While eavesdropping, Paladin decides to defend embattled town teacher (Seldes). She's offended some folks by teaching history as it is and not as they would like it to be. Now they want to run her out of town, and Paladin needs help from the uncommitted town folk. But, like Gary Cooper in High Noon (1952), will he get it.
Episode benefits greatly from the uncompromising presence of that fine actress Marian Seldes. Her teacher is neither pretty, nor particularly likablea noticeable departure from the usual. She is, however, an admirable pillar of intellectual honesty, thus commanding the appreciative Paladin's respect.
Several points in passing. Notice how the screenplay attempts to balance any possible insult to the Confederate south with the gallantry of the ex-Confederate Weaver family. TV scripts were especially sensitive to such offending possibilities since the sponsor's product is linked to the story.
The believability of the climax is unfortunately undercut by actor Bensen's noticeable lack of meanness or spirit. After all, his Jackson Breck is supposed to be an intimidating figure, but instead comes across as much too bland to either heighten suspense or be convincing.
Also, Paladin makes a strong point by equating truths of history (Quantrill's raiders) with truths of mathematics (2+2=4). But the analogy should not be pressed. After all, the truths of math are much less subject to revision than are the "truths" of history, which is one reason the former is counted as a science, while the latter is not.
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