Three years earlier, Michael Doyle dynamited a train--killing a baggage clerk--and stole $20,000 in gold notes.
In Chinipas, Mexico, Hoby is walking down the street when a man, Clint Serle, puts, a gun to his back and tells him to turn around. When he does so, Hoby recognizes his attacker. Clint says that he's been waiting a long time for revenge, and prepares to shoot. He says that he found Michael, and now he gets Doyle and Hoby. Hoby points out that it wasn't his fault Clint was kicked out of the Rangers, but Clint points out that Hoby testified that Clint helped Michael with the robbery and then fouled up the investigation. He says that Michael is in Chinipas and he's been careful to make sure Michael doesn't he know he's there. Clint figures that Michael has the $20,000 and is living simple, He plans to get back to the States and cash the gold notes, and will get back into the Rangers.
Hoby jumps Clint and grabs his gun. It goes off, attracting the locals' attention, and Hoby demands to know where Michael is. Clint says that Michael is at the Kintana Place west of town. Hoby runs and the two locals grab Clint. He claims that Hoby robbed him, but they take Clint to jail. At the sheriff's station, Captain Ortega questions Clint and then says that he's talked with Hoby. Clint figures that Ortega and Hoby are in on it together, Ortega tells Clint to leave, and Clint says that he'll buy another gun because he needs it.
Hoby arrives at the Kintana place and knocks on the door. A woman, Theresa, answers the door and finds Hoby there with a gun. He says that he's looking for Michael and holsters his gun, and Michael calls out. Hoby grabs Theresa and draws his gun. When Michael comes out, Hoby tells Michael that Michael knows what he wants. Michael sends Theresa in and then explains that Theresa is his step daughter and she doesn't know anything about his past. He asks for a minute with her, giving his word that he won' make any trouble, and Hoby agrees.
Michael goes in and tells his wife Marissa that he has to go to Texas for a little while. She begs him to stay, but Michael goes with Hoby.
The next day, the two men start the five-day ride toward El Paso. The first two days are quiet, and Hoby comes to know Michael but doesn't trust him. On the third day, Hoby asks Michael who the person dogging their trail is. Michael dismisses it as Hoby's imagination, but Hoby says that they'll wait. A rattlesnake approaches Hoby, and Michael shouts a warning. It bites Hoby and then Michael kills it, and Hoby orders Michael to stay away. Michael shrugs and figures that he has more time than Hoby.
Hoby passes out and Michael finally wakes him up. Michael says that it's been a day and a half, and he didn't think it seemed right to leave Hoby alone. He did what he could, and tells Hoby that he's going home. Hoby refuses to let him, and Michael tells him not to try stopping him. He tells Hoby that their tail is still out there and he's not with him. Hoby asks if Michael robbed the train for him, and Michael says that he was tired of being poor. He figures that by the time Hoby comes back, Michael will have a week's start, and he's paid his debt for Hoby not telling Theresa. Michael gives Hoby his money back, having exchanged the hard currency for bills because he needs the gold, and rides off. Clint watches him go.
The weakened Ranger heads back to El Paso without water or food. After two days Hoby's horse goes lame and he lets it go since he has no gun to kill. Continuing on, Hoby presses on. He passes out and wakes up in a bed. Captain Wendell tells him that they're in El Paso, and Hoby is under arrest for aiding and abetting a fugitive to escape, accepting a bribe, and malfeasance of duty.
Hoby is sent to Austin to appear before a board of inquiry. He recognizes the prosecuting attorney, Lieutenant Baily, and tells his lawyer Tom that Baily was Clint's lawyer a few years ago. Baily has had it in for him ever since he lost the case for Clint. Baily presents the case for the prosecution and calls Clint. Wendell, objects, pointing out that Clint is biased against Hoby, but the board agrees to hear Clint's testimony. Clint says that he was Chinipas trying to get a lead on Michael and found him. He was going to bring him back to the States for trial, and he offered to help Hoby bring Michael back. Clint says that Hoby said that he doesn't want Clint hanging around ruining his chances. Then he and Hoby fought, and Hoby beat him up. He followed Hoby and Michael, and three days out of Chinipas Hoby and Michael made a deal. Michael gave Hoby some money and rode back to Chinipas, and Hoby rode to El Paso.
The head of the board, Www, asks Clint why he took the time to track down Michael and then testify. Clint says that charges were made against him and he was discharged, and he's been trying to prove his innocence. Once Clint leaves, Baily presents the bills that Michael gave Hoby. The numbers match the ones that were stolen from the train, and Baily suggests that Hoby was robbed.
Www orders a retirement to hear the testimony of the witness. Ranger Ed Nelson comes in and says that he took Hoby into custody. Ed says that Theresa came to El Paso to return some money, and Ed persuaded her to come and testify. They bring her in, and she says that bandits killed Michael. He got home and told Theresa the story of how he left Hoby on the trail. Michael told her of the robbery and how he worked with Clint. Clint planned to kill him, so Michael took the money and went to Mexico.
Wendell has Clint detained and Theresa says that a priest was with her and will confirm her story. Ed has a receipt for the money being held in El Paso, and Theresa says that the money has only brought sorrow so she came to El Paso to give it back and help her father's name. Wendell offers Hoby an apology on behalf of the board, and drops the charges. The captain calls Baily with him to speak privately, and Hoby thanks Theresa for her help. She says that Michael would have wanted her to testify, and that Michael was very fond of Hoby. Theresa wishes that he could have lived like an honest man, and Hoby tells her that Michael died like one.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 13, 2017