In the town of Blue Bell, Paladin wakes up in a cabin with a saloon girl Susan Evans kneeling over him. He yanks her to the floor and she says that they gave him enough drugs to kill a horse and took his money. Paladin admits that he was stupid, and Susan tosses a bucket of water over Paladin's head and complains about men in general. She says that Sal Goodfellow robbed Paladin and gives him his derringer and his business card that she found on him. Susan asks if Paladin will kill him, and admits that Sal has beaten her. When she asks Paladin to take him with her, he tells her to pack her things and he'll take her into the town.
As Paladin walks down the street, Sheriff Jack Goodfellow comes out and tells Paladin to walk to the next town. When Paladin says that Sol stole his money, Jack says that he just called his brother a thief, and next Paladin will say that his cousin Jim doctored his drink, Uncle Ed has Paladin's horse, and his brother Tom has Paladin's saddlebags. The three men come out and Jack says that the town is a family business. Jack calls Sol out and he draws Paladin's gun, and says that he should have taken the holster as well. He fires a shot into the ground at Paladin's feet and tells him that he's going out of town. Paladin demands his money and his gun, and Sol fires again. Jack advises Paladin not to wait for the next shots, and Sol tells Paladin to hand the holster over.
Paladin walks away, draws his derringer, kills Sol, and asks the Goodfellows who wants the second shot. He takes his gun and $200 of the money, and the Goodfellows consider whether to rush Paladin. As Susan walks up, Paladin tells them that at the Battle of Bull Run, the enemy attacked from the rear. The Goodfellows prepare to draw, and Susan drives a carriage forward. Paladin jumps on it and Susan heads out of town. The Goodfellows ride after them, and Susan take the carriage into a river across the road. Susan takes the carriage into a river. Paladin tells her to take the carriage downstream and hide in the willows, then goes to shore and makes fake tracks with a stick. The Goodfellows ride into the river, see the "tracks", and continue on in pursuit.
Susan and Paladin take the carriage to a spot to camp, and hide the carriage. Once they finish, Susan asks to see Paladin's derringer. He hands it over and she trains it on him, but he points out that the shot would attract the Goodfellows. Paladin goes to find some supper and Susan bathes in the creek and washes her clothes. He whistles to warn her that he's coming back, and makes a fire without smoke. Susan tells her to capture the rabbit he's captured while he washes up.
That night, Susan says that she came to the west as a schoolteacher and admits that she met the wrong man. Paladin tries to sew up his damaged shirt and Susan takes over. She asks him if he thinks it's possible for a person to change, and then asks him to take her with him. When he starts to walk away, Susan says that Paladin can go as he pleases and do as he pleases, and all she asks is that he be nice to her. Paladin says that they'll talk about it when they reach the next town, Wickenburg.
The Goodfellows figure that the buckboard will never make it to Wickenburg and make camp for the night.
The next day, Paladin and Susan continue to Wickenburg. They come to a traveler, Peter Keystone, who has a wagon with no horses. Peter explains that one of four men had a horse who threw a shoe, and they took both of his horses. Paladin asks for a gun with ammunition, and Susan explains that the Goodfellows are after them. The four men ride up and open fire, and Paladin shoots back with Peter's rifle. Peter tells Susan that he's a hide and tallow buyer, and explains that he's on the road for experience and his father owns the plant in New York. He asks if Paladin means anything to her, and she says that he's practically a stranger.
The two sides return fire, and Peter and Susan ride off. Jack warns that if Paladin gets free then word will spread. Paladin picks off Ed and Ed, and Jack tells Tom that there's more of the town for the two of them. Tom tells Jack that he's going home, and Jack shoots him in the back. The sheriff then waves a white flag and tells Paladin that he wins. He tosses Paladin the remaining $800 and goes for his gun, and Paladin draws his Derringer and kills Jack with the remaining shot.
Paladin rides into Wickenburg and finds Susan and Peter coming out of the general store. Peter says that he was taking care of Susan, and Paladin tells Susan that he has a message for her. He thanks her for her help and thanks Peter as well, and rides off. Susan says that paladin pretends to be a gentleman and she can see right through him, and Peter figures that it was Paladin seeing through her.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 1, 2018