Paladin: Larker did your dirty work for years. Now, he's an anachronism and you want him killed.
Sam: Well, if you've got to kill him--
Hughes: Sam! We don't want anyone killed, that's just the point! Two years ago, the Association put five hundred dollars on the head of a rustler named Cabell and forgot about it. Now, Larker's the only one who knows him. He's located him and he wants to collect. (Paladin gets up to show them the door.)
Paladin: So, I find Larker and keep him from killing Cabell. Is that it? And the Association's hands are clean--until next time?
Hughes: There won't be a next time. There's got to be an end to Larker's way. Now, we know that. And we believe we can stop it. You've got to believe it, too.
(Paladin quietly rides up behind an old man at a campfire. The man does not turn his head.)
Larker: Step down, son. Have some beans. (Paladin chuckles and dismounts.)
Paladin: Jess Larker?
Larker: Mmm hmmm. Was the last time I looked.
Paladin: My name is Paladin. (Hands over his card.) The Association hired me to give you a hand with, uh, Cabell.
Larker: Well, now, that's right thoughtful of them. But I like to work alone.
Paladin: So do I. That's not what we're being paid for.
Larker: Want some beans?
Paladin: No, thanks. I think I've got enough cold duck for both of us.
Larker: What a good-lookin' horse you got there. Fast, huh? (Paladin nods.) Think I could take you?
Paladin: No chance. (Larker casually grips his shotgun; Paladin immediately draws.)
Larker: Eh, you know, them conventions ain't for me. I'm gettin' too old. The boys are just too good for me. Man like my age can't eat and drink and carouse all night and get up with the chickens. You drink much liquor?
Paladin: No more than usual.
Larker: If I was to throw down on you now, I'd give you the edge, wouldn't it? (Paladin nods.) Yep. Give you the edge, all right.
(Paladin and Larker arrive at the Madison House)
Mrs. Madison: You together?
Larker: Well now, Madam, I wouldn't exactly--
Paladin: We're together.
Mrs. Madison: No doubles available. Two singles might, uh, cost you a mite more. Dollar and a half a night? Meals included?
Larker: Well now, that's a fair price.
Mrs. Madison: Well, they ain't gonna be adjoining rooms.
Larker: Well now, don't you trouble yourself about that, Ma'am--
Paladin: Yes, Ma'am. You trouble yourself. (Extracts a bill from his wallet, ensuring Mrs. Madison's cooperation.)
(Paladin intercepts Larker after Larker had hidden in the attic.)
Paladin: Very interesting old place, isn't it?
Larker: Son of a gun. Ain't you the smart one.
Paladin: Stop it, Larker. You could have climbed out that window up there and shaken me easily. You didn't do it, why?
Larker: I dunno. I never had a head for figurin'.
Paladin: Cabell's here in this building, isn't he? You had to get me out of the way 'fore you could make your move. You thought I'd start looking for you outside.
Larker: Well, now, if you're through showin' off, suppose we go down and get somethin' to eat?
Paladin: All right.
Larker: And Paladin? Next time around's gonna be for the blue chips.
Paladin: Well, it feels like we may have a little rain.
Mrs. Madison: My husband never set any store in talking at mealtime. Overworks the digestive juices, he said. They've got enough to do as it is.
(Paladin has been trying to sound out the boarders around the dining table.)
Larker: Excuse me, Ma'am. All this talking and shadowboxing is turning my digestive juices over somethin' awful.
Mrs. Madison: Oh. Mr. Larker is quite right. We've had quite enough talking for one evening.
Paladin: Well, before we finish our little game, would anyone like to guess how Mr. Larker makes his living?
Mrs. Madison: I don't think any more conversation is--
Paladin: Notice the eyes. The animal look about them. Scavenger animal look. That aura of death all around him.
Larker: Go easy, Paladin.
Paladin: No takers? Well, then let me introduce you to Mr. Jess Larker. He kills people if the money's right. Right now he's looking at one of you. But when Jess Larker looks at you, he doesn't see a human being, breathing, eating, no. No, Jess Larker sees five hundred dollars' worth of cold meat slung over a saddle horn.
Larker: You folks will have to excuse me. I'm just a simple man. Easy to deceive by clever talk. My friend here, has almost got me believing, that we don't work the same side of the street. But we do.
Paladin: I was just wondering. After Cabell, where is your next one coming from?
Larker: The Lord will provide. He always has. For a lot of years now.
Paladin: My understanding that you help the Lord along a little.
Larker: Well, you see, Paladin, I come into this business late in life. I can't take the chances you young fellows take. You scared of me?
Paladin: Well, I don't know yet if you're trying to kill me.
Larker: I'm scared of you. Plenty.
Paladin: In India, when a tiger's too old to run down deer or fight for game, he turns on a more helpless prey. Man. That's when he's most dangerous.
Larker: What are you driving at?
Paladin: Well, I'm just wondering. How much of a chance you're gonna give Cabell when and if you find him. If you're gonna go too far, they'll have to hang you. Or do you give him one notch too much of an opening, he'd beat you to the draw. It'll happen. One way or the other.
Larker: How many men have you talked to death?
Larker: Paladin, we're gonna meet again some day. And when we do, I'm gonna buy you a drink. Because I've got a good joke to tell you. A good joke... on you.
(Paladin enters the dining room to find Larker shot in the back.)
Paladin: Larker, which one?
Larker: I come in too fast. Always wait, fake, then move. But this time, too fast. Right in the back.
Paladin: Jess, which one?
Larker: I got a joke on you. You are smart, high steppin'. Better than I ever was. But we're out of the same stable, Paladin. You and me. You'll get old. And you' got a day coming. And that's the joke. Now you laugh.
Paladin: Larker, which one? (Larker's eyes widen and he points behind Paladin)
Larker: You guess. (Paladin spins away and fires at the side door, killing the man who stood behind it with a rifle. Mrs. Allyson enters the room and views the carnage. Paladin bends over the dead Larker and retrieves her money from his pocket.)
Paladin: This is a little bit short. You paid Larker's rent for one day, that's all. Perhaps you'll also pay for the funeral. Excuse me. (Mrs. Madison hands him his hat as he leaves the room, the other boarders crowding in to see.)
Simpson: That's the way they live. They expect that. (Paladin pauses for a moment, then continues on.)
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