This episode cleverly adapts one of Guy de Maupassant's most famous short stories, "Boule de Suif", set during the Franco Prussian War. A coach full of French travellers is waylaid by Prussian Soldiers, whose Officer has eyes only for one of them --a prostitute whose presence up until that time has been more or less tolerated by her "respectable" companions. The Officer agrees to release them all if the prostitute sleeps with him. She refuses, and the tolerance once shown her turns to contempt as the "representatives of Virtue" (de Maupassant's words) demand she acquiesce so they can all continue their journey. She finally does, and though her sacrifice has won them all their liberty, the others now regard her with open disgust.
In this version Della White Cloud is no prostitute: she is the formally-educated daughter of an Apache Chief. And though Native Americans recognize no "Princesses", Della's dress, speech and bearing would see her quite at home in any Royal Court. Paladin, her seat mate on a coach also carrying a trio of "solid citizens" and a strongbox full of gold, is clearly the only one to appreciate this. The role of the Prussian soldiers is assumed by an Outlaw band intent on hijacking the gold, and their Leader makes basically the same offer to Della that the Prussian Officer made to the French prostitute. De Maupassant had no "Paladin" to enhance his narrative so the story takes an interesting --if not entirely surprising -- twist. But it closes on a note that would have brought a smile to the face of de Maupassant himself!
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