Lane Kilmer brings Paladin to a hospital and escorts him to his mother, Ms. Kilmer. Mrs. Kilmer explains that she wants Paladin to find he son Martin. Lane says that his mother has been searching for Martin for 20 years, and despite hiring detectives like Tom Edwards, they've found nothing. Edwards wrote saying that he found Martin and then disappeared with the mother he was paid and never heard from again. Lane explains that he and Martin had a kid's argument about a gun, and it went off. Martin thought that he had killed Lane and ran off. Mrs. Kilmer says that she doesn't have much time, and Paladin agrees to try and find Martin where Edwards left off.
Paladin rides to the town where Edwards wrote from. Sheriff Plummer greets him and Paladin gives him his card and explains that he's looking for Martin or Edwards. Plummer says that Edwards died in a brawl and a man, Fred Harper, said that Plummer couldn't arrest an innocent man. Paladin tells Plummer to tell Fred that he's in town.
Lane has been listening to the conversation and comes over. He says that Edwards was killed in a brawl, but Paladin points out that Edwards was a professional and wouldn't get drunk on the job. The man wonders what Paladin is going to do, and Paladin says that he's going to get a room.
Plummer takes the card to Harper and tells him what Paladin wants. Harper tosses him a coin to pay him, and then tells his lieutenant Jack Foster that men keep coming to find Martin and this one will be tougher, but they can't keep living forever. He picks up a whip and says that he wants to look at Paladin himself.
In the hotel room, Paladin is checking his gun and Lane says that he should tell his mother that he tried to find Martin. Harper comes in and after he introduces, Paladin jumps him. Once Fred recovers, he tells Paladin to stay and keep Lane with him, Paladin slams the door in his ace, and Harper hits the door and says that Paladin should never do that again. Lane tells Paladin that he's out of control, but Paladin points out that he's already flushed Harper out and wonders why Lane and the others don't want him to find Martin. He then leaves to find out what Edwards was doing and how he screwed up.
Later, Paladin goes to the town blacksmith, Shorty. Shorty rented a horse to Edwards, and Shorty remembers Edwards getting killed. He doesn't want to get mixed up in things, but once Paladin pays him, Shorty says that Edwards made the mistake of making up to Fred Mosely. The blacksmith finally tells Paladin that he'll hear Fred preaching. Once Paladin leaves, Shorty reports to Harper that Paladin was asking about Fred and is going to talk to him. Harper pays him and notices that Shorty has more cash. Shorty quickly runs out.
Paladin and lane are sleeping in the room when they hear Fred outside, calling on everyone to worship. People have gathered in the street to hear Fred preach about how he once killed a man and as a result, became a man of God. Paladin and Lane come over, and Harper and Jack come and see them. Harper cracks his whip, and Fred tells his wife Jean to let him express his fury. He tells Harper that he loves him with a brother and wouldn't want to tempt him into hurting him. Harper tells Fred to stop his preaching, but Paladin invites him to continue fighting. When Fred refuses, Paladin asks if he can talk about Martin. Harper tells Paladin o mind his own business, and whips Paladin when he tries to walk away. Fred finally leaps in the way, and Harper whips him as well. When Jean intervenes, Harper finally stops. Fred warns Harper that he can't go on the way he is, and Harper invites him to lose his temper and he's been waiting for almost ten years for Fred to do so. Fred and Jean walk off with Paladin and Lane.
That night, Fred takes Paladin to his wagon and tends to his injuries. Paladin asks why Harper hates Fred, and Fred loads a gun and says Harper knows that he can't stand up to the word of God so he hit him. When Fred didn't hit back, it became a challenge to Harper. Fred tells Jean that Harper found out that Fred is no better than he is, and now he hates Harper. His wife begs Paladin to let him help him, but Fred says that it's between him and Harper.
Hours later, Paladin wakes up and Jean tells Paladin that her husband has gone to kill Harper and it must be over. She says that Harper can only push a man so far and then he gives, and worries that Fred will never forgive himself. Paladin straps on his gun and goes out, and finds Fred's corpse strung up. He lowers the body, and Lane comes over and says that Fred came down the street and Harper killed him. Lane admits that he was in the hotel and paladin points out that he stayed there despite the murder.
Paladin goes to Harper's land office. There's a gunshot and Paladin leaps in the window, and finds Lane standing over Harper's. Lane says that Harper was his brother Martin, and it wasn't an accident that Martin shot him when they were children. Martin killed their other brother, and shot Lane to cover it up. Fred found who Martin was, and Martin was always afraid that Fred would talk. Lane worries that the truth will kill his mother, and Paladin suggest that they tell her that Harper killed the brother and Fred. He asks which one was Lane's brother, and Lane says that Fred was. Paladin gives Lane Fred's Bible and says that he'll tell Jean what happened to her husband.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 2, 2018