Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 1, Episode 31 - How to Die for Nothing - full transcript

Two drunk trail herders, one of whom draws on Matt. Matt is forced to defend himself, and kills the man. The dead man's brother (Mort Mills), another crew member, swears vengeance and now Matt must deal with the threat.


starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.

Men die for a lot of reasons.

I've even heard
of worthy ones.

Like the man
who's willing to face it

for the good
that might come after.

But he's a different breed than
most of this Boot Hill trash.

These people
died for fools' reasons.

Spilled drink,
wrong card,

and maybe worst of all
the bull-headed stubbornness

that keeps a man
from listening to reason.

To die like this is a waste.

For nothing's gained
by their dying.

That's one more thing
for me to face.

Matt Dillon, U.S. marshal.

Now, I didn't steal
that bottle from the boss

for your solitary
pleasure, Zack.

Hand it over.

Old Jacklin
ain't gonna like us

gettin' in ahead
of the rest of 'em.

I tell him you was struck down
by the whips and jingles,

so I carried you
direct to town.

I reckon your quick action
saved my life, Ned.

Now, I come up the same trail
as you, and I'm just as dry.

Pass me
that bottle.

Now, boy,
don't kill it.

I don't reckon
to ride into Dodge sober.

Now, I hope I never
see another longhorn steer.

Why, boy, by tomorrow you'll
be sorry you ever seen Dodge.

Now my turn
on that bottle.

By tomorrow
there won't be no Dodge.

We'll have it
tore plumb apart.


They'll hear
the cougar howl tonight!

Tell 'em we're here, Zack.

Let's show 'em
how we live in Texas.


Hold on there.

Get down off
those horses.

Put a bullet
through his head, Zack.

Shoot his
heels away.

I said, "Get down."

Sure, we'll
get down, mister.

That's what
we come here for.

All the way from Texas.

And you're
welcome here,

but don't you get any ideas

about shootin' up this town.

Who are you, anyway?

Can't you see?

He's a U.S. marshal.

I'll take that
gun of yours, mister,

until you're sober enough
to carry it again.

Nobody takes my gun.

Then you ride
back to camp.

I'm stayin',

Me and my gun.

There'll be a marshal for
breakfast, you try to stop me.

I guess you take
some learnin'.

Get back.

That was awful close,
Mr. Dillon.

Another drunken cowboy

with more guts
than good sense.

You busted
my head.

get over it.



You killed him.

To keep him
from killing me.

There'll be trouble
about this, marshal.

Haven't you
had enough trouble?

Not me.

His brother.

Howard Bulow.

He's out at
the camp.

I know him.

He'll come after you.

I'll be here.

It won't be like that.

Howard wouldn't
face a gunfighter.

He'll shoot you
in the back.

I know him.

It'll happen.

You wanna
bury that man here,

or do you wanna
take him back to camp?

I'll take him back to camp.

All right.

We'll give you a hand.


hold the horse.

You want some more coffee,
Mr. Dillon?

No, no thanks, Chester.

Well, I can't say
that I blame you none.

You'd think
a restaurant like this

could at least
make good coffee.

Yeah, I know.

You always
got to find fault

with everybody's coffee
but your own.

Well, that's only 'cause
most people just don't know

how to make
good coffee.

The first place,
they boil the water

before they
put the coffee in.

Any fool knows

that you gotta put the
coffee and the cold water

and bring 'em both
to a boil together.

That way you get
all the flavor.

Worst thing
they do is

they throw away the old grounds
after only usin' 'em once.

What they don't know is they're
throwin' away the best part.

You gotta keep
them old grounds,

and you add a little
fresh coffee every mornin'

and let her boil.

Shoot, you don't make a cup,
you build a pot.

You don't really
get a good pot

till you've been
usin' it about a week.

Then it's coffee.

Mr. Dillon?


The brother,
Howard Bulow,

is that what's
on your mind?


How you gonna
recognize him?

Well, Chester...

I'd say he'll probably
be the first man

who tries to shoot me
in the back.

Come on,
let's get out of here.

Give me some pie
and a cup of coffee.

If you're not gonna chew
on that sassafras root,

what do you
carry it around for?

Well, I figure I ought
to chew on it, I-

I don't
like it though.

You don't
like it, huh?

Well, you're probably the only
man in the world who doesn't.

Most people think
it's pretty tasty.

I sure don't.

Maybe it's 'cause
I got sick on it once.

It's kinda
too sweet for me.

Well, when do you figure
to start chewin' it?

Well, I don't
rightly know.

Doc said it'd be
good for me though,

make my blood thin
come spring.

There's a man who doesn't
like the light, Chester.

What do you want?

Just curious.

about what?


Oh? What's
wrong with me?

Who are you,

Who am I?


Even a marshal ought
to have some manners.

Now, you let me
worry about that.

You just tell me
your name.

I heard the law is pretty
hard-nosed hereabouts.

You don't act like
you believe it yet.

Maybe you'll feel more like
talkin' in the morning.

I'll sleep better
knowin' your in jail.

Jail? What have I done?

What kind of a town
you run here anyway?

I'm mindin'
my own business.

Here, now, marshal,
what's the trouble?

This man looks
peaceful enough to me.

He's certainly sober.

That jail's right down
the street, mister.

Now, you tell me your name,
or you get goin'.

Just a minute, marshal.
You've got the wrong man.

How do you know?

I know who
you're looking for.

I heard all about it.

Well, speak up.

This man's registered
here at the Dodge House.

I was on the desk myself.
His name's Roberts.

That so?

When'd he
get in town?

Last night.

Guess you made
a mistake, marshal.

You'll all have
to pardon the marshal.

He's a little bit
nervous tonight.

Maybe it's me
you're lookin' for, marshal.

Howard Bulow.


I ain't gonna draw.

Not like this.

Now or any other time.

I'm gonna kill you
my own way.

My own time.

First I'm gonna watch you
sweat a little bit.

I enjoyed seein' you
make a fool of yourself.

Now, you listen
to me, Bulow.

Your brother
gave me no choice.

He tried to kill me.

And he would have
if I hadn't stopped him.

Now, can you
understand that?

Nobody kills a Bulow
and lives to brag on it.


Maybe you need a few days
to think it over.

I ain't got
a few days.

You have now.

You're goin'
to jail.

For what?
I ain't done nothin'.


What charge?

I'll think
of somethin'.

Now, get goin'.

That marshal's
a mighty sudden man.

Too sudden
for me.

I'm leavin'.

Fine town you got when a man
goes to jail for talkin'.

Mornin', Chester.

Well, how's Mr. Bulow
this morning, Chester?

Oh, you'd do better
to ask how I am.

What's the matter
with you?

Well, I didn't get over
ten minutes sleep at a stretch

all last night.

Why not?

Well, you know how I'm
a light sleeper, Mr. Dillon.

Every little noise and
I'm right up on my feet.


Oh, that Bulow.

I come near goin' in
and clubbin' him.

He was at it
all night.

All night long.

Like what,

talkin' to hisself,

drummin' on them bars
with his boot.

Well, no man likes
bein' locked up.

Oh, this was
more than that.

He was hollerin'
about you,

how he was gonna
kill you for sure.

I swear, any more of it,
I'd gone in and hung him.

Well, he seems
peaceful enough now.

Oh, yeah, now. Sure,
of course now, it's daylight.

Or maybe you did
hang him, huh?

You feel any
different today, Bulow?

You're a fool,

Lockin' me up
ain't gonna change my mind.

Tell me somethin',

What would you get
out of killin' me?

What good
would it do you?


I get pleasure
just thinkin' about it.

And when I do it,
I'll feel even better.

And I'll do it.

Just as sure as you
killed my kid brother.

Did you ever hear about leaving
vengeance to the Lord, Bulow?

You ever hear about
an eye for an eye?

Marshal Dillon?

What can I
do for you?

I'm Will Jacklin,

I'm boss at Drygar herd,
we're holdin' up river.

I've come
for Howard Bulow.

You can
turn him loose.


He didn't
do a thing, marshal.

Just standin' on the street,
way I heard it.

Well, you heard
wrong, mister.

That man of yours threatened
to shoot me in the back,

and he still says
he's gonna do it.

Dillon, no man of mine is
gonna rot in a Kansas jail

when he ain't
done nothin'.

And no man of yours
is gonna run free

waitin' to put
a bullet in my back.

Now, look here,

He'll cool off after
a few days in here.

He'll get over it.

I got 14 men with me

just waitin'
down the street.

We've come a long ways,
we've had a hard drive.

We're all Texans.

There's no Kansas marshal
gonna rub our nose in the dirt.

Nobody's tryin' to,

You killed that boy, marshal.
That was bad.

Bad keepin'
his brother in jail.

Now, I want Bulow
out of there.

All right,
I'll give him to you.

When you've
sold your herd

and headed
back for Texas.

I want him now.

You don't get him now.

Fourteen men with me,

We'll get him.

And after I get him,
we're gonna tree this town.

We're gonna
take Dodge apart.

You people have mistreated
the last Texas cowman

you're going to.

I'll be back

Well, what's your
next move, marshal?

Those cowboys'll destroy Dodge,
that's what they'll do.

You've got to let
that man out of jail.

Right now.

That man means
to shoot me from ambush

if I turn him loose,

He stays
right where he is.

And what about
the rest of us?

It's all right for you
to save your own skin,

but what about us?

Those cowboys'll stop at nothing
once they get started.

They'll shoot up the town,
hurt people,

maybe burn down
my hotel.

Oh, now don't get all excited,
Mr. Riesling,

it ain't gonna
help matters none.

I am not excited.

But believe me, marshal,
if I had more time,

I'd get enough citizens
together to force you

to turn
that man loose.

Well, there ain't no time now.
They're here.

All right,

Turn him loose,
do you hear me?

Turn him loose.

You've got nobody
on your side, marshal.

Turn him loose,

You're a fool,

You make trouble here
and the law'll be after you

wherever you go.

Law don't
frighten me none.

I was raised
plumb free.

We all were.

Not to form a mob,
raid a jail,

and shoot up a town,
you're not.

What's the matter
with you men anyway?

What's the
matter with you,

throwin' an innocent
man into jail?

A man who wants to kill somebody
isn't exactly innocent.


we come here
for Bulow.

Let them have him, marshal.
Turn him loose.

That's right,

You turn him loose peaceful,
we'll leave.

You make a fight,

we gonna
take him anyway.

I'll take this
little town too.

You hear him, marshal?
He means it.

Shut up,

Do it now.


The first move
anybody makes,

I cut you in two.

Texas men ain't
afraid to die, marshal,

but we ain't
gonna get trod on.

After you finish
with him, boys,

I want you to tear
this town wide open.

I want you
to do that for me.

I'm through

Hold it!


Yes, sir?

Go get Bulow.

Yes, sir.

You and I come awful close
to bein' dead men, marshal.


you take Bulow,

and you take
the rest of your men,

and you
get out of Dodge.

That's what
we come for, Dillon.

That's all
we come for.

I knew you couldn't
keep me, marshal.

Now, how about
givin' me back my gun?

Get it for him,

listen to me.

I want you to go back
to that camp,

and I want you to try
and do some thinking.

You bet I will.

And do you know what
I'll be thinkin' about?


Sittin' next
to an open window,

or walkin'
down a dark street.

I'm gonna kill you.

I'm glad you finally
showed some sense, marshal.

Now, after that man's had
a chance to cool off a little,

I'll ride out
to those cowboys

and let them know
they're welcome in Dodge.

And I'll do it
first thing in the morning.

Ain't there nothin' you
can do about that Bulow

except wait for him?

Tried the only thing
I could, Chester.

It didn't work.

Yeah. You know, I was awful
scared there yesterday.

I was. I thought them cowboys
gonna start shootin' any minute.

I know.

That's why I let
'em have Bulow.

What's the matter
with people like that anyway?

I don't know,

Could be
a lot of things.

The war, maybe.

Too rough a life.

I don't know.

Well, yeah, but most of us
has had it rough

at one time or another.

Take me. I was
goin' on ten years old

before I even knew kids
was supposed to have a ma.

Who raised you up?

Old coffee-cooler
named Ben Cherry.

He was a friend
of my pa's.

Well, he took pretty good
care of you, didn't he?

Yeah, if you call

feedin' me on oat water
and raw pinto beans good care.

Runnin' me naked out
in the rain for my bath.


Yeah, well, he probably
did the best he could.

How long
were you with him?

Oh, till he pegged-out
in his sleep one night.

I buried him in the ground,
started on my own.

You know, Mr. Riesling
sure was itchin'

to get out to that
Drygar camp this mornin'.

Tell Jacklin and his cowboys
how welcome they are in Dodge.

You think he's back yet?

I don't know.

Let's go find out.

You know, I don't mind
the rest of them Texans,

even if they
are half wild.

I sure don't cotton up
that Bulow none.

An eye for an eye
and a tooth for a tooth,

that's all he knows.

Just about as witless
as a man can get.

Afternoon, marshal.

Hello, Riesling.

You go out to see
Jacklin this morning?


He said to
tell you that-

His men were coming
into town tonight,

and they didn't
want any trouble.

Bulow comin'
with 'em?

He was just plumb crazy,
Mr. Dillon.


That man died about as
uselessly as a man could.

He followed me
into town, marshal.

Said he'd kill me
if I warned you.

I had to do what he said,
he was listenin' to every word.

You did fine,

Just fine.