At the Carleton, a young woman, Allison Windrom, arrives to see Paladin. The staff initially assumes that she's one of his many female friends and takes a bottle of champagne to Paladin's room. The clerk, Harry, leads her in. Allison takes in the room and suggests that Paladin is austere but likes his luxury and can't forget that he was once a soldier. Paladin kisses her, much to her surprise, and then explains that she's returning to New Orleans because she received a letter from her father that he's fighting a duel. Paladin finds it amusing but Allison says that her father Everett is an old man. She asks Paladin to travel to New Orleans to help her father, who hasn't held a gun in thirty years. Allison wants Paladin to accompany her father and provide help, at which point she figures the challenger, Graham Beckley, will back down. Now that she's a customer, Paladin accepts his fee and gives her one last kiss before ushering her out...Read the full recap
Hey Boy: Lady coming.
Paladin: You may make one parting remark.
Hey Boy: At time like this, what is there to say?
Allison: I'd say the man who lives here is unbridled, rigid, austere, yet one who likes his comfort as well as luxury, although he could never quite forget he was once a soldier.
Paladin: Someone has been telling you things about me.
Allison: Mr. Paladin, back in Louisiana, I'm considered a pretty good judge of horseflesh. I'd say the standards are not very much different.
Paladin: Well, there is considerable difference between the Western mustang and the pampered geldings that pass for horses in your part of the country.
Allison: My father's fighting a duel. I got the letter this morning. He's a very proud man, Mr. Paladin. He'd rather die than yield.
Paladin: Is that a family trait?
Sledge: You fast with a gun, Paladin?
Paladin: If I'd lost many, I wouldn't be here. How are you with your fists?
Paladin: Well, these rules say that we get the choice of weapons.
Sledge: Oh. Well, I guess a man's got to start living by the rules sooner or later. Still seems kinda silly.
Paladin: Mr. Sledge, what can you expect? We have fallen among idiots.
Allison: We didn't have time for that glass of champagne, so I made you a promise. Tomorrow might be too late.
Paladin: And the gardens, like a picture in a book. None of it's real, is it? Your father and his friends making ridiculous rules and games about killing. You making a sport out of love, and trying to pretend it's all so sad, so tragic. In killing, or in making love... I don't pretend.
Paladin: Well, what did you expect? A slight flesh wound to save the honor of two men who never had any? That's what you paid for. Go ahead. Enjoy it. Well, come on, you've had your blood, let's celebrate! Have a drink! Step up. You want a drink? No? All right. I'll tell you why you can't drink. You couldn't keep it down. A toast to you gentleman. And to you, Allison, the one we didn't have in San Francisco. Gentlemen--to you and your code.