Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964–1969): Season 4, Episode 25 - The Price of Tomatoes - full transcript

Sgt Carter tries to evict a tomato farmer from secluded base property, but he has the legal right to be there.

Starring... as Gomer Pyle.

Also starring... as
Sergeant Carter.

♪ ♪

Now, the purpose of
Operation Lightning Bolt

is to test the new Mark
14 mobile rocket launcher

under combat conditions.

And since the Mark 14 is
General Cartwright's baby,

he'll be flying in
Thursday morning

to act as official observer.

Now, are there any
questions as to your

individual assignments? Sir?

Sergeant. According
to the operation plan,

my platoon is supposed to
set up a defense perimeter

around the primary rocket
launching site in Tract 38.

That's right, Sergeant.

It's in this area here,

along the eastern
edge of the base.

Well, sir, I don't think I've
ever been out that way.

Neither has anyone else.

That section of land
hasn't been used

since Camp Henderson
was established.

In that case, sir, if I
could have permission

to reconnoiter the area in
advance of the maneuvers?

You'll have to do more
than reconnoiter, Sergeant.

Since it's never been
used, it's probably overgrown

with mesquite and chaparral.

You'll have to send
someone out with a bulldozer

to clear out a launch area.

So I need a volunteer
who can drive a bulldozer.

Anybody here able to handle one?

Anybody? Anybody at all?

Look, fellas,
somebody in this platoon

must know how
to drive a bulldozer.

Come on. You don't
have to be an expert

just adequate.

Anybody here just adequate?

It's just like driving
a truck, fellas.

It's simple.

Come on, somebody here
must know how to drive a truck.

Okay, the rest of the
platoon dismissed.

Swear you can drive
a bulldozer, Pyle.

Oh, I can, Sergeant.

I can drive a bulldozer,
a tractor, a reaper

or any other kind of
machinery you can think of.

There's a general coming, Pyle.

That area has got to be

in tip-top shape
for this maneuver.

Trust me, Sergeant.

Oh, I wish you hadn't said that.

Sergeant Carter,

I know how important
this is to you,

and well, don't worry, I'll
do a real fine job for you.


Now here's the area I
want cleared up: Tract 38.

Yes, sir.

Get rid of every bush and weed.

It's got to be
clean as a whistle.

Trust me.

Will you stop saying that?!

Okay, now get moving.

You got a pretty good
day's work ahead of you.

Yes, sir.

And Pyle... Yes, sir?

If you come across
any birds' nests,

don't spend the rest of the day

trying to find them
a new place to live.

Just shoo 'em away
and push on through.

Shut that thing down!

Shut that down
and get off of there!

(motor stops)

I'm sorry, mister.

I didn't even see you.

Last thing I expected

way out here was a pedestrian.

Well, you might say,
the last thing I expected

to see out here
was a trespasser!

But you got it all wrong.

I'm not trespassing.

I'm just doing what
I was ordered to do.

Clearing all the
brush and weeds off

of Section 38 on this here map.

Well, that makes you
a trespasser 'cause that

Tract 38, or whatever
you call it, belongs to me.

It's my property...
Weeds included.

But it says right here

"Property of the United
States Government."

This property is mine.

Now, just take my word for it.

But, sir, this is
Camp Henderson,

a Marine base.

I know that. I
know all about that.

This property is mine!

Now, if you'll come with
me, I'll prove it to you.

Now just take a look at that.


Now, then... do you think

that I'd go to all that work

on land that didn't
belong to me?

I've been planting tomatoes
on this land for 25 years.

Not only here, but a
big patch over yonder

and another big one
up the draw there.

Well, I never knew
anything like that was here.

I sure am glad you stopped me.

Why, I pretty near
bulldozed up half your farm.

I'm awful sorry, mister.

I really am.

Well... no harm done, I guess.

You just get your bulldozer
off my property and we'll

forget the whole thing.

Yes, sir, 'cause it
sure would be a shame

to ruin all these
beautiful tomatoes.

Well, I'll be!

Twin Falls Beefsteak
tomato plants!

Do you know something about

Twin Falls Beefsteak
tomato plants?

I sure do. I used
to help plant them

on my Uncle Clarence's
farm back home in Mayberry.

That's Mayberry, North Carolina,

where I come from, and
when we used to harvest them,

we used to get the
plumpest, juiciest,

tastiest tomatoes in the
whole state. You don't say?

Well, what did you
say your name was?

Gomer Pyle.

Private First Class
Gomer Pyle, that is.

Well, I'm Titus Purcell.

It's good to make
your acquaintance.

Uh, tell me something.

After you got through harvesting
your Twin Falls Beefsteakers,

did you ever cull out a
few of the overripe ones

and make yourself a tomato pie?

Golly, I hadn't tasted
a tomato pie in so long,

I forgot how good they are.

Well, it's high time
you remembered.

Come on up to the house, I
want you to meet the missus.

She always says, "Never turn

a trespasser away
on an empty stomach."

And to think that I've been
here at Camp Henderson

all these years and I
never seen you once.

Shoot, we're
practically neighbors.

Would you like to finish
up the last slice, Gomer?

How about another cup of coffee?

It's awful kind of
you, Mrs. Purcell,

but I really should
be getting back.

Well, we sure enjoyed
having you, Gomer.

It's always a pleasure to meet
a nice country boy like you.

Well, thank you, ma'am.

Nice of you to come in
and sit a spell, Gomer.

And here, Gomer.

Want you to take these along.

I picked 'em special for you.

Well, you've both
been so kind to me.

I sure wish there was
some way I could repay you.

Well, you can best do that

by coming back and
paying us a visit sometime.

And bring your friends.

That is, if they got a fancy

for Twin Falls
Beefsteak tomatoes.

Well, thank you and bye.


Hey, Sergeant
Carter, Corporal Boyle.

Any of you fellas care
for a nice, ripe tomato?

Pyle, what are you
doing back here so soon?

Did you finish that job?

Sergeant, you'll never
guess what happened.

You'll just never... Pyle!

Guess what happened.

Pyle, I'm not in the
mood for playing games.

What happened?

You know that Tract 38,

where we was going to
put that launching site?

We're going to have to
find another place for it.


That's right.

Tract 38 ain't on the base.

It belongs to a Mr. Purcell.

He's the one that give
me these tomatoes.

I don't believe it.

I hear it, but I
don't believe it.

I suppose he also owns

a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge?

But it's the truth, Sergeant.

He's got a tomato patch
right smack in the middle of it.

A tomato patch!

Do you know what
you ran into, Pyle?

A squatter. But, Sergeant...

A squatter, Pyle.

How can you be so stupid?

Whoever this clown is,

he was lying in his
teeth, just to get rid of you.

Oh, no he wasn't, Sergeant.

Mr. Purcell ain't
the type of man

to say something he don't mean.

When he tells you something,

well, you've just
got to believe him.

Sure. Sure.

Now, you get back out
there on your bulldozer

and I'll follow you in the jeep.

'Cause we're
gonna pay a little call

on your friend, Mr. Purcell,

just so I can personally
toss him off the base

and you can get
on with your job!

Well, Gomer, back so soon?

And you brought a friend.

Well, not a friend, sir.

His sergeant, which ain't
exactly the same thing.

Well, any sergeant of
Gomer's is a friend of ours.

Come on in, boys.

Maude! Maude!

Don't he look honest, Sergeant?

Don't he look like somebody

that belongs on a postage stamp?

Gomer's back and he
brought his sergeant.

Well, Gomer, it's
good to see you again.

Sergeant, now you all sit down

and I'll go make some
nice, fresh coffee.

No thanks, ma'am... I
didn't come for coffee.

Uh, some of that nice tomato
pie Gomer told you about?

Well, no, sir, he
didn't mention any pie.

But he did tell me that
you claim to own this land.

Yeah, that's right.

Well, sir, according to
this map I've got here,

this land belongs to the
United States Marine Corps.

Well, you better get
yourself another map, son,

'cause that one's dead wrong.

Sir, this map came
from the printing office

in Washington, DC.

You can't dispute the word

of the printing office
in Washington, DC.

That's the government.

Who says I can't?

The government is just
another name for the people.

And as one of the
people, I say my word

is as good as the government's,
any day of the week.

Not when it says
different in writing.

You see here?

"Property of the United
States of America."

And I'm afraid, sir...

that makes you a squatter.


Mr. Purcell, now don't go
taking that the wrong way...

Now, listen here, young fella,

if anybody's
squatting, it's you!

'Cause you're squatting
here in my living room,

which is built on my property!

Look, Mr. Purcell, in
three days from now,

we are having maneuvers here.

Not in my living
room, you're not!

Oh, he didn't mean that,
Mr. Purcell, he meant...

What I meant,
Mr. Purcell, is that

you are in a lot of trouble.

Legally, the government
can charge you back rent

for all the years
you been living here

without them knowing about it.

But we wouldn't want
that to happen, would we?

So, uh, why don't we
just make a little deal?

I won't tell anybody

what you've been doing,

provided you pack up
and leave by tomorrow.


Get out of my house.

Look, Mr. Purcell... Out!

I said, "Get out!"

Now, Mr. Purcell,
what he meant...

I know what he meant!

Get out!

Mr. Purcell, I'm
truly sorry about this.

Look, Mr. Purcell, you
haven't heard the end...!

Now what do I tell the colonel?

There's a general
coming in three days.

Well, tell him the truth.

Tell him that we're trespassing
on Mr. Purcell's property.

It's not his property.

Get that through your head!

It's not his property!

Get off of my property!

We're going! We're going!

Let me get this
straight, Sergeant.

Are you trying to
tell me some farmer

has built himself a
shack within the confines

of a military reservation?

Yes, sir.

Of course, I tried
to use diplomacy.

I told him he'd have to leave,

but he wouldn't budge.

A farmer growing tomatoes
on Marine property.

It doesn't make sense.

Excuse me, sir,
you wouldn't say that

if you could see them tomatoes.

They're just as nice
and plump and juicy.

And it ain't a
shack they live in,

it's a real proper home.

Well, who are they?
Where did they come from?

Sergeant, we better have

the base legal
officer handle this.

If you'll just pick up
Lieutenant Caruthers

and drive him out to the
farm, I'm sure he'll send this

Purcell fellow
packing in no time.

Well, Gomer, another
pleasant surprise.

He's back again.

Yes, sir, and we brought
Lieutenant Caruthers with us.

And if you don't
mind us intruding,

well, he'd like a word with you.

You seem like a
reasonable, intelligent man.

If you'll just let us
in, I'm sure we can

straighten this out in
a matter of minutes.


I'm sorry, Gomer,
you have to leave

with them other
fellas, but you feel free

to come back any time.

You know, I've seen

some stubborn, pigheaded
men in my day, Sergeant,

but your friend Purcell
beats them all, in spades.

I was afraid something
like this would happen, sir.

He gave me the same treatment.

But you can't hardly
blame him, Sergeant.

After all, it is his property
you're arguing about.

Pyle, get over on that bulldozer
and get in the driver's seat.

But Sergeant...
You heard me, Pyle.

Get on that bulldozer!

Because we're coming
back with reinforcements

and then you
can finish your job!

(no audio)

So, you see, sir,

despite what you might think,

this land has been the property
of the federal government

for over a hundred years,
and we have the proof.

Lieutenant Caruthers.

Yes, sir.

This is a photostatic
copy of a will

dated July 7, 1866,

signed by Mr. Kyle Wetherby,
owner of record at that time,

granting the area now
known as Camp Henderson

to the United States Government.

And I can assure you

it will stand up in
any court in the land.

GRAY: What about
that, Mr. Purcell?

Ooh, uh...

it's a, it's an authentic
copy, all right.

(quietly): There must be
some mistake, Sergeant.

Mr. Purcell wouldn't lie.
I just know he wouldn't.

I, uh, know all
about that will...

'cause, uh, while you was
digging up that piece of paper,

I was doing a little
digging up myself.

Now... this here is the original
copy Kyle Wetherby's will.

Original?! I don't understand.

What would you be doing with it?

Well, apparently,
you fellas didn't bother

to read paragraph
four, section nine,

the bottom of page 12 there.

Now, it says there that when
Kyle Wetherby gave this land away,

he reserved a couple
of small sections

for the use of his descendants.

Now, you fellas might
be interested to know

that Kyle Wetherby was
my mother's great-grandpa,

which makes me a descendant.

And part of the land
he left me was Tract 38,

which is about where
you're sitting, Colonel.

What about this, Lieutenant?

Well, assuming that
Mr. Purcell is, in fact,

the lineal descendant
of the late Kyle Wetherby,

as he alleges to be,
it is conceivable...

Lieutenant, if Mr. Purcell
is the descendant,

is this his land?

I'm afraid so, sir.

Then he does own
this part of the camp.

Did you hear that, Sergeant?

You see, Colonel? I knew
Mr. Purcell wouldn't lie.

I just knew it.

Well, that's the reason
I believed him all along.

All along!

Hey, Mr. Purcell.

Hello, Gomer.

Was you looking for me?

Well, not exactly.

I come over here to
talk to your colonel.

Know where I can find him?

Well, yes, sir.

He's right here
in this building.

I'll take you
right to his office.

Well, I'd appreciate that.

Although I don't think your
colonel's gonna appreciate

what I want to
talk to him about.

Good to see you, Mr. Purcell.

Won't you sit down?

No, thank you.

This ain't a social call.

I see.

That will be all, Pyle.

If you don't mind, Colonel,

I'd like for Gomer to stay.

Him being the only one to
believe me in the first place,

I want him in on this.

Oh, that's all
right, Mr. Purcell.

But if it's about the
use of your section

for our rocket launch site,

I want you to know

that matter was straightened
out two hours ago.

I was going to send a
messenger over to inform you.

In fairness to you,

we're going to use
another part of the base

and forget the whole matter.

Well, ain't that
nice, Mr. Purcell?

To forget about it, I mean.

They may want to
forget about it, but I don't.

Colonel, I was brought
up to respect a man's word.

Whatever he said,
that was it; his bond.

For two days now,

people have been coming
over to my place there,

and I've told 'em
all the same thing,

but not one man, not one soul

would take my word,
exceptin' Gomer here.

I don't take being
called a liar easy.

Oh, now, Mr. Purcell,
I'm sure no one meant...

You can't smooth this over!

My mind's made up!

When a Purcell gets
pushed into a corner,

he fights back!

Now that's why I'm
claiming all that's mine.

All that's yours?

I don't understand.

You got a copy
of the will handy?

Why, yes, uh... right here.

Take a look at page 12,
paragraph two, section six.

See something that
interests you, do you?

This deeds you not only section
38, but another section, too.

Number 104.

That's right.

Now I don't know where 104 is,

but wherever it is,
starting as soon as I can,

I'm planning on
planting tomatoes on it.


Section 104's right
under our feet, Colonel.

Headquarters building is sitting

in the middle of it.

You wouldn't want to plant
tomatoes here, Mr. Purcell...

would you?

Twin Falls Beefsteak tomatoes.

Is it true?

I'm afraid so, sir.

Legally, headquarters
is on Purcell's land...

and so is the house you
and Mrs. Gray are living in, sir.


Well, according
to the land title,

your house is in the northern
boundary of Tract 104.

Which means he can
legally plant tomatoes

in my driveway?

His driveway, sir.

Of course,
realistically speaking,

Purcell doesn't stand
much of a chance

of making his claim stick.

Since an official military
installation's already here,

he can't really
press to evict us.

But the publicity from such
legal procedures could prove,

well, rather embarrassing,
just the same.

Lieutenant, what do
you think it would take

to soften Purcell's
attitude towards us

to the extent that he'd be
willing to forget the whole thing

and go back to the status quo?

Well, sir, a stubborn,
proud fellow like that,

I think an apology.

An abject apology from the...

the party Purcell
considers responsible

for the situation
would do the trick.

Good. Go and apologize abjectly.


Lieutenant, we might
not be in this mess

if you had bothered to read
that document thoroughly.

Sir, don't you think...?

Lieutenant, I want this
situation straightened out

before General Cartwright
arrives this afternoon.

I don't want anything like
this hanging over our heads.

Yes, sir.

And as you yourself suggested,

Mr. Purcell will be happy
to accept your apology

and forget the whole thing.

So take care of it, Lieutenant.

Consider it done, sir.

TITUS: And stay out!

But Mr. Purcell, at
least please let me finish.

I ain't interested in
none of your apologies.


Now just go and don't
you ever come back!

Now scat!

And so, apparently,

Mr. Purcell does not consider
Lieutenant Caruthers here

the initial offender.


The one who caused the mess,

who made waves...
Meaning you, Sergeant.

You were the first
one to speak to Purcell,

and you obviously
rubbed him the wrong way.

But, sir, do you really think

Purcell will carry
out his threat?

Sergeant, the man
has a legal document,

and we could be standing right
in the middle of a tomato patch.

Now, General Cartwright
will be arriving in a few hours

and I want this matter
straightened out.

Aye, aye, sir.

I'll see if I can
smooth things over.

Not "if," Sergeant, you
will smooth things over.

Is that clear?

Yes, sir, you can count on me.

Consider it done, sir.

And the same goes for you, too.

Now out!

Sergeant Carter?

Is everything all cleared
up with Mr. Purcell?

No, Pyle, it's not cleared up.

You know whose
fault this whole thing is?

Yours, Pyle, yours.

Mine, Sergeant?

Yeah, yours!

If you hadn't have
gotten so friendly

with this guy in
the first place,

this never would've happened.

You always have
to be Mr. Friendly.

Mr. Stupid is what you are!

Mr. Gomer Stupid!

I sure didn't mean to
do anything wrong...

Don't talk, Pyle.
Just don't talk!

In less than one hour, a
general's plane is landing here,

and the colonel expects me

to have everything patched
up with your farmer friend.

Thanks a lot, Pyle.

You really did it
to me this time.


(loud clank)


Get out of here,
Pyle! Just get out!

GRAY: Sergeant.

Yes, sir.

What about the Purcell matter?

Everything straightened out?

Well, sir, I can't
honestly say it is,

but if the colonel will
give me a little more time...

You mean we're right
back where we started.

I'm afraid so, sir.

That's just fine.

General Cartwright's
due any minute

and Purcell could barge in
here waving eviction notices.

Private First Class
Gomer Pyle reporting, sir.

I know I'm supposed
to be in formation,

but I got some good
news, sir... real good news.

At ease.

It's about Mr. Purcell, sir.

Oh, really?

Yes, sir, I was just
over talking to him,

and guess what?

He ain't mad anymore.
Everything's okay.

What happened?

Well, when I got out there,

Mr. Purcell asked
me if I was in the mood

for a nice cup of coffee.

And I said, "Well, are
you gonna have one?

If you're gonna have
one, I'll have one."

Then Mrs. Purcell,
she brought out

some fresh
cinnamon-baked apples,

and Mr. Purcell said,
"Will you have one?"

I said, "Are you gonna have one?

'Cause if you'll have
one, I'll have one."

Pyle, what does all
that have to do with it?

Well, it has a whole
lot to do with it, sir.

You see, country folks don't
never sit down to discuss

a business matter without
first having a bite to eat.

What business matter?

I hope you don't mind, Colonel,

but golly, we've got to
get 'em from somewhere.

And I thought we might as
well get 'em from Mr. Purcell.

Get what from Purcell?
What are you talking about?

Tomatoes, sir.

You see, he never
does sell all he grows,

and, well, I know we just use

tons and tons of 'em
here in the mess hall.

And so, we decided
the smart thing to do

was to each scratch
the other fella's back.

I told him if he wouldn't
press legal charges,

that we'd buy all
of his surplus crop.

You mean, that's all it took?

Yes, sir, that's all.

Did you get it in writing, Pyle?

No, sir. I didn't have to.

What do you mean? If you
don't have anything in paper,

how do we know we have a deal?

Oh, we have a deal, all right.

You see, he believed
me just like I believed him.

Well, here you are,
Sarge... The monthly report.

What do you say we knock
off and get some chow, huh?

You go ahead, Boyle.

I got myself a
sandwich from the diner.

Are you kidding?
Buying your lunch

when we've got the best
cooks in the Marine Corps

right here on this base?


And what are they
dishing out lately?

I'll tell you.

For breakfast: tomato juice,

tomato omelets and
broiled tomatoes on the side.

For lunch: tomato soup,
tomato aspic, tomato salad,

stewed tomatoes, and
for dessert... get this...

Tomato pie.

I am sick of us having
to eat our way out

of the mess Pyle got us into.

Hey, Sergeant
Carter, Corporal Boyle.

You'll never guess
what happened.

You just never will.

You got lost on the way
back from town in the jeep.

Oh, no, Sergeant,
nothing like that.

I stopped off to say
hello to Mr. Purcell,

and he had the happiest news.

He's gonna stop
selling us tomatoes?

Oh, no, Sergeant,
just the opposite.

He's doing so well in
the tomato business now,

that he's gonna take
some of his profits

and start growing corn.


Yes, sir, and I'm sure I
can make the same deal

with him that I made
on the tomatoes.

Won't that be something, though?

Now we can have
some corn pancakes,

corn fritters, cornbread...