Town drunk Al Denton is more than he seems. The other men in town abuse him, make fun of him and make him sing for his drinks. When Fate steps in, Denton is forced to come to grips with his gunslinger past.
Formerly, Denton was the fastest gunslinger in the area. Every day men would come in to challenge him to a duel. Every day he would start drinking earlier in the day. One day he killed a 16-year old; that’s when he put up his guns.
Denton lives in a time that is contrary to his nature. He doesn’t want to kill people, even if he’s good at it, because he realizes that one day he won’t be fast enough. He’ll be the one dead in the street. Unfortunately, word gets out that he has quit drinking and he has bested the fastest gun in town. Denton receives warning that another gunfighter is coming to challenge him.
Denton couldn’t forgive himself for killing the 16-year old because there was no point in doing so. If he had been able to, someone would have shown up the next day and the day after that. Denton would’ve kept having to fight men and boys who thought they were fast with a gun. Forgiveness can only happen when the behavior that has brought on the need for forgiveness has ended, and Denton had no control over ending the behavior without dropping into the bottom of a bottle.
It’s not until Fate steps in and lends a, uh, hand that Denton is blessed to be able to live a life free from the threat of his times. He is redeemed, and he his able to forgive himself. Some people aren’t able to free themselves of a situation because their times don’t allow it; they need help from someone or the luck of Fate. If you can get yourself out of whatever situation is keeping yourself from forgiveness, do it.