Paladin is after a man suspected of killing a marshal. After finally capturing him in the desert he claims his innocence. But he finds he may have to enlist his aid as they are without a ...
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Paladin is after a man suspected of killing a marshal. After finally capturing him in the desert he claims his innocence. But he finds he may have to enlist his aid as they are without a horse, almost out of water and a group of bandit marauders are nearby. Written by
Unusual episode, with unconventional characterizations
Beginning as a war of wills between Boone and guest star Richard Jaeckel, both without water in a desert, this "Have Gun" segment becomes a very strange romantic episode, surrounding the requisite shoot-out violence. I suspect there are more hidden meanings in this script than at first met my eye, and someday it will be subjected to thorough critical analysis.
On the surface, the main structural element is a familiar one to the action genre: as Paladin must decide over and over again whether to remove the chains from his prisoner Jaeckel as he needs his gun to fight off villains, but the running gag is that Jaeckel is completely frank about his not worthy of trust.
But the situation is turned on its head by the time a band of about a dozen marauders arrives at the homestead where the duo are holed up, in search of water. In a wonderful exchange, Paladin asks the bad guy leader played by James Griffith about the fate of various people he tortured and Griffith is so matter-of-fact and blase admitting what he did that it plays 180 degrees from the usual hothead approach.
Ultimately the wonderful young heroine, an actress I did not recognize at all but who displays amazing acting prowess at underplaying a complex role, ends up ready to be hitched to Jaeckel after all the dust settles. One can sense palpably the consternation Paladin feels at misjudging Jaeckel so completely, just as the audience is wont do do. The writers outdid themselves in subverting clichés with possible if highly unlikely changes of heart on the part of the protagonists.
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