Have Gun - Will Travel

Season 2 Episode 7

The Road to Wickenburg

Aired Saturday 9:30 PM Oct 25, 1958 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Paladin finds himself in a situation where neither the town, the sheriff, or the girl are quite what they seem.

    Most unusually for him, Paladin apparently made the mistake of "flashing his wad"--allowing everyone in the vicinity to see that he had a large amount of money with him. He then got suckered into downing a Mickey Finn, and awoke, dazed, and battered on the floor of a bar girl's cabin. (It's not clear if she helpfully dragged him there to sleep it off, or if those who robbed him dumped in there in a gesture of contempt.) The girl, Susan, who has been beaten down by life and is seeking to change, asks Paladin to take him with her when he leaves town, and he agrees to bring her with him as far as Wickenburg. First, however, there's the little matter of retrieving his stolen belongings.

    Paladin quickly discovers the inappropriately named Goodfellow clan, one of whom is the sheriff. They operate on the principle that the family that preys together, stays together, and all of them had taken a share of Paladin's possessions. Paladin quickly gets one of them with his derringer. The others point out that he has only one bullet left, but none seem inclined to be the one to take it. Susan, having packed up her things, obeys Paladin's loud-voiced suggestions and gets them both out of town in a buggy (or surrey, or whatever. Four wheels and two horses).

    One of the things that I love about this show is the realism of the characters. They are not black and white; they have shades of grey. Susan is a complex personality. She's a former schoolteacher, who startles Paladin by capping one of his quotes. She threatens to kill Paladin if he peeks at her while she bathes. A short time later (having failed to acknowledge Paladin's courtesy in warning her of his approach) she makes a point of telling Paladin (as if he couldn't see for himself) that she's standing right next to him clad only in a blanket. Paladin, fully aware of what she's doing, slips away, leaving her to clean the jackrabbit he caught. Some time after that, she flatly propositions him, begging him to take her to San Francisco and making it clear that she will not make demands on him. All he has to do is be "nice" to her. The gentlemanly Paladin, perhaps recognizing the desperation of her opportunism, does not take advantage of the situation.

    The following day, having met up with a salesman who had been robbed by the Goodfellows, Paladin confronts the clan in a shootout. Bizarrely, Susan and the salesman leave Paladin to it while they sound each other out. They end up abandoning Paladin and getting themselves out of there. Paladin, of course, gets himself out, retrieving his money (and presumably his horse and gear).

    Paladin catches up with the couple in Wickenburg. The salesman has the grace to be a little embarrassed, although Susan is not. She quickly assumes that Paladin is going to tell her new protector some unpleasant truths about her, and tries to block him. Fortunately for her, Paladin was more amused than anything else, and casually went on his way--not, however, without a strong hint to the salesman that he'd better keep his eyes open around her.