Have Gun - Will Travel

Season 2 Episode 18

Lady on the Stagecoach

Aired Saturday 9:30 PM Jan 17, 1959 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Lady on the Stagecoach
Paladin is traveling on a stagecoach with four others, one of whom is Della White Cloud, the educated daughter of an Apache chief. The stage is also carrying a strongbox full of gold, which Ed Rance wants.

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  • The ugly issue of prejudice is raised in this episode--and they avoid any pat answers at the end.

    This is not surprising; "Have Gun, Will Travel" usually avoided wrapping up the endings in a nice, neat ribbon. Paladin has presumably completed yet another commission, and is on his way home to San Francisco by stagecoach. A heavy, locked box and an armed guard are included in the package, as well as a high-born, Apache maiden. There is also a married couple and an additional man, none of whom have much use for Indians.

    I was pleased to see that the operator of the stagecoach service was openly astonished at the idea of putting the Indian lady off the stage to await another, and ignored the offer of a bribe.

    The coach is delayed by damage to the harness. The wife had brought along provisions, which are not offered to the Indian lady or Paladin. (I would have thought that some sort of provisions would have been provided by the coach service.) Paladin, without a blush of shame, talks up how dangerous the trip might be with all that money on board, and offers his protective services at a (for him) fairly low price. He does, however, demand a retainer--the remains of the picnic basket, which he shares with the Indian lady. Paladin's statement proves prophetic; the stage is attacked as they arrive at one of the stops on the route. Paladin swings himself outside the stagecoach in an attempt to assist the guard. His heroic gesture falls quite realistically flat--he's jolted off the side of the coach, losing his weapons and getting shaken up enough that he can't offer a fight.

    Ed Rance is the leader of the outlaws. As we often find on this show, the bad guy isn't all bad. Rance is known for not leaving any witnesses behind, but in this case, the cool and beautiful Indian maid, whom Paladin finally introduces as Della Whitecloud, catches his eye. One would expect Rance to be grabbing at her and making suggestive comments, but instead, he behaves in a gentlemanly fashion, which includes knocking down the ugly-spirited coward who tries to shove Della at Rance in exchange for saving his own life. The same coward stands by like an idiot and ruins Paladin's credible attempt to overpower their guard.

    Rance suggests that he will spare the others if Della will come with him, even offering to let her go after a month's time if she decides that she doesn't like him. (One wonders how he would have reacted if she'd mentioned that she was affianced.) The others act as though they recognize Della's equality--as long as she will sacrifice herself for them. Paladin intervenes with a clever trick. Once they have the better of the bad guys, Della requests that they be given the opportunity to escape, as a token of gratitude for Rance's courtesy. Paladin agrees--not before retrieving the stolen money, of course.

    In another show, the three prejudiced people would have admitted to the error of their ways, apologized, groveled, or whatever. In this case--realistically--once the danger was past, they went right back to their narrow-minded attitudes, coldly ignoring Della's gracious behavior. Della and Paladin shrug it off, treating the three with the amused contempt that they deserve.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Mrs. Grayson: Is that woman riding on the same coach with us?
      Stationmaster: Yes, ma'am. And so is this gentleman.
      Paladin: Paladin.
      Stationmaster: Uh, this is Mr. and Mrs. Grayson. (Paladin murmurs an acknowledgement)
      Mrs. Grayson: How do you do?
      Stationmaster: And this is Mr. Barnes. He's a representative of the biggest feed store in St. Louis.
      Mrs. Grayson: Well, can't you arrange to have her stay over until the next coach?
      Stationmaster: Why?
      Paladin: That's a fair question.
      Barnes: Well, you see, it's not that we mind, but, after all, we do have a lady riding with us. (Holds out some cash) I'm, I'm sure you understand.
      Stationmaster: But, Mr. Barnes, you paid for your tickets yesterday!
      Paladin: Are we just about ready to roll?
      Stationmaster: Yeah, right away.
      Paladin: Thank you. Excuse me. (Turns to Della) May I escort you to the coach?
      Della: Thank you.
      Paladin: I like to be of service to a lady, the pleasure is always mine.

    • Paladin: "You have many enemies, who know not why they are so, but like the village curs, bark when their fellows do".
      Della: Henry VIII, isn't it?
      Paladin: That's right.
      Della: "If you have no enemies, it is a sign Fortune has forgotten you".
      Paladin: Well, I see your education in Shakespeare has not been neglected.

    • (The outlaws bring in the strongbox)
      Barnes: See, that's, that's all they wanted. I'm glad I told them where it was, it's bought us all our lives.
      Paladin: It's bought us all a common grave, if this man is Ed Rance.
      Rance: You know me?
      Paladin: I know you--by reputation.

    • Rance: Who's this?
      Paladin: That's Della White Cloud, she's the daughter of an Apache chief. And bad totem for you, Rance.
      Rance: Ma'am? You're just about the prettiest thing I ever did see. Prettiest thing ever. Now, ma'am. You ain't got no cause to be scared of me. None at all.
      Paladin: Rance, did you ever see what happens to a man who touches an Apache girl against her wishes? It takes him a week to die, and him praying for death every minute.
      Barnes: Nonsense, she's just an Indian. Take her, and the gold, let the rest of us go--(Rance punches him)
      Rance: (To Grayson) You sit down. (To Barnes) Ain't you ever learned proper respect for a lady?

    • Barnes: Talk to them! You talk their language!
      Paladin: You talk to them, they understand yours better.

    • (Barnes has stood by doing nothing, ruining Paladin's attempt to get the upper hand)
      Paladin: Well, Barnes, as a man, you leave a little bit to be desired.
      Rance: Keep your mouth shut. Miss Della, I want my answer now.
      Barnes: You have no choice, we'll all be killed! Now, listen to me. I was wrong. I know that now. We're all equal in the eyes of God.
      Grayson: Yes, yes, go with him. It'll only be for a little while--he said so! You can't let us all die!
      Mrs. Grayson: I, I know what a sacrifice it is, my dear. I do know, but you have no choice!

    • Rance: I could have killed everybody here. But because of you, I didn't. Because I saw something in you.
      Della: He's right, he could have killed us. And he said one thing that I believe. He said he had respect for me. That's more than others had. Give him a chance to run for it. It's the only way I can thank him.
      Paladin: Rance.
      Rance: Thank you, Miss Della. I'll never forget you as long as I live.
      Paladin: There is the small matter of relieving you of the gold.

  • NOTES (1)