Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 12, Episode 28 - Nitro: Part 1 - full transcript

Two smooth thugs and their trigger-happy partner (the actor is given significantly lower billing than Tom Reese and Eddie Firestone, who play the sharpies) extract nitroglycerin from dynamite by boiling it until the nitro floats "like an oil" on the water's surface and skimming it off. It's fully as dangerous as it sounds, so they have hired men to do it for huge sums of money which they get from burglarizing banks and blowing up their safes. The first one goes up in an gigantic explosion which shatters windows miles away, so they turn to a young ex-cowboy with no prospects except his saloon-girl girlfriend. The young man reluctantly agrees, hoping to make a fresh start by investing in petroleum development (Buck Taylor's dad Dub plays the developer). But when a cougar spooks the thugs' horse and causes horse and buggy to be strewn all over the landscape, the thugs must regroup. They have accidentally knocked over the bank where the Kansas Petoleum Development Company's money was stored, so they have to try and play nice to the young man and get him to mix more nitro.

(dramatic theme music playing)

(both guns fire)

ANNOUNCER: starring
James Arness as Matt Dillon.

(whistling softly)

(whistling continues)


Will you stop that?

(whistling stops)

Thought I had more than that.

Excuse me.

Wait a minute.

Couldn't we just sit and talk?

I'm sorry, George. It's my job.


(whistling softly)

We ought to be further back.

This is good enough.

Matthew, would you want a...

Oh, yeah, I'll have
a cup, Festus.

Thank you.

(whistling softly)


(whistling stops)

Don't do that.

(horse neighing)


What in the Sam Hill?

Go get the horses. I'll get Doc.




There's nothing you're going
to want to see down there.

Poor old Billy.

Let's get out of here.

Go round up the horses.

Well, this puts us out
of business, I suppose.

Doesn't have to.

Where you gonna find
anyone as crazy as he was?

There's always somebody.

Haven't you learned that yet?

(theme music playing)

I'll tell you this, Miss Kitty,

you haven't never
saw no sight like this

in all your born days.

It was pretty grizzly all right.

All right, it was grizzly.

So let's just not
belabor the point.

Well, Doc...

Boiling nitroglycerin
out of dynamite...

Who would even
think of such a thing?

Oh, well, Kitty, that's been
thought of a long time ago.

That's dangerous, but...

Oh, shoot, Miss
Kitty, it's plumb easy.

All you do is go to work
and get yourself a pot...

- I'm in favor of that.
- What?

You getting yourself a
pot and a stick of dynamite

and going way outside
of town and doing it.

Well, after what we saw, I
don't see how it's possible

for anyone's safe to
be blown around here.

Yeah, I hope you're right.

They sure have been
having a field day.

Well, I'll tell you
this, Matthew.

It says a heap for you.

You notice they ain't been
hanging around Dodge City.

No, not so far, but
they sure have been

operating in the territory.

Wichita's getting a little edgy.

Well, I guess I better
make the rounds.

- I'll see you later, Kitty.
- Think I'll join you, Matt.

MAN: Put your money down now.

No more bets. No
more bets, boys.

That's it.

Come on.

All right, now, here,
she's coming out now.

Here, she's... Number
one is the winner!

(indistinct chatter)

Ay Chihuahua! We did it again!

I knew it, I knew it!
Fill this old saddlebag.

Stay with me, honey.
You're my luck tonight.

- I thank you.
- A round for all the boys.

Coming right up, winner.

MAN: All right, get
your bets down, boys.

Evening, Anne.

Oh, hello, George.

I came to see you.

That's nice.

Uh, Sam, I'm going to need

a couple more beers
on here, please.

Coming right up, Anne.

Hustle it up. Time is money.

Couldn't we just talk?

I'd just love it.

I'd love to sit
right down and...

There's a table right here.

I'd love to, George,
but I have to work.

For just a minute?

George, I told
you this afternoon.

I know what you told me.

Good night, George.

I'm sorry.

Anne, I thought maybe Sunday...

uh, I thought maybe we
could... we could get together.

I know you don't have to work.

Sunday? Sunday I get to sleep.

Here you are, fellas.

MAN: Thank you, Anne.

(lively piano music playing)

(piano music playing
faintly in distance)

Howdy, George.

Who are you?

Ah, come on, George.

Who are you?

The name's Pheeters.

Where you going?

I'm already there.

Where's that?

Where's that?

Hell, boy.



Move over.

George, George, George.

You're a lucky man, George.

You've got something
nobody in the world has.

Yeah, yeah.

I got a gut that's
eating me alive.

You got a crystal ball.

What are you talking about?

Oh, ain't many men

who can look into the future.

There you see a crystal ball.

You're drunk.

Of course I am.

Look, Georgie.


Georgie, look.


What do you see?

I see you.

No, you don't.

You see yourself in 30 years.

MAN: All right, here we go now.

All right.

(indistinct chatter, lively
piano music playing)

MAN: All right, put
your bets down, boys.

Get off the table, please.

I'm as good as any man here.

You hear?

MAN: Put your bets
down now. Let's go.

- Anne?
- MAN: Come on, come on, come on.

Let's play the game. Come on.

- Come on, you...
- Get your hands off of her.

Now, wait. Now, wait...

Wait a minute, boy.

Now, wait a...
wait a minute here.

Hold it. Easy, easy, easy, son.

Easy. Now, wait. Now, hold it.

I'm as good a man as
you, even if I am broke.

Hold it, now.


A chance!

That's all a man needs.

But how does he get it?

(woman screams)

George McClaney,
stop it. Do you hear me?

- I'll handle him, Miss Kitty.
- GEORGE: Stay away from me!

ANNE: George?

All I wanted was to talk to you.

Put that down.

How come she works so
hard she can't talk to me?

Just put the gun down,
and we'll talk about it.

That's all I wanted
to do was talk to her.

But no, you got to have
money to talk to her.

It's your fault.

You won't let her talk to me.

- (door opens)
- DILLON: Hold it!

Put the gun down.

No. No, I won't.

You're going to have to kill me.

That's the only way.

Come on, kill me.

That's what you're
going to have to do.

(gun cocks)

Now, put the gun down
before you hurt somebody.

Come on!

I dare you.


DILLON: All right, let's go.

- No! Leave me alone!
- DILLON: Come on.

GEORGE: Leave me
alone! You got no right!

If he's sober in the morning,

get him back over here
to clean up this place.

All right. Let's go.



My name's, uh, Stearman.

Ben Stearman.


I saw you last night.

You got a lot of nerve.

Comes out of a bottle.

I believe a man's
true nature comes out

after he's had a few.

Here, this will fix you up.

I'm not a drunk.

I never said you were.

I'm a bum.

There's a difference.

A bum's a drunk
without the price.

That's the difference.

I'm George McClaney.

You interested in a job, George?

I seem to have one.

I mean a good job.

I'll pay you $200 to start.


If you're paying me
that kind of money,

it's got to either be
dirty or dishonest.

Probably both.

Neither one.

It's fast, and it's easy.

What's the catch?

It's dangerous.


It'll take me most of
the day to finish up here.

Take your time.


GEORGE: Things are
all played out back East.

I must have tried
half a dozen things.

Sailing, stuff like that.

Where's "East"?


Is your family in Baltimore?

Not anymore.

What do you want me to do?

There's no hurry.

You said it'd be fast.

Take about ten minutes
when we get to it.

We just want to
get acquainted first.

I came into some money
a couple of years ago.

My father died.

Took him 40 years to make it.

Took me ten months to spend it.


What were you doing
in Dodge, George?

Fellow gave me a ride
over from Coldwater.

Oh, a friend of yours?

Nah, just a fellow with a wagon.


You find something funny?

Look, I got no
family, no friends.

(chuckles) I'm not
writing to anybody.

And nobody's looking to me.

That's what you wanted
to know, wasn't it?

You're pretty smart.

Said it was dangerous.
How smart do you have to be?

Do I get the job?

Oh, we'll see.

Can you lay off that?

I told him I wasn't
fighting the bottle.

You got to be steady
for what we got in mind.

All right.

Then get yourself some rest.

We'll get started
in the morning.


Yeah, that's real
steady, George.

(laughs) Never a doubt, huh?

That's very good, George.

Good enough for me.

Now, watch.

Nitro's like an oil.

When it starts to get hot,
it comes floating to the top.

And you take this cloth...

very slowly.

You pick it up and let
the liquid strain through.

Then you skim it off the top,

and you put it in this bottle.

You move it real
slow and real easy.

Real slow and real easy.

Don't jostle it. Don't slosh it.

Don't even breathe on it.

You pour it into the bottle so.

Nothing to worry
about, if you're careful.

Then why don't you do it?


Are you game?

What are the chances?

Of making money? Great.

No, of living to spend it.

They're not so great.

Well, there you are.
Now you've lost him.

No, I haven't. Have I, George?

It's better than
what's ahead of you.

It's as good a way as any.

Better than most,
when you think about it.

And you've thought about
it, haven't you, George?

You've got a good
eye, Mr. Stearman.

This is right up my alley.





(Bailey whistling softly)



(whistling softly)








Hold it right there, George.

Now, put it down in
front of you and let it cool.


My friends, I do believe
we're back in business.

Real good.

Just as smooth as silk.


There's your hundred.

I want a horse. I
want to go into town.

Oh, I can't let you do that.

Then what good's this?

BEN: Oh, we'll all go
into Dodge in a few days

and have a high old time,
but right now you stay here.

There's a jug inside.

You sure can pick 'em, Ben.


You got away with
it this time, huh?


We had this other
fella, Billy Burkas.

Oh, he was crazy.

Sweat would be
standing out on his head.

His eyes was like to pop out.

He stuck with it.

Got away with it twice, too.

Third time...
(imitates explosion)


That's what's going
to happen to you.

I'm just running off at the
mouth 'cause I'm scared.


Sometimes my heart
gets to beating so hard

I think that'll set it off.

It'll probably happen out
on the road someplace.

(chuckling): Hit a
bump or something.

What do you mean?

You don't think you got
the only dangerous job?

I got to carry it, you know.

(Bailey sighs)

Each time, I swear, never again.

Tell me something, George.

You-you get scared,
too, don't you?

Just a little?

Of a lot of things.

Not that.

Why do you do it?

Same reason as you.

For the money.

What money?

Any money that's held in a safe.

We've seen one or
two things hereabouts,

but it's the first time
Spearville has been

nigh blown off of the
map by nitroglycerin.

This is the closest they've
ever come to Dodge, too.

How much did they steal, anyhow?

- $8,267 in cash.
- FESTUS: Phew.

Then they've started up again.

Second one in two weeks.

Where are they
getting that stuff now?

- Good work, George.
- Yeah, nice.

I don't know what
we was worried about.

Watch your step.

Ain't got a nerve in your
body, have you, George?

Yeah, he's got
the touch all right.

You know, George,
it's just possible

you've found your
natural calling.

Here's your hundred.

That's not enough.

- What?
- (Bailey laughing)

He's a little smarter than
that Billy Burkas was, huh?

What do you need?


What are you
going to do with it?

Live a little.

All right, George.

Live a little.

GEORGE: Can I buy you a drink?

Part of the service, mister.


(sighs) How have you been?

Just fine.

Where have you been?


So I see.

A man can only
sink so low, Anne.

Will you have supper
with me this evening?


(snaps fingers)

I forgot... You have
to work suppertime.

Oh, no.

I don't have to work
suppertime tonight.

And I'd be delighted, George.


You know, you still
haven't told me about it.



Where'd you get the money?


Does it matter?

Well, a man brags
about how smart he is,

how he beat
somebody out in a deal,

and a woman smiles and
tells him how wonderful he is.

I don't know
which I mind most...

That or listening
to their problems.

Why do you do it?

Oh, it's either that or
be a slavey someplace.

I have to eat.

You found a gold mine.

In Kansas?

Am I warm?

Ice cold.

You held up the stagecoach.

(chuckling): No,
you're still cold.

I know.

You're the one that's been

blowing open the
safes around here.


You're red hot.

(both laughing)


I came into some
money back East.

My father died.

Oh, I'm sorry.

You see, that's hardly
anything to brag about.

Well, I can only say that
the change is wonderful.


It really is.

And I don't just mean the money.

But that is important, isn't it?

The money.

I wasn't very nice to you.

I'm sorry.

I can only blame the job.

I'm there so many
hours, and I just...

(mouthing silently)

Get in here.

Excuse me.


Where you been?

I've been looking
all over for you.

I was in jail.

Still got a little fire going?

Missed you the last
few days, Georgie.

Been out of town.

You've come on to something?

- Yeah.
- I knew it.

Spied you in Delmonico's there.


And I said to
myself, "He's done it.

The boy's done it."

Come on inside. I'll
buy you some supper.

Oh, no, no, I...

I couldn't do that.

I sure am happy
for you, Georgie.

She's the prettiest
girl I ever saw.

Come on in. I want
you to meet her.

George, George, George.

- Come on.
- No, no, no.

Oh, Howie at the Dodge House
give me something for you.

Telegrams always scare me.

Never got but one.

It was the saddest news a man...

I never did like 'em after that.

Oh, Louie.

Good news, Georgie?

These are all the tomorrows
any man could hope for.

What is it?

- Come on. Come on!
- Oh, no, no, no, no.

- Not Delmonico's.
- Come on.

Georgie, not Delmonico's.

No, Georgie, no, no, no.

Not Delmonico's.

Anne, this is my
friend, Louie Pheeters,

the worst fortune-teller
in the world.

How do you do, Louie?

- Ma'am.
- Sit down, Louie.

- Waiter.
- Yes, Mr. McClaney.

I want the biggest plate
of fried chicken you have

- for my friend here.
- Yes, sir.


George, what happened?

LOUIE: George...

have you been drinking?

No, but I feel like it.

I have an appointment
tomorrow in Bellefont

with Byron Feiffer Farnum.

Who's he?

He is the Kansas Petroleum
Development Company.

That's who he is.



I met him a while back.

We're going to
discuss a partnership.

I'm going to put some of that
money my father left me to work.

Louie, I want you to eat all
the fried chicken you can hold.

Uh, and when you're finished,

I want you to go on
over to the Long Branch

and, uh, get all
the beer you need

to wash it down.

Good night.

Good night, Louie.



Evening, Festus.


What is that you...
you got there?

I'm eating my supper.

Would you care to join me?

Well, I-I was just
fixing to go in yonder

and wash me some
dishes to get a few vittles.

Oh, no need for that tonight.

Sit down.

Much obliged, Louie.

What'd you do, uh, get
yourself a little windfall, did you?

As a matter of fact, it was
a friend of mine who did.

Oh? Who's that?

Mr. George McClaney.

(lively piano music
playing, indistinct chatter)

MAN: All right, here
we're coming out now.

Payoff on number five.

It's nice to see you, George.

It's been a few days.

Sam told me you were in earlier.


You look lovely, Anne.

Thank you.

Um, excuse me.

You betcha. You betcha again.

Uh, good evening, Mr. McClaney.

Fortunate my
running into you, Ben.


It gives me a chance to tell
you that I'll be leaving town soon.

Be gone long, will you?

Afraid so.

I'm all done with it.

I don't want to see
you fellas anymore.

We'll miss you.


Kind of makes a fella
feel good to be missed.

But, uh, there will be somebody
else along to take my place,

won't there, Ben?

There's always
somebody else along.


Well, that does it.

We'll see.

After we take care of that
business up north, we'll see.

Spin the wheel, will you?

It's here somewhere.

I just saw it this morning.

Just so I'm not too late.

Too late?

To buy in.

Of course not.
You're not too late.

I said so in my
telegram, didn't I?

Here. While I'm looking, this
sample came the other day.

That's oil all right.

(chuckles) "Pie in
the sky," says they.

"Fortune," says I.

I read a while back about
oil being discovered up north.

Nothing like what's going to
be taken from my holdings.

Oh, here it is.

Kansas Petroleum
Development Company.

Land lease agreement.

At least these will be my
holdings come next Monday.

Mr. Farnum...

I, uh... I put together a
little less than $500 here.

Six months from now, George,
and you'll be worth thousands.

It's every cent I've got.

I've got a lot riding on this.

I don't think I have
time to start over.

Do you realize what this is?

This is the future
of our country.


"Dreamer," says they.

"Destiny," says I.

There's power in this, George.

Power to move mountains.

And someday, power to
push trains across the plains.

Power to send great ships
cruising the seven seas.

You mean run trains
and ships with oil?

You don't believe
it, either, huh?

Just... just like
all the others.

Well, it does sound
a little far-fetched.

Well, George, if
you don't believe it,

why you putting
your money in it?

Well, I guess the
power to light the lamps

of several cities is
good enough for me.

How old are you, George?

- Twenty-seven.
- Twenty-seven.

You heard what I just said?

You'll live to see it.
You'll live to see it,

and you'll remember Byron
Feiffer Farnum saying it,

and that's my word.

It's today I'm worried
about, Mr. Farnum.


That's all.

Well, there's my money.

The money goes
directly to the bank.


Well, how's it look, Bailey?

Piece of cake.

Last batch we got from
George should do it easy.

Yeah, the last batch.

Everything has to end sometime.

Let's go.

Mr. Sanders in the bank there

will fill you out a stock
certificate, George.

Then you'll be a
bona fide stockholder

in the Kansas Petroleum
Development Company.

And come next Monday,
when we draw out our money,

you'll be handed
all those leases,

and you and me
will be in business.

What, um... what
was the man's name?

Uh, Mr. Sanders.

He's a real nice fella.

"Transferable only on the
books of the corporation

in person or by..."


I can't understand a
single word of this, George.

It simply gives me a piece

of the Kansas Petroleum
Development Company.


Anne, do you know
what this means?

just swimming in oil.

People have made fortunes
with less shares than this.

But this is Kansas.

There's oil in Kansas, too.

Mr. Farnum's reports
show that the...

the leased land sits
right on top of a main pool.

He's brought up
oil sand already.

This is the chance I've
been looking for, for a lifetime.

I'm very happy for you, George.

There's an element of
speculation in it, of course.

But this is a sure-fire,
gilt-edge proposition,

not one of those
fly-by-night deals.

I mean, Farnum wouldn't
even touch the money.

He made me take it
right straight to the bank.

He's not working
on a shoestring.

He's got money.


Well, here's to you, George.

I'm not saying I'm going to
be the richest man in Kansas.

Not for a few years, anyway.

Well, here's to the
day that you are.


(glass shatters)

(crickets chirping)

Hold it.

Easy, now.


Easy, boy.

Watch it, now.

Easy, easy, easy.

Whoa, whoa.

Okay, Bailey.

Now, watch the rut.

Watch it, Bailey.

Easy, now.


Come on, now, boy. Come on.

Easy, easy.

BAILEY: Easy, easy, easy!

Watch it!


- (horse neighing)
- (yelling)

Hold him!


Hold him!


Jump, Bailey!



Bailey, you still in one piece?


You all right?

What are we going
to do now, Ben?


I guess we're going to
have to go get George.

We need more nitro.

You'll not get it from me.

Yes, I will, George.

Not on your life, mister.
I'm all set up now.

There's no way in the
world you can make me do it.

Yeah? Miss Anne... she's
sure a pretty little thing.

Be a shame if anything
happened to her, George.


You hear me, and
you hear me good.

We need more nitro.

Now, you make it,

or else that little lady's
going to have an accident.

Joe is very good at accidents.


We'll see you first thing

in the morning,
George, at the shack.

(lively piano music playing)

Mercy, mercy.

No wonder there were some
windows broken in Dodge.

I'll guarantee
you this, Matthew.

There's one safe hereabouts

that ain't going to
get itself blowed open.

Guess they were bound
to run out of luck eventually.

Dying's about as
final a thing as there is,

but this here way's

about the most finalest
that I have ever saw.



tuned for exciting scenes

from the conclusion
of tonight's story.