At the Carleton, Paladin Hey Boy is going through the newspaper checking lottery results. Paladin sees him and comes over, and Hey Boy says that someone else won the Louisiana lottery. Hey Boy says that someone else in San Francisco: Corporal Mike Callahan. The sponsors have announced that Mike must notify the authorities in Louisiana to collect the $600,000, and have tracked him to Fort Steele but have been unable to locate him further. If he doesn't come forward within a week then he forfeits the prize. Paladin figures that Mike would appreciate the notification and leaves.
Later, Paladin arrives at Fort Steele and meets with the commanding officer, Colonel Barlow. Barlow says that Mike and his patrol are two days overdue. Major Siebert, Mike, and three privates went on a scouting mission and never returned. They've been having Indian problems, and Barlow figures that the Apaches scalped them. The American government has been negotiating with the Apache, but the Land Treaty commission has been quibbling about details, and the Apache chief Xano has decided to take action. A wire comes in saying that the treaty has been agreed to and the official confirmation will come in a few days. Barlow says that they can't spare Paladin any help, and warns Paladin that the territory is swarming with savages. Paladin says that he won't need help, and Barlow tells him where to start at one of the water holes in the area, Apache Wells.
Paladin rides to Apache Wells and finds the soldiers' campsite. Riding on, Paladin hears Apche shouting and gunshots. He rides up and two Apache ride after him. Paladin kills one, and a soldier kills the other one. He calls Paladin over to where he and the others have taken shelter. Siebert ask who Paladin is, and he presents his card. The major calls Mike over, and Paladin tells Mike that he won $600,000. The Apache continue shooting and mike realizes that he isn't going anywhere.
That night, Paladin says that he doesn't know how he's going to get Mike out. He figures the Apache only have to wait until they run out of food and water, Mike offers Paladin $100,000 to get him out, and Paladin accepts but warns that they can't get out the way he came in. The corporal suggests that just the two of them slip, but Siebert says that would be desertion and gives Mike water detail. Mike says that it's dangerous and Siebert is trying to kill him to get the ticket. Siebert suggests that he'll send Mike to ride to Fort Steele in return for a one-sixth cut. Mike agrees and Siebert has him put it in writing. One of the men, Krosowski, says that it would look like a bribe. Paladin suggests that Mike make them all partners so they'll all fight to protect the ticket. Mike finally agrees.
The next day, they draw lots to get the water and one soldier, Ritter" wins. He goes to the water hole and an Apache approaches him. Siebert starts to shoot the man but then lowers his rifle. Paladin kills the Apache and tells Siebert that his letting his men get killed one at a time may increase his share but it won't save his skin. Ritter comes back, assuming that Siebert killed the Indian, and thanks him.
That night after everyone but Mike goes to sleep, Siebert knocks Mike out from behind, takes the ticket, and runs away. The others wake up and hear an Apache fire, killing Siebert.
The Apache string Siebert's corpse up, and the men see him the next day. They figure that the ticket is in Siebert's cap, and Paladin shoots the cap off of the corpse's head. Paladin goes after the ticket and an Indian attacks him. The gunfighter knocks him out, grabs the ticket, and runs back to the camp. He says that he wants to capture one of the Indians, and says that he wants to bring their horses there.
Later, the soldiers bring the horses in. One Indian, White Bull, comes to investigate, and Paladin knocks him out and takes him back to the camp. Paladin talks to White Bull and he says that he doesn't speak English. White Bull says that Xano is with the others, and Xano doesn't believe in the treaty. Paladin tells him that the treaty is finished and he brought the first page to show it to Xano so that he'd keep his peace. he offers to show the page to Xano, and lets White Bull go to take his message. Once White Bull leaves, Paladin tells Mike that he has the treaty: the ticket. It's the only piece of paper they have that looks like an official document, and Xano might believe it. Paladin insists that the treaty has gone through, and Mike leaves it up the others since they all have a share. The other three soldiers agree and Mike has no choice but to go along.
Xano and his braves ride up and Paladin shows them the supposed treaty. He says that they will have the entire treaty if he lets them go free. White Bull translates, saying that Xano takes the treaty, and tells them to go in peace. Paladin and the remaining soldiers ride off as Xano waves to them.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 22, 2018