Across camp at Hostetler's livery, there's something...something going ON in the stable. Hostetler is wakened by some amorous noises, and comes out to see Steve getting busy with...or, rather, on...a horse's...leg. I don't mind telling you, I watched this scene through a blanket. Hostetler gets his shovel and I am so hoping he's going to whang it over Steve's head, but instead, as Steve tells the horse to tell the sheriff "how that fucking felt," Hostetler sneaks up behind him and asks, "What else did you learn at that school that teached you that?" HA! Turnabout's fair play.
Outside, Merrick has indeed come to Cy about the wreck of his presses, and the scene is going down just as Cy predicted. "Do we blame unsavory elements?" Cy asks. Merrick says he does, and that he knows it's in retribution for his refusal to associate his paper with Jarry's dumb statement. "Maybe," Cy says, "if you'd done your part, calmed the fuckin' waters a little, instead of treeing the county commissioner, the hooples would have gone and gotten their loads on and been waiting for your next edition." Somehow, Merrick doesn't pick up this clue, instead saying that obviously, he and Cy differ in opinion on the function of the press. Cy brings it home. "Ain't the lesson for you in this, Merrick," he posits, "that with fucked-up machinery, the press cannot function at all?"
Hello. Merrick gets it. "And is that the vandalism's purpose, sir?" Merrick asks, getting his mad on, "and of the DOG defecating in my office, with ruffians dispatched by YOU as the lesson's author?!" In the best line of the night, Cy shrugs a little, preparing to walk away, and says, "I doubt they had a dog with them." Merrick is both shocked and appalled.
Back at the livery, Hostetler has tied the suddenly-sober Steve to an anvil. The NG has arrived, and asks Hostetler what he's up to. He tells the NG that he caught Steve fucking a horse. Steve: "I did not fuck that horse." No, the NG says to Hostetler, ignoring Steve for a moment, "I'm asking you what you're doing." Hostetler says his plan is to go get a shoeing tool, and "hit this bastard" right between the eyes, and "drop him like a piece of beef." Steve interrupts that he never harmed Hostetler. "I guess he ain't talkin' to me," the NG says, thinking of his ruined shoulder. "You NEED to DIE, Steve," Hostetler tells the hoople, and I dream of putting THAT on a t-shirt. The NG does not want Hostetler killing anyone. "Hard as you worked, as much shit as you had to eat, the only way it makes sense for you to kill him," the NG says, "is if you sign everything you got across to me, first, and then I could see the logic." The NG gives Hostetler his trusty chalkboard, and Hostetler smarts that he's gonna kill Steve and then come back and kill the NG.
The NG takes another tack. He asks Steve if he believes that God can act through a n*gger. "God does not want you to kill," Steve tries, finding religion. "Do you believe," the NG continues, "that God would let me feel mercy toward you that TARRED me, and fucked his horse?" Steve: "I do. But...I did not fuck the horse!" He goes on to ask if Steve will "go hence in gratitude" if they let him leave alive. Steve says he would. The NG has Hostetler draw up a little contract on his chalkboard. "Write out: 'I fucked the sheriff's horse,' and we're gonna have him sign it." Hostetler starts writing it out, while Steve interjects again, insisting he didn't fuck the horse, he merely jerked off and came on his leg. Sigh. Isn't it romantic? Doobee doobee doo?