In the town of Farrand, Texas, Jeff Krail goes to a stable to meet with Millie Gwyn. He says that Jenny is watching all the time, and Millie tells him that she's going back in two days and she just had to see Jeff again. She warns that Norval is on his way and has sworn to kill Jeff. As Jeff wonders what he can do and they kiss, Jenny comes in. Jeff goes over and says that it's her fault, and asks her to let him go. Jenny says that Millie doesn't want Jeff dead and it's the only way she'll let him go, and walks off.
In two days, Millie and Norval leave on the stage as Hoby looks on. Once it leaves, he goes into the sheriff's office and chats with Sheriff Eden Lake. There's no mail for Hoby, and Jenny comes in to report someone missing. Eden introduces Hoby, and Jenny says that her husband Jeff is missing. She last him saw him the previous morning, and he said he was coming into town on business. Hoby asks if Jeff was a drinking man, and Jenny insists that he wasn't. He suggests that sometimes a man goes out on a drinking binge, and Jenny insists that Jeff wasn't a drunk. She hasn't seen Jeff around town, and insists that wouldn't leave on his own, and figures that he's dead or something. Hoby asks her how they're getting along, and Jenny tells him that they loved each other very much.
Hoby and Eden go around looking for anyone who saw Jeff. Three hours later, they find no witnesses, and they figure that Jeff never got to Farrand. Hoby isn't convinced that Jenny is telling the complete truth. Henry "Toad:" Edwards comes in and says that he saw Jeff on the high road the day before. He was talking with a man that Toad didn't recognize, but he's sure that he saw him before. Jeff and the man were arguing, and Toad remembers once Eden holds up a coin in payment. He says that the man told Jeff that if he didn't change his mind about something, he'd be real sorry. Toad doesn't remember who the other man was, and Eden tosses him the coin. Hoby gives him some additional money to get something to eat.
Once Toad leaves, Hoby figures that they'd better ride out to the high road because storm clouds are coming in. They arrive in the rain and find a dead horse, shot in the chest. Jeff's initials are on the saddle, but they figure that Jeff wouldn't have left it behind. The two lawmen search the area, and Eden finally spots a shallow grave. He starts digging and finds Jeff's body in it. Hoby comes over and confirms that there's a bullet in Jeff's head.
Hoby and Eden go to the Krail house and tell Jenny that her husband was murdered. Jenny breaks into tears, and refuses to answer their questions. She tells them to leave her alone and walks off. As they leave, Toad approaches the two lawmen and says that he saw the man with Jeff on the north road riding out of town. He remembers that the man's name is Norval, and knew him from Nortonville where Norval is the deputy sheriff.
Millie is packing and hastily hides her bags when Norval knocks on the door. he comes in and points out that the room looks like she was leaving. Millie insists that she wasn't, and Norval points out that she's been gone the last couple of days. He thought that she went to Farrand to see her "friend", Jeff. Millie denies it, and Norval tells her that she knows what happened if she met with him. She reminds Norval that she gave her word that she wouldn't see him, and Norval says that she saw him in Farrand with Jeff. Millie angrily says that she doesn't care, and says that Jeff is leaving Jenny and they're going off together. Norval tells her that she's not going to Farrand and not going to meet Jeff because he's dead. When Millie says that she still won't have anything to do with Norval, Norval attacks her.
Hoby and Eden arrive in Newtonville and talk to Sheriff Neilson. He admits that Norval is his deputy, but he hasn't seen him that day. Norval has been a deputy with him for a couple of months, and he made a bad name for himself by being too rough. A landlady arrives and says that Norval's girlfriend Millie is screaming. The three lawmen go to Millie's apartment and find her beaten in the next room. They get her on the bed and wake her up, and Millie says that Norval killed Jeff.
The lawmen go to the hotel where Norval is staying, and Neilson says that he's trapped. Norval sees them coming and fires through the door. Hoby calls on him to surrender, warning that there's no way out. Neilson kicks open the door and Norval shoots him and then climbs out the window and drops to the street below. As he runs, Hoby fires and brings him down.
Back at Neilson's office, the doctor reports that Millie will survive the beating. Norval refuses to cooperate at first, but finally admits that he killed Jeff because he wouldn't leave Millie alone. He says that he begged Jeff to stay away from Millie, but Jeff said that he was going to leave Jenny and run away with Millie. Norval figured that Jenny wasn't going to give him a divorce, and she knew about Millie. If Norval hadn't killed Jeff, Jenny would have. Norval insists that he couldn't live without Millie, and doesn't know if he wants to try. Hoby tells him that he won't have to.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 23, 2017