"Brother's Keeper" is an odd episode, Paladin is attacked and badly mauled by a panther and is lying wounded on the ground. Two men walk up, take his horse and possessions, a large amount of money and leave him for dead. Paladin is unable to see the men's faces; all he can see is a ring and their boots and he hears a German accent. Later, when Paladin is able to stumble into the only town in the area, he faces an odd environment; the people are distant and unreceptive. This includes the sheriff, when Paladin explains the robbery; the sheriff acts as if it is insignificant, showing no interest in doing anything about it. Paladin spots a ring similar to that worn by one of the robbers, only to be told that many people have one and when he spots similar boots, is informed that they are common footwear. His frustration reaches a peak when he is told that there are fifty German families in town. There is a crack in the veneer when Paladin meets a saloon girl that speaks with him and pays for his beer. When Paladin suggests that he would depart if he were to get his guns and horse back, they reappear. Paladin also demands his money and that leads to one of the thieves challenging him to a duel. When the young man draws, Paladin shoots him in the arm with his derringer; the gun that Paladin was given was not loaded. At the end, with his possessions and money returned, Paladin rides away. Outsiders are always suspects in small communities, so the reaction experienced by Paladin is a normal one. The best part of the episode is trying to figure out what is going on, as everyone in the town acts suspicious, seeming to be part of a universal conspiracy. It is a mystery that is fun to speculate on as Paladin roams on foot through the town. "A Proof of Love" is both a spoof and an excellent characterization of Paladin as a true renaissance man. Farmer Henry Grey, played superbly by Charles Bronson, is a simple man that paid for a mail order Greek bride named Callie. When she arrives Callie finds Henry too simple and too dominated by his mother so she becomes involved with Henry's neighbor Rud Saxon. Henry is furious so he wants to hire Paladin to get her back. What I found so enthralling about the episode is that Paladin is able to translate Callie's Greek conversation, quotes from the bible and when the music is going, is able to engage in a Greek dance with Callie. Of course, he is still Paladin so when the fight breaks out, he has little difficulty in holding his own and protecting Henry. Someone has to get the girl and since Paladin has no desire for long-term female company, Callie goes back to Henry, a man that is very much the western equivalent of a nerd. The suit that Henry wears to the barn dance is absolutely priceless. Even gunfighters are sometimes faced with a moral dilemma and Paladin is no exception. In "The Race" a land baron offers Paladin $1000 to ride in a horse race where the stakes are high and anything goes. On his way to the race, Paladin encounters one Indian beating up another and after seeing more than he can stand; he intervenes, breaking the arm of one of them. The two Indians flee so Paladin moves on to the point of the race. When Paladin gets there he learns that the betting is heavy and the chief of the Indian tribe has bet his tribal lands against the lands of the baron that hired Paladin. He also learns that the Indian with the broken arm was the one that was to ride in the race. His sense of fair play jilted, Paladin volunteers to ride on the Indian side, although he must pledge his own guns as part of the bet. The race is a wild one, after a lot of fighting and intervention, Paladin is on the verge of victory when he stops and helps his opponent to his feet. After a short speech, Paladin walks both of them across the finish line at the same time so there is no winner. In the speech he explains how if he wins, he will throw all the settlers off their land and ignite a war, but if he lets the other man win, the Indians will be thrown off their ancestral homes. This leads him with no option, so Paladin simply gathers up his guns and rides away, bruised and dirty, but with pride and his conscience intact. This episode is Paladin at his peak of white-knight behavior. The plight of a different downtrodden group is part of the story in "Face of a Shadow." Paladin has been hired by a bank to deliver $10,000 from a secretive man to the bank. When the man is shot in the back and killed and the money and the man's horse taken, Paladin tries to sort everything out. One of the local men immediately blames a small band of gypsies and wants to hang a gypsy and burn all their wagons. Paladin refuses to allow this without evidence and is given permission to ride into the gypsy camp and ask some questions. There is a beautiful gypsy woman and Paladin once again demonstrates his credentials as a man of all the people as he is able to dance with the gypsy woman. There is a confrontation, but Paladin emerges victorious in a knife fight with the leader of the gypsy band. When the friends of the murdered man arrive, Paladin is forced to defend the gypsies, which gets him into another knife fight with the man that wants to hang a gypsy. Paladin is victorious and places the knife at the man's throat, which causes him to confess that he conspired with one of the other men to murder the man for his money. The gypsies are exonerated and Paladin rides away with a mere wave back to the gypsy band and the lovely lady he found so entrancing. Paladin's sense of honor and fair play are once again put to the test and prove to be of the highest caliber. It would have been easy for him to simply ignore the difficult position of the gypsies, yet he risks his life to learn the truth and protect them. Paladin is one of the roughest of men, yet he has a heart of pure gold, which is what makes him the hero he is.
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