby tells the sheriff that he had the right idea about running, but Waterman tells him to get into the cell with Abe. As he goes, Hoby secretly picks up Waterman's darts. When Waterman unlocks Abe's cell, Hoby throws the darts into his back and grabs his gun, and then locks him in another cell.
Hoby grabs a rifle from the rack and hears the stage arrive. He runs out into the street and spots hector in the upper window as the stage pulls to a stop. The Ranger shoots Hector dead and goes to George's office. George is looking nervously out the window, and takes a drink. He goes for his derringer and Hoby shoots him in the shoulder. He then takes George to the stage and the driver reveals a coffin strapped to the roof. Hoby explains that Jim died two days ago in prison, and he rode ahead to tell Abe. George assumed that Jim was alive and Hoby never said otherwise.
Later at the cemetery, Hoby and Abe bury Jim. Hoby assures Jim that he'll get some money from the state, but Jim says that he just wants his boy. The Ranger tells him that a lot of people hated George but Jim was the only one to fight him, and the townspeople burned down everything that belonged to George. They're renaming the town to Perkins in Jim's honor, and Abe breaks into tears. Hoby tells him to take care and leaves.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 17, 2017