Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 12, Episode 9 - The Well - full transcript

Dodge becomes restless when a severe drought dries up all the wells except for one. Now it becomes a fight to keep living, placing Marshal Dillon in the middle.

(dramatic theme music playing)

(both guns fire)

ANNOUNCER: starring
James Arness as Matt Dillon.


FESTUS: I told you you
wasn't going to get none now,

and I mean it.

Why don't you just go on home

and stay out of the sun
like Doc told you to do?

Go on home now and stay there.

Ain't no use of you...

ogling at me like that.

It ain't going to
do you no good.

You're gonna have
to wait till sundown,

just like the rest
of the folks does.


go on, now.

Go on, get along, scat.

I sure am glad to see you.

If they's anything
I can't stand,

it's bratty young'uns
standing around

a-pooching their
eyeballs out at you,

trying to look pitiful.

Grown-up folks is bad enough,

but them bratty young'uns,

they just make me
pure ol' nervious,

I'll tell you.

Yeah, I know.

Was you able to swallow
your breakfast, was you?

All I had was a raw egg.

I'll tell you, you ain't going
to be getting no eggs directly,

if this here drought don't bust.

I know.

Mrs. Murdock's already
lost most of her chickens.

(Festus clucks tongue)

Well, folks is getting
into bad shape.

How is he?

He's nearly dead.

There ain't nothing you can do?

No, there's nothing I can do.

He drank water from
one of those mud holes

in the river bottom, didn't he?

WOMAN: He was thirsty.

Well, it's polluted.

He might as well have
put a gun to his head.

Stock drinks it.

Well, the stock's not people.

And they're dying from it, too.

At least, half of them are.

That's what adds
to the pollution.

No, there's nothing I can do.

That's four dead now.

The woman and the girl
will probably be two more.

You've got to stop them, Matt.


Can't put a guard
on every puddle.

Well, you've got
to do it some way.

They're committing suicide.


Well, we don't know
that for sure, Doc.

Maybe some of them
can pull through it.

If they can't, what
does it matter, anyway?

Does it make any difference

whether they die from bad water

or no water at all?

Well, I think so.

So do you.

(theme music playing)


This'll do. I'll get out here.

Give me my water.

This isn't enough.

Our agreement was for you to
ride as far as you wanted to go

and no mention to
anyone that I'd seen you,

in return for this.

That's more than you got coming.

- Why, you...
- Hold it.

But you can get plenty in Dodge.

If I thought there was
plenty of water in Dodge, son,

there'd be no argument.


Why don't you rub that off?

You know you
ain't got neither one

and all it's doing
is making it worst.

Well, I might as well, I guess.

Give me a drink.

No booze.

Don't you hear so good?

I said, give me a drink.

Dr. Adams says nobody's
to get any whiskey.


I don't care what
Dr. Adams said.

I said, give me a drink.

You're not going
to get any in here.

Well, then, I'll just go
somewheres else and get some.

You won't get any
anyplace in Dodge,

and I can't see you
riding very far in this heat.

Hey, look.

Hey, look at them water barrels.

Come on!

- Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!
- (clamoring)

- Hey! Hey!
- Whoa! -Whoa, hey!

Hey, stop his horse.
Stop his horse.

Hey, partner, you got any water?

No, I don't have any water.

Gentlemen, there's
no water in there.

This one here's empty.

- This one's empty, too.
- This one, too.

I don't have any
water, I told you.

Hey, look. Look!

He's a rainmaker.

Yeah, yeah, he's...

- No, no. I can't.
- (crowd shouting)

I don't know how.

I swear, I don't know how!

(shouting continues)

DILLON: Hold it!

Now, what's going on?

He's a rainmaker, Marshal.

He's going to make it rain.

- That's right.
- Yeah! -(clamoring)

- No! I don't know how.
- But he's...

That's what the sign says.

(crowd arguing)

All right, that's
enough of that.

You better come with me.

Take care of his horse.

Well, come on, he can
make it rain, Marshal.


Get out of the way.

(crowd protesting)

MAN 2: Marshal, why
don't you give him a chance?

MAN 3: How are you gonna
know unless you let him try?

I'm gonna go down
there, see what's going on.

(murmuring agreement)

All he can do is
give him a chance.

Come on, let's see what's up.

Maybe he can make it rain.

Hello, Doc.

This here's Doc Adams.

And this here's Dr. Tobias.

- Doctor?
- How do you do, sir?

He's a real doctor.

He's got them herb
medicines out yonder.

And rainmaker,
according to the sign.

Well, now, I've...

Where'd you come from?

East, from Elmwood.

What were things
like back there?

Same as here.

I was hoping I'd find
you folks better off

than some of the
others I've seen.

I'll tell you, when
our well goes dry

- we're gonna be in a pickle...
- Well?

You mean to say that you have
a well that hasn't gone dry yet?

- Marshal?
- Oh, Janie.

Hello, Janie.

Here. Come sit down.

How is he, Janie?
How is he, Janie?

That's why I came, Doc.

I-I thought maybe
you better look at him.

He didn't seem too good.

I can't nurse him anymore.

My milk's all gone.

Well, the same thing's wrong
with him as everybody else:

he needs water.

Is your ration all gone, Janie?


Well, we'll just have to arrange

for some extra
for you, that's all.

But I can't take extra.

Now, don't worry
about it at all.

Matt, he could use
some water right now.

Do you have a little there?

Doc, I'm sorry, I
don't have a drop left.

Well, then, I'll have to...

Uh, Doc, I got some left.

- You have?
- Mm-hmm.

There you are, Miss Janie.

I'll need a spoon, too.

Now, you drink
some of that yourself.

Oh, no, I couldn't.

Oh, well, fiddle,

I wouldn't drink any till
after sundown myself.

Festus, this is half full.

Well, I don't drink
much water, Doc.

DILLON: Yeah, how
do you manage that?

FESTUS: Well, geez,

I keep this pebble in my mouth.

Want one, Matthew?

DOC: Well, now, that's
gonna help him some, I think.

You know, uh, Festus,

sure would be nice if
you could spare some

for her to take home.

Oh, of course!

Give her all she wants.

Here, Matthew...

Pour it in your canteen...

Now, Janie, I wouldn't
want him to have

more than, oh, just
what I gave him there,

about every...
every half hour or so.

Just don't give him
too much, that's all.


You go on home and don't worry.

Thank you, Doc.

It's all right.

Festus, thanks.

Ah, forget it.

(crowd clamoring)

Mr. Tobias, what
pitch do you use

to go along with
that rainmaking sign?


when I come into
a dry town like this,

if people ask me about
the sign, I tell them I've quit,

because in the last place,

the people wanted to lynch
me after they got flooded out.

And if they still keep after me,

I finally agree to try, if
they put up the money.

But I don't get paid unless I
produce rain in two weeks.

And, uh,

I'm not responsible
in case of floods.

I see. So if it rains
within two weeks,

you collect your money.

Otherwise, you just, uh,
move on and try again?

Is that it?

That's about it.

Huh. That's
pretty slick, ain't it?

Oh, you think so, huh?

Well, it's illegal,
isn't it, Matt?

I don't know, Doc.

But this man's gonna do it here

whether it's legal or not.

What? What are
you talking about?

I want you to go out there and
give your pitch to those people.

Tell them you're
gonna make it rain.

Well, you know he can't do it.

Sure, I know it, Doc.

Well, what are you driving at?

Doc, those people out there
are just barely hanging on.

Now, this man can give
them something to hope for,

something to work on,
something to keep them going.

(crowd talking excitedly)

All right. All right.

(crowd quiets)

I've decided to give it a try.

(crowd shouting approval)

Now, I'm going to ask
you people for two things.

This being a man-size
drought we're in,

we're going to need
a man-size tower.

Tower? What in the world
are we gonna need a tower...

Because into that
unbeclouded atmosphere

I have to dispel a sizable
amount of oxidized particles

in order to draw the
moisture down to us.

(impressed murmurs)

Now, we'd best
wait till it's cooler

before starting on the tower.

Right now, I'll need some
flour, about 20 pounds.

Well, I can get you
20 pounds of flour

and get it to the Long Branch.

That's fine. Thank you, sir.

Some black powder.

Oh, I-I can get
the black powder.

Yeah, we can get
the black powder.

Good. Some flowers of sulphur.

- I'll get the sulphur.
- Thank you.

A copper kettle...

WOMAN: I've got
one. You can have it.

TOBIAS: The kettle
must be copper.

WOMAN: It is.

Now, there's one
other thing that...

By Harry, lookit here.

This man holds in his hands
an aboriginal rainmaking device.

- What?
- Huh? -A who?

Hold it up there, sir,
so everyone can see it.

That Kachina doll was
used by Old Shaman,

a friend of mine, of
the Kohote Indians.

With my own eyes, I
saw him produce rain

after only three days tryin'.

(excited chatter)

He shook this Kachina
doll at the four winds

every half hour for three days,

and on the third day,
the heavens opened up

and it just poured down rain.

(excited shouting)

Looks like he's got
'em interested, all right.

Pert near believe him myself.

Keep them busy for awhile.

Yes, but how long?

Long enough for us to check
out Stinking Springs, Doc.

Stinking Springs? What for?

Festus, you think you could
get a wagon up that canyon?

Well, it wouldn't be easy.

I reckon it could be did,

but shoot, ain't no
use in that, Matthew.

That water's poison.
Everybody knows that.

No, no, no, it isn't.

I should have
thought of that myself.

Doc, did you ever smell it?

I've smelled it
and I've tasted it.

And it's terrible, but
it won't hurt anybody.

Festus, you think there's
a team here in town

that's in good enough
shape to make that trip?

Well, there's one team
over at the livery stable

that ain't in too
bad a shape yet.

All right.

Now, get the wagon
inside the stable.

We'll load the
barrels on in there.

We gotta keep this quiet

or we'll have half
the people in town

wanting to follow you out there.

Well, I'm going to need
some help, Matthew.

All right, I'll, uh, I'll see if I
can get Tim Grady to help you.

I'm gone.

Now, all of you, get what
you can where you can

and come back here
as soon as you can.

All right.

(enthusiastic chatter)


(baby cooing)

Oh, it's all right, Billy.

We'll get you some
water right away.

(cooing continues)




Oh, I missed you
something awful.

Oh, Jimmy, it's good
to have you back.

You look pretty as ever.

You look kind of peaked.

It's just that I'm not
getting enough water.

Nobody is.

What do you mean,
not enough water?

There's only one well
that hasn't gone dry.

They been rationing it.

Marshal Dillon gives
it out at sundown.

One well for the whole town?

They give me a
ration for the baby.

It still isn't enough.

It seems like he's
thirsty all the time.

And I can't feed him.

I have some left here.

Oh, Jimmy, thank you.

Now I can give
this back to Festus.

Give Billy some
water, a spoonful.

I'll be back.

You're not going
to give water away?

I have to, Jimmy.

It's all he had.

What about us?

Well, we'll get an extra ration
for you at the well tonight.


I... I can't go to the well.

JANIE: What?

I said, I can't go to the well.

Why not?

Jimmy, what happened?

Did you run away?

Oh, Jim...

I had to.

They had me in a stockade,
living on bread and water.

I couldn't stand it no more.

The stockade? What did you do?

I didn't do anything.

There-there was this lieutenant.

He took a dislike
to me, that's all.

He kept picking
on me all the time.

He kept giving me extra duty.

Everybody knew
he had it in for me.

And-and so when he got hurt...

Hurt? What do you mean?

One night, somebody
beat him up with a rifle butt.

It wasn't me, Janie,
I swear it wasn't me.

But the way he'd been riding
me, everybody thought that...

Gave me a court martial.

Then they gave
me a year in the...

in the stockade.

It'll be all right, Jimmy.

Wasn't fair to lock you up
for something you didn't do.


Maybe when the drought's over,

we can go to Mexico.



Is that all?

Marshal, that's only half
of what we got last night,

and that wasn't enough to last.

Yes, I know, Mrs. Miller.

Folks, listen to me!

We're gonna have to cut
the water ration again tonight.

- (angry muttering)
- DILLON: I know, I know.

But we may have all the
water we need by morning.

Festus and Tim
Grady are headed out

towards Stinking Springs
right now, with a wagon.

Stink... Well, Marshal, you
know that stuff will kill you.

- It's poison.
- No, it won't either.

Doc's checked it out,
he says it's all right.

It's all right. Won't hurt you.

May not taste too good,

but I don't think anybody's
going to mind that right now.

If we're gonna have
plenty in the morning,

why do we have to go short now?

- Yeah.
- Yeah, how come?

Because we don't know for sure

whether there is
any water up there,

and until then, we're
gonna have to go slow.

How much is in the well?

Not enough to take chances with.

All right, folks,
let's move it along.

(quiet chatter)

Mrs. Miller for two.

You get one apiece.
Fruit or vegetables?


Just a minute here, Janie.

There you are.



Come on.

Easy now, easy.

Come on.

I had to stop and get my wind.

All right, all right,
just take it easy now.

Here, have a slug of this.

Much obliged.

All right, now.

Here, take another one.

No, no. No use in
trying to drown me.

(breathing hard)

Festus, what did
you find out there?

A dry hole.

Dust dry.


Did you dig in it?

Wasn't no use to, Matthew.

There's people been there...

must have been three days ago,

the way the tracks looked.

They dug in

and didn't get a thing.

Well, even that old
cottonwood tree out yonder...

It's dying for want of water.

And you know if there was
water even down 20 or 30 feet,

that old cottonwood

would get his feet in it.

There just ain't nothing.

Well, anyhow, what we done,

we just left the
wagon out yonder

and rode the horses in.

'Course, they played out on
us a couple of miles out of town.

Where's Tim Grady now?

Well, he's kind of
played out hisself.

He's down yonder
at the livery stable.

We can't let them
know about this, Festus.

They find out, they're liable
to give up hope, start dying

or all start fighting
over that well.

Yeah. Afraid you're
right, Matthew.

First thing we got to do

is keep them from finding
out that you two are back.

We gotta hide you out.

You reckon Miss Kitty would
hide us at the Long Branch?

Yeah, that's a good idea.

I'll tell you what you do:

Take that by the well

and tell Thad I said to
fill it up for you and Tim.

I'll get Tim

and I'll meet you back
at the Long Branch.

You better come in
the back way there, too.

All right, Matthew.

(distant hammering)


(footsteps approaching)

(distant hammering)


Thad, it's me, Festus.

Come on back here.

Did you have any luck?

Nah, that spring is bone dry.

Now, Matthew told me to come get

a mite of water
for old Tim and me,

'cause he wants us to hide out

so the folks won't know
we're back in town yet.


That rainmakin' feller's

gettin' right along with
that tower, ain't he?

How you been gettin' along?

Oh, I'll tell you,
it isn't easy,

sittin' next to this
water all night long,

being as thirsty as I am.

Ah, I don't reckon it would be.

You take care of
yourself, you hear?

And I'll see you directly.

Right, Festus.


The marshal and his friends.

They're a little better
than us common folk, huh?

What are you talking about?

What am I talking about?

That canteen.

Now, from here on in,

old Monk gets his
share of water, too.

Now hand over that canteen,
or I'll blow your head off.

This-this here canteen?

Well, of course, here it is.

You crazy? You're getting
more water than anybody.



What's the idea?!

Hey, hey!



Festus, you all right?

Crazy fool jumped me.

Well, go on, get out of here.

Well, I can't go
after killing a...

Festus, Matt told
you to stay hidden.

Now go on, get out of here.
Before some people start coming.

What was the shooting?

It was me, Matthew.

Down by the well
some fellow jumped me,

tried to keep my
canteen, I had to kill him.

- Anybody see you?
- Only Thad.

Well, then get on into
Long Branch, I'll check this.

I tell you he was bound he
was gonna have some water.

You're lying. Monk's
a friend of mine.

He left me with no other
choice but to shoot him.

- MAN: I don't believe that.
- MAN 2: You're telling a lie, boy.

- MAN: That ain't the truth.
- (all clamoring)

Were you here?

He was talking about it.

How maybe you and your
friends was sneaking extra water.

That a fact?

Maybe you'll tell us different.

The only thing I'm telling you
is to get that body out of here.


Did you see this thing?

Not exactly.

He must have jumped Festus.

Miss Kitty, I n...

never knew water
could taste so good.

Don't gulp it, sip it.


Everything's all right, Festus.

Why in the Sam Hill that
fella do what he done for?

Well, he was only at
that well for one reason.

I know he was
fixing to steal water,

but you just can't hardly
believe it, can you?

Well, I tell you something
you can believe...

You saved Thad
from getting shot.

How's he, Kitty?

Well, he's gonna have to
stay off his feet for a while.

Well, I guess this is
as good a place as any

to sit and be thirsty.


They's one place
we ain't looked yet,

and that's west.

I mean far west, like Colorado.

Festus, you can't.

Miss Kitty, it ain't gonna
make no difference

where a feller's at if he
ain't got water to drink.

But all the way to Colorado?

Maybe Cheyenne Wells, Matthew.

Festus, I've thought about that,

but I couldn't ask you to do it.

It's too long a shot.

Well... fiddle, you
ain't asking me to do it.

I'm-I'm fixing to give
her a whirl by myself.


Cheyenne Wells is better
than two days from here.

And it's twice that long
coming back with a wagon.

If they have any water.

And if they'll let you have
a wagon to haul it back in.

Miss Kitty, the way I look at it

we just ain't got
no other choice

but to do that.


I'll see you directly, Matthew.

Good luck, old friend.

Miss Kitty.

Didn't bug you.

I guess he's about to start.

It's pretty near dawn.

I think I'll go up and watch.

You stay down
here. With all that stuff

he's got up there, there's
enough weight as it is.

You figure it'll work?

I'll let you know.

Gentlemen, I believe

the opportune
moment has arrived.

Mr. Lathrop, you may begin.

Likewise, Mr. Halligan.

No, no, no.

Slow and steady, Mr. Halligan.

Boom... boom.

That's it.

Dr. Tobias,

you really think
it's gonna work?

It's worked down through
the ages, my friend.

Just as soon as the
oxygenated particles

become juxtapositioned
with the upper atmosphere.

Continue, Mr. Halligan.

(low, slow drumming)

Well, doesn't look like it's
doing much good, does it?

Ain't no use.

Faint heart, Mr. Halligan?

Faint heart never
won fair ladies.

I've been at it all night.

Yes, I know, but there's
no telling from how far

we have to draw
those rain clouds.

- Keep at it, Mr. Halligan.
- I'm getting tired.

I'll take over.

- Good.
- Go down and get some sleep.

I'm gonna try to rig up a shade

and stay up here and
watch for Festus and Grady.

Yeah, well, I'll come back

- and spell you in a while.
- All right.

Keep that smoke
going, Mr. Lathrop.

And don't forget...

It's the persistency
of the drumming

that draws the rain clouds.

Sure, Doctor.

Get to it.

Come on, Mary,
let's get out of the sun.

(low, slow drumming)

(baby crying)

(drumbeat continues in distance)

(slow drumbeat continuing)

(slow drumbeat continuing)

(slow drumbeat continuing)

Hey, Lathrop.

Hey, Lathrop.


You see anything?

Not a sign of 'em.

(baby crying)


Janie, don't.

Don't do that.

Janie, don't.

I didn't mean to, Janie.
I'm sorry, I couldn't help it.

You killed Billy.

Don't say that. I haven't.

I'll make it up to
you someway, Janie.

He can last till
sundown, you know that.

You'll have some water then.

There's not
enough for all of us.

How could you do it?

I said I was sorry, didn't I?

I said I'd make up for it.

What's the matter, don't...

don't you think I can?

You'll see.

I'll get him some water.
You, too... all you need.

(slow drumbeat)

(slow drumbeat)


Let me show you
how to do that, son.

Shake it up high
to the four winds.

North, south, east and west.

Now you try that up high.

Thought for sure that rainmaker
would've done something by now.

- Aw, he's a fake.
- No, he'll make it rain.

He's got to make it rain.

All right, now, I want
you to listen to me.

I want all the men
over here in a line.

(indistinct chatter)

Hate to tell you this, boys,

but we're gonna have
to cut it down again.

(all clamoring)

Where's the wagon?

I don't know where the wagon
is. That's why we're cutting down.

But we got to have something.

You're gonna have something...

There's gonna be one
ration for three men.

- Oh, what...
- (all muttering)

Marshal, that ain't enough.

I didn't say it was enough.

Now get in line,
all of you. Line up.

(indistinct chatter)


All right, that's
all the water ration

for you two for tonight.

Now go on.

Rest of you get back in line.

I'm sorry.

Thad, see that Mrs.
Davis gets another ration.


He don't look good, Doc.

Do you think...

I mean, when we get our ration,

if I give it all to him?

No need.

He sure couldn't make
it without you, Janie.

No, you can't do
that. Now, here.

Don't worry.


Excuse me.

Fine looking child. Boy or girl?

It's a boy.

You're the
rainmaker, aren't you?

Sometime misnomer, I fear.


If you have a moment I'd
like to walk along with you.

May I?

Thank you.

Hold it, Halligan, we got
to split that three ways.

Now, you listen
to me, young lady.

Don't you let anyone
know you have this.

It's for you and the baby.

It might give you
a better chance.


I don't know how to thank you.

Don't thank me, just run along.

Before I change my mind.

I'll give you $30 for it.

I-I mean, that-that's all I got.

I could throw in my saddle.

I know they're lying to me.

There's got to be some
wine around here someplace.

That Miss Kitty... she's
keeping it hid for herself.

And I'm gonna find it.



They're empty.

(gun cocks)

Hey, ain't he...

Yeah. Come on.

I know, I know... I know
darn well that's the one

that Dillon said went
with Festus after the water.

Sure it is. There ain't no wagon
coming, and Dillon knows it.

What are we gonna do about it?

We're going down to the
well and take what we want,

and good-bye Dodge.

W-Wait a minute, wait a minute.

What about that deputy?

We even the score for Monk.

Come on.

You better get the marshal.

You get back inside.

Kitty, is something wrong?

There's gonna be some
trouble down at the well.

I'm gonna go get Matt.

Well, here, I'll go with you.

It's them saddle bums
from the Long Branch.


They're headed for the well.

I don't care what you know
or what you think you know.

You lay a hand
on that well rope,

- and I'll have to shoot.
- Now, listen, kid,

you don't want to
get yourself killed.

(all clamoring)

Just hold it here.

You told us there was a wagon
coming with water, but it ain't.

That's right. That Grady
kid's right here in town,

and you know it.

What makes you think so?

Well, if he ain't, then
where's the wagon?

All right, I want you all
to move along right now.

Break it up and move along.

I've got six men with me.

We're gonna bail this well

until we each have
a double canteen.

And then we're leaving town.

And the rest is for
whoever wants it.

All right. Help yourself.


It's empty.

That's right. We took the
last of it out three days ago.

- You've been lying to us.
- What did you lie to us for?

- You said there was water in the well.
- That lie

kept you going, all of you.

- There ain't no water here!
- Yeah, what are you trying...

What're we supposed to
do for a drink around here?


Will you... Shut up
a minute! Hold it.

Maybe we'll die, all right.

Half of you'd be dead
right now if it wasn't for Matt.

Doesn't make much
sense for you blaming him

for trying to save
us. Now, shut up.

Well, he hadn't ought
to have lied to us.

(all clamoring)

All right, old man. No noise.

Get in the wagon. Go on.

I told you I don't have any.


Then you got it somewhere else.

Now give it to me!


What's happened here?

There's a wounded
man in there, Marshal.

He was going to knife
me for water I didn't have.

Who is he?

MATT: That's Jane
Libby's husband.

I thought he was at Fort Scott.

Is it bad, Doc?

I'm afraid it is, son.

(thunder rumbling)

(thunder continues)

(cheering, whooping)



What is it, son?
I can't hear you.

Now it rains.


(thunder continues)


ANNOUNCER: Stay tuned for
scenes from next week's Gunsmoke.