Paladin is in the Carlton playing billiards and Major McNab comes in and says that he's trying to get rid of $5 million. He says that he can't do it without Paladin, and invites Mrs. Duvoisin in and introduces her. McNab says that before his death, Colonel Duvoisin wanted to make up for his neglect to his stepson. Mrs. Duvoisin says that the boy was her husband's natural son because he was a "gentleman". Duvoisin left his son his estate and a position in Virginia society, and Mrs. Duvoisin hopes to persuade her son to be part of her family. They've traced the boy, Ben Huttner, to a bar just south of Mexico. McNab shows Paladin a wanted poster for Ben, aka "The Virginia Kid", and explains that Ben killed a man defending his mother's good name. Ben isn't wanted for murder yet, just manslaughter, and McNab believes that they can get the judge in Waco to give Ben a few years. They want Paladin to either deliver Ben or his signature saying that he doesn't want the estate. Mrs. Duvoisin says that she's had money all her life but has never had a son, making her preference clear.
Paladin rides to the village where Ben is being held and goes into a cantina. A bartender suggests that he's come to the wrong place, and Paladin asks if he knows where Ben is. The bartender claims that he can't speak English, and a woman, Chita Martinez, comes over and asks why Paladin wants to see Ben. Paladin shows her his card and explains why he's there. Chita says that Ben doesn't want the money, but Paladin says that he does and he won't get it until he delivers the papers or Ben. The woman says that Ben will device but if he makes a mistake, her brother won't.
Maria takes Paladin to the camp outside of the village where Ben is hiding. Be steps out, gun drawn, and Chita runs to hug him. Paladin tells Ben why he's there and gives him the papers, and Ben figures that he has to stand trial in Waco first. Chita wonders if Ben is going to get his money, and he says that he would sit in a jail for a while and then walk out with $5 million. When Chita objects, Ben says that he's thinking about it and tells her that they'll live in luxury with the $5 million. He tells Paladin that they'll ride out in the morning,
Paladin camps for the night, and that she's Chita complains to Ben that he's tired of her and won't come back. She promises to spit on his grave once they hang him, and Ben assures her that he loves her but can't live on the run as a Virginia gentleman. Chita angrily turns away from Ben.
After Paladin dozes off, Chita charges at him with her knife drawn. Paladin disarms her, and Ben comes out and says that no woman is going to tie him to her with a knife. He starts to slap her but Paladin stops him and Chita walks off.
Later in a town halfway to Waco, the marshal is letting a drunk, Joaquin Jim, out of the cell. Paladin and Ben ride up and Paladin goes up to the hotel room to where McNab and Mrs. Duvoisin are waiting. McNab suggests that Mrs. Duvoisin wait there while he and Paladin meet with Ben downstairs so she doesn't have to see her son and then watch him to jail. Downstairs, McNab tells Ben that he'll be the defense lawyer at his trial and asks for Ben's gun. Ben hesitates, and McNab figures that Ben might get into a fight and kill someone, and wants him to make a good impression with a jury. After Ben tosses McNab the gun, the marshal steps out and McNab says that he asked him there just in case. Mrs. Duvoisin watches from a window as the marshal takes Ben to a cage outside of his office and locks him up.
The next morning, Paladin comes to the cage and finds the marshal and his men setting up the gallows on top of which Ben's cage rests. Ben wonders how much they paid Paladin to betray him. Paladin goes to the hotel room where McNab is telling Mrs. Duvoisin that it's no time for her to have pangs about the man. McNab invites Paladin in when he knocks and gives him his fee. Paladin wonders how long McNabb expects to wait until Ben are hung, and McNab admits that it shouldn't be long. McNab and Mrs. Duvoisin are registered as husband and wife, and McNab says that he wasn't going to have Ben inherit the money when Mrs. Duvoisin spent years with her husband and earned the money. Paladin says that it should be settled in a court in Waco, and McNab advises Paladin to go before he's arrested as an accomplice. Angry, Paladin punches McNab, takes his gun, tosses the money on the floor and walks out.
Paladin grabs the marshal from behind and forces him to release Ben, and then they ride off together. Chita and her brother are hiding nearby, and Chita has her brother kill the marshal with a knife before the two of them ride off.
Paladin and Ben return to the village and go to the Cantina. Ben has the men jump Paladin, and demands to know where Chita is. She and her brother come in, and Paladin says that he can still get Ben to Waco. Chita advises Ben to kill Paladin before she does, and Paladin warns that Ben will never be able to go home as a free man again. Ben hesitates and Chita figures that he wants the money. She goes for her knife and tells Ben that they'll hang him for the marshal's death. Disgusted, Ben says that she's getting too rich for his blood and disarms him, and says that he's going back. Chita runs over and her brother shoots at Ben and kills her. Paladin shoots the brother and rides to Waco with Ben.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 11, 2018