At the Carlton, a messenger arrives at the restaurant and Hey Boy tries to shut him out. The messenger finally gives him a note and demands a tip, and Hey Boy refuses to do so. Hey Boy then takes the message to Paladin, who is dining with a young woman, Viola. Paladin gives him a tip for the messenger and reads the very long message from his friend, Nathan Shotness. His daughter Rivka is going to be married that Sunday and since she has no family, Nathan wants Paladin to be the best man. Paladin excuses himself to go the Shotness farm, much to Viola's displeasure.
Later, Paladin arrives and finds Nathan waiting with a shotgun. Nathan explains that he thought Paladin was Billy Buckstone, the man who was supposedly six months ago after Nathan testified against him. However, Billy bribed the judge to let him go and plans to break up the wedding with his men. Paladin asks Nathan if he has asked his neighbors to help him, and Nathan explains that his neighbors aren't interested in getting involved so he's sending the couple to San Francisco to get married. He doesn't plan on abandoning his home to Billy. Rivka wants to be married in her home as well, and Nathan dismisses the bridegroom Faivel Melamed as a fool who will do whatever Rivka says.
It's been three hours since the couple went to town in his wagon, and Nathan worries about them. Paladin goes to see where they are and rides into town. The local bullies are harassing Faivel and shove Rivka away when she tries to interfere, and their leader Billy offers Faivel a gun to give him an "even" chance. Paladin tosses Faivel his card and draws his gun. Billy wisely backs down and leaves with his cronies. Rivka hugs Paladin and introduces him to Faivel, and Paladin assures him he's not a hired killer.
Back at the Shotness home, Paladin dines with the family and admits that he's killed people when he's had to. Faivel insists on discussing how he felt after killing, and Rivka asks Paladin to teach Faivel how to fight. He says that a man shouldn't have to imitate his neighbors to justify his existence, and Paladin takes Paladin's revolver and goes outside to shoot at a can on a fencepost after firing a few test shots to determine the sites. He knowingly comments on Paladin's use of gun oil and goes back inside. Rivka insists that they won't go to San Francisco and abandon her father, and Paladin and Faivel quote the Torah to tell Nathan not to abandon the community. Everyone but Nathan wants to hold the wedding there, but Nathan insists that he didn't invite Paladin there to fight. He agrees but figures that Billy wants to drive him away, and refuses to let anyone fight his battles.
The next day, everyone arrives for the wedding and several of them come armed. One of them, Frank, removes his gun belt and leaves it outside, and Paladin warns him that Billy might show up. The neighbor figures that Billy doesn't have any grudge against him, and Nathan shouldn't expect help. Paladin then checks with Nathan, who is watching a nearby hill that he figures Billy will come from with his men. They go inside and Rabbi Reb Elya realizes that they're expecting a disturbance. Paladin assures Nathan that the ceremony won't be disturbed, and Nathan puts a yarmulke on his head. Paladin leads Faivel in for the ceremony and the rabbi begins.
Billy and his men arrive and start upsetting the people outside. Ignoring them, Nathan leads Rivka in and they try to ignore the commotion outside. Frank half-heartedly tells Billy to leave, and Billy tells him that if Nathan wants him to leave then he can ask them himself. The neighbor quickly backs down, and Billy and his men light up torches and throw apples through the window. Billy threatens to burn Nathan out, but Paladin restrains his friend. He throws a torch in, and Paladin throws it back out. Furious, Billy tells his men to torch off the house.
Ignoring the fire, the rabbi continues with the ceremony. He finally says that those who shame a neighbor are as bad as those drawing blood. Paladin hands his yarmulke to Nathan, runs outside, and takes on the thugs. Faivel and Nathan join him and they quickly dispose of their opponents while the neighbors send Billy and his men packing.
The men go back inside and Reb finishes the ceremony. Paladin and Nathan dance and Rivka joins them. Nathan jokingly says that it's okay for her to dance with them because she'll be dancing on Faivel's head for the rest of their life, and the party continues.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 2, 2017