In Clayville, Bret is playing poker and raises against Brimmer. Brimmer offers Bret the chance to buy an imported full-blooded Arabian mount for $200, Fatima. Bret agrees and Brimmer raises. The gambler stands pat on his hand and Brimmer folds. Bret takes the pot and Brimmer insists on seeing his hand and Bret finally reveals that he was bluffing. He asks to see Fatima, and Brimmer takes Bret outside to the mount: a camel. Brimmer admits that it's one of the last camels that the Army brought over. Bret is angry that Brimmer conned him by making him think that he was buying a horse. The gambler doesn't want the camel, but neither does Brimmer and he leaves.
Bret takes Fatima to the nearby livery stable, and the livery man doesn't want it stabled there. Despite that, Bret pays him to give him a bath and a stable, and the livery man agrees.
Later, Bret collects Fatima and discovers that no one wants to buy a camel. He heads to Silver Springs with Fatima, and discovers that Fatima has fallen in love with him. Bret finally pays a farmer, Johnson, $100 to take Fatima. He rides on to Silver Springs and sees a woman, Donna Seely, walking down the street. Bret joins her and Donna recognizes Bret. They talk about old times and Donna says that she's getting married, and her fiancé is Carl Jimson and he runs the saloon, the Square Deal. Donna tells Bret that everyone loves Carl and elected him mayor, and Bret asks for a recommendation for the room before going on her way.
That night at the saloon, Bret watches the customers play. Donna joins him, and they hear Tommy Norton telling Carl that one of the players, Scott, won't take his credit. Carl advises him to pack it in for the night, and Tommy wonders how he'll tell his wife he lost $100. The owner gives him $50 to get him off the hook. Once Tommy goes home, Donna introduces Bret to Carl. A player calls Carl away, and Bret confirms with Donna that Carl plays. He has Donna pick out the three regular players who win, and notes that they do a lot of signaling between them. Donna insists that Carl wouldn't stand for cheating, and Bret sits down to play with them, saying it's the only game in town. He advises Donna not to say that they're cheating.
Bret plays against the two regulars. One of them, Connors, tells another—Ferguson--to speed it up. Bret tells Ferguson to take his time making the call, and Ferguson folds. Connors raises Bret's bet and Bret calls. The other gambler says that he has three queens, but Bret spreads the cards and points out that there are only two queens there. Connors says that his eyes must have been getting blurry, and Bret agrees but notes that his three 10s wins the pot. After leaving the table, Connors meets with Carl privately and tells him that Bret stopped Ferguson from giving him the third queen. He figures that Bret is a pro, and reports that Bret is in for $1,000. Carl tells him to get into the game and keep working with Bret.
Connors reenters the game and after a few more hands, he and Ferguson report to Carl that Bret is a pro. They warn Carl that Bret knows the game is crooked, and Connors suggests that they play it straight and let him move on with $500. Carl refuses to let Bret go with "his" money, and tells his men that he'll handle it himself. Once they leave, Carl puts a derringer into a sleeve folder. He then enters the game and Bret figures that he's a real expert. Carl wins a few but Bret figures that he's on to him and matches Carl's bet on the next hand. He asks for a cut, citing Hoyle. The owner refuses and Bret figures that Carl knows something about the deck he doesn't. Carl takes offense, draws his derringer, and shoots Bret. Connors and Ferguson support Carl's claim that Bret was going for the gun, and the customers take Bret to the doctor.
When Dr. Nelson arrives, they take Bret to his hotel room. The next day, Donna comes to Bret's room with coffee. He asks if Carl knows that she's there, and Donna admits that he doesn't. She says that everyone in town figures that Bret is going after Carl, and tells him not to. Bret refuses to back down, and says that he heard about Carl from a friend and came to Silver Springs to trip Carl up. He figures that Carl will worry that he's coming after him for a gunfight, and Donna asks him to leave town for her sake. Bret refuses and Donna leaves.
Later, Carl comes to see Donna and asks why she went to see Bret. She explains that she tried to talk Bret out of a gunfight, but Carl demands to know what Bret is to her. Donna says that she thought she was in love with Bret once but it's over, and Carl says that it doesn't make any difference now that she's his girl. He kisses her and then slaps her, saying that he was overcome with jealousy and didn't know what he was doing. Donna tells him to leave and he reluctantly goes.
The hotel clerk, Howard Harris, checks on Bret to ask how long he's going to stay. Bret admits that he's going to confront Chet and has let word spread around, and says that Carl will worry about it. He figures that Carl wont' risk his reputation by shooting him in the back, and Howard asks for an advance on Bret's room. As Howard goes, he points to the window where Fatima is looking in. Howard insists that Fatima can't stay there, and warns that no one will want to buy the camel. Bret pays Howard to try and sell Fatima and the clerk reluctantly agrees.
At Carl's saloon, Drake arrives to meet with Carl. Carl pays Drake--a hired gun--to kill Bret once he's back on his feet. He insists that nobody know Drake is working for him, and pays him half in advance and half upon completion.
Once Bret's wound has healed in a few days, he goes out to see Carl. Howard asks him to pay up but Bret refuses and leaves. Out on the street, the townspeople follow Bret to the Square Deal. Drake is waiting outside and picks a fight, insisting that they've met before and they've got a score to settle. Bret insists that he doesn't know him, but Drake persists. Carl and Donna watch from the saloon window, and Bret figures that Drake is working for Carl. Bret admits that he's not the fastest gun in the world and that's why Carl hired Drake. He removes his hat and says that he has a derringer in his hat and is aiming it at Drake's heart. Drake demands to see the derringer, but Bret refuses and tells him to drop the gun. The hired gun reluctantly removes his gun belt and tosses it on the ground, and Bret reveals that he wasn't holding a derringer and punches Drake unconscious.
Bret goes up to Carl's office and calls to him from the hallway. Carl draws his gun and Donna moves outside. Donna yells a warning, and Bret takes cover as Carl shoots at him. The woman tells Bret not to do it, and Carl asks Bret to let Donna go by. She refuses, and Carl tells her to go outside and try to change Bret's mind.
Donna goes out and Carl shoots at Bret, misses, and hits Donna in the arm. She turns back and Carl fires again, hitting her in the chest. Bret shoots at Carl, who closes the door. The customers knock Bret out and call for the sheriff. When he arrives, Carl insists that Bret shot Donna. Bret denies it, even though when she turned around Carl shot her. Nelson reports that Donna is unconscious and it doesn't look like she'll pull through. Bret and Carl have the same caliber of gun, and the sheriff says that Bret is under arrest until Donna wakes up. The gambler tells him to take good care of her because she's the only one who can clear him.
As Bret sits in his cell, Howard visits him and gives him the change from the man buying Fatima. He hasn't heard anything good about Donna, and says that Carl is broken up about Donna's shooting. Carl went to Crown City to get another doctor, and Howard confirms that he left a few hours ago. Bret says that Howard doesn't look too good and should see Nelson. He confirms that Carl is traveling outside and Howard has a horse outside, explains that he's going to trail Carl, and punches Howard unconscious. Bret then calls the deputy over and says that Howard is sick. The deputy opens the cell door and Bret punches him unconscious as well, takes his gun, and leaves.
Bret rides after Carl and picks up his trail as he crosses the desert to Crown City. Carl makes camp and prepares to ride on afterward, and hears a horse approaching. He tosses brush on the fire, and Bret sees the smoke and continues riding up while Carl rides off. Carl dismounts, grabs his rifle, and gets up in the hills to get a clean shot. He shoots, knocking Bret off his horse. Carl comes down and Bret draws and shoots. The owner gets back to his horse and rides before Bret can hit him, and his own horse runs off.
Carl keeps going, figuring that he's in the clear. He stops at a well to water his horse, while Bret catches his horse and rides after him. He arrives at the well and hears a rock fall. Bret discovers that Carl started the rock fall to cover the well. When Bret looks back, he sees a posse coming from Silver Springs, and figures that he has no choice but to ride into the desert. Bret keeps riding, figuring that Carl doesn't have many cartridges left.
The sun rises and Bret walks his horse. Vultures circle overhead and Bret's horse dies. Fatima runs up and Bret mounts her and they go after Carl. They finally catch up to Carl, whose horse has given out like Bret's. Bret keeps coming on and Carl takes cover to shoot at Bret. He soon runs out of shells and surrenders, and the two men fight. Bret wins and hauls Carl back to Silver Springs on Fatima's back.
Back in Silver Springs, Bret hands Carl over to the sheriff. The sheriff says that Donna recovered and told them who shot her, and admits that he's glad Bret busted out of jail. He thanks Bret for bringing Carl in, and Bret says that Fatima deserves the credit and goes to see Donna. Later that day, Bret rides out of town... and Fatima goes after him.
Written by Gadfly on Jun 9, 2019