At the Carlton, Paladin is in the lobby reading an article about how Aaron Murdock turned away peace officers who came to look for fugitive Lew, Aaron's son and a murderer. The authorities believe that Lew's younger brother Jamie helped Lew. Aaron denied it and offered to do anything to bring in Lew, dead or alive, and Paladin sends Aaron his card.
Once Aaron accepts, Paladin rides to the man's camp and comes across a camp. Aaron steps out and confirms who Paladin is, and Aaron explains that he didn't want people to know he sent for Paladin. Lew watches them from a nearby hill and then rides off. Aaron says that Lew is his son but a murderer, and killed a deputy when he robbed a mining payroll. The rancher is concerned about the 19-year-old Jamie, who idolizes Lew. Aaron says that Jamie doesn't know that Lew killed the deputy for pleasure, not necessity. Jamie came to Aaron asking for money to ride off with Lew. When Aaron refused, Jamie moved into town and is taking odd jobs. Aaron wants Paladin to tell Lew that he'll offer him whatever he needs as long as he rides out alone. He tells Paladin to kill Lew if he insists on riding out with Jamie, and Paladin rides away.
In town, Paladin goes to the blacksmith where Jamie is working. Marty and several local men are taunting Jamie, and Marty asks Jamie how much money he's getting from the payroll that Lew stole. Paladin says that he's looking for the blacksmith and Jamie tells him that the man is out on roundup. The men continue taunting Jamie, saying that Lew murdered the deputy and it was a fair fight... Murdock style. Jamie insists that it was dark and it was a fair fight, and Jamie attacks Marty. One of the men draws a gun on Jamie, and Paladin takes them out. Marty objects to Paladin butting in, and Jamie beats Marty. Paladin pulls him away and tells the men to move on.
Jamie thanks Paladin, who says that he knows Lew by what he's done. They go into the stable and Jamie asks if Paladin is after Lew. Paladin points out that there's no reward on Lew's head, and Jamie insists that it wasn't murder. When Paladin tries to see it Jamie's way, Jamie says that Lew stole the payroll. Paladin wonders why Jamie is defending Lew, and Jamie says that Lew is his brother and that's enough.
That night, Paladin checks into the hotel and Aaron meets him there. Aaron saw that he saw Lew as he rode back to his ranch, and figures that Lew is showing himself deliberately. Paladin figures that Jamie and Lew are in touch and will get together. Jamie's horse rides into town and Aaron explains that Jamie claims that it was stolen a week ago. Paladin tells Aaron to go back to his ranch while he deals with the situation.
At the stable, Jamie is tending to his horse. Paladin comes in and points out that the horse has a fresh Navajo sign painted on it. Jamie tells Paladin to get his horse and leave, and mounts up to ride out. Paladin asks if he's going to meet a girl, and Jamie says that it's none of Paladin's business before riding off.
Paladin follows Jamie to the Murdock ranch. He finds him on the floor, beaten, and Lew rides off on a stolen horse. When the ranch hands arrive to investigate, Aaron tells them to forget the whole thing. Paladin tends to his injuries, and Aaron says that Lew robbed him of $3,000 in silver. He tells Paladin not to tell anyone what happened because it would hurt Jamie. Paladin asks about the Navajo sign, and Aaron says that Lew murdered a Navajo when he was 16. The sign was on the bracelet and Lew gave it to his girl, Mae. Mae married a wrangler, Bud Thompson, and Aaron tells Paladin where Mae lives. Paladin tells Aaron to stay there and let him deal with it.
When Paladin meets with Mae the next day, she says that Lew always a wild one. She tells Paladin that Lew isn't there, and tells Paladin that the sheriff took the bracelet back. Mae claims that she doesn't know where Lew killed the Navajo, but finally admits that she can't support a murderer. As she draws a map to the location, Mae asks Paladin to tell Lew that she says hello.
Jamie arrives at the location and discovers that Lew has carved his name and the sign into a rock. Lew drops down and gives his brother a gun and says that he looks like a man.
Paladin rides up and finds the message, and heads up to where Lew and Jamie are camped.
Jamie tells Lew that Aaron wouldn't give him the money. Lew tells his brother to forget their father and says that he has enough money that they can get by. He doesn't explain where he got the money. Paladin arrives and the brothers jump him. Paladin and Lew fight, and Jamie draws on Paladin. Lew punches Paladin and tells him to guard Paladin while he sees if Paladin brought any allies. Once Lew leaves, Paladin tells Jamie that he just came from Aaron and he's badly hurt. He says that someone pistol-whipped Aaron and invites Jamie to check the revolver and see if there's any dried blood on it.
As Jamie finds the blood, Lew comes back and says that Paladin came alone. When Jamie hesitates to kill Paladin, Lew is glad to kill him. Jamie suggests that they tie up Paladin, but Lew claims that it would be inhumane. Paladin tells Jamie to ask Lew what happened, and where he got the $3,000 in silver that are in his saddlebags. Jamie aims the gun at Lew and asks if he took Aaron's money. Lew says that it doesn't matter, and claims that the blood isn't Aaron's. Jamie asks why Lew hurt Aaron, and Lew snaps at Jamie, saying that Jamie is a baby and Aaron never did anything for him. Jamie tells him to ride out without the money, and Lew says that he's going to take it just like he's never seen Aaron or James before. Lew figures that he won't shoot him if he can't shoot Paladin. As he jumps Jamie, Paladin shoots and kills Lew with his derringer. Jamie tells his brother's body that he didn't want to kill him, and Paladin says that a man has to do what he has to do, and that's how he lives... or dies.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 1, 2018