Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 16, Episode 5 - Gentry's Law - full transcript

A land baron refuses to turn his two sons over to Matt for a crime they committed.

Announcer: Gunsmoke, starring
James Arness as Matt Dillon.

♪ ...her 40 times a day ♪

♪ Feed her on the best of hay ♪

♪ Ha, ha, ha, you and me ♪

♪ Little brown jug,
how I love thee ♪

♪ Ha, ha, ha, you and me ♪

♪ Little brown
jug, how I love... ♪

Well, lookie there.

If that don't beat all.

There stands some of the
nicest looking steak I ever seen.

Just waiting to be pan fried.

You listening to me, Fritter?

Come on, now.

Nice steaks.

Yeah, that's right, Fritter.

We're gonna get us a
nice little piece of steak.

You and me are gonna
get along real fine.

Easy now, Fritter.


Look at that prairie scum
down there at it again.

This time he'll dangle
for butchering...

Ah, come on, Colt, let him
have it. He just ain’t worth it.

Well, maybe not.

But if we can get him
close to feeling this noose

tightening around
his scrawny little neck,

maybe that'll chase him
out of the territory. Hyah!

Come on, Fritter!

Finally caught you, didn't we,
Floyd? Right dab up to your elbows.

It was just a
stray... just a stray...

Yeah, they're always just
a stray, ain't they, Floyd?

Every Gentry cow
that you butchered.

Wait, boys. Didn't mean no harm.

What are you going to do to me?

Oh, please, Colt.

Wait, boys, I didn't
mean no harm.

What are you gonna do to me?

Oh... you... you
ain't gonna hang me?

Get up on that horse.

Oh, please, Colt.

It's Mr. Gentry to
thieving squatters like you.

Oh, please, Mr. Gentry.

Don't hang old Floyd, please.

Yeah, we find carcasses
all over the prairie

ever since you come
back from Dodge.

Now, who are we
gonna blame, huh?

That mean old dog of yours?

I only took them that's lame or hurt.
Just enough for me and my partner.

Well, too bad he ain't
here to hang with ya.

I won't never do it
no more. I swear to it.

Oh, Floyd, you are
the swearingest man.

I'm begging you, Mr. Gentry.

I seen a man hanged once.

Yeah, Colt, maybe if he promised
to get outta Gentry territory

and never come back.

I'll go.

Me and my partner, we'll go
and we won't bother you no more.

I promise you that.
Won't bother you anymore.

His word's like he is.
Ain't good for nothing.

Well, maybe we can
trust him just this once.

All right.

But don't let us catch
you around here no more.

Thank you. I sure do thank you.


Cut him down, Colt.

Cut him down, Colt!

Floyd? Come on, Floyd!


He's dead.

Oh no... no, he, can't be.

Yeah, except he is.

But... this was just a joke.

What are we gonna do, Ben?

We got no choice.

Bury him. Come on.

Ah... Ah..

Close the door!



I knew this was
too good to be true.

Here I was enjoying
myself, and then you had to...

I'm sorry, Doc,
I... I... Ah-choo!

Wait a minute. What's
that... What's that smell?

Well, I put this here...

Oh, asafetida,
what in thunder...

I'd rather have the door
open than to smell that stuff.

Why... What'd
you put that on for?

Oh, I ain't feeling good, Doc.

Well, then, why didn't you
stay home and stay in bed?

Here, I'll feel your pulse.

No, I done doctored myself.

Oh, well, then, that's
just fine. That's just fine.

You don't need me at all.

You and your Haggin
remedies will probably...

Ah... Ah... Choo!

Oh. Oh, goodness.

Doc, you wouldn't
have a bit of that little

high-powered sneezin'
medicine, would you?

- What?
- Just a little bottle of whiskey.

A little bottle of whiskey? No, I haven't
got any, and you don't need any of that.

What you need is to go
home, take that thing off,

and take a good bath. That'll
do you more good than...

That'll do you
more... Ah... Ah-choo!

Oh! Keep away from me!

Well, of all the old
sawbone quack-quacks.

Here I am, practically
dying of pew-monia,

and you say, "Go
home and take a bath."

Ah... choo!

You're taking a
little cold yourself.

Maybe Matthew's got some
of that sneezing medicine.

Yeah. Here, Doc.


Here, take yourself
a little swallow.

Just keep away from me!

I don't need any of that.

All I need is some fresh air.

Well, then, why don't you
go out and get yourself some?

Because I was here first!

That's why.

I was warm and peaceful.

And quiet. And minding
my own business.

And then you had to
come along with that...

W... with that...
Ah... Ah... Ah-choo!

- Doc.
- Festus: Matthew.

Oh, Festus, I'm
glad I found you here.

You're gonna have
to take over for m...


I want you to take over for me.
That is, if you think you're well enough.

Oh, of course, Matthew.

I got a letter from Orly Grimes.

I'm gonna have to go down
that way and talk to him.

Orly Grimes? Isn't
that that funny old coot

that used to live out by
Thunder Wash there?

Yeah, that's the same one.

His letter was
kind of confusing.

It said something about
his partner disappearing

and then he finds him buried
with a rope around his neck.

He evidently
thinks it's a lynching.

Anyway, I'm gonna have
to catch the Whiteoak Stage.

Whiteoak? Ain't that what they
call Gentry Country, Matthew?

Out yonder close
to the Colorado line?

That's it. Gentry's spread takes
in that whole corner of the state.

Matt, that's... that's an
awful long ride over there.

Why don't you...

Why don't you just wire
the sheriff over in Syracuse?

Well, Grimes claims I'm
the only one he'll talk to.

Well, Matthew, the
way I've heard it now,

that Gentry, he kind of runs
things to suit his own self.

And he don't want no
outsiders a-coming in there,

especially wearing badges.

Well, he's kind of a
hardnose, all right.

I'll see you later.

Have a good trip, Matthew.

If you want me to, I'll
go with you, Matthew!

Shut that door!


Doc, the onliest thing
I wanted to do was...

On second thought, I am
gonna get some fresh air.

Ah... Ah... Ah... Ah-choo!

Doc, now, if you'd
only do like I tell ya,

and take a little
swallow of that...

Don't you prescribe for me.

I'll do the prescribing
around here.

And I'm gonna prescribe
for you right now,

and it won't cost
you a cent, it's free.

Go home,

and take that
foul-smelling stuff off

and take a bath.

Before you turn Dodge
into a ghost town.


Morning, Mr. Gentry, Sir.


- Buel.
- Yes, sir.

You seen anything
of my two sons today?

They ain't come
back yet, Mr. Gentry.

That's a lot of fence of yours
up there in the northwest quarter.


I'll lay odds they're payin' more
attention to the petticoats in Sedalia

than they are the fencin'.

No takers on that, Mr. Gentry.


Matt Dillon.


That face threw me for a minute,
but I know the voice anywhere.

Last time I saw you you were just
a green apple deputy in Hays City.

How long ago has that been?

Well, I'll tell you, you were
courting Claire Eldridge at the time.

That goes back more
years than ticks on a mule.

Me knocking my boots together to get
the mud off to make myself presentable.

She's Mrs. Gentry now.

So I heard.

Well, come on up. Let's get
something to eat and some coffee.


Who have I got here?

Matthew Dillon.

Well, it's about time
that you come to see us.

Oh, Amos, where in the
world did you find him?

I didn't. He found us.

Oh, Matthew.


Oh, my.

Well, you growed
right up to the ceiling.

Well, uh, let me get you
some coffee. Now sit down.

Sounds good.

We're sure glad to see
you. I bet you're starved.

Well, no thanks, ma'am,
the coffee will be just fine.

Well, don't "ma'am" me.

That's for old ladies
and school teachers.

Matthew, how long are you
planning on staying with us?

Well, I'm just down
for a visit, Claire.

Actually, I came down
here to investigate a death.

Law business?

Well, I got a letter from a
fellow named, uh, Orly Grimes.

- Did you ever hear of him?
- Mm. I've heard of him.

He's squatted up in Black Canyon
with a friend of his named Babcock.

They came down here from
Ford County about 18 months ago.

That's the pair.

Well, Grimes claims
that Babcock was lynched.

I hadn't heard about that.

Well, I guess I'll have to go
have a talk with him and find out.

Well, troublemaking and
squatting, that's all they're good for.

If they was both lynched,
it would serve them right.

Well, I knew them when
they were around Dodge.

They were always kind of bothersome,
but I figured them to be harmless.

Well, no matter how long it
takes, you're gonna stay with us.

And I won't listen
to nos, just yeses.

Well, thanks, Claire,
that's mighty nice of you,

but I'm not sure just how much
I'm going to be moving around.

Well, you got to eat
and sleep someplace,

and it might as well be
here. Isn't that right, Amos?

That's right, Claire.

I don't take kindly to
government law on my land.

I mean, I've always taken care of
everything that needed taking care of.

I can handle anything
that needs handling.

Well, I'm sure we can work
together on this all right, Amos.

Uh, it's my job, you know?

I don't like big government.

Of course, once it gets to
rolling out and spreading,

God Almighty couldn't stop it.

That doesn't mean I
got to like it, though.

Well, Claire, thanks
very much for the coffee.

I guess I better get rolling,

go out and see what this
fellow Grimes has to say.

Well, hurry back. We're gonna have
chicken and dumplings for dinner.

Thanks, Claire.

So nice to see Matthew again.

You know, Amos, it really
does bring back those days past.

I didn't hear about that
Babcock getting lynched.

Amos, you know, it seems like

you're more upset
about not hearing

than you are about
that poor old man dying.


Orly Grimes?

Who are you? What you want?

Matt Dillon from Dodge.

I'd about given you up, Marshal.
I wrote that letter a week ago.

What happened, Orly?

Remember old Floyd?


One day he went shooting
for something to eat

and didn't come
back like always.

So I go looking for him.

I found him, buried-like.

Come along, and I'll show you.


This tree must be
where they done it.

I probably never would have
found him, hadn't been for Fritter.

You remember old
Fritter, don't you, Marshal?


Floyd called him Fritter

because he always
looked so tired.

Just frittered away
the day doing nothing.

Hello, Fritter.

Dog sure loved old Floyd.

He won't come away
long enough to eat.

I have to bring
his vittles to him.

He wasn't much good
for nothing, old Floyd.

Hardly ever took a bath.

Didn't shear his
whiskers once a month.

I used to tell him...

take a bath and shave
that ugly face of yours.

He'd talk the hind-leg off
a jackass, old Floyd would,

with his crazy stories

nobody ever believed was true.

But he was some friend.

He was some friend.

The grave was all
covered over with dirt,

rocks, and brush
when I found him.

Where was this?

That's the rope I
found buried with him.

There's a law for our
kind, ain't there, Marshal?

Same as there is for Gentry?

What's Gentry got to do with it?

I found where Floyd
butchered one of his steers.

They must have caught him at it.

You mean, his ranch hands?

No, I'm talking about
them two sons of his'n.

I saw them ride by that morning.

They lynched old Floyd.

Them two boys done
it. I know it for a fact.

This boy here...

All right, Buel.

- Let's have another one!
- Buel.

Man: You better take
the iron on this one.

Gentry's got some
good-looking cattle this year.

How's the wire?

Oh, mostly tight. Spliced some.

Took you long enough.

You boys stop by Sedalia?

No. No.

You, I don't believe.

No, we didn't, Pa. Spent the
week covering the whole quarter.

You hear anything about old
squatter Babcock getting hanged?

No. Was he?

I don't like things happening
on my land I don't know about.

Well, we didn't hear nothing
about it. Come on, Ben.

What happened, Ben?

What's the matter? I told
you we didn't hear nothing.

The lie's hanging
from your mouth.

I said, "What happened?"

We caught him killing a steer,
Pa. We thought we'd scare him.

Pretend to hang him.

The horse spooked, Pa.

We didn't mean
to do it for real.

It was you.

It was an accident,
Pa, I swear it.

It wasn't like we
really hung him.


You don't hang a
man out of hand.

Well, you've got after
squatters before yourself, Pa.

Not so the law
would get interested.

What law?

A U.S. marshal who just happens to
be a friend of mine and your mother's.

Matt Dillon.

You ain't gonna let
him take us in, Pa?

When did you boys
have this... accident?

A week ago Sunday.

Why didn't you come tell me?

Scared mostly.

Figured to stay out in the quarter
the way we were supposed to.

Figurin' no one
would hear about it.

Well, his partner, Grimes,
got wind of it somehow.

How could he?

I don't know, unless he was there
and you are blind as well as stupid.

I could have sworn
no one saw us, Pa.

We buried the body.

Well, he couldn't have seen you.

He'd have mentioned
in that letter to Matt.

Now, here's what you do.

You were in Sedalia
that Sunday. All day.

Now get on up to Dry Creek line
shack and stay there till I send for you.

Dry Creek's 30 miles.

Would you rather ride 30 miles or
answer questions from Matt Dillon,

who will catch you in a
lie quicker than I would?

Now, get.

Yes, Pa.

Claire, we're in
a bit of trouble.

Ben and Colt...

they're the ones that
hanged old Babcock.

It was an accident.

Oh, Amos.

How can you hang
a man by accident?

If there's a way, you can
trust them boys to find it.

Hi, Matt.

Good sweat never hurt
anybody. Even a man my age.

Amos, I got to
talk to your boys.

What about?

They were seen riding in Black
Canyon the day Floyd Babcock was killed.

Who says?

Babcock's partner, Orly Grimes.

Orly Grimes...

maggots are
productive next to him.

When did you say this
hanging took place?

Sunday before last,
according to Grimes.

That's when your boys
were seen in that area.

Ah, Sunday before last.
That lets my boys out.

They were nowhere
near Black Canyon.

They were in
Sedalia that Sunday.

I'll have to talk to them.

They're riding fence. I don't
expect them back anytime soon.

I'll still have to
talk to 'em, Amos.

What did you say to him?

Just what I said I would.

Did he believe you?

Matt's got a poker face that
would take the skin off a rattler.

Where are you going?

I got something I got to do.


Are you sure that you're
doing the right thing?

Covering up for
the boys like this?

You want the boys to go to prison for
maybe the rest of their natural lives?

Or even be hanged?


Of course I don't.

It's just that I never
knowed you to lie before.

I never needed to before.

You lie, too, if it
comes necessary.

Where'd you get
the chicken, Grimes?

Steal it?

Where's your hired guns at?

Don't need 'em, do I?

Don't come any closer.

Orly, I want to talk
to you about my boys.

Somehow it just doesn't sound
right, Gentry's sons hanging a man.

Squatter and thief
though he was.

In fact, some folks
might think that

anyone spreading a story
like that ought to be hung, too.

What do you think, Orly?

You men work for Amos Gentry?

That's right.

You happen to know
where his two sons are?

Riding fence, I figure, Marshal.

Yeah, that's what I
heard. The point is, where?

Well, this is a big
spread, Marshal.

Kind of hard to tell
where they are exactly.

I mean, a fellow could ride for miles
and never happen to come on 'em.

Unless he was real lucky.

Good day, Marshal.


How do?

Is there a telegraph
operator in here?

You're talking to her.

We got to double up on a
lot of jobs here at the station.

I'd like to send that.

Colt and Ben?

I can't be sending that
without Mr. Gentry's say-so.

I'm a United States Marshal,
Miss, I'm afraid you'll have to.

- Oh, Matthew, come in.
- Claire.

We waited supper for you
just... just as long as we could.

Well, I had to stop
by the way station.

Well, sit down. I've
kept it hot for you.

Sit down, sit down.

Well, Amos, I've wired
to the sheriff up in Sedalia.

He hasn't seen
a Gentry all year.

Oh, that's not surprising.

The boys are probably
sneaking around the back alleys,

knowing they should
be riding fence.

Figured I wouldn't
hear about it, but I did.

They got some lady
friends in Sedalia.

Yes, they play around
more than I'd like, Matt.

I'll have to keep
looking for them, Amos.

Well, lot of miles
of fence out there.

You see 'em, you
let me hear, hm?

You know, Matt, you was just a
toe-headed boy when I come here.

I had holes in my pockets and...

more guts than brains.

But I come and I stayed.

Fought off Indians, Quantrill,

anybody who tried to
take away what was mine.

Had to.

There was no law
to help me but me.

Over a thousand square miles
of land and my say-so was it.

Let a man live or
put him in a grave.

Break Gentry's law,
answer to Gentry.

Likewise... Gentry
takes care of his own.

And that's the way it is.

A lot of men have been
killed fighting change, Amos.

They fought it and died.


I think a man stands
for what he believes in.

And what he does.

Amos, uh, would you
like some more coffee?

I'll take a look at the stock.

They get a little nervous
when the wind comes up.

You know, sometimes
I have wished

that I had a penny for every
pot of coffee that I ever made.

He's fighting for something
that doesn't exist anymore, Claire.

Yes, I know that.

You want to tell me
about Colt and Ben?

Matthew, Amos is my husband.

And what he says
is the way that it is.

Amos, I'm getting old.

I'm turning into an old lady.

You're as young as you ever was.

No, I count back
over the years now

and there's been a lot of them.

Back when we first got married,
when we first came out here...


do you know what I can't even
remember what my face looked like then?


Must have been a lot different.


Kind of ugly, as I recollect.

Well, it still isn't
the prettiest.

It is to me.


I want you to let the boys
face up to what they done.

We won't talk about
that. I'll take care of it.

Like you always do.

Colt and Ben are weak, Amos.

They're less than men should be.

They're not men.

They're boys.

They got a right
to some mistakes.

It's more than that.

They're Gentry's sons, and they
think that they're above the law.

I'm the law here.

And after you, who says the law?

Colt and Ben, who
hang a man by accident.

Amos, they have got to
learn to be responsible.

I'll say what
they've got to learn.

And protect them from murder.

Amos, what happens to them?

They'll live!

They'll live to give
us grandchildren.

The name goes on.

The name will go on.

It's not too much to ask.

Think these ones
will grow, Marshal?

Well, I wouldn't
be surprised, Orly.

I'll keep old Fritter tied for
a ways, and pet him a lot.

Dogs forget.

Where you headed?

Further west, I guess.

What about your homestead?

I ain't got nothing to
keep me here now.

Well... I'll be going.


I'd like to get a statement
from you, if I could.


I been a-thinking
about what I told you.

My eyes ain't sharp anymore,
like they was when I was a boy.

What are you driving at?

I don't believe it is the Gentry
boys that I saw that morning.

More than likely some
drifters that hung old Floyd.

Orly, there's nothing to
be gained by running away.

I ain't running, I'm just
going. There's a difference.

What do you think
Floyd would say to that?


He's say go. And I'm gonna go.

Get over here a
little ways, Fritter.

All right, Orly, now, you're
leaving, you don't want to testify.

But maybe you could tell me where a
couple of boys might go around here

if they wanted to
hide out for a while.

You got to make so much noise?

You don't like it, you get your hind
end over here and do it yourself.

Ooh, touchy, touchy.

Hey, what are you doing?

Let your vittles
stop your mouth.

You want some?

I want this wind to
stop, is what I want.

Have any bacon left?

I ate it.

I said, I ate it!

Well, I'm looking
for something else!

You got to throw things
around like some sort of pig?

What do you want?

I want something besides
greasy, undone cornbread

and something to do
besides play cards with myself,

and you for company!

I want me something soft
and cuddly, and some music.

And something
besides this old shack.

Yeah, we would have had something else
if you didn't get that knee-slapping idea

to pretend to hang old Babcock.

Now you're blaming me, huh?

I ain't blamin' Methuselah,
that's what I ain't.

Oh, now they're all sticky.

This ain't to my likin'. If
Pa ever figured that we...

Aw, come on. We'll be in Sedalia
by dark, back maybe tomorrow.

And we won't be runnin'
into no marshal up in Sedalia.

Some beer, some girls to
talk to, then we'll head out.

You shot the marshal.

Well, he was comin' after us.

He's still moving.

Come on. We got to tell Pa.

Come on.


Amos, what's happening?

He shot Matt Dillon.

I just grazed him!
He's still alive.

You better pray he is, boy.

Well, he was coming up to the
shack. We had to do something.

Now will you believe me?

Do we sit around and wait
until they kill somebody else?

Leave it alone,
Claire, it's my business.

You're business?

You gonna hit me too?

I am telling you...

that I will not have back-shooters
and cowards for sons.

And it is up to you.


Leave her be.

Come here.

She's right, you know.

You're just a couple o' milksops not
fit to be called by the name of Gentry.

This time you're
gonna face up to it.

Now you get on down to Whiteoak
and wait for the stage there.

And you get on it
and you go to Sedalia

and turn yourself in at the
jail there and wait for trial.

- Trial?
- Pa!

Shut up!

Won't be no jury of
strangers up there.

And you'll be doing the judging?

You open your
mouth once more, boy,

and it's a toss-up just
how deep you wind up.

Now you get down to the Whiteoak
station. And you get on that stage.


Amos, we had two babies.

And they were just like
any other two babies...

except they were prettier than
most because they were ours.

What happened?

They turned out bad.

Was it bad blood, Amos?

Was it bad bringing up?

It's Matt.

Now you stay there, Claire.

You look a mite worse for
wear, Matt. What happened?

I asked you once,
and you lied to me.

Now I'm askin' you
again, and I want it straight.

Where's your boys?

The Whiteoak way station.

I'm taking 'em in, Amos,
for the hanging of Babcock.

My boys were protectin' me and
my beef from getting butchered.

Besides, it was an accident.

A judge will decide that.

Matt, we got a right
to protect what's ours.

And who was old Babcock, anyway?

Ask his partner.

Well, no stage in sight.

Wind storms to the south.
Ain't surprising they're late.

You got to be sucking
your teeth all the time?

They're mine, ain't they?

Hey, Colt, why don't
we ride out of here?

Pa says we take the stage.

Sure are edgy, ain't ya?

Hey, look, Leelah,

maybe you ought to wire up ahead

and see when that stage
left the East Crossing, huh?

You paying for it, Ben?

You'll find out who's
payin', you don't get to it.

Hold it.

It was an accident,
Marshal. I hope Pa told you.

Shut up.

Look, we didn't mean
to hang that old guy.

All right, outside.

Pa's taking us up
to trial up in Sedalia.

We ain't going to
no place strange.

I said, outside.

All right, mount up.

Let them go, Matt.

Now, Matt.

Like I said, Marshal.

You ain't taking us nowhere.

We'll get them a
jury trial in Sedalia.

I'm taking them to Dodge, Amos.


No, you ain't.

Don't try it!

I always thought you
was a better shot, Matthew.

Maybe I owe you
something, maybe I don't.

It ain't over yet, Matt.

Claire, get out of here.

I said, "Get out of here!"

Where do you think you're going?

To Dodge with my sons.

Amos, I wish you'd
come along too.

You ain't going nowhere.

Is that the law
according to Gentry?

I'm going, Amos.

I guess that I'm
bound and determined.

Pa, you ain't gonna
let them take us?

Son, you're through whining.

Matthew, you ready?

You know, I remember
a long time ago, Amos,

you said something about a
scrawny calf being better off

than a healthy one
that's overprotected.

I never forgot that.

Guess you did.

Let's go.

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

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