Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 16, Episode 2 - The Noose - full transcript

Ex-con Fred Garth seeks to exactly re-create the hanging death of his father by casting Doc as the father and Matt Dillon as the young Garth (who was shot in the leg and tied to a post while his father swung). Garth kidnaps Matt, Doc, Kitty and Festus and isolates them in a deserted town.

Announcer: Gunsmoke, starring
James Arness as Matt Dillon.


Man: He's guilty!

Hang him!

Hang him, Judge!

Judge: I hereby sentence
you to be hanged by the neck

until you are dead.

Man: Stop! Stop!

Don't hang him! Don't hang him!

Let him go!

Don't hang him!

Let go of me! Stop!

Don't hang him!

Don't do it!

Don't hang him! Don't hang him!

Don't hang him!

Man: Howdy, mister.

Ain't... Ain't no call to be
pointing that thing at me, mister.

I ain't worth the bullet.

Hey, name is Nebs.

Folks 'round here call me Nebs.

Folks 'round here?

Oh, I don't mean...

Ain't nobody in Dodge
Town no more except me.

Them old mines back
up in the hills there, I...

scratch through, get a
little dust now and then.

Enough for a bottle
over at Dodge City.

Dodge City.

That's down by the river now.

Head out that-a-way.

Trail's easy.

They still got the same law man?

Name of Dillon?

Marshal Dillon?

Sure. Nice fella.

What about his
woman? Kitty Russell.

Doc Adams. They still around?

Miss Kitty runs the Long Branch.

Where I buy my bottle.

And old Doc, he's
still there, yeah.

Head out.


I said, "Head out."

And don't come back.

I live here.

Ya... Ya near shot
my ear half off.

Want me to try
for the other half?

I was leavin' no how.

Just take it easy, mister.

You head west.

Uh, uh, Dodge is this-a-way.

There ain't nothin' out here.

Colorado's over those hills.

About a hundred miles.

Nice country.


Nice country.


Don't come back.

No, don't worry. I
always did like Colorado.


Something I can
help you with, mister?

Dodge has gotten
to be quite a town.

Oh, yeah, it's... it's
growing, all right.

You sound like you, uh,
you been away a long time.

I never been here before.

- Evenin', Doc.
- Hi, Festus.

You about done making
your rounds, are ya?

Yes, I am, and I'm glad too,

'cause this has... it's
been a long day, I'll tell you.

It's gonna be a
longer night for me.

I just got a telegraph from
Matthew saying that he wouldn't be in

till late tomorrow night.

Oh, well, that... that's fine,

because that'll
give you a chance

to make a couple extra
days' pay being a deputy,

and that way you can probably
settle up some of your bills.

Doc, I don't owe nary a
soul in this whole town.

Oh, is that so?

I've always considered myself
numbered among the souls in this town.

Well, just hold on now.

You saying that I
owe you some money?

You're getting
close to my meaning.

Well, I ain't got no
crystal ball, you know.

Why don't you send me
one of them tally sheets

that tells what I owe
if I do owe something?

No, I wouldn't wanna do that.

I wouldn't wanna subject
you to that kind of eyestrain.

Oh, smart aleck.

It ain't no trouble reading
a couple of little old words

and a couple of little old
figures on no piece of paper.

Oh. Since you learned to
read so well all of a sudden,

tell me, uh, just exactly what
does it say on that badge?

What does it say?



says I am a Deputy
United States Marshal.

It says, "I am a Deputy
United States Marshal"?

Nobody but an old
quackety-quack sawbones

would ask such
a question as that.

- Evening, Deputy.
- Evening.

- Marshal around?
- No, he's went out of town.

Won't get back till tomorrow.

Anything I can help you with?

No, I don't think so. Thank you.

Whiskey, ma'am.

I'll get it, Sam.

Thank you.

Haven't we met before?

First time in Dodge
City, Miss Russell.

You seem to know who I am.


I guess just about everybody knows
about the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge

and the woman that runs it.

Um, Sam,

if it stays this quiet,
we can close up early.

Right, Miss Kitty.


What time's early, Sam?


Closin' time on a quiet night.

Oh, around 11:00.

You can leave the bottle, Sam.

I got some drinkin' to make up.

Fact is, I got a lot
of things to make up.

I'm sorry to bother you, mister.

I, uh, wanted to get a few supplies
if it wouldn't be too much trouble.

Mister, do you
know what time it is?

I'm closed. I'm just trying to
get my monthly inventory done.

Well, it'll only take a few minutes. I
wanted to get on the trail before sunup.

Cash in the barrelhead?

I guess I wouldn't be
much of a businessman

if I turned away
a cash customer.


Thank you.

That big enough for you?

That's just fine.

One whole chicken.

In a can?

Something new. Just
came in yesterday.

Better take a can opener
to open it with, though.

Cost you a penny.

It's well worth it.

What do you do with that?

Oh, it's kind of a knife-edge-like
thing made especially for opening cans.

See, you just ram it down
the edge and walk it around.

Does a good job.

All right. What'll
they think of next?

Well, it's a modern
world, friend.

Something new all the time.

Yes, sir, things ain't like
they were in the old days.

Only, sometimes
I wish they were.

Things was a lot simpler.

Owned this store
about, oh, 12 years ago.

I could take the
inventory in 15 minutes.

Now it takes me half the night.

Yes, sir.

In the old days,
things was a lot easier.


Kinda. Things considered.

If you say so.

You gonna take a picnic
basket on the trail, mister?




Better drink up, boys. We're
gonna be closing in a few minutes.

You tie my horse on the buggy

when you take it around
back of the saloon, all right?

Well, why don't I just
park the rig out in front?

Well, if a gentleman wants
to take a moonlight buggy ride,

he doesn't want it announced
to the whole town, does he?


You, uh, try not to
remember, okay?

Oh, I forgot already.

Goodnight, Miss Kitty.

I'm sorry. I'm closin'.

Uh, well, I was just
wondering if maybe

I could buy some wine
from you, Miss Russell?

Some wine?

For my picnic.

Couple bottles.

What kind do you want?

Well, maybe something you'd
be partial to, Miss Russell.

Well, I have some Burgundy
from Sonoma, California

at $1.50 a bottle.

And then I have some French
champagne shipped up from New Orleans.

That's $10 a bottle.


Ferrying the clipper
ship from Bordeaux,

I guess it's not too outrageous.

Well, looking at you, Miss Russell,
I'd say you'd prefer the champagne.

I'll take two bottles.

Good customer ought to be able
to buy some whiskey after hours.

Champagne from France.

I remember back when
saloons in this part of the country

were nothing more than
dirt floors and plank bars.

That's the way the Long
Branch started a long time ago.

Fifteen years to be exact.

Except it was more like
yesterday, the way time passes.

The way time passes, Miss Russell,
depends on how one spends his time.

You know, um, I can't
help but feel that, uh...

I know you from someplace.

No, you don't know me,
Miss Russell. Not yet.

Not yet?

We'll have time to get
acquainted on our picnic.

This some kind of a joke?

Lock the doors.

Don't do anything
foolish, Miss Russell.

Back door.

You drive.

- Now, look, if you...
- I don't like a woman who talks too much.

Get in.

Where to?

Old Dodge Town.

- Old Dodge?
- Drive.

What's this all about?

I told you. We're
going to have a picnic.

I usually like to be
asked about such things.

Your answer wouldn't have
made any difference, Miss Russell.

I suppose you're expecting someone
to come looking for you pretty quick.


Well, consider them
invited to the picnic, too.


Drive right in
there, Miss Russell.

Miss Russell?

I'm sorry if that noose
frightened you, Miss Russell.

You're too pretty to hang.

I'm a man with limited patience.

What do you... What
do you want with me?

Got a place for you to sleep in.

Come morning,
you'll feel better.

We'll have a picnic.

You putting me in jail?

Sometimes we just
have to make do, ma'am.

In here, Miss Russell, please.

Would you mind telling me how
long you plan on keeping me in here?

Well, depends on
a number of things.

Well, I have plenty of time
to listen, it would seem.

You were right about
something, Miss Russell.

We have met.

Maybe you can pass the
time figuring out where.

Oh, mornin', Miss Russell. I
hope you had a good night.

Did ya?

Sure is a beautiful morning.

How about this? The first
time you ever had a picnic...

in the morning.

I've had a few
first times lately.

You ever ride out here, Miss
Russell, and, uh, look around?

Think of the old days?

Yeah, a few times.


Must be nice to have some
good times to look back on.

Sometimes that's all you have.

Thinkin' back.

I never knowed a scratch on
the ear could hurt so powerful bad.

Well, that's because
you let it get infected.

I still don't like the looks of it,
but at least it's all cleaned up.

How'd it happen?


Who shot you, Nebs?

Ain't nobody shot me, Doc.

- Here. Hold still.
- It was that there... that there nail.

Nebs, I've seen
enough bullet wounds

that I know one when I see one.

What in thunder you so
darned all-fired nervous about?

I ain't nervous.

Just hurtin'. That's all.

I'm... taking off for Colorado,

and it got to hurting so bad,

and I figure maybe if'n I
sneaked in here to see ya...

What do you mean "sneaked in"?

You don't have to
sneak in here to see me.

You know that.

And what in thunder you going to Colorado
for without saying goodbye to anybody?

Well, I... I mean, I didn't
sneak off nowheres.

I... just figured I'd
go on up to Colorado.

Anyway, what right you
got to be hoorahing me?

I can go where I please.

That's right, Nebs. You
can go where you please,

but I sure would like to see
that ear in a couple of days.

You can't do it. I'm
going to Colorado.

All right, since you're
being so stubborn about it,

I'll get a little
stubborn with you.

How about the $7 you've
owed me for doctor bills

since I can't remember when?

Sorry about that, Doc.

I'll send it to you
from Colorado.

Ah. To the old
days, Miss Russell.

You were here, then.

As a boy.

Lying in my bed at night...

listening to the
sounds in the street.

Feeling that I still
had life ahead of me.

And knowing...

that one day
I'd be a part of it.

To the old days.

And to a very beautiful
woman of the present.

I'm telling you, old
Nebs was nervous.

He was acting like
a scared jackrabbit.

He just couldn't wait
to get out of town.

Well, that ain't a-saying that he
couldn't have cut his ear on a nail

like he said he done.

I told you he didn't
cut his ear on a nail.

It's a bullet wound!

Are you a-thinking that there's
some scallywagging going on

up in Old Dodge that maybe
I ought to be looking into?

I don't know. It could be.

- Doc.
- Sam. What's the matter?

Well, I'm worried
about Miss Kitty.


Well, I come to work this morning,
and she isn't around nowhere.

Well, did you check her room?

Yeah, I knocked, and
there wasn't no answer,

so I peeked in and her bed
hadn't even been slept in.

Well, maybe she went someplace.

She wouldn't do that
without telling somebody.

And then Hank came by a
while ago. You know, for his usual.

He said something that
didn't make any sense at all.

A feller, a stranger, rented
a buggy from him last night.

He wanted the buggy
delivered to the back door

of the Long Branch.

Now, I looked out there, and
sure enough, there's buggy tracks,

and they're heading
towards the north road.

I'd better get to
trackin' them tracks.

Sam, you get ahold
of Newly for me

and tell him to look after
things till I get back, will ya?

You know, I'm, um,

curious as to what's
gonna happen next.

Well, that depends
on how soon someone

decides to come looking
for your whereabouts.

Doesn't it worry you that there might
be a posse coming into this town?

Well, now, I really doubt that
anyone's gonna be worried about...

buggy wheels leadin'
off into the moonlight.

Well, if they come
looking for ya,

I think they'll be, uh...

Well, they'll be
looking... discreet.


I don't expect an answer.

But what's the
point to all this?

Well, that you'll know when
it's all over, Miss Russell.

When what's all over?

Get in there.

Drop it, or you're a dead man.

Do what he says, Festus.

Miss Kitty.

Now, come on over here.

Over there.

Open it up.

Get in. And lock it.

I guess if the
marshal was in town,

he'd be the one out
looking for her, right?

I reckon he would.

Doc Adams in town?

Ought to be.

I guess we'll need him out here.

You two have
something to talk over.

I don't have a single
answer, Festus.

What in tarnation he be
wanting Doc out here for,

'less'n somebody's hurt?

Or gonna be.

Fella that built this place sure
aimed for it to stay for a while.

It's awful stout.

If I could just place him.

Of all the twiddledy-brained,

plumb-out dumb, headless
things that I've ever did

is come a-riding into this town

just like I was a-going
to a church social.

Festus, that wall is
better than two-feet thick.

Well, I can't just sit here without
a-thinking I'm doing something.

He was a young boy

growing up with this town.

You mean you don't
remember him from then?

Festus, there must have
been 50 to 100 new faces

passing through here every day.

Well, Miss Kitty,

you reckon he could have got
into a ruckus in the saloon and...

maybe got himself throwed
out of the old Long Branch?

That's the big puzzle, Festus.

I don't think he was old
enough to be in a saloon

15 years ago.


- What can I do for ya?
- Uh, the deputy needs ya, Doc.

Deputy? Festus?

Mule threw him, and I came
across him with a busted leg.

Where is he?

Place north of here.

Dodge Town, I think they
call it. Something like that.

I'll... I'll ride out there with you and
show you where I got him bedded down.

All right, fine, but
first, tell you what,

go down by the marshal's office

and see a young feller down
there by the name of Newly.


Tell him what we're gonna do.

And I'll meet you
downstairs right away.

All right, Doc.

Old Town?

Old Dodge Town,
I think they call it.

I'll ride out with Doc and see if
I can help him with the deputy.

Say, just a minute.

Was Festus out there alone?

Oh, well, he... said something
about trying to pick up buggy tracks.


Well, thanks for
your help, friend.

Yeah, sure.

How's it coming?

If I had me a week, I
might dig a hole big enough

to peep out of with one eyeball.

That's about all.

He brought Doc back, all right.

What's that for?

That's for somebody
special, Doc.

Now, don't give me any trouble.

You mind explaining that?

Later, Doc. Get down, please.

No, you won't be
needing that, Doc.

Well, you said Festus
had a broken leg.

I'll break it for ya if it'll
make you feel better.

Over there.

He's coming.

He's coming.

Well, I'm sorry I can't
make you more comfortable.

Well, if you're concerned, you
might tell us what you're up to.

I don't think that'd help, Doc.

A look into the future never
gave anyone peace of mind.

Who's that noose for?

It's not for you, Miss Russell.


Wait a minute. I wonder...

could it be that you think you've
got something agin' Marshal Dillon?

Oh, a noose for the marshal.

That'd be a twist, wouldn't it?

Aw, you're getting a big thump out
of playing your little game, ain't ya?


Doc: Wait a minute.

Why in thunder don't you
tell us what you're gonna do?

It's the end of the picnic, Doc.


A moment of truth,
as the saying goes.

I keep thinking it
all sounded funny.

First, Miss Kitty leaving town,
and Festus' mule throwing him.

No word from Doc.

Well, I'll go over to
Old Town, look around.

You say you never
saw this man before?

No, sir, he's a stranger to me.

But the way he talked.
Always half smiling.

Kind of man you don't
take up to right off.

Well, I should be
back before dark.

Take cover, Matt!

Woman gets a bullet, you
don't come out, Marshal.

Over here.

Drop the gun.

Come on.

Who are ya?

Name's Fred Garth, Marshal.

We met a while
back, if you remember.

Yeah, I remember.

Fred Garth.

That's it. That...
That... Now, I know.

Go on over there, Marshal.

What are you gonna do
with those people in there?

All in good time, Marshal.


Put those cuffs on.

Put the other end
through that ring.

And give me the key.

Fifteen years ago in this town,

I was chained to that
post like an animal.

A bullet in my leg.

Well, you came into town, shot
up the street, and killed a deputy!

I was trying to save my father.

Well, your father was convicted
of murder and legally sentenced.

Except he was innocent.

Matt Dillon arrested your
father after the shootout.

He only told what he saw.

Why are you
taking it out on him?

Because his words carried
a lot of weight, how he saw it.

I think he has something coming.

All right, if it's me you're
after, then let the rest of 'em go.

No, later, Marshal.

I haven't decided who
I'm gonna hang yet.

I can't hang a woman.

And that deputy here
wasn't around then.

So I guess it's you, Doc.


I'm gonna hang the Doc.

Well, the Doc ain't
never did nothing to ya.

Why you fixin' to hang him?

Exactly the point.

He's as innocent
as my father was.

And I watched it all.

Well, now you're
gonna watch it, Marshal.

Learn how it feels.

Knowing a man is innocent.

Your words took my
father's life, Marshal.

And a good part of mine.

Fifteen years in
prison, Marshal.

Nothing personal, Doc.

It's getting awful tough
to break through, Doc.

There's a whole other
solid wall in back of this one.

He's mad, Doc.

Whole blamed thing
just don't seem real.

Tell me what to do, Doc.

My head's a-getting all
muddly and fogged up.

Well, I'm not thinking too
clearly myself right now, Festus.

Garth, 12 men found
your father guilty.

On your words, Marshal.

Like I said, Doc,
nothing personal.

- Unlock it.
- Don't do it, Doc.

Come on out.

Close it and lock it.

Old Doc kind of
reminds me of my Pa.

Garth, you're gonna
be hanging yourself.

Keep missing the point, Marshal.

Up on the box, Doc.


My father was asked if
he had anything to say.

Garth, don't do it!

Exactly how I felt
on that day, Marshal.

See you get a
proper burial, Doc.

- Garth!
- Hyah!



That's the way it was, Marshal.

The way it was.

Now you know.

I'm all right, Doc.

But you better let them out.

Pa was innocent.

How do you know?

Because he told me he was.

He never lied to me.

He never...


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