Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 1, Episode 34 - Chester's Mail Order Bride - full transcript

Chester has been writing to a mail-order bride who is now coming to Dodge to marry him. What Chester has neglected to tell Matt and Doc is that the picture he sent her wasn't his but the marshal's.


Starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.

Each time I come up here
to Boot Hill...

I think of all the men
that Dodge has watched die.

Some a coward's death...

and some standing up
and in good style.

More than a few of these
I've had a part in.

I'm Matt Dillon,
U.S. marshal.

But now, standing here,

looking out over
the high plains,

I remember that while Dodge
is a pretty rough camp,

sometimes there's
a lot of good

to be found there.

Fill it
up again, Sam.

I said fill
it up again.

Look here,

ain't you
had enough?

Sam, I want you to give me
your honest opinion.

Do you think that
a girl like that

could see anything
in me?

My honest opinion?


Woman trouble,
huh, little fella?

Oh, nobody
asked you.

She's a right
pretty gal. Yes, sir.

Hey, give that
back to me.

You just keep a twist
on that temper of yours.

Let's you and me
be friends.

You heard
what I said.

You better get Chester
out of here, Matt,

before that buffalo hunter
pinches his head off.

Yeah. Guess
I'd better.

What's got into him,

I wish I knew.

He's been acting
like a pit cock all week.

What's that picture?

I don't know.
He wont show it to me.

Says he wants
a man's advice.

You take
your dirty buffalo paws

off my pic-

You know, I'd taken quite
a fancy of you, little fella.

I hate to do this.


I was only trying
to be friendly, marshal.

Uh, that's a fact.

Yeah, I know.

Come on, Chester.

All right, Chester.
Now, who is she?

Chester, you
drink this coffee,

and you keep drinking it
until you can talk.

Now- Now,
who is that?

Come on, Chester.
Tell us who she is.

Well, you see,

interested, huh?

Yeah. We're


She's, um...

She's coming...

to marry me.

What did he say?

Are you sober enough
to know what you're saying?

Well, it was my letters
that done it-

Your letters?

Did you write to this girl
through one of those

matrimonial papers
or something?

The Cupid's Messenger.

Well, you tinhorn

Don't you call me
names, Doc.

I feel bad enough.

It's a terrible

No. N-never
mind, doc.

I wanna hear
the rest of this.

Go on,

Well, eh...

she wrote that, uh...

she was gonna
be here tomorrow.

Ten in the morning
on the Santa Fe.

Well, you must write
a real good letter.

Well. Yeah,
I guess I do. I-

I didn't think
I wrote good enough though

to bring her all the way
out here from Philadelphia.

Pretty girl like this
coming to see you.

I don't see
why you've been acting

like a spooky horse
all week.


Well, uh...

I just can't help

but worry and fret,
Mr. Dillon,

When you got
a problem.

When I got a problem?

Yeah. You see...

when she sent me
her picture, well...

...I had to find one
to send to her and...

...well, I don't take
a very good picture and, heh...

I sent her yours.

Eh- You had it
in your drawer.

You know, the-

The one that you had took
in Fort Worth, and...

That funny plug hat
and that-

Them mucked-up shoes.

I know, I know.

I ought to be
skinned alive

for doing this
to you, Mr. Dillon.

No. I- I don't see why,

After all, you haven't
done anything to me.

I haven't?


I just have to go down
to the depot

and meet a pretty girl,
that's all.

I think I might
enjoy that.


Then I, uh,
drive her back to town.

I think I might
enjoy that too.


But, uh...

you're the one
who's gonna have

to do
all the explaining.


Well, that's awful
nice of Mr. Dillon

to do that
for me, but...

I don't see why he had
to get all dressed up,

with a tie and
everything, do you?

Oh, now, Chester,
don't worry about that.

Now, here.
Here, you take this suit,

and go on in there
and get yourself bathed,

and get ready
to be barbered.

Go on now.

Hey, Doc, where did
you get the suit

for the mail-order

I borrowed it
from the undertaker.

The undertaker?

I've given him
enough business.

He owes me
a favor or two.

What was that
about the undertaker?

Well, Chester,

That suit, uh, there

belonged to a fella
that's now on Boot Hill.

Boot Hill?


Doc, you think
it's all right

to wear a suit
off'n a corpse?

Why, sure.

Fella that owned
that suit

was a fine fella.

And he'd be proud
if he knew

he was helping out
a new bridegroom.


Excuse me, ma'am.


Oh. I'm Ann.

Ann Smithwright?

I'm so ashamed,

I know you'll
never forgive me, but...

here I am.

Oh, don't look at me
that way, please.

I can explain everything.

It was my sister's picture
I sent you.


I see.

At first, I never dreamed
it would go this far, but...

then you wrote such
wonderful letters, and...

I wish I were dead.

Are you a...


Oh. Well, you-
You might say so.

I, uh...

Well, I think
we'd better get you

up to the Dodge House.

That's a hotel,
isn't it?

Well, yes, but, uh...

you don't have to worry.

But, Chester-
Now, Miss Smithwright.

I think we'll both
feel a lot better

after we've talked
this thing over.

Yes, Chester.

Kitty will take good care
of you, Miss Smithwright.

Anything you want.

She really knows her way
around this town.


I'll be back

Come on, I'll
show you your room.

I know I did
an awful thing,

and he doesn't owe me
one little snitch of courtesy.

But he didn't say
one single word to me

all the way
from the depot.

Well, don't worry.

It's all gonna
straighten out.

I know I'm not
as beautiful as my sister-

Oh, now.

In fact, I'm not beautiful
at all, but...

I just got
sick and tired

of nobody even seeing me
when she was around.

And you thought
you had an answer, hm?

Well, I read the magazines
about the West.

You know,
how there aren't

enough women to go around, will do
anything for you.

no matter
what you're like.

Hm. Guess I better get me
some of those magazines.

So I-

I thought that...maybe
after a while...

Chester wouldn't
mind so much

if I were
kind of plain.

After all...

I am a woman.

Look, I'm sure
that when you've had

a nice long talk
with Chester,

that you'll realize
that you don't have

anything to blame
yourself for.

Come in,


That's right.

Chester, uh,
this is Ann.

Good luck.

Oh, uh-
Eh- Oh-



No, y-you
can't be Ann.

And you can't be

Well, I-
I am. Heh.

W-what about the man
who brought me from the depot?

Oh, that was only
the marshal.

He was, heh,
just helping me out.

How dare you send me
his picture.

Do you realize
you made me come all the way

from Philadelphia
on false pretenses?

False pretenses? Yes, false pretenses.

Well, what
about you?

At least I had
the decency to send

a picture
of my own sister.

Well, I don't
have a sister.

Well, that's
no excuse.

After...all our
beautiful letters...

...we turn out to be...

two different people.

Strangers in...

a hotel room.

Well, what-

Please, don't-
Don't, uh-

Eh, eh-

Don't you, uh,
think that...

we could
talk this over?

Yes, I-
I think we'd better.


Oh. I wonder what's
keeping 'em so long.

Tsk. Probably trying
to figure out

which one's
the worst liar.

"Oh, what a tangled
web we weave

when first we practice
to deceive."

It's Sir Walter Scott.

Heh. well,
I declare.

Sorry that I took
so long. Heh.


But, uh...

I had to stop by
Moss Grimmick's stable

and rent a buggy.


You planning to drive
Miss, uh, Smithwright

all the way back
to Philadelphia?


You can josh me
if you want to, Mr. Dillon,

but, uh...

me and Ann
are going for a ride

out on the prairie
this afternoon.


Well- Tell us
what happened.

Oh, nothing much.

Ann just said that
we must have meant

what we wrote in them
letters, and that...

well, pictures
just don't matter.

Heh. It's-

It's how you feel inside.

That's what really counts.


I wont say a word.


I think it's a-

A lovely thought, Chester.

Oh, and she's
a lovely girl too.

You know, I mean...
once you give her

a chance
to grow on you, heh.


I wont be gone
too long.

Let me be the first to wish
you luck, little fella.

Oh, thank you
kindly, mister.

Oh, you can
call me Nate.

I run the best five-wagon
buffalo outfit

south of the Platte.


Let me wish you
luck too.

"Oh, what a tangled web
we weave

when first we prac-"

Yeah, yeah,
I know, Doc.

But did, uh,
Sir Walter

say how to get
out of it?


...there it is.
There's the prairie.

Oh. It's more beautiful
than anything I ever

read about
in magazines.

Oh. Is it?

What's the matter,

Oh, I...

can't go on
making believe.

You're just too young
to know what you're doing.

I'm 17.

Yeah, but...

I ain't your kind.

I mean, you know,
anybody can tell

that you come
from good folks and...

And besides I don't have
a cent to my name. I-

I had to borrow money
from Mr. Dillon

to pay for your room
at the Dodge House.

But now you'll have
something to work for.

And you'll have me.

Well, that's...

what I was
thinking about.

When a woman stands by
a man, he can do anything.

Scale the loftiest peaks.

Oh. Is that something else
that you read in a magazine?

Yes. But
it's true.

Look out there.

so brand-new,

just waiting
to be conquered.

Why, you can start
from nothing

and become just as good
as any man.

You know,
I almost believe that

the way that you say it.

Oh, there's so much
free land.

What's wrong
with farming?

You know, I always
did have a-

A feeling for making
things grow.

You see?


Stake out a homestead,
I could.

I'll put most of it
in wheat and, a-

A few head of cattle

and a little old shirt-tailed
patch of vegetables.

We'd have us
a real nice place.

And that would be
only the beginning,

Before you know it, we'd
have to take on hired hands.


There's no telling
where we'd end up.

You said you were
just making believe.

Oh, well.

Well, I guess
that makes us engaged.

For sure, don't it?

You like it?

Oh, I feel like
I was 10 feet tall.

Oh, I can't get
over it.

Yesterday morning, I was
ready to shoot myself.

Tonight, they're giving me
an engagement party

at the Dodge House.

Miss Kitty was set on
getting you engaged in style.

She pulled them out
of every saloon

and gambling joint
on Front Street.


Yes, sir.
What can I do for you?

Name's Brady.
With the Pinkerton Agency.

I'm trying to locate
a certain party, and, um...

I need your cooperation.

All right, boys.

Come on, Nate,
let's go.

No need for any preliminaries,

I know the girl I'm
looking for is here in Dodge.

What girl is that?

The one they're
talking about

up and down
Front Street.

Ann Smithwright.

I just missed her
by a day in Kansas City.

Oh, maybe that
Pinkerton man

don't know what
he's talking about.

No, it's the truth,

She comes from one of

the best families
in Philadelphia.

The father's a judge.

You mean that...
I ain't good enough for her,

is that it?

No. That's not it,

The only question
is whether you're

the right thing.

Now, Mr. Brady told me
that her mother

had a heart attack
when she heard

the girl had
run off.

Now, Ann should be
with her.

Well, I'm sorry
about that, Mr. Dillon.

I am, but...

don't you understand
that Ann come out here

because she was
miserable and lonely.

And don't you think
she's gonna be

miserable and lonely
out here?

When she finds out
that the West

isn't the way it's pictured
in the magazines?

What kind of life have you got
to offer her, Chester?

Well, I was figuring
on proving up

a claim somewhere, since...

lot of people start
from nothing.

You know what
homesteading's like?

You wanna take
a girl like Ann

and make her tough
and flinty?

Like all those
other nester women?

Full of nothing
but work and sorrow

and poverty?


She'd be old at 30,

Old and half-sick.

Just like the rest of 'em.

How do you think that would
match up to those dreams

she had back
in Philadelphia?


not very much,
I guess.

Look, if you gotta
go homesteading,

why don't you go out
and get yourself

one of those barefoot,
bleached-out nester women.

They're bred to it.

Oh, Mr. Dillon,
I just don't know what to do.

Well, I think you ought to
go talk to Ann.



Could this...
Mr. Brady-

Could he stop us
from getting married?

Well, he might try.

But I don't know of any law
that gives him the right.

I see.

It's up to you,

I guess it is.

Evening, marshal.

Now, wait a minute,

Being real
genteel tonight,

we're checking
our guns.

But it's like going
around naked, marshal.

Come on, Nate.


seeing it's for
the little fella.

All right, boys.
Strip down.

Come in.

Why Chester.

You look awful purty.


Well, what I've
got to say...

Ann, don't
come easy.

Thinking on it didn't
come easy neither.

But, uh...

I've had to do
some deciding, and...

I just hope that
I decided right.

For both
of us.

I don't know what's
happened to him, Matt.

They've been in
half an hour.

You act like this was
your engagement party.

Just playing
it safe,

in case I don't get
one of my own.

I promised you could handle
this your way, marshal.

Don't you think you're
letting things go pretty far?

I told you,
Mr. Brady,

the choice
isn't ours.


Here comes
the groom!

O-oh, w-wait-
Wait a minute, everybody,


everybody, I-

I, uh...

got something
to say to you.

Speak up,
little fella,

say your peace.

Thank you, Nate.


Oh, I wanna
thank you...

for being
so interested in-

In, uh...

raking up
this party and...

And for

I'll never forget
what you done.


But, uh...


Well, you see,
Ann's got folks

back in Philadelphia,

they're real
nice people, and...

she's going back
to 'em tonight.

She's going back
and she's gonna finish

her schooling and all,

I think that that's
where she belongs.

And I- I talked it over
with Ann, and-

And she pretty much
agrees with me, and...


Besides, I-

I could no more be
a homesteader than Ann could.


Well, I guess
what I'm trying to say

is that...

the engagement's


Not so fast.

Here's the man.
He done it.

He's a Pinkerton man.

Now, hold on
a minute, Nate.

Oh, no, marshal.

Maybe you're willing
to let him

spoil it
for the little fella,

but me and my boys
here ain't.

We're gonna take you
out in the prairie

and lose you,

Come on, boys. You know
where your guns are.


Now, you listen
to me.

Brady here had nothing
to do with this.

Chester and Ann decided
what was best for 'em,

and I think it took
a lot of courage.

Now, do you wanna
spoil it all?

Well, I-

How about
a dance, Nate?

Why, it's
a pleasure, ma'am.

All right,

Mr. Brady.

Bye, Chester.

Bye, Annie.

It's all right. You don't
have to say anymore.

I think
I understand now.

Are you sure?

Yes, uh...

It's done me no harm.

It's been good for me.

Thank you, Chester.

Nobody's fault
but my own.

Never should've
learned how to write.

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