Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 10, Episode 10 - Big Man, Big Target - full transcript

Ellie Merchant, the wife of farmer Joe Merchant, is having a passionate affair with outlaw Pike Beechum. Beechum intends to remove Joe and any other obstacle between him and Ellie.

(theme music playing)

(both guns fire)

ANNOUNCER: starring
James Arness as Matt Dillon.



Hello, Ellie.

Just saw the marshal
ride off with Joe.

What happened?

You know what happened.

I do?

Joe got arrested
stealing horses.

Well, that wasn't very
smart of him, was it?

They were Enoch Miller's horses.

They were found in our barn.


Pike, Joe never
stole those horses.

He's never stolen anything.

You put them there.

What if I did?

Ain't you been complaining we
don't have enough time together?


Want me to call the marshal
back and tell him it was just a joke?

Pike, it's wrong. Joe's...

He's never hurt anyone.

It's true he can't
work a farm, but...

That's the whole
point. Sooner or later,

they'll realize he couldn't
have stole those horses,

and they'll let him go.

In the meantime...
it's just you and me.

Tell me something.

You knew I took those horses.

Why didn't you tell the marshal?

I couldn't.


- (yells)
- (plate clatters)


that was a... fool
thing to do, wasn't it?


Well, it's all right if it
helps clear your head.

Ellie and me'd eat a
plate of food like that

the best part of a week.

Marshal, how'd
this thing happen?

Well, that's what we
got to find out, Joe.

Now, I believe that you
didn't steal the horses,

but we got to be
able to prove it.

You mean I got to
prove that for Mr. Miller?

That's right.

Marshal, he's a rich man.
He's got a big ranch, he's...

Joe, you better forget
about what Enoch Miller's got

and start thinking
about who did this to you.

Well, it seems
to me like he did.

Joe, you've got an enemy
somewhere that wants you in here

for some reason, and
believe me, it isn't Enoch Miller.

Well, if I got an
enemy, I don't know him.

Well, you've got one.

Now, do you suppose, uh,
Ellie might have any idea

who's holding a
grudge against you?

Ellie? No.

All right.

Well, I'll go out and see
Enoch in the morning.

Oh, Marshal, if you
should see Ellie, you know...

Oh, don't worry. I'll tell her
you're doing just fine, Joe.

- Eating like a horse.
- Yeah.

I've got no reason to believe
it was anybody but him,

and I don't see why you should.

Because I know Joe Merchant.

Nobody knows a man
when he's pushed too hard.

He had a lot of
hard luck, Enoch.

Matt, I've been that far.

He hasn't got
anything that he needs.

Here I sit, a half a mile from
him, with everything he wants.

- He was bound to...
- I know. So he comes in

- and steals your horses.
- Sure.

He's not stupid, Enoch.

Sometimes desperate's
the same thing.

Look, if he had
stolen your horses,

he would've taken off
and sold 'em somewhere,

not brought 'em over to his
barn for the first person to find.

- You don't think he's guilty?
- No, I don't.

Have you got
somebody else in mind?

Well, no, but there's
got to be somebody.

I got my mares back, so I'm
to forgive and forget, is that it?

Well, I'm not trying to
tell you what to do, Enoch,

but I'll say this: I'm
gonna keep looking

till I find the man that did it.

Well... I want to
think this over, Matt.

I'll be in town in a
couple of days, but...

I want to think it over.

All right, Enoch.

(horse neighs)

Morning, Ellie.


Say, I, uh,

might have some good
news for you in a day or two.

- Good news?
- Yes.

I just had a long
talk with Enoch Miller.

I think he feels he's
wrong about Joe.

Oh... Joe's coming home.

Well, I can't say
that for sure, but...

I think I've got him convinced

that Joe didn't
steal his horses.

That's good news, Marshal.

Well, I-I know it's
been hard for you, Ellie.

Look, uh...

can you think of anybody
that might have wanted

to get Joe in trouble?

- What?
- Well, it's not, uh...

You know, Joe didn't
steal any horses,

and I know that Enoch Miller
didn't put 'em in your barn.

Joe don't have any enemies.

Everybody knows that.

Well, it just doesn't
make sense.

Well, if Joe will be
home in a day or two,

things will look
better to you then.


Things will look better.

(hoofbeats approaching)

Anything wrong, Ellie?

Marshal just come
bringing news, that's all.

You know Pike Beechum, Marshal?

Well, you look kind
of familiar, Beechum.

Well, we never met, Marshal.

Marshal thinks
they'll set Joe free.

Must've come about sudden-like.

Pike's an old friend.

He's been helping
out since Joe's gone.

Where you from?

Most anywhere.

Except here.

I'll be in the barn, Ellie.

DILLON: Wait a minute.

I know where I've seen
your face, on a wanted poster.

You drink in the
mornings, Marshal?

Robbery and murder, wasn't it?

- Pike?
- I can't help what he says.

None of it's so.

You prove that, you got
nothing to worry about.

I'm no hand to worry, and I
don't have to prove a thing.

I'm gonna take you in.

He always like this?

Marshal gets his way no
matter what anybody says.

If I've made a mistake,
Ellie, I'll turn him loose.

Seems like I'm the wrong
person to say that to, Marshal.

You decide how you want
it, mister, hard or easy.

I give you my gun...
That's the easy way?

That helps.

You're wrong, Marshal.

You are dead wrong.

Wouldn't be the first time.

I'll send Joe back to you
as soon as I can, Ellie.

You saying it, this saying it

don't make it so.

The marshal in Wichita
wants you held, mister.

That's good enough for me.

I'll make you a bad
enemy, Marshal.

I've had few good ones.

Let's go.

You turn that key on me, you'll
make the mistake of your life.

You know, I could get
tired of you awful easy.

This place won't hold me.

You'll see.

I hope you're right.

Joe, I, uh... I've had
a talk with Enoch.

I think things
are looking better.

Are you saying I'm
getting out of here?

Well, it's not for sure yet,
but he's coming around.

I sure hope you're right.

So do I.

JOE: Say, Marshal,

uh, can you get word to Ellie?

Already have, Joe.

She's-she's all
right, isn't she?


(door shuts)



You can't break
nothing in there,

except maybe
your fist or your foot.

I know. I tried.

You keep to yourself.

Can't do much else in here.

All I meant was that
I know how you feel.

No man that kisses the
marshal's feet knows how I feel.

I tried kicking the walls down

and yelling 'em down,

but they don't budge an inch.

And that marshal,

I found out you can't have
a better friend than him.

Preach your sermon
somewhere else.

DILLON: Hello, Festus.

Sit down. Be with
you in a few minutes.

No hurry, Matthew.

I... just came in

'cause there ain't
no place else to go.

Oh, this sure is a
ugly-looking place.


I ain't got nothing to jaw
with you about anyhow.

I'm just... having
one of my quiet days.

I don't want to talk to nobody,

and I don't want
to hear nobody talk.

Well, good.

Just wanted to set

kind of loose-like and...

maybe think and...
mostly not think.

(sighs heavily)

(chair scrapes on floor)

(paper rustling)

(grunts slightly)

Well, what are you gawking at?

Well, I'm not too sure.

Thinking feet.

Thinking feet?

I'm a-resting my brain,
which I'm doing right now.

I'm trying to rest, and
my body take over.

Now, who is this, Matthew?

His name's Pike Beechum.

Well, I've saw him before.

You have? Where?

Well... a few days back,

uh, me and old Wool Ferrici
went by Ellie Merchant's house

to get a drink of
water at their well.

Well, this good-looking cuss
come out of there with a shotgun

to run us off.

He was a-wearing
that same face then.

Festus, you know,
that's kind of funny,

'cause I've got Pike
Beechum and Joe Merchant

locked up in jail
right now, both of 'em.

They don't seem
to know each other.

Well, golly Bill, that
is peculiar, ain't it?

Yeah. Ellie said he
was an old friend,

but Joe doesn't
seem to know him.

Well, what does it
say her old friends did?

Robbery and murder.

Well, there you are, Matthew.

It's men like him that
give jails a bad name.

Oh, maybe somebody'd
ought to tell Joe, Matthew.

Only one person can do that.

That's Ellie.

Here you are, Miss Kitty.

Thanks, Sam.

Enoch's gonna sign those papers,
I don't see what the problem is.

Well, the problem is, Kitty,

I got to take him
out home tomorrow,

and I don't know what's
gonna be there waiting for him.

Well, Ellie is, isn't she?

(Dillon chuckles)

I guess so.


What's worrying you, Matt?

Kitty, you're a woman.

That's not worrying you.

(chuckles softly)

No. It's just that...

Well, I always figured

Ellie and Joe had a
good marriage, I guess.

I always thought so, too.


Well, like you say, I'm a woman.

Maybe Ellie's telling the truth.

Maybe Pike Beechum
is an old friend.

Yeah, except that
Joe doesn't know him.

It could happen.

It could.

Maybe he is just a friend.

(spurs jingling)

- Hello, Miss Kitty.
- Hello, Festus.

- Matthew.
- Festus.

Say, I want to jaw
with you for a spell.

When we're alone.

Oh, Matthew,
there's a deputy fella

from Wichita waiting
over at the hoosegow.

Ah. Probably came to
pick up Pike Beechum.

See you later, Kitty.

Oh, I hope it goes better
than you think it will.

Well... we're alone.

Yes'm, we are.

And I want you to know

that I ain't gonna
say a thing to nobody.

Not even to me?

It don't show a particle.


What don't show a particle?

Well, that you're
crazy wild about me.

Most folks couldn't tell.

Just so you know.

Reckon you're mighty grateful

that I ain't gonna be
a-shouting it around.

I don't know how to thank you.

Well, there is ways.


I reckon you'd just
be plumb tickled

to buy me a drink of whiskey.

I insist on it.

Well, if you insist.

I can't resist you, Miss Kitty.

Sam, couple of whiskeys.

SAM: Yeah.

(both laugh)

(door opens)

- Marshal Dillon?
- DILLON: Yes.

My name is Leach.

I'm a deputy
marshal from Wichita.

I just got in.

Oh, I guess you've come
about Beechum, huh?

Well, in a way. I
just dropped in.

I-I'm on my way to Garden
City to pick up a prisoner.

Oh. Well, you're
gonna be kind of busy

with two of 'em, aren't you?

Well, Marshal, I, uh...
I'm not taking Beechum.

I got a release for him.

- Release?
- Yep.

Trail hand confessed last week
that he robbed and killed a man

all by himself.

(sighs) Is this gonna hold?

Well, there doesn't seem
to be much question about it.

I know how you feel, Marshal.

That Beechum... he's
a... he's a real mean one.

No matter where he is,
there's always trouble.

You can never
prove a thing on him.

Well, lots of luck, Marshal.

Yes. Thank you.

(door opens, closes)

You'll be out before long, Joe.

Yeah, Festus told
me it wouldn't be long.

I can wait, Marshal.

All right, Pike,
you're a free man.

Are you saying you were wrong?

I'm saying you're a free man.

That's all I'm saying.

Told you the
marshal is a fair man.

All right, get out of Dodge.

You're reading my mind, Marshal.

You take my advice,

you'll stay away
from Ellie Merchant.

You got just one
thing to think on.

You pushed the wrong man.

(door closes)

- Pike!
- (laughing)

How did you get out of jail?

They let me out.

And the poster?

- Like I said, it was a mistake.
- Oh.

A mistake I'm not letting
that marshal forget.

He was out here yesterday.

He said Joe might
be free in a day or two.

Yeah, I know.

I was in the cell
right next to him.

You didn't tell him about us?

What if I did?

Oh, Pike!

Well, he's got to know
sometime, don't he?

You're my woman now.

Don't you forget it.

It's just that I don't
want to hurt him

any more than I have to.

He's never done
anything to hurt me.

It's not his fault
that I don't love him.

Ah, you can stop worrying.

I didn't tell him.

Oh. Oh.

What are we gonna do
when he comes back?

I was figuring maybe
we wouldn't be here.

- You mean run off?
- Why not?

There's nothing to hold
you here now, is there?

There hasn't
been in a long time.

I guess there's
never been anything.

When Joe talked
to me about a ranch,

I saw green fields
and trees and flowers.

When I saw this place,
I couldn't believe it.

I tried to like it, Pike.

I tried.

Sure, you did.

Well, when I take
you away from here,

I'll show you green places
that'll make your eyes ache.


Streams with pools in 'em

where you can go
swimming on a hot day.

Cattle so fat, they
can hardly walk.

Oh, Pike, let's go now. Today.

I can be packed in an hour.

- No, not today.
- Why not?

I got some unfinished business.

What kind of business?

Personal... with that
rum dumb marshal.

Oh, Pike, don't talk crazy.

He was only doing what
he thought was right.

He locked me up, didn't he?

Treated me like I was some
kind of cheap saddle bum.

Nobody pushes Pike Beechum
around and gets away with it.


Pike... I'm afraid.

Of what?

Well, of something
happening to you.

Don't you worry about me.

I can take care of myself.


I'm not alone, Ellie.

I got friends.

Pike... you got more
than just friends.

I ain't forgetting.

There you are.

Enoch, you've done a good thing.

I hope so.

You want to say hello to him?

No. I don't think
so. Tell him...

Well, you know what to say.


looks like you're gonna
be home for supper tonight.

You trying to rile me, Marshal?

- Phew.
- Looks like it's heading this way, Joe.

Yeah, you can't make
a farmer mad if it rains.

- Well, you can sure make him wet, though.
- (laughs)

I don't mind if it soaks me.

- Let's go.
- All right.

(thunder crashing)

Hello, Ellie.

Oh. The marshal told
me you'd be coming,

but I couldn't believe it.


Well, Joe, I'm mighty
glad to see you back here.

I'll be running along now.

Running along? Well, we
just barely made it here.

You can't ride back in this.

You'd best wait
till the storm's over.

No, you two got a
lot to catch up on.

Yeah, well, we got lots of time
for that now, haven't we, Ellie?

The storm won't last forever.

I have coffee and beans enough.

Sure. Look, I'll, uh...

I'll put the horse
out in the barn

before they drown out there.

If you let me have
that coat now.

I've been taking
orders from you.

You're in my house now.

My house, I'm the boss.

You ought to warm
yourself by the fire there.

- All right, Joe.
- (Joe laughs)

(rain pouring)

I suppose you
told him about Pike.

No. I thought I'd
let you tell him.

Wouldn't mind believing that.

I don't know whether
it'll make any difference

to you, Ellie, but, uh,
Pike Beechum's free, too.


(gunshot in distance)



He must've thought it was me.

But who?

(thunder rumbles)

(birds chirping)


Yeah, help yourself.


Afternoon. (laughs)

I guess the storm kind of
passed you by here, didn't it?

Yeah, nary a spit load.

I come out and I watched it.

Shook my fist at it
and dared it to come on,

but it just went by. (laughs)

Well, I'm looking for a man.

You know, that makes
all the difference.

You know, I-I been looking
for a woman for myself

for the past 30
years. (laughing)

Well, old-timer, this
is a little different.

The man I'm after is a killer.

I'm a United States Marshal.

Well, I never met
me a marshal before.

Call me Delphos.

Delphos, my name is Matt Dillon.

Well, I'm pleased to meet you.

Uh, would you like a potato?

No, thank you.

It's every bit I got to offer.

And in case your belly
empty, you better load up

'cause you got a mighty
long ride ahead of you.

Well, this man I'm
looking for is, uh,

oh, kind of a medium build,

wiry, sort of a
dark-complected fella.

Kind of prideful, right?

Well, he rode past
here just after sunup

and went by yonder.


Well, he didn't visit, neither.

Nary a word.

Well, to tell you the truth,

he looks almost as
mean as you do right now.




- Well, morning, Doc.
- Morning.

Matt here?

No. Haven't you seen him?

Not for a couple days.

I'm worried about him.

Worried? Why? What's the matter?

He rode Joe Merchant
home a couple of days ago,

and he hasn't been seen since.


Would you like to go out there?

Well, I know he can
take care of himself, but...

I don't like the
feel of all this.

Why don't we just go. Come on.

All right.

Whoa, whoa.

- Doc?
- Yeah, I see it, Kitty.

I told you things
didn't feel right.

Now, now, we still don't
know anything about this.

Ellie, what happened here?

Joe's dead.

Did you think it was
your marshal, Kitty?

I wish it was.

I really do. I wish it was.

Where is Matt?

I don't know. I don't care.

Well, did he ride
after the killer?

I-I'm so sorry.

Ellie, I'd like to have
you get some sleep.

Come on inside.

KITTY: Doc will
give you something.

Come on. Let's... Kitty?

Ellie, what you need is sleep.

Kitty, would you get
me a glass of water?

All right.

Now, Ellie, here, I want you...

I want you to take two of those.

I think you'll feel some better.

Here, Ellie.

Kitty, I'll, uh... be
out in the buggy.

Would it, um...

would it help to talk about it?

No, it wouldn't do any help.

Joe's dead.

I'm to blame.


Oh, you wouldn't understand.

Why don't you try me.

I thought I loved Joe.

I really did.

I think you did.

You, um...

you think you're in
love with Pike Beechum.

How do you know about Pike?

Well, Festus told me Pike ran
him off of here with a shotgun.

I don't understand
what's happening to me.

Joe's dead, I'm sick.

I'm not grieving.

I can't even cry.

Tears aren't any
measure of grief.

All I think about is...

is whether Pike's alive or not.

Whether or not the
marshal's arrested him.

Whether or not he's coming back.

Would you like to come
into town and stay with me?

Well, Doc and I will...

drop by tomorrow and
make sure you're all right.

(crickets chirping)



Don't move a muscle.

You die kind of hard, don't you?

You shoot a man in the back,
you don't see much of his face.

You killed Joe Merchant.

Is that a fact?

Get up.

I want to ask you a
couple of questions.

You got all the
answers you need.

I tried for you, and I killed
that nice Joe Merchant.

Yeah, and you didn't
mind making a widow

out of his wife, did you?

I didn't have to make her a
widow to get her interested.

Put your hands up.

Anything to oblige.

Don't move, Marshal.

Put your hands up.

Real slow.

Come on.


Where'd you get
that release order?

Oh, I have friends in Wichita.

I told you I made a bad enemy.

Now you're gonna
find out just how bad.

You make one move,

and Leach here's gonna
put a bullet in your mouth.







Got anything to eat?

Well, I still got some
potatoes. (chuckles)

- Where?
- Right there.

Your horse is
nigh on being dead.

You can't ride
him till he's rested.


Come on, Josie, old girl,

we got some looking to do.



(grunts) Come on, Marshal.

Come on. Oh, easy now. Easy now.


Hey, you sure lost
yourself a lot of blood.

Here you are now, Marshal.

Here you are. Here you are.

- There you go.
- (sighs)

That fella you was looking
for yesterday morning,

he come by my place
a couple hours ago.

Now, take it easy, take it easy.

- (grunts)
- Take it easy.

You ain't going no
place for a while.

You just got to be the
stubbornest cuss I ever met.

You just got to be plumb
crazy. You ain't worth a spit.

I could take you myself,

and I ain't had me a
wrestle in 15 years.


Delphos, I-I sure
want to thank you.

Well, I warn you...
You ain't gonna make it.


Pike, why can't we go now?

Why do we have to wait here?

'Cause that
marshal's still alive.

As long as he's alive, we
won't have a second's peace.

But if he's wounded...

He's wounded, all right,
but I don't know how bad.

If he's alive, he'll be here.

How can you be sure?

'Cause it won't be over
between us till one of us is dead.

Pike... (exhales) you
still love me, don't you?

And you love me, too, don't you?

You know I do.

Then I want you to
do something for me,

something that will fix it
so we don't have to spend

the rest of our
lives on the run.


It's near dawn out there,

but I can't get a good target.

And this is one time
I can't afford to miss.

I don't understand.

Unless I miss my guess,
that marshal will be here.

May take him a while,

but when he does,
I want a clean shot.

Well, what do you want me to do?

The way I figure it, he'll
come in cautious, careful.

He'll check the windows
first to see if you're alone.

And you will be.


I'll be in the loft of the barn.

When he comes through that
door, I want you to make sure

there's plenty of light here.

Better take a lamp with you.

When you open that door, I
want him to be a good target.

You got to do it, Ellie.

You got to do it... it's the
only way we can be free.


Good girl.

(crickets chirping)







Where is he, Ellie?


(footsteps above)




Hey, Matt.


He's over here.

Oh, my God.

Now, don't worry. He looks
bad, but he's gonna be all right.

Matt, can you sit up here?

Who could've done this?

I think you'll find
him right over there.

Here, take this.

Take a shot of that, old boy.

Pike Beechum.

Yeah, the late Pike Beechum.

- (groans) Kitty.
- How do you feel?

Ah, Kitty, I've felt better.

DOC: You want to try to get up?

(Dillon grunts)

How'd it happen, Matt?

Well, she was trying
to save my life, Doc.

Did she really love
Pike Beechum?

I don't know, Kitty.

I guess she did.

That's the pity of it.

That's the real pity.

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