At the Carlton, Paladin is in his suite showing a woman the stars. Hey Boy arrives with a letter offering Paladin $1,000 to participate in a Mouili horse race. Paladin kisses the woman goodbye and tells Hey Boy to pack the bags.
Soon, Paladin nears the ranch of Sam Crabbe and sees two Comanche men wrestling. When one man keeps knocking the other one down, Paladin goes over and punches him. The other man attack Paladin and he subdues him as well, breaking his arm. The two braves limp off without a word, and Paladin continues on his way. People are gathered for the race, and Sam greets Paladin. He confirms that Paladin knows the rules: first across the finish line wins, anything goes. Sam says that he has a lot riding on the outcome, and explains that he'd rather find the right man to run a race. He figures that Paladin is the only man that could take his place, and suggests that Paladin place a bet on himself.
Paladin goes over and notices men wagering their saddles. When he wonders what the Indians would do with saddles, Sam tells him not to even consider it. He describes the race course to Paladin, who points out that it's a long time to be out of sight when both racers could beat each other. Sam explains that's why he hired a gunfighter. The elderly chief, Tamasun, rides up and Sam explains that his rider has a broken arm. The rider is one of the men Paladin saw fighting, and Paladin apologizes.
Sam refuses to let Tamasun back out of the race, and tells Paladin that he and Tamasun cooked up a private deal. Paladin suggests that Tamasun is entitled to a postponement, but Sam reminds the chief that the paper is locked up at the bank and goes to whoever wins. The gunfighter demands to know what he's riding for, and Sam explains that if the Comanche lose then they withdraw and Sam gets the 50,000 acres to him. He offers Paladin a share, and Paladin asks Tamasun why he's risking his hunting grounds. Sam says that the Comanche are getting squeezed out anyway and Tamasun is going for broke. Disgusted, Paladin says that the loss of the hunting grounds means the death of the Comanche, and points out that Tamasun can't start over if he loses. The gunfighter tells Sam to get his own rider, and Sam agrees to do it.
Sam asks Tamasun who he'll put up against him, and Tamasun rides to the starting line. Paladin rides over and says that he'll ride, and points out to Tamasun that the race would kill him. Tamasun doesn't believe that Paladin wouldn't ride for an Indian, but Paladin promises that he won't lose. Paladin bets his horse and saddle on the Mouili and Sam warns that there's not a man who can beat him. He point out that Paladin has no stake in the race, but Paladin says that it's his fault that the Comanche don't have a rider. Tamasun is still skeptical, and Sam suggests that Paladin bet his gun to convince him. After a moment, paladin takes off his gun belt and gives it to Tamasun, who accepts his offer.
As the starter prepares to fight the starting gun, Tamasun offers Paladin his crop to fend off Sam. Paladin says that he'll refuse it if Sam does, but Sam refuses and promises that Paladin will find out what happens to a man who turns against his own kind. Paladin takes the offered crop and the starter fires his gun. The two men start off and Sam takes an early lead. When Paladin closes in, Sam whips him. After a moment, Paladin tosses the crop away.
The race continues and two Comanche are waiting and lasso Sam off of his horse. Paladin rides back and takes a knife from one, and cuts Sam free. The braves run off and Sam punches Paladin. Paladin knocks him to the ground and Sam, furious, says that he fought alone for what he has and no one is taking it from him. He explains that the Comanche work for him and they'll starve without him. Unimpressed, Paladin tells him to get back on his horse. After a moment, Sam mounts up and the braves bring Paladin's horse over. Two men arrive and train their rifles on Paladin, and tell their boss Sam that they'll handle it. When Sam rides off, Paladin leaps off his horse and tackles him while the braves jump the two men and pin them down.
Paladin shoves Sam at his horse and the two men race off. They run the course and one of Sam's men strings a rope up to trip Paladin. Paladin pulls ahead and Sam gives the signal to his man. The gunfighter falls off his horse, but yanks Sam off. They fight and Sam runs ahead across the bridge to the finish line. Paladin tackles him and they both go into the water. The two men swim to shore and Sam runs for the finishing line. Paladin tackles him again and finally knocks him out. The gunfighter then starts to walk away, but then goes back and helps Sam up.
The two men walk to the finish line together, and Paladin tells the spectators that even if he wins he'll only delay the annihilation of the Comanche. However, Sam's people will lose their homes and there will be fighting and anger, and the military will eventually comes. Paladin tells the Comanche that he can't allow Sam to cross the finish line first but the whites and the Comanche can develop the land together. After a moment, Tamasun nods in agreement and Paladin drags Sam across so that they pass simultaneously. Sam asks Tamasun how long it will take for him to train another rider. The chief gives Paladin his gun belt, and Paladin gives him his card before riding off.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 19, 2017