At Bowie Cemetery, two men get out of a wagon and search for a grave. They finally find the one that they're looking for... belonging to Vern Fowler.
Later, a wagon arrives in Bowie with a coffin in the back. The drivers take the body to Dr. Sanford. Inside, Sheriff Harper insists that Fowler is dead and they have the killer locked up. Hoby points out that the killer hasn't confessed yet. Sam comes in and takes the body to the coffin. Sanford says that it will take him until morning to dig out the bullet that killed Fowler. Harper and Hoby leave, and Harper warns that talking to the kid Billy Burkett won't do any good. Vern didn't want Xxx as a son-in-law and they argued about it. Billy never made any threats against Fowler, but warns that Fowler had a lot of friends and some of them have been drinking and working up their courage. Hoby insists that the law was meant for everyone and Billy is going to get his share.
Hoby and Harper arrive at the sheriff's office, and Hoby asks to talk to Nancy Fowler, Fowler's daughter. While the deputy goes to get her, Hoby talks to Billy again Billy still refuses to say anything. Harper brings Nancy in, and Billy says that he doesn't want her brought into it. Nancy says that she's already in it, but Billy says that they don't believe he's telling the truth. Hoby invites Billy to give him a chance, and Billy insists that he didn't. Nancy says that her father gave his consent for them to marry, and Billy says that he was out hunting. He went by Nancy's house on the way home, but she wasn't home. Fowler was slumped over on the front porch, dead, and Billy was half a mile away from the house but didn't hear any shooting. Phil Ballard rode up and found Billy with the body, and offered to help him take it back to town. Billy insists that he didn't kill Fowler, and thanks Hoby for trying eve3n if things don't work out. Harper lets Nancy stay with Billy in his cell.
Out in the office, Harper says no one specifically made the accusation about Billy killing Fowler. He asks if Hoby believes Billy, and Hoby admits that Billy is either innocent or the best liar he's ever met.
The next day, Hoby goes to the bank and meets with the manager, Jerome Ballard. Jerome says that Fowler was a good friend and insists that Billy is guilty. Hoby asks to speak to Jerome's son, Phil, and the manager calls him over. The Ranger has Phil repeat his story, and refuses to say why he at the Big V, Fowler's ranch. He finally admits that he was going to see Nancy, and heard the shot. Phil thinks that a rifle fired the shot, and admits that Billy is one of his best friends. Jerome speaks up, saying that there's trouble between Fowler and Billy. According to him, Billy said that he'd fix Fowler good if he interfered with his marriage to Nancy. Hoby thanks them for their help and leaves.
Out on the street, Sanford gives Hoby the bullet he pulled out of Fowler's corpse. Hoby goes to the sheriff's office and asks Harper to see Billy's rifle. He confirms that it's a .22 and points out that the slug is a 30 caliber. Harper concedes that Billy is innocent, but Hoby says that the killer doesn't know what they found so he'll make a mistake. Meanwhile, Billy is safe in jail. Harper finally remembers that Fowler and Jerome got into a discussion about selling some land, and Jerome has been buying up a lot of land. Fowler kidded Jerome about using the bank's money to buy the land, and Jerome took mild offense.
Hoby goes to the recorders' office and checks the land ownership papers. Some of the land is owned by Jerome's wife, some to Phil, and most of it to Jerome. Hoby leaves with the map and goes to see Jerome. As Phil watches from the clerk's cage, Hoby asks Jerome about the land he's been buying up. He points out a strip of land that Jerome purchased in the last few months, under his family's name. The land won't do him much good without Fowler's land, and not many people knew there was a railroad coming through. Jerome did, and that's why he's been buying up the land. Phil comes over and says that it's legal, but Hoby points out that without all the land, Jerome can't give the railroad a complete package. Jerome orders Hoby out and insists that he didn't kill Fowler. Hoby asks him one last question: did Jerome buy the land with his money or the bank's? Jerome vows to get him for thinking it, and Hoby leaves.
Back at the sheriff's office, Hoby tells Harper that Jerome is ready to kill him. He says that he has to go out to the Ballard ranch to find a .30 rifle. Harper gives him directions but warns him not to poke into honest people's affairs. Phil watches Hoby ride off.
Hoby arrives at the Ballard ranch and Phi secretly follows him. The Ranger knocks at the door and when he gets no answer, discovers that the front door is open. Hoby goes in and finds the rifle leaning against the wall. Phil comes in with his own rifle and fires a warning shot. Hoby draws his revolver and orders Phil to drop the rifle, and explains that he's checking Jerome's rifle. He tells Phil that Fowler was killed with a .30, and Jerome's rifle is a .22. Harper comes up behind Phil and orders him to drop his .30 rifle. Phil does so and Hoby pistol-whips him unconscious.
When Phil regains consciousness, he confesses that he killed Fowler and planted the idea that Billy was the murderer. Jerome asks his son why he did it, and Phil says that Fowler was going to tell everyone that Jerome was embezzling the bank's money. Jerome tells a shocked Phil that all of the money was his. He wonders how Phil could believe that he was a thief, .but just Phil walks into his cell and Hoby tells Jerome that he gave Phil everything... except faith.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 23, 2017