Joker Wells rides a bucking horse down the main street of Porter, and Ed Crow yells encouragement. The horse finally throws Joker free, and Ralph discovers that there's a burr underneath the saddle. Ed admits that he did it and when Hoby objects, Ed tells him to ask Joker why he has two good arms and Ed only has one. Joker tells Hoby not to make a fuss and walks away.
Later, Hoby goes to the newspaper office and Henrietta explains that Joker was wanted by the Confederate army. He was accused of desertion and cowardice, and Henrietta figures that Joker was hiding out in Mexico. Now that the Confederate government is gone, Joker has returned home to Porter. She figures that the town will run Joker out, and tells Hoby not to bother protecting Joker. As Henrietta warns that the town is on Ed's side, Ralph comes in and points out an effigy of Hoby calling him a traitor lover. Hoby tells Ralph to burn it and rides out to Ed's home.
When Hoby arrives, Ed's wife Dora answers the door. She says that Ed isn't there and asks why Hoby doesn't run Joker out of town. Hoby points out that there's no law against Joker, and she finally explains that Ed lost his arm in the War when he and Joker were fighting together. Joker just dropped his gun and ran rather than help Ed, and Dora insists that Hoby run Joker out of town. Hoby points out that Ed is the only one causing trouble, and Dora starts to threaten Joker until Hoby cuts her off. She talks about how she was a saloon girl before Ed married her, and she'd rather stand on a murder charge then go back to that.
Later, Hoby finds a drunken Ed drinking at the Buckhorn and takes his bottle. Tenner tells Ed to go home to his wife, just as Joker comes in. The bartender refuses to serve him, and Joke goes behind the bar to get a bottle and pays for it. When Tenner starts to object, Hoby tells him to back down. Ed objects to them letting Joker drink all he wants while they take his bottle, and Tenner escorts him out.
Hoby sits down with Joker and tells him that he made a mistake coming back to Porter. The Ranger suggests that it'd be healthier for Joker living somewhere else, and warns that Joker won't have a moment peace. Joker admits that he was hoping for help from Hoby, and that he made mistakes in the place. Now he's out of places to run, and hopes that if he stays put then he'll be able to change the townspeople's minds about him. Hoby wonders what happens if he can't, and Joker admits that he doesn't know. However, he figures that he can't run forever and walks out.
Tenner tells Hoby that he's getting soft, just as they hear a gunshot. They run out and find Joker standing over Ed's body, a gun in hand. Joker says that Ed drew on him, and Henrietta comes out and says that she saw the whole thing. When Joker asks her to tell the truth, Henrietta admits that Ed drew first. Hoby tells Joker that he can have his gun when he leaves town, and that he doesn't want more bodies in the street. Joker wonders where he can go, and Hoby tells him that where he goes is up to him.
Hoby goes to the Crow ranch to tell Dora that her husband is dead. She admits that she knew it would happen, and assumes that Ed killed Joker. Hoby explains that Ed drew first but Joker killed him. Dora insists that it's all wrong and faints.
Later, the townspeople gather at Joker's ranch as he drinks and throw a rock through the window. Hoby rides up and orders them away, and Joker peers out the window, gun in hand. As he puts the gun in hand, Hoby knocks on the door and comes in, and tells him that Joker is leaving. Joker insists that he's trying to face up to trouble, and says that he needs a little time as he takes another drink. He says that he has other guns, and Hoby shows him a piece of paper that the people were carrying. It's an Enterprise newspaper with a story about the town's most decorated war hero dying.
At the funeral, Dora lays flowers on her husband's grave and walks off. Hoby goes over and hears Dora tell Ralph that she can do what needs to be done. The Ranger stops her and warns that he might have to throw her in jail. Dora says that the law is on her side until she breaks them, and after that it won't make any difference. Henrietta overhears and says that maybe someone will get to Joker before Dora does
Hoby rides to Joker's ranch and finds the place torn up and Joker passed out on the floor. Joker says that it was nobody and everybody, and figures that it would have been different if he was wearing a gun. Hoby points out that he'd be dead, and Joker says that it would be an improvement. Dora rides up and when Hoby comes out, she draws a gun on him and tells him to toss his away. He does so but warns that Joker can shoot straighter and faster than she can, and says that Joker already has more grief than he can handle. Dora doesn't care.
A gunshot rings out, and Hoby and Dora go in. Joker has shot himself in the chest, and Hoby tells Dora to get her buckboard so that they can take Joker to Calhoun. She agrees and they head into town. Later, Hoby meets Dora at his office and tells her that Joker just missed shooting his own heart. She confirms that Joker will live, and says that she's glad Joker will live.
Later, Joker approaches Hoby on the street to say goodbye. Hue tells Hoby that he should have let Dora do the job, and Hoby points out it wouldn't be easy for her. Joker explains that he signed the deed to his ranch over to Dora and ask Hoby to tell her to take good care of the place. Hoby asks where he's going, and Joker says that he's going somewhere with people despite the possible trouble because he doesn't like being alone any more than anyone else.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 17, 2017