Paladin is in his suite painting and Hey Boy reads him a newspaper article about the abandoned hope concerning the recovery of $20,000 in gold bullion that is at the bottom of a lake in Oregon. The insurance company has sent for deep-sea divers from Baltimore, since the stagecoach driver threw the gold into nearby Crystal Lake to keep the robbers from getting it. A boy wonders into the suite and critiques Paladin's art as he tries to paint a boat.
Soon, Paladin arrives near the lake and meets with the insurance agent, Barton. He offers to do the same work for half the price, and Barton agrees to stop the divers. The man wonders how Paladin can get the gold out of the lake when so many have failed, and Paladin tells him that his "partner" is Leonardo Da Vinci. He figures that he can take a goatskin filled with air down with him. Barton reconsiders, and the three robbers hidden in the tent city notice Paladin. Barton agrees to let Paladin try and says that there's an old man, Jonas Quincy, who fishes the north shore of the like and will give Paladin directions. However, the agent warns Paladin that Jonas is a legacy.
Paladin arrives at the lake and finds Jonas fishing. Jonas ignores him at first, and finally tells Paladin that he's going to shoot the next man that goes in his fishing hole. He explains that there's a legendary trout in the lake, and had enough of people poking around. Meanwhile, the three robbers--Orrie, Sanders, and Angel--sneak up and see Paladin setting up his equipment and inflate the goatskin with a chimney blower.
The gunfighter puts some rocks in his pack for ballast, and Jonas orders him to stay away from his trout. Ignoring the fisherman, Paladin leaps into the water and Jonas grabs his shotgun. When Paladin doesn't come back up, Jonas figures that he drowned. Paladin swims down to the chest with the gold and attaches the rope he brought with him. Meanwhile, the robbers watch and figure that Paladin isn't coming back up. Disappointed that their last hope of recovering the gold is apparently dead on the bottom, they go back to get a drink.
The gold chest is stuck and Paladin is unable to free it. He spouts the trout and swims to the surface as his air runs out. Jonas stares at him in shock, and Paladin says that he saw the fish. The fisherman asks how big the trout was, and Paladin tells him that it's going to be unhealthy for fish in a short time.
Paladin returns to the tent town and the robbers are shocked to see that he's still alive. Meanwhile, the gunfighter tells Barton that the chest is lodged under some big rocks and he'll have to blast them out using nitroglycerine. He's going to the next town to get the chemicals needs, tells Barton to meet him at the lake at dawn, and advises him not to mention it to anyone else. Once Paladin rides off, the robbers visit Barton and demand to know where Paladin is. They slap him around until the agent talks, and then set up near the lake.
The next morning, Paladin returns with the nitro. He carefully takes it down with him into the lake Orrie and the others fill up their own goatskins that they made in imitation of Paladin's. Jonas comes along and sees Paladin's rope stretching into the line. He realizes that the intruder is back and is none too happy that he's stirring up the fish again. Paladin plants the explosive and swims back up, and tells Jonas that when he pulls on the wire leading to the explosive, it will mix the chemicals and cause an explosion. Jonas promises to kill anybody who threatens his trout, and Paladin drops the trigger wire rather than kill Jonas. He says that he's riding into town to get a pick and shovel to get the gold out, and promises to break the shotgun in if Jonas threatens him with it again.
Once Paladin rides off, Sanders knocks Jonas out and his accomplices come down. Orrie finds the trigger wire and realizes what it is. When he triggers it, Paladin hears the explosion and rides back. Meanwhile, Sanders and Angel go down and get the gold.
Paladin arrives and finds Jonas unconscious and the line leading into the lake. He grabs a knife and swims down, attacking the two men. Paladin kills Sanders and fights Angel, while Orrie pulls up the chest attached to the line. Swimming to the surface, Paladin grabs Jonas's shotgun and kills Orrie. The dead trout drifts over and Jonas, waking up, blames Paladin for not knowing if the trout existed or not. Paladin point out that three men died but the obsessed fisherman says that he's been after the trout for 12 years and his obsession cost him his wife and business. Paladin tells him that the trout is dead, and Jonas says that he hated the fish for what it did to him. Disappointed, Jonas takes his gear and walks off.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 2, 2017