From season four, Have Gun – Will Travel: Duke of Texas was an episode that had Paladin trying to save a man from himself, something that he often attempted to do. It’s all about taking a naive man from some other part of the world and keeping him from being destroyed by the savage west, or similar locations.
This is one of the episodes that included Lisa Lu as Hey Girl. I love her reaction to the Duke Franz character. There’s a playfulness there and a flirtation present, and her eyes really tell an interesting story. It’s too bad they couldn’t advance that part of the story. Lu said a lot with her eyes that would have been fun to explore.
At any rate, Duke Franz wants to hire Paladin (Richard Boone) to protect him and ensure that he reaches Mexico safely. Franz is under the impression that he is going to be Mexico’s next emperor. Naturally, when he gets there, it’s not exactly what he envisioned.
The role of Franz is played by Scott Marlowe. Marlowe’s done a lot of different types of role, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one just like this before. He does pretty good for something that is a tad off his center.
While I enjoy Marlowe’s characterization, I am not really fond of the rest of the guest cast. Eduard Franz brings nothing new to that of a deceitful, trusted aide while Robert Carricart’s is so stereotypical as General Pablo Mendez, who is all mouth and very little substance.
My favorite scene really is the opener, not only because of Lu’s reaction to Marlowe, but because it shows Paladin fencing, which is rather fun and different. Otherwise, the plot is rather mundane and bland. It’s one of many, for example, where Paladin was originally not going to take the job, but then does because the villains of the piece beat him up to try to convince him not to help. It continues on with predictable action after that.
So, on the whole, the show is barely average, but Marlowe is somewhat enjoyable to watch.