Paladin is in the lobby of the Carlton with a young lady when Cortwright, a buyer and seller of books, arrives to see the gunfighter. The man has a book for Paladin, a signed copy of poems by Keats. Cortwright explains that a gunslinger, Winston Ainslee of Carson City, gave it to him to give to Paladin. The bookseller explains that Ainslee has killed over a dozen people even though he doesn't look anything like a gunfighter. Inside the book is a note to Paladin, explaining that it's a token of his sincerity in return for an unusual request. Intrigued, Paladin tells Hey Boy to get him a ticket for the next stage to Carson City. Paladin's lady friend, bored, walks off and Cortwright asks Paladin to tell him how it turns out...Read the full recap
Cortwright: If anyone had told me I'd go to a gunslinger to authenticate a rare book, I'd say he was crazy.
Paladin: It's inscribed by Keats himself. "To my friend, Joseph Severn". Tannic and iron ink. Beautiful. Beautiful. Give you five hundred dollars for it.
Cortwright: It's not mine. Ainslee gave it to me to give to you.
Paladin: Ainslee. Now, who's Ainslee?
Cortwright: Ainslee's a gunslinger. He reads books. He looks like he'd die of excitement at a faculty tea. And he's killed nearly a dozen men in Carson City. Where gunfights sort of cheer the people up on dull Sunday afternoons.
Paladin: "Please accept this book as a token of my sincerity in an unusual request. Winston Ainslee."
Cortwright: You gunfighters are turning classic, Paladin.
Paladin: Either that, or the bookworms are turning.
Matt: I'm gonna kill you, Ainslee. I'm going to kill you!
Sheriff: Looks like we're gonna have us a show at that, don't it?
Paladin: What's the matter, sheriff? Don't men die fast enough for you?
Anna: Mr. Paladin.
Paladin: Miss Ainslee.
Anna: I think it's very clever and sensible of you to make a business out of gunfighting. It's, uh, it's sort of like butchering hogs.
Paladin: Well, I didn't come here to butcher hogs.
Anna: Oh, of course. Paladin. Your business is, uh, is to slay dragons.
Paladin: Well, I'm not sure I like the choice you give me.
Paladin: You won't help him until he begs.
Sheriff: Ainslee's killed men without waiting for the law. And they all ain't been bad. Some of them had families and children.
First Man: You did come to kill him.
Paladin: If I did, I came here with a decent regard for the fact that Ainslee's worth twelve of any man in this town. And if I kill him, I won't be proud.
When Matt shoots the trough protecting Ainslee, the water continue to trickle out even after the water level drops below the bullet hole.
In what must be the shot of his life, Paladin hits and kills a man who has only exposed his head and shoulders, while Paladin is on the run and looking down at the ground. He also appears to shoot straight up, although his target is some distance away on a second-story stairway.