Paladin is lounging in the Carlton lobby when a delivered from Speedy Messenger Service arrives. He confirms who Paladin is and then counts out a large wad of loose money, and says that a man is waiting for Paladin on the Kaibab road. The messenger has no idea what the man's business was, and quickly leaves.
Later, Paladin rides to the Kaibab and meets with the man, Ike Brennan. Paladin says that he won't take the job without an explanation and Ike explains that he wants to hire Paladin to help him deliver a wagon full of supplies to the Indians. They have Ike's wife Maureen and will kill her if they see the cavalry. Ike tells Paladin that he was up buying limber when a gang of Indians attacked them. One of them spoke English and took Maureen, and gave Ike two days to bring the supplies or he'll burn the woman. After a moment, Paladin agrees and they leave.
The men drive the wagon to the Kaibab Forest and Ike looks behind them for the cavalry to make sure they're not approaching. They stop to rest and Ike says that he's e's worried that the Indians will kill Maureen. Ike talks about how he beat up his father-in-law and brothers-in-law to prove he was worthy of Maureen even though he was her father's age.
Paladin and Ike ride on and come to a family with a broken wheel. The father asks them for help with the wheel, but Ike refuses to take the time when Maureen's life is at risk. Paladin ignores him and Ike draws a gun on the father. The gunfighter refuses to move on unless Ike relents, and he reluctantly lets the family take his spare wheel.
Continuing on, the two men finally stop to rest again. Ike tells Paladin that Maureen didn't want to come out there and is too tender-hearted. A cavalry patrol rides up and Ike complains that they can't waste time when Maureen's life is at stake. Paladin refuses to move on, and the cavalrymen ride up. The lieutenant in charge says that's there's a gang of Indians running loose in the pass up ahead. Paladin says that they have urgent business, and the lieutenant admits that he has no basis to stop them. He asks what's in the wagon, and Ike complains that it's supplies for a mining camp. Curious, the lieutenant orders two of his men to unload the wagon. Furious, Ike complains that Paladin didn't stop the lieutenant. Paladin says that the lieutenant should let them be the bait to catch the Indians. He explains that Ike has personal business with the Indians, and the lieutenant agrees to let them endanger themselves and ride up when he hears gunfire.
Down the road, Paladin pulls the wagon over and asks Ike what he's really taking to the Indians. Ike says that it's none of his business, and Paladin tells him to cut open the pile of supplies so he can see what's there. The lumberman reveals that it's mining equipment, and Paladin punches him and finds out that it's a Gatling gun. Ike admits that it was the only thing the Indians wanted in exchange for Maureen, and Paladin snaps at him that he's trading two lives for the hundreds that the Indians will kill with the gun. Paladin wants to wait for the cavalry to catch up, and Ike says that Paladin will hang with him because the cavalry will never believe he was fooled. He begs Paladin to make the exchange for Maureen's life, and Paladin jams one of the ammunition canisters for the gun and says that they can make the delivery.
The two men continue on and Ike figures the Indians are watching them. He warns that Indians may test the battered canister, and figures that the two of them are fools. The Indians finally step out of hiding and Ike tells the leader, Esteban, that the Gatling gun is in the wagon. The Indians bring Maureen over and go to get the gun, and she asks where the cavalry is. Ike says that he fought them all the way, and they go over to the wagon.
The Indians unload the gun and Esteban says that they want Ike to demonstrate how to work it. Paladin points out that it will destroy every cavalryman in thirty miles, but Esteban figures that he can kill them all with the gun. Maureen gets up in the wagon and Paladin says that they'll give Esteban the demonstration. Ike goes with him and Paladin loads the gun and puts the battered canister in. Esteban spots the cavalry coming and prepares to fire on them. Nothing happens, and Paladin tells Esteban to move his men off to the side while he fixes it. Two of his men take Maureen down from the wagon.
Paladin pulls the canister out of the gun and puts in a fresh canister. He tells Ike to stand over with Maureen and aims the gun at the approaching cavalry. Paladin then turns the gun and fires on the Indians. The cavalrymen ride forward, and Ike knocks out the Indians guarding Maureen and drags her to cover. Paladin reloads the gun and one Indian shoots him in the leg. Ike runs open, finishes reloading, and opens fire on the remaining Indians. Esteban charges over and Ike guns him down.
Once the cavalry secure the remaining Indians, the lieutenant admits that if he caught them earlier with the gun, he would have court-martialed them and strung them up. Ike and Maureen head back and Maureen jokingly tells Paladin that she'll try to keep Ike in the city.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 23, 2018