Paladin is assaulted in his room at the Hotel Carlton. In a furious fight, he beats down his attacker, Roderick Jefferson. The young man, it turns out, had gambling debts he couldn't repay;... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Paladin / Smoke
Ann Merrison ...
Mrs. Burton
Roderick Jefferson


Paladin is assaulted in his room at the Hotel Carlton. In a furious fight, he beats down his attacker, Roderick Jefferson. The young man, it turns out, had gambling debts he couldn't repay; the holder of his gambling IOUs wanted Jefferson to kill Paladin. This spurs Paladin to tell Jefferson of a similar occurrence -- involving himself 10 years earlier. As that story unfolds, we learn that Paladin (whose real name we're never told) owed $15,000 to Norge. Paladin's only way out was to go to a valley, entirely owned by Norge, to challenge the mysterious Smoke to a duel. Smoke, a dying gunman, had been nursed to health by the residents of Norge's valley. Paladin is to challenge Smoke to a duel. Smoke's dress is familiar: all black with a symbol of a knight's chess piece on the holster. In short, we're told how Paladin became Paladin. Written by Bill Koenig

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Release Date:

15 September 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title comes from the first book of the Bible, which describes the creation of the earth, or it can apply to the beginning of any process or system. See more »


Paladin: I didn't come here to bushwhack you, but to challenge you to a duel. You didn't kill me last night when you had the opportunity, so I take it you also consider yourself a gentleman. Shall we settle it like gentlemen?
Smoke: In the books there's a name for your kind. Yes, a paladin - a knight in shining armor, armed with a righteous cause and a lance.
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User Reviews

8 July 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was a terrible way to start what became the sixth and final season. I'm surprised Richard Boone agreed to perform this script and I'm equally surprised that William Conrad agreed to direct. Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of both Richard Boone and this iconic show. But this one was a clinker. The idea of this story-line isn't a bad one. They struggle to tell us the origins of the Paladin name. But the story they came up with is hard to watch, even for a big fan. The story opens with Paladin being attacked by a young man with a gambling debt. Paladin, of course, survives the attack. And after what amounted to a really vicious attack. He sits down with the man who attacked him and gave him the history of Paladin. When you watch this episode see if you deal with someone who shot at, and attacked you in this way. What was even more preposterous was Richard Boone playing a duel role. It just didn't work. The makeup was pretty good. But there's covering up that voice. For me, it just did not work at all. And in the end was a silly story. But, I think what I most resented about this story was the way they handled the character of the man called Paladin. It had previously been established that Paladin was West Pointe educated Army officer. And educated and honorable man. But in this episode, they make him a much smaller gambling addicted man who is clumsy with a gun. And who has is kept trapped while he is given instructions on how to become more handy with a gun. I found myself cringing as this story unfolded because I am a fan of the show. There's a stunt in this story that is completely ridiculous. Watch for it. And see if you think anyone could survive and be talking afterward.

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