Paladin is running through the desert to his horse when a girl, Amanda, steps out with a rifle aimed at him. He goes to his horse, gets his canteen, and then throws it at Amanda as a distraction. Amanda figures that Paladin is following her and tells him to do his worst. She realizes that he's telling the truth when he says that he's just going to get his water and ride out, and Amanda explains that there's only one man in the territory: her father, Crowbait. She figures that her father will die unless she gets to him and makes sure that he's fed because he can't look after himself. Paladin agrees to help her and shows her his card, and Amanda says that she can't pay him except for a share. She goes silent and Paladin asks what she's talking about, and Amanda says that her father came across an old Payute chief and helped him home. The chief expressed his gratitude by blindfolding Crowbait and taking him to a cave filled with silver. Crowbait has never found the cave again, but he's been searching for years to locate it. Amanda says that she's plain and Crowbait wants a princess, and she figures that Crowbait made her that way he should buy her a prince. The chief has died and his son doesn't owe Crowbait anything, and she plans to warn Crowbait that he's no longer safe.
Paladin agrees to help Amanda and she gives him her bandanna to show Crowbait that he came from her, but she draws her gun on him when she sees a young man, Jubal, ride up. When Jubal comes over, Amanda insists that Paladin was attacking her. Jubal isn't convinced and says that the Indians are looking for Crowbait. Amanda doesn't believe him and confirms that Paladin will help her find Crowbait. He agrees, and Amanda says that the last thing Crowbait saw was a pile of rocks as high as a mountain. As Paladin rides off to search for Crowbait, Amanda warns him that Crowbait doesn't trust anyone except her.
Paladin rides on and Crowbait shoots him to drive him off. He tells Paladin to leave, and Paladin shows him Amanda's bandanna. Crowbait doesn't believe him, figuring that he killed or seduced Amanda. Paladin starts to walk off, disgusted, and Crowbait comes down and says that he's trying to make a stake for Amanda because she can't pay for herself. Crowbait knows about Jubal but insists that he's a good-for-nothing, and invites Paladin to come along with him to search for the silver. However, he warns him that he'll kill him if he turns on him once they find the silver.
Crowbait takes Paladin to his camp and insists that he's on a real bonanza. He warns Paladin that he's more treacherous and the nearby water stream has traces of arsenic but he's drank enough to be immune. Paladin apparently dozes off and Crowbait takes his canteen and dump it out, Paladin grabs him and Crowbait says that he left him enough water to get back. Despite that, Paladin refuses to go and considers drinking the arsenic-tainted water.
Paladin discovers that Crowbait is carrying mercury fulminate to blast the mines out. He warns that Crowbait might blow them both them up, but the old man doesn't care. As the Indians ride nearby, Paladin suggests that he blindfold Crowbait and he follow back the same traces from when the chief took him to the mine. Crowbait agrees and heads into the hills, blindfolded. Feeling his way along, Crowbait finds the mine and cheers in triumph. There's the skeleton of a trespasser inside that the old chief killed, and Paladin figures that the chief's son won't treat them nearly as well. Crowbait plants the explosive and Paladin sees the Indians coming. He goes back and asks Crowbait if he's coming with him, and says that he should take a look. Crowbait offers Paladin 10% if he'll help him, but Paladin says that they need to run empty-handed. He points out that the chief's son doesn't want the silver because it will just bring greedy white man. Realizing that Crowbait won't leave, Paladin plants the explosive. Crowbait threatens to kill him, and Paladin draws his gun and advises Crowbait to take cover and he'll fire the shot even if Crowbait kills him.
When Crowbait hesitates, Paladin fires the shot and sets the powder off. The two men get to cover, and after the smoke clears, Paladin yells that the mountain is closed and they'll trouble him no more. The chief's son gestures to his men and they ride off.
Paladin takes Crowbait back to Amanda and Jubal, and Paladin says that there isn't a silver mine. Jubal figures that Crowbait is a liar and a fool, and Paladin tells Amanda to tell her father the truth. Amanda says that he took the heart out of Jubal with all of his talk of silver, and Jubal says that he's been meaning to ask for Amanda for a long time. Crowbait tells Paladin that it's hard to be a good father, and confirms that Amanda and Jubal love each other. He gives in and tells them to get married, saying that he doesn't need any of them. Crowbait asks for a cup of coffee that Amanda has brewing on their fire, and Amanda kisses Paladin and asks how it was. Paladin congratulates Jubal and rides off.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 12, 2019