At the Carlton, Paladin is in the lobby buying a horse's head ornament from a salesman, Folger. Paladin buys the ornament and tells Folger to leave the bill at the desk, and the salesman asks Hey Boy if Paladin is wealthy. Hey Boy assures him that he is, and Folger asks the clerk if Paladin's credit is good. The clerk assures him that he is. Meanwhile, Paladin reads an article about Bartholomew Holgate, who was captured in Sacramento for murder in the town of Bender, Wyoming Territory. Holgate warned that a mob in Bender would lynch him. Paladin sends his card to Holgate.
Later, Paladin heads to Bender by train. Holgate is running through the carriage and paladin stops him. Sheriff Swink and his deputy Harry Dill soon arrive to resecure Holgate, and Paladin introduces himself. He sits down and Holgate explains that Max Bender runs the town and he ended up shooting Max's son. Paladin says that for $200, he'll guarantee that Holgate lives to stand trial. Holgate accepts, and Swink says that he'll do his job and defend Holgate. However, he doesn't figure that they'll win. Satisfied, Paladin settles back to nap.
Max Bender and his daughter Amy are waiting at the station when the train arrives. Max tells the men that he wanted to see his son's killer, and Swink insists that Holgate is going to get a trial. Amy points out that her brother didn't have a trial or a gun, and Paladin insists that Holgate will have a trial. Amy isn't impressed, but Paladin tells her and Max that they'll do right.
Swink takes Holgate to the jail as the townspeople glare at Holgate. Dill goes home and Paladin hides his bag beneath one of the office cots. Lawyer Fred Coombs comes in and says that he and Holgate have to prepare their defense. Holgate tells Coombs that he hired Paladin's gun, and assures Paladin that he'll make sure Coombs pays the $200 once he arrives in court. Swink leaves Coombs and Holgate alone in Holgate's cell, and Coombs offers Holgate some whiskey and says that they might be able to convince the jury that Holgate thought the Bender boy was armed. However, the lawyer warns that it will get Holgate 10 to 20 at best, and possibly life. Holgate says that he'd better not stand trial, and figures the town can help him out of the mess. He tells Coombs that when the lynch mob comes, his guardians will be out there and he can he can escape with the help of his friends William and Keith.
Later, Paladin and Coombs see a noose hanging in front of the Bender general sore. Coombs figures that Amy is responsible, and Paladin figures that she hates and can't settle it with a gun. They go inside and Paladin asks Amy to hold the $200 for him. Amy refuses but Max agrees, and Amy tells Paladin to stay out of it. She sells weapons to the local townspeople. One farmer attacks paladin, who knocks him down and tells the others that he'll kill anyone who comes after Holgate.
Back at the jail, Swink says that it's been quiet. Holgate figures that the mob will come the next night and tells them to get a good night's sleep. Once they're alone, Paladin tells Swink that Holgate can look around himself and asks if he can lock up his bag somewhere. Swink has him lock it up in his desk, and William and Keith ride up to Coombs' office. They have an extra horse, and paladin tells Swink to consider who it's for.
The next day, Paladin goes to the general store in response to Amy's request. She asks if he's still going to fight for Holgate. When Paladin says that he is, Amy figures that they can persuade Swink and dill to not shoot at their friends. That leaves Paladin, and offers him more money to leave town. Paladin refuses, saying, that switching sides for money is unethical. He warns that the lynching won't be a nice neat affair, and leaves as the head farmer comes in and says that the mob is set for that night. Amy hesitates and then says that they'll start from there.
That night, Paladin contemplates Holgate and wonders what he's think. Dill comes in and says that the mob is about ready to move. Paladin tells Holgate that he'll see him I court and joins Swink and Dill. At the general store, the farmer figures that they're all set and promises Amy that he'll bring Holgate to her so she can hang him. Max picks up a rifle and says that he's going to the jail to defend Holgate. When the farmer objects, Holgate says that he formed the town to create something good for his family. They had law and decency, and they're using his son as an excuse. The farmer yanks his gun away and tells him to leave, and knocks him down when he tries to leave anyway. The mob leaves and Amy tells her father that she didn't know what it would be like.
Paladin is sitting calmly by his bag when the mob arrives. Meanwhile, Holgate's friends arrive at his cell window and give him a rope to tie around the bars. Holgate tells them to pull the bars out when the fight starts.
The mob arrives and breaks down the jail door. Swink fires a warning shot but they realize that he's firing high and break in. Paladin lights a stick of dynamite from his bag and thrusts it at the mob, and they run off. Paladin calmly removes the fuse and stomps it out, and tells Swink that the mob won't come back. Meanwhile, Holgate wonders where the noise is.
Swink and Dill chase after the mob leaders, and Paladin hears a horse neighing behind the bar. Holgate tells his friends to pull the bars out, and Paladin hears the noise. He goes around the back and kills the two men, and stops Holgate before he can leave. Holgate offers Paladin $1,000 to walk away, but Paladin says that it wouldn't be ethical and escorts Holgate to Swink.
The next day, Coombs tries to reassure Holgate, who tells him to shut up. When they reach the courthouse, Amy gives Paladin the $200 and admits that she's ashamed and confused. Paladin figures that she has an honest face, and asks if it's a smiling face. Max says that it once was, and Amy smiles and leaves. Paladin ells Max that it'll be a just trial... and then Holgate will hang.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 12, 2017