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A Head of Hair Recap

Paladin comes into the Carlton lobby after a night on the town and wakes up a sleeping Hey Girl. She shows him a newspaper to establish the date, and points out an article about how Captain John Bryson saw a blonde women traveling with a group of mounted Nez Perce. Mary Grange was kidnapped in a Nez Perce raid and her father has offered a $2,000 reward for her return.

Soon, Paladin arrives at Bryson's fort and talks with the captain. He confirms that he saw what he claims, even though the U.S. Army disavows his report. Paladin says that he needs a guide and Bryson to talk to John Anderson, an Indian scout who lived with the Sioux for ten years. The captain warns that John is a drunk. John is dozing next to a trough, and Paladin wakes him up and asks if two men would have a chance to recovering Mary. The scout warns that he wouldn't and it would take two Sioux to get the woman, but Paladin offers him $250 to take him out. John figures that he needs money for rotgut and agrees.

Out in the field, Paladin and John find the trail. John sarcastically calls Bryson a "general", but says that he has no contempt for the Army. The tracks are five weeks' old, which fits in with what Bryson says. John figures that there were twelve riders, seven women, and one respected Indian. He offers to take Paladin back if he doesn't believe him, and Paladin says that he believes him.

The two men spot a Nez Perce war party, and John asks if Paladin wants to run. Paladin refuses, and John says that he's tired of running. He refuses a rifle that Paladin offers him, and the war party rides over. The leader, Cheyup, threatens Paladin with a shotgun. Paladin tells John to translate that he doesn't want to kill him and they have gifts for Chief Chagra Tentez in exchange for Mary. Cheyup claims that there is no such woman and that they will let Paladin go but take John and the gifts. The Nez Perce start to ride away but then turn and start to shoot. Paladin kills Cheyup and the other two men when they ride at him. John prepares to scalp Cheyup, but Paladin stops him and says that John didn't kill them. Paladin refuses to take the scalps, and John says that if they get to their Heaven with their scalps, they'll claim that they're heroes. He compliments Paladin on his hair and then says that they'd better find Chagra before he discovers that Cheyup is dead.

Paladin and John continue following the trail and stop, and John buries the rifle and his knife in the dirt. He then tells Paladin that Chagra will find them and Mary is promised to his son. John says that Cheyup was Chagra's son, and Paladin tells him that he knows. They continue riding and a larger party appears in front of them. John says that Paladin would be a worthy coup for a warrior. One Indian throws a spear at Paladin's feet, and John admits that Paladin would be a worthy coup for a Sioux or a Nez Perce. The Indians ride around them, whooping, to test their courage. Paladin knocks one of them off of his horse, and the others retreat as Chagra arrives. The gunfighter says that the Indians were rude to him and he treated them the same way that he would treat his own children.

Chagra asks if John has taken the scalp of a Nez Perce, and John admits that he has. The chief claims that all Sioux lie and at least John is honest, and John insists that Sioux don't lie. Chagra demands to see the gifts first, and Paladin shows him the items. The chief says that it's not enough, and Paladin notices that Mary is nearby in the brush and asks to talk to her. An Indian brings her over, and Chagra tells her to answer Paladin's questions. Mary confirms that she is who she is, and Chagra says that Mary has golden hair and it is a treasure among the Nez Perce. Paladin bargains, saying that all he has is all that the Granges will pay. Chagra threatens to kill him, and Paladin says that it will cost Chagra six of his warriors. The chief gives in, and asks for Paladin to leave John there. John refuses, and Chagra warns him that John is a Sioux and will try to cut his throat before riding off.

As they ride back, John recovers his weapons and tells Paladin that he can go the rest of his way on his own after he pays John. Paladin pays, and John says that he's going back to the Sioux and will make the white men pay for defeating them. He says that he'll take Mary, and that he knows Paladin's strength and can defeat him. Paladin refuses and John walks off. Mary tells Paladin that she would have gone with Joh because the Sioux are reputedly kind to their women.

Paladin and Mary ride on and John lies in ambush. Once they ride by, John pulls Paladin from his horse. They fight and Paladin shoots John. As he lies dead, John says that a Sioux warrior going home must take a coup. He strokes Paladin's hair, says that it's fine, and dies.

Written by Gadfly on Dec 15, 2018

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