Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 16, Episode 12 - McCabe - full transcript

Matt Dillon boards a train looking for a fugitive named McCabe wanted for robbery. When he finds him, McCabe, with a woman at gunpoint forces Dillon to make a deal. Dillon agrees and they set off for McCabe's farm where his wife lays dying. She dies before they arrive and McCabe's son Dodie feels nothing but anger and bitterness towards his father for leaving them alone all these years. Dodie alerts the nearby town, where he is wanted for a far more serious crime, that his father is back.

Announcer: Gunsmoke, starring
James Arness as Matt Dillon.

Sulphur Springs.

Next stop, Sulphur Springs.

Sulphur Springs.

Next stop.



Where you headed?



Um, Caldwell's
where I'm getting off.

Maybe I can show you around.

Well, I really don't know
too many people there.

But then, I don't
know you, do I?

You do now. John McCabe.

All right, you folks just relax,

and this pretty little lady will get
where she's going in good health.

Your gun.

Get the train movin'.


Go ahead.

They'll follow.

I'll have the little
lady with me.

McCabe, the way things stand
now, you're only up for five years.

You take her
with you, it'll be 20.

I'll talk a deal.

I'll turn loose the
girl and the gun.

In return, I want two days.

48 hours.

What for?

Deal or not, I don't
think you got a choice.

We go together?

No irons?

All right.

I'm sorry for
roughing you up, Miss.

Where we headed?

Back where it all started.

Your father...

Is he here?


No, he ain't.


He is coming.

He is.

No, he is coming.

Any time now.

Just you... watch and see.


You'll see, Toby.

I figure we'll circle the ridge
rocks around to the west.

That's if you don't mind.

I thought you said we
were headed due south.

Yeah, well, the south trail
heads up through Bowie Flats.

I've had some trouble
in that town before.

It's been a long time, but
some people don't let go.

All right, I want you
riding ahead of me.

You're not a trusting
man, Marshal.

Let's go.

What is it, son?

It... It's my ma.


Who are ya?

My name's Matt Dillon.
I'm a United States Marshal.

How long's she been dead?

Well, I'd say less
than an hour, probably.

Well, I guess it's just as well.

After all these years, what
was I gonna say to her?

It's like I never
been here before.

Even forgot what
she looked like.

She sure didn't look like that.

She was pretty.

I remember. She was pretty.

In sort of a wild way.

I didn't figure my
leavin' would hurt.

I figure she'd find herself another
man right away, with her looks.

You killed her! You killed her!

I hope they hang you!

Oh, I hope they hang you.

You know, Dobie, as
soon as this is over,

we're gonna be
heading back to Dodge.

What are you gonna do?

Comin' with you.

All I'm thinking about is seeing that
man pay for what he done to my ma.

Dobie, you know he's still your
pa, no matter what he's done.

No, he ain't. He ain't
never been a father to me.

He rode off when I was four
years old, leaving her with nothin'.

No money, nothin'.

I watched my ma die.

Dry up and die like... like a
meadow that's had no watering.

She never stopped
caring for him.

All the time kept
saying he'd come back.

Kept saying it right to the end.

He came. To see her buried.

Well, you know, even so, you
shouldn't judge him till you know his side.

His side?

An outlaw gunslinger,
kills for pay?

I'll be watching him
hang right to the end.

I'm afraid you're in for a
disappointment, sonny.

See, Dobie, I'm taking him back
to Dodge on a robbery charge.

Get five years at the most.

I wouldn't die on ya, kid.

Who you gonna hate?

That's enough.




He might be headin'
for Bowie Flats.

What kinda trouble
did you get into there?

Well, I killed a couple
fellas in a fence war.

Friends won't be forgettin' it.

I'm afraid what that kid said
about wanting to watch me hang

just wasn't a lot of mouth.

Let's get busy.

Sheriff! Sheriff!


Sheriff! Sheriff!

- Sheriff!
- Hey, you!

You green pig. You go yellin'
like that around me in the mornin'

and I'll stick your head
in that horse trough first.

Looking for the sheriff.

Well, he's in there.

Got more yell than a Comanche.


What's all the noise?

McCabe. He's back. He come back.

- Where is he?
- Out at my place.

Biddie. Fetch my
gun belt, will ya?

He alone?

Got a marshal with him.

A marshal?

Name's Dillon.

Dillon, huh?

Well, now, if he's in custody,
why all the excitement?

But the marshal's
taking him to Dodge City.

He'll just be going to jail.

He's wanted for hanging here.

You talk like you
want him to hang, boy.

No matter. He's wanted
for two killin's, ain't he?

Son, you're talking
about your own pa.

I'm talking about killin's.

Look, son. The
law's got your pa.

So let it be there, all right?

Boy... you say McCabe
was back home?

Yeah, but not for long.

Marshal's taking him to Dodge.

How's your ma?

She died.

I'm sorry, boy.

He gets across that Kansas line,

he'll be safer than a
tick in a hairy hound.

All right, up, up, up, up!

Wait a minute!

J.W., we're riding.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

How come you're
digging your spurs into us?

McCabe's back.

Vultures are here.

Town's where the
kid went, all right.

Figured on me
doing a rope dance.

Who are they?

Bar-K outfit boys.

Feel my Adam's apple
squeezing right now.

They won't be in no
mood for listening to talk.

Well, I'll do the talking.
You just keep quiet.

Talk's not gonna help.

Long time, Clay.

Bring your rope?

Yeah. You'll get your trial.

Then the lynching, huh?

It'll be legal, too.

All right, let's move him out.

Any fast moves out of you and
we push you under some rocks.

Save the trial money.

Now, you ain't worth a three-cent
bullet, but I'll donate one.

What'd you do to the marshal?

McCabe done it. Combed
his hair with a shovel.

Your pa was escaping.

We done the marshal a favor.

You ought to see to
the marshal, sonny.

Got to hand it to you, kid.

Say something, you mean it.

Come on, let's go.

Hey, Sheriff, they got McCabe.

We got a prisoner
for ya, Sheriff.

Name's McCabe. Long
wanted, remember?

I remember.

But how come he's here?

Well, the marshal had
him, but he was escaping.

What are you
trying to pull, Clay?

We bagged him, Sheriff.

He was heading for a horse.

You've got a hanging charge
against this man, or don't you?

Instead of all this talking, we
ought to be looking for a tree.

That's enough of
that kind of talk, J.W.

Well, that's just what I mean.

I'll be talking to Judge
Claiborne about this.

Well, maybe the judge has a
better memory than you have.

Don't tell me my place, Clay.

I don't like you
telling me mine.

All right, inside, McCabe.

Been a real pleasure, McCabe.

Come on.

When you buried her, I
should have been here.

Dobie, did you tell those
men your pa was here?

He was escapin'.

Besides, he's gonna get a trial.

You coming into town with me?

He's gonna get a trial.

Ain't nothing wrong
with a man getting a trial.

Shut up!

Sit down, Clay.

What sort of men were
Tom and Jess Scott?

They were my friends.

These were good,
hardworking cowhands.

Not a gunhand like him.

All right, you can step down.

That's three witnesses that
seen you gun down the Scott boys.

Anything to say?

Do any good?

Before proceeding,
you got a choice.

How do you want to be tried?

Judge or jury?

I'll take my chances
with you, Judge.

All right. You can get
on the witness stand then.

Sheriff, that man
was in my custody.

Well, the way I heard it,
he was trying to escape.

That made him a
wanted man on the run.

So we brought him here.

I'm claiming him as my prisoner.

Fact is, though, uh, he's
my prisoner, Marshal.

Hey, you two lawmen over
there, you're holding up this trial.

You got any talking to
do, take it elsewhere.

Maybe we can talk
it over in my office.

Jail is just down the street.

Now, let's proceed.

Judge, are we gonna have
any trouble from that marshal?

You done anything
to figure on trouble?


So let's get on with it.

Prisoner was legally
remanded for trial.

That's my sole concern.

I appreciate your
situation, Marshal.

It looks like your
prisoner outfoxed himself.

Well, that may be, you know,
but I've always understood

that the prisoner would be returned
to the lawman that originally had him.

Now, the judge and
me went over that point.

The way he saw it, McCabe
could be bound over for trial here.

Unless maybe the
governor sees it different.

Well, now.

I don't figure there's anybody around
here going against the governor.

You have a telegraph
office in town?

Railroad depot is the nearest
one. About a two-hour ride.

I can send someone,

if you think it's best
that you stay here.

Well, I'd sure appreciate
it, if he's dependable.

Lennie's a good boy. Reliable.

Why don't you write
out your message?


Yes, sir.

I want you to take that message,
when it gets done, out to the depot.

I want you to stay there until
you get an answer. Understand?

Yes, sir.

And if you do get an answer,

you hightail it back here like
the devil himself was after.

- You hear?
- Yes, sir.

You denyin' you killed 'em?


Big question is why.

Because I'd be dead if I hadn't.

Prodded you into it
is your story, huh?

Well, with the lead
flying over that fence,

man has to figures he
has to get his licks in first.

The Scott boys weren't
no part of that doing!

Even had their hands raised!

All right, quiet!


I saw their hands!

Saw their hands.

They weren't over their heads.

Hands were going for
guns, the way I saw it.

He's lying.

Shut up.

You had your say before.

That all you got to say?


Well, you can step down then.

Only got your word that
they was drawing, McCabe.

Fact is, you was a gunhand long
before you come to Bowie Flat.

- Yeah.
- That's right. He was a gunhand.

Any of you folks out there
got anything pertinent to say

that could help the defendant?

Stand up, Mr. McCabe.

I reckon this ought
to do it, Judge.

Get that rope out of my sight.

This is a legal hearin'.

And the sentence is
gonna be just as legal.

I've thought it out.

You're guilty in my mind.

I sentence you to hang.

A scaffolding will
be constructed.

Judge, all we
need's that old beam.


Mr. McCabe, tomorrow.


You'll hang by
your neck until dead.

And may God have
mercy on your soul.

I don't see how you can sleep
with all that hammering going on.

Well, now, you know, to
me, that's kinda like a lullaby.

Oh, it's a little shy on melody.

A little loud on noise.

But soothing as a lullaby.

That telegram you
sent to the governor.

Think it'll do any good?

Well, I sure hope so, Dobie.

What if the governor
turns us down?


I thought you wanted
to see your pa hang.

Well, I did.

I mean, I do, but...

the way they were
acting at that trial,

they were pleasuring
themselves with it.

And you're not, huh?

Well, I got a right.

After what he did to my ma.

Running off and leaving
her with no money or nothing.

And just what reason
did he have for leaving her

and not coming back
until it was too late?

Dobie, why don't you go
ask your pa that question?

I don't think the sheriff would have
any objection to your seeing him.

Something plaguing you, boy?

Don't understand some things.

All that time you left us alone.

Why didn't I come back?

Because I didn't wanna
get my head shot off.

But if you loved my
ma, then... I didn't.

Then how come you married her?

Is it that hammering out there?

Knowing you sicced
the wolves on me,

knowing when you see me
hang you had a hand in it.

Got no stomach for it now, huh?

You in here trying to
ease your conscience?

Every day, she used
to watch from the farm.

Expecting to see you
come riding over the rise.

Said you'd be coming back.

Said it to her dyin' breath.


like you'd be carrying a whole
new life in your saddlebag.

But you knew different.

That made you smarter than her.

Your mother... was a good woman.

I met her... I was
heading for Mexico.

Coming out of Missouri.


Yeah. I was running.

When you make
your living with a gun,

you don't make roots or friends.

You get... cut out of life.


can choke you.

Worse than any rope.

Passing through, I met your ma.

She was lonely too.

She just buried her pa.

She was scared and lonely.

Maybe we were two of a kind.

Nobody around
here knew who I was.

So I decided to stay a while.

Not loving her?

Don't let it turn
you inside out, boy.

I never cared for nobody.

Started out I
couldn't afford to.

Turned out it wasn't in me.

But you did come back.

Well, I... got that
letter from your ma.

Said she was ailin'.

Maybe not living too long.

It's, uh...

kinda funny the way
things turned out.

But I guess I came back for you.

- Me?
- You.


Well, because you were...

You were gonna be alone.

But you didn't care for any...

Sure don't let go, do ya, boy?


I don't even know what
I was gonna do with ya.

Better get.

Go on. Beat it.

Did you see him?

He says he came back for me.

Well, he could be
telling the truth, Dobie.

I'll tell you one thing.

He came back even though
he knew we were tracking him.


He talked about being
alone and... scared.

Meeting my ma.


It don't figure out right.

What's that?

Fighting with guns, and...

being scared at the same time.

Well, as a matter
of fact, Dobie,

those two things do go together.

See, a man that
lives by the gun,

he's gotta be scared.

Why keeps on doing it, well,
that's something else again.

Maybe it's to prove to
himself that he's a man.

Talking to him, I...

I started... thinking
back about something.

When I was very little.

Remembering him.

Well, then you do remember.

Not his face.


I was on a horse.

He was teaching me how to ride.

I remember falling off.

Him picking me up.

I was crying.

I think.

Kept holding me.


He kissed me.

Please don't let him hang.

Please, God, don't let him hang.

What time's it getting to be.

Little after 6:00.

Should be hearing
from the governor soon.

I sure hope so.

Marshal? Talk to you a minute?

What happens to the
kid? Alone down here.

Well, he's been more or
less alone for a long time now.

Yeah, but I keep
thinking about it now.

Well, you have any
family anywhere?

Only family we had
was... each other.

If, uh, if I don't make it,

uh, you look after him?

I mean, uh, sorta
see if he's got some...

kinda direction to be heading.

I'll talk to him.

Seeing what used
to be my land...

'caused me to recollect
I could have had a...

good life here if I'd have hung
up my gun and tended my horses.

Yeah, why didn't you?

I wish I knew.

Sure wish I knew what...

sends me riding instead
of thinking things out.

Hey, kid, you had
your breakfast yet?

Not hungry.

How about a soda pop?

Ain't never seen a kid
turn down a soda pop.

- Come on.
- No, no! That's okay...

So what happens if the governor
says to give him back to the marshal?

He'll ride out of
this town laughing.

I know the governor. He'll go
along with what the judge said.

Hey, Pete. Give my
friend here a soda pop.

I don't think I want one.

Now, don't frighten that boy.

I ain't frightening the kid.
I'm just trying to be friendly.

Come on. Sit down.

- Sit down!
- Sit down, kid. Sit down.

I still think the governor's
gonna go along with the marshal.

You don't know the governor.

What do you mean I
don't know the governor?

I know the governor.
I seen the governor.

I used to work at
the Bar-W Ranch,

and the governor come
out there one day...

Come out there just
to meet you, did he?

Hey, kid. You want
that soda, or don't you?

I guess.

- Here you go.
- Thank you.

Thanks for the soda.

- It's all right there, kid.
- Yeah, see ya, kid.

Was me who got you in here.

Maybe this will get you out.

There's only one way McCabe
can get out of that office.

It's through that front door.

Why don't you just tell the sheriff
McCabe got himself a gun from the kid?

'Cause there's still a chance
he might be riding out of this town

if the governor sees
it the marshal's way.

What happens to
us if we kill him?

Escaped prisoner carrying a gun?

He ain't got no rights.

Boy, you sure must have
been close to them Scott boys.

Ah, they were good boys.
They were working for me.

That's enough for
me not to let up.

When do you think
he'll try to break?

Let's get us settled right now.

Come on.

Sure could use a
cup of that, Sheriff.

Why not?


Now let's, uh, just
keep it nice and easy.

Marshal's out there talking
to the judge right now.

Well, I'm not waiting around
with my neck as the stakes.

Your gun.


Pa! Pa, it's a trap!
They're waiting for ya!

Don't shoot my pa. Please.


All right, I'll handle
this. Get up, McCabe.

Hold it, Clay. Put
the guns away.

Go on.

You all right, boy?

Yeah, but you're not.

I've had worse.

Seems like we got a man
doing nothing but escaping.


Where's the sheriff?

He's locked up.

All right, go let him out.

It's official, Clay.

He's in my custody.

Now, maybe we're
not standing for it.

Man's been sentenced to hang.

We got a lot of willing
hands able to do it.

Don't be a fool, Clay.

This Badge walks in,
takes it away from us.

Now, who's with me?

It's official. Now,
don't be a fool.

He's my prisoner.

You disputing that, Clay?


Maybe I fired too fast.

But then... maybe I was scared.

As scared as they were.

Ah, I wish it never happened.

I'm saying I'm sorry.

All right, let's tear
that scaffold down.

Well, I've got some money
in the Cimarron bank.

Maybe it'll help ya put some
stock on that place of yours.

Place ain't worth
workin' no more.

Besides, I ain't
stayin' down here.

Where you going?

Figure to Dodge with you.

Why? I'm just gonna be
in the Kansas State Prison.

Well, be a time
you'll be getting out.


Well, that money
you're talking about.

Just might buy us a
piece of land in Kansas,

something for you
to come back to.

Something for us
to work together at.


Don't you ever learn, boy?

Told ya. Never cared for nobody.

Except you came back.

Know something, Marshal?

That kid's got the hardest
head I've ever seen.

Wonder where he got it.

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