After a late night on the town, Paladin brings a new lady through the
Carlton lobby. Hey Boy, who has been dozing on the sofa waiting for
Paladin, wakes up and comes over with an urgent message. Paladin reads
the letter and discovers that it's a request for help from Simon Quill, a
conman who once left Paladin to die. Hey Boy also has an article about
Simon, stating that he's wanted for the murder of a woman. In the
letter, Simon tells Paladin to find a woman named Lily. Despite his
dislike for Simon, Paladin leaves to get ready for his trip.
Paladin soon arrives in the town of Burly, ID. He goes to the stable and chats with the owner, Eph Trager. Eph points out that he owns most of the one-horse town and directs Paladin to a shack where Lily is. Paladin pays him a dollar to watch his horse and goes to find Simon.
Lily is in her shack tending to an injured Simon. When he wakes up, he assures her that he's doing better and kisses her. Paladin arrives and Simon greets him like an old friend, glad to see hello. He explains that he plans to marry Lily and asks Paladin to be his best man. Unimpressed, Paladin turns to Lily, who admits that Simon has been making the same promise for years.
Realizing that Simon hasn't changed, Paladin reminds Simon that the conman skipped out him in Buffalo, ND, three years ago, disguised as a woman. Simon argued with Rafe Cabell over a map to a gold mine, a map that Simon said he won in a poker game, and ended up shooting Rafe dead. Paladin notes that Simon sold him the map for $1,000 but neglected to mention that Rafe's family would come looking for him. They found Paladin in Simon's hotel room and the gunfighter was forced to kill one man and wound another, Paul.
Simon claims that he didn't know the Cabell brothers were coming to avenge their brother, but Paladin clearly isn't convinced. The conman points out that he wouldn't have asked Paladin to help him now if he had set him up then. Simon needs help beating a murder rap from three years back. Paladin can testify that he was in Buffalo at the time of the murder, clearing his name. Paladin notes that the mine Simon sold him had nothing but fool's gold, and produces the deed that he signed. It's dated and Simon figures that he's home free. However, Paladin decides that it's a good time for Simon to pay for the crimes he wasn't caught for, by hanging for the murder. He burns the deed and tells Simon that he wired a deputy from the dead woman's town to come and collect him. Satisfied, Paladin walks out while Simon warns Lily that now he's as good as dead.
At the stable, Eph has his two sons Emmet and Clemmie check Paladin's horse. They find his card in a saddlebag and wonder who he is. Emmet gets up on the horse as Paladin comes in, and Eph draws his shotgun. The owner explains that Paladin was late so he's charging him an extra $6, and Emmet bought out the debt. The old man tells Paladin to take it or leave it, but Paladin yanks Emmet off the horse and tosses him into Eph and knocks Clemmie out. Once Paladin grabs the gun, he throws $6 at Eph and tells him to take it or leave it.
Disgusted with the whole situation, Paladin goes over to the saloon to get a drink. The dead man's brother Roy is waiting for him, and says that the town couldn't send a deputy to collect Simon so he came instead. However, Roy refuses to call Paladin out then and there, warning that he'll hire a couple of men to even up the odds. Lily comes in and Paladin tells the bartender to get her out before she gives away Simon's location. Paladin refuses to explain what's going on to Roy, who figures that it doesn't matter because once he takes care of Paladin, he can deal with Simon.
Once Roy leaves, Lily warns Paladin that her wounded fiancé can't fight. She begs Paladin to save Simon and give her a chance, admitting that the conman is the best she can do. Lily offers him what little money she has and then her body, but Paladin isn't interested in taking anything from her. Disgusted, Lily says that she has Simon instead of a man full o liquor and hard luck. Paladin finally takes pity on the woman and tells her to get Simon ready to travel out of town. After that, Paladin tells Lily that she and Simon on their own and the conman will have to face the charges against him in a court of law.
Eph watches from the stable as Paladin mounts up. Roy is inside with the Eph's sons, and pays them $5 each to help him take on Paladin. Eph tells them that Paladin has ridden out and they prepare to follow him. The old man worries that Clemmie is too young to handle himself, but Emmet tells his father to let Clemmie become a man.
When Paladin gets to the shack, he discovers that Simon has fled. Lily reluctantly admits that Simon ran out on her and Paladin after she demeaned herself. She admits that she didn't know Simon was going to run when she begged Paladin for help, but figures that her fiancé will live.
Simon, disguised as a woman, goes to the nearby barn to get a horse to ride out on. Roy, Clemmie, and Emmet spot him and Roy sends Clemmie in. Simon turns and shoots him, and Roy and Emmet come in. Roy shoots Simon dead and Paladin and Lily, hearing the gunshots, enter the barn. Lily runs to Simon's corpse while Paladin tells Roy to make his move. When Roy tells Emmet to flank the gunfighter so they can take him down, Paladin advises Emmet to let Roy fight his own fight. Emmet wisely stays out of the fight and Paladin warns Roy that he'll defend himself if he has to, but he won't shoot first because there's already been enough death. Roy glances at the two corpses and decides that he's had enough. He walks out past Eph, who runs to his son's corpse and realizes that he died for $5.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 17, 2018