Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 17, Episode 10 - My Brother's Keeper - full transcript

During a thunderstorm, Festus seeks refuge in a cave, finding an Old Indian waiting to die. Festus decides to be his "brother's keeper". He takes the Old Indian to Dodge and tries to civilize him. His efforts don't work.

Announcer: Gunsmoke, starring
James Arness as Matt Dillon.


And old Doc says
you ain't smart.


You wait right here now, and I'll
get us a warming-up fire going there.




Man 1: Hey, what's
Festus bringing in?

Man 2: It's an Injun!

Man 1: What's he
doing with an Injun?

Man 2: Looks dead to me.

Why'd Festus be
bringing in an Indian?

Oh, I got enough trouble
minding my own business.

You all right, Pa?

Nothing wrong that wouldn't be
right if I was ten years younger.

Nothing that will matter
before I'm ten years older.

Oh, you're just feeling
sorry for yourself.

There's a lot worse off than you.
Now don't you go catching cold.

It's bad enough
Mandy being sick.

I ain't had a cold
since I can't remember.

I ain't been sick in years.

I'm not sick.

Just less and less well.


Tie him up there,
will you, fellas?



Matthew, will you help tote him
upstairs with me to the doctor's office?

Looks like a Sioux.

Must be from that tribe that's
been up around Table Mountain.

About time they
were migrating, isn't it?

I believe it is, Matthew.

He must be too old.

They just went off and
left him there all by himself.

Well, let's get him up to Doc's.

Festus: How does
he seem, Doctor?

Not very good.

His heart's weak,

his lungs object to
every breath he takes.

I can't make him young again.

Festus: How old
do you figure he is?

I don't know, Festus.

I'd guess he's probably
close to 90 years old.

Where'd you find him?

In a cave.


Yes, sir.

It's an Indian custom, Doctor.

See, when one of them's
getting ready to die,

they send him off by himself.

You mean to tell me his sons,
his daughters, his grandchildren

knew he was dying but they took
him to a cave and just left him?

They look at death a
little different than we do.

I can see they do.

See, he figures he's gonna prepare
himself for his journey to the next world.


If that's the case, why'd
you bring him to Dodge?

Well, when I found
him, he was by hisself,

and sick, and cold,

and before the storm come
in I heard the wolves a-howling

- and I didn't want...
- I understand.

Well, Festus, I'll be
back at the office.

All right, Matthew.

No, no, lie
down. Just lie still.

Lie down. Lie back.

Lie back.

Do you understand English?

Don't fear like he does, Doctor.

What about you?
You speak Indian.

Well, I talk a
little bit of Cree,

but that there ain't his tribe.

Try, try. Maybe his
mother-in-law's a Cree.

Come on.

It ain't likely, but...

No... Ma-in-law wasn't no Cree.

Come in!

Oh, Doctor, you got a
patient. I should have...

Let me have her,
let me have her.

Oh, it's the Indian.

Mandy feeling poorly,
is she, Miss Mather?

It's just the sniffles.

But lately she hasn't been
sounding right in her breathing.

Well, it's probably
the catarrhs.

It's been going around.

Oh, Doctor, I tell you, I don't
know what's wearing me out more,

chasing around that store of
mine, or worrying about Mandy.

If not Mandy, then her grandpa.

You've grown taller
than a sunflower, Mandy,

and twiced a purdy, too.

Hup-hup-hup! You stay there now.

Doctor told you to
lay down and rest.

Now, don't... Don't
you be getting up.

Just stay right there.

It's catarrh, all
right, a bad case.

Now, you just keep her warm,

and give her a tablespoon
full of this four times a day.

I'll be over to see
you tomorrow.

Mandy, listen, do you want
to choose one for yourself?

Don't suppose I'll be getting any
sleep again tonight either, huh?

Sarah, mothers with sick
children rarely get much sleep,

but, you know, staying awake

doesn't help the cure
one way or another.

Here, Miss Mather,
I'll tote her for you.

Oh, Festus, that's right kind.

Mandy, you stay warm
and mind your mama, now.

Here we go, little bug.


What about him?

Well, he's resting, ain't he?

You said he ought
to rest, didn't you?

Thank you, Doctor.

Well, Doctor,

Festus is over looking
in on your patient.

My patient?

Festus has been over there most of the day
ordering me around like I was a servant.

You know, I was over there
this morning to take a look at him.

He's older than Methuselah.
He can barely move.

He's a little
better now, but I...

He's so very old, I don't
think he can live much longer.

Doctor, what's Festus
gonna do with him?

Well, I hope he takes
him back to that cave.

Oh, Matt, you can't mean that.

Kitty, the man was brought
there by his own people.

It's... It's a religious right.

If the man wants to die, I don't
think anybody should deprive him of it.

What if you had found
him instead of Festus?

What would you have done?

I wouldn't have felt it was
my business to interfere.

Well, how will any of us know
whether he wants to die or not?

Suppose he wants to go on living

and he has to sit there
and face those wolves?

How would you like that?

I wouldn't, but...
You see? That's fine.

Well, let me tell you something,

if anything ever happens to me, I
hope Festus is around and not you.

Oh, you ought to see
him, he's doing right well.

He's sitting up just
like a young fellow.


Festus, what are you
gonna do with him?

Well, I figured I'd take him
back to his people, Matthew,

that's what I'm fixing to do.



Well, that there's your
people down yonder.


Don't reckon you'd ever figure
to be seeing them again, did you?

Well, ain't you glad?

Lookie here, now it
don't make no never mind

whether you understand
what I'm saying or not,

it wouldn't hurt you none

to show that you're

the littlest might
glad to be back.



Hold on.

I'm peaceable.

I haven't came here
looking for no fight.

Ain't no cause for you fellers
to go stirring up one, neither.

Are you loco or something?

You asking to
get yourself killed?

They ain't needing no asking.

You're a for real fool.

A white man busting in
here with a dead redskin.

What do you think
they're going to do?

I don't know nothing
about no dead redskin.

They've got every
right to kill you.

Just as you'd kill an Indian
if he busted one of your laws.

Well, tell him I
ain't killed no Injun.

I haven't even saw no dead one.


That there's the livest looking
dead man I've ever ran across.

He stopped living when
they put him in the cave

with his death blanket.

Well, look at him! Does he
look like he's dead to you?

You get it through
your thick head:

They believe that his spirit
will bring bad trouble to the tribe

as long as it doesn't rest.

Put him back in the cave.


I ain't gonna do no
such a thing, and quit!

Quit that!

They'll kill you and him both.

Now, do it right now.

If that's the way you want it,
there's nothing I can do to stop it.

Now, you get him out of here.
You get him out of here right now

before they kill all of us.


You mean when an Injun
gets put in a cave to die

you just got to go
ahead on and die,

even if he gets better?

And you're saying what
they're doing is right?

I'm not saying it's right,
I'm not saying it's wrong,

I'm saying it's what is.

Old Doc Adams told me once

that you doctors have got
yourselves some kind of a...

hypocritical doodad
that you swear to

that says that you got to

help keep folks alive.

Well, that's all I'm a-doing.

Festus, this is an Indian custom
that's hundreds of years old.

Now, you don't have any right to
tell this man when or how to die.

Well, supposing he'd
rather die trying, Matthew.

In his mind, he's
already left this world.

He's just waiting to
reach the next one.

That's... that's why he
doesn't care what you do

for or against him.

Matt: Festus, how
would you feel...

Try and put
yourself in his place.


Maybe I wouldn't like
being brung to town

and throwed in amongst a
whole mess of strangers at first,

but if folks was
nice to me, well...

He's old, Festus, he's weak.

He can't take care of himself.
What are you gonna do with him?

Well, I ain't plum decided yet.

Festus, try to look at
the practical side of it.

Now, you've barely got enough
money to take care of yourself.

How are you gonna
take care of him?

Well, I brung him
to town, Matthew,

I'll do whatever's
got to be did for him.

Here! You're getting
yourself the shivers, there.

Here. If you're
cold, put that...

Well, no, leave
it on. Your coat...

Festus. Festus, that
robe is for his next life.

It's a death blanket.

Oh. Here, I'll put
this on him, then.

Here. This here will
help keep you warm.

There you are.

Festus, you got yourself
a lot of trouble here.

You can't talk to him. He
can't tell you what he needs.

Well, shoot, a horse
or a mule or a dog

can't tell you what
he needs neither,

but he gets took
care of, don't he?

Come on.

Festus got into this
because he's a kind man.

I can't see him getting out
without a lot of heartache.

I can't either, Doctor.

Thank you, Sarah.

- Festus: Miss Delacey.
- Festus Higgins.

Good day to you, Miss Mather.

Why, Festus, I don't believe
I ever saw you in here before.

You fixing to take up sewing?

No, ma'am.

I just got to thinking
about you up there

the other day in
the doctor's office,

a-saying that you's
a chasing around

till you're just plumb
tuckered out every day.

And, well I just kind of figured
maybe you could use somebody

to help you lift
the heavy boxes,

and put things away
and just do chores.

A kind of a hard man.


Well, Festus,

Lord knows I could use
some help around here.

I sure do need the job.

Well, if the wage is right with
you, I'd be pleased to have you

help me here part-time
in the mornings.


I see you still got yourself
a little fire going there.

It sure would help if you
could just talk American.

Lookie here.

I got a little surprise for you.

You're sure gonna like this too.

Stand up.

That's a way.

Turn around like that.

All right, now, go on,
uncross your arms.

That's it.

That's the way.




Now, lookie here, I spent my
whole first week's wages on that.

In advance.

You know, I know
it ain't easy for you

being in a big town

with a whole mess
of strangers and stuff.

Especially when you...
When you can't talk.

But then, you got to try.

I'm fixing to do everything
I can to help you,

but then you got to
help your own self,

don't you see?

Here, you can sleep in my bunk

and I'll make me a
pallet on the floor.

It's right over here.

Now... set you down right there.

That's a way.

I'll get the pallet fixture.

You know,

Doctor told me
that you didn't eat

any bit of breakfast
this morning.

That there means that you
ain't had a bite of vittles all day.

How in the tarnation do you
expect to get any stouter when you...

When you don't eat nothing?

I'm fixing to go rustle
us up some grub

and if you feel like it,
just stretch out there

and get yourself a
little shut-eye. All right?

Miss Kitty.

I had Delmonico's fix
that up for you, Festus.

I sure am obliged
to you, Miss Kitty.

I think you better put that pot
on the stove for a few minutes.

Yes'm. Miss Kitty, I'll pay
you back payday after next.

Oh, I'll write that
down in my tally book.

How's he doing?

I wished I knowed, Miss Kitty.

He ain't opened his
tater trap one time.

Festus, um,

you're starting to work for
Sarah Mather tomorrow, right?


What are you gonna do about him?

What about him?

Well, you just can't leave
him here in the stable all day

all by himself.

I don't suppose
it would be right

if I was to just bring
him to Long Branch

and let him sit there, would it?

No, Festus, the cowpokes
that come in there,

they'd make his life
miserable all day.

Some in fun, and some not.


What do you reckon I
ought to do, Miss Kitty?

Well, I wish I knew.

Miss Kitty.

Hello, Doctor.

Hello, Festus.

Festus, I got to ride
out to Chancellorsville.

I thought maybe you
could use these for him.

You bet ya. Many
thanks to you, Matthew.

You're a good nursemaid, Festus.

For a man his age, he
seems to be coming along fine.

If he's doing fine without
eating nary a vittle,

why, wait till you
see how he does

once he gets them ribs
pooched out with some solid food.

Here. Now, don't
that smell good.

Smell that. Don't it?

Here. Now, go on, take a bite.

Go on, take a
bite. You got to eat.

Festus, uh,

maybe he's not used
to that kind of food.

Oh. Here.

Lookie here at me.
Lookie here at me.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.

That there is good.

Real good.

Go on now.

Kitty: Festus.

Maybe he just doesn't
have an appetite right now.

Maybe he just don't like eating

when anybody's
watching him, you reckon?

That could be.

All right, then, now I'm
gonna set this down right here

and leave you all
by your own self

and nobody be watching you

and then you can go... Then
you'll go ahead and eat now,

won't you?

See? Right here.

I'm setting her down
right there, now.

Now, you go on and eat.

Oh... Now, what did
you go and do that for?

Festus, if he doesn't want to eat,
there's not much you can do about it.

Festus, you have to
face the truth sometimes.

His life is over because he
feels his usefulness is over.

He wants to die now.

And no matter what
you try to do for him,

I believe he's
gonna have his way.

Morning, Mr. Cob.

I seen you bringing him in.

He looks older than me.

He ain't gonna get
a whole lot older

lessin' I can get
him to eating some.

Uh, none of my business
who your friends are, Festus,

but why'd you bring
that Indian here?

Well, ma'am, I figured he
might be a-needing some pills,

and this way I can kind
of keep my eyeball on him

whilst I'm working.

Not in my store.

Well, he ain't gonna
hurt nothing, Miss Mather.

Festus, some of my customers
might not take too kindly

to having an Indian in there.

Now, you either work for
me, or you work for him.

Well, I was hoping
to work for you

on account of him.

I'll watch him, Festus.

Set him down there.
Give me something to do.

Appreciating that, Mr. Cob.

It kind of appears
as if he likes you.

Probably never seen
anyone tied to a chair before.

Now, you just stay right there.

You stay right there.

And he ain't gonna
stir up no fuss, Mr. Cob.

In case you see that
he's a-wantin' something,

I'd appreciate if
you'd give me a holler.

Much obliged.

I guess neither one of us
is the men we once were,

are we?

You know,

it'd be kind of nice
if I knew your lingo

and you knew mine.

Oh, put that case over
there, Festus, please,

and will you unpack
it down below?

Yes, ma'am.

You know, in the real
old and the real young,

there's not much to choose between
them when it comes to stubbornness.

There are days when
Mandy and her grandfather

behave like they're
the same age.


Well, Mandy!

You little bug, you.

You're looking a
whole sight better.

You about to get
over that old catarrh?

I hope so.

Well, I hope so too, honey.

Just take a little
while, that's all.

Time was when I
had fire in my belly

and sparks in my eyes.

When you're young, you
think you'll always be like that.

I know different.

I guess you do, too.

Watch the store, Festus.

I'll be back as soon as I help
Carrie Plunket fit a new dress.

You all right, Pa?

If I wasn't all right, how
would I have time to tell her?

Man: All of you!

Prepare to meet your maker!

Do you want to be saved?

All of you!

Hear the message
of the Lord tonight.

We'll meet tonight at
the flats outside town.

Perdition or paradise?

Make your choice!

One or the other!

You are to be saved!

Meeting tonight!

God don't beg for souls.

You ain't no preacher.

You're a patent
medicine drummer.

What you selling,
Preacher, snake oil?

I seen you at Garden City
where they threw you out of town.

You're absolutely
right, my friend.

I was a sinner.


But that very same
day I saw light and glory,

and I repented!

Man: You're just another
Bible-thumping glory-seller, ain't ya?

Halleluiah, preacher.

I saw the light!

But wherefore are any of you
sinners different from this savage?

Wherefore don't you mind your
business like he's minding his?

An animal can't know God's law.

Is a heathen any better?

He ain't bothering nobody,
which is more than you can say.

Now you leave him alone.

Mr. Cob: Hey, Festus,
better you come out here!

Would you, or you, or
you risk being what he is?

He's on his knees before
God, but does he pray? No!

And he cannot be saved!

Get your hands off him!

Are you refusing
the word of God?

The onliest word I heard is
you calling this old man names,

and I don't want to hear no more of it
or I'm gonna throw you in the calaboose

and keep you there till
the marshal gets back.

He's an abomination
in the eyes of the Lord.

He ain't so good
in my eyes, neither.

You know, the
thing I can't figure

is how a feller like
you knows just exactly

what's on the good Lord's mind.

Come on.

- You, Halligan, go home and sober up.
- Meeting tonight at the south end of town!

Lots of singing and gospel-ing.

And a free Chautauqua!

Hear the message of the
Lord at the meeting tonight!

Till that drooling knee-thumper
gets away from here,

you best stay right
in here with me.

Now, just set down
right there, real easy.

That's it.

That's it.

Well, that ain't
gonna help you none

to get all mad and pouty at me.

I didn't know that
blabbermouth was coming along.

Besides that, I could lose my
job for just bringing you in here,

you know that?

Mandy: Mommy!




- Mommy!
- Mandy, honey.

Mommy... Mandy!


It's Mandy, she's took bad.

She's a-burning up.
I'm going for the doctor.






Doctor Chapman!


Dr. Chapman!



Doctor! Doctor!

Dr. Chapman!


What are you doing?

Miss Kitty? Miss Kitty,
have you saw the doctor?

He left a while back.

Somebody! Anybody!



Hey, look at the
Indian, he's got Mandy.

Where are you going with her?

Man 1: Get him, quick!

Man 2: Get that
savage away from her.

Woman: He tried to kill her.

Oh, Dr. Chapman,
please... Please come.

There. Are you all right?

You go waving that
gold stomper at me

and I'll take it away from you
and jab it down your throat.

Somebody look after Newly.

I'm all right, I'm
all right, Festus.

That stinking Indian
tried to kill that little girl.

I don't never call no man a
liar unlessin' I'm plumb sure,

and I'm practical
plumb sure about you,

but I'll do some asking.

Ask? Why, he tried to drown
her in that there horse trough!

- You can ask any...
- Wait, wait, wait, now.

You all listen to
me for a minute.

Mandy's temperature shot up.

She had a convulsion.

Getting the fever down
fast is the only cure.

Dipping in cold water's been a
folk remedy for over a hundred years.

Who are you?

I'm the doctor here
and I'm telling you,

the Indian didn't try to kill
Mandy, he saved her life.

Man: I don't believe you!

Well, mister, I don't care
whether you believe me or not.

But if you don't back away from
here, you're gonna have to fight me.

And you can believe that.

Well, it's good to have
you amongst us, Doctor.

All right, you can all go on
about your business now.

Go on, get, get. All of you.

He seems none the worst for it.

How's Mandy, Doctor?

Better than she would
have been without him.

Newly, let me
take a lookie there.

Here! Here... Here... Doctor!

What is it, Doctor?

I think it's his heart.

He's sleeping normally now.

I sure am much
obliged to you, Doctor.


Why don't you just let him rest?

Festus, do you still have
those pills I gave you?

Yes, sir, sure do. Right there.

All right. Now you
just let him sleep now,

but when he wakes
up, you give him one.

I've got to get on
back over to the Slate's.

That whole family is
down with the catarrh.

Anything I can do to
help you over there?

Yes, ma'am. Yes,
ma'am, there is.

Somebody has got to
fix supper for those folks.

I'll be happy to.

Fine, let's go.

Doctor, how is he?

He's fine now, Sarah.

Oh, I'm glad.

Is there anything I
can do? I owe him.

Sarah, I don't believe there's
very much any of us can do for him

except maybe let
him stay here in peace.

Well, you've went and woke up.

No, no, no, no, no.

You ain't supposed
to be a-setting up.

Well, I reckon you can,

if that's what you feel like.

Are you feeling better?

Oh! I plumb forgot.

The doctor told
me to give you a pill.

Now, I want you to take this,

and I want you to
swallow it right now.

Now swallow it.

No, Doc said it'd make
you feel a whole heap better.

Go on, take it.

He's gone.

That there skin blanket
of his is gone, too.

Festus, he couldn't
have gone far.

I'll go get the marshal. We can cover
any place he might have wandered off to.

Hey, Matt! Festus!

There's no change.

Not since I saw him last.

I wanna tell you
there ain't nobody

no more stubborner
than Injuns is.

But he knows that I ain't
gonna stand for no more fooling.

Festus, the only
one fooling is you.

You're fooling yourself.

He doesn't want what
you're trying to give him.

He doesn't want to live.

You don't understand
him like I do.

Festus, the doctor's right.

He's been close to death twice

and you've pulled
him back both times.

Now, to what?

Well, he'll get used
to town living directly.

It just takes time.

Festus, he knows there's
nothing here for him.

He couldn't even find a
cave to die in here tonight,

so he tried to make do
with the next best thing.

Doctor: Festus,
he's a grown man.

And old man with dignity. Now,
you can't treat him like a child.

The only thing I'm
trying to do is help him.

Don't you see?

I know you are, but you're
taking away his manhood,

his right to decide
for himself what's best.

What you're saying is...

that one I done
was cruel, ain't ya?

Festus, look, you don't have
a cruel bone in your body.

But I'll tell you something, you
have been known to be stubborn.




I can't see what it is

that you're so
all-fired glad about.

This here ain't no picnic
you're going to, you know.

Now, lookie here,

it ain't too late to just turn
right smack dab around

and head on back to Dodge.

It ain't too late.

All right! If you
want what you want,

just go ahead and want it.

It ain't no skin off my nose.

Come on.



It don't appear like it ought to
rain, but I did feel something.

We better go find us some cover.

In case it starts storming, too.

Come on.

I told you it was
fixing to rain, didn't I?

Only thing is,

it just took a little
longer to get started

than I figured it would.

Lookie here, it don't
make no never mind to me

whether you eat or
whether you don't.




it cleared up
right nice, didn't it?

Giddup. Come on.




Mr. Cob.

I was sort of hoping...

Waste of time, I guess.

Well... my time ain't
worth much nowadays.

Well, it's like
you said, Doctor.

A man's always a
fool to get mixed up

in what ain't none
of his business.

Festus, I didn't say that.

Well, I learnt my lesson.

No, I... I ain't did
nobody no good

by trying to help
that old Injun feller.

Grandpa, Ma says
I can play outside.

Festus, I'll tell you something,

seeing that little girl
there makes me figure that,

well, maybe everything
happens for the best.

You know, if it hadn't
been for your Indian,

maybe she wouldn't
be alive today.

Is that right, Doctor?

She'd never made it without him.


You want to know something?

I think you're purtier than a
whole big bouquet of sunflowers.

Thank you.

Now, you go over on the
boardwalk and play, sweetheart.

Announcer: Stay tuned for exciting
scenes from our next Gunsmoke.

Subtitled by Post Haste Digital