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Bob asks his father what he is going to tell Fletcher. Joe does not answer. Bob realizes that his father is planning on telling Fletcher yes, because he notices that none of the adults can look at one another and they are silent. Joe remarks that this must be difficult for him. He also remarks that he knows if anything happens to him, his family "will be in better hands than his own." Shane reacts strongly to this last comment and exhibits the mental anguish he is experiencing. He goes into the house quickly, and Marian runs after him and soon returns to the porch, tired and pale. Joe tells Marian that she has to help Shane. When Bob finally finds Shane, Shane is coming in from the pasture. He tells Bob that everything is going to be okay. He notices that Shane has his gun. Shane wears the clothes he first wore when he arrived in town, and he has an air of confidence about him. He had a belt, holster, and gun: "these were not things he was wearing or carrying. They were part of him, part of the man, of the full sum of the integrate force that was Shane." He tells Joe and Marian to feed their son some supper and says he is going into town for a bit. Joe tells him not to go—that it is his business, but Shane disagrees and says this is not a situation for a farmer to handle. They begin arguing about it, each adamant that he should go into town to deal with Fletcher alone. Finally, Shane hits Joe in the head with the butt of his gun, knocking him unconscious. Before he leaves Marian asks Shane if he is doing this for her, and he says no and asks: "Could I separate you in my mind and afterwards be a man?" He leaves for town.
Bob sneaks after Shane and follows him down the road. He notices that Shane is carrying his saddle roll. Bob trips and falls on the road, and Shane gently chides him for following, but does not stop him. Shane gets to the bar and asks where Fletcher is, and someone points inside the bar. All of Fletcher's men and Stark Wilson are there. Wilson asks where Joe is, and Shane and Wilson move toward each other. Shane tells Wilson that although he is there to talk to Fletcher he should deal with Wilson first. Wilson tells him that he wants to deal with Joe, not Shane. Shane tells Wilson that he is not going to see Joe and that Wilson's "killing days are done." Silent and still, the two men measure each other and suddenly there is a gunshot and a spot of blood begins to show on Wilson's arm. Wilson reaches for his gun, and Shane shoots again. Bob notices a red stain beginning to spread on Shane's shirt too. Then, Shane turns and shoots up at the balcony just as Fletcher aims at him. After the people in the bar recover, Shane leaves, and Bob stops him. Shane tells him that "there's no going back from a killing
right or wrong, the brad sticks and there's no going back." Shane tells Bob to go back home and says he is going to do the only thing left that he can do for them. He leaves.
Someone from the bar tells Joe and Marian what Shane did. Joe is thrilled to hear that Shane came out of the altercation alive, but that joy is tempered by the knowledge that Shane has left. Chris enters the kitchen and asks Joe if he can work for him. Joe accepts, saying that Shane would approve. Marian puts Bob to bed and asks him to tell her everything about what happened that night. In the morning Joe tells Marian that he wants to leave the farm. Marian protests and tells Joe to pull down one of the posts that Shane put in outside. Joe cannot, and Marian reminds him that they "have roots here now that we can never tear loose."
Shane becomes a local legend, and Bob knows that Shane's spirit is still at the farm. He never forgets his life-long hero.
Shane cannot bear the thought of letting Joe sell the farm or having them both work for Fletcher. That is not the life that any of them wanted. Joe might be a stubborn man, but Shane is even more stubborn. He makes sure that he is going to take care of the situation, because if anything should happen it is better than it happen to him instead of to Joe, for both Bob and Marian's sake. His taking care of the situation demonstrates his love for the entire family, and his willingness to risk his life for them.
Bob goes with Shane because he cannot stand by while his hero fights for him and his family. Shane does not make Bob turn back because he understands why a boy—especially this boy—needs to see this. Shane fights fair, giving Wilson a chance in the quick draw. Shane getting shot shatters his invincibility, even though Shane ultimately wins the fight. Bob wonders if Wilson is as good of a gunman as Shane, and Shane tells him that if this were practice, Wilson would not have even gotten a shot off. Shane understands how important it is to maintain his hero status with Bob and to teach him that the right man can really win.
Shane leaves because he is a murderer. He explains to Bob that right or wrong, when one kills a man that marks him for life. He does not want to be known as a killer, especially if he is associated with Joe, Bob, and Marian. This means that upon leaving to confront Wilson, Shane knew he was never coming back. Shane carries his saddle roll with him because he knows that if he loses he will not be back, and, if he wins, he must move on. Even though Shane loves the Starretts and does not want to leave, this is a sacrifice he is willing to make. Better he dead than Joe, or better he branded as a killer than Joe. He wants to make sure that Joe's reputation in the community remains sacred, and he does not even think twice about it.
Marian convinces Joe to stay at the farm. It is not clear exactly why—probably a number of reasons. She herself does not want to leave, and she knows how much work Joe put into the farm and does not want to see it go to waste. She also wants to stay as a tribute to Shane. If they leave, then Shane's sacrifice to deal with Wilson is in vain. Joe wants to leave because his heart is not in it without Shane there, but she reminds him that Shane will always be there. She has Joe try to uproot a fence post Shane drove in. This scene mirrors the one in which Joe and Shane attempt to uproot the stump, except this time Joe cannot pull up Shane's work. In order to put the events to rest in her mind, Marian asks Bob to tell her everything about what happened that night. She wants to claim the memory at least in part for herself and remember Shane as a hero, winning a gunfight on their behalf and riding into the distance on his horse.