At the Carlton, Paladin is in the lobby burning what appears to be a $20 bill. When Hey Boy comments on it, Paladin says that it was a counterfeit. A woman at the cashier's desk, Jenny Lake, discovers that her money is counterfeit. Another man, George Wilson, comes over and says that Jenny's bill is his. Jenny refuses and tells him to leave her alone, and Paladin comes over and offers to act as a reference for Jenny and her check since he had dinner with her the night before. The cashier, Matthews, accepts. When George objects, Jenny tells him to leave her alone and Paladin makes it clear to George that he should leave.
Once George goes, Matthews says that the bill is $300. She assures Paladin that money is the least of her worries, and says that George has been following her for three days. Jenny figures that George has bought a ticket to the same town that she's going to. She says that she hardly travels without her father, and Paladin gallantly offers to make sure that George takes a different stage. Paladin gets George's room number from Matthews and walks up past a man not-so-casually reading a newspaper.
George answers his door and confirms that he's leaving on the same stage as Jenny. Paladin tells him that Jenny doesn't want him around, and refuses to leave. George pulls a gun on him, and Paladin jumps him. They fight and the man from the lobby--Matlock-comes in and knocks out Paladin from behind. Matlock assures George that Paladin will be all right and insists that his strike was a masterpiece and Paladin won't feel a thing later. George says that they'd better catch up to Jenny before she goes to Canada or Mexico.
Later, Paladin staggers out in the hallway and Hey Boy finds him. Hey Boy confirms that jenny has left and Paladin calls for his saddlebags. He catches up to Jenny's stagecoach and orders George out. George gets out and tells him to start walking to the nearest town. When the driver objects, Jenny confirms that George won't leave her alone and George agrees to let Paladin take his seat and says that he'll catch up. Paladin gives his card to help him find Paladin in the future. Matlock watches the entire thing from his seat on the stagecoach.
Once the stagecoach leaves, Paladin points out that George had a friend who hit him from behind. He takes Jenny's arm and holds it protectively. The stagecoach stops when it comes to a rockslide blocking the road, and the driver has the men get out and help him clear the rocks. As they work, Matlock chats with Paladin and confirms that he doesn't feel anything where he was a hit. Paladin says it doesn't bother him, and Matlock passes it off as muscle strain and says that he's feeling it himself. They discover that Jenny has disappeared, and Paladin, Matlock and the driver follow her tracks. Two horsemen apparently road up and grabbed her, and the driver says that they should get going. Paladin says that he'll follow the tracks and rides off.
Paladin soon spots a shack and approaches it. A man, Carruthers, steps out and demands to know who Paladin is. Paladin explains that he's looking for Jenny and thought she was in trouble. Carruthers assumes that she was kidnapped even though Paladin didn't mention such a thing, and introduces himself. He points out that Carruthers' wagon wiped out the tricks that he was following, and the wagon is covered with a tarp. When he wonders what's in it, Carruthers abruptly invites Paladin to join him for dinner.
The two men go inside and eat, and Paladin finally says that he believes that Carruthers had something to do with Jenny's disappearance and is trying to stall him. Matlock comes in and offers Paladin a note, and then falls over dead. Paladin confirms that Matlock's wallet is dead, and Paladin checks the note. It's a telegram saying that the suspect is heading to the next city and he receiver should move out. Paladin figures that it's police language, and Carruthers says that he's leaving. He grabs his bags and goes out to his wagon, and a man emerges from a nearby mine and then goes back inside. Jenny is inside and yells to Paladin, who runs up and draws his gun before going inside.
In the mine, Paladin searches for Jenny and the man Joe runs behind him. Paladin hears him and tosses a torch out to draw the man's fire. When Joe shoots, Paladin kills him and another man runs up. Paladin knocks him out and checks his wallet, finding a Secret Service badge. Jenny runs up and holds a gun on Paladin, and complains that he's obstinate. The second man, Bill Wheeler, prepares to pistol-whip Paladin unconscious but Jenny says that they don't have time because George is coming with the sheriff.
Jenny and Bill take Paladin and Joe's body out to where Carruthers is shooing away Paladin's horse. He apologizes to Jenny for shooting Paladin, saying he couldn't kill a man over dinner. Jenny tells her father that Bill will kill Paladin and they have to get the machinery on the wagon up to the mine. Jenny points out that they got rid of George and Matlock but they couldn't get rid of Paladin.
Bill knocks a suitcase full of counterfeit money off of the wagon. Paladin recognizes it, and Carruthers says that his work are short-lived masterpieces. As he and Paladin admire his bills, they hear George and the sheriff coming. Carruthers mounts up and Jenny gives the Secret Service man's gun to Bill and leaves with her father.
Bill has Paladin wait while he gets a knife from the shack to make it look like Paladin attacked him and he killed Paladin in self-defense. Paladin shoots Bill with his derringer, and George and the sheriff ride up. He tells them that Matlock is dead, and the dead men are Bill and Joe Wheeler. The sheriff says that Carruthers and the Wheeler brothers were the peaceful farmer sin the country. George says that he didn't arrest Jenny because the Secret Service hoped that she'd lead them to Carruthers, and they ride off after the father and daughter.
Jenny catches up to the stage, hides her horse, and waves the stage down. She gets in and finds Paladin waiting inside. He tells her that her troubles are almost over, and Jenny offers him $1,000 to forget about him. Paladin takes the money and kisses her, and then yells at the driver to pull over. He leads Jenny out and hands her over to George. Jenny complains that Paladin took her money and then turned her over to the Secret Service. Paladin points out that she paid him $1,000 to forget, and that's exactly what he's going to do. The sheriff is nearby with Carruthers, and Paladin thanks him for dinner. Carruthers says that he's glad Paladin came by, and Paladin leaves with the stage.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 23, 2018