Paladin responds to Roy Clinton's message and arrives at his cabin, and meets Roy's father Sid outside. Sid thanks Paladin for saving his son from hanging a year ago. Sid tells Paladin that Roy is inside, "entertaining". Inside, Paladin finds Roy on the couch kissing a woman, Margie. Roy welcomes Paladin in, and Paladin reminds him that Chaplain Robert April is the one who saved Roy. Paladin insists on getting down to business, and Roy explains that there was a prison break eight days ago and convict Eddie Clinton, one of Robert's librarians, got out. Robert went after him, and there's been a blizzard and the warden pulled his search party back. Robert kept on, and Roy admits that he hasn't gone after there in the sub-zero weather. Paladin says that they should both go, and Roy tells him that he summoned Paladin so he would go on his own. Disgusted, Paladin points out that Roy has just been sitting there when Robert was out in the blizzard. Roy offers Paladin $1,000 and weakly says that he had a ranch to run, and Paladin punches him and tosses his $1,000 back at him. Shamed, Roy agrees to go with Paladin. Paladin tells Roy to let Margie take care of the money and goes. After a moment, Roy follows him out.
Paladin and Roy ride up into the mountains until the horses can't go any further. They let the horses go back and continue on foot. Roy warns that the temperature can drop 60 degrees in an hour, and Paladin says that Robert is up there trying to save a convict and he respects Robert more than any man he ever met.
The two men continue on and find a page from a Bible left in a can as a marker. They ascend the mountain, roped together, and Roy slips and falls. Paladin catches him and pulls Roy back up via the rope. They continue on and Roy finally collapses from exhaustion. Paladin orders him to get to his feet or he'll leave him to die, and tells Roy to go first. The next day, they find Robert at his camp, lying unconscious in the snow. Robert's blankets and food are gone, and the two men try to revive the chaplain. Paladin tells Robert that he's a liar, and he wakes up to deny it and asks if he can help them. Smiling, Paladin says that any other man would have asked for help rather than offered it. As Roy goes to get a sled, Robert warns that Eddie has a rifle. Eddie shoos and wounds Paladin, and Paladin brings Roy back. Eddie's rifle jams from the cold and he runs off.
Paladin tells Robert to pack Roy's wound with snow and searches for Eddie. He has no luck and returns that night, and Robert suggests that they offer Eddie a truce. Paladin points out that Eddie store Robert's supplies, and Robert talks about how they had a thoroughbred at his farm when he was a child, and it would keep running even when exhausted. He admires the good in their situation, and Paladin points out that they're all likely to freeze. Paladin wonders what the good is in any of it, and Robert says that the situation might be intended to restore their faith. Unimpressed, Paladin says that he's stitched together enough tree limbs to make a sled, and they'll leave in the morning.
The next morning, Eddie staggers to the camp and asks Robert for help. Paladin wants to leave him for dead, pointing out there's only room for two on the sled, and Robert insists on giving up his place and pulling the sled. Paladin agrees and they take Roy and Eddie back. Robert insists that he feels stronger with every mile, and they continue pulling. Roy wakes up and asks why Eddie is there, and Paladin ignores him and keeps pulling. They finally find the horses and Robert goes to rest. Eddie wakes up but feigns unconsciousness, and grabs a knife from the sled. Roy struggles with him and yells for Paladin, who comes back and draws his gun on Eddie. They back up to Robert, who falls over dead. Roy tells Paladin to let him kill Eddie, and Paladin beats Eddie and then picks up the knife and tells Eddie to hack out a grave. Eddie begs Robert for help but gets no response.
Eddie digs two graves and says that Paladin should say a verse for Robert. Paladin reads from Robert's Bible about doing good to one's enemies and turning the other cheek. Roy joins in, and Eddie runs off. Paladin reads about forgiveness, and Roy can't bring himself to shoot the fleeing Eddie. Paladin says that Eddie won't get away from himself, or the posse, or anyone else. Roy offers to bring up his men to carve a headstone, and Paladin says that they need to add a verse about the steps of a good man. Once they bury Robert, Paladin and Roy ride off.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 1, 2018