Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 18, Episode 10 - Tatum - full transcript

A grizzly old man, Bodie Tatum, finds out that he only has days to live. His final wish is to be reunited with the family he abandoned years ago.


And starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

That ol' bear really
ripped me up good.

And there's nothin'
you can do about that.

I will go to Dodge City,
the doctor there, he can.

There's no need to hurry,

ain't nothin' he'll be
able to do about it either.

You know,

maybe if I'd had
longer teeth and claws...

I think I might have
whipped that old bear.


Are you forgettin'
who your people are?

You're Cheyenne

and they sorrow their
men alone in quiet.

That's better.

You better get yourself
something to eat.

Nothing you can do here.

We will wait.

I want to have a look at you.

Nothin' you can do, is there.

Wasn't for that bear,

I just might have
gone on forever.

How long before I cash in?

And I want that straight.

I can't tell you
that, I don't know.

I know you've been
torn up inside pretty bad.

I've just done what I can.

A week?

I don't know.

Reckon that's been
about the third time

you admired that scar of mine.

Well, I guess I'm
not the only doctor

that likes to look
at his own work.

It's been a few years.

It was a Bowie
knife if I remember.

Loco'd whiskey sort
took me for a side of beef.

Somehow that scar and
the face don't go together.

Did you say your
name was Jackson?

Sam Jackson.

Funny, man I stitched up's
name was Bodie Tatum.

What difference it
make if I'm Tatum or not?

They can't hang a dead man.

Matt Dillon, I hear
he's a fair man.

He is that.

Well, there's a couple
things I gotta put in order

and I can't do 'em layin' here.

I'd be willin' to turn
myself over to Dillon

for a couple of favors.

Oh no, you can't
make a deal with Matt,

I'll tell you that.

And besides, I
don't think you're

in any position to bargain.

I'll tell him what you said.

Well, I guess you was worth it.

Worth it?

Yep, near losin' my scalp tryin'

to steal you away
from that Creek buck.

You were a very foolish man.

He valued me.

He fought like it, but...

I value you more.

I don't know that I ever
told you that, but I do.

Whoa! Dodge City!

All out folks, half hour rest.



Oh, it's so good to see you.

There's someone here to see you.

You're daughters,
two of them anyway.

If you were back
in that Creek village,

that buck'd be
cutting himself a stick

and puttin' it to your back.

They are your children.

There are things a man must say

to his children before
he leaves them.

You wanted them here.

How'd you reach them?

Telegrams. I
helped her send 'em.

She did the right thing.

But maybe you don't want it
or deserve it, for that matter,

but at least you'll have
family here with you.

Come in.


and you'd be Marion?



She's not here.

I'm afraid she
was the smart one.

Why'd you come?

I thought it might be important.

There must be some
reason why you sent for us.

Like there might be
some money to be left.

And you?

You are our father.

That's right.

But I didn't send for ya
and there's no money.

Then who wired us?

My woman, she thought
it would be what I want.

That Indian woman?

She's your wife.

I didn't say she was my wife.

I said she was my woman.

And the child.

My son.

With an Indian?

Yep, all Indian, from
the moccasins up.

She's very young.

These whiskers might make me
look like a rocky mountain goat,

but I'm a man.

And it's plain to see the kind
of lives you two been living.

One little truth that don't set
with your Sunday manners

and you go all pale and jittery.

That squaw of mine out there...

now there's a woman.

Back like a mule...

pitch a lodge, ride all day

and give birth after sundown.

Now isn't that just like a
man to crow about that.

Trappin' yourself a
squaw to fetch and carry.

Leave those paleface gals

to those who don't
know any better.

Hello, Father.


Gwen, you look like
you've been worked

like a pack mule or a squaw.

Marion, now you're
exactly as I pictured you.

Sweet, quiet, very
proper. Too bad.

Think you could find us
some spirited young fire eater?

Might loosen her up.

Maddy, not now.


Well, what happened to you.

A bear.

The least he could have
done is finish you off.

Why'd you send for us?

Like I told your
sisters, it wasn't me.

But since you're all here,
I'll tell ya what I want.

I already told the marshal

but somehow it seems more
fittin' if it's done by family.

Your ma, she was a good woman,

and no matter
what you might think

to the contrary, I loved her.

Her grave, there in Spearville,

there's a place next
to her there for me.

I want to be buried
next to your ma.

And I want you
three to see to it.

No, you ran out on us
when we were still children.

And our mother worked
her way into an early grave.

You killed her!

I know what I did to her.

And to you!

And there was no changin' it.

There was nothin'
else I could do.

When I found out where
you all were I did what I could.


We needed a father.

If we take you there, everyone
in town will know who I am.

I've built a future
in Spearville.

I'm not gonna chance losin' it.

I always thought I wanted
to see you dead and buried.

But under the
circumstances, I pass.

Well, I finally got my son.

Man's life don't take on
form til he can see himself.

Man without a
son, no way to live.

Sure no way to die.

My son.

My son.

My fourth born and the only one

that's not ashamed
to be a Tatum.

Maddy, come on in.

Maddy, this here's Kada.

That's Jonathan.

Guess he'd be your brother.

Doesn't look like a Tatum.

Well, he's got Tatum blood.

Maybe he'll outgrow it.

Well, at least you got
yourself a pretty one.

Indian women, their
men always have the say.

That's their way.

But it's a good way.

Thought you'd be halfway
back to St. Louis by now.

My train leaves in an hour.

I just came by to drop that off.

Every penny you
sent me is there.

I don't want to owe nothin' to
no man, including my father.

I know you hate me, girl.

But there's no fixin'
what's already been done.

Money was the only
way I had of helpin' ya.

When we buried Ma, I cursed you.

You always was an
independent little cuss.

Even when you were little,

harder to handle
than a mule on ice.

After I was gone,

did your ma say much?

Some, she never
said anything bad.

I had to leave, Maddy!

There was men gunnin' for me.

She tried lots of times to
get me to put the gun up.

But I had nothin' else to go to.

I was figurin' on
taking the gun off.

After I'd taken
care of my family.

But things never
went like I figured.

And it cost me, it cost
me a lot more than a deed.

That gun cost me my family!

Bodie Tatum...

After that, he just disappeared.

The legend stuck,
folks don't forget.

Neither have I.


You want to know something true?

Ma, she never
stopped caring for you.

She understood.

We all felt the pain.

Ma carried hers
a whole lot better.

She's alone.

I know, girl.

And I never meant for her to be.

There's no sense to it now.

You're right.

There's no sense to it.

Now you listen to me, girl.

I'm gonna be buried
beside your ma

if I have to crawl
there and dig the hole

and cover it up myself,

it's gonna get done.

Just an hour ago, you
didn't want any part of him.

What did he say to
change your mind?

- Talk to him.
- No!

Well you both hate him
all right, just like I did.

All these years,

but it didn't stop you
from taking his money.

Look, that plot of land
our ma's buried on,

there's a place for him.

She wanted it that way!

All right, all right,
keep on hating him.

But do it for her.

Maddy, you don't
know why I can't.

It's just not my future
that's at stake it...

It's what?

It's my fiance.

Jake's the sheriff
of Spearville.

Thinkin' of runnin'
for mayor next spring.

Marry a Tatum?

It would ruin every
chance he had.

What about your husband?

Does he know who you are?

No, we live in a
small Iowa town and...

- It would...
- prove real awkward.

Why does he have to be
buried next to our mother?

What about his squaw?

Many have told me
of this man, Tatum.

This man you hate.

He's not the man I know.

Since 17 years old, I
have been his woman.

All I know is his gentleness.

He has talked of his first life;

the children he had to
leave, the man he killed...

But that is not the man I know,

this man he talks of.

I do not want to give him
back to his first woman.

But I will, because
that's what he wants.

He also wants you with him.

He said that?


And he did not say
he wanted you to come.

Your man should not have
to tell you what he feels.

I will be with him.

You want to know what
a woman should be?

Look at that one.

Hey Mitchell, Mitchell!

Come here!

We just heard Bodie Tatum's
been took to Dodge City.

I received a wire from the
Dodge Marshal, he's dyin'.

Did he tell you he's
bringing him here?

They're trying to get him
buried right next to his wife

in our cemetery?

A few yards from my two
brothers, who Tatum put there?

He's not gonna be
buried in the same ground.

If they're coming from Dodge
we'll ride out and stop 'em.

Wait, now wait a minute.

There will be no vigilante law

in this town while I'm sheriff.

You all stay out
of it, I'll handle it.

Now Tatum won't
be buried in our town.

Bodie Tatum, you're
damn right he won't.

You ladies about ready?

What's that to you, Marshal?

I'm gonna be
going along with ya.

There's still warrants out
for you father in Spearville

and he's still
my responsibility.


Remember that stream that
ran near your family's village?

The Wewaka?


Good fishin' there.

I always wanted to be there

when the boy
made his first catch.

The worst thing about dyin',
not seeing him take hold.

Not being there
with a guiding hand.

He will be a good man.

After... get yourself
another man.


I'm tellin' ya, you're
a fine woman.

But a woman
raisin' a boy alone...

A growin' boy
needs a man's hand.

I wasn't there for my girls.

And I wanted to
be there for him.

A woman can teach a
boy, God and gentleness,

and respect for the female
race, and washin' behind his ears.

But, the rest is a man's doin'.

I hope you will allow
me to mourn you first.

Only for a spell.

The doctor said
not to let you move.

What is the difference whether
I die here or in the wagon?

Sit down, girl.

Just sit down.

Maddy's right.

You look worked, girl.

How old are you now, 30?


Look like you're
goin' hard at 40.

I'm tired.

Uh huh.



Oh, no wonder you look tired

and you're agin'
like bad whisky.

You're just sittin'
around waitin' to die.

You're the one who's dyin'.

I ain't gonna die
until I'm ready.

And I ain't gonna be ready
until I'm lyin' beside your ma.

You see, there's
the difference, girl.

I have lived.

I ain't always been
proud of what I done.

But I seen the elephant.

And I didn't let myself
wrinkle up like a dried prune

for the want of courage
to face the truth.


We don't even know each other.

I'm sorry, I didn't
mean to prod ya.

But you're blamin'
me for your life.

And I'm not apologizin'.

I was a gunman.

It was my living, our living.

When I was hired
to go to Spearville,

I didn't want to take
the family along.

Your ma didn't want
us to be apart anymore.

It was a... a range dispute.

It was war, girl.

War tears families up.

So now, you see,

you're living childless.

An empty life.

But don't blame me.

I've been guilty for a lot,

but that's one
you called yourself.

You better get some sleep.

I still got a lot
more to think on.

So do I.



What are you doin' here?

And with him.

He's my father.

Bodie Tatum?

I don't believe it.

I was gonna tell you before
we got married, honest.

It's true.

Well, no wonder you
changed your name.

Bodie Tatum left his
mark on Spearville.

He's still a wanted man.

I'm sorry, Marshal,

you can't bring that
man into Spearville.

He is not gonna be
buried in our cemetery.

I think he is, Sheriff.

Marshal, those men...

and a lot of others like them...

won't stand for that.

Well, I don't think
it matters much

what you or the people in
your town think of Tatum.

The fact is, he
has a legal right

to be buried where he wants to.

Marshal, I don't see
that matters very much.

You see, I represent Spearville.

And I represent Kansas, Sheriff.

I hate it, laying
here all busted up

and my horns sawed off.


I'll be resting soon enough.

Those men, they meant business.

It's time to split the blankets.

Yes, it's too dangerous
for you and the boy here.

You're better off
back with your people,

you'll be safe there.

No, it is my right
to be with you.

I have more rights
than they have.

All right.

But, I sure never met
another squaw like you.

Tell the marshal
I'd like a word.


That squaw of mine picked
up some independence

since I got her.

I wonder where
she picked that up.

Where'd you find her?

Nations, she's Cheyenne.

Creek stole her in a raid.

I took her from the Creek.

We haven't talked
about her and the boy yet.

I figured you'd
get around to it.

Well, I was doing
some thinking about it.

I want her to settle him down.

Thought about Dodge
and some other places.

But she's an Indian,
and he's a half-breed.

So, I guess they'd be better
off back with their people.

After, I was wondering...

if you'd see to that.

Be glad to, Tatum.

I'd be obliged.

They're coming, Mr. Terrall.

Well, that's a great
job you did, Mitchell.

All right, I want you men
to get yourself armed.

I'll meet you at the
edge of town, now go on.

Come on men, go get
your guns, hurry up.

Mr. Terrall, there's
women and a child.

I know, I know and one of
them's your woman, a Tatum.

Terrall, I'm the law in
this town and I say...

You got nothin' to say!

You're the law because
we put you there.

And I know you've got
your sights on mayor.

You let those people
in, I wouldn't count on it.

You'd be lucky if you
can live in this town.

What's on your mind, girl?

That sheriff this afternoon?

He's your man.


You sure you want
a life with him, girl?

Come right down to it,
he'll go cold-footed on you.

He's a good man.

Only thing he's
good for is tuckin' tail.

Back there when it counted,

he didn't even know
you from fresh hide.

I know.

You know, you're the
one most like your ma.

Your hair...

the way you always
take things hard,

everything a funeral.

You laughin' at me?

No girl, I don't
laugh at nobody.

A couple of years
after you left,

one night a man came.

I heard voices.

A woman's and a man's.

Thought it was you,
thought you were back.

I remember curling
up under the covers

and suddenly feeling very safe.

The next morning he was gone.

But there was blood.

It was me.

I came that night with a
bullet in me and on the run.

And your ma turned me away.

But it was the best thing.

I couldn't stay there, it
was dangerous for you kids.

That was the last
time I seen her alive.

When she was dyin',
she asked for you.

When I heard she was dead...

I visited her grave.

Marshal, turn back.

Get your men off
the road, Sheriff.

I won't take the
responsibility for any violence.

Then get out of the way.

My father only
wants to be buried.

You don't care, all you're
worried about is votes.

Leave, Marshal, turn back.

Not a chance.

Bodie Tatum's got a plot of land

bought and paid
for in your cemetery.

He killed my brothers.

And I'm not the only one
who lost family to his gun.

All the rest of them
are in that cemetery.

Anyone stands in our way
is gonna face a federal judge.

Burying him there would
be desecrating that ground.

Thought it was just stoppin' him

from bein' buried, Mr. Terrall.

Not going up against
a U.S. Marshal.

He's right, Ed, we can't...

We didn't count on
no gun play, Mr. Terrall.

I got a family to think of.

Shut up, all of ya.

There's still enough
of us, Marshal.

You bring Tatum into this town

and you'll be lookin'
down rifle barrels.

Come on, boys.

Maddy, he wants to see you.

I'm talkin' to you, here
alone without your sisters,

'cause I think you seen a
little of the harder part of life.

Well, this is as
far as we're goin'.

You mean you're
lettin' us off the hook?

There's no use getting
you all planted too.

You heard Terrall back there.

I'd only be getting you killed.

But having you all
here with me now,

it was worth the trip.

I ain't gonna be
stayin' the night with ya.

You remember that stream

we passed back
there a couple of miles?

Well, bury me there,
under a shade tree.

We came to bury you next to Ma.

Now, you listen to me.

I told the marshal
and I'm telling you.

Now swear to me that
you'll do it that way.

Mind if I think it over?

Don't take too long.

Maddy, I know you
got no use for us men.

And hard as we are, i
t's a lot worse to be alone.

There's nothing wrong with
giving yourself to a man...

if you think he's worth it.

Maybe I'll give it a try.

He is dead.

You've been warned, lawman.

That trash doesn't belong
in our town. Turn back!

Ladies, you just
dug your own graves.

Now you turn that wagon
around and get out of this town.

He's gonna be buried, Terrall.

He killed my brothers,

you're not gonna put
him in the same ground!

He was our father, Mr. Terrall.

And he's dead.

He can't hurt you anymore.

Move aside.

All right, now the rest
of you, drop your guns.

No, no!

Drop them on the ground!

Now move aside.

There are those in this town

who tried to stop this man
from being buried here.

They said no, because of
what he had done in the past.

But they had no right
to judge this man.

Only God has that right.

Why is it we practice
a lot of religion

but not much Christianity?

I didn't know Bodie Tatum.

But you, his children, did.

They say that even in the
worst of men there is some good.

There must have been a
great deal of good in this man

for you to have come so far
and gone through so much.

But in the end, it is God
who will judge Bodie Tatum

and what kind of man he was.

Stay tuned for exciting scenes

from our next Gunsmoke.