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TUNNEL DWELLER'S Study of Nathan speak

[In the words of Jock Steele]:

An addendum to the Death Dogs Canon v. Fanon Page

Nathan was a character of strong beliefs and an even stronger desire to do good – to leave a positive mark on the world that had made him start his life as a slave.  He was a fair and compassionate man most of the time, but he also possessed a few prejudices, a bad habit of jumping to conclusions and a fascinating streak of deviousness that showed itself on occasion.


We find out in this episode that Nathan has lived in the town longer than most, if not all, of the other men.  We learn how he came by his medical interest and hear, for the first of several times throughout the series, his assertion that he is not a real doctor.

Nathan seems to have known Josiah for quite some time, a conclusion supported in later episodes, but we never learn anything about their shared pasts.  Nathan also seems to get along well with Chris and Vin, likely because they’re saving his life when he first meets them.  [Always a good ice breaker.]  It is interesting to note that Ezra’s apparent bigotry against the idea of being around Nathan does not seem to extend to the Seminole villagers – about half of whom are black.  This suggests that while he was reluctant to ride with a black man as an equal, he was not truly a bigot.  Ezra also gets over being uncomfortable around Nathan remarkably fast after the man heals his injured shoulder.  Nathan’s willingness to help after Ezra’s initial rudeness in the saloon, Ezra’s tacit apology at the end, and Nathan’s easy nod of acceptance for that apology, suggest that neither have been completely prejudiced by their shared Southern roots.    No particular relationship of any kind develops between Nathan and Buck or JD in the pilot.

MARY: (Holding the lynch mob at gun point) We don't hang men around here for no reason.
DRUNKEN COWBOY: He killed a good man. Said he was a doctor, but he let him die.
NATHAN: I never said I was no doctor!
MARY: Nathan didn't kill your boss--gangrene did.
DRUNKEN COWBOY: Be thankful we're getting rid of this quack. Ain't no darkie doctors and there never will be.

NATHAN:  (Impatiently watching Chris and Vin check over the dead men.)  One of y'all want to pull the knife out of that fella cut me loose here?

CHRIS: Whiskey.
VIN: One for the doc here.
NATHAN: Like the man said, "ain't no darkie doctors." I was a stretcher bearer in the union army. I picked up what I could in the field hospital.

CHRIS: Assume we pay five dollars a head that gets us all of seven men.
NATHAN: The Seminoles put themselves on the line for many an escaped slave. They took us in when nobody else would. For five dollars, they can have a week of my life.

NATHAN:  (About Josiah) He says he's not coming. He said that's his penance.
CHRIS:  For what?
NATHAN:  He won't say. Word is he done killed a lot of men. He's a hard man to persuade.
VIN:  Could be useful in a fight.
NATHAN: The Seminoles are the dispossessed of the earth, Josiah. Ain't saving lives a part of saving souls?
JOSIAH:  Seems to me a man ought to put his own house in order first.

EZRA:   Five dollars... wouldn't even pay for my bullets. Would, uh... would he be riding with you? Not interested.
(Note that Ezra never actually looks at Nathan when he says this line, but just flips his head in the general direction.  Everyone – audience members included - assumes that this southern white man must be expressing an unwillingness to ride with a black man.  Combined with his reluctance to let Nathan treat his shoulder, it appears to be the writers' way of showing us the positive effect this quest has on Ezra's character.)

NATHAN:  Why would we want to use a cheater?
CHRIS:  Might need one.

NATHAN:  You still doing your penance, Josiah? Well, how high you going up?
JOSIAH:  Oh, high enough to make a sensible horse think twice about jumping. Collecting firewood, my friend?
NATHAN:  Mm-mmm. We got a battle coming. Boiling some water. Going to be plenty of men wounded up in here.
JOSIAH:  And dead

NATHAN:  Come on out of there, now. You don't want me coming after you.

NATHAN:  Cut me down.
RAIN:  My father told us they hired white men to protect our village.
NATHAN:  Cut me down, now.
RAIN:  They sent us here because these men cannot be trusted.
NATHAN:  That was probably real smart of them.
RAIN:   (Touching the scars on his back revealed when he is flipped upside down.) You were a slave?
NATHAN:   A long time ago.
RAIN:  Then you are one of us. Many runaways sought refuge with our tribe. Now we are one people.
NATHAN:  Now we going to cut me down?
RAIN:  You are strong. You have a woman?
NATHAN:  No, ma'am.
RAIN:  Opa Locka is looking for a husband.
NATHAN:  (Nervously) That's real sweet, ma'am, but, uh... Can y'all please cut me down here, please?

IMALA:  You know how to use that knife.
NATHAN:  I prefer to use it for healing. Keep pressure on that, huh?

NATHAN:  (Noticing Ezra’s arm in a make-shift sling.) Let me see that arm.
EZRA:  It's fine. I just... bruised it when I fell.
NATHAN:  No, no, no, that ain't no bruise, now. Let me see.
EZRA:  (Sharply) I said it's fine.
NATHAN:  Suit yourself.
(Grabs Ezra and snaps his shoulder joint back into place.  Ezra reacts with anger that quickly turns to surprise when the pain recedes.)
NATHAN:  Just like I thought, you dislocated it. Might be sore for a little while but at least you have two hands to cheat at cards with.  (Smiles and lightly slaps Ezra on the back)

BUCK:  Or three, we could mount up and we could ride the hell out of here!
RAIN:  Go, then! With my last breath, I will fight these men.
NATHAN:  Them's rebs up there. That makes it my fight.
(Seems Colonel Anderson isn’t the only person not ready to let bygones be bygones, hm?)

COLONEL ANDERSON:  You can't kill me. I'm a ghost of the Confederacy and I will not die.
NATHAN:  He's so pumped full of laudanum someone could chop off his head and he wouldn't feel it!

EZRA:  What about you, Mr. Jackson? You willin’ to ride with an old Southern boy?
NATHAN:  (Smiles and nods a little) I figure I'll stick around for a while help these folks get things right.

NATHAN:  Where you going? Get down off that horse. You lost too much blood. You'll die out there.
JOSIAH:  If that's what's meant to be…
NATHAN:  The damn birds will get you soon enough. You don't have to go chasing after ‘em!
JOSIAH:  You're a good man, Nathan.


Not much of Nathan in this episode but we do see a bit more of his friendship with Josiah.

JOSIAH:  I knew it, Nathan. I knew with absolute certainty that I was going to meet my maker in that Indian village.
NATHAN:  If we don't take care of that wound you're going to get your wish.
JOSIAH:  Look around you, Nathan. What do you see?
NATHAN:  I see people drinking. (A good example of Nathan’s sometimes amusing literal-mindedness.)
JOSIAH:  Lost souls, everyone. You know what they need, don't you? They need me, damn it.
NATHAN:  And I need to change that bandage. Buck, you want to give me a hand here? Over to my place?

CHRIS:  Save any souls yet?
JOSIAH:  You look downright handsome in that thing.
CHRIS:  Thank you for the going away present, Josiah but I'm not leaving. We got a little situation.
JOSIAH:  "A situation"
NATHAN:  This ain't another one of those 6-1 odds kind of thing, is it?
CHRIS:  No, I don't think so. I'm figuring more like, uh, 10-1.
JOSIAH:  Sure know how to lead a man into temptation, don't you?
CHRIS:  We leave now.
JOSIAH:  What do you say, Doc?
NATHAN:  (Smiles in agreement) Well, I always did recommend a little fresh air and exercise.

(In response to the judge’s offer of employment as a peacekeeper)
NATHAN:  I figure if you men are going to be getting shot I might as well stick around.


This is the first of several episodes where we see Nathan acting belligerently toward Ezra, even though Ezra’s bigotry appears to have ended with “Ghosts of the Confederacy”.  It seems clear from the number of times we see them eating, playing cards and working sociably together throughout the series that there is no true dislike between these two characters, yet any time Nathan lost his cool toward one of this coworkers, that person was invariably Ezra.  It became apparent as the series went on that Nathan’s ire was mostly provoked by people and events that remind him of his past.)

NATHAN:  She's in bad shape. Got some broken ribs, some nasty cuts some old bruises, too. Someone's been treating her pretty rough.
NORA:  I got to get back. He'll be mad.
NATHAN:  It's okay, honey. You're safe here.

(Nathan and Ezra are conniving together to convince Wickes’ henchmen that the working girls are not in town.)
NATHAN:  Get down. It's nasty. I think it's catching.
EZRA:  Oh, no. (coughs) Consumption!
(Henchman run in fear for their lives.)
EZRA:  Call the priest.
NATHAN: They're gone.

EZRA:  So... let's try again. Buck, if you would, please. This time with...dignity.
NATHAN:  Dignity! You know, it take a bold man to talk about dignity when he trying to sell women off like they're cattle!
EZRA:  I'll ignore that.
NATHAN:  You better do that. How else you going to get some sleep tonight?
EZRA:  Anything else?
NATHAN:  About making profit off the back of another human being? Hell, yeah, I got a lot to say!  But... it would just be wasted on you.
(Note the POV difference here. Nathan is the only person who seems to view Ezra’s marriage broker scheme as a form of slavery. The others appear to understand Nathan’s perspective, but not to share it.  According to Ron when he shared an interview with Rick, this display of ire was Anthony Starke's idea.)

MARY:  Nathan? Nathan, I brought you some breakfast.
NATHAN:  That's mighty kind of you, ma'am, but I think she can use it more than me.
MARY:  Oh. Well, um... sure, you can give it to her.
NATHAN:  Uh... could you do it, Miss Travis? I got to get some sleep.
MARY:  No. No, I don't mind.
NATHAN:  Thank you, ma'am.
(Nathan’s attempt to put Mary in the position of care giver, thus battling her prejudice against the working girls, displays an interesting contrast to his own assumption that Ezra is trying to set himself up as some sort of slave trader.)


This episode features the first non-medical scene between Nathan and Buck and they appear to have become pretty good friends.

NATHAN:  That wagon should be coming over the ridge.
BUCK:  I'll tell you-- some mornings it just don't pay to get up and get out of bed.
NATHAN:  Other side of it is you ain't gonna lose another pair of boots.
BUCK:  Well, Blossom's fella he does show up when you least expect it.

BUCK:  Buck Wilmington. At your service. I'm here to escort you to Mary Travis. And this is, uh my associate, uh, uh, Mr. Nathan Jackson. Nathan, why don't you see if the lady has any more luggage?
TERRY:  Oh, I have one more, but...
NATHAN:  (Irritated at being ordered to get the luggage like some sort of servant while Buck flirts with Terry.)
Why don't you do it yourself?
BUCK:  Don't mind him, ma'am. He's just a bit ornery in the morning if you know what I mean.

BUCK:  Six years old she's already figuring to make some man miserable.
NATHAN:  You're the authority on that.

EZRA:  Olivia, how is it you knew the gentleman in the saloon was cheating?
OLIVIA:  I learned to spot a double deal in prison.
EZRA:  Now, there must be a way to put a god- given talent like that to use.
NATHAN:  Why do you always have to wrap an angle on somebody else's pain?
EZRA:  Pain? My friend, this child has the gift.
(Nathan seems a bit disapproving here but not ridiculously so.)


Another nice bit of Nathan and Buck interaction here and a few lines about the Steven Travis murder that support the fact that Nathan has lived in town for quite a while before the Seven got together.

NATHAN:  We looked all over town. He ain't here.
BUCK:  He's probably just hiding. I was pretty good at that myself when I was a boy.
NATHAN:  Well, let's give it a second try you being the expert and all.

BUCK:  Nathan... you're a doctor-type fella, aren't you?
NATHAN:  Yeah, I suppose.
BUCK:  Uh-huh. You heard about this animal magnetism thing, haven't you? I mean, women-- they can smell it on you. Now, medically speaking if a man's got it, it's not his fault, right? I mean, it's more like a condition. It's... it's like a rash or an ailment. It won't ever go away, will it? It won't... will it?
(The look Nathan gives Buck here is great – like he’s convinced that Buck has gone off the deep end.)

MARY:  Well, Stephen upset a lot of people with his newspaper. He fought for the truth; published it.
NATHAN:  I remember afterwards, there was an investigation.
MARY:  Yes, and they decided that it was a...a robbery, that the guilty men were long gone. I guess they've come back.
CHRIS: Or never left.
NATHAN: (To Billy)  Son... now, I know this is hard for you But I have to ask-- did you see anything that night?


Nathan’s sense of humor makes a comeback as he seems very amused by Josiah’s cryptic comments and the opportunity to bait Jock Steele.  This is the first episode where we see Nathan Jackson – the C.S.I. of the west!

NATHAN:   Chris asked me and Josiah to ride along because it's good to have backup especially when lead starts flying.
STEELE:   Oh? What do you do when you're not helping Larabee?
JOSIAH:   I look and I listen.
STEELE:  Uh-huh. For, uh... what?
JOSIAH:  Daily confirmation of the hand of God in all things.
NATHAN:  Josiah's been fixing up that church here in town.
STEELE:  Well, I've never seen a "man of the cloth" carrying a gun before.
NATHAN:  Josiah can get very "Old Testament" on occasion.

NATHAN:  Those men were shot from behind-- in the back of the head.
CHRIS:  Executed.
They didn't leave anything to providence either. Big bore gun, probably a .44.
Chris, I think our man's left-handed.
How can you tell that?
Come at me like you was going to shoot me. Where's the barrel?
Base of your skull.
Right in the middle?
Slightly to the right.
Mm-hmm. See, Josiah's left-handed and when he did it he pointed slightly left of center-- same place where those men were shot. It's just a guess…

STEELE:  Mr. Jackson, Mr. Jackson I heard you're a doctor of sorts.
NATHAN:  No, sir. I ain't no doctor. I'm just interested in healing folks.
STEELE:  Interested. May I ask you a few questions? Please step outside with me for one second. 'From Slave To Surgeon,' you know, there's a story in your life, Mr. Jackson.

CHRIS:  You tried to kill me. Why?
MAN:  It wasn't me. No! No!
CHRIS:  You tell me or I'll blow you all over this bedspread!
NATHAN:  Chris, it ain't him! That horse is fresh. It ain't been rode hard. Not in a while, at least.
(Nathan proves himself to be pretty strong here.  He wrestles the gun up before Chris can shoot the other man, even though Chris had the strength of pure rage on his side.  He also trusts Chris quite a bit because the struggle puts him in the line of fire.)


Some fun Josiah – Nathan friendship scenes in this one.  Clearly, the two have not discussed their pasts overly much but neither is Nathan hesitant to dig a little.

NATHAN:  Josiah, there's something I been wondering about. In a place like this if a man get himself a tailcoat and a boiled shirt... what exactly do that mean?
JOSIAH:  I'll tell you, Nathan, but... you tell anybody else I'm going to have to break your back. You know I could do it, too.
NATHAN:  Yeah. I know that.
JOSIAH:  (Shows him a picture of a young woman.) Carried this next to my heart for half a lifetime.
NATHAN:  She's awful pretty. Who is she?
JOSIAH:  Emma Dubonnet.
NATHAN:  In that show coming to town?
JOSIAH:  Mm-hmm. "Getting Gertie's Garter." Same one I saw in San Francisco when I was young and foolish. (chuckles ) Introduced myself to her afterwards. It was true love. Saw her four times after that always with a chaperone.
NATHAN:  Why didn't you marry her?
JOSIAH:  Oh, I asked her. She accepted. Then I told her there'd be a short delay that I couldn't see her for two years 'cause I was going to pursue a course of spiritual study with a Cherokee Holy man. I often wonder if that wasn't a mistake.
NATHAN:  Well, I don't guess a lady wants to hear that from a suitor.

NATHAN:  Sorry it didn't work out, Josiah.
JOSIAH:  Sorry what didn't work out?
NATHAN:  Your romance with Emma Dubonnet.
JOSIAH:  That wasn't Emma Dubonnet. (Shows the picture again) This is Emma Dubonnet.
NATHAN:   (Smiles and nods) There you go.


Nathan’s interest in forensics shows itself again here, as does his sense of moral justice in his scene with JD at the jail.  This episode is the first to show friendship, or any real interaction, between Nathan and Vin since the pilot.

JD:  Why does he keep singing like that?
NATHAN:  I guess it's some kind of prayer.
JD:  (Sarcastically) Prayer! To save his hide?
NATHAN:  JD ain't nothing funny about a man losing his life.
JD:  (Sounding apologetic) I know.

VIN:  No, I'm going after him. He's mine.
NATHAN:  If we keep a guard outside the townfolk will still think we got Chanu. That'll buy us a little time.
(Nathan’s occasional devious streak pops its head up once again.)

VIN:  Still two horses trailed by one.
NATHAN:  Headed north just like you thought.
VIN:  Were, but they changed direction.
VIN:  Coyote tracks. Must've crossed their path here. Bad luck to keep going straight according to his people.
NATHAN:  ( laughs ) How come you know so much about all this stuff?
VIN:  Lived with them for a while when I was buffalo hunting. Had a friend, best tracker in the tribe. Taught me what he knew. What he didn't know, he just plumb made up.
NATHAN:  Where is he now?
VIN:  Got killed when the army rounded them up and forced them to the reservation.

NATHAN:  You know, it wasn't your fault, you know. She died by Chanu's hands.
VIN:  Yeah, but she'd still be alive if I hadn't let him get away. Thought I had a sense of him knew who he was... but he's got a lot more hate in him than I figured.
NATHAN:  Vin, you're just a man. And every once in a while, a man can be wrong.

VIN: The man who strangled her had strong hands. I broke Chanu's wrist during our fight at the jail.
NATHAN:  (Demonstrates the grip that would be needed.)  It'd be impossible for him to strangle Claire leaving the marks I saw on both sides of her neck.


Nathan hasn’t got much to do in this one but we do see a bit more proof that he’s lived in the local area for quite some time and some nice bits of camaraderie with the other guys.

NATHAN:  It ain't funny.
JD:  You don't get it, the dog has got three paws...
NATHAN:  I do get it; it ain't funny.

VIN:  How many towns between here and Landen?
NATHAN:  Four. He could have stopped by any one of them.

NATHAN:  This is one hell of a store, mister. A complete medical kit.
EZRA:  And some very fine haberdashery, I might add.
NATHAN:  (Catches sight of a gun on display in one case.) Say, Buck.
BUCK:  Yeah?
NATHAN:  That look familiar?

VIN:  The deputy here was telling us a very interesting story... about the racket you and your ma got going.
SHERIFF:   Well, he's a stone-cold liar. I don't want any trouble from the rest. I understand how you were conned by this here criminal and none of you knew he was wanted for murder in the state of Texas.
NATHAN:  We knew all about it.

VIN: Nathan? Nathan... you hit?
NATHAN:  Yeah. But not bad, though.
(Nathan is either a psychic healer or he just doesn’t want to risk any of his friends getting their hands on him.  He’s shot, hasn’t seen his wound, yet he immediately assures Vin that it’s okay!  [Outrider comment:  An interesting turnabout from fanon where it's always the other six telling Nathan "it's  not bad" or "I'm okay."  Yet here in canon land we only have Nathan actually making that assessment.])


Nathan’s devotion to his twin practices of healer and peacekeeper is well defined in this episode.  The new Marshall evicts him from his clinic in town and Nathan’s first recourse is to head for the Indian village where his skills will still be appreciated.  Yet, he, like the others, is not at all hesitant to return to town when their guns are needed.

JUDGE TRAVIS:  The railroads want to ensure that they have a badge out here.  Someone official.
NATHAN:  Lot of good official will do when all those bullets start flying everywhere.

NATHAN:  Can I help you?
MARSHAL BRYCE:  I hear you're the doctor in town.
NATHAN:  No, I just heal folks best I can, but I ain't no doctor.
MARSHAL BRYCE:  That's exactly what I wish to discuss. I've been doing this job a long time, and I've seen a lot of snake oil sold off the backs of wagons.
NATHAN:  Snake oil? You call sewing up gunshot wounds and setting broken bones snake oil?
MARSHAL BRYCE:  No. I call it practicing medicine without a license. And from this point on... you're out of business.
(The validity of Bryce’s argument here is dependent on the date.  If Nathan is selling medicines and anesthetics without a license and this is post 1890, then the Marshal is right.  If it’s pre-1890, then the law had not yet caught up to his reasoning. Modern medical practice/malpractice was largely determined by the 1890 Kansas court case of Underwood vs. Scott. The court defined the practice of medicine as consisting of 3 things: "First, in judging the nature, character, and symptoms of the disease; second, in determining the proper remedy for the disease; and third, in giving or prescribing the application of the remedy to the disease.")

JD:  The town's gonna be a preacher's dream-- no drinkin', no gamblin'.
JOSIAH:  Not much to do for an old reformer like me, besides, if God's everywhere, best to start lookin' sooner more than later.
NATHAN:  That means he's gonna find a burning bush to talk to.
JD:  I thought you said you were staying.
NATHAN:  Not where I ain't needed. I figure the folks up at that reservation might appreciate my help more.

(Riding into Indian village) Nathan!
NATHAN:  I don't suppose you came to get your tooth pulled.
CHRIS:  The town's in trouble.
NATHAN:  This the same town that's got Marshal Bryce?
VIN:  And a whole lot of other people who need our help.
NATHAN:  It's always good to be needed.

VIN:  Any idea where Ezra slithered off to?
NATHAN:  Probably the nearest gamblin' hall.
(Note that it is Vin, not Nathan, who makes the snide remark about Ezra.)

(Trying out Army uniforms)
NATHAN: Been a while since I put one of these on.
EZRA:  Never thought I'd wear the union blue, but I always did fancy being a colonel.
(Does this mean Ezra and Nathan fought on opposite sides?  Hmm…)

JOSIAH:  Nathan, Give him a hand.
NATHAN:  (Helps Ezra move a cannon.) You ever work one of these before?
EZRA:  Just swing it around.

MILLIE:   Buck, Daddy decided since we're all packed, we're moving back to Kansas! I'm going to miss you so much.
(Nathan has no dialogue here but the looks on his face when Buck first drops his end of the lumber they’ve been carrying, then forgets all about his job in order to kiss the girl are priceless.)


This is a really peculiar episode in some ways.  There are three separate plots running at the same time – Vin being dragged off to a potential hanging, Buck running away from a pregnant girl who wants to marry him, and Ezra fighting his mother over saloon business.  Nathan seems to alternate among the story lines, peripherally teasing Buck and supporting Vin, and showing some oddly uncharacteristic behavior by allowing Ezra’s mother to set him up as a ‘doctor’ at her hotel.

EZRA:  Now that the down payment's been made, all that's needed are a few prudent investors to infuse a little working capital. Mr. Jackson?
NATHAN: Oh, I don't know, Ezra. I mean, what do you know about running a saloon?
EZRA:  I spent my whole life in saloons. You may trust I have ample experience.
(A clear example of Ezra and Nathan’s lack of racial antagonism.  You don’t invite a man you hate to invest in your new business, nor does Nathan seem surprised to be asked.)

EZRA:  Gentlemen, gentlemen, envision the future. Glistening wood, sparkling mirrors, a new piano, lush, green-felt tables.
JD:  That does sound good.
EZRA:  And it proves you're a smart lad. You know the answer to the question.
JD:  You bet. Yeah. What's the question?
EZRA:  The question is, what does everyone in this town want to do? What does every visitor here want to do?
NATHAN:  Leave?  (Gotta love Nathan’s completely serious delivery of this line.)

EZRA:  So, what say you, boys? Are you ready for success?
NATHAN:  I don't know, Ezra. My daddy used to say, "Best horse you ever saw was only as good as the man riding it."
EZRA:  Pure wisdom.
(Ezra is beautifully oblivious to the fact that Nathan just insulted him here, choosing to take the doubting comment as a compliment.)

BUCK:  No, no. This is nonsense. All right? It's nonsense. I'm not the father of that baby. I'm not the father of that baby, and I'm not about to get married. No!
NATHAN:  (Dead-pan) Well, Buck.  Looks like it's time to get yourself a ring and a new suit.

EZRA:   (Reading sign posted in Maude’s hotel lobby)  Physician on premises?
MAUDE:  Well, I thought it would be a nice amenity for the patrons. Dr. Jackson is fitting in very well.
EZRA:  (Incredulously) Dr. Jackson? He's not a doctor!
MAUDE:  Well, he should be.
(Nathan descends the stairs, sees Ezra and scurries back up them with a guilty look on his face.)
EZRA:  Nathan, get back here! (Turns back to Maude) You can't have Nathan. He's one of my investors.
MAUDE:  Funny. He didn't mention that when he signed on.
(This is a very strange scene.  Every other episode where Nathan is asked about healing he quickly assures the asker that he’s not a doctor.  No reason is given why he allowed Maude to pass him off as a physician here or that he has told Ezra ‘no’ about investing in the Standish Tavern.  Clearly he is aware that he’s done wrong since he flees upon seeing Ezra, but we’re left to wonder about his motivations.  [Outrider comment:  And one has to wonder why, given this was a time in which many patrons would be offended if there were any black guests in the hotel,  Ms. "appearances are everything" Maude Standish would think hotel guests would actually look favorably upon an uneducated black healer.  The townsfolk might have grown to accept the fact if they wanted medical care, they would have to accept Nathan or they had witnessed or been saved by his skill and compassion.  One has to wonder if strangers passing through would feel the same.)


Some nice Buck and Nathan interaction in this episode, and a cute bit with JD.  We also learn an interesting facet of Nathan’s past as a slave and see his temper fired up again by a reminder of that past.

BUCK:  Do you want a really good tip? Let me buy you a drink some time.
INEZ:  Hmm. Let me think about that. Nunca.
BUCK:  Nunca?
NATHAN:  (laughing) That means never. The devil himself doesn't get burned that bad.
EZRA:  The lady's been here in town a mere 2 weeks, and already she sees through you like a pane glass window.
NATHAN:  I say that Buck has met his match.

EZRA:  (mocking) Where you goin', Buck? "Nunca sounded an awful lot like tonight."
NATHAN:  Let me translate for you, Buck. (Ezra and Nathan together) Never!
BUCK:  Oh, hell. It wasn't that funny.
EZRA:  It was rapturous. Why I never imagined you'd lose your touch so fast.
NATHAN:  At least you got a chance to learn how to speak Spanish.
BUCK:  Hold on. Buck Wilmington never says never! Now that I put my mind to it, that girl's ‘never’ is gonna turn into a yes faster than a jackrabbit with its tail on fire.
NATHAN:  I'd say your rabbit's already been cooked, Buck. Nunca.

NATHAN:  What you lookin' at, JD?
JD:  Oh, hey, Doc. I'm thinkin' about gettin' this for Casey.
NATHAN:  What is it?
JD:  It's a frog gigger.
NATHAN:  You're gonna buy the girl a frog gigger?
JD:  Why? What's wrong with that?
NATHAN:  Oh, come on. Now, look, what you want to do is get her that nice bracelet right there, huh?
JD:  Oh, I don't know. A--a bracelet--
NATHAN:  Ask an expert. Miss Travis. JD wants to buy a present for his girl.
JD:  My girl?!
NATHAN:  Now, if you was her, what would you want?
MARY:  The long or the short answer?
NATHAN:  Short.
MARY:  Flowers, chocolates, maybe a token of love.
JD:  Love?

EZRA:  I'll admit, it's been a while since I've held an epee.
NATHAN:  It's called a rapier.
BUCK:  What's the difference?
NATHAN:  Epees and foils have points but not edges. Rapiers have both.  (Demonstrates a sword move) Pierce and slash.
EZRA:  Well, you obviously learned the sword's various manifestations, but have you also studied its... application?
(Amusedly strikes an ‘en guard’ position opposite Nathan.  They duel for a moment until Nathan, looking very grim, slashes at Ezra with a stroke that nearly takes his head off. Both men seem a bit shaken as Nathan snaps out of his fighting concentration.)
EZRA:  Do you mind explaining how you acquired this expertise?
NATHAN:  Well, it's not somethin' I like to think on. Years ago, back on the plantation, the master, Mr. Jackson, he made me into his sparring partner. We fought with bare blades, so I had to learn quick.
BUCK:  No offense, Ezra... but I think I'm switchin' teachers.

NATHAN:  Defense, Buck! You got to keep him away and wear him down.
BUCK:  I still got to stick him with it to win, don't I? (Strikes out and loses his grip on the sword)
NATHAN:  To stick him with it you have to keep hold of it. You understand?

NATHAN:  If you keep him away, you can wear him down. If you attack, he'll kill you.

NATHAN:  Remember, Buck, defense, ok? No lunges, no charges. Make him come to you.
BUCK:  Right.
NATHAN:  You understand?
BUCK:  Yeah. Stop all the preening and let's get on with this.
(lunges again)

NATHAN:  (After treating the wounds Buck sustained in the sword fight) You're gonna have to take it easy for a while, Buck. Some of those cuts went deep.
BUCK:  Don't you worry, Nathan. I'll be hangin' up the sword for a while.
NATHAN:   You did good.
BUCK:   Thank you, sir. Hey, Ezra, I hear you won some money off of me. I get a piece of that?
EZRA:   You, uh... you care to fight me for it? Hey!
(Nathan’s friendship with Ezra seems to have been unscathed by the sword incident. Nathan laughs when Ezra takes a playful poke at Buck with his ‘sword’ – a pencil – and sits down to join him at his table.)


Nathan doesn’t have a great deal to do in this one except patch up wounded Nichols sons.

NATHAN:  (Watching Ezra manipulate a deck of cards) How do you do that?
EZRA:  Well, over the years, I've acquired a certain tactile sensitivity.
BUCK:  A feel for stackin' the deck.
NATHAN:  You deal those cards so fast, how do we know you didn't cheat?
EZRA:  (Grins) You don't.

MA NICHOLS:  Peter, I sent your for the doctor.
PETER NICHOLS:  Ma, he is the doctor.
NATHAN:  I'm a healer, Ma'am.
MA NICHOLS:  A healer? What is wrong with this town?
(Poor Nathan just gets no respect…)

JOHN NICHOLS: Thanks, Doc.
NATHAN:  You can't ride until that bone sets.
JOHN NICHOLS:  It'll have to wait. I gotta ride!
NATHAN:  Some people never listen.
(Fanfic portrays the rest of the Seven as being unwilling to follow ‘doctor’s orders’ or admit when they need medical aid.  I could find no evidence of that in the series, but the tendency does crop up in other characters, like John Nichols here.)

EZRA:  When they discover that I've sent them on a wild goose chase, I have their firm assurance they would come back to inflict upon me, and I quote, "excruciating pain."
VIN:  Nathan, you best stay in town. Ezra may need some doctoring. Buck and I will go warn Chris.
EZRA:  On your horses, boys. (Takes a slug of liquor.) That is good.
NATHAN:  Go easy on that stuff.

JOSIAH:  You know, I can't help but wonder if that old lady isn't right. What if her son was innocent?
NATHAN:  You know I felt the same way. Talking to that one who broke his arm. They all seem so sincere.
EZRA:  A wise man once said, little sincerity is a dangerous thing. And a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

(The writers once again put Nathan in the unfortunate position of stating the obvious.)
NATHAN:  (After several shots ping off the Nichols’ wagon) That coach is armored. I think it's made out of steel.


Other than not being able to save two homesteaders that O’Shea’s henchman blows up, Nathan has little to do in the first half of this episode.  Most of his better scenes come later, checking out the cause of O’Shea’s interest in the land and deflecting Ezra’s avarice over the potential gold in it.

NATHAN:  (Surveying the homesteaders’ property) This is it.
JD:  Awful nice spot.
NATHAN:  Worth killin' for?
JD:  Take a look at this. Some old mining equipment.
NATHAN:  Seems like someone's been mining the homesteaders' river.
JD:  Yeah, it looks fairly recent, too. You think the old guy struck gold?
NATHAN:  Yep. Probably got killed for it. That land deed O'Shea was waving around probably came off this old bastard. Nothing makes men kill each other faster than gold.

JD:  (Reporting back the findings to the other men.) It's gold O'Shea is after.
BUCK:  You found gold?
NATHAN:  Found a dead miner.
MARY:  There's gold on the new homestead?
NATHAN:  Dicky O'Shea thinks so.
GERARD:  Imagine that. Might have bought ourselves a gold mine, Mary.
NATHAN:  (Attempting to keep everyone calm) Hold on, folks, don't get too excited now. We don't know for sure.

How's the fiddler?
FIDDLER:  (Whispering) Nathan, don't let anybody take this land.
(Nathan leans in closer to hear)
FIDDLER:  I want you to have my land.
NATHAN:  No, I wouldn't feel right about that.
EZRA:  (Unable to hear the fiddler and not understanding Nathan’s hesitation.) Nathan... the man is facing his final summons. Give him whatever it is he wants!
NATHAN:  He wants to sign over his share of his homestead to me, and I don't feel right about that.
EZRA:  (Surprised and suddenly wheedling) Well, you never deny a deathbed bequest, or his-- his soul could be condemned to wander the Earth in search of another recipient.

EZRA:  (Sighs theatrically) Sad day. You know, it's times like this when the fiddler's mellifluous strings will be sorely missed. (Nathan nods his agreement)  You know, someone should do something to... honor his memory.
NATHAN:  I suppose so.
EZRA:  You know this is just a thought, but...perhaps you could build something on the land he bequeathed. A shrine or a business in his name.
NATHAN:  (Incredulously) This ain't about you and that damn saloon, is it? Lord, you got no shame, Ezra.
EZRA:  (Indifferently) Actually, I was envisioning a medical facility, but if you're not interested...
NATHAN:  You want to build a hospital?
EZRA:  Yes. In which, instead of being an itinerant sawbones, you would be a full-fledged practicing physician. Think about it.
(Ezra is sliding into full conman mode in this one. He apparently picked up on the way to appeal to Nathan’s seldom seen self-gratification instinct during the Standish Tavern incident.)

NATHAN:  (Struggling to pull a tree limb back to set a trap for O’shea’s men) How about lending a hand, Ezra?
EZRA:  You given any more thought to gracing this wasteland with a proper medical facility?
NATHAN:  Why don't you quit blowin' smoke and say what you really want, 'cause I know it ain't a hospital.
EZRA:  Why, Nathan, you doubt my sincerity?
NATHAN:  You better believe it.
EZRA:  (Abruptly gives up his pretense.) All right. There's gold in that ground, and the anticipation of it is burning a hole in my stomach.
NATHAN:  Ezra, this is not your land. It never was, and it never will be. (Releases his grip on the limb, flinging the startled Ezra headlong into the trees.) Yep. That works.
EZRA:  That was not kind.  Not kind at all.

EZRA:  That is your land, Nathan, and I'll fight O'Shea all the way to the Supreme Court for it.
NATHAN:  You ever get tired of kickin' up so much dust?
EZRA:  What…you're right. My pecuniary interests do shame me.
NATHAN:  I'm glad something does.
EZRA:  But with my…greed and your property, we could actually do some good. You see, if we use the gold to build a haven...for gamblers--
NATHAN:  A gambling hall.
EZRA:  From which a healthy percentage of the profits would be dedicated to your hospital--
NATHAN:  Save your breath. I already gave my share of the homestead to Jack's widow.
EZRA:  Uh... would that be the, uh... the obviously fertile beauty performing her ablutions?
NATHAN:  You just don't give up, do you?
EZRA:  (Completely distracted by the sight of the now potentially wealthy widow) Huh?
NATHAN:  Never mind.
(This is a great scene, in part because Nathan seems fondly exasperated by Ezra’s obvious show of greed rather than truly upset over it.)


Though there is a funny side-plot about Maude Standish trying to avoid an obnoxious suitor, this is truly Nathan’s episode.  We learn more about his past life, meet his father and learn both the fate of his mother and that Nathan has (or had) siblings.  It is also interesting to note that no racial prejudice at all appears between Nathan’s father and Ezra’s mother.  This episode also features the first good one-on-one scene between Nathan and Chris.

CHRIS:  This boy just brought us a message from Judge Travis. He's over at Eagle Bend trying a colored man for murder.
BUCK:  I guess they're a little too het up for a fair trial. Judge wants us to bring the prisoner back.
EZRA:  All of us?
CHRIS:  Yeah.
JD:  Must be somebody famous.
CHRIS:  Name's, uh... "Obediah Jackson."
NATHAN:  Chris, let me see that. (Grabs telegram)
VIN:  What's wrong, Nathan? He somebody you know?
NATHAN:  He's my father.
(Everyone looks very surprised, which seems odd.  Jackson isn’t the most uncommon name in the world but you’d think Nathan’s shocked reaction to the news that a black man named Jackson was on trial for murder would have made somebody wonder if they were related.)

VIN:  Looks like a hanging party.
NATHAN:  (Borrows spyglass) Let me see.
VIN:  To the right of the water tower.
NATHAN:  That's my father. (Tenses as if to charge right in)
VIN:  Now, hold on, Nathan. No sense riding into a lynch mob without a plan. Let's do this together. Come on.

(Hugging his father tearfully) Daddy. Daddy.
Son... It's good to see you.
It's good to see you, too. I went looking for you after the war. Daddy, where'd you go?
OBEDIAH:  Oh, it really don't matter now.
NATHAN:  What were you doing in that town?
OBEDIAH:  Coming to find you.

NATHAN:  Daddy, let's ride! Let's get the hell out of here! We can go to Mexico!
JUDGE TRAVIS:  No, no, son. You can't do that. He's a territorial prisoner waiting for trial.
NATHAN:  I'm sorry! I can't let my father hang for something he didn't do!
JUDGE TRAVIS:  I promise you a fair trial.
NATHAN:  Yeah? With all due respect, judge, how many Negroes going to be on that jury?
OBEDIAH:  That's enough, Nathan. Ain't nothing more important to me than being a free man. And there's one thing every free man gets in America... and that's his day in court. I want mine.

NATHAN:  (Reluctantly setting his father up in a jail cell) I'll get you some blankets, make it real comfortable for you.
NATHAN:  (Alarmed by Obediah’s coughing fit) Daddy? Daddy, are you all right?
OBEDIAH:  Fine. I'm fine. Look at you. Grown into a fine man. After I knew you'd made it north, I used to dream about you... living as a free man.
NATHAN:  Well, Daddy, you didn't have to stay. You could've come with me.
OBEDIAH:  I would've slowed you down.

CHRIS:  How is he holding up?
NATHAN: (Resentfully) Same as he always was. They want to lock him up, he said, "yes, sir, lock me up." They want to put him on trial, let everybody laugh at him, he said, "yes, sir, put me on trial." Probably help tie the noose if they ask him to.
CHRIS:  He's your father. What's the matter with you?
NATHAN:  When I was about 7 years old, our owners decided to sell him and us kids away from our mother. Put us on a wagon, and we ended up going to Alabama. She stayed behind in Georgia. Then after a while, he told me that she died. Now, I was just a little boy at the time, but all that time, I waited for him to find a way to keep our mother with us, or us with her. But he never said one word! He didn't do anything. He didn't argue, he didn't even beg. He didn't put up one damn ounce of fight to keep our family together.
CHRIS:  Sorry.
NATHAN:  He should've done something.

NATHAN:  The judge says one of us needs to represent my father. I don't think it should be me. Chris?
CHRIS:  What?
VIN:  Ah, hell, Nathan, you know Chris don't say more than 3 words in a day.
EZRA:  My apologies, Nathan, but I've got legal issues of my own to deal with.
NATHAN:  That's all right, Ezra. I wasn't really thinking about asking you.
(Nathan automatically dismisses Ezra - once more after being reminded of his past as a slave.  The potentially powerful strategy of having a white southerner defend an ex-slave accused of murdering another white southerner never occurs to him.  The fact that Ezra is present for Obediah’s entire trial, despite his mother’s “legal issues”, suggests that he probably would have changed his mind and defended Obediah if Nathan had asked.)

OBEDIAH:  This is my day in court and I aim to finish. I want to tell how I came to know Mr. Catchings, the man I killed. I want to tell this so my son will know. Mr. Catchings was the overseer on the cotton plantation in Georgia where I slaved with my wife and children 19 years ago. I don't need to say how bad life was to a slave. We worked from sun up to dark, we got whipped, we got sold, we ain't had no hope. But this is what I need my son to know about what I did. When our little boy was 7 years old, his mama was forced into carnal relations with Mr. Catchings. What Mr. Catchings told her was that if she didn't, he'd sell the boy away from us. 7 years old. He'd sell him away from his mama and daddy. My wife... couldn't bear the thought of that, so she went to his bed. When she found out she was in a family way, she was so afraid it would be that man's baby... she lost her mind. Walked into the river. Drowned herself. I would've killed Mr. Catchings then, but me and the children was loaded on a wagon in chains that same day and sold to Alabama. It took a lot of spirit out of me, and I hope my son understands why now. So you see, when I had the chance to kill that man... all these years later, I had to do it. I reckon I'll find out soon enough if God holds me to judgment. But I'm glad I did it.

NATHAN:  Daddy, all those years. Why didn't you ever tell me?
OBEDIAH:  I tried to, Son, but I couldn't. You had enough troubles without carrying this burden in your heart. No, that make me sound too damn noble. Truth be told, I just didn't have the courage. And I didn't want you to think bad of your mama. She was a brave woman.
NATHAN:  Yes, sir, it was. All this time I thought bad of you.
(Obediah has a coughing fit.)
NATHAN:  You got consumption, don't you?
OBEDIAH:  That's why I come looking for you.

NATHAN:  (Hands him a remedy) Here you go.
OBEDIAH:  Thanks. What's this? Boiled skunk?
NATHAN:  Some herbs. They'll help with the cough. I'm proud of you, Daddy.
OBEDIAH:  You've made me proud, too, Son. Grown into a fine man. Yes, sir. I'm glad I got to see it. Here. I made this for your horse.
NATHAN:  It's a bridle. It's beautiful.
OBEDIAH:  I came all this way. Want to bring my son a present.
NATHAN:  You already did. You already did.


The ever-intriguing relationship of Nathan Jackson and Ezra Standish takes another turn.  They get along, Nathan watching Ezra play (and cheat) at dominoes with no more than the mildest censure until Nathan needs money to buy a Chinese slave girl her freedom.  Then his need to do the morally correct thing morphs into unreasoning anger against Ezra when he later finds Li Pong in Ezra’s room.  Another good example of Nathan’s emotional blindness when reminded of his past as a slave.

EZRA:  So, do I have to come up with 6 spots or 4? I've never been good with figures.
NATHAN:  What the hell are you doin'?
EZRA:  Tryin' to ingratiate myself with these good people. Better to ascertain information. Oh, my turn? There you go.

LI PONG'S UNCLE:  Hey, like to buy girl? She can do many things. Not only cook and clean, but love, too.
NATHAN:  You can't sell that girl!
LI PONG'S UNCLE:  She my niece. I can do what I like with her. Hey, she very pretty, huh?
KYLE:  I'll give ya a dollar for the girl.
NATHAN:  Mister, you get the hell out of here.
KYLE:  Hey, boy! This is Central Pacific land. You got no authority.
(Bidding war commences until Nathan runs out of $ and asks Ezra for help)
NATHAN:  You're gonna take those winnings, and you're gonna buy that girl out of her trouble.
EZRA:  That would be financially imprudent, Mr. Jackson.
LI PONG'S UNCLE:  You pay $10? More than $10?
NATHAN:  Wait, wait. You cough up that money, or else I'm gonna tell them where you're hidin' those extra dominoes.
EZRA:  $11.
LI PONG'S UNCLE:  $11. It's a deal. You buy. She's yours.
KYLE:  You're gonna regret you did that.
EZRA:  Oh, I already do.
NATHAN:  Mister, I done seen some low things in my life, but I ain't never seen nothin' like this. (To girl:) You're free to go.
EZRA:  You heard the man. Best be on your way now.
NATHAN:  You got someplace you can go? Huh?
EZRA:  Well, Mr. Jackson, you're now indebted to me for $7.00.

RUPERT BROWNER:  These senseless tragedies never get easier. Lord knows, this isn't the first accident we've seen, but I just kept hoping it'll be the last.
NATHAN:  I'm not so sure it was an accident.
RUPERT BROWNER:  What makes you say that?
NATHAN:  Well, those rails, they broke his back. But there were bruises on his face. It just don't add up.
(The return of C.S.I. Nathan!)

NATHAN:  Ezra! Hey, that girl's been lookin'-- Oh, you keeping yourself a slave girl now, huh?
EZRA:  Sir, I take umbrage at that heinous accusation. I emancipated this girl. You saw it with your own eyes.
NATHAN:  And those same eyes are seeing this.
EZRA:  I will not sit here and be viciously maligned.
NATHAN:  I don't care what you do. I'm taking this girl with me. Come on, honey. Come on.
LI PONG:  Please let me stay. I have nowhere else to go.
EZRA:  Now, now, darlin', You don't have to go anywhere. You are quite welcome right here. Assuming a bedroll on the floor will suffice?
LI PONG:  Anyplace will do. Thank you.
EZRA:  All right now, calm down. As for you... I believe you owe me $7.00... and an apology.
NATHAN: We'll see.
(Character-wise, this is probably Nathan’s worst moment in the series.  He barges into Ezra’s private residence without so much as a knock, tells him that Li Pong has been looking for him, then acts outraged over the fact that she’s there!  Nathan’s nasty accusations make very little sense.  Had his imagination gone into overdrive because Li Pong was kneeling and Ezra was sitting on the bed?  It’s not like either of them was half-dressed, though Ezra has one boot and his coat off – the dirty dog!)

NATHAN:  (Notices Li Pong peeking into the saloon) Hey. Is everything all right? Is Ezra vexing you?
LI PONG:  He's not back yet?
NATHAN:  Back from where?

JOSIAH:  I should have seen it coming. Boy stole my gun and took off in the night. Only one place he could have gone.
NATHAN:  Ezra's out there, too. They're both gonna get themselves killed.

NATHAN: (Smiles as Vin and Ezra rejoin them.) It's not like you, ridin' off alone to save the day. What's come over you?
EZRA:  I'll let you know when I figure it out.
(This is as close to an apology as Nathan gets, but Ezra no longer seems angry so we can assume that it’s taken in the same spirit as Ezra’s “You care to ride with an old Southern boy?” apology in the pilot.)


Nathan is extremely peripheral in this episode.  The only times we see him are when he’s working to save the life of the girl JD accidentally shot, announcing her death and the scene below.

EZRA:  There's no such thing as bad luck! It's lack of skill that cost me...dearly.
NATHAN:  I know what you mean. If I had been a better doctor, if I had more schoolin', That woman would still be alive now.
BUCK:  You did the best you could, Nathan.
NATHAN:  But it wasn't enough, was it? I ain't hungry.


In this one we get to see proof that the other guys don’t shy away from needed medical attention after Vin gets banged up, and we also get a fun example of Nathan’s rarely seen devious side when he comes up with a way to con information out of a prisoner.

VIN:  I'm busted up good, Nathan. (groans)
NATHAN:  Probably a couple of cracked ribs.
VIN:  I reckon.
NATHAN:  Ok, easy, easy.
JD:  You all right, Vin?
VIN:  Never better.
JD:  I'm going after 'em.
NATHAN:  (To Ezra) Make sure he don't fall off his horse.

NATHAN:  Now, Vin, you're gonna have to take it real easy for a while.
VIN:  Got no plans to do any bronco bustin'

NATHAN:  We need to figure out what those 2 girls are up to. I got an idea.
KIRKLAND:  (Looking doubtful as he watches Ezra goof around balancing a broom on one foot) That's the lawyer you told me about?
EZRA:  Ezra P. Standish, attorney at law. At your service.
KIRKLAND:  What's the "p" stand for?
EZRA:  Persuasive. Now, the way I see it, you rode into town brandishing a gun, which constitutes a mere misdemeanor for unlawful use of firearms. However, you were gunned down, dragged from your sickbed, and unjustly imprisoned. Now... cruel and unusual punishment, I'd say.
KIRKLAND:  Well, you sound right good.
EZRA:  Thank you. But first, we need to get past your unfortunate association with one Mr. Spivak.
KIRKLAND:  How we gonna do that?
EZRA:  Well, it seems to me we need to offer the judge something in the way of an exchange for leniency.
NATHAN:  The judge is awful anxious to know about those two ladies in there.
KIRKLAND:  How do I know you can fix it with the judge if I talk?
NATHAN:  If you don't, you will hang.
EZRA:  If you don't mind, Mr. Jackson. Now, regarding Katherine Stokes…
(Nathan may have wondered why they needed “a cheater” in the beginning, but clearly he’s figured it out!)


Nathan gets to play forensic pathologist once again and we learn a couple of new facts about him through his conversations with Rain.  [Outrider comment:  Although it's not easy to see just looking at the written dialogue, Nathan's most natural sounding  interchanges in the series occurred with Rain.  It's hard to say whether he's less stilted because Rick Worthy had better chemistry with her or whether his stilted speech just sounded more endearing when it was directed at a woman he was interested in.]

POPLAR:  I've hunted the devil who did this for two solid years. I've traced his every move.   Name's Cyrus Poplar.
MARY:  You're a Pinkerton detective?
POPLAR:  That I am, ma'am. That I am.
NATHAN:  Wait a second. Two years. So that means there's been other murders.
(Why was Nathan always given the task of stating the obvious?)

EZRA:  (Shoving aside an undertaker trying to measure the body) Do you mind? Vulture…
NATHAN:  He's just doing his job.
EZRA:  Yeah, well, he can show a little respect.
NATHAN:  Yeah. We got a strong hand, sharp blade...a single cut from right to left. Could be our man's--
POPLAR:  Left-handed. I see you're a student of pathology.
NATHAN:  I learn as I go.
POPLAR:  Can we turn her over, please? There may be some bruises from where he grabbed her.
NATHAN:  Yeah. Could tell us the size of his hands.

NATHAN:  Rain! Good lord, girl. You drop out of the sky like that... You startle a man.
RAIN: This isn't the surprise I had in mind.
NATHAN:  You all right?
RAIN:  I... Had heard what happened to that woman. But seeing her...
NATHAN:  Yeah. I'm sorry you had to see that. I forgot how... How beautiful you are.
RAIN:  It has been a long time.
NATHAN:  Yeah. You know, Rain, I've been meaning to come up and see you sometime--

RAIN:  Is it always this way here?
NATHAN:  Not quite this crazy. But there's always something goin' on.
RAIN:  And this is how you like to live?
NATHAN:  I hadn't really thought about it, I guess.
RAIN:  Maybe you should. Nathan, I've come to find out about you. My village has found a man for me to marry.

NATHAN:  Hey. Wind's kickin' in off the desert. Makes people a little crazy.
RAIN:  It does not make them crazy. It just gives them an excuse. I did not come to talk about the weather, Nathan.
NATHAN:  Rain, I, uh... I can't tell you not to marry him.
RAIN:  I am not asking you to. All I want is to know more about you.
NATHAN:  Talkin' about myself don't come too easy for me.
RAIN:  Well, that I did not know. You see? It is not so hard.
NATHAN:  Rain, you're probably tired after such a long ride, huh? Why don't you get some rest, and, uh, I'll grab a haystack at the livery after my shift on patrol tonight.
RAIN:  Will you be long?
NATHAN:  No. Would you feel better if I took up a bedroll on the floor when I got back? Yeah? All right. Don't you worry. I ain't gonna let nothin' happen to you.

RAIN:  Nathan... I don't think I can stay here too long.
NATHAN:  Well, I'm-- I'm sorry to hear that.
RAIN:  Are you?
NATHAN:  Ever since I left your village... Not a day goes by I don't think about you.
RAIN:  Then do something.

NATHAN:  Where'd you get that bum leg?
SLEDGE MCCORMICK:  I busted it when I fell off a bronc last month.
NATHAN:  Let me check it. Hold still. I want to check it.
CHRIS:  You hold still!
NATHAN:  We're lookin' for a man fast enough to chase down a scared girl and get away after Mary got grabbed.

CHRIS:  He didn't do it. He's just a dumb cowboy.
NATHAN:  Yeah. Looks like we're back to square one.
CHRIS:  Yeah. Doesn't look good for Josiah.
NATHAN:  You know, if you ask me, Josiah bein' locked away ain't gonna keep those ladies safe. I know Rain, she's pretty shook up.
CHRIS:  She's got a right to be.
NATHAN:  You know, she's thinkin' about gettin' married back in her village.
CHRIS:  Must not be thinkin' too hard... Since she's here.
NATHAN:  I suppose. I mean, I wouldn't try to stop her. It's just... I'm not ready for that.
CHRIS:  You got feelings for her. That's clear.
NATHAN:  Oh, yeah. I got feelings for her. It's just they all mixed up.
CHRIS:  Mixed up how?
NATHAN:   I don't know. I mean, everybody I ever got close to... Sooner or later they was dead or... Sold off or something.
CHRIS:  'Cause you lost 'em, are you sorry you ever had 'em?

NATHAN:  You know, Rain, I--I got no right to ask you this question--
RAIN:  I am not going to marry him, Nathan. I came to see about you. And while I did not find out all I wanted to, I did learn one important thing.
NATHAN:  What was that?
RAIN:  (Teasing) You are crazy about me.
NATHAN:  That I am, Miss Rain. That I am. You know, Rain, if... I was thinkin', uh... If I was to ride a ways with you... Maybe I could tell you a little bit more about me, and you can tell me a little bit more about you.
RAIN:  Could be a long talk.
NATHAN:  Well, we got a long ride. Did I ever tell you I was born on a slave plantation in 1839 outside of Atlanta? I never told you that?
(This is as close as the series ever got to setting a timeline.  We learned in “The Trial” that Nathan was 7 years old when his mother died, and that the event happened 19 or 20 years ago – making him 26 or 27 now.  If he was born in 1839, then the current year would be 1865.  However, JD's reference to Bat Masterson would place the series in the early 1880's.   Vin's sawed off rifle was first made in 1873.  Clearly, the producers weren't kidding when they said the series was set in the "mythical" West.)


Nathan shows a distinct difference in the way he regards his fellow peacekeepers here.  He is sure that ex-bounty hunter Vin Tanner is made of finer stuff than the late Lucius Stutz, assuming that his moral fiber would prevent Vin from ever becoming a hired killer.  Conversely, he assumes that Ezra will take off with the assassin’s $10,000 if it is left in his care and have no moral complications over doing so.

NATHAN:  Wonder what kind of monster uses a weapon like that.
VIN:  I don't rightly know. But if I'd have had a rifle like this when I was a bounty hunter...
NATHAN:  Big difference between bounty hunting and murder.
VIN:  Maybe. But if a man is wanted alive or dead, it might be the easier if he's dead. You lie in wait. You take him down. You get paid for him being dead. Same as Lucius Stutz. I'm just saying with a gun like this... and so much money... might make a monster out of any man.
NATHAN:  Except the man who knows better.

EZRA:  It's... When it comes right down to it, I do believe Chris considers me a larcenist.
JD:  Nah, Ezra. I think he just doesn't trust you with money.
EZRA:  I'll admit I made a strong case on our behalf. But he can't seriously think that I'd abscond with it.
NATHAN:  You know, I wish I knew what to say, Ezra.

CHRIS:  Josiah, the money well hid?
JOSIAH:  I give it to Ezra.
CHRIS:  Ezra! What's the matter with you?
JOSIAH:  It's servin' a purpose.
NATHAN:  Yeah, makin' Ezra rich.

CHRIS:  You done good, Ezra.
NATHAN:  (Seeming unsurprised and not overly disturbed to find wads of cash lining Ezra’s coat) He'd be dead if it weren't for this.
EZRA:  Mr. Larabee, in the future, I believe it would be best just not to burden me with other people's money.


Nathan is validated as a healer at last.  He believes he’s getting a chance to watch a real doctor up close and personal only to discover that he actually knows considerably more than the other man, who is not a doctor at all.

NATHAN:  What's that you're giving him?
DOCTOR:  Tincture of laudanum. He won't know a moment's pain. Go boil some water, would you? Lots of it.
NATHAN:  Um, what's that for?
DOCTOR:  Um, relaxes the muscles. Helps me locate the bullet.
NATHAN:  Might find it under that rear fold.
DOCTOR:  Are you a physician?
NATHAN:  Oh, no, not hardly, sir. I'm just experienced in battlefield gunshot wounds.
DOCTOR:  Well, as we say in the medical profession, go give your hands a scouring.
NATHAN:  All right.

DOCTOR:  You did first-rate work in there for a man with no training.
NATHAN:  I didn't kill him. That's the best I can say for myself.
DOCTOR:  No, you were as good as any surgeon.  I could use a man of your abilities.
NATHAN:  Is that right? I always wished I could learn from a proper doctor. I must have stored up about a million questions. Is scarlet fever always contagious?
DOCTOR:  Yes. Yes, it is.
NATHAN:  How can you tell the difference between influenza and pneumonia?
DOCTOR:  Nathan, not until after breakfast, huh?

DOCTOR:  Nathan, Hilda's been shot!
BUCK:  Nathan, can you get to her?! Cover him! Cover him! Hold on, Hilda!
DOCTOR:  I'll give her laudanum for the pain.
NATHAN:  You gotta get that bullet out!
DOCTOR:  I can't.
NATHAN:  What're you talkin' about? You gotta get that bullet out.
DOCTOR:  I'm tellin' you I don't know how.
NATHAN:  You a doctor, ain't you?
DOCTOR:  No, I'm not. Not a real one, anyway.  [Hilda cries out in pain.]
NATHAN:  My God. (Shoves the fake doctor out of the way.) Excuse me!