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The Reward Recap

A group of men led by Sheriff John Kemp move in on two outlaws. When they're spotted, the outlaws open fire but are quickly gunned down. When his deputy wonders if they should wait for the other three, Kemp figures that they would have been scared off by their gunplay. As the sheriff and his men leave, a man comes by and digs under a nearby rock. The bank bag from Rock Springs is there and the money is inside.

Back in Alpine, Bannion and Joe Garth break into a florist shop. When the owner, Robert Murchison, hears them and comes to investigate, they demand their money that came into the freight office earlier that day. Robert offers to show them and picks up a plant, and then knocks them aside and runs. Neighboring shop owner Millie hears the gunshots when the two men shoot at Robert, but by the time she comes to investigate they have left.

Three days later, Hoby arrives in town to deliver the $500 reward for Robert, who is receiving a BBQ and dance from Alpine in celebration and sees Sal Hendricks, the saloon owner from his last visit there. She makes him promise to talk to her later, and Hoby goes to Kemp's office. Kemp tells him that Robert disappeared three days ago, and Robert is scared to death of horses. The sheriff says that Robert went disappearing about the time that someone took a shot for him, and no one has spotted the florist. Kemp figures that the Rangers sent Hoby in person and are concerned, and Hoby admits that they only got two of the men who robbed the Rock Springs bank. They hoped Robert could find the others three as well as the missing $10,000, and Kemp figures that they came after Robert. Hoby leaves the money with Kemp and wants to know how Robert knew about the rendezvous the robbers were having to split up the money. Kemp insists that Robert is innocent, but Hoby just wants to find him and see.

Hoby and Kemp go to Robert's shop and Hoby recognizes Millie from his previous visit. She explains that Robert came back from the freight office with an orchard he was waiting for, and had supper with her. He came back to his greenhouse, the first one Texas, and she heard a gunshot and run over. Millie didn't see anyone but heard horses galloping away, and the orchard is missing. When Hoby was there the last time, Robert was in Houston raising money for his greenhouse. Kemp says that Robert is originally from Boston, and he and Millie both agree that Robert doesn't have any enemies in Alpine.

At the saloon, Bannion and the second robber--Joe Garth--are playing cards when the third robber Mort Williams comes in and says that Hoby went to the freight office.

At the freight office, the clerk says that they haven't had any wagons in. Joe comes in and asks if there are any packages for him. He tells Hoby and Kemp that he was supposed to be there a week ago but got delayed by the weather. The clerk confirms that the package didn't come in, and Joe casually says that he figures that Robert was involved with the bank robbery. Once he leaves, the clerk complains that the tramps coming for the free BBQ are the only ones saying that Robert was involved, but the locals know the florist better. He insists that Robert is the victim of foul play, and tells Hoby that Robert came in every day and pestered him about if the orchard had come in. He figures a man waiting weeks for an orchard would leave of his own will. As he goes, Hoby sees a map of the area and borrows it.

Back at Kemp's office, Hoby draws a 15-mile circle around Alpine and figures that Robert is somewhere around that area if he walked out. Kemp points out the possible areas where Robert might have holed up, including an abandoned silver mine. He insists that Robert wasn't involved in the robbery, but admits that he doesn't know how Robert knew about the bandits' rendezvous.

As Hoby leaves, he spots Kemp riding out with his deputy. Bannion watches from the saloon, and then goes back inside and tells Joe to tag along with them just in case.

That night, Joe and Bannion approach Hoby and ask if he's heard any word about Robert. They worry about the reward money, and Hoby assures them that it's locked up. In the bar, two men are arguing about Robert's innocence. Joe and Bannion listen in, and Joe complains that they worked hard to get the bank robbery. Meanwhile, Sal gets Hoby a free drink and Joe admits that it's going to hurt to kill the Ranger.

The next day, Kemp returns to Alpine and tells Hoby that they didn't find any sign of Robert. Hoby figures that the florist is still in Alpine, and as he goes to the cafe he sees the clerk watering the plants. Getting an idea, Hoby goes back to Kemp's office and asks where the water is on the map. The only place Kemp knows about is the abandoned mine shaft, and figures that Robert has the missing orchard with him... and it needs water.

At the mine, Robert takes the orchard to the nearby well Hoby walks up and greets him, and Robert admits for the inconvenience he caused his friends. Hoby offers him some food and Robert is glad to accept.

Joe, Bannion, and Mort ride to the mine after Joe figures where Hoby went.

Robert tells Hoby that he doesn't deserve the reward because he didn't give any information to the Rangers. He told Kemp and the newspaper editor that he didn't give the information on the robbers, but Alpine was so fond of him that they insisted on making Robert a hero. Robert arrived because two men visited him and roughed him up for the money. Bannion and his men open fire, and Hoby and Robert take cover in the mine.

The three robbers move in and Bannion tells Hoby to come out so they can make a deal. When Hoby refuses, Bannion tells Robert to come out and give them the money. Robert says that he doesn't have it, and Bannion insists that someone dug it up. The florist tells Hoby that if he had a way out, he'd take it. Hoby yells to Bannion, asking who else knew where the money was buried. Bannion figures that he's trying to turn them against each other, but Hoby says that one of them went to El Paso, claimed that they were Robert, and set up the other four to be ambushed. Then he came along so the other two wouldn't suspect him when his plan fell apart.

Hoby tells Bannion to check each other's saddle bags. Bannion claims that Hoby is trying to spit them up, but Joe goes to check the bags. When Bannion goes after him, Mort shoots him in the back and then goes after Joe. Joe hears the shot, and Hoby hears it as well and goes out. When Joe sees Mort coming, Mort shoots him in the shoulder. As Mort finishes him off, Hoby arrives and kills Mort.

As Hoby prepares to ride back into Alpine, Robert apologizes for how useless he was. The Ranger tells him that he makes the country green and he's worth more to Texas than a hundred Rangers. The two of them go back to town together.

Narrator: An odd sight. The man of the gun and the man of the soil, side by side. But perhaps not so odd. Never has it been truer of any place more than the American West, that progress makes strange bedfellows.

Written by Gadfly on Jul 16, 2017

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