At the Carleton, Hey Boy delivers Paladin a note from a woman, Diana Coulter. The note wants to hire Paladin as a guide and translator. Hey Boy says that Diana is touched in the head, and comes from a little island that is probably barbaric. Paladin realizes that he's talking about Britain, and goes to Diana's room. She asks if he's familiar with Arizona and can guide her to Ship Rock. Diana shows him a rifle and explains that her uncle commands a regiment of Bengal Lancers, and had her bring it with her to protect herself from savages. Her brother Richard is going to live with her brother at his ranch in Ship Rock, and he's the only relative she has left. Diana asks Paladin for references, and he presents his card. She agrees to hire Paladin and he tells her that he'll charge $50 a day. Diana haggles with him but Paladin refuses to bargain and they settle on $40 a day.
Paladin and Diana ride to Arizona and they stop so that Diana can bathe. Paladin notices a jar with Comanche war paint skull nearby, and tells Diana that he'll give her five minutes to bathe. She says that she's been impressed by his behavior up to now and hopes he'll control himself. Disgusted, Paladin says that he'll try to control himself and walks off. He spots a Comanche war party and runs back to tell Diana. Diana aims her rifle at him and tells him to turn around while she dresses. Paladin says that the Indians are just as unpleasant as the natives of India, picks her up, and puts her on her horse.
The two riders continue on and arrive at a ranch. They find the owner and his wife preparing to leave, and the rancher says that the ranchers are on the war path and burned out a neighbor. Paladin wishes the couple luck and the rancher says that the Comanche are between them and Ship Rock.
That night, Paladin and Diana make camp and Diana stands guard. She doses off and Paladin wakes her up to ask her to point the gun away from him. Paladin jokingly offers him her revolver and she refuses. The next day, they arrive at the brother's ranch but there's no sign of anyone. Paladin realizes that something is wrong, grabs his rifle, and goes inside. Richard and his family are dead, slaughtered at their dinner table. Paladin realizes that they had no chance to hide, and checks on Diana sitting outside.
Paladin warns that the Comanche may be back and they don’t have time to bury the family, but Diana insists that they have a proper burial. Paladin agrees and he buries the four bodies, and then says a few words over them. An Indian shoots him in the shoulder, and Diana shoos the attacker down. More Comanches ride up as Paladin and Diana get into the house and hide in the cellar. The other Comanches arrive but don't find them hiding, and Paladin breaks off the arrow head and has Diana remove the shaft. The Comanches finally leave, and Paladin goes up to check on them. The Comanche are outside checking the family's belongings, and Diana comes up to shoot them. Paladin stops her, warning that the shots will bring more Comanches. Diana wonders what she has to live for, and Paladin says that they're not so desperate. He gives her his derringer and advises her to kill herself when she runs out of ammo. Paladin figures that he can leave, but Diana tells him that she paid him to work for her until the next day. When he tosses the money at her, Diana begs him to stay with her and Paladin agrees.
Diana and Paladin go back to the cellar to hide, and two days later Paladin comes up to check on the Comanche. One of them is standing guard as the other sleep. When Paladin goes to get some water, another Comanche attacks him and Paladin kills him with his own knife after a brief struggle. Paladin sees their horses tether with the Indians' horses, and figures that they haven't been watered in two days. He uses a bucket of water to lure one Indian horse over, and then makes a dummy out of Richard's clothing and puts it on the horse. Diana gets their horses, and after they mount up Paladin sends the horse with the dummy in the opposite direction along with the Indian horses. The Indians chase after them, and one Indian sees the horse with the dummy. He knocks the dummy off and mounts up, and fires at Paladin. Paladin fires back, wounding him, but the Indian rides after them despite his injury.
When Paladin and Diana stop, they spot the approaching Indian and Diana prepares to shoot him. Paladin says that he doesn't have a chance to reach them, and hatred is keeping him going. The Indian falls off his horse, dead, and Diana says that they should leave.
Later at the Carlton, Diana and Paladin meet in the lobby. Paladin orders breakfast and tells Hey Boy to take it to his sitting room, and goes there with Diana.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 15, 2018