At the Carlton, Paladin is receiving a visit from a Shakespearean
actor who offers the gunfighter some tickets. After giving a brief
sample of his performance, the actor leaves and Paladin hastily tears up
the tickets. A woman passes by and Paladin starts to go after her, but
Hey Boy arrives with a telegram from Paladin's friend, William Gravely.
Rather than an invitation to a safari like the last several telegrams
from Gravely, this one is a request for help. It refers to a newspaper
article which Hey Boy also has at hand. In it is an article about
Hiwannee Indians killing a member of Gravely's hunting party. Paladin
tells Hey Boy to pack his bags.
As Paladin rides to the hunting party, he spots three Hiwannees in the distance and hails them. They ride off, much to his surprise, and Paladin continues on to the hunting camp. The tents are expensive and there are several French chefs working on the evening meal. As Paladin dismounts, a Frenchman named Antoine rides up and orders Paladin at gunpoint to surrender. Paladin pulls him off the horse just as Charles Trevington, a British lord, comes over. Charles dismisses Antoine as hired help and notes that they have him as a guard because the "wogs" killed his distant cousin, Roddy Crane. Charles points out where an Indian shot Roddy from a hundred yards and admits that it was an impressive shot.
Charles invites Paladin to join them and leads the gunfighter to his tent, and has his servant Omadah pour sherry. When Paladin wonders where Gravely is, Charles explains that the scout is looking for buffalo for the next day's hunt. Charles' sister Charity arrives and the gunfighter presents his card, and they realize that he is the friend that gravely has been speaking of. Paladin admits that he was supposed to attend the hunting party but was detained on business and couldn't make it until now, and remains silent about his real reason for being there. Charity is impressed by his courage in riding thorough Indian territory, and Paladin notes that the only Hiwannees he saw rode away from him. She has Omadah take Paladin to her bath tent to clean off the travel dust so he can join them at dinner. Once Paladin leaves, Charity asks where Antoine is and Charles says that he's out guarding the camp.
As Paladin takes his bath, he notices several books nearby about poisons, the Borgias, guns, and women as the powers behind the throne. Gravely comes in and explains that the Hiwannees work for him, staging fake raids to add a little excitement to the hunting parties. Paladin has ridden with the Hiwannees and insists that they're peaceful, but Gravely says that the arrow that killed Roddy was an authentic Hiwannee arrow. The scout hasn't been able to contact the Hiwannee chief that he typically does business with, and figures that the cavalry are chasing after the Indian leader. Paladin agrees to take the job and asks Gravely not to reveal why he's really there.
That night, Paladin enjoys a champagne dinner with Charles, Charity, and Gravely. Charity complains that Gravely is jacking up the prices on them and is robbing them blind. Offended, Gravely accuses her of killing Roddy so that the Trevington title stays in the family. He storms out and Charles admits to Paladin that he's a simple man who enjoys his pleasures. He yells for Antoine, who staggers in drunk and tells his employer that they should find buffalo the next day. Charles goes off to drink with Antoine, and Charity admits that Gravely believes that one of them killed Roddy. She also admits that she has a motive, figuring that should prove that she has nothing to hide and therefore isn't the murderer.
Paladin and Charity go for a walk and he assures her that he's impressed with her mind. He also points out that he's seen her collection of books in the bath tent, and figures that she wants the Trevington title. As long as Charles is alive, she can't have it, and if he marries then it will go to his wife rather than Charity. Charity invites Paladin back to her tent for a drink, but Paladin resists the temptation and leaves. He goes to Gravely's tend and the scout confirms that Charity stands to inherit. However, he doesn't believe that Charity could shoot a bow and pick Roddy off. As they talk, Charles yells for help and they run to investigate. The Englishman emerge from his tent and shows them the Hiwannee arrow that just missed him.
The next morning, Paladin rides out to find the Hiwannees. The chief freely approaches Paladin and complains that Gravely isn't keeping his white men under control, and they're drinking and yelling. Paladin shows him the arrow and the chief admits that it's a Hiwannee arrow, but a souvenir that they sell to the white men. He confirms that they sold three such arrows to Antoine, and Paladin thanks him for his help. When he returns to the camp, Charity tells him that Charles, Gravely, and Antoine rode off to hunt. Paladin immediately rides off after them and Charity has Omenda bring her a horse.
As Charles and Gravely set up a hunting post, Antoine hides the third arrow in a hollow tree that has a bow in its branches. Meanwhile, Gravely goes to herd some buffalo back toward Charles, who continues setting up for the shooting.
Paladin spots Charity following him and waits for her. He tells her that she may soon inherit the Trevington title and rides off to find her brother, and Charity follows him.
Charles prepares to shoot and Antoine takes out the bow and arrow, and tells Charles to turn around. The Frenchman admits that he killed Roddy, and Charles jokes in the face of danger about how Antoine is no gentleman. Paladin rides up, gun out, and orders Antoine to surrender. The Frenchman glances at Charity and Charles tells him that his sister isn't worth it and feels nothing for him. Antoine recognizes the truth of what he's saying and starts to lower his bow... and Charity shoots him dead. She insists that she had no choice and that Antoine had already killed Roddy. Both Charles and Paladin realize that she couldn't have known that, and Charles tells Paladin that Antoine was in love with Charity. Paladin tells the Englishman that his sister will go to prison because they don't hang women in the States, and Charles asks the gunfighter to take Charity in while he buries Antoine's body. Paladin takes Charity away to face her just reward.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 1, 2018