Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 11, Episode 32 - Prime of Life - full transcript

Kyle Stoner is fast with a gun and likes to prove it. When he mixes with the wrong crowd and goes up against Matt, his father gets involved and he is a friend as well as an ex-lawman.

Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

First round of drinks is on me.

This is where your
girlfriend works, huh, kid?

Yeah. Wait till you
see her. Come on.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, settle
down, son. Slow down.

I know you're full of bounce.

This is your first job.
You done real good, huh?

- Right.
- Huh?

And I wouldn't flash that
roll around too much, either.

Don't worry.

No, no. Now, I'll tell you
about marriage. Here-here's...

If a man wants to
throw his life away on it,

there's just nothing
you can do about it at all.

It's his own business.

So, the way you figure it is,
the woman's got the best deal?

Well, of course. Uh...

Hey, there's Wilma.

Come on over.
I'll introduce you.

No question about that.

Look what a
woman gets out of it.

She gets to scrub the floors,

and she gets to clean the house,

and do the dishes
and have the babies.

Now, you couldn't ask
for any more than that.

Kyle Stoner's back
in town, Wilma.

Well, hello, Miss Kitty and Doc.

Wilma, honey,
you're looking just fine.

That's my girl Wilma.

Wilma, I want you to meet Joe...

- She's not your girl!
- Oh, you're a liar.

Hold it!


You touch that shotgun,
you get the first slug.

Louie, go get the
marshal, quick.

The marshal.

Get out of here, Wilma.

Go ahead, big man.

Tell me all about how
Wilma's never gonna be my girl.

Shut up, Stoner!

Oh, you want me
to tell you about it?

Like about that
time on the hayride

when she didn't go with
you, but she went with me?

I want to tell you,
we had a time.


Y'all saw it.

He drew first.

Every one of you seen that.

Oh, no.


That's all there was to
it, just a fight over a girl.

And he made the mistake
of slapping me in the face.

And it's gonna be a long time

before somebody does
that again around here.

So, then, you goaded him
into drawing against you, huh?

He didn't have to.

I mean, nobody said he had to.

Louie, what happened to you?

I was on my way after
you, Mr. Dillon, and I tripped.

Then I hit my head, and...

Well, it's not exactly
accurate, Matt.

I know what a head
looks like when it's been hit

by a pistol barrel, and
so do you. Look at that.

Anybody here know
anything about that?

This whole thing could have
been settled without guns.

It was a fair fight.

And you practiced drawing
for weeks ahead of time, huh?

Well, my pa... he says,
man has to look out

how to take care of hisself.

You're a long way
from being a man.

Now, wait a minute.

You got no call

to push me around just 'cause
you're wearing that badge.

No, sir, not when I got this on.

You're not gonna
be wearing that.

You're going to jail.

Now, give me the gun.

You want it? Take it!

Oh, I didn't figure I'd
have no use for this.


here comes old John
Stoner and his boy.

Oh. Well, he'll probably want
to talk to me alone, Festus,

so why don't you go on and
find something to do for a while?

Oh, now, Matthew,

I slept through most
of the ruckus last night.

Couldn't I stay and listen?
I ain't gonna hurt nothing.

Well, all right, you can stay,

but no comments.

Well, do I ever say anything
when there ain't no...?

Hello, John. Woody.

I understand you got
my son Kyle locked up.

Yeah, that's right, I do.

On what charge?

Well, I hadn't thought
up any charges, John.

I wanted to keep
him out of trouble,

and I wanted to talk to you.

You'd better charge
him with something

or let him go.

I know the boy's
rights as a citizen.

The boy's rights don't include
challenging me to a draw

when I asked for his gun.

You had no cause
to take his gun.

I heard all about the fight.

John, I took his gun because I
didn't want anybody else shot.

Now, if you want charges,
I can give them to you.

Disturbing the peace,

interfering with an officer in
the performance of his duty.

I can even charge him
with suspicion of murder.

You try "suspicion of murder,"

and I'll guarantee
you'll be sorry!

John, don't try to tell
me how to do my job,

and don't threaten me.

- You don't talk to my father like that!
- Woody.

My sons haven't quite got used

to the idea their
father's gotten old.

Ten years ago, nobody would
have talked to me like that.

John, you were one of the
best lawmen Texas ever had.

But I'll guarantee you that
if somebody came along

and tried to tell you
how to do your job,

you would have
reacted the same way.

Reckon maybe you're right, Matt.

Well, you are gonna
release Kyle, aren't you?

I'll release him
in your custody.

Festus, you, uh... you
want to get him out?

John, I'll leave it up to you

to make sure Kyle understands

I'm not gonna tolerate
any gun fighting in Dodge.

Matt, this is the frontier.

You're gonna have fights
here in Dodge for years to come.

There's nothing you
can do to stop 'em.

I can't stop 'em all, maybe,

but I've put an
end to most of 'em.

And a boy's dead because
I didn't stop one last night.

I'd rather have
men alive than dead.

Now, your boy's
proud of his speed.

He's a little too proud of it.

He pushed for
that fight last night.

I did not, Pa! Brad swung
on me, so I killed him.

Pa, he ain't got no
right to keep me in here!

It was a fair fight. And he
had sneaky whiskers here

backing him right up.

Now, that ain't the way it was.

Matthew didn't even
know I was out yonder.

Yeah, I'll bet he didn't.

Well, I'll guarantee
you he didn't.

Never mind, Festus.


In over 20 years behind a badge,

I don't recall ever
having someone cover me

to bring in an 18-year-old kid.

Matthew, you didn't
know I was out yonder.

I just done what
I figured was...

Festus, let me
tell you something.

Any time that I want
you covering for me,

I'll let you know ahead of time.

Here it comes.

I have a king.

Ace bets.

Hello, Kitty.

What's wrong with you?

What time did those
two men there come in

with Kyle Stoner last night?

About 10:00 or
10:30, I guess. Why?

Ah. Well, the, uh, stage depot

over at Kinsley was
robbed by three men.

They beat up on the old
couple that run the place.

What time was that?

Well, it was mid-afternoon.

It's about half a day's
ride from here. Excuse me.

I'd like to speak to you
two, uh, for just a minute

over here at the bar.

Oh, sure, Marshal.
I'm out anyway.

Me, too.

Gentlemen, deal
me out a hand or two.

Can I buy you a drink, Marshal?

No, thanks.

What are your names?

Brown. Jack Brown.

This here's my
friend, uh, Joe Smith.

Pleased to meet you, Marshal.

How long you known Kyle Stoner?

Couple of days.
Met him on a trail.

He said he'd been wrangling
for a bunch of drovers.

You ride in with him last night?

- That's right.
- From the east?

As a matter of fact, it was
from the south, Marshal.

Well, is there something
wrong, Marshal?

You, uh, recall anybody that
might have seen you ride in?

Oh, it was night
when we got here.

I suppose a couple
of people saw us.

Uh, I could do some checking
around for you if you'd like.

No, it's all right. It
won't be necessary.

Are-are we suspects
of some kind, Marshal?

That's all. Thanks.


Well, I found out their names.

Smith and Brown.

Oh, those are nice names.


Having that Stoner
kid as a friend

would be enough for
most folks, but not for him.

He's suspicious.

But not suspicious enough
to connect us with the holdup.

If he was, he'd have that
old couple right here by now.

Oh, they can't identify us.

They can Stoner. They
got a good look at his face.

Yeah, working out of
this town could turn out

to be a real good thing for us.

Especially with a
name like "Stoner."

It's above suspicion.

But not for the smart marshal.

Smart marshal's also
real good with his gun.

Better than you and me?


That Stoner kid's about as fast

as anybody I've
ever seen with a gun.

I don't think the
marshal was smart

to slap him in the face. Do you?

Young'uns good a-gettin'
yourself a education.

- Then you...
- Listen, it says right here

that that county
grand jury in Wyoming

is made up of mostly all women.

Well, you ain't gonna
walk along there

and tell me you
believe a thing like that.

Well, sure, I believe it.
All you have to do is read.

Right there. "The
county grand jury

"has done more damage
to the local cattle rustling

than any jury before it."

Whew, that's terrible.

It's awesome. It's just
plain terrible is what it is.

Well, they're doing it.

Oh, and something else, you
know, women down there can vote.

- Vote?
- Yeah.

- Women vote?
- Yeah.

Thad, it's times like these

that just makes me give thanks
that I don't know how to read.

Well, I'll tell you, a paper
hadn't ought to be allowed

to put things like that in it.

Well, why not? It's the truth.

Well, that ain't got
nothin' to do with it.

I tell you, that Wyoming weather
can addle folks's brainpans.

I had a great-uncle spend a
winter up in the Tetons onced,

come back with a green beard.

It's the truth.

It's Kyle Stoner
and his friends.

Sure as thunder is.

Hey, Wilma's working
tonight, ain't she?

She was there
earlier this evening.

Why don't that knucklehead
leave her alone?

Leave who alone?

Wilma Prather.

Kyle, please leave me alone.

Don't you like it, honey?

Well, thank you,
it's-it's very pretty,

but-but I don't want it.

Wilma, don't talk
that way, honey.

Now, take this dress
upstairs and put it on.

I don't want anything
from you, Kyle, now or ever.

Wait till you see Wilma
put this red dress on!

Now, you take this dress
upstairs and you put it on.

That's enough.

Hold it right there.

I was hoping for the chance,

but I didn't think it was
gonna come this soon.

The next time I see you
anywhere near the Long Branch,

I'm gonna lock you up
and throw the key away.

Hold it, Kyle. That's
enough trouble.

I didn't realize he was as
drunk as he seemed to be.

I'm sure... he's gonna
want to apologize tomorrow.

Come on.

I'll tell you something,
Matthew, if that little scamp

ever gets a look at
your back, he'll kill you.

Those friends sure got
him out of here fast enough.

Maybe they really
are his friends.

Well, if they are, Kitty,
they'll keep him out of here.

I could've taken him!

I felt right just at that
moment. I felt right.

I could've had him.

Is that why you
tried to sock him?

Wouldn't have done
you a bit of good, Kyle.

That friend of his,

the ugly one with the whiskers,

he was standing right
where he was the last time.

That's why Dillon's so brave.

Now, if you really
think you can take

that marshal, we can set it
up so's you'd have a little edge.


Well, at a time like that,
it's the little things that count.

Like when you killed that
kid in the Long Branch,

- who was it got riled?
- Him.

That's right.

You got him sore
talking about that girl.

That's right.

Tonight it was
you who got riled.

Besides that, there
was a gun behind you.

Now, got to figure a way
to change both those things.

Well, we can do both
and at the same time.

Have us a little fun, to boot.

Where does that
sneaky whiskers sleep?


Tarnation, that sounds
like somebody's...

dropped on a
bobcat or something.

Hard for a man to
get any kind of rest.

If there's any place to just...

What's the matter with you?

What happened to you anyhow?

Soon as I got Doc awake
and working on him, I got you.

- Did he say who did it?
- He hasn't said anything yet.

Look at this.

Just look that.
And look at that.

You ever see anybody
beat like that in your life?

They didn't miss a thing.

Concussion, too, I think.

He's all right internally.

I don't know.

He's been kicked,

beaten, pistol-whipped.

Is he gonna make it, Doc?

I don't know.

What do you mean,
you don't know?

Well, I mean I don't know.

But I do know one thing.

You're not helping
any standing there.

Why don't you go get 'em.

Just find 'em.

I'll find 'em.

- Doc...
- Don't ask silly...

Get out of here, Thad.


Save him, Doc.

Yeah, save him.

You better live.

Don't you die on...

Don't you die.

Don't you die.

Matt. Matt, I just heard

that Festus has been
all beaten up and...

It's bad, Kitty.
He's in bad shape.

- But...
- Doc's got him up there in his...


Shakes you up, huh, Marshal?

Not having your back
shooter round to help you out?

Kitty, get inside.

Don't be a fool, Kyle.

What do I got to do, Marshal,

to get you to draw
against me in a fair fight?

I figured, uh, stomping on
your back shooter ought to do it.

Where's your two friends?

They ain't got nothing
to do with this, Marshal.

It's between you and me.

Now, draw. Draw!

Drop your gun belt.



This is ridiculous. Carrying
food up there to him?

You're gonna spoil him forever.

Well, I'm not spoiling him
any more than you are.


It's a dirty shame.

I don't know who
I feel sorrier for,

them or... or Matt.

You hear what old man Stoner's

having carved on
Kyle's headstone?

No. What?

"Killed in the prime of life
by Marshal Matt Dillon."

Oh, no.


Well, Matt tried to talk to him.

He turned his back on him.

I know. I know he did.

You know something that's
almost as frightening as that?

That young Woody could be
headed in the very same direction.



Never saw anything like it.

He's not sleeping easy.

Sounds like he's sleeping now.

Um, you know, Doc,
uh, I know Festus

didn't see who did this to him,

but, um, I think he
owes him a favor.

You know, he really
looks better now

than he did before it happened.

Oh, there's no
question about that,

but come to think of it,
anything would have been

- an improvement, wouldn't it?
- Oh, that's true, yes.

Well, fir... first off...

it wasn't a him that
done it; it was a them.

Four or five of them.

It could have been six, and...

Next off, it don't
do a patient no good

to have folks stand
around and poke fun at him

when he's on his bed of pain.

He's talking well today.

Oh, yes, you see, unfortunately
they never broke his jaw.

If they had've, I could
have wired that shut,

and that really would have
been an improvement, wouldn't it?

A f...

A feller sure finds
out who his friends is

when he's on his sickbed,

the flat of his
back and helpless.

- Miss Kitty.
- Hmm?

I don't want to be
bothersome or nothin',

but when you go back to the
Long Branch, could you bring me

a pitcher of beer to just
kind of ease the pain, hmm?

I heard that, and
there'll be no beer.

You'll get so fat you'll break
your ribs again from the inside.

You call yourself a doctor.

A healer of pain.

My foot.

Festus, here's
some nice beef broth.

Beef broth?

Now, you be a good
boy and drink this.

And I'll bring you
back some beer.


You drink that. Every last drop.

Boy, he'll run you ragged,
drive you crazy if you let him.

Keep your eye on things, Thad.

Sure thing, Matt.

Where do you suppose he's going?

By golly, he's sure in
a big hurry, ain't he?


Where's Matt going?

He's going out to
the Stoner place.

What do you want here?

Put the gun away, son.

Now, you get off our land.

I just came here to
speak to your father.

- There's no...
- You got no call to talk to my pa.

I'm gonna kill you, I swear it.

Not right now, you're not.

Kyle couldn't do it, but I will.

Let's go.


Pa, it's Dillon.

What are you doing here?

I tried to stop him, Pa.

Get off my land.

I will when I've said
what I came to say, John.

I'm fixing to bury my son, Matt.

Now, leave us be!

I've got some information,
and I need some answers to it.

Answers? To what?

Like Kyle's friends...

That Smith and
Brown... Where are they?

How would I know?

- Woody?
- Why ask me?

Well, it seems that Kyle was
involved in some robberies.

What are you talking about?

On the last one,
there were four men.

One of the descriptions
fits Woody here.

Kyle was no thief!
Woody isn't, either!

I'm waiting for some
witnesses to arrive now.

And I'll leave Woody here
with you to help bury Kyle,

but he's in your custody,
and he's under arrest.

Your word, John.

Either that, or I'll have
to take him with me now.

Well, you... you have my word.


You didn't mean what
you said just now?

I meant it.

You're turning me over to him?

You're innocent. He
won't prove anything.

And if he sees to it
that his witnesses lie?

He's not that kind of a man.

All of a sudden, he's
not that kind of a man?

What made him change?

Woody, we've never
run from the law.

We're not about to start now.

Where are you going?

I'm going to bury Kyle.

That's good.

When we finish...

I'm going away, Pa.

I'm leaving.

I gave my word, son.

To the man who killed Kyle.

We'll not argue
standing over his grave!

Oh, I should have shot him this
afternoon when I had the chance.


You did right, son, not to.

Only on account of you I didn't.


It's my going away,

or my being dead like Kyle.

What do you mean?

I could never take the marshal.

I ain't near fast enough.

But I look on him one more time,

and I'll try.

I promise you I'll try.


It's that or going away.

Well, I'm mighty
glad to see you.

Hi, Doc.

- What, he's asleep?
- Oh, yes, he's asleep.

And he's the only one within
four miles of here that is.

Listen to that.

What happened out at Stoner's?

Well, I had a
long day out there.

I'll tell you all about
it in the morning.

Sure glad to see
he's feeling better.

Good night, Matt.

Oh, don't worry about me, Pa.

I'm sitting here
trying to figure

how I'm gonna face Matt Dillon,

how I'm gonna
make this thing right.

Whenever I gave my word,

I always made good on it.

I know.

Well, you're leaving, all right.

But I want you to
remember one thing.

You remember the 20
years you were my son.

Yes, Pa.

No man can say bad
about the name "Stoner."

At least not since long
before you was born.

Yes, Pa.

It's a good name,
and I'm depending

on you to keep it that way.

From right now on.

I take an oath.


Who is that?

Mr. Stoner?

That's Smith.

We, uh, come to pay
our respects, Mr. Stoner.

Oh, come in.

Thank you.

Just a few words, though.
We got to be moving on.

- Evening, Woody.
- Brown.

Well, there, uh, ain't much
to say at a time like this.

We... we just wanted you
to know we're right sorry.

Well, I appreciate your coming.

Well, it was the
least we could do...

Say good-bye to Kyle's kin...

He being such a
good friend and all.

You say you're moving on?

Well, the fact is, we're
heading down Oklahoma way,

see if we can pick
us up some work.

Well, maybe it's just as
well you're leaving Dodge.

How so?

There have been
some robberies lately.

According to Marshal Dillon...

Garden City, Kinsley.

In fact, the marshal
was out here today

looking to talk to the
two of you and Woody.

Course, I know Woody
had nothing to do with them,

and I can believe that
you two didn't, either,

if only because you
were friends of Kyle's.

Well, what's this?

Just a couple of
dollars to carry you

until you get
where you're going.

I want to ask you a favor.

I want you to take
Woody with you.

Was you, uh... you
figuring on leaving, Woody?

That's right.

Fixing to ride south?

It don't make no difference.

Just as long as it's
soon, huh, Woody, boy?

What do you mean by that?

Just a manner of speaking.

Well, the truth of
it is, Mr. Stoner,

well, we was that close
to asking you for a loan,

but a... a mite more
than this, though.

Stoner, us needing
to stay out of sight's

what he means the money's for.

Stay out of sight?

What are you talking about?

- Son, are you mixed up...?
- Forget it.

Forget it?!

I will not forget it.

- All of a sudden...
- All right, Pa.

They're talking about
witnesses that can identify us,

about the law that can...
that's gonna be coming after us,

and about us needing enough cash

to get us out of here
till we're long gone.

Go grab my gear, huh?

All that talk about
gunning Dillon...

Oh, no, look, if
I have to listen

to any more of your soft talk,

or you're blabbing
about fair fights,

or the great name of
Stoner, I think I'll throw up.

- Now, Woody, hold on!
- I've had it, Pa!

All the old stories,
the preaching,

and you not letting
me bushwhack Dillon.

Well, one day, I'll
get him. I'll get him.

Y'all coming?


I took an oath, Pa.

You remember?






Oh. John.

What's wrong?

I came to you 'cause I
couldn't handle all three of them.

What are you talking about?

Three men wanted for robbery.

You mean Brown and Smith?

And my son, Woody.

No time to go into it.
I'll fill you in as we ride.

Where are we riding?

They said something
about Oklahoma.

Oklahoma's a long way, John.
Are you sure you're up to it?

Woody's all I got left, Matt.

Be right with you.

- Hey, there.
- Whoa, whoa.

- What's the matter?
- Whole saddle is slipping.

Oh, get out of the way.

You know,

there ain't no sense in running
these animals into the ground.

Nobody following us.

Don't you figure your
old man's following?

Not likely.

The Stoner reputation means
more to him than bothering with us.

Wouldn't want folks
finding out he raised

a couple of bad boys, huh, kid?

Boy, it's been a time
since I heard anybody

read off like he done him.

Well, the way you
two were going,

you'd still be there jawing.

Soon as he come up with
the money like he done,

jawing was fast
about to end, boy.

You done him more of
a favor than you know

when you grabbed that
money and took out with us.

Hey, we got to find
us some place to rest.

I'm getting tired of
sitting on this animal.

Well, Elm Mills, we can
be there by daybreak.

Let's go.



Looks like one of 'em's
lost a shoe, all right.

Yeah, they come through here.

Still heading south...

a little southeast, I'd say.

And how long ago, would you say?

A couple hours.

Mm-hmm. Well,
we're gaining on 'em.

They're not pushing.

No need to, the
way they figure it.

Well, they just don't
know you, John.

Looks like my son took a
few things for granted, too.

Well, the way they're
going, looks like they'll

be at Elm Mills by morning.

Well, Elm Mills or whatever,
one way or another,

they're going back to Dodge.

Hey, let's get something to eat.


That's what it is.

We're hungry.


You got anything to eat?

I have if you got the money.

We got the money.

I'll cook you some cracklings
and fry you some eggs.

Oh, and a big pot of coffee.

I'm gonna get some air.


y'all moving on?

Don't see much to
keep a man around here.

Oh, my.


Come on, I'll buy
you... buy you a drink

with some of your pa's money.

Come on.

That's Woody's horse,
right there on the end.

All right, we'll check
the saloon first, huh?


Get out of here.


It's Dillon!

That's one of them, Matt.




Pa, look out.

Get back, get back here.

I'm all right, Pa.

It's my leg.

I almost shot you.

I took an oath, Pa.
Don't you remember?

What do you mean?

I had to go off with them.
They was gonna kill you.


can you hold out
here all right, son?

I'm all right.

I can't let the marshal
do all our fighting for us.

Be careful, Pa.

Look out, Stoner.

All right.

No, you just never
know about kids.

The way I look at raising
children is this way:

you-you just...

Well, they're kind of like
growing plants, in a way.

How do you figure that, Doc?

Well, it's this
way, it's similar.

You-you can do everything
in the world for 'em,

but once they take root,

they're on their own,
that's all there is to it.

Some of them grow up
all right, and others just...

That's the way you
got it figured, huh?

- Yup.
- You really think that's the truth?

Well, of course it's the
truth. And it holds, too.

Now, you...

Now, you take, uh, Festus there.

What about me?

Well, you kind of fall into a
plant classification, you know?

You... you see, for a start,

you probably would, uh,
resemble, um, a cactus.


Well, for a start,
I mean, and then

as you grow, why,
you'd probably be...

be sort of...

Uh, well, kind of
like a skunk cabbage.

You ornery old scudder, you.

Ain't neither one of them plants

no earthly good to nobody.

You have now
begun to get the idea.

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