Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 18, Episode 11 - The Sodbusters - full transcript

Farm owner Clarabelle Callahan has absolute rights to the water supply in her area. Rather than negotiate with Clarabelle, rancher Lamoor Underwood turns to hatred and violence by bringing in a gunslinger, Dick Shaw. Unknown to either side, farm hand Pete Brown is the noted gunfighter John Jobson and represents a deadly equalizer for Clarabelle.


and starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

It ain't I wanna leave.

Lord, I come all the
way out from St. Joe.

That dirt and plains
winds rifle on you.

Close to near swallowing
a navy full of whales.

Snow punch harder your mule

and sun enough to fry crickets.

Molly with two at the breast.

No, sir.

I wouldn't want to
leave wasn't it needful.

But I don't want
to bury my family,

and I don't want
them burying me.

What say you, Nevin?


It be true.

Underwood and his
cattle want the water.

And hate us about
like knives in his knees.

But come down
to it, ain't our say.

Water belongs to Clarabelle

by title and homestead.

Ain't for her water,
we're all dry as biscuits.

And when you're
talking about Clarabelle,

it's Pete Brown
done the doing of it.

What'll we do, Pete?

Stick together, boys.

Scattered, you're
mice for the hogs.


you got you a strength.


You ain't got no
strength, fly boy.

Laws are strength, Underwood.

Ain't but one law, and
it says so six times.

You know how that works.

That's all, sodbusters.

Now, step aside and let
Brown take his own medicine.

Seems like you done
troubled him, Mr. Underwood.

That bother you, does it?

You bother me, sodbuster.

Then maybe you better
get out before it gets worse.

You know it done got so bad,

I can't cure it, butt in.

Gonna have to put you
away 'fore it's gonna get better.

You best get to it, then.

You know, I'm getting a feeling

I've seen you before
someplace, ain't I?

That's possible.


Oh, yeah.

What's wrong.

It ain't likely you'd
understand, Underwood.

You want to push it?


I already been paid.

Now we done exchanged messages.

There'll be another
time, for certain.

I've heard 'em all.


Let's get him out of here.

Don't know if you're gonna live.

Don't know if you're gonna die.

Either way to it, it
ain't gonna be here.

I thought they'd
buried you in Ellsworth.

So long, Shaw.

Well, you best know
what you're into now.

Gunslinger's a
beginning, not an end.

Underwood don't want that water

any less 'cause
his man went down.

So, if any of you don't
want to make a stand,

best get out while you can.

And keep a hard
eye on your families.

Don't show your
backs to strangers.

He just come onto
the ranch, Doc,

lashed to his horse,

bleeding almost like a
wounded stray after a wolf run.

Afraid to move him, I was.

That's why I sent in for ya.

You did fine.

How long ago this
happened, Tate?

Days, nights run
together, don't know.

Matt, I can't do
a thing for him.

He's shot through the lung.

He lost a lot of blood.

He's just not
gonna make it, Matt.

I don't see why in
thunder anybody would

It doesn't make
much difference, Doc.

- You know who he is?
- No.

Dick Shaw.


One of the best.

Who did this to you?

Can't say.

Killed me, though.

He was raving about
the fight he had been in.

Man name Hopson or
Jobson or some such.

Jobson, John Jobson?

But they had a big fancy burial

up to Ellsworth for
Jobson, Marshal.

Yeah, or who they
thought was Jobson.

That's happened before, too.

Doc, tell Festus he's
got a town for a while.

Let's get him buried.

All right, Doc.

Still and all,

we was careful to notice if
a hooty owl stopped hooting

or a band of wolves down
canyon stopped howling

and such night noises,

'cause that mean a war
party injuns'd be on the prowl,

and we'd be wearing our hair
some shorter in the morning.


You've done about
everything, haven't you?

Not everything, Johnny.

Not by a far shot.

Some trapping, some guiding...

A little high-riding.

What's high-riding, Pete?

Oh, it's...

it's riding for certain folks,

making sure, say,

the varmints don't
trash up their lands.


one way or another.

You likin' that kind of doing,

how can you stay
in a place like this?

Place like this?

Why, this is a
fine place, Johnny.

Your mother, see,

that pearly land of Heaven
don't know a finer cook.

She's pretty, too.

You noticed, ain't ya?

The onliest thing I
ever noticed was you,

and you're uglier than a
bog with the sun over it.

You three come on in.

Get ready for the
drive to town, and now.

It's that cook, ain't it?


Well, we best move quick.

You just never
want to rile a cook.

You aim to get
drunk in town again?

I aim to drink down a lake full

then see what happens.

Here comes old stony now.


Got that tally? Pa's ready.

All right.

Don't want you drunk, Print.

Now, when have I been drunk, Pa?

Save a time or two.

What's the matter?

You think I'm gonna
embarrass you

in front of the town
of Underwood?


Make it 2,218 head,
Mr. Underwood.

Thank you.

♪ Oh, that strawberry roan ♪

♪ He goes up in the east ♪

♪ He comes down in the west ♪

♪ Just to stay in the saddle ♪

♪ I'm doing my best ♪

♪ Oh, that strawberry roan ♪

You know the song, ma'am.

I know this speed, too.

Well, the Navins
will be waiting for us,

and knowing them,

they'll just bake in the sun
until we get to their place.

Now, how hard do
you want them roasted?

Well, all right.


♪ Oh, that strawberry roan ♪

Going courting again, huh?

You shut up your face, Print.

He heard you ever
sour-mouthing her,

you'd be looking for a
new set of pie-biters, boy.

If I ever went down the hole,

he'd likely kick a rock over me

and let it go at that.

♪ Oh, that strawberry roan ♪

♪ Oh, that strawberry roan ♪

♪ That sunfishin' bronco ♪

♪ Is well left alone ♪

♪ There isn't a cowboy
From Texas to Nome ♪

♪ Who'd ride that
strawberry roan ♪

♪ Stay off that
strawberry roan ♪

Let's go, boys.

And what'll you
do if I don't buy?

Nearest railhead to
mine's way down to Kesting.

You'd get there.

I usually quote the price when
I buy cattle, Mr. Underwood.

Not on my cattle, you don't.

I hear things are
hard for you on water.

Things'll get better.

A homesteader woman's
got a claim on your lake water.

I checked on the
claim, Mr. Underwood.

It's valid.

Things'll get better.

I think I see.

Well, Hill there is the best
foreman in the territory,

and you always have top beef.

So, I guess it's no gamble.

Fair enough?

Let's have a drink.

Now, what you doing
out of your garden?

No crows around
here need scarin'.

How's the planting coming, Dick?

All in and growing.

How 'bout them beets and beans?

They sprouting yet?

They getting up real good.

As Bob says, "thanks
to Clarabelle's water."

Why don't you
order the supplies?

Boys, I'll just get a quick
one and join you at the store.

Say, Miss Clara.

Heard about that man of yours.

How he took care of
Mr. Underwood's gunfighter.

That was quite a thing
he did, too, I must say.


He shot him.

Stonecold dead, I heard.

Mr. Underwood, you're
a tough man to deal with.

You ain't the first
man to find that out.

Get on out of here, boys.

Me and Mr. Brown got us
some talking to get done.

- Well, Pa, there ain't no...
- Get on out.

Take the rest of them with you.

I want to talk to you, Brown.

What do you want, Underwood?

I took this land
when the rest of you

was walking around in napkins.

It's mine, and the water on it.

Now, you get the word
to them plowhazers

to let the water run free.

The water running
free, Brown, you hear?

I hear.

I hear that times are changing.

You ain't gonna
throw in for full

with them bunch of
sodbusters, are you?

You tell me why not.

Reasons thick as
summer thistles,

highest one being a
man with your hands

got better things to do

than stuffing hogs
with homegrown turnips.

You making an offer?

Hire on to me.

I'll make it worth your while.

Bring your woman and kids.


I'm asking you
for the last time.

You gonna see
that water run free

for cattle 'stead of carrots

and them other
cute little things?

Or you aim to get
planted along with 'em?

Got so much dirt
ground into him,

couldn't tell him
from Dolby brick,

if weren't for the
yeller underneath.

Come on in, boys.

Wet the whistle where
she dries out the worst.

Clodhoppers up for
whiskey, are you?

Might be they could
use it for Dutch courage,

about like you do, sonny.

Three of your good
whiskey, please.

Mighty Lord on
high, brother boy.

He never did see
him a hayshaker.

The smell of 'em,
just the smell of 'em,

was enough to make the rats
stampede and the paint peel.

Now, ain't that
true, brother boy?

True as rain and running water.

And when it comes to fighting,

real fighting, I mean,
instead of just a bullet,

why, a hayshaker's just natural

made yeller as snag teeth...

and hollow-gutted

and lady-spanked.

Now, ain't that true, hayshaker?

Take your hand off, sonny.

Well, I'm gonna
do that, hayshaker,

but I'm gonna put it
back just a little bit higher.

Let's get out of here.

We'll get the women
and kids in the wagon.

You sure things'll get
better, Mr. Underwood?



Mr. Murphy said today
you were in a gun fight.


Him and his men come
the day you went visiting.

We had a meeting.

They want you off this land.

They want the water

and they're
ready to kill for it.

Kill for it?

I know he's tried
to buy me out, but...

That was gold.

This is lead.

But don't you worry on it.

Everything is
gonna be just fine.

But killing?

The front side has
settled a lot of arguments.

It's not just the water.

You could give him all
the water and half again.

They'd still come pointing lead.

They hate you, ma'am.

All of you.

It ain't a problem to figure.

It's you kill them,
or they kill you.

But it's my land.

I own it, paid and proper.

But long as you're
in cattle country,

a plow will buy you
nothing but lead,

lest you dig tight
and make your stand.

You're the only one who
knows anything about guns.

It'd be you alone.

I ain't worrying.

Well... well, I am.

If something happened to you...

I guess I'd break in more pieces

than you could
pull in with a rake.

I'll remember.

Get up.

There's five farming families
in this valley, Underwood.

Get used to 'em.

The hell I will.

Hold your fire.

It's the U.S. Marshal.

Cat for lives, that Brown.

Just git.


You got a place around here?

Other side of
that bridge yonder.

Think you can make it?

This your man, ma'am?

My man? Why?

- What happened?
- He pointed out your place.

Yes, his place.

Well, he's been shot
and he needs help.

The house.

What happened, Ma?

What's wrong with Pete, Ma?



Seems like sometimes a
shadow isn't safe from shooting.

Maria, there's clean
sheets in the bin

and water in the
stove kettle. Fetch 'em.

- John - Easy.

Give me that pine
sap from the barn

and that apple vinegar jug,
third shelf above the flour.

Yeah, I heard of you, Dillon.

Dodge City...

Got yourself a steel spine,
don't bend for the law.

Well, sir...

it be just you here.

This ain't Dodge City.

Onliest law we got here is cows,

and it ain't just
the water, it's them.


Sodpounders, Dillon.

What they're doing to the land.

How they aim to
respect this land

when they's
always jabbing at it?

Ripping at the
sweet breast of it?

Fouling it, so it can't never

take marriage to the sun again.

I come into this here valley

near 40 years ago.

You know, we're on the
Platte River shooting buffalo.

Steady killing of 'em
had me galled to the edge.

Even looking at a buffalo
gun near puked me.

So, one day I
just started riding.

When I seen this valley here,

lying out there smooth,
green, and even-like,

I just set me down on that
low east ridge over there

where them apens clustering.

I just watched till it was...

black dark and the
howlers was a hoot-hunting.

Downriver there,
where she narrows,

the long howls of them wolves

coming back off
them canyon walls

sounded like lost souls
searching for their bodies.

Built me my camp right
here where we are now.

Drove a short herd up
from Texas that next year

and wifed me Arapaho woman.

Best human being God
ever used his clay for.

Give me two sons,
that woman did.

One of 'em ain't
worth spit in winter.

The other 'un tries, but...

he got a brain
belongs under a hen.

I make it the white
in him, not the red.

Reds will save this land.

Whites what'll ruin it.

Them sodbusters don't
owe this land anyhow.

They ain't never left
their blood in the grass

holding it from Injuns,

bears, blizzards, and droughts,

and anything else the
devil can throw at you.


Juiceless, hymn-singing,
tea-drinking virgins with hoes.

I hate 'em, I'm
gonna drive 'em out.

They poison the land.

Their stinkholes tied to
the dirt like skunk juice.

You said your piece?

No, I ain't.

Come in here and
introduce yourself to me,

feeling that badge
replaces gunpowder.

You just go introduce
yourself to them

and tell 'em Lamoor
Underwood says to pack now

or by that great jumpin' Judas,

they're sure as
hell gonna have dirt

in an area six foot down.

I gotta tell you
something, Underwood.

If you keep pushing
those farmers around

instead of trying to
work things out with 'em,

you're gonna build yourself
a mountain of trouble

none of you can climb,

if you haven't built it already.

Just what the hell is
that supposed to mean?

That Pete Brown...

could take you into court
for that ambush on the river.

You ain't gonna get
that Brown into court.

He's a gunslinger.

What do you mean, gunslinger?

He shot the man I
hired, Dick Shaw.

Lightning on a
downhill run's a turtle

alongside that gun of Brown's.

He's a killer,

and I seen enough
of 'em to know.

Eyes don't ever move off of you.

Mouth straight as a knife slash.

Hands, seeming lifeless
as him in a casket.

All of it just waiting,

cold and ready,

like a coiled rattlesnake.

Shaw never even
seen that gun come out

before the lead was in him.

And I'll tell you something.

There's no court that
would convict Brown

for shooting a man like Shaw.

Ain't three men alive

that could do Shaw
in like he done, mister,

and they're all well and old.

Strike you a shade wonderful.

You ain't never even
heard of this man,

name of Brown.

They seem to be real
fond of him, Ms. Callahan.

They adore him, Marshal.

Who wouldn't?

I mean, what child wouldn't?

Are you sure he's
not badly wounded?

No, I think he should be up and
around real soon, Ms. Callahan.

They're clean wounds and
he looks like a strong man.

How long have you known him?


He just came in here one day,

just passing through.

He asked politely
for a drink of water,

and Don had been gone
some months on business.


That's my husband.

Died of the fever
near a year ago now,

down in Sportfield.

Don was something
like a weed in a wind.

I guess it takes both dreamers
and doers to get it all made,

wouldn't you say, Marshal?

I guess you're right.

You say you've known
him a year or so?

I told myself I was
in love with Don,

but it wasn't so.

He wasn't made for farming

or for marrying, either, truly.

He was unhappy here with me,

with his responsibilities.

He toyed with guns until
he had himself believing

he was some sort of desperado.

Of course, he wasn't.

One day he left for good.

First I knew he'd died
was when Pete came.

Pete brought some money
Don had won in a poker game

along with the ring
he'd always worn.

Saddle and his gun.

That was all.

So, you can see now maybe

why Pete's found a
place with us here.

Why the children love him so.

Ma, Pete's awake!

He's really awake, Ma.

He really is.

Now, you stay in
here for a while.

Mr. Dillon wants to talk to him.

You won't be long,
will you, Mr. Dillon?

No, I'll be back
real soon, John.

How're ya feeling?


Name's Matt Dillon
from Dodge City.

I've heard of you.

Didn't know Marshals
threw that wide a loop.

Well, they do when they
got a line on John Jobson.


Put him in the
hole in Ellsworth.

That's what I thought

until I talked to
Underwood and Shaw.


Dick Shaw.

Took a bullet in the center
of the chest the other day.

Said John Jobson did it to him.

He died at a ranch about
a day-and-a-half from here.

Can't favor it as much
as a loss, can you?

He'd figured different.

You ever seen
this Jobson, Dillon?

Not till now.

Never put a lock on
nothing but your heart.

Mama said she made some soup.

Do you think you can take
some while you're talking?

Take some?

I'm liable to take it all.

All right, now.

It's coming near sunup

and you two ain't had
a wink of sleep yet.

Come on, git.

You'll come and see
us when we're sleeping,

won't you Pete?

And tuck us in nice and all?

Will you, Pete?


I believe I'll walk
out for a time.

It's a nice hour for a smoke.

You're gonna take him
away from us, aren't you?

I have to, ma'am.

Don't have any choice.

When do you aim to take me back?


Dillon, I'm the only thing

keeps Underwood from
going through these farmers

like a bullet through cobwebs.

I've asked the bartender to send
the showboat for some deputies.

Now, they should
be here by dawn.

Then what?

I'll be in jail.

You'll be in Dodge.

She can't be left alone
is what I'm telling you.

She's got no man.

She told me that,
and I'm sorry about it,

but that's the
way it's gotta be.

Without me, Underwood and
those with him will come here

just cranking out lead,

and it won't do no good to run.

They got to be faced.


That'll be my
responsibility, Jobson.

Being responsible.

You're a big believer
in that, ain't you, Dillon?

Nothing works without it.

Mr. Dillon.

I'm not gonna let
him take you, Pete.

I want you to ride
out of here now.

He'll be all right
after a while.


I ain't got much to say,
but listen to me now.

When you tote it all
up, I don't know nothing,

nothing at all
alongside real folks.

A gun, how to point
it, when to shoot it.

And the name ain't Brown.

It's Jobson.

It's me he was after.

But no matter what
I've done, though,

I've always lived my
life straight and true.

Come to a year ago, that is.

A year ago, down in Sportfield,

gambler come in and
says there's a slinger

up to the Longhorn,

cheated him and took his woman.

He give me $500 to run him out.

I went and braced him, and
seen right off he was a ringer.

Drunk, to boot.

I turn to leave, and...

He goes for his gun.

I heard it.

Felt it.

And I had him before
his cleared the leather.

Then I found out
two hard things.

Man had a family, two kids,

and his wife was you.

You and Don?


And the money you brought us?

I never figured that'd be you.

I gotta go now,

and there ain't a thing to say,

but that I'm sorrier

than I ever knew I could be.

Marshal, Marshal Dillon.

Which way did he go?

He didn't say, but
he took the town road.

Well, six o'clock.

Give me three honest cards.

It's Brown.

Pa, I seen him.

He's coming in
back of the store.

Well, well.

Pick you a window boys,

and don't pull
until I give the start.

Now we's gonna do some plowing.


Wanna talk to you, Underwood.

Let's talk.


I want to talk to ya.


Come to that, huh, shamrock?


I said I want to talk!


Just hold your fire, boys.

That turkey'll stick his
head up in a minute.


Two fellers in here
want clean of this.

They's coming out.

Don't shoot, we're coming out.


You all right?


Worse than stupid, I guess.

But here's the
last of something.



- Ome.
- Ome.


Don't lie and don't quit.

You'll be back, won't ya?

You gotta, Pete.

You'll never find a good hound
won't come back to a warm house.

Just a little business
to take care of.

Well, ma'am, I
appreciate your hospitality.

If you ever get
down to Dodge way,

it'd be my pleasure
to return it in kind.

My... our pleasure, Marshal.

Thank you.

I'd like to come back.

How long you
reckon I'll get, Dillon?

Well, it's hard to say.

It's an old warrant.

Judge Burke is
a pretty fair man.

You know, with a little luck,

you might be back
here by spring cleaning.

That's a nice time of year.

Goodbye, Pete.

We'll be waiting for ya.

I'll take care of the
farm until you get back.

Goodbye, Pete.


Goodbye, Pete!

Stay tuned for exciting scenes

from our next Gunsmoke.