Paladin is dining in the Carlton restaurant, and railroad executive Carter and his daughter Lucile are dining with him. Carter says that he wants Paladin to take a job tracking down Celine, and explains that Celine has a piece of paper that Carter's financial empire rests on. He would rather hire Paladin than beg, and Paladin refuses. Disgusted, Carter tells Paladin that he may not like him but he hasn't met Celine, and leaves with Lucile. As Paladin goes up to his room, he passes Schermer and Sutton playing backgammon in the lobby. Sutton confirms that Lucile went up to Paladin's suite, and Schermer calls Hey Boy over and asks who Paladin is. Hey Boy feigns ignorance of English, and Schermer tells Sutton to find out who Paladin is.
Secura Celine meets with Edward in Paladin's suite and tells Edward that she needs him to loan $1,000 to pay for Paladin's services. Paladin comes in and Secura talks about how she was once part of Maximilian's court in Mexico. She asks Paladin if he's heard of Celine, and explains that he was an aide of Maximilian's and has been seen alive. Edward speaks up, saying that Celine knows of a priceless artifact, the Winged Lion of Cortez. Secura sends Edward to watch outside, and then tells Paladin that there is no Winged Lion but Edward needs to believe in fairy tales. She offers Paladin the truth: she's dying it and Celine was her husband. Celine was a cold and ruthless man, but so was she. He was swept away in the revolution, and now wants to be reunited with him. Paladin starts to refuse, but Secura interrupts saying that they should go separately and meet on the trials, and warns him to be careful. When the gunfighter says that he may not come, Secura insists that he will and somehow she'll repay him.
When Paladin comes downstairs, Hey Boy tells him about Schermer and Sutton. They're watching and realize that Hey Boy can speak English, and Paladin loudly tells Hey Boy to tell Carter that he's joining the search for Celine.
Later, Paladin goes to the hacienda where Edward and Secura are waiting. Schermer and Sutton are there and Sutton takes Paladin's revolver. Schermer knows Paladin as a deadly gunfighter and invites him to sit. Once Paladin does so, he asks where Celine is. Paladin says that he doesn't know and refuses to say why Secura wants Celine. Schermer explains that Celine stole the money from the treasury during the revolution, and he's close enough to get it.
When Paladin still refuses to talk, Schemer tells Sutton to begin by "interrogating" Edward. Edward says that his interest is purely scientific and he's only interested in Coltec. Schemer realizes that he's referring to a monastery, and says that he no longer needs Paladin. Edward runs out and Sutton goes after him, and Paladin draws his derringer on Schemer.
As Schemer points out that Sutton could still return and attack Paladin, Sutton comes back and says that he let Edward go and has his own reasons for finding Celine. He offers to take Paladin to Coltec, and what Paladin does with Secura is his own business. Sutton explains that he was assigned to guard Secura and Celine, and Secura distracted him while Celine cut him across the eye. Schemer points out that they'll gain nothing by killing him, and Paladin tells him to run. The man warns Paladin that he's mixed into something he knows about and quickly leaves.
Paladin, Sutton, and Secura ride to Coltec, Secura weakens due to her illness and Paladin insists that they make camp there. Later after Sutton and Paladin are apparently asleep, Secura goes over and wakes up Paladin. He pins her down, holds his derringer to his head, and she says that it's only he. Secura asks if Paladin hates her, and he says that he feels nothing for her. She doesn't believe him but Paladin figures that she's after Celine and asks why. Secura angrily turns away and asks why Paladin wants to find Celine. Paladin says that he wants to meet a man who has so many people against him, and a woman willing to throw her life away on him. She says that Celine is untouchable and admits that she loves him. Sutton secretly overhears their conversation.
The next morning, Secura wakes Paladin and tells him that Sutton has gone on ahead. They ride to Coltec and Schemer shoots them. A wounded Sutton calls them over and says where Schermer is, and Paladin tells Secura and Sutton to cover him. He runs over and Secura suggests that they could make it to Coltec together while Paladin and Schermer kill each other.
Paladin discovers that Edward is the one shooting at them. Edward says that Schemer needed help and the Winged Lion really exists. He tries to shoot Paladin, and Paladin is forced to kill him. Schemer steps out to shoot at Paladin, and Paladin kills him as well. A shot rings out, and Paladin runs over to find Sutton dead, shot in the back. Secura is nearby, fatally wounded. As she dies, she says that she had to stop Sutton and Paladin is the only one of them who will see Celine. With her dying breath, Secura asks Paladin how he'll know Celine. Paladin closes her eyes and says that he'll know.
Riding on to Coltec, Paladin has the monk direct him to Celine. Celine is tending to a shrine, dressed as a monk, and he says who he is. He explains that the monks let him stay there and tend to the shrine. Celine says that he had Schermer's money there and would give it to him, and shows him a bag with the remains of the money there after it was eaten by tropical worms. He remembers Sutton and explains that Coltec is his last refuge from Sutton and the other monsters that Celine created. As for Carter, Paladin shows Celine the paper and explains that Carter has too much pride to beg. Celine says that Carter is asking Celine to help him walk into Hell, and agrees to sign it.
Celine asks about Secura, and Paladin tells him that she died defending Celine by killing Sutton. He says that the Celine Secura loved still lives, but he wonders for what. Celine tells Paladin that eventually the order will bring harmony, order, and peace to the little corner of the world and goes back to tending the shrine. Paladin realizes that there's nothing he can do and leaves.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 25, 2018