Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 1, Episode 37 - Mr. and Mrs. Amber - full transcript

A struggling prairie couple endures harassment and torment at the hands of the wife's self-righteous brother.


Starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.

You mean to say
you don't even

have the price
of a meal?

Marshal, I ain't
even got

a smatterin'
of self-respect.

Well now, look here,
Mr. Amber.

Suppose you tell me what
this whole thing's about.

You know, uh, you haven't
been making too much sense.

No. No, sometimes a-
A man gets so tired he-

He can't even
talk straight.

Here, you- You have a little
coffee, you'll feel better.


what's on your mind?

Well... You stand for
the law, is that right?

And from what I hear, you-
You try to run things straight,


maybe you can
put me straight.



it takes two to make
a murder, don't it?

I mean, suppose a man keeps
pushin' and a-proddin' at you

when he sees you're
down in the dust,

and you can't help yourself.

Ain't you got a right to rise up

and strike out against him?

Mr. Amber...

nothing justifies murder,

if that's what
you're talkin' about.

But ain't he responsible

for his own hate and meanness?

Ain't he partly to blame

for makin' you want to kill him?

But you look like
a peaceable man, Mr. Amber.

Why don't I
lend you some money?

Maybe after you've
had a good breakfast-

No, no, you're puttin' me off.

But you know I'm right.
Sometimes it does take two

to make a murder.

And it's wrong just to blame
the one that does the killin'.

You ever seen him
before, Chester?

Yeah, yeah.
I think I have.

Over at Jonas' store
couple of times,

stockin' up
on provisions.

Two to make a murder.

Oh, he ain't gonna
kill anybody.

If he was, he wouldn't be
blowin' off about it.

I don't know. That's
one way of looking at it.

What's the other?

The way things look to a man
who's dead on his feet,

hasn't even got
the price of a meal.

Ah. Hello,

Hello, Mr. Jonas.

What can I do
for you?

Did you ever do any trading
with a man by the name of

uh, Neal Amber,
Mr. Jonas?

I wouldn't call it
trading exactly.

Amber's on my books
for more than $200 now.

Oh, that so?

Say, uh...

he in some kind
of trouble?

No, no. I just, uh, wondered
what you might know about him.

Nothin' much.
'Cept he, uh, comes in

every couple of months
for supplies,

sometimes pays a little
on account.

I see.

Him and his wife tryi''
to scratch out a livi''

up north,
near Pawnee Weld.

Pardon me.

Sound like a customer
come in the wrong way.

What do you think
you're doin', Amber?

Stay clear of me,
Mr. Jonas.

I got to have
this bag of seed,

so don't try
to stop me.

No thievin' sneak
is gonna tell me what to do.

Now stand back
and hold up your hands!

I ain't goin' back to face
my woman with an empty wagon.

Now, I'm warning you.
Leave go that sack.


Put the gun away.

I was gonna pay
him back, marshal.

I never stole nothin'
before in my life.

Marshal, I want
this man arrested.

I didn't mean
for this to happen.

Every time I go into town,
I dream of buying

a little tobacco
or...maybe a drink.

But I don't.

I force myself to remember
I got to pay you

something on my account,
Mr. Jonas.

I think I've been pretty fair
and easy with you, Amber.

I know.

But this time I don't have
nothin', not a penny.

And I know I can't beg you
for any more credit.

So you decided
to steal from me instead.

Marshal, you got to
believe me.

I was only thinki''
of my wife.

Me and Sarah, we're-
We're nearly starvin'.


I got to make something
grow on that land.

From what I hear, that's
pretty good soil out there.

What's the trouble?

Good soil. It's one misery
after another.

Fall comes too late,
and the winter's too dry.

Raised a little corn,
and Peak Fletcher's cattle

come in and ruined it.

Then the skunks
got into my hens.

Sarah's goats
swelled up and died.

She had two of 'em.
Always wanted goats.

All her life
she's wanted 'em.

And then somebody come in
and shot one of my horses,

and I- I don't know

Take that bag of seed
and put it on your wagon, Amber.

Go on home.

Now hold on here.

Put it on my bill,
Mr. Jonas.

I'm beholden
to you, marshal.

You'll get your money
back too.

I ain't
hardhearted, marshal,

but I just
can't see the law

sidin' with
a common thief.

Look, Mr. Jonas, uh,

get a bag of provisions
together, will you?

Whatever it is
he usually takes.

You know you're
practically givin' your say

to a man thievin'?

Put those things
on my bill too.

Well, I still say
you can't make

these dirt-grubbers
your burden, Mr. Dillon.

They're all up against it,
one way or another.

Yeah, I know,
Chester, but...

only one of 'em came to me
with talk about murder.

If Neal said anything
crazy like that,


because he's sick.

He's tired and he's
desperate, marshal.

Well, I thought he might've
had somebody particular

in mind, ma'am,
and I-

I didn't want him
to do anything

he might be sorry for.

You paid for that bag
of seed too, didn't you?

Well, don't
worry about that.

He'll pay me back.

You'll never get paid.

We didn't make
no money this year

and we ain't plantin' in time
to make none next.

Look at him.

He gets so tired

he could die tryin'
to make a go of it.

He ain't no farmer.

Never was.

He can learn.

People are doing it
every day out here.

But he's always
hated it.

He only come out here
'cause I kept naggin' at him.

Well people are leaving
every day too, Mrs. Amber.

There's no shame in that.

We can't ever get away.

Why not?

You know what the sodbusters
sing, don't you?

We don't live, we only stay.

We're just too poor
to get away.


Neal ain't gonna be able
to take it much longer.

And I'm afraid for him.


Just like he-

He never stole
before today.

He's liable to
find reason to do

something even
more terrible.

Who's the man
your husband meant, Mrs. Amber?

Peak Fletcher.

He owns that big spread
across the creek,

doesn't he?

He's my brother.

Your brother?

He must be a rich man.

I should think
he'd want to help you,

get you started

He's a hard man.

He said he'd never
let us leave.

He said if we tried...

he'd come after us
and bring us back.


He's got me and Neal
doin' penance for my sins.


My brother reckons he's
an instrument of the Lord.


He's taken a lot
on himself, isn't he?

That's all I got to say.

You came here with a question...

and you got your answer.

Now, good day, marshal.

Goodbye, Mrs. Amber.

I want a word
with you, marshal.

I'm Peak Fletcher.

This here's
my son, Simon.


Mr. Jonas tells it you made
mock of the law today.

Even been bringing
provisions to the thief.

Well, now maybe
I did bend the law

just a little bit.

But I don't think
it did any harm.

No harm?

When you took it on yourself

to flaunt one of
the holy Commandments.

Thou shall not steal,

saith the Lord.

If Neal Amber stole,

he stands to be punished
seven times seven.

Now, forgetting Amber
for just a minute,

don't you
care that

your sister
is going hungry?

There ain't many
I let on to

she's any kin of mine
at all.

Well, she and her husband
have just about

hit rock bottom out there.

That's the Lord,
wreakin' out his vengeance.

Oh, that's
what it is, uh?

She come crawlin'
and cringin' back to me

with that spineless
husband of hers.

After spendin'
all her years wallowin'

in the sins
of the flesh.

Cheap dance hall woman,
that's what she was.

Didn't you ever read
anything about forgiveness

in that Bible
of yours, Fletcher?

To forgive
one of your own,

when only God
has that right,

ain't true religion.

That kind of religion
don't hold fire.


I don't care
what you do, marshal.

The Lord will have his way
with sinners.

You mark
my words.

Come on.

? De-de-dee doo-doo ?


? Until I find
Another pair... ?


Oh, y-yes, sir.

Look, see that this gets off
on the next stage, will you?

That's government business.
Kind of important.

Oh. Huh?

It's a reminder that
the U.S. marshal in Dodge

hasn't been paid
for two months.

Oh-ho. Yeah. Well...

Uh-oh. Here comes old
fire and brimstone.

It's almost like a judgment
come to pass.

I told you before,
the Lord

would have his way
with sinners.

Meaning what?

I'm ordering you to come out
and get my sister.


you're not
ordering anybody.

Now, what do you got
on your mind?

This morning, Simon found
a calf in Amber's barn.

And a calf wearin'
my brand.


She stole it, was
fixin' to slaughter it.

Simon's out there now,
standin' guard over it

so's you can see
the proof.

Oh, what's one calf to you,
Mr. Fletcher?

The Ambers are near
starvin' to death.

She stole it while her husband
was out plantin' seed.

That's cattle thievin'.

Aren't you ever afraid
that all that powerful

righteousness is gonna
kick back in your face?

I don't ever ask nothi''
of nobody

I ain't ready to
live up to myself.

Let's go.

She was gonna butcher him
on the ground.

A man would've
hung him up.

Here they are,

I was keepin' 'em
locked up for you.

Now, maybe you're
a small-caliber prophet, Simon,

but enforcing the law
is my job.

Marshal...she didn't
do this thing.

Would you mind
telling us

about this,
Mrs. Amber?

What's my word
against his?

Simon will tell you
all you need to know.

Go ahead,
Mrs. Amber.

What good
will it do?

Me and Neal never
had a chance.

We're doomed to be
crushed out,

caught between
this land and you.

Me? I gave you
a piece of land,

done my Christian

Now you're payin'
for your ungodliness.

Go on,
Mrs. Amber.


Neal was out in the fields...

and I come in here
to get a potato for supper.

I-I saw the calf,

and...I was just
standin' there lookin'.

And then he come in,
and he said I stole it.

I tracked that
calf here, marshal.

Caught her gettin' ready
to slaughter it.

You shut up!
Wait, you hold on here.

Callin' her
a thief is like

stabbin' her
in the heart!

There's no use
fightin' no more, Neal.

I'm just sorry
I brung it all on you.

No, don't say that.

If I was half the man
I should be,

I'd have been able
to take care of you.

You been good to me.

The way things are,
you could be better off dead.

I heard enough
of this pulin'.

You gonna arrest him?


take your wife
and go back in the house.

You callin' me
and Simon liars!

Now listen,
you tinhorn saint.

I've had about enough
of you for one day.

Now, you take that calf,
and you get out of here.

You're gonna stand in the way
of judgment again, huh?

If that's what
you wanna call it, yes.

You're only making
her retribution worse,

when it comes.

It'll be like a tempest
and a devourin' flame.

All right, folks,
go back to the house.

You looking
for me, Simon?

You'd better get out to
the Ambers' place, marshal.

Now, look,
why don't you

leave those people

You know, I'm gettin' awful
tired of you and your father

breathin' hellfire
into my face, mister.

You'd better do like I say.

Amber's sittin' out there.
Just sittin'.

He won't talk...

nor even
look at you.

All right, get to the point.

Sarah, marshal.

She ain't around. Nowhere.

You're beginning to
remember now, ain't you?

He did say right out,

she'd be better off
if'n she's dead.


Amber. You all right?

Shouldn't be
sittin' here

in the dark
all alone.

Where's your wife?

Mrs. Amber?

I sent her away.

Sent her away? Where?

Back East.

Soon as I auction off
what we got here...

I'm goin' after her.

When was this?

Couple of days ago.

She's better off now.

Now, your wife doesn't
seem like the kind

to go away and leave
you alone, Amber.

I loved her, marshal.

She's all I had.

Get a lantern
out in the shed

and take a look
around, will you?

Yes, sir.

Did you have any more trouble
with Peak or Simon?

Simon was by here today.

He didn't say nothin'.

I didn't say nothin'.

I should've killed Peak.

That's what I was tryi''
to explain to you.

You mean, uh...

it takes two
to make a murder, huh?

He was drivin' me to it.

Mr. Dillon?

She's under a blanket
out in the shed.

He didn't even bury her.
She was shot.


Who shot
your wife?

I was just sittin' here

what it'd be like

i-if she really was
waitin' for me back East.

Money from the auction

given us
a new start.

Who shot her?

I did.

She was sick of livin'.

Well, Amber.

'Bout time you decided
to eat something.

Been almost three days,
you know.

Thank you for lettin'
me out, marshal. I...

never could've eaten nothin'
sittin' behind them bars.

Here comes
Peak Fletcher

and that son of his,
Mr. Dillon.

You stay here
with him, Chester.

Well, I reckon you'll
believe me the next time

I point my finger at evil
and quote the word.

It happened just like
he said it would.

A flame of
devourin' fire.

He ain't
never wrong.

All right,
what do you want now?

When they gonna
hang him?

I'm gonna hang him
when, and if,

the judge in a court
of law says so.

Do you understand that?

She was a woman
who found

in unrighteousness.

She had it
comin' to her.

Hold it!

All right, hold it.

You've spoke your last
against Sarah.



You're gonna die, Simon.


You tell the truth
about Sarah.

What truth, Simon?
What's he talkin' about?

The calf in the shed,

I put it there.


Just like you said.

She had to atone for her sins.

It was just
takin' her...

too long.


Come closer,

I don't want
nobody else to hear.

I been lying to you
about something.

You mean,
you didn't kill your wife?

Oh. I put a bullet through her.

I did that.


she was already dead.

She is a proud woman,

That's why I took
the blame for her.

She- She couldn't stand
for nobody to know that...

she didn't have
the strength to go on.

Are you sayin'
she killed herself, Amber?


She give up.

Her heart broke.

She just laid down...

and died.

I see.

Marshal. Marshal, I-

I don't wish shame
on her for it.

You won't tell nobody, huh?

You'll let 'em
go on thinking...

I done it, huh?

Uh, don't you worry, Amber.

I'll keep your secret.

And hers.

Simon's dead.

Neal Amber killed him.

Did he?

I know, marshal.

You think what happened
to Simon

has brought me
to my knees.

But you're

It was the Lord's will.

And my heart shall not
reproach me

as long as I live.