Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 12, Episode 19 - Mail Drop - full transcript

A young boy comes to Dodge looking for his father. What he finds is that his father is a wanted outlaw on the run.

Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.




Whoa. Ho, ho, there, sonny.

I guess I wasn't watching
where I was going.

Excuse me.

Golly Bill, this
early in the morning,

it ain't easy for a feller
to keep his eye peeled.

I know I ain't too good myself.

Well, sorry, mister.

Oh, no harm did at all.

Hey, mister?

I don't want to
be bothering you.

I just thought you
might know my father.

Your pa?

Uh, what's his name?

Johnson, Will Johnson.

I'm Billy Johnson.

Glad to make your
acquaintance, Billy.

Uh, was he supposed to meet
this early stagecoach, was he?

No, he...

no, he doesn't know I'm coming.

Oh, it's a surprise, huh?


Will Johnson...


I sure can't place him
from the name at all.

I'll tell you, maybe
Matthew will know.

Let's go down
yonder and ask him.

All righty.


Matthew, this
here's Billy Johnson.

Billy, this here's
Marshal Matthew Dillon.

- How do, Billy?
- Howdy, Marshal.

Billy just come in
on that eastern stage.

He's looking for his pa.

Oh, does your pa live in Dodge?

Well, I don't guess
he'd live in town. I...

He writes me letters from
here when he brings in a herd.

He's a trail boss.

Oh, a trail boss.

What's his name, Billy?

Will Johnson.

Will Johnson, huh?

What does he look like?

I guess I don't know.

You mean you ain't
never saw your pa?

Well, not in a long time.

I've been in a
boarding school in Ohio.

I got a picture.

Something wrong, Marshal?

Oh, uh... well, no, Billy,

but, uh, I'll tell you,
it may be kind of hard

to find your pa out here.

You know, there's...

there's an awful lot of
trail bosses around, and,

well, there's about 50 herds
outside of Dodge right now.

Billy, uh, why don't you
slip into the sweet shop there

and get yourself a
little poke of sweets?

Well, that's a good idea.

Oh, uh, thank you.

What's the matter, Matthew?

This man's name
isn't Johnson, Festus.

It's Roberts...

and he's wanted for
murder and cattle rustling

in every state west
of the Mississippi.


You sure it was Billy?

Now, that's enough.

I'm sure it was Billy

like I'm sure it was the
marshal he was talking to.

How do you like that boy?

All the way here by himself.

It was pure luck I spotted him.

I know.

You don't push luck,

not when a rope's
waiting for the loser.

Oh, you'd have to get
awful close to recognize me.

I don't want the
law near me at all.

That marshal
isn't gonna find us.

Neither is the boy.

They'll both give up.

Maybe the kid will...

but not Matt Dillon.

It'd take that marshal
four or five days

to get to all the outfits
in the open range.

Over a week to find
those out in the canyons.

That time, we'll be finished.

Keep the boys working,
three days, we'll be in Abilene.

Punk brat could
have got us nailed.

Pay the Chinaman
five pails of hot water.

Well, Billy...

I'm afraid this letter doesn't
give us too much to go on.

You say you get one
of these here letters

about once a year, do you?

Well, it always comes
near my birthday.

That's how I remember.

Your pa must be quite a feller,

uh, always remembering
your birthday,

being so far away and all that.

Billy, I'm gonna
be honest with you.

The chances of finding your
pa out here are pretty slim.

I think maybe you made a
mistake quitting school and all.

I want to be a cowboy.

Don't need no
more schooling now.

Billy, there's a whole heap
of them ol' waddies out yonder

punching cows right now
that wish they had the chance

to go to school, right, Matthew?



we'll have to find
someplace for you to stay

until we can figure
out what to do.

How about Ma Smalley's?

Say, she just might
have some breakfast left,

and this is one woman's vittles
that's worth the hurrying for.

- Come on.
- Good idea.

You take him over there,
Festus, and, Billy, in the meantime,

well, we'll see what we
can do about finding your pa.

Thank you, Marshal.

Uh, Billy, why don't
you just mosey on down

towards the
blacksmith's shop there

and I'll catch up
with you directly.

Okay, Festus.

Bye, Marshal.

You don't reckon there
could be no mistake, do you?

That's the same
feller, ain't it?

Sure is.

I just feel like a
regular sneak, Matthew,

letting on to this young'un

that they ain't a
thing out of place.

So do I, Festus.

We can't exactly tell
him his pa's an outlaw.

Poor little ol' scudder.

I just pity him so much.

It wasn't that I
didn't like school.

It's just that... I got
lonesome sometimes.

Since Ma died, me and Pa
haven't seen much of each other.

Well, I can see how a
feller would get lonesome,

uh, missing your
pa and all that.

I can't wait for
you to meet him.

You're going to like him,
and he's going to like you.

Come on, Bill.

You look at the
size of that boy?

I'd as leave look at that
picture of him you carry,

and a long ways
from here at that.

He's grown a foot.

Let's go.

In a minute.

I ain't any trouble, am I,
waiting for my pa and all?


Foo foot, no.

You ain't no trouble.

Shoot, forget about that.

Waiting or not waiting, no.

When I was to boarding
school, I was always in trouble.

Well, now, that don't
sound much like you, Billy.

Like this wig the
headmaster wore.

Me and some kids found
out about it, you know.

So we went and picked some
fleas off this ol' yellow dog.


He never did want to scratch
in front of us, you know.

Very few of them fellers does.

Of course, I felt
sorry about it later on.

See, that there's a sign

that you know the difference
betwixt good and bad,

and they's a whole heap
of folks that don't know that.

Anybody would think he was
made of gold or something.

You've got no son.

No, none I'd put my brand to.

Oh, you can sure see his mother.

She... she had the
reddest hair ever was.

Hanging around
here is dangerous.

Are you really all that
worried about me, Walsh?

I've got part of a
good thing with you.

I'd just as soon not lose it.

Sun's getting mighty low.

Well, we ain't
caught nothing yet.

Well, I know we ain't, Billy,

but I'll tell you the
way to look at that.

You see, now, tomorrow,

that old catfish
will be a day older

and he'll be a day smarter.

That way, it'll kind
of even things up

betwixt the two of you.

Don't you see?

Well, I've got to
look after the jail.

We'd better get back into town.

There, they're leaving, see?

Now, come on.

- Festus?
- Huh?

You know, I bet you
this racehorse of mine

would beat that old mule
of yours back to town.

You talk like my foot's asleep.

There ain't a horse
west of the Mississippi

can beat ol' Ruth.

Come on, Ruth, come on.

Come on!

Oh, he sure can horseback.


Oh, howdy, Marshal.
Good to see you.

Oh, good to see you.

Hey, that coffee smells good.

Well, help yourself.

- There's some beans there, too.
- Oh, thanks.

Yeah, I heard you was out
making the rounds of the herds.

Yeah, that's why I stopped
by to see you, Steve.

I'm looking for this fella here.

He calls himself Bill Roberts.

Bill Roberts.

Figure he's working these parts?

Good chance of it.

Well, I don't think we met.

Well, Steve, if you
see any strangers

hanging around the
edge of your herds,

why, get word to me, will you?

I'll send you more than word.

Hand him over to you hog-tied
and slung over their saddles.

Good. Particularly
this fella Roberts.

I want to get him bad. Let
me know if you see him.

Oh, will do.

Well, thanks for
the coffee, Steve.

Oh, look, you're welcome to
bed down here for the night.

Well, thanks, but I got to
be getting back to Dodge.

Well, we'll see you when
we get in, then, huh?

Good. Be looking for you.


For once, I think
you're stumped.

Well, what are you
guffawing about?

Let me help you.

No, get away!

I'll work it myself.

That'll be the day.

Sure you ain't
pulling my leg, Billy?

No, they'll come apart.

You just have to do it right.

Well, if it can
be did, I'll do it.

I'll guarantee it.



Be right back.

Don't move, Louie.

Be steady, Louie.

Steady, now.

Walk right around this way.

Come on.

Easy does it, Louie.

I got him.

Easy, now.

- Step up right here.
- Right in there.

Come on, right in.

Step up right in there.

Okay, mister...

you're under arrest.

Don't move, Louie.


Louie, I don't know
how you manage to do it.

You're as good as dead.

Okay, here.

- Cover him up.
- Good.

Now, Louie, take it easy,

and I'll go get you a
quick cup of coffee.

Coffee ain't gonna do no good.



He must have had
hisself two barrels full.

Billy, you hadn't
ought to have been...

I thought you were my friend.

Well, I am your friend.

You told me lies!

You said the marshal
was looking for him.

You didn't say to arrest him.

Well, all we was doing...

You were just being nice to me
just so's you could catch my pa.

That ain't true.

Well, you ain't gonna
use me no more.




Hello, Billy.

Oh, you...

a big one.

You sure shot up
these past years.

Why did you come here?

You found out.

I'm sorry.

I wish I'd never left
that boarding school.

Why did you?

I was lonely.

I wanted to be with you.

Now, hold on, boy.

I know, you're gonna tell
me to mind my manners

and speak civil to my elders.

That's what they
taught me in that school.

I've been lied to
all down the line.

They were never lies
meant to hurt you, son.

I seen the poster.


I saw the poster.

They read...

worse than the facts, son.

Just what are the facts?

It's a hard country.

You fight over a few
cows, and then you...

have to play the game.

"Dead or alive," it said.

My own father.


Leave me alone.

If I could have done that,
I wouldn't be here now.

Well, there ain't
no need for staying,

'cause come tomorrow morning,
I'm gonna leave this town.

You're going
back to that school.

No, not back to school.

I've grown up fast.

I don't figure on listening
to you or anybody else.

Still your father. You're
gonna do what I tell you.

You're going back to that
school until I send for you.


Ho, Billy, you in there?


Well, let me in.

I've got to talk to you.

There's nothing to talk about.

Oh, yes, there is.

There's a heap to talk about.

Now, let me in.

Leave me alone, Festus.

Who's in yonder with you?

Just go away!


All right, now, listen.

I've got a... I've got a plan.

I'll buy a place up in Montana.

Nobody be looking
for me up there.

Can we go there now?

No, not now, son, but soon.

I just don't want to go
back to that boarding school.

That's the way
it's got to be, son.

Look, I've got to go now.

I'll write.

In six months, we're gonna
be up there in Montana.

That's a promise.

Get your hands up.


- No, he wasn't doing nothing.
- Billy...

- He wasn't hurting nobody.
- It's all right. Let go.

I'm sorry, Billy. Let's go.

I'm not gonna let
them take you, Dad!

- Dad! Dad!
- Billy, Billy...

- Billy, listen to me.
- Leave me alone!

Come here... come
here and sit down.

- Let me talk to you.
- Dad!

Just let me talk to you.

- Billy...
- Billy, sit down.

- Leave me alone!
- Sit down.

It won't do any good, Billy.

Leave me alone!

Come on, Billy, let
me talk to you, now.

Always known this
would happen someday.

Bad time right now.

Yeah, it's a bad time.

Bad for your son.

Don't bring my son into this.

I didn't bring him
into it. You did.

First time your name
appeared on a wanted poster.

Now, what about the
others... Where are they?

You don't really expect
me to tell you that, do you?

All right, you play it tough.

It'll be a good
example for your boy.

What do you got
there? What's that?

Vittles for Roberts.

But he ain't gonna eat 'em.

Shoot, he ain't got no
more appetite than I got.

You seen little Billy?

Well, not since
last night, I ain't.

Hey, Festus, Doc.

Festus, take it on in.

- Hi, Doc.
- Matt.

Roberts tell you
anything, Matthew?

Hasn't said a thing.

But if his cronies are
out there, we'll find 'em.


if you like, I can stay
here and watch things.

You could ride with Matt.

Nah, you go ahead on there.

Much obliged, anyhow.

See you, Matt.


It's all done, Festus.


It's all done; my
cleaning's all done.


Yeah, looks... looks
real good, Louie.

Real good.

Hadn't ought to have did it.

My way of apologizing for
all the trouble I've put you to.

Ah, wasn't no trouble.

Just... just forget about that.

Don't know why I let
myself get so far gone.

Louie, why don't you
just go on home and...

Here, I-I'll take care of that.

I'll-I'll empty it.

Good night, Festus.

No, go on, go on. I'll get it.

Oh, Festus...

got time to join me
in a little nightcap?

Good night, Festus.

Evening, Festus.

Oh, Lathrop.


Do me a little
something, will you?


yeah, well, sure,
Festus. What is it?

I just want to go down to
Ma Smalley's for a minute.

Would you kindly look
after the jail for me?

The j...

Oh... well, all right, Festus.

Much obliged.

You ain't gonna be
gone too long, are you?

Oh, no.

I'll be right back directly.


Come in.

I didn't hardly know whether
I'd be welcome or not.

Billy, I... I haven't never
did nothing sneaky wrong.

Leastwise where I was
a-dealin' with no young'uns,

I ain't.

I don't feel like I've did
anything wrong this time.

Course, from the
side of the fence

that you're sitting on,

I don't reckon I appear
like no soul of honor

or nothing like that...

but, shoot, we just
couldn't all off and tell you

your papa was a
outlaw, could we?

It wasn't fair.

You start to looking
at it a little closer,

it don't appear as
being unfair to me.

You wouldn't have caught
him if it hadn't been for me.

You're wrong there, Billy.

Once ol' Matthew gets
on somebody's trail,

it's just a little dab of time
till he'll glom on to him.


I sure am plumb sorry

that we couldn't
have stayed friends.

I'm real sorry
about that, Billy.

That's all I came to say.

I think that the only
thing a feller can do

is to do what he thinks
is the right thing to do.

Ain't that so, Miss Kitty?

Hmm, well...

And a feller just can't
plumb fret hisself to the dogs

over somebody who
not understanding.

He hadn't ought to
do that, ought he?

I'd say that, uh...

I mean, a feller hadn't

ought to feel a-havin'
did something wrong

when he actual didn't do
nothing wrong at all, ought he?

Well, I certainly
wouldn't think so.

Miss Kitty, I knowed
if I just come in here

and jaw with you a spell, why,

it'd a-squash itself, and
that's just what it done.

Much obliged to you.

It's my pleasure.

Sam, draw Festus another beer.

Miss Kitty, you...

I'll have one, too.

Yes, ma'am.





- Hello.
- Hello.

What do you want?

Where's Festus?

Festus ain't here.

Now, what was it you wanted?

I came to see my father.

Oh, that Roberts
fella back there?


I want to see him.

I'm sorry, I can't
let you do it, son.

Why not?

You're gonna have to
wait till Festus gets back.

Now, you just
run on out of here.

He's my father!

You can't do it!

Ah, come on, mister,
I just want to see him.

Now, come on, just
hustle on out of here.

I can't take that

Now, you just get
out there and stay out.

Psst... Dad.


You're man-sized, all right.

I'll have to go with you now.


Go around to the side.

I'll meet you there.

Hey, mister?

What was that?

I wonder if I could
get a blanket.

I didn't hear you.

I said I wonder if I could
get another blanket.

Well, I...

Billy! What in the tarnation
are you doing here?

- Turn me loose, Festus.
- Just hold still, now.

What are you doing
just slipping around here?

I ain't doing noth...

You heard what the boy said.

Not another sound out of you.


Billy, go get us a
couple of horses.

- What are you gonna do?
- Quick!

- Fest...
- Get some horses. Get!

All right, real
easy, now, inside.

I couldn't get no riding horses.

All right.

Hyah! Ah! Hyah!

Hyah! Hyah!

What's going on here?


Wait, here!

What are you trying to do?!

Hyah! Hyah!

He's stealing my horse!


Sam, Roberts...

Wait a minute.


What in thunder hit you?

He must have hit me
with the wood stove.

- Now, just a minute.
- Leave me be. I got to go.

They got Billy out yonder.

I know they got Billy.

Well, Doc...

I'm all right, Festus.

Doc, I'll get up a posse.

All right, fine.

You're not gonna
do that, now, Sam.

First sight of that buggy,
they'll start to shooting,

and Billy might get hurt.

Just give me a minute here,

and I'll set things
straight myself.



Got some water.

All right, rinse that out.

You're bleeding awful bad.

Got me good, though, it...

passed clean through.

Come on.

What are we gonna do, Dad?

Try to get back to camp.

Get a couple of
horses, get out of here.

How far is it?

Far enough and removed enough

this buggy isn't
gonna do any good.

We'll... have to unhitch.

Come on.

Well, I don't know how.

Wring that out.

We'll do it together, son.

All right, come on.


Old girl, you're gonna have
to become a riding horse now.

What do I do?

Come over here, son.

Get this strap.

Yes, sir.

I'm sorry, son.

For what?

It's all starting for you now.

You're gonna be grown-up
faster than you thought.

I'm sorry.


Seems a waste of time
bedding down like we did.

We got so little sleep,

it wasn't even worth
the effort of unsaddling.

Thad, I'm gonna head west.

You ride around
by the barrancas,

and I'll meet you about noon.

Now, if you run across them,
don't try to take them alone.

All right, sure thing.




Ooh. Easy, son.

Well, that makes the
count just over 100.

As soon as Sherm and
Gabe get back, we'll pull out.

Roberts can crow for his cut.

All right, send him back.

Hyah! Hyah! Hyah!


What happened?

Take the horse, Billy.

Where did he come from?

He helped me out
of that jail in Dodge.


I got, uh, shot on
the way out of town.

And you came straight here
with half a town after you?

Nobody's after me.

Nobody you could see.

I need two horses.

If you and that kid have
brought the law out here,

I'll kill him...

and you, I swear it.

Don't threaten me, Walsh.

Just do what I tell you.

You ain't in much
shape to tell me anything.

You go saddle two horses,

then get up some
food for me and the boy.

- Have enough, son?
- Mm-hmm.

There's plenty more.

I just want to get
some sleep now.

I'm afraid that might
be a time coming.

We'll be moving out directly.

That's all right.


I forgot for a minute there.

It's all right.

We've got to find you a doctor.

Never mind.

Well, maybe one of
your boys could get one.

The way things are,
they'd likely turn us in.

Howdy, Thad.

Where'd they come from?

I don't know.

They were following
in this barranca

when I spotted them.

Well, there's no herds
out this far, that's a cinch.

I think they're part
of Roberts' bunch.

Why don't we just grab 'em?

Well, I want to get the whole
bunch of them at one time,

not just those two.

We'll follow them a ways.



They're ready to ride.

Thanks, boys.

Here come Gabe and Sherm.

How many you get, Gabe?

15 head this trip.

All right, that iron's hot.

Get to branding them.

You be heading for Abilene?

No, we're riding north...

way north to Montana.

This herd is yours.


You don't want none of it?


Mount up, Billy.

Yes, sir.

Everybody stand nice and easy.

Why don't you two
just ease over yonder

with your partners?

Hold it!

First one of you makes a
move, I'll just crease you good.

Get these guns off.

This all of them, Festus?

Yeah, that's all of them.

Can you herd them back to town?

We'll go after Roberts.

Matthew, it's me that
got my head busted.

- Let me go with you.
- Well...

- All right, I can watch them.
- All right, let's go.

All right, sit down.

You've got a nice, long wait.



This is it, Billy.

What's the matter?

I can't go another mile.

Well, we'll rest here and
ride out in the morning.


you've gone as far as
you're going, too, boy.

What about Montana?

Forget it, boy.

It's not gonna be.

Now, you get on that horse there
and ride back the way we came.

I'm not gonna leave you.

I'm not asking you.
I'm telling you, son.

I need help.


Get Walsh. I need help.

Well, you said yourself
he wouldn't help you.

That's the only way now.

It's either him,

or I...

bleed to death right here.

You're gonna make it.

You're gonna be all right, Dad.

Think so?

I'm sure.

All right, then do what I said.

Now, go on. Go. Hurry up.

Do what I said.

Go on.

I'll be back as quick as I can.

Go on.




Look here, Matthew.

Festus! Marshal!

It's my father!

I think he's dying!

Hurry, this way!

Whoa... whoa, whoa.

Come on, hurry!


You sure this is
where you left him?

I'm positive.

Ain't here now.

Well, he's gone!

He lied to me.

He sent me away and rode off.

Festus, keep him here, will you?


I'm gonna look around
and see what I can find.

Find him, Marshal.

He lied to me, Festus.

He lied.

Billy, you got to
listen to me now.

Folks does things
that has to be did.

That's all there is to it.

They don't do them to...

to hurt folks
that's close to 'em.

Folks that they love
more than they'd ought to.

They don't do that.

You got to remember that.

It's all right, Billy.

Waste of lead
shooting me, Marshal.

Where's Billy?

He's all right.

He's with Festus.

It sure worked out... all wrong.

One good thing, though.

Billy isn't... here.

Be wrong for a boy to...

see his...

father die.

I sure hope things work out

so I can get back
here one day, Festus.

Shoot, there ain't no
reason why they can't.

'Tain't all that far
'twixt here and Ohio.

Here, give me that.

Reckon not.

I want you to keep up
with that learning in school,

you hear me?

Just learn everything you can.

One of these days,

you could turn out as
smart as Matthew or Doc.

I sure thank you for
everything, Festus.

Ah, I told you there
wasn't no thanks

connected with
what I done at all.

You know, you
come to Dodge a boy,

but you sure ain't leaving one.

Good-bye, Festus.



You keep that money
pinned to your drawers!

You hear me?


Stay tuned for scenes
from next week's Gunsmoke.