Bret is playing bar in a saloon, and Dan comes into a saloon. He stares at Bret in surprise and then addresses him by name, and asks if he knows Dan Jamison. Bret realizes who Dan is and sits down with him. Dan says that he's been looking for Bret and every sheriff knows him, and his mother sent him. He tells Bret that Bret's father Pappy is getting married to an 18-year-old woman. Bert wonders if there's any guns involved, and Dan says that the girl is Josephine St. Cloud. Dan's mother sent Dan because she figured Bret wouldn't be happy about it, and sent Dan after Bart first but Dan couldn't find him. Bret says that he knows where Bart is.
Bart is in jail playing poker with the sheriff, who tells him that the mayor doesn't like Bart's poker face. The sheriff asks to borrow $10 from Bart for a week because Bart won all of his money, and says that he'll probably release Bart later that day. Bret and Dan are at the door, and the sheriff directs them to Bart before leaving. The cell door isn't locked, and soon they go to the barber shop. Bart doesn't know what he could do about it, and Dan says that he's going back having figured the Maverick brothers wouldn't come back. Bret figures that what Pappy does is his own business and Bart agrees. But then they figure 18 years old is a little young. They both worry about Dan riding alone back to Texas and they agree to go with Dan through Indian territory. After they go, the barber notes there aren't any hostile Indians.
Bart, Bret, and Dan stop at Miller's Store to get food and shelter for the night. Chester Miller tells them to wait until the stew is ready, and two men come in. Dan ducks under the table and says that they're the girl's brothers. Bret comes in and asks for water, and one of the brothers, Rudolph St. Cloud, invites them to have some brandy. When Bret refuses, Rudolph says that his brother Jean Paul is easily offended and may ask Bret to step outside. Bret says that he isn't going to fight or drink, and says that he'll shoot at Rudolph first. He draws a derringer on Rudolph, but Bart draws on him and tells him to drop it.
Dan jumps out the window and runs away, and Bart takes Bret's derringer and tells him to get out. Once Bret goes out, Dan tells him that the men are Josephine's brothers. As they ride off, Bart introduces himself as Dany Jim and Rudolph does the introductions and invites Bart to have them brandy. Bart goes to the bar and Jean Paul and Rudolph realize that Bart looks familiar.
After Bart, Jean Paul, and Chester have passed out drinking, Rudolph takes some nuggets out on a pouch. Bart feigns being unconscious and sees the nuggets, and "wakes up". Rudolph suggest that they have some more to drink, and asks Bart who he is. Bart insists that he's Dandy Jim and does anything if he gets paid first. He says that he's between engagements and drifting south to New Orleans, and Rudolph invites him to come with them to their hometown of Letow. Bart immediately accepts.
Bret and Dan reach and Dan reach Lady Gida's Show Boat, which was closed. Dan explains that they were showing My American Cousin on the night Lincoln was shot and they haven't done much business since. The two men go inside and Gida greets them, and introduces her leading man Sampson Bronze. Gida sends Sampson to make coffee, and she tells Bret that they're touring soon. She says that she sent for Bret because Josephine is going after Pappy, and she figures that Pappy is in great danger. Gida warns that the St. Clouds fancy themselves aristocrats, and wonders why her family is encouraging Josephine to marry a lecherous old polecat like Pappy. They advised Pappy against insurance, and Gida admits that she hasn't been able to find any reason. Dan and Gida insist that it's not romance, and Gida explains that Pappy is in Letow staying at a gentleman's club called Le Cherlez. Bret agrees to look Pappy up.
Later at the club, Pappy is playing poker and winning. Bret comes in and reveals that Pappy was bluffing, and Pappy invites him to sit down. They talk about Pappy's marriage, and Pappy tells Bret to cut him Beau. They play poker and Bret explains that he visited the show boat. Pappy admits Josephine is a trifle younger than him, and Bret insists that he's just there to offer congratulations. He asks what happens if Josephine has realized she's made a mistake. Pappy tells him that he's going to take advantage of Josephine's attraction before the mistake is discovered. Bret reveals that he has three treys, and Pappy beats him with a full house flush.
When Bart, Rudolph, and Jean Paul arrive at the St. Cloud manor, their father Rene introduces himself and welcomes Bart. Josephine is watching from the balcony above and ducks out of site when Bart notices her. Henry tells Bart that they're going to celebrate the engagement of his daughter that night. Once Bart leaves, Rudolph shows Henry the nuggets and all three St. Clouds chuckle.
That night, Joseph comes down and Bart approaches her. Rene introduces Josephine and then sends her along while he talks to Bart in the study. As they go into the study, Rudolph and Jean Paul watch. Rene tells Bart that he's heard from Rudolph that he's a jack of all trades, and Bart admits that he'll do anything for money. The older man asks if Bart would kill a man, and Bart says that he'll do it for a price. Rene explains that he wants the victim killed in fair combat, and offers $1,000. Bart takes a dueling sword from the mantle and agrees. Rene tells him that Pappy will be arriving, and he wants Pappy dead before the wedding to Josephine occurs.
Pappy arrives and Rene introduces Bart to him. Bart pretends that he doesn't know his father, and Pappy doesn't recognize Bart because of his advanced age. Rudolph draws Bart off and tells him to wait until they announce the engagement.
Bret sneaks over the estate wall, and Josephine comes out. She finds Bret and mistakes him for Pappy at first, and Bret says that Pappy is his kinfolk. He wondered why Josephine consented to marry Pappy, and Josephine says that her family insisted. Josephine advises Bret to get Pappy out of town because he's in terrible danger, and introduces herself. She starts to explain that the engagement is to be announced before twenty people, and Rene calls her in. Josephine repeats her warning and says that she hopes one day she and Bret meet again. As they go in, Rene says that he knows her habits and figures someone else is out there. Bret starts to climb over the wall, but ducks into the shadows when Dan climbs over from the other side. The gambler calls Dan over, and they both hide as Jean Paul comes out to check the grounds. He calls out that he's not going back until he finds the intruders. Bret tells Dan to jump over the wall to attract Jean Paul's attention. Jean Paul grabs Dan, and Bret punches him unconscious before climbing over with Dan.
Inside, Rene announces the engagement.
Later at the show boat, Bart arrives and tells Bret, Gida, and Dan what he's learned. They figure that the St. Clouds want Joseph engaged to Pappy and then Pappy killed. Gida says that Pappy has gone to New Orleans for four days to get a wedding suit, and Bret figures that Josephine came out to meet someone else. When he insults Josephine's looks, Dan takes offense and gives away that he was the one Josephine was meeting. He storms out, and Gida figures her son is in love. Bret figures he knows a way to untangle Pappy's way: have Bart kill Pappy. He assures Bart that "Pappy" will be in complete accord and tells Gida to prepare her stage makeup.
Later at the club, a disguised Bret plays poker against Bart in a dark corner of the room. As Rudolph looks on, Bart accuses Bret/Pappy of cheating. Bret/Pappy takes offense and challenges Bart to a duel the next day at dawn.
The next morning, Bart and Bret/Pappy pace off. Before they do, Bret/Pappy kisses Josephine goodbye in case anything has happened. She's astonished and pleased at his "vigorous" kiss. The two Mavericks pace off, and Bart kills Bret/Pappy. Sampson is playing Bret/Pappy's physician, and declares Bret/Pappy dead. The actor goes into a dramatic eulogy on the spot, and Gida sends Dan over to break it up. They haul Bret/Pappy off, and Rene tells Bart that he'll get paid when they get back. Rene says that deep down in his heart he loved Pappy.
Later at the St. Cloud manor, Rene tosses an envelope of money at Bart. Bret arrives and introduces himself, and tells Bart that he understands it was a fair fight. He offers to console Josephine and asks if she's home, and Rene offers him a seat. Rene says that Pappy owned a mine, The Whopper, and Rene will keep it for Josephine since it's in her name. The mine is in the same county as Miller's Store, and Bart asks Rudolph if he got the nuggets from there.
Bret clarifies that the mine is in Pappy's name, and Rene explains that in the parish the law is that if an intended wedding is announced in the presence of twenty or more witnesses, but the groom dies, then the bride can claim all of the possessions as lawful properties. Bret tells Rene that he's a cad but Rene is unimpressed.
Pappy arrives holding a gun and says that he was only wounded. Rene feigns delight, and Pappy accuses him of hiring Bart to kill him. Bart confesses and begs Pappy not to shoot. He runs out the door, and Rene says that he's at Pappy's mercy. He tells Pappy that he's glad he failed and tells Rudolph that if they had succeeded, they never would have had peace. Rene offers Pappy anything except Josephine, and Pappy notes that twenty years ago, Rene sold him the Whopper. Now Pappy wants to sell it back to him... for twenty-five times what he sold it to Rene for. Bret objects but Pappy says that it's the matter of thing. Secretly smiling because the mine is worth more than $25,000, Rene tells Rudolph to write Pappy the check.
Later, Pappy and Bret ride out. Bart is waiting for them and says that he saw gold nuggets from the Whopper. Someone shoots at them and they all take cover. Bart and Bret have no idea who would shoot at them, and Pappy figures the St. Clouds aren't the ambushing types. Pappy explains that he salted $500 worth of gold nuggets in the Whopper, and he's going to use the $25,000 to refloat the Lady Gida. He isn't interested in raising another child, and says that he held the ladder for Dan to climb over the wall. Bart reveals that he got $2,000 for killing Pappy, and Bret reminds him that he gets half of that.
They wonder who is shooting at them, and their Uncle Bentley emerges from behind a rock and says the shooter is gunning for him. Bart and Bret greet their uncle, and Bentley greets his brother Pappy.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 15, 2019