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Justice in Hell Recap

Anne Marie and her grandfather Salem Wagner come to Paladin's hotel suite to ask for his help. Wagner has the girl ask Paladin for his help, and explains that Anne Marie was in shock when his son, wife and Anne Marie were crossing the wilderness. Anne Marie was the sole survivor, and Rusty Doggett led the raid. Wagner has Anne Marie show Paladin the scars on her back that Rusty left with a knife, and asks if Paladin is going to refuse to help.

Soon, Paladin rides into Juniper Springs South to find Rusty. He spots Rusty's horse with his initials on the saddle, and a man getting a shave--Dallas Burchfield--calls over to him and asks if he wants to buy the horse. Dallas claims that he owns the horse, and Paladin tells him that he's not in a joking mood. Unimpressed, Dallas points out that his barber Cayatana is good with the razor she's holding, and asks for $200 in return for the information. Paladin pays him the money and Dallas directs him to the nearby hotel.

When Paladin comes in, the bartender tries to intervene and Paladin glares him down. He goes upstairs, kicks his way into the room, and gets the drop on Rusty. Paladin takes Rusty down and finds all of the saloon patrons, their guns drawn. They tell Paladin to lose his gun, and Paladin points out that Rusty is a wanted man. Everyone laughs, and Paladin has no choice but toss down his gun. Rusty goes for his knife and Paladin soon knocks him out. Everyone looks at the town mayor, Teague, who gives a thumb down. the bartender starts to come at Paladin with a broken bottle, and another man knocks Paladin out from behind.

When Paladin wakes up, he finds himself in Dallas' room with Cayatana standing over him. Dallas explains that he "won" Paladin in a raffle. If Paladin died then he'd inherit all of his effects. He assures Paladin that Rusty is still in town, and makes it clear that Juniper Springs is a sanctuary for criminals. Dallas admits that he was a former English teacher run out of town for corrupting his students, and he found refuge in Juniper Springs. He tells Paladin to forget about Rusty because they're all bound there for eternity.

Paladin goes back to the saloon and Teague is sitting outside. He introduces himself and says that everyone in town has sanctuary there. Paladin offers to prove that Rusty doesn't deserve protection, and Dallas steps out and asks if Paladin wants to wager his life. He suggests that Paladin can leave, or plead his case before a jury of Teague's selection. If Paladin loses, he'll hang, and Teague agrees.

Teague soon gathers a "jury" at the saloon and Rusty is confident that he'[l get to hang Paladin when it's over. Paladin asks if they'd accept Judas Iscariot, and says that Rusty is a festering sore on humanity whose crimes transcendent the laws. Dallas, acting as the defending attorney, objects. He says that Paladin is a paid mercenary, but Paladin tells the jury that he's forfeited his fee to bring in Rusty in the sake of vengeance. When Dallas dismisses vengeance as the cry of the mob, Paladin says that he's risking his life for vengeance and asks Dallas what he's risking. Dallas says that he's not on trial, and Paladin tells the jury that none of them care about Rusty. He figures that they want to strike back at society for condemning there, and says that Dallas has only murdered himself but Rusty has murdered dozens.

Furious, Dallas throws his drink in Paladin's face. Paladin shrugs it off and asks if Dallas is looking for vengeance, and invites him to attack him. Dallas stares around at the spectators and then sits back down, sobbing. Continuing on, Paladin says that Rusty was court-martialed of robbing the bodies of dead soldiers, friend and foe alike. He then explains that two years ago Rusty signed on as a wagon master but was discharged for drunkenness. Two days later, he attacked the wagon train and took the scalps himself.

Paladin accuses Rusty of taking Anne Marie's life. When Rusty says that the girl escaped, Paladin says that she lived but Rusty still took her life. Teague demands proof, pointing out that they can't convict Rusty of ugliness. When Teague says that Paladin hasn't convinced them beyond a shadow of a doubt, Paladin says that he thought they could find some humanity within themselves. Dallas speaks up, offering himself in Paladin's place so that he can escape from Hell... and the filth in it. Rusty stabs him and Teague shoots Rusty in the back. Teague tells Paladin to leave, and Paladin and Cayatana take Dallas out.

Written by Gadfly on Apr 23, 2017

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