Paladin rides out into the wilderness and arrives at the ocean. There's a tent ahead, and Paladin rides up and asks a woman, Gina, if it's Werner August's camp. Gina continues with her knitting, and Paladin goes over and says that he and his daughter came that way. She says that she's making something for her baby and leads Paladin to show her. Werner arrives with a shotgun and tells Paladin to leave, and Paladin presents his card. He explains that he has viewed Werner's art in Boston and knew of him before he sent his letter. Werner introduces Gina and she recites what her father tells her to say. Paladin tells the artist that she looks familiar, and Werner insists that he's never seen her.
Werner explains that he was afraid Paladin wouldn't come, and Paladin asks why Werner wanted to see Elliot Spencer. The man explains that twenty years ago, Elliot disappeared and Werner found that Paladin was the last man to see him. Paladin admits that he took Elliot into the wilderness to find peace three years ago, and points out that he only agreed to meet with Werner, not take his $2,000 commission. Werner shows him a sculpture, The Savages, and Paladin recognizes the stone as West American. The work is Elliot's, so Werner figures that Elliot is working again. When Gina admires the statue, Werner tells her that she's tired and the woman walks off. Paladin asks what happens if they find Elliot and he doesn't want to go, Werner gives his word that he'll drop the matter. The gunfighter agrees to take the commission.
Later, Paladin finds Gina sculpting in the wet sand and singing to herself. He joins her and says that he's impressed by her skill. Gina explains that someone taught her when she was small, and that her mother died then. She put flowers on her mother's grave until Werner forbid it. Gina describes how Werner used to swing her in his arms, and turns furious when Paladin says that they must all grow up. She smashes the sculpture and asks if she's like the woman in The Savages. Paladin concedes that she does, and Gina asks him to swing her in his arms. He refuses, saying that he might like it and it wouldn't be what she expected. Gina says that it's better to be a child and lies down, crying.
Werner comes up and tells Paladin that their agreement doesn't involve paladin talking to Gina. He says that they're breaking camp immediately and walks off, and Gina starts singing again. They head out by wagon and Gina continues singing. An irritated Werner finally tells her to shut up.
They trio finally reaches Elliot's camp, and Paladin calls to the artist as he hauls a block of marble in. Elliot recognizes Paladin, and recognizes Werner and Gina. He says that Gina looks much like her mother, Collette, and Werner tells him that Collette has been died for three years. He says that there are ways for gentlemen to settle masters, and Elliot invites Gina to walk with him to his camp. Paladin tells Werner to get his wagon.
Later, Elliot shows Paladin his new sculpture. Paladin wonders why Elliot chose that place, while Gina plays on a crude swing. When Paladin stops her, she skips off singing. Paladin realizes that Elliot made one of his sculpture, the Tuscan Water Nymph, on Collette. Werner joins them and says that people realized who the sculpture was based on, and he was a stupid fool. Elliot tells him that Collette's faithfulness is what gave her beauty. Werner presents dueling pistols and says that it was Collette's wish, and shows him a mark that Collette made that only Elliot would recognize. He confirms that the mark is Elliot's because of the mark of a water lily on it, and says that it was a private joke between them.
Werner insists on dueling, and Elliot admits that he's never held a pistol before. He asks Paladin to find a place for Gina, and Paladin angrily says that the child isn't a piece. Elliot tells him that he wants Gina away from Werner's hate, and both men agree that it's not Paladin's affairs. Paladin takes both dueling guns and asks them not to go through with it. He suggest that Werner considers that Elliot is telling the truth, or forgive him if he doesn't believe it. Werner refuses, and Paladin points out that it's the kind of thing that drove Elliot out there: a world of sickness and death. Elliot says that some beauty is worth dying for, and tells Werner that he's sad for him that he didn't know what he had that was so wonderful.
Disgusted, Paladin says that neither of them fails to see the obvious. He asks what the death of either of them will mean to Gina, and Werner says that if she has no mind then there'll be no effect. Paladin realizes that they won't be dissuaded, and takes Werner's place as his employee. The two men move back to back, and walk off on the count of five. Gina runs forward and stops Paladin, saying that he's her friend.
Paladin says that he won't kill Elliot, and says that Collette sabotaged Werner's pistol. She knew that Elliot would never pull the trigger, and that Werner would eventually. Werner insists that he's wrong, picks up the pistol he was intended to use, and fires... killing himself.
Later, Elliot works on his new sculpture. Gina denies knowing that the pistol was tampered with, and remembers that Elliot taught her how to sculpt. Elliot says that he won't go back with them yet, but he'll have two friends that will know where he was. Paladin says that when he gets Gina back to san Francisco, he'll put her in an appropriate dress and make her wear shoes. He tells Elliot that it's the best compromise that they can make and goes off. Gina gives her doll to Elliot and Elliot makes a smiling sculpture face for her as a departing gift. Gina gets into the wagon with Paladin and they leave.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 8, 2017