At the Carlton, a banker Craft meets with Paladin and asks him to leave in the morning for Emigrant Bank to deliver get $10,000 for the bank. Dan Tibner, the man the money belongs to, doesn't trust stagecoaches and will only trust a representative of the bank. Paladin demands and gets $500, and Craft gives him the paperwork.
Paladin rides to Emigrant Bank and his horse comes up lame. As Paladin stops to check his horse's feet. He sees a rock with sigils written on it, and goes over to investigate. Dan rides up on a black horse with a white face, and says that gypsies put the rock there. He drove them off with a shotgun, and Paladin points out that the sigils are a Romany curse. Dan shoots the rock, and Paladin presents the paper confirming that he's working for the bank. After a moment, Dan goes to get the money and tells Paladin to wait.
As Paladin rests, Dan's brother Earl Tibner comes up behind him with. He aims a shotgun at Paladin's back and tells him to get up. Once Paladin does so, Earl takes his gun and says that they can travel. They mount up and head down the creek. Dan is lying dead ahead, shot in the back, and Jim Sherwood rides up and checks the body. Earl and Paladin dismount, and Jim says that no one knew where Dan had his money hidden. Paladin shows Jim his paperwork, and Jim explains that they heard a shot and found Dan lying there. When Earl looked around, he found Paladin.
Jim's foreman Canning rides up and Jim wonders if Paladin had the money on him. Paladin points out that Dan left him an hour ago, and the only other strangers Earl has seen are some Gypsies. Canning figures that they're guilty and wants to get them, and Paladin points out that it's sheriff's business. The foreman says that they handle those kinds of things, and they'll hang the thief and burn the others out. Paladin isn't satisfied and says that if they find the guilty one with Dan's horse, he'll take the killer into the thief. Canning takes offense and prepares to fight, but Jim agrees to let Paladin do as he wants. As Paladin goes, they find a Gypsy earring on the ground.
Paladin rides up to the Gypsy camp and tells the leader Golias that his horse is lame. His lieutenant Dimitri invites Paladin to stay, and Paladin accepts their invitation. As he enters the camp, a Gypsy woman Darklis looks at him and dances briefly. Paladin continues on with Golias and Dimitri. They show him their horses, and Paladin asks to see one matching the one Dan had. Dimitri claims that they don't have one, and tells Darklis to dance for their guest. The other Gypsies gather around and Darklis serves Paladin, who tells them that he's eaten with Gypsies before. She then dances and Paladin joins her.
Once they're done, Darklis figures that Paladin is one of them. Paladin says that a Gypsy has no past or future. When Golias wonders why he speaks of such things, Paladin says that they should take of murder. Golias takes offense, draws his knife, and attacks Paladin. Paladin disarms him, throws the knife away, and punches Golias until he yields. The gunfighter then explains that a man was shot in the back and $10,000 is missing. Dimitri tells him that they have nothing of value, but Paladin points out the golden necklace that Darklis is wearing. When Paladin figures that she's capable of murder, Darklis curses him in Romany and he responds in kind. He explains about the Romany curse and shows them the earring. It matches the one that Dimitri is wearing, and Dimitri says that Dan fired a shotgun at him and he ran. Golias demands an explanation, and Paladin tells him that men will arrive, hang a Gypsy, and burn the wagons. The only way Golias can prevent that is to give him the guilty one.
Golias says that Darklis has the second sight and is a fit judge in the matter. She takes Paladin's hand and reads it to see a dying tree and a pale rider without a horse. Paladin tells her that its hindsight, and Darklis says that the rider's pale horse has turned black is cursed and those who ride upon it is dead.
Paladin goes back to the horses and finds a black horse. He rubs off the black paint covering its white face, Golias grabs Dimitri and starts choking him, and Paladin pulls the Gypsy leader away, saving Dimitri's life. Dimitri says that Dan was dead and he stole the horse, and that's when he lost the earring.
Canning and the others ride up, and Paladin tells them that he found Dan's horse but no money. He points out that Darklis is wearing a necklace of gold, and Golias has a bad temper. Paladin tells Canning that Dimitri stole the horse but swears he didn't kill Dan. Canning calls Dimitri a liar, and Paladin asks him how strong his courage is. He asks if he can use the knife that he carries, and Paladin invites Dimitri to fight to prove his innocence. Dimitri agrees, and Paladin agrees to fight him because he saved his life earlier and Dimitri owes him a debt.
Paladin and Canning grasp Dimitri's scarf between their knives, and the two of them fight with knives. Canning manages to disarm Paladin, who manages to regain it. Paladin finally disarms Canning and puts his knife to his throat. He demands the truth, and Canning says that Jim planned the robbery. Jim says that Canning is lying, and Canning reaches for his gun. Dimitri shouts a warning and Paladin throws the knife into Canning's chest, killing him. Earl draws his gun on Jim, and Paladin figures that Jim is in financial difficulty. Jim claims that Canning said he'd get the money and didn't say how, but Earl doesn't believe him and promises to get the $10,000.
As Earl takes Jim away, Golias tells Paladin that they'll bury Canning. He asks if Paladin is leaving as a friend, and Paladin agrees. Paladin tells Dimitri that they're even, and Darklis figures that Paladin would have done whatever he wanted regardless of what she did or didn't say. He gives her his card if she's ever in San Francisco and leaves.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 22, 2017