Have Gun - Will Travel

Season 4 Episode 18

A Quiet Night in Town - Part II

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Aired Saturday 9:30 PM Jan 14, 1961 on CBS
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

9.8
out of 10
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  • This episode packs a bigger wallop than the first part.

    10
    A 30-minute show doesn't have much time for a "previously, on last week's episode", but to remind the viewers, and clue in those who missed last week, they recap the closing scenes from the first part. Paladin awakens for the first time, nursing his injured hand, and watches, helpless, as Joselito Kincaid faces the hate-filled cowpunchers and is brutally gunned down. Paladin is then knocked out again. At this point, however, they interpose a new scene, with the lynchers gathering in the empty saloon. Roy is badly shaken up, and even Jory and Ben looked unnerved, but Culp casually reaches down a bottle and pours them all a drink. A good night's work. Roy refuses to drink, saying that he's sickened by what happened. Gunning down a man who was tied up and utterly defenceless was not what he'd come in for. (Hanging a man in the same condition was somehow different.) Culp makes a rather telling remark. He starts to say that perhaps he would not have killed Kincaid if Kincaid had been willing to crawl, and then shuts up abruptly, leaving Roy staring at him. Culp sharply tells him to think his story through--they just shot an escaping prisoner, that's all--no crime in that. Culp is certain that the aging deputy will knuckle under. However, despite the fact that he doesn't intend to deal further with Paladin (a helpless cripple), it doesn't seem to occur to him that Paladin would certainly speak up with the truth, even if no one else in town did. Perhaps Culp had every intention of killing Paladin for the sake of his story, and just didn't want to upset the others still more. Roy leaves, to find comfort and justification in Dot's arms. Jory prepares to leave as well. This next bit seemed rather odd, because in the previous episode, Jory spoke of going to visit the "Widow Hardin" which kind of gave the impression of a lonely woman not adverse to spending some quality time with Jory when he rides into town. Here, he speaks of going to "The Hardin's". This might mean, "The Hardin's place" but it makes it sound like more than one person. To make it odder, Ben asks to go along. Jory at first refuses--which makes sense if the situation is what I think it is--but then changes his mind. We don't find out until later that Jory and Ben are brothers, but there's a hint of it in Jory's unexpectedly gentle attitude. (Just what the heck is going to be going on at the Hardin's? And at that hour of the morning?) Culp suggests that they walk out the front door--where they will pass by their victim, left in the street like so much garbage. Jory just glares at him before they exit--the back way.

    They return to the last scene from Part One, with Paladin regaining conciousness and going over to Kincaid. After swiping the deputy's gun (which the deputy doesn't attempt to retrieve), Paladin starts out on his unfinished business. Two knockouts have left him staggering badly, along with the useless hand. Dot intercepts him, almost screaming in his face. He should leave Roy alone--after all, he's sorry. Sorry won't bring back the dead. Paladin growls at her. Passing by, he seems to stop and gather his thoughts. Perhaps he's trying to be his usual charming self with a woman; he expresses regret that she never got to see San Francisco. His charm is no longer working for Dot--she snarls back that she's never gone anywhere, never done anything, she's trapped in this jerkwater town, and Roy is her last and only chance to accomplish anything. Dot threatens to have Culp kill him, and Paladin indicates that he would welcome the opportunity.

    Paladin stumbles into the saloon, where Culp is still hanging around. Culp claims to be sorry about Paladin's hand (easy enough to say after it's over and done with.) He also regrets having shot Kincaid. (No doubt because it was far too quick and easy.) Paladin growls that he will give Culp the same chance he gave Kincaid--either surrender and put on the chains, or die. This is where the line between justice and vengeance blurs. It doesn't seem likely that the unremorseful Culp would have surrendered anyway, certainly not to a wounded man. However, Paladin, after making his token bid for justice by offering a choice, immediately insults Culp, and alludes to his possible mixed-breed heritage, and Culp naturally draws. The deputy comes in, shocked at the chance Paladin took drawing left-handed. However, it does make sense that a professional gunman would practice drawing with his weaker hand, for just such an emergency. The deputy thinks that Paladin should call it quits now. Culp, after all, was the one that did the actual killing. Before Paladin can say anything (he's looking a great deal, however) Dot comes rushing in, lurching to a stop when she sees Culp's body. Paladin just looks at her, also, before stalking (and staggering) out of the saloon. Returning to Kincaid's body, Richard Boone once again displays his remarkable strength, heaving the limp body off the ground with one hand and settling it over his shoulder. He and the deputy lay the body out in the store. Paladin muses a bit on hell--does he think that Kincaid is bound there? Dot comes in and starts arguing with him again. Kincaid was guilty, wasn't he? He would have been executed anyway. Well, yes, he would have--but only if he was, in fact, found guilty. Dot ignores this. Paladin's killed one man in return for Kincaid, that's enough. Paladin points out what neither Dot nor the deputy can seem to grasp--that these four men undertook to kill another human being simply because they were bored. In every way, these men displayed savagery and cowardice. They were not justified in what they did, but their own deaths--whether in fair fight or at the hands of the law--will be. Dot counters that he's really after vengeance. I wonder if she even listened to a word Paladin had said, although if she'd seen that fight in the saloon, she might have been a little more justified in her feelings. After Dot storms out, the deputy again tries to dissuade Paladin, but only with words. He never makes any attempt to physically restrain him. Culp was a good man, in his place. I suppose that you could say that about anyone at all, provided that you didn't specify what the place was. After seeing (and experiencing) what Culp was capable of, Paladin is naturally contemptuous, but the deputy gamely continues on, claiming that the others had only watched--they wouldn't really have hanged Kincaid. Paladin knows that this ridiculous statement is only the deputy's attempt to stop Paladin. While all this has been going on, Paladin has been busily arming himself with a shotgun. I mentioned in a previous review that Paladin seems to have a distaste for shotguns, but in this case he has to do something to compensate for the loss of his good shooting arm. He's also aggravated that Jory, Ben, and Roy have not yet reacted to the saloon shootout. He makes it clear that he will give the other three the choice of giving up. It's at this point that the laid-back deputy shows what he's made of. He's made every effort to get Paladin to stop, but Paladin, in spite of his anger, has rationality and justice on his side. Ignoring Paladin's barked refusal of assistance, he picks up a rifle and joins him anyhow. He's the lawman, and a crime has been committed.

    Outside, Osser sidles up, with a telegram for Paladin, who does not have a hand available to take it. Osser shoves it into his shirt, and informs them that Jory and Ben are not at the Hardin's. (Presumably the deputy had deduced that that was where they would be.) They're waiting in ambush over at the train/telegraph station. Paladin, understandably, wonders if this is a trap, but the deputy philisophically points out that Osser is trying to ease his conscience, having been the one who told Culp who Kincaid was. Paladin warns him that if he comes along, he might find it necessary to shoot at the men he calls friends. The deputy, to his credit, has girded himself up to that possibility, and knows that for himself, shooting will be a matter of justice. He's still not certain about Paladin's motives. Paladin makes a quick dash to the barn that stands opposite to the station, and slips in a side door to get a better vantage point. The deputy, perhaps still thinking too much of these men as friends, walks right out into the street, pleading for their surrender. Ben is off to one side, and Jory suddenly reveals himself on the roof of the station. The poor deputy suddenly realizes that he is "a pigeon--purely a pigeon", but Jory will not allow him to move under cover. Paladin, meanwhile, has assessed the situation and his chances, tucked the shotgun under his bad arm, and hurls a pail of water up in the air. Jory shoots at it, giving Paladin the chance to retrieve the shotgun and fire, knocking Jory off the roof. Ben, small and nasty to the last, fires at the deputy, who has only been standing there. Fortunately, as the deputy had indicated previously, Ben is a lousy shot. He is also not prepared to surrender and stand trial on account of a nothing sheepherder. Paladin ends the fight, and stands muttering at the waste of it all. The deputy demands to know if Paladin had fired out of anger, but Paladin denies this. (I still wonder about Culp, though.)

    Half an hour before the train is due, Paladin has still not found Roy. The deputy, arm patched up, is sitting at the corner of the station house, while Osser is sitting cheekily at the station window. He seems to have regained his former mischieviousness. Dot suddenly jumps out of the station (Osser, if not the deputy, had to have known that she was in there) and confronts Paladin yet again. The deputy comments casually on how fiery she is, and mentions that Dot had "set her cap" for Roy when they were both eight years old. She's not prepared to lose him now. Roy comes out of the station (again, Osser must have known) much to Dot's dismay. Roy says again that he's sick about what happened, but it's over and done with. Paladin does not want to kill him, or even take him prisoner--if Roy surrenders to the deputy, he'll be satisfied. Roy is not prepared to do so, even with the deputy's pleas. Paladin grimly asks him just how sick he feels, and tosses down the telegram. (Osser shows a bit of integrity here, perhaps atoning for his previous loose tongue--he, of course, had to know what was in the telegram, but said nothing.) Dot picks up the telegram--she's not going to let Paladin get the drop on Roy. The pitch of her voice drops noticeably. The sheriff has cancelled the bounty on Joselito Kincaid, because they had found and executed the real killer. (This leaves you wondering why Kincaid was running--was he their first suspect, or did he know that as a sheepherder, he would be an automatic suspect? Or did he, perchance, run to try and deflect suspicion from the man who had avenged the deaths of 300 sheep?) Faced with this horrifying information, Roy throws down his gun (which I understand is a very dangerous thing to do, even if the gun is not an automatic) and takes the sobbing Dot in his arms. It's possible that he'll get off on a lesser charge, because he didn't do the killing, he alone showed remorse, and he'll have a whole town prepared to speak on his behalf. I wonder if Dot will wait for him, or if she'll finally get away from the town? The deputy mentions that he believes that Roy would have killed Paladin if it had come to that, and Paladin agrees. This doesn't really mean too much. After all, Paladin is in a great deal of pain, possibly suffering from concussion, and exhausted from being awake for probably twenty-four hours, and possibly more. Not what you'd call an even field. Everyone's acting was superb. I'm surprised they didn't try doing any more two-parters.
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