The Wild Wild West (1965–1969): Season 2, Episode 24 - The Night of the Colonel's Ghost - full transcript

President Grant wants to go to Gibsonville to dedicate the statue of an officer under his command during the Civil War. James West travels ahead to ensure it's safe for the President. West finds Gibsonville is now a ghost town and is experiencing an "epidemic" of broken necks. The few residents left are seeking buried gold -- and the number of bodies is rising.

This must be it.
We're slowing down.

It looks like a lot of nothing.

All the better. No
people, no danger.

Whoops! Talked
a little too soon.

There's a crowd
gathering out there.

Two gophers and a jackrabbit.

Cover from the window.

I'll check the outside
to see if the area's clear.

We're on the siding.
Not a soul in sight.

Then, may I suggest, gentlemen,

that we get the horses
from the baggage car

and be on our way?

Uh, no, I don't believe we
should do that just yet, sir.

Mr. West, your entire
method of procedure

leads me to believe I must
be the most unpopular leader

since Genghis Khan.

No, not at all, Mr. President.

I'm sure you have the
respect and admiration

of most Americans.

Well, then...

But so did
President Lincoln, sir.

All it takes, sir, is one
madman with a gun.

So what do you suggest?

That you stay here

while I ride ahead
to Gibsonville

to look over the situation.

Aren't you afraid
that I might be bitten

by some enraged sand
flea while you're gone?

Uh, Mr. Gordon will
stay here with you, sir.

He's an excellent
marksman with small targets.

All right, gentlemen.

But it seems like
such a waste of time,

all of these precautions
for a short stopover en route.

Now, mind you...

I must be on time

for that San
Francisco conference.

We realize that, sir,

but the war left a lot of wounds
that haven't been healed yet.

There are men who'd
like to see you dead.

But Gibsonville is a Union
town, and we're going there

to dedicate a statue
to a Union war hero.

All the more reason
why the occasion

might draw your enemies, sir.

Jim's right, sir.

Very well.

I suppose I can endure

this oasis of luxury
for another 24 hours.

But when I come riding in,

I shall expect to see

crowds of cheering
people lining the streets.

I'll do my best, sir.

Have you ever been
to Gibsonville, sir?

Many years ago...

I went there to
see an old friend,

Josiah Gibson.

It's a lovely town...

full of new buildings,
and growing fast.

People were
friendly... industrious.

I imagine by now they've
got quite a little city.

You don't like Indians?

Sure, I do.

Some of my best friends.

Then do you mind telling
me what you're doing?

Doing? What am I doing?

I'm digging for gold,
you darned fool.

What's it look like?

Question is...

what are you doing here?

Speak up, man!

Who are you? And
what are you doing here?

Uh, my name is James West,

and I'm just... looking
your town over.

What happened here?

Bad epidemic hit the town.

You better move on
fast before it gets you.

Uh, what kind of epidemic?

Broken necks.

Real contagious.

You better ride on out.

I'll think it over.

You, uh... You can go
back to your work now.

"Colonel Wayne Gibson.

"Who died gallantly in the
battle with his entire company

in the defense of Fort
Stedman. March 25th, 1865."

Stick 'em up. Stick 'em up.

Good afternoon.

May I help you?

Is this hotel open for business?

Would you like to rent a room?

Perhaps. But I see

that you haven't had
a guest in six months.

Business has been
a little slow lately.

"James West."

Is that right?


Welcome to
Gibsonville, Mr. West.

Thank you, Miss...

Caine. Jennifer Caine.

I'll show you to your room.

That's our sister!


It's Chris Davidson.

He's dead. His neck's broken.

Uh, you don't
seem too surprised.

It's happened
before... all too often.

What's that?

It's him.

Do you expect me to believe

the music came from this organ?

I only know what's
happened before.

I met Davidson
briefly before he died.

He spoke of an epidemic
of broken necks. True?

There have been
other murders like this...

and each time,
the organ played...

as though from beyond the grave.

What do you mean?

This belonged to him.

To Colonel Wayne Gibson.

Before he went away to the war.

His father allowed no
one to touch it after he left.


His ghost is angry with us.

No one is safe here.

To the late Chris Davidson.

Rest his soul, if any.

Are you Sheriff Hollis?

That's me. Come on in.

Make yourself comfortable.

Thank you.

You, uh, care to join us?

Uh, no, thanks. I'm here to talk

about Chris Davidson's death.

My name's James West.

Oh, yeah. I heard
about you being in town.

Me and Doc Gavin here

were just talking
about poor old Chris.

Do you know what killed him?

Well, I guess Doc can
give you the official verdict.

He signed the death certificate.

Chris Davidson died of
an overdose of ignorance,

complicated by two
busted neck vertebrae

and an occluded windpipe.

What Doc means, Mr. West...

It was accidental death.

Chris must have...
tripped and fell.

Your concern overwhelms me.

You might say we
was expecting it,

the way Chris was carrying on...

chopping down
everything in sight

with that axe of his'n.

Darned fool.

There are a lot of
things in this town

that need some explaining.

Why don't you tell him, sheriff.

I got a sudden case
of sleeping sickness.

I want to take me a little nap.

Maybe it'd be
better if you and I

took a little walk so
as not to disturb Doc.

He's been under quite a strain
lately with all these deaths.

Yeah, I can see he's
a bundle of nerves.

First off...

I'd like to know who
you are, Mr. West.

We don't get many
inquisitive strangers here.

Let's just say I have, uh,

an important reason
for being here...

and I'd like to know
why Gibsonville

suddenly turned
into a ghost town.

Well, it wasn't all that sudden.

Those of us who
still stick around here

call it Gibson's folly.

Well, why Gibson's folly?

Mainly because it's
in the wrong place.

Fifty miles too far
north on the wrong pass.

When old Josiah Gibson
founded the town...

The Josiah Gibson, uh...
Colonel Gibson's father?

That's right.

You've seen our
famous statue, then.

I'd like another look at it.

Anyhow, when old Josiah
Gibson founded the town,

he figured he'd cash
in on the big move west.

But he misjudged the
course of the railroad.

It went through Granite Pass,

50 miles south of here.

And Gibsonville...
became just a backwater.

Other towns have
survived without a railroad.

That was just the start.

The war took away
a lot of young men

that never came back.

Josiah's mind
got a little fuzzy.

Then, when he heard his
only son had been killed...

he let go completely.


this is the result.

Well, are you
saying that he's...

He was crazy to put
up a statue to his son?

He must have been...

because it took every last cent

of what was left of his fortune

for that hunk of metal,

in the shape of a
no-good, lazy, mean...

Stop it!

It's easy enough for cowards
like you who stayed at home

to say mean and hateful
things against Wayne!

It's a pity his statue
doesn't fall down

and crush you like
the insect you are.

I take you knew the
colonel personally?

I knew him better than anybody.

He was a fine man,
and so was his father.

You know what you
said was lies, all of it!

Lies about Josiah,
lies about this town!

Miss Jennifer had the idea

she might like to marry
into the Gibson family

If the hero had just
made it back home.

And you want the truth?

You want the real reason
this town is deserted?

You want to know
why these few jackals

are still hanging around here?

It's all right,
Mr. West. Its all right.

Just miss Jennifer's brothers
Abel and Bert. You know them.

Uh, we met briefly.

They kind of like
to sit in Abel's room

up on the second
floor of the hotel...

and shoot at the windows
of empty buildings.

Or mostly empty.

They're high-spirited boys.


Well, I guess I better
go... quiet them down...

before they hurt somebody.


Is that true about your brothers?
- Yeah!

They get themselves
into a lot of trouble,

but neither of them
means any real harm.

I'd like you to
tell me the truth

about this town
and these people.

A little later. I better
get back to the hotel.


Abel, open up! It's me, Bert!

All right, Bert! What's
all the fuss about?

It's Abel. I heard him
hollering from his room,

but the door's locked.

It's me, Abel! Open up!

Weren't you two together
just a few minutes ago?

Yeah. We was in there
doing some target shooting.

But I went to my room
to get some bullets,

then I heard him holler.

It sounded like he was hurt bad.

Probably just another
one of the fool tricks

you two are always pulling.

You wouldn't say that if
you could have heard him.

All right. Come on.

What's the problem?

Oh, he says Abel's inside here.

Sounds like he's hurt...

but the door won't open.

Excuse me.

Be it ever so humble.

He's gone. How could he?

Not a trace.


Put it down gently.

No need to be so brutal
about it, was there?

After all, I'm not
a common thief.

No? What's uncommon about you?

"Vincent Pernell,
attorney at law."

Then you should be
familiar with the law

regarding private property.

Indeed, I am.

But there are also

certain inalienable
rights of private citizens

not spelled out in the law.

And I was simply
exercising one of those rights.

As one of the
original settlers...

And few remaining in
evidence of this community

it was my duty to
investigate the arrival

of an unannounced stranger...

whose presence here
might well constitute

an additional menace in
a situation already fraught

with many strange and
unfathomable dangers.

In other words,
you were curious.

You might put it that way.

Just who are you?

What are you doing
here in Gibsonville?

What are you doing
in this ghost town?

Practicing my profession.

Don't you find your
profession a little slow here,

or do you specialize
in writing wills?


there has been a temporary...

lapse in business.

But I have no doubt that
Gibsonville will revive,

like a phoenix
rising from the ashes,

to become a booming
Western metropolis.

You keep away from that door!

I found him snooping
outside your door.

I tried to pull him away.

And I was told there's a patient
here needing my services.

I was just looking... Everyone
seems to be concerned

why I'm in town.

I think it's best if we get
everything out in the open.

You tell your brother Bert

to get everybody in the
lobby at 4:00 this afternoon.

That is, uh, everybody
whose neck is still in one piece.

Mr. Gordon, it seems to me

that we've waited
quite long enough.

Why, Mr. President...

I seem to recall General Lee

paying a tribute
to your patience,

when you took Petersburg
after a 10-month-long siege.

It was that event which
exhausted my supply.

I've had no patience since then.

Excuse me, sir.

Here we are, Annabella.

There's a good girl.

Ah, yes. There we go.

And we've delivered
what we should.

Nice girl.

Well, I hope it's from West.

Yes, sir. We'll know in a moment

whether it's safe
for you to proceed.

The paper's blank.

Uh, it's invisible ink, sir,

in case the message
falls into the wrong hands.

You never know with pigeons.

Well, then make it visible.

Yes, sir.

I'm sorry, sir. We seem to
be out of a secret ingredient.


Uh, you wouldn't have a sp...

Uh, something medicinal

about you, would you, sir?

For the message.

Oh... yes.


Thank you, sir.

Thank you, sir.

There we are.

Uh-huh. Let me see it.

"Three blind mice...

"Three blind mice went
skating over the pond

and fell through
a hole in the ice."

Well, there's your answer, sir.

My answer?!

Mr. Gordon, I'm afraid
that you and Mr. West

are long overdue
for a long vacation.

Oh, no, sir, that's in code,

you see, in case it fell into...

I know. "One never
knows with pigeons."

Exactly, sir. All it says is
you can't go to Gibsonville.


Well, the reference
to "three blind mice"

means that things
aren't very clear.

It's difficult to see
just what's going on.

The thin ice reference

means that there's a
great deal of danger

just under the
surface of things.

And to think I wasted good
bourbon to read that rubbish.

Well, I'll admit it isn't
literature, Mr. President,

but I can vouch
for Jim's accuracy.

I'd advise you not to go.

On the other hand,

I have a debt of honor
to the Gibson family.

It was Josiah Gibson's last wish

that I dedicate the
statue of his son.

Well, you've turned down

personal requests
before, Mr. President

Not of this nature.

Do you know what
happened to Colonel Gibson?

No, sir.

He was in my command,

during the last days of the war.

Lee decided to
start an offensive

against Fort Stedman.

A daring plan.

One that would have hurt
us badly had it succeeded.

Yeah, I remember
the strategy, sir.

Colonel Gibson was a
rather unusual officer.

Difficult in many ways,
a strange young man.

It was his company

that had to stand the
brunt of this attack.

They managed to
turn the enemy...

but not before he
and his command

were completely wiped out.

Mr. Gordon, I sent
him into that battle.

I shall go to Gibsonville
to dedicate the statue.

Yes, sir.

Oh, be careful, Mr. President.

The glue hasn't
completely dried on it.

Hm, what is it? Uh,
some sort of a model?

An idea of mine, yes,
sir. I call it a "land crawler."

It consists of an
armored carriage

with a small steam
engine inside to propel it.

There are two gun
mounts, one in front.

That on top is a gun turret.

I think with enough of those...

we can eventually eliminate
the need for cavalry completely.

You know, Mr. Gordon...

it's men like you

who'll eventually take
all the fun out of war.

Morning, citizens.

Good morning, Mr. West.

Stick 'em up! Stick 'em up!

Your bird seems to
have a limited vocabulary.

The parrot belonged to
the late Colonel Gibson.

He taught it
everything he knows.

Fine. I see.

You're all here because
you're wondering

why I'm staying
on in Gibsonville.

And I'd be delighted to tell you

after you tell me why you've
stayed on in a ghost town...

when at any moment, it
could mean sudden death.

Uh, would you mind
starting, doctor?

Uh... ah, health.

I stay here for my
health, young man.

I find the spring water
here beneficial for my gout,

from which I suffer
recurring attacks.

I remain here to
drink the water.

Uh-huh. Mr. Pernell?

Research is my actual reason
for staying in Gibsonville.

I'm in the process of preparing

an extremely
complicated legal brief,

having to do with
certain land-grant matters.

Though the recorder's office
has, um, ceased to function,

I have found in
the dusty archives

certain legal records which have

a definite bearing on this case.

And these, I have no
doubt, will eventually alter

geographical boundaries
throughout the entire Southwest.

How about you, Bert?

I stick around here
to help my sister Jenny

run this hotel, that's all.

Ain't that enough?

And you, sheriff?

I am a lawman, Mr. West.

I was chosen for my job by
the good citizens of Gibsonville,

and I feel it's my
bound and duty

to serve out my regular term,

no matter if all but a few

of those good citizens see fit

to... move on to
greener pastures.

Keeping the peace
is a sacred trust.

As I see it...

Oh, shut up! You liars!


You haven't had a drink
of water in five years!

Research? You know not
a scrap of paper was saved

when the recorder's
office burned.

And as for you, sheriff,

when have you ever arrested
anybody but a helpless drunk?

No, none of you fool me.

You all stay here for
the same noble reason

a vulture hangs
over a dying steer.

That's very interesting,
Miss Jennifer,

as far as it goes, but then...

why are you here?

Because this is my town.

The Gibsons may be dead,

but I'd have been a Gibson
if Wayne had come back.

We were secretly
engaged to be married.

Whatever is here
would have been mine.

And so long as I
live, I'll never leave it!

But if there's nothing here...

Oh, but there is.

That's why this...

fine group of jackals

are skulking about.

Josiah Gibson was
enormously wealthy.

But during the
war, he was afraid

that a big inflation might
make the currency worthless.

He converted his entire
capital into gold bullion.

It must have been a huge amount.

But no sign of that fortune
has ever been found.

I see. That's why
the town is torn up.

Why men are chopping
away at wooden Indians.

Like Davidson said,
you're all digging for gold.

But none of you
has a legal right to it.

The moral right is mine.

I am a Gibson in
everything but name.

Dead man's gold
belongs to the finder, I say,

and I'm the law!

I took care of old
Josiah many a year...

right up to his deathbed.

Manys a time, he told me...

That's after his son was killed

that he wanted me
to have his money.

You're awfully quiet, counselor.

Those who have a
genuine legal position

have no need to quarrel
with the common herd...

whose claims are spurious.

Uh... Uh, try that
again in English.

Gladly. Before
Josiah Gibson died...

he and I entered an
agreement of full partnership.

Therefore, at his demise...

what was his
became legally mine.

Prove it!

Of course.

I have my briefcase
right out in the foyer.

You still haven't told us what
you're doing here, Mr. West.

He's dead.

It's him! It's him!


I say, is all of
America like this?

I've been out there on
that street for over an hour...

and there hasn't been a
single soul on that street at all.

Possibly because we've had

another mysterious
murder in here.


Oh, I say.

Oh, bad show.

Just who or what
are you, mister?

Uh, Iangelico
Cooper-Fennistone here.

And whom may I have
the pleasure of addressing?

Hollis. Sheriff Tom Hollis.

Hullo. Charmed, I'm sure.

I say. Are you a real sher...?

Oh, yes, of course.

There's your badge.

Oh, how marvelous.

I say, I don't have my
camera with me now,

but... would you mind if
I took your picture later?

Uh, what brings
you here, Mr., uh...

Uh, Cooper-Fennistone.

Sir Iangelico Cooper-Fennistone.

You may call me sir.

Uh, big game
brings me, of course.

Very big game.


And, uh... of course,

studying your... quaint
local customs here.

I'm sure we can show you
many of our quaint local customs...

but right now,
we've got a job to do.

Ah, yes, of course.

Uh, are you going
to arrest anyone

for the murder of this
poor chap, sheriff?

Well... guess not.

We all got each
other for an alibi.


There was nobody near
him when it happened.

Sheriff, you and the
doc remove the body.

I want to examine
it thoroughly later.

Might as well take
him down to my office.

I'll write out the
death certificate.

I got a stack of 'em.

I'll talk to you later,

as soon as I get
John Bull settled here.

Do you, uh... Do you
want a room here?

A room? Oh, good
heavens. No, no.

I've been...

camping just outside of town.

No. I would appreciate
some... tips, so to speak,

on how to handle
the local wildlife.

Oh, I can provide that.

Splendid. Uh...

I say...

uh, would you know

where I might find some
buffalo around here?


Oh. Odd.

You look the type who might.


now for those pointers.

Excuse me.

Oh, of course.

Let's talk outside.

Fraud! Fraud!


Vulgar feathered American.

My message was specific.

This town is too dangerous.

I'm sure you're right,
but I couldn't very well

order the president
to stay away.

He outranks me slightly.

He's coming here when?


Best I could talk him into
was giving us 24 hours

to make Gibsonville a
sweet and pleasant place.

Fat chance. It's a ghost
town, and it's getting ghostlier.


that, I take it, is
the hunk of bronze

for which the president
is willing to risk his life?

Uh-huh. That's the
late Colonel Gibson.

Rumor has it that it's his ghost

that's seeking
vengeance on this town.

A ghost who breaks necks?

Oh, come on, Jim.

I wish I had a better
answer. One thing is for sure.

The secret lies
somewhere in that old hotel

built by Josiah Gibson.

I wish I knew where
the music came from.

Music? What m...

Oh, you mean that
organ that I heard

when I first came in?

Yeah. And... whenever
there's a broken neck,

there's always...

There's always music.


You know, I once played
the organ on a showboat.

You know what
made me give it up?

No, what?

People kept offering
to break my neck.

It's him. It's him.

It's him.

Why, Artie? Impulse.

Stick 'em up. Stick 'em up.

I got to thinking about
something you told me yesterday

about this bird
belonging to the Gibsons.

Do you remember? Hm.

And it occurred to me

that it might be able
to tell us something,

like, uh... where the
old boy hid his gold,

or who the killer is.


You think you can
make this bird talk?

Parrots do that, Jim.

You can laugh if you want to.

Uh, I think it might tell
us something that's a clue.

It's worth a try.

It's my impression

it's not a very
friendly bird, Artie.

Maybe he just hasn't
been approached

in the proper
spirit, that's all.


Cute little birdie,

you'll talk for Artie,
won't you, huh?

Yes, you will now.

Ooh, did...

Hold it!

Fraud! Fraud!

That bird just doesn't
trust anybody, does he?

Artie, let's, uh, proceed
with our original plan

and search the place.

Might as well. He's no help.


It's Bert's room.

I checked him earlier
before you got here.

He's still sound asleep.

This was Abel's room.


Not overly neat, was he?

All the buildings are
like this on the inside.

Everything's been searched.

It all seems solid, Jim.

It can't be, Artie.

Abel couldn't have
gotten out of his room.


Woman's wedding dress.

She never got to wear it.

Artie, meet Abel.


That must be Bert.

To the late Bert Caine.

Devil will have his
hands full today.

Ah. Aah!

Now we're getting down
to the hard core of things,

with both of Jenny's
brothers out of the way.

Here comes Lord Gut Rocks.

What do you
suppose he's wanting?

Who cares? We'll
have a little fun with him.

Come in.


I hope I'm not intruding.

Nope. Come on in.

Save me the trouble
of coming after you.

Oh, thank you so very much.

Uh, you see, I just
heard about the...

ghastly murders

that occurred last night,

and I sort of
thought I'd pop over

and get an official view
on matters, so to speak.

Where were you
last night, mister?

Watch yourself, limey.

Been so many victims this year,

it's run out of suspects.

I mean it! Where were you?

Why, i-in my
bivouac, of course...

reading Homer's
narration of the fall of Troy.

Chapman translation.

Any witnesses to that fact?

Uh, oh...

No other persons present, no.

The only caller I
had was a rather...

large serpent,

which I slew, uh...

Rattlers... I believe
they're called here.

Uh, here.

Must have been a
big'un. How'd you kill it?

Oh. Shot it between
the eyes, of course.

Uh, would you
join us in a shot of...

pop skull, limey?

Oh. No, thank you very much.

You're most kind, but...

I'm afraid my palate

hasn't quite been that
Americanized as yet.

Oh, why don't you try some
of my brand, won't you?

There you go.

Little spot for you.

It doesn't take much
of this, you know.

And a spot for you there.

Well... cheers.


Aah. He-he-he.

Ahh. Oop.


Ha, that's the real thing.

Oh, yes, I think
you'll be rather...

stunned by the results.

Now all jesting
aside, sheriff...

I have a theory
about these murders,

which I think you might
find rather interesting.

Let's hear it.

Well... it seems to me,

considering the unusual nature

in which the bodies
have all been transported,

that, uh...

there must be two very
strong men working together.

This would account
for the fact that, uh...

the victim has always been
so easily overpowered...

and their necks broken
without any sign of struggle.

Makes sense. Two men?

Of course it does.

Say like, you and
that West fella.

Oh, no, no, no, no.

I was rather thinking that
you and Dr. Gavin here...

eh, might be the
source of the danger.

And so for that
reason, gentlemen,

I'm afraid that you're
going to have to miss...

the visit of our
esteemed president.

Pleasant dreams.

I couldn't have made
a mistake on the dose.

Colonel Gibson.

Just as I thought. You thought?

You didn't die leading
your men nobly into battle.

But I did.

My poor body was mangled
almost beyond recognition.

You were identified by your
papers and your insignia of rank

that you placed on the body
of some poor dead soldier

before you run and hid
like the coward that you are.

History says you lie.

History's written by men.

And men make mistakes.

History loves dead heroes.

I am one of them.

You're a common murderer.

The only thing I want
to know is how you did it.

You will very soon find out!


Now open the door.

I said, open it!

Open it!

I heard all the noise.

W... Wayne!

Give me the gun,
or I'll break her neck.

Hand it over.


One last thing
before I kill you, West.

Why were you sent here?

Was it about my father's money?

Money? No.

No, I was sent here by
your ex-commanding officer...

General Grant.

He wanted me to correct

the inscription on
your monument.


What's wrong
with my inscription?

I'm a hero.

Oh, if you believe that,
then you can't read.

You're lying.

Show me.

I know you're lying.

You're like all the others.

Trying to find my father's gold.

But it's mine.

I'm his only heir,
and I'll find it.

You hear me? I'll find it!

It's him.

And I'll escape this
tomb of lonely rooms

and secret passages forever.

Gibsonville. Isn't it lovely

without all those idiot
people cluttering the streets...

hampering my search?

But I got rid of
them... drove them out,

one way or another.

Those you couldn't
drive out, you killed.

Maybe there isn't any gold.

Maybe it's just an illusion.


It's here in this town.

And with everyone
out of the way,

I'll level this place to
the ground if I must,

but I'll find it.

Now turn around.

"Who died gallantly in battle

"with his entire company

in the defense of Fort Stedman."

You lied, West.

It says I'm a dead hero.

Now you can join me.

Colonel Gibson...

I command you to
put that gun down.

General, I...

Put it down, I said!

I never thought I'd
live to see the day

when an officer of mine
behaved in this manner

in front of a young woman.

Need I remind you, sir,

that you are a gentleman?

The son of my
dear friend Josiah?

I'm glad you could
make it, general.

My pleasure, Mr. West.

Give me that gun, colonel.

I can't, sir. I have to...


I command you

in the name of everything
we both hold dear.

In the name of the days

we fought side by side together.

At Cold Harbor...



There's some mistake, general.

I was dead before Richmond.

Let him go, Mr. West.

Of course.

He had to have a partner
to survive in the hotel.


It worked out very well.

We got rid of all the
foolish fortune hunters.

Now you two will be the last.



The gold.

My gold.

I found it...

at last.