Hoby walks out of the Buckhorn Saloon in Porter and rides to the home of Judge Nelson Henry. He knocks at the door and when Nelson answers, Hoby asks if his son Malcolm available. Hoby tells the judge that Malcolm killed a man. Nelson takes the Ranger inside and Hoby insists that he has the right man. He knocks at the boy's door, and Malcolm refuses to answer the door. Hoby kicks the door in and orders Malcolm to come along, and Malcolm tells him to stay away from him. When he tries to go for his gun, Hoby outdraws him and Malcolm says that it makes no difference because there's nothing Hoby can do to him. He insists that he shot a card shark and it's a favor for the town, and Nelson is the one who decides it. Smiling, Malcolm goes along with Hoby.
At the sheriff's office, Hoby chats with Aaron. Aaron says that after Malcolm's mother died, Nelson gave him anything he wanted. Malcolm is a real terror around town and he's been in trouble plenty eleven times. Aaron warns that Nelson will be unwilling to sentence his own son. Henrietta comes in and asks to see Malcolm, and says that it's about time the townspeople got the word on Malcolm. She says that she was in the room when Malcolm shot the card sharp, Darby. Once Hoby leaves, Henrietta asks Aaron if his sister is going to marry Hoby and he doesn't know.
Hoby brings Malcolm out and Henrietta tells him that he's the best the paper can do. She asks how he's going to plead at the trial, and Malcolm figures that he won't stand trial. Henrietta insists that she'll stand as a witness, and Malcolm says that he's been hearing for months that Darby was a cheat and he finally did something. He complains that Henrietta has been after him for a long time, and he offers a bet that he'll be on the street a free man in a week. Hoby escorts him back to his cell, and Aaron walks Henrietta to the Enterprise.
Hoby finds plenty of witnesses to the shooting and learns that Malcolm drank and lost money, and threatened to have Nelson close the Buckhorn if the bartender cut him off. He tells Aaron that after Malcolm lost everything, he drew on Darby and killed him. Hoby tells Aaron that he's not sure if Nelson wants to try his son, and goes to see him and find out if they can have a trial.
Nelson tells Hoby that he can't do it, and suggests that they send for someone. Hoby points out that the townspeople expect Nelson to be fair with his own son just like he'd be fair with them. Nelson suggests that Malcolm did the town a favor, but Hoby refuses to speculate and warns Nelson that he's in the middle of it. He warns that the townspeople don't think much of Malcolm, and Nelson can't stand in front of Malcolm. Hoby points out that no one can prove that Darby was a professional gambler, but he can prove that Malcolm shot him. Nelson wonders what he did wrong, and Hoby says that he can't help him there.
A woman, Vera, comes to the sheriff's office and asks Ralph if Hoby is in. When she finds out that he isn't, Vera says that maybe Ralph can help her. Vera asks to see Malcolm and doesn't have much time, and insists that Hoby didn't mean her when he forbade anyone from seeing Malcolm. Ralph still refuses and Vera asks Ralph to tell Malcolm that she's there waiting for Hoby. Once Ralph turns his back, Vera knocks him out and unlocks Malcolm's cell. Malcolm gets his gun and escape with Vera.
Aaron comes over and finds Ralph unconscious, and brings the doctor and Hoby. Nelson arrives with them and Ralph tells them about Vera, the saloon girl.
Henrietta is preparing a newspaper with a feature story about Malcolm, when Malcolm comes in and trains his gun on her. She tells her assistant George to get Hoby, but Malcolm tells George to stay there. He says that a friend is going to bring him a horse, and threatens to shoot Henrietta. Henrietta isn't intimidated, but Malcolm says that it wouldn't take much for him to kill her. He lets her continue working on the newspaper.
Hoby, Aaron, and Nelson go to the Buckhorn where Vera is working. She tries to walk out but Hoby grabs her. Hoby tells her that Ralph is still alive, and Vera claims that she didn't have anything to do with it. She says that Malcolm threatened to kill her if she didn't help him escape, and claims that she doesn't know where he is. Vera explains that Malcolm told her to wait there and he'd get word to her. Hoby has Aaron lock Vera up and come back with shotguns, and Hoby and Nelson check the Buckhorn to see if Malcolm is there anyway.
When Malcolm sees Hoby coming, he warns her that he'll shoot her and George if they say anything and then hides in the cabinet. Hoby, Aaron, and Nelson come in and Hoby asks Henrietta if she's seen Malcolm. He explains that Malcolm broke jail, and Henrietta says that she hasn't seen anything as she works on the newspaper. Hoby grabs some papers and leaves with the others, and Malcolm comes out and says that he has plans and she's going to play a part.
As Hoby and the others walk away, Hoby tells them that he knows where Malcolm is. He shows them the newspaper, which says that Malcolm is in the cabinet with a gun. Hoby figures that Malcolm will send George to get Vera, and says that they'll shoot him if he doesn't surrender once he leaves the newspaper office.
Malcolm gives George his instructions, saying that he'll kill Henrietta if he causes any problems. As George leaves, Aaron notices that Nelson is gone and worries that he'll warn his son. Hoby figures that there's no time to change their plans and goes over to George.
Inside the office, Malcolm tells Henrietta that they could have made quite a pair three years ago. Nelson knocks at the back door and calls through it, saying that he has to see Henrietta. Malcolm has her let his father in, and he tells Malcolm that Hoby knows that Malcolm is there because of the newspaper. He says that he has a couple of horses out back and begs his son to leave, but Malcolm says that he has a promise to keep and prepares to kill Henrietta. Before he can fire, Nelson shoots him and then drops the gun. Hoby and Aaron bust in, and Nelson says that he'll never know where he made the first mistake.
Later, Aaron asks Hoby what Nelson was trying to prove. Hoby figures that Nelson was going to buy his son time to think, and figures that he tried too hard to take care of his son.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 20, 2017