"Bob Wire" is a pun and an excellent episode to introduce the novice to the "Have Gun - Will Travel" series. Unusual and eccentric salesman Bob Wire hires Paladin to guard his wagon of barbed wire as he moves it to a frontier town. Unknown to Paladin, there is a budding range war in the town, where the farmers are about to do battle against the ranchers. The farmers want the barbed wire to fence off their land and the ranchers detest it because they believe that it will damage their cattle. Despite his skills with guns, Paladin is a peaceful man and he immediately reaches an understanding with the ranchers, only to have Bob Wire destroy it by making a separate agreement with the farmers. After some serious gunplay, Paladin is able to make peace between the two groups, brokering an agreement between the farmers and the cattlemen. This episode is a running joke as Bob Wire is inept in everything except winning the heart of the primary cattleman's daughter. What made the series so interesting is that it is not the standard western fare of duels in the streets and other mindless shooting of men. Paladin is very much a white knight who wants to see things done right and he avoids using his skills with a gun as much as possible. There is no better episode than this one to demonstrate the quirky nature of the series. Paladin's character as a gentleman of culture and his willingness to aid those in need is once again on display in "The Bostonian." Henry Prince was the child of a wealthy family in Boston, but his marriage to an actress turned them against him. Deciding that he needed a change of location, Prince purchased a ranch in Nevada, but that angered local rancher Clint Bryant, a man that wanted to purchase that ranch and add it to his holdings. Bryant has a crew of cowboys and they harass Prince when he comes to town. In this case, Prince is at the local store and the cowboys are destroying his goods and pushing him around. Finally, Paladin has had enough and he shoots a piece of fruit out of the leader's hand. This event puts him into contact with Clint Bryant and they have a momentary meeting of the minds. When Bryant's men try to run off Prince's cattle, Paladin steps in and fights on the side of Prince. Throughout the episode, Paladin is revealed as a man of culture, telling Prince's wife Gloria of the times that he watched her performances. Of course, Paladin is victorious, and the episode closes with Paladin telling Prince and his wife about some of his business and social action in San Francisco. "The Predators" is Paladin at his toughest, he has followed accused murderer John Tyree through the desert during a vicious sandstorm that claims both their horses. When all the waterholes are dry, Tyree directs Paladin to a homestead where the well has never run dry. When they get there, the well is dry and gunshots come from the house and Tyree is wounded in the leg. All through their trek, Tyree and Paladin engage in a back-and-forth repartee and Tyree deliberately irritates Paladin, repeatedly proclaiming his innocence. When Paladin and Tyree break into the house, they find a young woman and a boy, there is a brief standoff before everyone lowers their weapons and the woman consents to give Paladin and Tyree each a cup of water. There is an immediate attraction between the woman and Tyree, a situation not missed by Paladin. Danger looms when a gang of marauders comes looking for water and they threaten the group. Paladin meets them at the well and asks the leader some questions, one of which is whether the murdered the man that Tyree was accused of killing. When the leader acknowledges their action, Paladin realizes that Tyree is innocent. There is a brief gun battle that ends when Paladin throws a stick of dynamite at the criminals and it lands in the well. The explosion reopens the well and there is water again, Paladin fills his canteen, agrees to send the local preacher to the cabin and then walks out into the desert. This is an excellent episode, made so largely by the dialog between Paladin and Tyree, even though they are enemies and would shoot each other; in reality they like each other and hope to peacefully resolve their differences. In "Ben Jalisco" Paladin is confronted with an episode from his past. Ben Jalisco, played superbly by Charles Bronson, is a hunter of animals and men. In his past, he was a ruthless bounty hunter who never brought a man in alive, with over 30 men killed. Paladin was able to convince Jalisco's wife Lucy to testify against him and Jalisco went to jail after Paladin captured him. Jalisco has escaped and Paladin knows that Jalisco will be out to settle the score and kill his wife. Paladin finds her waiting tables at a way station for the stagecoach and a lawman is there guarding her. Jalisco arrives at night and kills the lawman, gets shot in the leg by Paladin and manages to get into the way station and hold a shotgun to his wife. Jalisco uses the threat of killing Lucy to force Paladin to ride with them towards the Mexican border, but Jalisco is getting weaker and more dangerous. When two lawmen encounter Paladin and his group, Paladin is forced to use his gun against the lawmen. Fortunately, after Paladin wounds one of them, Jalisco is distracted and Paladin kills him. The wounded lawman understands what Paladin was forced to do and there are no hard feelings between the lawmen and Paladin. The episode ends with a bit of a soft splat as Lucy is now a widow, free of fear of the man she loves and Paladin just moves on. The interaction between Paladin and the other characters are excellent, with high points being between Paladin and the murdered lawman as well as Paladin, Jalisco and Lucy. Jalisco tries to explain to Paladin why he is the way he is and Lucy keeps trying to explain why she still loves a man that would kill her. This unusual triad makes for a very dramatic and psychologically interesting thriller.
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