Paladin is reading in the Carlton lobby. A man, Ned Alcorn, approaches Hey Boy and asks him to contact him if he sees Manfred Holt, Paladin comes over and reads the article, saying that Manfred escaped from prison after killing two men. Ned explains that he was the chief witness at Manfred's trial, and now Manfred plans to make him pay for it. Sheriff Jake Ludlow has chased Manfred into the Black Mountains, and Paladin offers to find Manfred and capture him where Ludlow hasn't.
Later, Paladin rides into the Black Mountains and hears gunshots. He goes ahead and finds Ludlow, whose men are shooting at Manfred from a clearing near Manfred's wife Sarah's cabin. Paladin explains who he is, and Ludlow says that they were going to Sarah's cabin and so was Paladin. Now Manfred is holed up inside, and explains that he plans to make sure Manfred doesn't survive since he's sentenced to hang anyway Manfred's horses run out, and Paladin grabs one of them. The other one runs off before Ludlow's deputies can stop him, and Paladin suggests that Manfred was under the packs. Ludlow orders his men to close in on the clearing. They figure Manfred rode off on the pack horse, and Ludlow has some of his men go to the cabin while he and the others go after the pack horse. As Manfred drops down from a nearby tree, Ludlow wishes Paladin good hunting and rides off.
Manfred runs to his other horse that the deputies captured, and Paladin is waiting. He orders Manfred to hand over his gun, and Manfred does so. Paladin tosses away the outlaw's gun and says that he saw a broken branch that indicated Manfred got up on the pack horse and swung into the tree. Then he put a sharp rock under the pack horse's saddle to make it run. Manfred wonders why Paladin didn't tell Ludlow where he was, and Paladin says that he's going to take him back to hang while Ludlow would have killed him. The outlaw says that a man should deserve to die, and says that he would have made sure Ned had a gun before he shot him. As they prepare to ride off, Manfred says that he has a present to give to his boy. He gives his word that if Paladin takes him there he'll go quiet. Paladin has heard that Manfred's word is good, and Manfred says that he's going to give his three-week-old son his present before he hangs. Satisfied, Paladin agrees and they head for the cabin.
Paladin and Manfred ride through the Wyoming territory and stop for a rest. Manfred notices that Paladin has turned his back on him with his gun handy, and tells Paladin that he's too trusting. Paladin points out that he has Manfred's word, and they spot Ludlow's tracker Abe. They talk about Manfred's son, who says that his father wants to name his boy Hubert and he plans to make sure that his son is a warrior rather than a scholar.
The two men continue along and Manfred talks about how Sarah changed his ways but not enough. Paladin says that he could use his first, but Manfred tells him that he's no good with a fist and he doesn't see the point in a fight he can't win. Manfred objects to being strung up at a carnival, and doesn't want his son to remember him that way, and would rather his son could remember that he died in a gunfight.
As Paladin and Manfred cross a ride, Paladin's horse panics and Paladin falls to the bottom. He yells to Manfred to throw him down a rope, and Manfred hesitates. He then goes back and yells to Paladin that he can't rescue him. Paladin points out that he can't get out without help, but Manfred apologizes and rides off. However, he rides back a few minutes later and lowers a rope to Paladin. Once Paladin climbs up, Paladin thanks him and Manfred figures that they're quits. He says that he'll break away if he can, and Paladin concedes the point. Paladin points out that it was a friendly gesture, and Manfred tells him to forget it.
When they reach the cabin, Paladin goes on ahead and Ludlow comes out. Paladin claims that Manfred wounded the other deputies back at the clearing, and Ludlow says that they'll all go back. He notices that Paladin's horse is lame, and Paladin says that he's stuck there while Ludlow and his deputy Gage help the other. Ludlow has no choice but to agree and rides off with Gage. Once they're gone, Paladin removes the stone from his horse's hoof and Manfred comes in.
Sarah comes out and Manfred goes to her. They kiss and Manfred introduces Paladin. He stays outside to take care of his horse, and Manfred and Sarah go inside. Paladin drinks some water and hears the baby crying. Manfred comes out and gives Paladin a cigar, and says that he's named his son Manfred Jr. The outlaw has a gun, and that he doesn't feel right without him. Paladin tells him that they'd better prepare to move and turns his back on Manfred, who says that he's not going back for him. He admits that he'll still hunt down Ned, and says that a man just has to be what he is. Manfred has told Sarah not to come out, and tells Paladin not to shoot to wound. Paladin knows and Manfred points over at a dripping pump, and says that they'll shoot when the next drop falls. The drop falls and Paladin shoots Manfred in the chest. Manfred wings Paladin in the shoulder, and he goes over to Manfred and apologizes. Dying, the outlaw asks what Manfred means, and Paladin explains that it's German for "man of peace"
After Manfred dies, Sarah comes out and Paladin tells her that Manfred wouldn't let him avoid killing him. She says that it was bound to come, and Manfred only shared his life--and death--with men he respected. Ludlow and his men ride up and Ludlow says that Paladin is under arrest. The tracker, Abe, points out that Paladin killed Manfred and has the reward money coming to him. Paladin glares at him, and Abe suggests that some of the reward money might come back to Sarah. The gunfighter tells him to let it be that way and rides off.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 29, 2017