Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 1, Episode 27 - Cooter - full transcript

After Matt exposes gambler Ben Sissle as a cheat, Sissle attempts to extract revenge by giving brain-damaged Cooter Smith a gun and telling the marshal that Cooter plans to challenge him to a gunfight.

( bold theme playing)


ANNOUNCER: Gunsmoke...

starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

( melancholy theme playing)

DILLON: There are a
lot of ways a man can die.

And maybe violence
is the easiest.

Fever in the brain is worse,

or disease that fades
into skin and bone.

And sometimes you
see another thing.

A man who's never lived at all,

except to eat and sleep.

A man whose
mind is like a child.

Who needs protection,
even from himself.

That's another job for me,

Matt Dillon, U.S. marshal.

(piano playing upbeat music)

Try him again, Sam.

Right, Miss Kitty.

Well, Cooter, did you
remember what he wanted?

Yes, sir. Uh, rye.

Rye he gets.

I do, I remember.

Open for 10.


Forty to you, Kid.

Your 40.

And I've got left...$30.

And that cleans me.

I'm aiming for the pot.

It's too bad you
didn't start this game

with a man's bankroll
so I could have had

the pleasure of your
company a little longer.

I've already dropped
over $300 here, mister.

And I notice that ain't
been small enough

to keep you from pickin' it up.

Oh, no offense, Kid.


Cooter, bring the
drink to the table.

He's been over an hour
getting that one drink.

Cooter, when I
send you for a drink,

bring it back to me quickly.

I forgot, Mr. Sissle.

Well, it's all right this time,

but don't let it happen again.

No. No, I-I won't.


He ain't got a brain
in his head, that one.


Did you make a fool
of me, Mr. Sissle?

That fella's laughing at me.

No, he's laughing at
me, Cooter, not you.

That's right, isn't it, Pate?

That's right, fella.


Now just forget it.

Yes, sir.

That's $30 to you.

Two cards to me.

Whenever you're ready to play.

One card.

And three to the dealer.

(music silences)

Your third card came
off the bottom, mister.

I saw it that time.

Now just count out
the $320 I sat in with.

I'm leaving, and
I'm taking it with me.

You're making a mistake.

Count it out.

Make me.

( dramatic theme playing)

Somebody get Doc.

The boy is dead, Miss Kitty.

Well, it's too bad,

but he shouldn't
have gone for his gun.

It was him or me.

All of you saw him draw first.

Everybody saw it. You
didn't have any choice.

Now, you people
remember how it happened.

The marshal will want to know.

He'll be back tomorrow.

I'll tell him.

You can be sure I'll tell
him just how it happened.

( dramatic theme playing)

Howdy, Mr. Dillon. Welcome back.

Hello, Chester.

I'll put your horse up for you

just as soon as
I finish shavin'.


How's things up at Salina?

Oh, peaceful.

How things been in Dodge?

Oh, some cowboy got killed
in the Long Branch last night.

Outside that, it's
been pretty dull.

Who killed him?

Man named Pate.

Self-defense, they told me.

I just was goin' over there
now to find out about it.

Where were you last night?


Well, to tell you
the truth, Mr. Dillon,

I was out with a lady friend.


Well, I hope you
had a good time.

Oh, I did. I had a fine time.

Well, I'm going on
down to the Long Branch.

You go ahead and
put my horse up, huh?

Yes, sir. I'll see
you later, Mr. Dillon.

Hey, Cooter. What's the rush?

Hello, Chester.

Well, hey, now, wait
a minute. What...?

Where...? Where
you takin' this grub?

It's for Mr. Sissle.
I work for him now.

He's my new friend.

Well, that's fine, Cooter.

What do you do for
this Mr. Sissle? Cook?

No, I don't cook.

I... I carry.


Happy as a jaybird

and don't know
what time of day it is.

Come on, boy.

Thanks, Sam.

Well, the cowboy did
draw first, Matt, but, uh,

I wouldn't call it self-defense,

in spite of what everybody says.

Why not, Kitty?

Wasn't after Pate. He
was after Ben Sissle.

He wasn't even looking at Pate.

He was looking at Sissle,

and when he started
to draw, Pate killed him.

How long's this
Sissle been in town?

He got here the day
you left for Salina.


And this Pate is always hanging
around when Sissle's dealing?


Here, Mr. Sissle.

Here is is.

Well, thank you, Cooter.
You're doing just fine.

Oh, uh...

Here, go get yourself
something to eat.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. I will.

Hello, Cooter.

Hello. Hello, marshal.

I, uh, let him hang
around, run errands for me.

Seems to make him happier.

You're Marshal Dillon.

I thought you were out of town.

I was.

And you're, uh, Ben Sissle.

Well, that's right.
You've heard of me?

Where you from, Sissle?

Well, I've been
all over, marshal.

You know how gamblers are.

Yeah, I know.

How long's Pate
been working for you?

Working for me?

What are you trying
to say, marshal?

Well, I'll make it simple.

The way you operate's
already led to one killing here.

And I'm not having any more.

Well, I didn't kill
anybody, marshal.

Plenty of witnesses to that.

I don't ever carry a gun.
No matter what you think...

I think you're a gambler using
a hired gunman to protect you

when you're caught cheating.

Well, I don't know how
you could prove that,

even if it were true.

Well, I can't prove it.

But I can do something about it.

Where's this Pate?

Well, I don't know.
Why should I?

Where is he?

I told you, I didn't know.

I do.

He staying at the Dodge
House, room number seven.

All right, Sissle.

Let's go talk to him.

Let's go.

( dramatic theme playing)

You knock on his door.

Tell him I want to talk to him.

This is wrong, marshal.


All right. Go ahead and knock.

(knocking on door)

Who's that?

SISSLE: Ben Sissle.

Who's this, Ben?

This is Marshal Dillon, Pate.

What are you
doing here, marshal?

I would come
inside and tell you.

If you come here over
that cowboy last night,

it ain't no use.

Everybody saw it knows I
killed him in self-defense.

Plenty of witnesses to that.

He can't do a
thing to you, Pate.

Ah, you're right
about that, Sissle.

I can't jail Pate because
I can't prove that that boy

drew on you and not on him.

Fact, you've got it
worked out so good

I can't even prove
you were cheating.

Course you can't, marshal.

Because I wasn't cheating him.

And I'm not gonna
argue with you.

But I am gonna show you

why you won't cause any
more trouble around Dodge.

Go ahead. Show me.

You know, you're
pretty smart, Sissle.

But you're a coward.

That's why you had to hire a
gun to back up your crooked deals.

You're talking, marshal.

You gonna arrest us on
the grounds of your talk?


You can't.

You don't have any proof.

That might be just as
well for you, marshal.

Because if you don't
keep out of my affairs,

Pate will kill you.

He will?

All right, Pate.

Get out of Dodge.

I ain't done nothing, marshal.

Kill him, Pate.

( tense theme playing)

He's not even gonna try.

I'm not some half-drunk
cowboy, am I, Pate?

I got no quarrel with you.

What kind of a gunman
are you? You afraid of him?!

I said, I got no
quarrel with him.

I didn't pay you to crawl
out of town on your belly.

I know you didn't, Mr. Sissle.

But you didn't pay
me enough to stay.

I don't think you'll find any
gunman to hire out to you now.

You might as well learn
how to deal straight.

Why don't you just
run me out of town?

'Cause I want you to stay.

Why, marshal?

'Cause the next time
you make a mistake,

I'm gonna arrest you.

And then I'm gonna see you hang.

( dramatic theme playing)

Oh, sure, Matt.

Man like Sissle,
not gonna change.

He's trouble. He
always will be one.

Yeah, I know, Doc.
He's also a coward.

But I hear he deals
off the top now.

Well, stopping him
that way isn't gonna get

the kind of evidence
to hang him.

That's what you want.
Yeah, I know that.

Mr. Dillon? Chester.

What are you grinning
about, Chester?

Who do you think would
be the last man in Dodge

you'd ever expect
to start packin' a gun?

(chuckles) Me.

No. Who, Chester?

Cooter Smith.

Cooter Smith?

(Dillon laughs)

What's he doing with a gun?

Well, right now he's struttin'
around out in the alley,

nervous as a bride.

He oughtn't to be
allowed to look at a gun,

much less wear one, Matt.

Yeah. You better
bring him over, Chester.

I ought to talk to him.

Yes, sir.

I wonder what made
Cooter Smith put on a gun.

Oh, I don't know, Doc.
He's pretty harmless.

Yeah, I don't know.

Man like that can
be harmless one day

and dangerous the next.

Yeah, what is the
matter with him, anyway?

I don't know. He, uh...
I examined him once.

Looked to me like he'd
been shot in the head

sometime or other. He
couldn't say or wouldn't say.

He just didn't seem
to remember, I guess.

Trouble is, he knows
something's wrong with him.

He knows he's different
from other people.

But he just doesn't know
what to do about it. That's it.

I'm here, marshal.

Oh, hello, Cooter.

I come here like Chester said.

Well, thank you,
Cooter. I, uh...

I wanted to talk to you.

You never told me
to come to you before.

Well, you never
wore a gun before.

Oh. Uh... That's
for my job, marshal.

What kind of a job?


I don't rightly know.

Tell me something that
you do know then, Cooter.

Who hired you?

Well, the fella that
gave me this gun,

he hired me for an
awful lot of money.

I've been working for him
for a long time, I guess.

You mean Ben Sissle?

The fella that you
carry the lunches for?

That's the one. Mr. Sissle.

Uh, Chester knows.

Everybody knows I
work for Mr. Sissle,

and, uh, he told
me to wear the gun.

Did he tell you what for?


What about tonight?

That's when he's gonna tell me.

Gonna tell me
everything I gotta do.

I-I'll do it too.

Quick, like he says.

I like to have a job.

Nobody here ever
gave me a job before.

Well, Cooter, I'm
glad you got a job.

But you be careful now.

Don't you let Mr. Sissle talk
you into any kind of trouble.

No, he won't do that.

He don't try and make a
fool of me, like some do.

I-I don't like that.

He better not do that.

I'll tell him not to do that.


You know how to shoot that gun?

I can learn.

Well, I think I'll go
talk to Mr. Sissle now.

All right, Cooter.

You better take that
gun away from him, Matt.

He's liable to kill somebody.

He's sure enough
crazy, Mr. Dillon.

Well, I think Sissle's
crazier than Cooter,

giving him that gun.

Well, I think I'll
wait till tonight.

May give Mr. Sissle the
chance to finish making his rope.

What rope, Mr. Dillon?

Oh, Chester.

For the one I hope Mr. Sissle's

gonna hang himself
with, Chester.

( dramatic theme playing)

(piano playing upbeat music)

Evening, Kitty.

What are you doing
around here so early?

Well, you might say
I'm here professionally.

Same thing, Sam. How
about you, Kitty? A drink?

No, thanks, Doc. I got one. Oh.

There's nobody sick or shot
up round here that I know about.

Might be just a
question of time.


Well, all I know is...

Could be this is the
start of it right now.

Give me a rye whiskey, Sam.

Right, marshal.

Evening, marshal.

Cooter tells me you
had a talk this morning.

That's right.

Looks like you're
gonna get a chance

to talk to him some more.


Well, now, I don't think
it'll be so fine, marshal.

He says he's going to kill you.

Now, that doesn't
sound like Cooter.

Oh, he's not so
easygoing as you think.

How do you figure?

Well, once he tied that gun on,

it changed his whole character.

Made him mean.

You'd be surprised
how mean, marshal.


And, uh...

maybe he can tell me why
he's saying he's gonna kill me.

'Cause he thinks you're
gonna put him in jail

and take his gun away.

Was that his idea?

Or was that something
you put in his head?

Well, you better
talk to him, marshal.

Calm him down.

I wouldn't want to see him hurt.

Then why did you
give him the gun?

Well, he asked me to.

Said he wanted to carry
one like everybody else.

Well, I didn't think it
would do any harm.

Then when I asked him
to give it back to me, he...

He wouldn't hear of it.

I see.

I don't want any
more trouble, marshal.

You know that.

DILLON: You lookin'
for me, Cooter?


Come here.

Cooter, I've been telling
the marshal what you said.

Remember? We talked
about it this afternoon?

About the gun, Cooter?

I remember.

I'm gonna kill you, marshal.

( tense theme playing)

I'm gonna draw on you,
and I'm gonna kill you.

Now, Cooter, you
know better than that.

No, it's true, marshal.

I'm gonna kill you.

Well, Cooter...

What has Mr. Sissle
here been sayin' to you?

Well, I'm goin' to.
Now you look out.

Cooter, you wouldn't
stand a chance.

You were too slow. You
didn't even get your gun out.


That was good, marshal.

I did right, didn't
I, Mr. Sissle?

For the joke I
did, like you said.

I said...

"I'm gonna kill you, marshal."

And then I went for
my gun, and he did too.

I did it all like you
said, didn't I, Mr. Sissle?

Yes, Cooter.

You did just fine.

It... It was a joke, wasn't it?

What's wrong?

Well, Cooter,

Mr. Sissle wanted you to
draw on me so I'd kill you.

And that I'd make
such a fool of myself

I'd have to leave Dodge.

Well, did I s-spoil the joke?

Well, he wanted me
to kill you, Cooter.


I'm afraid the
joke's on... On us.

On you and me.

Did you want the
marshal to kill me?

Is that what you
wanted, Mr. Sissle?

Well... Please tell me.

Did you?

You didn't try to make
a fool of me, did you?

Did you?

Well, I hope you're proud
of what you done, Sissle.

Now, you let me
tell you something.

I'm gonna see that
this story goes after you.

I want everybody to know

what a cheap,
rotten, tinhorn you are.

Now you get out of here,

while you still can.

Get out, Sissle. Before
we ride you out on the rails.

You gonna take your
hired gunman with you?

(all laughing)

Did you try to make a
fool of me, Mr. Sissle?!

That's enough, Cooter!

You made a fool
of me, Mr. Sissle!

Let go of me!

I didn't forget to draw.
You didn't tell me to.

Didn't you? But I
can draw, Mr. Sissle.


I got you, Mr. Sissle.

DILLON: Cooter!

Put the gun down, Cooter.

You're not gonna make a
fool of me again, Mr. Sissle.

Cooter, if you shoot
him, you'll go to jail.

They'll hang you for it.

That don't make no
difference. They won't laugh.

Nobody will.

(gun cocks)

I'm not gonna miss, Mr. Sissle.


Unless you put that gun down,

I'm gonna have to shoot you.

(gun cocks)

And then you'll
never get to kill him.

He'll laugh at you.

We'll all laugh at you, Cooter.

Now you stay back!

Uh, you better keep
your gun, Mr. Sissle.

You see, I'm not gonna
work for you anymore.

Ain't you gonna go
after him, Mr. Dillon?

No, he won't go far, Chester.

I'll pick him up pretty soon.

I think we done enough
to Cooter for one day.

Well, it wasn't your
fault, Mr. Dillon.

No. No, but...

that doesn't make
me feel any better.

( dramatic theme playing)

( peaceful theme playing)

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