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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This could very well be called "Paladin Goes to Alaska". It is a nice change of pace, if anything. A sled race will determine a claim war since Russia sold Alaska to United States and two parties call dibs on a portion of land good for hunting/trapping/selling furs. An American greedy cretin named Carl Grimes (Richard Shannon) isn't interested sharing the land with a Russian named Boris Tosheff (Karl Swenson), instead willing to hurt/kill if necessary to get it for his own fur-trapping needs. Grimes has a fiancé, Abby (Elizabeth York) he insists shoot Paladin with her shotgun. Abby's younger brother, Ralph (Allen Case), is right by Grimes when Paladin insists they turn Boris loose after pummeling him so badly it left the Russian with broken ribs. Paladin was a chessmate with Boris, the two sending each other letters regarding their next move; Boris sends a letter asking for Paladin's help under a more "official capacity". Paladin determines that the best way to settle the claim war is the aforementioned Eskimo dog sled race. However, Carl is willing to go to extreme lengths in order to win the claim outright hiding behind a tree, awaiting the other team so he can shoot them! Will Ralph be an accessory and agree along with Carl in such a nefarious scheme? I think Paladin's presence in Alaska will be reason enough to recommend this episode as it is a change from the norm. Boris is just a kind, law-abiding man, only calling in Paladin as insurance until a "law agent" will arrive to settle the claim situation. Paladin comes up with the sled race because the agent is stuck with two parties saying they arrived on the unclaimed land at the same time. Not one of the more complex plots seen on Have Gun Will Travel, but the advantage of the unique environs does give it an appeal. The ending is a bit neat and tidy, but really Grimes was the aggressive aggravator causing such toxic relations all around, so his comeuppance, justified, is as good a way to close the situation as any.
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