This is one of the oddest episodes in the series. The action, for one thing, takes entirely place in a "dungeon" below the waterfront bar to which Paladin --who never gets the chance to change into his sombre working garb -- has been invited and in which he is drugged and overpowered.
When he regains consciousness he finds himself chained by the ankle in what looks like an old ship's chandlers (supply store) along with two other "invitees" who move about unrestrained: a man who once was the master of a waggon train, and an alcoholic harridan. What they all have in common is their connection with the bar's (and dungeon's) owner, who was one offered to a renegade band of Apaches in exchange for safe passage through the wilderness.
Molly Dean not only believes the old adage that Revenge is best served cold, she dishes it up flash-frozen. Her deepest hatred is reserved for Paladin, who rescued her so she could perpetually relive the horrors she endured during her captivity. (She even taunts her prisoners by leaving the dungeon's door open; but the promised "Freedom" is just the bait in a deadly trap.)
This episode may not resonate with today's viewers, but the questions it poses regarding whether or not we are irrevocably "programmed" by our experiences, or whether we can consciously choose to overcome them, kept college students occupied for hours when they weren't attending peace rallies or marching for civil rights. It all seems rather trivial now, thanks in part to what the poet T.S. Eliot called "the years that walk between" the heady conflicts of youth and the realities awaiting us beyond it.
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