Have Gun - Will Travel

Season 1 Episode 2

The Outlaw

Aired Saturday 9:30 PM Sep 21, 1957 on CBS
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Episode Summary

The Outlaw

Manfred Holt breaks out of jail, killing two deputies. Is he on his way to kill the banker who testified against him, or to see his family for the last time? The banker hires Paladin.

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  • "The Outlaw"

    In the lobby of the Hotel Carlton, Paladin overhears a fellow, Ned Alcorn, offering Hey Boy a reward for info regarding Manfred Holt (Charles Bronson), an escaped killer who is looking to do in those who testified against him. Things must be slow in the newspapers, as Paladin quickly butts in (to the disappointment of Hey Boy), hands Ned his business card, and is hired to take the killer to Laramie for execution.

    Paladin hits the trail to Wyoming and we get right into the action as he rides up to lawmen having a shootout with Manfred in a wooded area (in a 30 minute episode, sometimes there isn\'t a lot of time to show the trackdown process). There\'s an amusing moment when Paladin startles the sheriff with his sudden appearance, but things quickly get serious when the sheriff reveals he is looking to kill Manfred

    outright, since two of his deputies have been killed already by the wily foe. Paladin points out that there

    is a difference between murder and justice, just as Manfred\'s horse and burro scatter from his hiding place.

    The horse is captured, but the burro gets away, and Manfred is nowhere to be found.

    The sheriff\'s plan isn\'t Paladin\'s plan, so the man-in-black plants the notion that Manfred escaped by hiding on the packed burro. No sign of Manfred can be found other than spent shell casings, so they reluctantly agree with Paladin and head out to Manfred\'s distant cabin.

    Of course, Paldin knows something that lawmen don\'t, and maybe the viewer failed to notice...Manfred is hiding in a tree (the clue is a freshly broken limb Paladin finds on the ground under the tree). When Manfred drops down, Paladin surprises him with a drawn weapon.

    Right away, we sense that there is a level of connection between Paladin and Manfred. Manfred is a crafty

    gunfighter with principles and perhaps Paladin sees a lot of himself in Manfred (though on the wrong side of the

    law, and Paladin chides him for killing amateurs).

    Manfred has an unseen newborn son with his wife at the cabin, and promises Paladin to ride peacefully to

    justice if he can deliver a present to the baby. Paladin agrees upon Manfred\'s word....there's no doubt that

    Paladin has the upper hand and could easily drag the weaponless Manfred to Laramie regardless, but he respects Manfred's final request and agrees to make this side trip first.

    Along the way, we wonder if Paladin's trust is a mistake, but Manfred ultimately avoids several escape

    opportunities, even rescuing Paladin from a fall into a deep pit. We are also treated to a lot of conversations

    full of foreshadowing...Manfred isn't afraid to die, but he wants to go out as a man with a gun in his hand as opposed to the spectacle of a hanging.

    Though they have taken a shortcut, they find that the sheriff and a deputy have reached the cabin first. Manfred

    hides while Paladin concocts a tale that leads to the lawmen riding off to help two "wounded" deputies back on

    the trail. Here we see that Paladin sometimes works outside of the law, and telling a few lies is part of the game.

    With the lawmen gone, Manfred and his wive have a joyful reunion (made even more joyful by Paladin waiting outside!) After this reunion (stretched timewise by a fade to a commercial break), Manfred comes out smoking a cigar and announces his present is to name the infant Manfred Jr...he also has stapped on a holster and pistol.

    Manfred refuses to leave with Paladin, and also refuses to let Ned Alcorn live. Good camerawork shows a duel slowly forming between the two, little by little. Both men are resigned to what must transpire, and there are some Leone-ish closeups of a dripping well faucet as they face-off. Paladin proves he is one of the quickest draws in the west, drilling Manfred in the chest, and Manfred wings Paladin in the left arm (an intentional non-mortal shot perhaps?)

    Paladin consoles Manfreds as he dies, even relating the fact that Manfred means "man of peace" in German. Manfred's

    tearful wife accepts his fate and tells Paladin that Manfred would share his death with only someone he espects,

    just as he also shared his life.

    The sheriff and his deputies arrive back at the cabin, somewhat angry that Paladin has deceived them. The sheriff

    threatens to arrest Paladin, but we can see that Paladin is in no mood to be hassled, and the deputy calms the sheriff. Paladin sternly advises that the reward money goes to Manfred's wife (Paladin already has the $1000 fee coming

    his own way), and rides off.

    An excellent episode...Charles Bronson is perfect for Manfred's part and there is a lot of well-handled dialogue

    between the two main characters. There is plenty of atmospheric camerwork throughout, and we see how Paladin

    doesn't let lawmen interfere with what he feels is the right thing to do. Justice is served, but Paladin does it

    his way.

Peggy Stewart

Peggy Stewart

Sarah Holt

Guest Star

Steve Mitchell

Steve Mitchell


Guest Star

Grant Withers

Grant Withers

Sheriff Jake Ludlow

Guest Star

Kam Tong

Kam Tong

Hey Boy

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Three episodes further on, in "A Matter of Ethics", Paladin would be seen purchasing a custom-made chess knight charm. In this episode, as he stands talking with Alcorn, you can see him already wearing it.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Paladin: Holt might surrender.
      Sheriff: You don't think I'm going to spend two weeks on the road to Laramie with Holt? He's already killed two of my deputies.
      Paladin: And outsmarted you a few times. I understand the court settled his fate--he's to hang.
      Sheriff: Hang later, shoot now--what's the difference?
      Paladin: That's an interesting question, Sheriff. What is the difference between murder and justice?

    • Sheriff: If you cross Holt's trail, stay away from him. I know eleven men who have tried to outdraw him. And they're wearing marble hats.
      Paladin: I'll bear it in mind. Good hunting.

    • Holt: Ah, Paladin, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, turning your back like that. Ya tempt a man.
      Paladin: I've got your word.
      Holt: Well, I've been known to lie.

    • Paladin: Well, unfortunately, you can't be allowed to go around killing everybody you don't like.
      Holt: Yeah, it does sound like I got me some bad habits.

    • Paladin: I never heard anybody say you took into account the ability of your opponent with a gun....or lack of ability.

    • Paladin: What about Ned Alcorn? He hired me to see that you don't kill him? What about that?
      Holt: Umm, I just wouldn't feel right knowing he's walking on the same earth I am. I'd see that he had a gun.
      Paladin: We talked about that, Manfred. He's not very good with a gun.
      Holt: That's too bad.
      Paladin: I let you go, there'll be other men, and some of them pretty helpless, and you won't like them and you'll have to kill them.
      Holt: Man just has to be what he is. Guess that holds for you, too.
      Paladin: That's right.

  • NOTES (0)