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  • Lafe Johnson, sheriff of Badger and his friend, Dan, bury Tom Rooker, whom they find dead hanging from a tree. As they return to the town the sheriff believes that the hanging was caused by Bud Walton, a bad man. Bud Walton and Jeff Hardin, another bad man, are deadly enemies. Rooker and Hardin were pals and the sheriff feels that in a spirit of revenge, Walton was instrumental in Rooker's death, because the latter was Hardin's close friend. Owing to the feud between Walton and Hardin, and to insure a certain amount of security to the other citizens, the town has been divided into two sections. Walton is permitted to come and go at will in one section and Hardin has the same privileges in the other, but each is forbidden to trespass in the other's territory. While the sheriff and Dan are playing dominoes in the Fashion Saloon, Hardin enters and tells the sheriff that Walton has been making threats against his (Hardin's) life. Johnson advises him that it won't be healthy for either Hardin or Walton to start a fight. Hardin then takes a seat in the barroom facing the door, while Daniel Boone, the faro dealer, plays cards with an imaginary opponent. Tillie is employed at the Fashion and talks friendly with Hardin. A boy enters the barroom and tells the sheriff that he is wanted at the express office and the sheriff leaves. Bud Walton enters and drawing his pistol walks up to Hardin with the statement that, "he has got him now." Hardin draws his gun but Walton is the quicker. Just as Walton fires, another shot is heard and Walton drops dead. By this time Hardin has drawn his gun and fires several times at Walton. When the sheriff enters Hardin hands him his gun and gives himself up. Peculiar circumstances cause the sheriff to make a detailed investigation. At the inquest Hardin showed how his life was saved by a Bible. Some time before he had picked up the Bible from the coroner's table and showed that Walton's bullet had struck the Bible in his breast pocket and became embedded in the pages of the book. Hardin admitted that he had killed five men. The inquest is postponed while the sheriff asks for two days to find the murderer. Hardin is held upon the nominal charge of stealing a Bible. The sheriff and Dan then ride away to bring back the real murderer and the sheriff tells his companion that while Hardin carried a .43 caliber revolver. Walton had been shot with a 30-30 rifle bullet which was fired from a small room directly back of where Hardin was sitting. The sheriff states further that a man's imprint of a hand on the wall in axle grease was another clue. At a nearby ranch, Johnson arrests Slim Terry, who is eating at a table. The trial is resumed the following day and Slim admits he killed Walton, shooting from the small room, because Walton had run him out of town. While Slim is admitting the crime, Tillie rushes into the courtroom and states Slim is a liar because she shot Walton. She adds that Slim was her sweetheart but that Walton had run him out of town, and they had run after her. Tillie states further that she hid Slim in the room purposely to shoot Walton, but Slim could not shoot straight. She then had Slim place his hands against the wall and aiming her rifle at Walton she fired and Walton fell dead. Slim had accidentally placed his hand in axle grease which caused his imprint to appear on the wall. His extreme height caused the imprints to appear high and the sheriff knew they were made by an exceedingly tall man. Tillie tells further of Walton's persecutions of her and that Slim was her only friend. Consternation reigns in the courtroom. The judge returns a verdict that Walton just died and Slim, Hardin and Tillie are discharged. The sheriff then informs Tillie that the town of Badger will stake her and Slim to a wedding.


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