At the Carlton, Hey Boy brings a newspaper to Paladin and reads him an article about the town of Bugbear, now renamed Elysium. The mayor is trying to clean the place up, but no one is helping. Paladin sends them his card and rides to Elysium, and comes across a woman--Sister Melissa--looking at her wagon. The wheel came off the axle, and Paladin offers to help. Melissa gratefully accepts, but when she sees his holstered gun, she says that she has to talk to Paladin without him carrying his gun. She tells him that she's against guns, and Paladin says that he is as well but many men in the world aren't gentlemen. Unimpressed, Melissa figures that he'll go on killing until someone makes him understand that taking away weapons is the only way to stop violence. She asks for his gun, and Paladin asks where she's going. Melissa says that she's going to Bugbear to take away their guns, and Paladin bursts into his laughter. He says that he'll need his gun in Bugbear, and Melissa tells him that she'll be there to help him. She explains that it's her first time outside of her mission school and they thought she was ready. Paladin warns that Bugbear isn't a good place to test her beauty and fragility, and Melissa assures him that she isn't afraid of a test. She agrees to let Paladin fix her wheel so she can continue on, and Paladin does so.
In Bugbear, Will Durbin and his men ride to the saloon and one of them brings out a man. The man is drunk and with two saloon girls, and the girls quickly walk away as Will draws his gun and shoots the man's bottle. As Paladin rides up the man quickly walks away as Will's men burst into laughter. Mayor Harper and Barber arrive, and Will asks Harper if he wants some of him. Harper quickly backs down and Will goes into the saloon. Paladin introduces himself and they take him to a restaurant where the town fathers have gathered. The gunfighter says that anti-gun laws must apply to all of them, but Harper says that Paladin should kill a few of the hooligans. He warns that the same rules will apply to everyone, and Barber agrees. Barber hands over his gun but Harper says that he'll only give up his gun when the hooligans give up theirs.
Later, two hooligans are shooting up bowls when Paladin finds them and fires a warning shot. They toss him their guns and Barber puts them in a wheelbarrow. When another man goes for his gun, Paladin punches him unconscious and takes his gun. Harper watches and Barber asks if he's going to give up his gun.
Paladin goes to the saloon and one of Will's men, Sims, warns him that Will is inside. Will comes out and goes for his gun, and Paladin is forced to kill him. Sims warns that they'll ride back into town with Will's brother Harry and take Bugbear apart, and Paladin makes them all turn over their guns. Melissa rides up and sees the dead man, and tells everyone to listen with their hearts The remaining hooligans are unimpressed, until Paladin jams a finger into one's back and pretends that it's his gun. Melissa goes over to the man and tells him to put down his gun, and he does so rather than risk Paladin shooting him. Everyone is impressed, unaware of Paladin's secret assistance, and the hooligans hand over their guns. Harper admits to Paladin that it's working, and hands over his gun. When Melissa approaches one hooligan, Paladin draws his gun behind her back and the man quickly hands over his gun. She turns to Paladin, who suggests that they have dinner together and points out that he doesn't wear a gun dining with a lady.
That night, Paladin and Melissa have dinner and she explains that her father didn't run when cattlemen burned out the farmers. They killed him and she ended up at the mission orphanage. Melissa has vowed to destroy every gun, and is well aware that the men handed over their guns because of Paladin. She figures that God has chosen Paladin as his instrument, and he says that the towns' fathers hired him and he's doing to do his job. Paladin warns that nothing in the town has changed, and in a year Bugbear will go back to being what it was. The first time they're threatened, they'll go for their guns. Melissa dismisses him as cynical and Paladin kisses her.
As Melissa responds, Barber comes in and says that Harry is coming. Harper and the rest have gone for their guns in Melissa's wagon. She runs out and they point out that Harry and his men still have their guns. Paladin intervenes and says that they're going to keep their pledge, and reminds them that they paid him to take their guns away from him.
Harry and his men walk up and Paladin tells Barber to get Melissa to safety. She refuses to go and realizes that the townsmen didn't mean their pledges. Paladin says that they did then when she was talking to them, and Melissa wonders why he risks his life for money. She refuses to have Paladin's blood on her conscience, and then steps between the two sides and tells Harry that there are no guns there to face him.
Harry points out that Paladin has a gun, and tells her to get out of the way as Sims and Harry's other man flank Paladin. Paladin promises that he'll kill at least two of them, and Melissa tells Harry that shooting each other will prove nothing. He refuses to put his gun unless Paladin does so first, and Paladin apologies to Melissa and says that he doesn't have her faith. Melissa refuses to move, and Paladin gives her his gun. Harry draws his gun and Paladin tells Melissa to get out of the way. She steps aside and Paladin draws his derringer and kills Harry and Sims. Sims shoots Paladin before he goes down, and Melissa aims Paladin's revolver at the third man. Paladin pistol-whips him unconscious and goes to Melissa.
Later, Harper and the others pay Paladin. The mayor points out that Melissa did half the work and should get half the money, but Paladin points out that she has their gun and their pledge and he has what he asked for. He takes their money, blows Melissa a kiss, and rides off.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 17, 2017