Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 18, Episode 17 - Shadler - full transcript

Just before he's to be hung, stage robber Shadler busts out of jail, by slugging his last rites priest and donning the robes as a disguise. While burglarizing an uninhabited farm, the escapee helps Deputy U.S. Marshal Newly elude hostile lawmen quarantining a nearby outpost struck by a mysterious plague. Newly believes his pursuers are actually a ring of vultures waiting to loot the dying settlement. When Newly heads back to the besieged town, the fake padre insists on riding with him to minister to the dying citizens. Why is the hardened Shadler risking his health and freedom to throw in with law enforcement?


And starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.


You tell me about that
money first, like where it's hid.

I already gave you five
dollars for that bottle,

Creech, now give it to me.

Nuh uh, this bottle is
gonna cost you $7,000.

Now you tell me
where the money is.

Just the thought of some
pile of nothin' like you

spendin' that money
makes me wanna retch.

That money ain't
gonna do you no good

and this bottle will.

Now you tell me
where you hid it.

At least I'm gonna die rich.

That's more than you
can say, you nothin'.


When they come to
hang you in the mornin',

you're gonna be
prayin' for a drink.

Go ahead and shoot.

I'd like to speak to the
prisoner for a moment, please.

He's all yours, father.

Well, if it isn't Father
Walsh, the old sin buster.

Shadler, thought we
should have one last talk.

Yeah, I'll bet you did.

Whiskey won't give
you solace now, Shadler.

Only God can do that.

I'm not interested in your
sermons, padre, I told you that.

Now, you're just
wastin' your time.

When a man's about to die,

he usually wants to make
peace with himself and God.

Shadler, we can kneel
together, we can pray...

Get away from me.

If you want to
pound those beads,

you go someplace
else and do that.

Why, Shadler?

Well, you were a Catholic.

A Christian.

You were even an altar boy once.

And no matter what's
happened since,

a man never stops
believing in God.

You better look closer, padre,

'cause God ain't
nothin' but a word.

Now you gotta believe in him
'cause you're on his payroll,

but don't go tryin'
to sell him to me

'cause I got no use for him.

Shadler, don't go to
your death a heathen.

Oh, you pious, psalm
singing good folks,

you always try to shove
yourselves down my throat,

you and my old man.

Let me tell you 'bout
that God of yours.

"Boy, you better learn
learn to say them prayers

and sing those hymns and
don't you ever miss the sabbath,

'cause if you do...

- you're gonna burn in hell."
- Name of the father,

- the son, and the holy ghost.
- That's what kinda

- God you got.
- Father, forgive his sins.

- You're gonna burn in hell.
- He knows not what he does.

- You couldn't sell me God.
- In the name of the father,

- the son, and the holy ghost.
- If you were drummin' it

from a wagon and had it bottled.

- Father.
- Oh, get outta here.

Forgive this man his sins,
for he knows not what he does.

All right, just.


Padre, I didn't mean it.

Ready, father?

No, no!

Drop those keys on the floor.

The padre.

Don't you worry about the padre.

You just make a sound,

you're the one will
be gettin' the last rites.


Hello, there.

Howdy, mister.

Sorry, you'll have to turn back.

Town's been hit by a plague.

A plague?

What sort of plague?

Don't know, ain't
no doctor in town.

Whatever it is, it's contagious.

Almost half the
town's down with it.

Now you better be
on your way, mister.

Well maybe I can help,
I've done some doctorin'.

We got orders to
keep everyone out,

and that includes you.

So, on your way.

Whose orders?

Sheriff's orders.

You've been told
to move on, I'd do it.

Don't try goin' in another
way, whole town's ringed off.

In fact, we got orders to
shoot anyone tryin' to go in.

Sheriff's orders?

Well, I'd like to talk to him.


But, first you have
to fork over your gun.

Mister, this badge here

says I'm the United
States Deputy Marshal

and I don't turn my
gun over to nobody.


Deputy Marshal or
not, I'm takin' that...

Get after him!

Hyah! Hyah, hyah!

Anybody home?

Is anybody home?


This your place?

No it's not, father.

What's the matter,
somebody after you?


Go in the barn, stay
there, don't make a sound.


What are you doing
out here, father?

I'm just passin' through.

Doesn't seem to be anybody home.

They're probably in
town with the fever.

Did you see a man
come through here?

Yes I did, about
two minutes ago,

went up this road here,
seemed in a great hurry.

Let's go.

Thanks for your help, father.

- Why are they after you?
- I'm not quite sure,

but one of the reasons is I
was asking too many questions.

I don't understand,
they are lawmen.

They're wearin' badges, but
I don't think they're lawmen.

Who are they?

I don't know, but
I aim to find out.

I was just on my
way into Selkirk

and almost got myself killed.

These men said
there was a plague,

that they're not lettin'
anyone in our out of the town.

But why would
they try to kill you?

Because I'm a lawman.

I see.

I thought you were
just a man in trouble.

I was.

Thanks again, father.

Are you headed
back into Selkirk?

That's right.

May I come with you?

Any special reason?

Yes, if there's a
plague, people are dying.

They'll need a priest.

We'd better get goin'
before they come back.

Yes, of course.

- Padre.
- Morning.

Nobody allowed in, padre.

I heard there was a plague.

You heard right.

Town will be a bone
orchard 'fore long.

Then there's need for a priest.

Sorry, nobody.

But I don't understand,
Mr... McKee.

Mr. McKee, you're
robbing Christian people

of their right to receive
their last sacraments.

Padre, it's a plague.

Go in there and you'll catch it,

die alongside the rest of 'em.

That's part of my job, my son,

when a priest takes his vows.

I got not time for sermons.

You're right, time is precious.

Move aside, Mr. McKee.

I'm warnin' you, padre.

I never shot a priest.

Don't move, mister!

Drop the rifle.

Drop it!

He tried to pull his gun.

That was some move, father.

Well, I...

One does what's necessary.

I'll bet when you deliver a
sermon, folks listen to ya.


I'll go fetch my horse.

What are you doin' here?

Heard her cry out.

You get away from her.

She's dying.

Where do you think you're goin'?

There's a priest outside,
I'm gonna go get him.

You are lyin'.

You'll have to trust me.


You're needed in
here, please hurry.

This here's Father John Walsh.

Father, she's been
askin' for a priest.

My eyes are very old
and sometimes see things.

But I can feel you.

You are a priest.

I'm Father John Walsh.

I've been waiting
for you a long time.

God has been
very patient with me.

I should have
been dead long ago.

Was she a friend of yours?

Not really.

Her name was Mrs. Evans.

Did she have much fever?


She complained about
pain in her stomach,

her and all the others.

It started out about a week ago

and those men have had
the town cut off for five days.

What about the rest
of the people in town?

Most of them are sick,
a few of them are dead.

Father, you all right?


It's a priest.

Thank God a priest has come.

No, no, no, please, please.

Father, my wife, she needs
to see you, she may be dying.

Lead the way.

I better take a look at
some of the other people.

You seem to know
somethin' about doctoring.

I've been studying under a
pretty good doctor in Dodge City.

When those men
tried to come into town,

there was a shootout.

We drove them away, but a
friend of mine was wounded.

His name is Cyrus Himes,
he's stubborn as an old rock

and meaner than a dog fight.

I wish you'd look at him.

Yes, I will. Where
do I find him?

He lives behind
the grocery store.

Look, if he snaps at you,
don't pay any attention.

Please try to help him.

I'll do the best I can.

Right there.

What is it?

Cyrus Himes?

Yeah, who are you?

Newly O'Brien.

What do you want?

- Dallas Fair.
- Yeah?

She asked me to
take a look at you.

You a doctor?

No sir, not yet, anyway.

But I know somethin'
about bullet wounds.

How's the town holdin' up?

I don't know, it's
too early to tell.

Didn't take long for them
to learn this town took sick.

Human scavengers...

They can smell death on
the wind, come in to feed on it.

We turned 'em back, though.

They still perched out there?

Yes, sir.


Waitin' for the town to
die so they can come in

and pick on the bones.

Gummit, boy.

That hurts bad enough
without you pokin' at it.

Is it bad?

Yes, sir.

Tell me how bad.

The bullet cut through a
bunch of blood vessels.

You're bleedin' inside
and there ain't no way

to stop it that I know.

Meanin' I'm bleedin'
to death, huh?

That's right.

There's a priest in town,
you want me to go get him?

No, no.

That ain't my
persuasion, deputy.

Oh, there was a time that me
and religion was on speakin' terms,

but too much has
happened in between.

He'd be wastin' his time.


Dallas said come fetch you.

Somebody else
just came down sick.

Want a quick one?

Next time.

Tenderness anywhere?

No, just a terrible
pain in my belly

and I feel awful dry.

Very little fever, no swelling.

If it were a plague,
there'd be both.

Any vomiting?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dallas, a shipment
of beef, pork,

anything like that
come to town recently?


What'd you eat today, sir?


All I had since last
night is the water.

If it was the water, the
whole town'd be sick.

Well maybe not.

I mean, most everybody
gets their water

from the well in the
middle of the town

but Cyrus has a rain
barrel, I get mine from there.

What about the others
who weren't affected?

Well you know somethin',

I think they all
have their own wells.

Did you drink
from the town well?

Yeah, I did.

This here water's foul.

It's not the plague.

Well if it is, it's one I
never heard of before.

What feeds this well?

The river.

Then that must be
where it's comin' from,

some sort of poison.

I'm gonna need all the milk
and vinegar you can find.

That shouldn't be hard.

All right, what's the
biggest building in town?

The cafe, I guess.

All right, you get some help

and take all the sick
people to the cafe

and I'm gonna need
blankets and fresh water.


There ain't no use in
movin' him, Dallas, he's dyin'.

He know that?

I asked him if he wanted
to see Father Walsh,

but he said he didn't
have no use for a priest.

One foot in hell, that's Cyrus.

I'll talk to him.

- Matthew?
- Any sign of Newly?

Nary a sign.

Willy over at the
telegraph office sent that.

Maybe it's from Newly.

Is it?

No, I sent a wire off to
Marshal Talus last night

to see if Newly
had gotten there yet.

He says he delivered his
prisoner five days ago and left.

Golly Bill, he ought to
have gotten back by now.

Yesterday at the latest.

- Better saddle me a horse, Festus.
- You betcha.

Want me to go with ya, Matthew?

No, you stay here
and look after Dodge.

Everything all right?

Thank you, Dallas.

Who is it?

I heard you were
too sick to be moved.

Who is that?


Is that you, Boone?

Yeah, it's me.

You were supposed to be hanged.

Yeah, they kinda had
their hearts set on that.

Stiff rope and a short drop.

Figure I disappointed them.

I just thought I'd
come by and see you

instead of goin' to hell.

You always was a
good boy, Boone.

Bless me, father,
for I have sinned.

Whole territory's
lookin' for me, Ma.

I'm in a hurry.

Not gonna stay for my funeral?

In that outfit, you
can read over me.

Yeah, well I'll
send you flowers.

- Where is it?
- Where's what?

You know what I'm talkin' about.

Two years ago, I left
$7,000 here for safekeeping.

Now I'm back for it.

Spent it.

Now you gonna listen
to my sins or not?

About all the evil doings
I spent that money on.

Bless me, father, for
I have really sinned.

Where is it, Ma?

- I said I spent it.
- You didn't spend nothin'.

You'd hoard scraps
from a starving dog.

The only difference between
you and a packrat is two legs.

You wouldn't even buy a
suit for Pa to be buried in.

Your pa was a Bible
spoutin' old fool.

Thinks he died
wearing angel wings.

I haven't got time to go
kickin' coffins, Ma, not even his.

- Now where's that money?
- It's gone.

Now you better tell me, you
money grabbin' old crone.

Find it yourself.

I'll choke it out of that
scrawny neck of yours.

You won't find it if
you live to be 100.

That money is mine,
where did you hide it?

Burned it all up in the
fire so you wouldn't get it.

That's what I did,
burned it all up.

Those eyeballs are gonna
pop right out of that skull

of yours if you
don't tell me, Ma.

You got no respect for
your mother, never did.

- Forgive him, Lord.
- Where is it?

Don't you die on me.

Bless me, father,
for I have sinned.

Tell me, Ma.

Don't you die on me.

You old hag.

What are you doin', Father?

Someone told me
the old lady was dyin'.

She asked me for a
Bible, I can't seem to find it.

She's dead.

She was alive just a moment ago.

Dallas is anxious for
you to talk to Cyrus.

Where is she?

She's out at the cafe, she
said she'd take you to see him.

What's goin' on down there?

This time yesterday,

it looked like the town
was drawin' its last breath.

Now I can see
folks movin' around.

Been five days, Mr. Varnum.

Somebody might come lookin'.

I mean like the telegraph.

Two, three days go by
and the town don't answer.

Yeah, you could be right.

Best take a look see.

Now, somebody's
gotta go into town

to see if it's still kickin'.

Rogers, you're elected.

There's fever down there.

Don't worry, Rogers,

nobody down there
is aimin' to kiss ya.

Go in as soon as you've ate.

I better warn you, he
hasn't been near a priest

or inside a church for
more than 25 years.


The fact is he doesn't
even believe in God.

He's not alone.

What you doin' here?

Dallas Fair asked me to see you.

I'm Father Walsh.

I know that, I
heard all about you.

What you doin' in this hole?

And don't tell me
the Lord sent ya.

I'm just passin' through.

And when the folks saw a priest,

they just naturally figured
you was heaven sent, huh?

Don't seem too happy about it.

Just doin' the Lord's good work.

I wouldn't get too
comfortable I was you.

I know you gospel
sharks can talk

quicker than a
hell-scorched feather.

Well the lady thought you
oughta receive the last sacraments.

Meanin', you wanna
hear my confession.

You wanna tell it?

I'll say this for ya, you
don't push yourself.

Most of your breed
come on like thunder.

Well I'll tell ya, I lived
my life the way I saw it

and ain't ashamed of any of it.

When I go through
them pearly gates,

I'm leavin' no trace behind,

just a little money which
goes to Dallas if she'll take it.

You're not worried
about goin' to hell, huh?

Don't believe in it.

Don't believe in any of
it and ain't got the time

nor the wind to be
wastin' it on you.

As a matter of fact, me
and Satan’s jug partners.

Now what do you think of that?

Did you ever believe in God?

Now there you go.

Now you're beginnin'
to sound like one

of them hell and damnation
fellas, full of smoke and fury.

Won't even let the
man die in peace.

Listen, padre, don't
you try and sell that God

of yours to me because
I don't believe in him.

What you thinkin'?

I was just thinkin' of how you

remind me of
somebody I once knew.

Where you goin'?

Can't make any money here.

You mean there's not
gonna be any speeches

about the eternal
flame and fire?

Hell and damnations,
hallelujahs, hosannas?

No "blessed are the meeks"?


I figure if a man wants to
burn in hell, that's his business.

Expectin' them to
make their move?

They've been out
there long enough,

they're bound
to sooner or later.

Dallas is fixin' you a place
upstairs in the boardin' house.

Thank you.

Say, Father?


- Who are you?
- What do you mean?

You're not like any
priest I ever seen before.

You don't carry your own Bible.

Your Latin's rusty, the
way you handle yourself.

I don't know what's
troublin' you, Deputy.

But my name is Walsh,
Father John Walsh.

All right, I don't
care who you are

or why you're here, as long
as you keep those people

believin' in you
until this thing's over.

Then maybe you and I will
sit down and talk about it.


I'm afraid your friend Cyrus
won't have any part of me.

Oh, I'm sorry.

He can be pretty thorny.

Didn't you have any
chance to talk to him?

Well, I don't really
believe in sermons.

I thought you were in
the soul saving business.

Well, a man has
to want to be saved.

I mean he's tough.

If he goes to hell,
he's just liable to break

the whole thing
up in six months.

You know somethin',
you're a strange priest.

You don't even have a Bible.

I lost it along the way.

I brought you mine.

This isn't exactly
frayed from use, is it?

Oh, well I guess I just didn't
figure I needed it before.

What about now?

Let's just say, I'm tryin'.


Personal reasons.

All right.

Look, you don't have to tell me.

Well, it's just no big secret.

I mean, everybody in town knows.

No reason why
you shouldn't know.

I had a baby.

He died, he didn't live long.

And then all the sudden I
was back to where I was before,

only this time it was different.

I had a taste for somethin'.

What about the baby's father?

Well, he was a gambler
by the name of Riddle

and he had the bad taste
of getting himself killed...

before he could marry me.

Well, I bet you've heard worse.

Oh yes, I've heard worse.

What did you do before that?

Oh, I was a dressmaker
until I got pregnant.

Then the good ladies of the
town refused to come near me.

Guess they thought
I was contagious.

So I became a saloon girl.

Why did you stay?

Runnin's not my style.

Maybe I would have run
if it hadn't been for Cyrus.

He was my friend
when I needed one.

You might say he takes
to down and outers.

What happens when Cyrus dies?

I don't know.

He's leaving you some money,

I think you oughta
take it and go.

The money's not for me.

It's for my son.

The headstone for his grave.

Cyrus felt that he needed a
marker with some words on it.

I mean, he'd offered
me the money before

but I couldn't take it.

I can't take money he's
worked that hard for.

Excuse me.

Hold it.

Don't make any quick moves.

What's goin' on around here?

Climb down nice and easy.

Real friendly
place you got here.

Move, that way.

This fella came ridin' into
town like he owned the place.

I wasn't doin' that.

You got business in town?

Drinkin' business.

I've been ridin' all night and
half day to find me a saloon.

On the trail in, did
you see anybody?

Anybody try to talk
to you or stop you?

Nobody out there.

You mind tellin'
me what's goin' on?

There's been a bunch of men

that have had this
town surrounded.


I don't know why,
there ain't nothin' here.

A man would be lucky to find

a total of $50 in
this here town.

The bank shipped out all
its cash it had a week ago.

Is that a fact?

I got a big thirst, you mind?

I'm sorry, but that
there water's foul.

How bad?

I mean a lot of
people took down sick?

Bad enough, but
the worst is over.

How 'bout whiskey,
that still good?

Sorry, but the saloon's closed.

Well it's a long way
to the next town.

You sure it's closed?

I'm sorry again.

That's three sorries.

Remind me never to come
through this place again.


You're a bright girl,

you mean you haven't
figured it out yet?

You're not a priest.


I'm a convict on the
run, my name's Shadler.

Abby was your mother.

She wasn't much of anything.

You must have had a hunch
about me, that look I gave you.

I knew you were a man.

Is that why you
followed me here?

I didn't follow you,
Cyrus asked for you.

That's too bad,
I got other plans.

You gotta see him.

There's nothing
I can do for him.

I told you, I'm not a priest.

But he thinks you are,
that's all that counts.

That don't make sense.

He's not even a Catholic.

But that doesn't matter,
he wants to repent.

Honey, I didn't come to this
stinkin' town to save souls.

So, what did you come for?

For this, honey, $7,000.

you're a rich man.

Dallas, this town
has done nothing

except kick you in the teeth.

You had to take it 'cause
you had no other way out.

Well now ya have.

Come with me.

You don't understand.

Cyrus is waitin', he
hasn't much time.

Neither have we.

When those men get here,
they're gonna take this place apart.

There'll be nothin'
left except the nails.

Come with me.

I think he's dyin'.

Who cares?

When that deputy wakes up,
he's gonna come lookin' for me.

Now I gotta get outta here.

I can't do that
old man any good.

Oh, you know better than that.

You can help him die in peace.

It ain't the plague, Varnum.

It's comin' from the
water, they got that cured.

How'd you get this?

From the deputy himself.

There's somethin' else.

We've been wastin' our time.

Ain't nothin' down
there worth takin'.

What are you sayin'?

Well the bank
shipped out all its cash.

And from what I saw,
town ain't worth spittin' on.

If it ain't the plague, Varnum,

we might be facin' too
many guns to chance it.

Maybe we better pull out.

Well I ain't gonna risk
my life on a gamble.

All right, all right.

Your choice.

Go on tell the others.

Well, what are you
hangin' around for?

I told the bad news
for them to hear.

I got some good news.

I seen Boone Shadler.


Oh, you're crazy, he's
in jail due for hangin'.

He broke out less
than a week ago.

I'm tellin' you I saw him.

He's dressed up like
a priest, but I saw him.


That's the priest
that busted me.

Well if he's on the run,

what's he doin' in a
sun blister like Selkirk?

I think he's got about
7,000 good reasons.

Couple years ago he
robbed a Wells Fargo office,

took off with the money,

got caught the same
day in that town.

They never found the money.



I want to confess.

Yes and no.

I like your style.

You didn't try to shove
salvation down my throat.

Well any time
you're ready, Cyrus.

It's gonna be a
long, dry one, huh?

There's another jug
over there on that shelf,

would you pour me one?

You know, it ain't
gonna be easy.

Devil's doin' a war dance
around my soul right now.

Thank you.

You know all the other
gospel sharks I've ever known

would condemn my soul to
hell for drinkin' on my deathbed.

Well all priests aren't alike.

Thank God for that.

You know the meanest
death in the world

is bein' preached to death?

Do you know how this is done?

Well, you just tell the worst
and talk low like a funeral.

That's close enough.

Now go ahead.

Well, I spent most of my
years up in the northerns.

Out there a fella
takes his women

and his whiskey
the way they come

'cause it's the only
thing 'tween near livin'

and nothin'.

And I don't regret
one minute of it.

Now, there are some
things I'm sorry about.

Do you wanna hear them?

As long as it
doesn't take forever.

See, there are other
people waiting for me, Cyrus.

I'll be quick.


when I was young, I
was wild and restless.

I'm sorry about the Crow squaw

I wintered with and then left.

Sorry about the son I never had.

And sorry about all
them buffalo I killed

'cause they're
most all gone now,

like the men I broke trail with.

And I'm sorry for near dyin'
a blind, stubborn old man,

not seein' God when I spent
most of my life under his sky,

walkin' on his ground,
takin' the fruits of his land,

and hatin' him when it was
me that made the choices.

Well that's it.

Do you think he heard me?

If there's a God, he heard you.

But just because
you told it all,

you can't expect Saint Peter
to be there to shake your hand.



There's $87 in that trunk there.

Now you promise
me you'll take it.

Eighty-seven dollars. That's
the best offer I ever had.



There's nothin' to hold
you here now, Dallas.

Dallas, think it out.

We've both been
trapped for a long time,

this is our chance to get out.

- There he is!
- Shadler, hold up!

Drop the guns!

Hold your fire!

I wish you'd have
come when I asked you.

I'm sorry.

Are those tears over me?

I'll be damned.

I don't think you will.

Who is he, Newly?

I don't know, Marshal,
I honestly don't know.

His name was Walsh,
Father John Walsh.

Stay tuned for exciting scenes

from our next Gunsmoke.

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