I watched two episodes of Have Gun, Will Travel this morning. The first "No Visitors" concerns a wagon master who considers himself a prophet of God. The wagon master places a town under his thrall by uniting them in fear, bigotry and self-serving religiosity. The town has ostracized the one town doctor (June Lockhart)because of her gender and has banded together to prevent Paladin from bringing a woman and her sick child into town. They choose to believe the bible toting wagon master who says the child has typhoid fever instead of the doctor who diagnoses the malady as a case of three day measles. It turns out the pompous wagon master had left the woman and her child to die in the wilderness because she had spurned his lecherous attempts to "marry" her when her husband died - announcing that God had told him it was his "duty" to do so. It is telling that this episode with its thinly veiled metaphors is as topical today as it was in 1957.
The second episode, "Scorched Feather" is written by Bruce Geller (Mission: Impossible) and concerns Monsieur Robert Cielbleu who hires Paladin to protect former scout Billy Blueskies (Lon Chaney, Jr.) from a young but dreaded Comanche war chief. Cielbleu is the son of Billy Blueskies and Blueskies has spent a lot of money buying an education, refinement and social respectability for his son. Turns out Cielbleu and the Comanche war chief are the same person - a result of a liaison Blueskies had with a Comanche woman - a woman who dies in an army massacre made possible by Blueskies scouting. So, in essence, Blueskies' refined, educated "passing" son has hired Paladin to protect his father from his other "true" identity, the blood thirsty, revenge seeking Comanche who wants to avenge his mother's death. The young man has literally gone schizoid, trying to live in two different cultures, and is trying to honor both his father and his mother. Good stuff.