Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 16, Episode 19 - Jaekel - full transcript

Carl Jaekel and Beth Wilson were a couple a decade ago, when his temper caused him to kill a man who had insulted her. After eight years in prison, he foils an escape attempt by killing two other prisoners, and is granted a pardon. What the warden doesn't know is that Jaekel has gone completely psychotic and engineered the escape attempt himself, killing his partners in an attempt to look heroic when they were found out. What Jaekel doesn't know is that Beth, who wrote sympathetic letters to him throughout his imprisonment, is actually deathly afraid of him. Without telling him, she found a kindly gentleman whom she married, and now is the mother of a young daughter. Beth keeps up the charade for a while when Jaekel gets out, but he's bound to find out eventually -- and he does, kidnapping Beth's daughter in an effort to force her into repudiating her husband and taking up with him again.

Announcer: Gunsmoke, starring
James Arness as Matt Dillon.

- Thanks, Burke.
- It's all right, Miss Kitty.

Was there anything?

No, Beth. No letter.

How about some coffee?

Look, there could be
any number of reasons.

He might be sick.

Maybe he decided
to stop writing himself.

A letter a week for eight years.

Never once failing to write.

Kitty, I'm scared.

I told you years ago, Beth.

Look, why don't you write one
more letter telling him the truth?

Tell him you started writing to him out
of sympathy and you didn't have the heart

to stop even after
you got married.

Didn't have the heart?

Or didn't have the courage?


Something that's hard
to admit even to myself.

Being afraid of someone who loved you
so much he killed another man over you.

This makes it official, Jaekel.

A full and complete pardon.

Thanks a lot, Warden.

You sure moved things along.

Little enough.

Guard Sneider and I'd
be dead if it wasn't for you.

That's all right.

You have any plans?

Yeah. I'm gonna start in
where I left off eight years ago

back there in Dodge.

There's a little
girl down there.

I'll take her down
the church, and...

get married, find myself some
farmland, and try to settle down.


Wishing you the best.

Thanks a lot, Warden.

Still critical.

May make it if
he's not disturbed.

I'd keep that bandage on
a few more days, Jaekel.

All right, Doc. Thank you.

You... scum, you.

You scum.

You could have made it with us.

Just didn't see
it that way, Dirks.

You're a lousy double-crosser.

We trusted you, Whalen and me.

And then you...
Then you killed him...

and you blasted me.

Now, Dirks, you
better calm down.

That wound might break
open again, you know.

I'm gonna hunt you down, Jaekel.

No matter how long it takes.

Well, Dirks...

there's just no way
you're gonna get better

without following
the doctor's advice.

Just no way.

Guard, you better
help me with Dirks.

That man tried to
get out of bed himself.

Hey, maybe you
better not move him.

Let's just get the Doc, huh?

Don't think the Doc's
gonna help him anymore.

You know, Dirks, half
the trouble in this world

comes from having a big mouth.

You, uh, got some whiskey?


Is Beth working tonight?

Beth who?

Beth Dorman.

Oh, Beth hasn't worked
here in six or seven years.


It's all right, Sam.

I'll handle it.

Hello, Carl.

Come on, let's go
talk in my office.

Have a seat, Carl.

What's going on, Miss Russell?

I mean, all I wanna know
is where Beth Dorman is.

Sam wasn't lying to you.

Beth doesn't work here.

She hasn't worked here
since you went to prison.

They shorten your sentence?

There was a pardon.

They just had some trouble up there,
and I helped the warden put it down.

Now wait a minute.

You mean she has been
receiving mail from me here

and been sending
it to me from here?

I never liked it.

And it's partially my
fault for allowing it.

Where does she live now?

She's married, Carl.

She's what?

She's now Mrs. Wilson.

And she has a
six-year-old daughter.

Carl, you've got to understand,
Beth's intentions were very, very good.

She thought it would
help you if she wrote.

And then she couldn't
figure out a way to stop.

Even after she got married.

Six-year-old daughter?

That's right.

Let me get this
straight, Miss Russell.

She wrote letters from the
Long Branch... From here...

And received mine here, right?

I was never sure it
was the right thing to do.

There's one thing I'm sure of...

That was the wrong thing to do.

Where does she live now?

Carl, I don't think
you ought to see Beth

until you've thought
this thing through.

I guess she had her reasons.

I... I know it's always
a shock when you...

When you learn
there's been changes.


I'm sorry. I'm truly sorry.

Thanks for the drink.

Maybe some other time.

Good luck, Carl.

Thank you.

Hey, Mister, you're
leavin' your drink.

You know, along
this east section here,

there's a windbreak
I could cut down,

we'd gain a lot
more acreage there.

And that creek water could
be put to a lot better use.

Look how it wanders
all over the place.

Still quite a price, Norman.

Yeah, well, you know, I think
old Singleton would go for,

say, 1,500 down, carry
the balance over five years.

If we could fix up the
house cheap enough

and you could get a share-farmer
tenant in there before summer.

I guess we can't lose.

Well, look how
Garden City's growing.

All that river land is
bound to hold its value.

Anyway, I'm going
out there tonight, Beth.

- I'm gonna take the late train out.
- Tonight?

You've had such a long day.

You've heard
about the early bird.

I'd be in Garden City and
clinchin' that deal by mornin'.

That's my instincts.

Time to be getting your
bed clothes on, honey.

I just wanna dress my dolly.

It's getting too late for that. You
take your dolly to bed with you.

Come on, Penny. Do
as your mother tells you.

Well, I guess
I'll start to pack.

Hey, Beth, could you
iron me an extra shirt?

I think I'll be hitching up the
wagon while you're packing.

If you want to.


You used to be more
spry getting in here, Beth.

No, Carl, no, wait.

You... You just... You
gotta wait and listen.

Carl, you've just gotta listen.

You used to be more
smiles than yellin' me to wait.

I... I got... I got so
much to explain.

I don't know where to begin.

It's all right.

I talked to Miss Russell.

I didn't know how
I'd be telling you.

I got a pretty good idea.

I'm... I'm glad you do, Carl.

I... I'm real glad.

Your Pa dying during my trial.

Me being sent off for more
years than you expected.

So you kinda tie down to a
man who can run the farm,

right, Beth?

Guessin' that they let you out.

That's right.

I'm a free man now, Beth.

Soon as I get them eight
years out of my mind.

I wish you well,
Carl. I really do.

We used to talk much
straighter than that, Beth.


Now you got a husband
in there you didn't want.

Maybe a kid you
didn't want, either.

Oh, now, Carl, that just
don't happen to be true.

Well, we won't argue
on what's passed, Beth.

You're Beth. Me, I'm the guy
who was hoot-owlin' you out

for some courtin' at night.

Now, we ain't
leavin' that behind.

Now, as long as it takes
you to pack your carpetbag,

we'll be back eight years.

But, Carl, I got a family now.

I'm a married
woman with a child.

I saw your husband
in there, Beth.

Big belly, small head.

Now, you also got a kid.

Now, you can take
her with us or leave her.

It's all one and
the same with me.

Now, something was said right
here in this barn eight years ago.

Carl, you gotta understand,
eight years is a long time.

I know how long, Beth.

I sure know that for a fact.

We just can't go back.

We can't?

Do you remember
one night in here?

You crying and telling
me all about Sy Cord.

How he wouldn't
take no for an answer.

Me settling it out in the
Dodge street with him?

I didn't think you'd kill him.

But that's all past, Beth.


Just you and me. That's
all that matters now.

But it's not all that matters.

I told you I got a
husband, a little girl,

a farm to tend.

No, Beth, it just couldn't
change the way you felt.

Just you and me,
nobody else in the world.

Now, that's just exactly the
way you used to say that, Beth.

But it's different now, Carl.
You gotta understand that.

Not with me, Beth,
and not with you, either.

Now maybe, Beth, you
need some proving too.

Carl, I'm gonna yell out
and get Norman in here!

You just do that!

I wanna see that man you've been
keeping the truth from all these years.

Eight years of letters
to a man in prison.

Carl, please.

What is keeping you, Beth?

Is it the kid?

It's the kid, Beth.

I know it is.

You know, deep down inside,
Beth, you and I are just the same.

Just all feelings, Beth.

Now, you just gotta keep
on shutting out what's been

like I do when I
left the prison, Beth.

I don't have them
feelings, Carl.

I was all girl and no sense.

I don't have them
feelings no more.

Eight years of
letters, all lies!

I'm sorry, Carl.


I can't think of
anything else to say.

Only from the time it takes you to
walk from here back to that house.

That's as long as
you're going to be sorry.


I... I am sorry.

Not sorry enough.

I'm gonna take
you with me, Beth.

Whether you like it or not.

I'm gonna take you
back to the beginning.


I don't love you no more.

Eight years of
letters to that prison...

say that you do.

All I'm saying is it can wait.

You can even send a wire
to Singleton in the morning

telling him that you're buying.

No, cash in hand, that's the only
way old Singleton'll ever do business.

I don't know what
you're so nervous about,

bein' left home for a weekend.

I been gone more'n a
week plenty of times.

- I'm not nervous.
- Huh?

I just don't like to see you ridin'
that night train when you're so tired.

Well, you can expect
me back maybe...

Maybe Monday mornin'.


Whoa! Whoa!

Well, you know, I could
think from now until doomsday,

and I couldn't come up with nary a
soul who'd want me killed, Marshal.

You haven't been in
any arguments lately,

or been threatened by anybody?

Well, maybe a word now
and then with old Woody...

He runs that quarter
section up north of me there.

But whereas we
ain't exactly friends,

he sure wouldn't have no
reason to go gunnin' for me.

Ah, old Woody a
bushwhackin' anybody

just don't make no
sense at all, Mr. Wilson.

You know, I was thinking
that maybe he, uh...

Whoever he was...

Might have mistook
me for somebody else.

That's possible.

Anyway, I'll look into it.

Well, whoever he was, he
couldn't have been much of a shot.

Shootin' from that
close to the road.

Say, Marshal, could we
keep this from my wife?

There's no need to
worry her when I'm gone.

I'll talk to you when you
get back from Garden City.

Thank you, Marshal.

Ol' Norm Wilson is the
last feller in the world

you'd expect to get shot at...

Unless somebody's tryin'
to get his wagon horse.

Well, there's easier
ways to steal a horse

than to ambush a
wagon, you know.

What about him having
words with old Woody there?

I ain't heard much
about no words.

Well, I'm gonna ride out there
and have a talk to Woody anyway.

Tell you what I want you to do.

First thing tomorrow mornin',
go out and check that east road.

See if you can find any tracks.

I'll do that, Matthew.

All right.

Come on, Skippy.

Here's your breakfast.



Skippy, I fixed your breakfast.

Penny: Hello.

Hello, there.

Your puppy seems to like me.

He's always friendly.

Well, do you mind if I pet him?

He likes that... Having
his neck scratched.

You know, when I was a little
boy, I had a dog just like him.

What happened to him?

Just got old and died.

I hope Skippy never gets old.

He will.

Then I'd have
nobody to play with.

Johnny Anders, he's
the boy at the mill.

He chases me away
when I try to play with him.

Well, you see, little boys just
don't like to play with little girls.

Just can't do the same things.

Can, too. Do lots of things.

Pa says I'm a tomboy.

Little boys can climb.

Big oak back of our house.
I can climb all the time.

I just don't know about that.

You see that log there.

Now, a little boy could climb
all the way to the end of that.

Now, a little girl
just couldn't do that.

If I pretend it's only on the
ground, I bet I could do it.


I think we just better
leave logs to little boys.


I wouldn't go any further...
just being a little girl.

See. I did it.

Sure did.

I wouldn't go any
further than that.

You could fall off real easy.

Can you swim, Penny?

No, I... You know my name.

If you can't swim, I
wouldn't take another step.

The water's real deep.

Well, you got me thinkin' now...

that you're going
to the very end.


Penny, where are you?

Oh, my God.


Don't move, Penny. Don't move.

Hold on tight. Mommy's got you.

I'm getting wet,
Mommy. It's cold.

Quite a tomboy
there, Mrs. Wilson.

What were you trying to do?

Oh, just get acquainted
with your daughter.

Mommy, I'm cold.

You go on up to the house and
get your wet things off, honey.

I'll be... I'll be
there in a minute.

Come on, Skippy.

You couldn't do such a thing.

Couldn't do what, Beth?

I guess you heard
about old big belly

and his troubles on
the road last night.

Seems somebody tossed
a couple of shots his way.

Oh, he got hurt none. He took
the train out the same night.

Now, who would want to do that?

A man you can't like you
can't hate, right, Beth?

Please tell me what you want.

You mean for right now, Beth?

For all time, Carl. Please,
just to see you leave.


Well, I guess we could come to
some kind of agreement, Beth.


You've got me so scared
I can feel it in my stomach.

Now, Beth...

I remember a night, kind
of soft breeze, summer.

Your Pa had left on a trip.

When I come that night,
I didn't know he had left.

You had put
candles on the table.

Fixed something we
never did get to eat.

Some of that elderberry
wine your Pa fixed.

You ever think
of that, too, Beth?

Now, Beth...

I'll wait till the moon
is up, you hear?

Now, you wear
something real pretty, Beth.

Well, I agree with you
on Woody's temper, Matt,

but I just don't
think he'd lie to you.

Well, no, no, he
seemed sincere enough.

Beer, please, Sam.

On that new line of credit
you've established here, is it?

Oh, don't start
your hoorahin', Doc.

I been a ridin' all day
out on that blamed prairie.

You didn't find anything?

Oh, I found a little
track or two, Matthew,

along the road, but they all
went right smack into the creek.

I'll tell you, that feller's slicker
than a schoolboy's sleeve.

That is the most amazing
thing I've ever seen.

He don't even swallow.

Well, the trick is, Doc, that
you don't take nary a breath.

Oh, that's it, huh?

Oh, I can prove it to you, you
wanna buy me another beer.

Oh, I'll buy you a lot of beers
if you promise not to breathe.

- I'll see you later.
- Oh.

All right, Doc.

Well, it's sure got me stumped.

What has?

Well, Norman Wilson.

Last night he was shot
at on his way into town.

Norman Wilson?

Yeah. He wasn't hurt, though.

Fact, he went on, took
the train to Garden City.

Do you mean Beth
was left there alone?

Well, yeah, why?

Carl Jaekel. He's back.

You mean he got out of prison?


Somethin' about him helping
the warden in a prison escape.

Matt, Jaekel was
here last night.

It's just possible he headed
straight for the Wilson farm.

I better get out there.

Matt, there's something
else you ought to know. Uh...

Howdy. Can I have
a whiskey, please?

- Good afternoon, Marshal.
- Jaekel.

Do you mind telling me
where you're staying in town?

I'm not staying
in town, Marshal.

Where are you staying?

Well, under no roof right now.

All I want to see is
some stars over my head.

That doesn't answer my question.

Well, I'm just camping out.

Looking at some land
I might be interested in.

Were you out near the
Wilson farm last night?

Yeah. Dropped in
there for a few minutes.

Very discreetly, you know. I
talked to Mrs. Wilson in the barn.

I just didn't want to upset her husband
about the letter business, you know.

Maybe Miss Russell
talked to you about that.

How'd you get back
to town from there?

East road, I think.

Right where Norman
Wilson was shot at.

Hope he didn't get hurt any.

I mean, are you thinking
that I did that, or what?

Possible you'd have
reason to, isn't it?

Well, I think it's just as
possible that I don't, Marshal.

What are your plans now?

Well, as I said, I'm just gonna
look around for some land

and hope to settle in
Dodge, if you don't mind.

Where you settle is
your own business.

You don't know how that
makes me feel, Marshal.

Finally do what I want to
do, without anyone interfering.

See you later.

Who was that, Matthew?

That's Carl Jaekel.

What's this about
some letters, Kitty?

Well, this is something I should've
told you about a long time ago.

Well, there's been
eight years of letters

between Beth Wilson
and Carl Jaekel...

while he was in prison.

Eight years of letters?

Festus, you and Newly better
take turns watching the Wilson farm.

Get right out there, Matthew.

Keep a special
eye out for Jaekel.

You betcha.

Well, Kitty, maybe you... maybe
you better just tell me the whole story.

Nobody minds his own business.


Hush, Skippy.

Yes, indeed.

Just like old
times, isn't it, Beth?

Hush, Skippy.

You look mighty pretty.


You even smell like
you used to, Beth.

Made some chicken
and dumpling stew.

- Good.
- I have to tend to it.

Big belly doesn't mind leaving
you alone like this at night, does he?

Only left last night. No
reason to hurry back.

Well, I sure wouldn't
be looking at it that way.

No, sir.

I'd be coming back
lickety-split to loving arms.

Beth, you never did
say why you married him.


he was, um... he was kind to me.

Pa died.

I felt alone.

I guess that was just it.

You sure sold out cheap, Beth.

The marshal talked to me today.

I told him that I might
be settling around Dodge.

But you're not.

I sure wish you would
stop looking at me so scared

every time I open
my mouth, Beth.

You're not staying, Carl.

No, I'm not.

I figure on pulling
up stakes tonight.

I guess I got a right
to be scared of you.

I mean...

I guess I always been
scared of you, Carl.

You mean, even during
our courting days?


Now that's very peculiar, Beth.

How can a girl be scared

and so warm and cuddly at
the same time, as you were?

Maybe I wasn't very bright.

I just don't know.

You know what I think, Beth?

I think you like being scared.

I think you like your man to
be a little dangerous, don't you?

Remember when I killed Sy Cord?

Probably made you shiver.

But I'm sure it gave you a kind of
a warm feeling at the same time,

didn't it, Beth?

Oh, no, that isn't
so. It never was.

Sure takes after you, Beth.

Things you used to do on a dare.

Remember Rock Creek?

When you had
nothing to swim with.

Jumped right in
with your dress on.

So of course naturally
we had to get it dry...

before you could get back home.

I don't like to be
reminded, Carl.


Well, now, Beth,
nothing bad happened.

I dried that old dress for you.

Even kept a proper distance
from the bush you were behind.

Used to keep
thinking back, though...

maybe you didn't
want any distance kept.

I was a very foolish
girl then, Carl.

I don't think we
should talk about it.

I think we can sit down.


Went through all of your
letters last night, Beth.

Saved every one of them.

I even got a couple
of them with me.

I just figured you might be
interested in reading 'em.

Right here.

Take the first one there. You
might wanna read that one.

Now, the date on that
letter is mighty interesting.

Considering the age of
your daughter and the...

length of time you've
been married, Beth.

Read it to me.

Carl, don't.

Read it, Beth.

What's the first word, Beth?



Well, I couldn't change
the way I was writin' to you.

That's right.

Now, the way I figure it, Beth,

is that you couldn't
have written that

more than one or two days

either side of the honeymoon
you had with big belly.

I'm real interested when
you wrote that, Beth.

Exact day it was.

I don't remember.

Well, then read it. Might
jog your memory, Beth.


Read it!

"As I write this letter...

my thoughts are
always with you."

"And of course I miss you.

So it's a question
you needn't ask.

I miss those nights
we had together.


when the day was gone,
and the land was still."

You were close to
being a poet then, Beth.

Here, I want to
read the second one.

Dated about the time your
daughter was being born, Beth.

Carl, do we have
to go on with this?

Go on!

Of course it starts
with "darling."

Just skip down to the
bottom of the first page.

It says, "I'll always love you."

Now, Beth, I think
you owe another letter.

Carl, please stop
playing games with me.

You just get a piece
of paper and a pencil.

Get it.

Now, let's be more
formal this time.

Let's use "Dear."


"Dear Norman."

Or maybe "Dear
Mr. Wilson," Beth.

Or would you prefer
"Dear Mr. Big Belly"?

Now write.

"Dear Mr. Wilson."

"This letter may come
as a shock to you."

"As a shock to you," Beth.

"But I have decided...

that the last eight years of my
life have been a total waste."

Write, Beth.

"So, my loving husband...

loving to the degree that
eight years is a long time...

to be listening
to your snoring."

Now that there's one
kind of answer, Beth.

But you better not miss.

Hit a real vital part, you hear.

And you pray I die quick.

Because if I don't, Beth...

well, let's just say I
got one minute to live.

Just one minute.

Now, where would I start, Beth?

Just one minute.


Now back to writing
the letter, Beth.

- May not believe in what you're gonna...
- No, no, no, Carl, please.

Carl, no! It's just no use!



Penny, sit up, hon.

Where are we going, Mommy?

There's a storm coming, honey.

Come on, let's go.

Where are we going, Mommy?

The old Hill mine. We'll be
safe from the storm there.

Come on.

Mommy, somebody's living here.


Festus is missing. So is
Beth Wilson and her daughter.

Looks to me like there's
some blood in the farmhouse.

Get Sam and Burke
and some of the others.

We'll get up a search party.
I'll meet you out at the farm.

Better be careful
where you walk, Beth.

Lot of crawling
things back there.

Lot of bad things
happen to girls in the dark.

You're quite a gal, Beth.

Always gives a
fella a good chase.

Mommy, a man's calling.

I know, honey.

Now, Penny, that man...
We're playing a game.

- Game?
- Hide and seek.

Now you remember
that, don't you?

- We have to hide?
- Yes, you get in here.

It's a good place for you.

But in order to win the game,
you've got to be absolutely still.

Not make a sound.

Can you do that?

I think so.

Remember, not a peep.

Now it ain't gonna
be all that bad, Beth.

Considering my forgiving nature.

All that energy going to waste.

You wanna give it up?

Wanna talk?

Now, there's no way out, Beth.

All them tunnels you've chosen
lead right back to the same place.

Ain't gonna chase you
throughout all of 'em.

You got a tired
man on your hands.

Besides, this tunnel is just
about to come down on you.

Carl: Ain't no way out
but by old Carl here.

Well, I guess you made
up your mind, Beth.

Be a lot cozier here
than back there.

You've even got your
kid there with you.

Sounded like it come
from underground.

The old Hill mine.

Now, Beth, you better come
out, or I'm gonna shoot your friend.

I'm coming, Carl.

I think that your nose
got too long for you.


Matt: Jaekel.

Mrs. Wilson, where's
your daughter?

She's hid. I'll go get her.

Festus, how you feel?

Aside of a sore noggin',
I'm all right, Matthew.


Oh. Ooh.

The storm was thundering.

I was scared.

Oh, I know, honey.

Did we win the game, Mommy?

Yes, baby.

We won the game.

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