Paladin returns from a night on the town and Hey Boy brings him a card asking to speak with Paladin. E.R. is Edna Raleigh, who is waiting in the lobby. Paladin goes over and Edna asks him to kill a man, Bram Holden, for her. He's heard of Bram and says that he doesn't take money for killing men, and Bram is a dangerous man. Edna explains that two years ago in Fredericksburg, Bram beat her husband James to death and has never been tried. She has indictments and warrants for Bram's arrest. Bram is in Thornburg, and the town won't honor the papers. Edna admits that she has paid two men to try and kill Bram. One tried and disappeared, and the other man took her money and left. Paladin explains that she tried to pay for the assassination of Bram in his stronghold, but agrees to bring him back for trial. Edna says that she can only pay Paladin's expenses and the reward is small, and Paladin agrees to do it for her.
Later, Paladin arrives in Thornburg and goes to the saloon. He asks a saloon girl for Bram's location, and punches out a man when he overhears and comes after Paladin. Bram is upstairs and Paladin knocks out his two guards., then bursts into the office. Bram is getting a shave and Paladin motions the barber out. He then barricades the door and punches 0Bram out the window when the man takes the towel off his face. Bram falls into a waiting hay wagon below, and Paladin loads Bram onto a waiting horse and rides off.
The next day, Paladin stops in the desert and wakes Bram up after manacling him. Paladin explains that he's taking Bram in to stand trial for James' murder. Bram warns that Paladin doesn't know him, but Paladin orders him on the horse and they ride off. When Bram tries to gallop off on his own, Paladin follows him and knocks him off the horse. The horses run off and Paladin tells Bram that there's no easy way out of it for him. Bram's men appear in the distance and Bram waves to them. Paladin knocks him down and Bram tells Paladin to kill him before it's too late, but figures that he won't. The gunfighter manacles himself to Bram and heads off across the desert.
Paladin's canteen of water soon runs out and Paladin keeps Bram moving. When Bram passes out, Paladin tosses the manacle key away and gets Bram on his feet. They continue on and come to a wagon. The owner, Possum Corbin, gives Paladin some goat milk broth and stows Paladin's guns in the wagon. He tells Paladin that the nearest town is Puma Gulch but isn't heading that way. He explains that he's looking for his half-white Indian wife, White Moon, who he bought from the Indians to work at his mine. Possum and his brother Arnie dug for ore, and then Arnie took the ore and White Moon. Arnie left her to die when she got sick, and now Possum is hunting for his brother. He says that he's heading for Thornburg, and Bram bursts into laughter. Possum knocks him out with a ruffle butt and says that they're not heading for Thornburg after all.
Once Paladin wakes Bram up, Possum says that he's Arnie and plans to kill him. Bram insists that he's not Arnie, and Paladin says that he's taking him in for murder. Possum sharpens a razor on a staff and says that Paladin is welcome to take what's left of "Arnie" in when he's done with him. He offers Bram a drink of moonshine. When Bram reaches for it with his left hand, Possum smashes the jar and says that Arnie was left-handed. He describes how he'll skin Bram alive, and Bram tells Paladin to explain that they're going to hang him after he stands trial.
Possum says that he trailed Arnie to Fredericksburg, and Paladin remembers what Edna said. The man heats up a spike in the fire and describes how Arabian slave traders would torture their victims. Paladin points out that he threw away the key to the manacles, and warns that if Possum kills Bram then he'll have to kill him as well. Possum takes out an axe and prepares to cut Bram's arm. When Paladin stops him, Possum grabs a gun and shoots Bram dead. He asks if Paladin is going to take him in dead, and Possum doesn't care as long as Paladin reads to him on the way in.
As Possum drives his wagon to the next town, Paladin reads Possum's encyclopedias to him. Paladin finally realizes that the encyclopedia was published in 1763, but Possum doesn't care. A man rides up and says that they'll find a federal marshal in the nearby town and gives them directions. As he rides off, Possum insists that the man is Arnie. Paladin stops him from shooting at the man and reminds him that he killed Bram. The deranged Possum doesn't remember what happened and they ride on.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 2, 2017