Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 18, Episode 24 - This Golden Land - full transcript

In a highly-honored episode dealing with religious belief, Russian-Jewish farmer Moshe and his family come to Kansas to try to take advantage of the land. However, their traditions are mocked by the cowboys around, notably a neighboring farm family. One night, one of Moshe's sons and the neighbors get into a fight, and the son is found dead of a broken neck soon afterward. Moshe witnessed the start of the fight but not the actual killing. Under the Mosaic law he treasured, he cannot testify and without his word the farm family is set free. Moshe's second son buys a shotgun and threatens the neighbors with it to compel them to confess, but wastes his powder firing at imaginary targets and is run off the farm. The neighbors then invade Moshe's farm in an attempt to drive him off for good.


And starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

Now did you see
me get that up there!

Ruxton, come back here!


I'm gonna telegraph
Marshal Dillon

- to lock you up!
- Ruxton!

Ruxton, Ruxton, come back here!

I'm gonna have you and
your brothers thrown in jail!


Hey, old man, what
are you two doing?

They're praying.

What kind of
praying you call that?

Why they got them little
boxes on their heads for?

Hey, what are you, some
kind of medicine man?

Hey you, witch doctor,
I'm talking to you.

No, no, please, you
don't understand.

They're not allowed
to stop until they finish.



What are you gonna do
with that rope, Ruxton?

What are you gonna do with
him, now that you got him?

Stop, what are you doing?

Semel, Semel!

No, Rux, Rux, leave
him alone, he's just a kid!


Stop, come back, Semel!



What are you doing?


Where are they?



Papa, what happened?

Go back.

Help your mother to the wagon.

Papa, tell me what happened?

Where's Semel?


Moses smote the rock.

I wasn't allowed to
see the Promised Land.

Papa, I'm never
going to see the farm.

Please, dear Lord, please.

It is very bad, is it not?

It's quite serious.

Fractured skull
always is serious.

We don't know how serious.

How in the world did
this happen, anyway?

Three men rode into our camp,

they dragged him
away with a rope.

Well, who were they?

We are strangers here,
we do not know anyone.

Both my mother
and father saw them.

They can recognize them again.

Now is not the time, Gearshon.

Please, Doctor.

Mr. Gorofsky, let me assure you

I've done everything
I can for your boy,

and I will do everything I
can for him, I promise you that.

He is in someone
else's hands now.

Mrs. Gorofsky, I
have some hot water,

I'd like to make you
a cup of hot coffee.

No, thank you, Doctor.

You, sir?



I will be here.

Tea if I can, please.

Certainly, I have tea.

Oh, we'll be right here.

We own a farm.


Doctor, Moshe
Gorofsky owns a farm.

This, this piece of paper.

It says so.

In America it is possible.

Well, I declare,
this is remarkable.

This is a fine farm.

You know it?

That's right.

She awaits us, our farm,
like the Sabbath bride,

scented and anointed.

That is why it is so important
for Semel to get well.




Blessed be He, the true judge.

Hey, Rux, you
better get out here.

Mornin', Marshal.

Sheriff Reed's telegram
says you wrecked a place

down there to the tune of $48.

And I want the money.


You tryin' to tell me

you didn't wreck
Willie's saloon in Hays?

No, ah, yeah, yeah
it was us, Marshal.

Yeah, we done like
you said, Marshal,

we doin' all our
drinkin' out of Dodge.

You know that Willie's
as much to blame

for what happened as we are.

His place was empty,
he was cryin' all night long

about how bad business was.

And that's a fact, Marshal.

I'll tell ya another fact,

I'm tired of runnin'
around tryin' to patch it up

after you and your
brothers wreck someplace

with your drinking.

Now you owe $48, where is it?

You tell Willie to go to
hell, I ain't payin' no $48.

Now give me the money.

That's all I got now.

All right, you owe $36.

I'll give you a week
to get it into my office.

One week.

But you did get a good look
at the men, Mr. Gorofsky?


I, I... Excuse my
husband, Marshal.

In the old country,
the law only spoke

to people like us when
our homes were taken.

Tell me, Marshal,
what will happen

to these men when
you catch them?

They'll be put on trial.

And if they get found
guilty, they'll get hung too.

I see.

And if I identify these men,

the events you describe
could take place, is that right?

Well, if you're trying to
make a point, Mr. Gorofsky,

I'd appreciate if you'd
just say it straight out.

I will.

Sometimes it is better to
make a point with another point.

This is the Talmud, Marshal.

All the rules governing the
lives of our people are in here.

It has survived for
thousands of years.

And much of it has
been used by nations

throughout the ages as the
basis of law in every land.

Well, no offense,

but what's that got to do
with the situation here?

The Talmud teaches us that

if a man sees his
friend enter a house,

and in his hand his
friend holds a knife,

then when this same friend
comes out, the knife bloodied,

and in the house
five dead people,

the man who saw
his friend come and go

is not a witness to murder.

Well, why ain't he?

In order to accuse a
human being of murder,

you must see the knife strike.

Ah, that's the silliest
blame thing I ever heared of.

Beggin' your pardon.

No, it is a good law.

Suppose your friend went
inside the house with a knife

and it was taken from him.

And the murders were
committed by someone

who then killed himself,
your friend is stunned

by what he has seen, takes
up the knife, goes outside.

What would you believe?

Mr. Gorofsky, that's not
what we're dealing with here.

All we're asking you to
do is identify three men

that you saw drag your son off.

Now, you did see that.

The courts will make
the accusations, not you.

But will they and
not me, Marshal.

Consider the evidence
that I must give to this court.

My son was pulled away
with a rope around his neck.

A few minutes later he's found,

the rope still around his
neck, his head crushed,

then he dies of his wounds.

I must then go point
at three people and say,

"Yes, these are the ones
who took my son away."

Who in truth accuses
these men, Marshal?

Me, or your court.

And on what
evidence do I do this?

How do you call it,
circumstantial evidence.


This I'm not allowed to do.

Mr. Gorofsky, three men
are running around loose

that murdered your boy.

And you're standing
here playing with words.


Some we live by and
some we must die for.

Mr. Gorofsky, if these men
murder somebody else's son,

I wonder how much these words
of yours will mean to his family.

I ain't never saw
nothin' likes it.

Why he won't even
stand up and point a finger

at them that went and
killed his own flesh and blood.

If you ask me, this here
feller's a-hidin' something

deep inside of his own self.

What's that?

Well, he don't want no more
dealins with them that done it.

It's pure old plain and
simple, the man's scared.

I'm not so sure, Festus.

Where you going?

Outside, I'd like
to walk a little.

It's time for mincha.

I don't feel like talking
to God right now.

You were wrong, Papa.

Laibel, do you agree with him?

Am I wrong in your mind as well?

I don't know.

The law of the Talmud
is the law of our people.

There are no exceptions.

No one above that law.

It has kept our people
alive for thousands of years.

And it applies
to us as if the boy

who was killed was another
man's child or our own.

And we will obey that law.

One week to the day,
Marshal, there's your money.

Let's go.

Ruxton, I'm not
gonna tell you again.

Yeah, no more drinkin'
in nobody's town.

Papa, I'm gonna buy a gun.

What for?

Everyone around here
owns one, for hunting.

Since when is
shooting the Kosher way

of slaughtering animals?

There are other animals to
be killed, lions and snakes.

It might not be such a bad
idea, Papa, for protection.

No, we don't need a gun.

You're right, Papa, not now.

We needed it the
morning they killed Semel.

Gearshon, don't
push him anymore.

I didn't start out to.

But everything always brings
us back to the same place.

Then leave him alone,

don't talk to him
anymore, do you hear me?

You always walk the
middle of the fence,

don't you, Laibel?

When are you gonna say something

because you really believe it,

not because it's the good
thing or the right thing

but because you
really feel like it?

Who were they, Papa?

You know those men, Papa.

Papa, tell me!

They're the ones aren't they?

Those three are the ones

that killed my
brother, aren't they?

Aren't they?

Stop, Gearsh!

Stop, Gearsh!


Stop it, leave him alone!

Rux, Rux, leave it be.

Leave the kid alone, Rux.

Hold on, hold it!

What's going on, Ruxton?

Darn if know, I'm
walkin' down the street,

all of a sudden he jumps on me.

These three men
murdered my brother!

Three of them, my
father said, here they are!

Wait a minute, what are
you talkin' about, boy?

Are these the men
that killed your son?

Tell them, Papa.

For God's sake,
tell the marshal.

I don't know who killed my son.

Well, are these the men
that dragged him away?

Were they?

Well, they're crazy, Marshal.

I tell ya, it ain't
safe for a man

to walk down the street no more

without somebody
jumpin' on his back.

Look, Marshal, I don't know
what they're talkin' about.

I swear it.

Yeah, we ain't never seen
those people before, Marshal.

What about you, Calvin?

Did you ever see
that old man before?

No, Marshal, no, I haven't.

Look, they're crazy,
Marshal, I'm tellin' ya.

Get out of here.

Go ahead, break it up, boys.

You know, he had
us right there, I mean,

we're standing
right under the noose

and he ups and walks
away without a word to Dillon.


Because he's scared
of us, that's why.

What do we do, Rux?


Then tomorrow he changes
his mind and we all hang.

Rux, I'm tellin' ya,
I'm not that sure.

Look, I ain't lookin'
to kill anybody

any more than you are.

I feel bad about that and
that's a fact you can believe.

Boy, I tell you I'd feel a
whole lot worse standin' up

on that gallows listening to
the bones in my neck crack.

Well, that's what maybe
it could come down to.

Us or them.

Call your brother to the table.

He said he wasn't hungry.


Papa wants you at the table.

I told him I wasn't hungry.

Come anyway.

Mama, do you remember,

I must have been six or seven,

when Laibel was in a fight

with three boys from the
town, three Russian boys?

They were beating Laibel
bad with sticks and fists.

And nobody did
anything to stop them.

Papa tried.

But they held him.

The four of them held
him and made him watch

what they were doing to Laibel.

Mama, I watched that too
and I never understood it.

I don't mean why they did it.

Back then we learned fast why.

I never understood
why we let them.

Well, they were so
much stronger than us.

There were so many
more of them than us.

But they killed us anyway.

What more could
they have done to us

if we had fought them.

My brother fought them.

And he was killed.

But he died with dignity.

He was not taken away
like a cow and buried quickly

as if he had never lived.

They knew he lived,
he made them know.

What happened to
Semel was not because

of what we are, our religion.

Gearshon, this is
a different country.

Then let's act differently.

Let's let them know that these
things cannot happen here

for any reason
because we will not let it.

I named you well,
little Gearshela.

You're so much like my brother.

Come, supper's getting cold.

Tomorrow we start
clearing the land for the plow.

It shouldn't take long.

We'll work with the
horses and chains

to clear the big tree stumps.

All of us, together.

Tomorrow we take a
dream and make it a reality.

The dream was
for the five of us.

There's one missing.

Don't start, Gearsh.


Finish, Gearshon,
let it all come out.

There is no room for
feelings that cannot be said.

Moshe, not now.

When, in a month, in a year?

When all the feelings
will be so distorted

with time that they will
make no difference?

All that will be left
then will be bitterness.

No, Zisha, no.

Now is the best time.

Papa, I want you to come
with me to Marshal Dillon.

I want you to tell
him who killed Semel.

I cannot, son, you know that.

All right, leave it.


it's hard for me
to dream anymore.

I can't believe in them anymore.

You hold your
dreams in one pocket

and righteousness in the other.

For me, one
cancels the other out.

We live in the
world of men, Papa.

Not in Paradise with God,
where goodness conquers all.

I never saw it win once.

It always wins,
Gearshon, the truth...

What about Semel?

Where is his truth?

Where is the truth and
goodness in letting killers run free,

perhaps to kill again?

Your truth turns the
whole world upside down.

I don't want your truth.

Then you don't want me.

Stop it!

Both of you!

He didn't say that.

He doesn't meant that, Papa.

It's the same thing.

I am thy truth.

You can't take one and
leave the other behind.


Moshe, call him back, please!

What are you doing?

You're not really
going, not like this.

I'll leave the horse in town,

you can pick him up tomorrow.

What are you doing?

We're family, you can't
just decide one day

that you're not
part of it anymore?

So that's what you're all
about, Laibel, the family?

That's all there is.

Well, he's wrong!

Doesn't that make a difference?

No, nothing makes
any difference.

And it's the only thing
we ever had, each other.

We were together, nobody
could ever take that away from us,

not even in the old country.

Now don't do what they couldn't.

I'm not letting you go.


Gearsh, don't go, please.

Take care of them, Laibel.

Where will you go?

Tell Papa that I...

He'll be back, a day, two...

He'll be back.

What kind of a father
does he think I am?

Does he think I loved
Semel less than he did?

What kind of a man
does he think I am?

A frightened man, Moshe,

he thinks you're
a frightened man.

He wants to hold his head up.

For Gearshon, it's
time to stop being afraid.

And you?

Is that how you see me, afraid?

Yes, a dreamer, a coward.

When they would come
to us in the old country,

to rob us, to overtax us,
you paid without a word.

You gave what they
asked, "For peace," you said.

"Give them, they'll
go," you said.

And you dream, how you'd dream

about when we'd
come to this New World.

Here we could walk with dignity.

Where, Moshe, where's the peace?

Still we're paying for it.

Only here it's not with money.

With our son's life
you're paying for peace.

In the grave, my husband,

that's where you'll
find your peace.

We've gone so long and so far,

being afraid comes easily now.

All my life, I've been afraid

of everything, anything.

Just afraid.

Being afraid is not a sin.

Sometimes it makes good sense.

The important thing is to
know what to be afraid of.

Come, tell me, what is
it that we fear the most?

Offending the men who killed
our son or offending ourselves,

our traditions, our Lord.

And how much less
painful it would be

to go up the Marshal and
tell him what Gearshon wants

than to watch him
turn from our home.

There are only two things I
fear in this world, my Zisha,

offending God

and losing your love.

For over 30 years
I've loved you, Moshe,

but never more than now.

- You got it?
- Yeah.


- You got him?
- Yeah, come on.

Where is the other one?


The third one, where is he?


Well, no tellin' where
that one might be.

You know you look
kinda green sittin' up there,

holdin' a shotgun in your hand.

You sure you know
how to handle it?

I want you to come with
me to Marshal Dillon.

I want you to tell him
you killed my brother.

Well, it's kind of
a bad day to ask.

See, we got a lot of work
to do around the place...

If you don't
come, I'll kill you.

Pull off the shot, Homer.

Scatter gun's only
got two shells, boy.

I didn't think you
knew how to handle it.


The next time he
comes at me with a gun,

you'll bury him.

With a gun you went.

Moshe, please.

Like a Cossack you went.

You bought a gun?

You keep that boy away
from me and my place.

You understand that?

Now, I'm warning you, old man.

What, what are you
warning me, Mr. Ruxton?

You just keep him away from me!

How should I do that?

By locking him in his room?

Chaining him to a wall?

Well, I don't care
how you do it,

just so long as you do!

He does what he wants!

Like you now, he
has his own gun.

He has found his own truth.

Go home, Mr. Ruxton,

I don't want you in my house.

Look, I'm tellin' ya,

I don't want anymore
trouble from you people!

You've got trouble
for the rest of your life.

All of you, try and
understand, just...

Now wait a minute,
Calvin, I'll do my own talking.

Now you listen to me.

I can finish it all
right now, right here.

You'll do what you have to do.

- Papa.
- No!

Just leave him on the ground.

Now, you're right
about that, old man.

I'll do what I have
to, whatever it takes.

And you can believe me,
it won't take that much.

I mean, four shells
and it's all over.

You want that?


All right, all right,

then you pack up and
you move out, all of ya!

Get out of Kansas.

You run if you want to live.

Did you hear me?

I said, I want you out of here.

I mean, today, now, this minute!

I won't go.

What's the matter with you?

I mean, don't you know
that I could kill all of you?

Don't you understand that?

I understand you very well.

All right.

Give you time, you need
time to pack out and pull out.

I'll give you til
tomorrow morning.

We're not going.

You're not giving me no choice.

I mean, can't you see that?

I've got no choice.

You're wrong, you do
have a choice, Mr. Ruxton.

If you choose to take it.

Go to Marshal Dillon, tell
him what happened to my son.

That's no choice,
that's suicide.

He's right, Rux...

Oh, now wait a
minute, wait a minute.

Now you listen here.

I don't want this.

I ain't lookin' to kill nobody.


say something!

If we ride out and we
don't bother you no more.

You won't go tell Dillon?

I would never do that.

I can't.

Well, what about him.

Like you, he will
do what he has to.

I never meant
for you boy to die,

it was an accident.

It's the truth, Rux
let that rope loose

and your son was all right.

He got up, he started to run
with that rope around his neck.

He got 20, 30 yards and
the rope got hung on a rock.

He was hurt but we
couldn't do anything about it.

We got scared,
we started to run.

Scared, plenty scared.

That's the truth, so help me.

I mean, after the way we
run him out of your camp

and how he died,

there ain't nobody in the
world gonna believe our story.

The marshal is a fair man,
an understanding man.

We walk in and
own up to it, Rux,

he's gotta believe we
didn't mean to kill that kid.

Why else would we
turn ourselves in?

Do you believe us?

Yes, I do.

Well, right now they're charged

with assault, Mr. Gorofsky.

From here on out,
it'll be up to the courts

to decide what happens to them.

I will testify as to
what they have told me.

And that they could have
killed us if they had wanted to.

I would like to ask you
a question, Marshal.

What's that?

If I had given you the
testimony that day you wanted it,

would you have believed them?

Would the court?

I don't know, Mr. Gorofsky,
but it's a good question.

Stay tuned for exciting scenes

from our next Gunsmoke.