Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 18, Episode 5 - The Drummer - full transcript


And starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

Is there anything I can
get you and Mr. Lathrup?

Very good morning to you, Ma'am.

And you, Marshal.


I'm looking for a Miss Kitty
Russell, the proprietress.

I'm Miss Russell.

I'm Daniel Shay, Ma'am,

representing Wister and
Company, San Francisco.

Well, I was just on
my way out, maybe...

Miss Russell, it's
hard to believe.

I mean, there must be
something wrong with all the males

in Dodge City if a woman
as beautiful as yourself

is still single.

Well, Mr. Shay, of Wister and
Company of San Francisco,

you may have
stumbled on a great truth.

There is one male in this town

who has a very serious
problem in that direction.

Weren't you about to go
to the store or something?

You mustn't leave now.

You see Miss Russell,
we've just come out

with a revolutionary new product

which we're
demonstrating in certain

select locations throughout
the state of Kansas.

And I'm happy to inform you
that your establishment here

is one of those selected.

Oh, that's very nice.

Maybe later.

It'll only take a moment, Ma'am.

Just a moment.

Marshal, isn't it a beautiful
day when men like us

can spend a moment
or two in the company

of as lovely a lady
as Miss Russell?

What are you selling,
Mr. Shay, blarney?

By the pound, ma'am.

Now, what I have in my
hands here my friends,

is truly a matter
of life and death.

As you know, the West is overrun

with a certain vile creature.

- Don't say drummers.
- You read my mind.

I'm serious now.

There is no town,
no place of business

that can afford to be without
this ingenious little device.

The one and only
Delusion Rat Trap.

Well there it is, folks.

A trap to end all traps.

Hey, he's getting the horses.

Get the kid! Hey, head 'em off!

My horse!


Shay, what's the
matter with you?

You almost let this
boy get a knife into you.

Now now, here here, hold on.

Jimmy, you stop that right now.

Now, we'll have no more of that.

I'm only gonna
be another minute.

What's the matter with him?

Well, the leg, it's
sprained but not seriously.

I'd like to keep him quiet,

I'd like to keep him
here overnight, maybe.

If you feel it's
necessary, Doctor.

I do.

I think it's a good idea.

I'll fix a cot for him.

Sorry to have to meet
you like this, Marshal.

I'm Sarah Morgan.

You must be new in town, then.

Yes, we came in last week.

Does the boy belong to you?

He does.

I heard about the
horse Jim took.

Whose was it?

The name's Dan Shay, ma'am.

I'm sorry, Mr..
Shay, about Jimmy.

Oh, it's all right,
there's no harm dome.

It's really more
my fault than Jim's.

I try to make him feel
proud of his Indian blood.

I understand, ma'am.

I told him that according
to tribal customs,

a young Cheyenne
proves his manhood

by stealing his enemy's horses.

Not that you're his
enemy, Mr. Shay.

What more can I say, Marshal?

I never thought he'd try
to prove his own manhood.

Look, Marshal, I
left my sample case

at the Long Branch, wouldn't
want anyone to get hurt

on one of those traps.

Mr. Shay is not
gonna prefer charges

against the boy, ma'am,

but I think you oughta know
that the boy was using this

when we stopped him.

I think you ought to
tell him that the trouble

he would have been in
if he had hurt Mr. Shay.

I will, Marshal.

Ma'am, I'd like to
ask you something.

How long has his
other leg been like that?

Since, since he was a baby.

Must have been
a serious accident.

It was no accident, Doctor.

It was no accident at all.

I'm looking for a
place to stay the night.

There's the Dodge
House right up the street.

Maybe something not as fancy?

Well then Moss
Maud be your best bet.

Nothing fancy about
Maud, but clean as a whistle.

On your right, as
you're heading out main.

Thank you.


Yes, Mr. Brandt?

That man who just left.

You know his name?

Well he's a drummer for some
company that makes rat traps.

Shay, Dan Shay,

You know him?

I thought I did.

The name just
doesn't hang right.

Mr.. Shay?


I just wanted to thank you
for not being hard on my Jim.

No need.

He's a good boy, it's
just sometimes, well,

it's hard on him, his
skin being different

than most everybody
he ever sees.

You don't have to
explain that, ma'am.

Well, he almost
put a knife in you.

You would have every right
to think he was just a savage.

Most people do think that.

I understand, ma'am.

Anyhow, I deeply
appreciate your kindness.

Well, I just felt sorry for you.

The kid too, for that matter.

I mean, I understand the
problems you're gonna have,

raising a little
heathen like that.

That's a thankless task,
ma'am, that's the truth.

The boy would be better off

with someone of his
own flesh and blood.

Jimmy is my flesh.

He's my son by a Cheyenne brave.

I thank you for your
concern, Mr.. Shay.

The rat doesn't have to go...

The rat, all he has to do
is job his head in the door

a little bit to get
a hold of that bait.

And when his
beady little ole eyes

looks in that looking glass,

he sees his own self in there.

Matthew, you ain't watching.

I'm sorry, Festus.

Just supposing
that you was a rat.

Supposing that you looked
in that there looking glass

and you seen your own face.

And yous a'thinking
it's another rat.

What would you do?

Well, I don't know,
what would you do?

The only reason you don't know,

is 'cause you ain't
listening to me, Matthew.

You figured that that
other rat was a'fixin'

to get your cheese,
don't you see?

That makes a lot of sense.

Well, course it does.

You'd just forget all
of your fidgety-tail fears

and you'd sashay in yonder
and glom onto that cheese,

and you'd get yourself caught

- is what you'd do.
- Yeah, yes I would.

Well, of course
you would. I would.

Any rat in his right mind would.

You consider
yourself an authority

on the mental health of rats?

Just never you mind
you old blister, you.

Matthew, we need us a lot
of these here traps, we do.

The fact is, you're just the
feller I want to talk at now.

See, I wanna tell
you all about this...

I'm not interested.

Anybody for breakfast?

Doc, how's the boy doing?

Oh, he's doing
fine, slept like a log.

His mother's up there getting
him ready to go home now.

What about his leg?

Well, the sprained
one's all right,

it's coming along
all right, painful.

But that other one, that's
been there a long time.

Well ain't there something
can be did for him, Doc?

'Fraid not, Festus.

That young fellow's gonna
be a cripple the rest of his life.

All right, come on then.

Tell me about that, what is it?

Oh, you're gonna be sorry
you asked that question.

All right, Doc, now
you sit down over here,

and take your
load off your feet,

this ain't gon' take long.

You see this here ain't
no run of the mill rat trap.

- Oh, I see that.
- No Sir, this ain't

no ordinary, everyday,
kind of a rat trap.

This here is for
them foxy old critters

that won't get themself
caught no other way,

don't you see?

Now see that there little
looking glass back there?

Now that's the thing
that starts the rat

to fighting to get
through that door.

When he peels
his eyeball in the...

- There you go, Jim.
- Alright, Ma.


I just wanted to...

I thought you might
need some help

loading your son in the buggy.

That's all right, Mr.. Shay.

We can manage, thank you.

Doctor says he can walk now.

The stairs are steep, and I
could help you carry him down.

I'd like to, ma'am.


He's too heavy for you.

You'll let me carry you?

Can you walk all right?

Oh, ma'am?

What I said yesterday
in the street...

I'm sorry.

Nothing to be sorry about.

Well, I've been thinking
about your ordeal,

when you were captured.

What you must have gone through.

I just...

Well, what you did,
keeping your child...

I want you to know
that I think you did right.

There was no ordeal, Mr.. Shay.

The Cheyenne, well, it
wasn't the way you think.

The man who made me
his wife was just that, a man.

Not very different
from you, Mr. Shay,

despite his Cheyenne skin.

The only ordeal I ever suffered

was at the hands of whites,
when I was "rescued".

Look, I didn't mean to
say anything to hurt you.

- I just...
- I'm beyond all hurt, Mr. Shay.

I've had to take well-meaning
advice from good people

wherever I go.

And I keep thinking, someday,
someday I'll find a place

where I don't have
to face up to all that.

Where I can raise my
son with pride and joy.

But, I guess that's
too much to expect.

Ever, anywhere.

You see, each trap
comes wrapped in paper,

and packed in boxes of a dozen.

With circulars and
instructions for each one.

Now, if you'd care to
order a box, Mr. Lathrop,

I think you'll find an awful
lot of customers for 'em.

Oh, I appreciate you
coming by, Mr. Shay.

Let me sleep on it.

Look, I realize you already
have rat traps in stock,

but nothing like
this little wonder.

Well, drop by in the morning,
I'll give you an answer.

I think they'll be a good
seller for you, Mr. Lathrop.

Why don't you keep
this one overnight,

I'll pick it up tomorrow.

- Well...
- Thank you for your time.

It's not really
necessary, Mr. Shay.

Something I can
do for you, Mister?

I was looking to buy a
good horse, if I can find one.

Well, I ain't got a
good'un that I wanna sell.

You see, I'm
not into selling in,

I just rent them out
by the day mostly.

Is there anybody in the
area you could recommend?


Outside of town,
on Samuron Road,

there's a fella out there,

he's got quite a place.

Lot of horses, he'd
be glad to sell you one.

It's his business, you see.

I'll pay him a visit.

How do I get there?

Well, you go down Main Street,

and when you get out of
town, you turn to the left.

How do?

What can I do for you?

Well, the man at
the livery stable

said I might find a good
horse for sale out here.

Take a look.

There ain't much in that crowd.

One Bay down there looks better

than all the rest of
them put together.

Good eye, Mister.
That's a lot of horse.

Mind if I take a turn on him?

Not if you can handle him.

He's a right smart horse.

And he don't go
for nothing, neither.

It's that old boy you
was wondering about

in the bar the other day.

Look at him ride.

I never even figured
he could set him.

What'd he want?

That Bay, according
to what he said.

Always did have him a
rifle eye for the horses.

How much did he offer?

Ain't said.

Tell you what you do.

You sell him that horse.

Broken down drummer like him

ain't gonna have
the price, Brandt.

Doesn't matter.

You sell him that horse,
for whatever he's got.

Twenty dollars more.

Where's that coming from?

He can work it out.

What for?

What would you want to go
and make a fool deal like that for?

That's an old partner
of mine, Daggett.

He can work out his time.

Just don't let him
know I'm involved.

I worked for him once.

Harder than I knew how.

Now he's gonna work for me.

Morning, Miss Morgan. Jimmy.

What do you want here, Mr. Shay?

Well, your son tried to
steal my horse the other day.

He had his choice of five
or six others at the hitch rail,

but he took my horse, Courier.

Well, that tells me something.

- Mr. Shay?
- It tells me

I'm in the company of a
young man who knows horses.

Knows how to pick an animal
that can ride like the breeze,

free and easy.

I asked you a
question, Mr. Shay.

I'm getting to it, ma'am,
just give me time.

It's an important moment.

See, Jimmy, the
truth is that Courier

has been wanting to retire.

All those rocky trials
I've been taking him over,

they're getting
too much for him.

Well I sure would appreciate it,

if you could give him a good
home here, with your mother.

Could you do that for me, Jimmy?

I can't let him
accept a gift like that.

You'd be doing
me a favor, ma'am.

See, I've got this
younger horse now...

Thank you just the same,

but we don't want any
handouts from anybody.

It's not a handout, ma'am.

I want the boy
to have the horse,

it would mean something to me.

Please, Ma?

I don't think so, son.

But why not?

As a favor to me, ma'am, please.



All right.

You can have the horse.

Thank you, Mr. Shay.

Dan, just call me Dan.

Thank you, Mr. Dan.

Now look, that's gonna
be your horse from now on.

You're gonna have to
see he gets proper care.

That means rubbing
him down regular,

currying him, besides helping
your mother with her chores.

I will.

Well, right now, why don't you
just walk him around a while?

It's like making a new friend.

You gotta let him
warm up to you.

Go on, he's yours.

Would you like a cup of coffee?

There's a pot on the stove.

I'm a dressmaker.

That's going to
be for Miss Kitty.

She's my first customer here.

You're going to open
a shop in Dodge?

Oh, I don't think so.

I'd just as soon work out here.

Because of Jimmy?


Well, you have a nice
place here, Miss Morgan.

I've never seen my
son happier, never.

I'm really grateful to you.

Well, it wasn't my
idea, really. It was...

kind of my horse's idea.

Besides, I should
be grateful to you.

You opened my
eyes to a lot of things.

How do you like
your coffee, Mr. Shay?


It's pretty good.

Why are you being kind to us?

I told you, I explained
about the horse.

I'm sorry.

You get so living in the past,

you doubt everybody's
motives. I'm sorry.

You don't have to
be sorry, ma'am.

I don't blame you.

From now on, I'll try to
keep my mouth closed

and my foot outside of it.

You've said nothing
wrong, Mr. Shay,

I guess I'm just too sensitive,

and Jimmy well, he's
never taken to a man before.

Perhaps it's my fault.

Has his father been
gone a long time?

Jimmy hardly knew his father.

Doesn't remember him at all.

Have you ever heard of
the Rock Creek Massacre?

Well, the Cavalry rode him
down and killed him there.

Mr. Shay!

Mr. Dan.

I've been looking for you.

What do you mean?

Who are you?

When are you coming to work?

I got a job.

On a horse ranch, ain't it?

Pay back for that pretty
stepping Bay you bought?

I own that ranch.

You're working for me.

I... I made a mistake.

I don't want the horse.

Who are you, anyway?

You don't place me?

Do you?


I saw you the other day in town.

I didn't place you neither.

Not until I saw you ride.

I'll never forget the
way you rode, Sarge.

You're mistaken.

I'm Dan Shay, I sell rat traps.

Oh, I know all
about your rat traps.

And I know about old times, too.

I mean, I'm Brandt,

Knocky Brandt they called
me in the fifth, remember?

You rode me hard
in the Cavalry, Sarge.

Now it's me who's
gonna be doin' the ridin'.

All that time, me in the ranch,

me listening to
your fetch and carry.

Me going on every scumbag
detail you could think up

in the name of your
regular army discipline.

Well now, I had
to take it, didn't I?

Had to.

Now you're gonna
be listening to me,

Sergeant Major Patrick Gargan.

No, no I'm not.

I'm not Gargan!

I'm not working for
you, or anybody else.

Look, you just take
your horse back,

and you can keep the money.

You're Gargan.

And you cut and run to
hide from your reputation.

And I know it.

Besides, that horse is yours.

By law.

I'd be some fool to take
it back, now wouldn't I?

How many people
would like to buy a horse

that was used by the bloody
butcher of Rock Creek?

As you can see gentlemen,

our horses are
treated like royalty.

Until they're broke
gentle, and ready to sell

to true government horse
buyers like yourselves.

You talking about shrewd
would make a turtle blush, Brandt.


Did you unload those sacks
of feed grain, like I told you?

Look at me when
I'm talking to you.

Clean out those
horse stalls. Now.

You heard me, Shay.


Would you gentlemen believe

that used to be a
Sergeant Major?

That's right.

He used to order us troopers
around like he owned us.

Treated me like dirt.

Seems like you're one
up on him now, Brandt.

Well, we have an army
contract to celebrate, gentlemen.

Two hundred army remounts,

that makes a
tidy little contract.

We'll go to the Long Branch
and hoist a few in celebration,

my partner will be fine.

So, she said, "It depends
which filly you got in mind!"

Excuse me, where
will I find Miss Kitty?

- In her office, ma'am.
- Thank you.

Now, those horses will be
in at the end of the week.

And they'll pass US
government inspection.

Guarantee it.

Those remounts are
good enough for anybody,

you don't have to
worry, Mr. Trent.

Yeah, good enough for anybody.

Even for old trolls,
like Mr. Shay there.

That right, Mr. Shay?

Those remounts good
enough for anybody?

Knocky Brandt.

You're a cheat.

And a liar.

Now that corral of yours
is filled with wind suckers

and star gazers!

Horses like that could
break down on the trail,

and cost a trooper his life!

Aren't you talking out
of turn to me like that?


How can I ever
forget you, Knocky?

A whining little gold brick

that couldn't take
decent care of his mount!

A bloody disgrace
to the uniform!

Go get Matt.

All right, that's enough!

Now, I want all
of you outta here.

Right now!

That'll be a pleasure.

It turns my stomach
to be in the same room

with the man responsible
for the Rock Creek Massacre.

Hold it.

Hey, he started it, Marshal.

These gentlemen will
bear witness to that.

Maybe he started
it, but it seems to me,

he had good reason.

Mr. Trent. Mr. Trent!

You all right?

I told you, no
women and children!

The sound of it!

Look away!

All of you!

No women and children!

Stop it, no more!

Stop it!



Morning, Matt.


How about some coffee?

Sounds good.

How's Dan Shay feeling?

Well, he's not feeling too good,

and he's got his
reasons, I guess.

Was he really mixed
up in that massacre?

Looks that way, Doc.

Says he's the man
that led the charge.

Been bothering him ever since,

he hasn't been able
to get it out of his mind.

That's why he left the Army.

To become a drummer,
and of rat traps.

Seems like he could have
chosen something better than that.

Well, maybe he was just
trying to humiliate himself.

A lot of men do that, you know.

Maybe their idea
of doing penance.

Yeah, but why blame
yourself for something

that you tried to
stop in the first place?

I don't know, Kitty.

If we knew that, maybe we
could understand the human mind

a lot better than we do.

Morning, Daniel.

I brang you some breakfast here.

I don't want any.

You don't want none?

But you got to eat.

Man can't live lest
he eats something.

You know, Matthew, he
just throwed you in jail here,

till you kinda simmer down some.


If being here in the jail
house is killing your appetite,

you can come out here and eat,

I don't give a hoot.

I tell ya, you know what I found

back under in that store room?

One of them
beady-eyed little varmints

got hisself caught
in one of our traps!

What do you think of that?

I'll tell you something, Daniel,

we got ourselves a winner.

That there trap is a
purple tinged pearl button

bangled bitty, I'll
guarantee you, it is.

Are you listening at me?

You sure you don't want
none of these here vittles?

Just a plain pity to
have 'em go to waste.

Reckon somebody'll eat 'em.

Well, now you just holler
if you need anything.

I'm fixin' to take this
back over to Delmonico's.

I just wanted to look at you.

So that I'll remember
for the rest of my life

that there are men like you.

Men who kill because
that's all they know.

Maybe if I can hate you enough,

it'll burn away some of the pain

of what happened nine years ago.


Would you listen?

If I tried to tell you
how it really was?

Nobody has to
tell me how it was.

I was there.

I still hear the screams.

See the horses.

The sabers.

I had my baby in my arms, I ran.

My baby!

I know. I know!

If there was just
some way to tell you.

Miss Morgan.

I don't know if it
means anything to you,

but he did everything
he could to prevent

what happened at Rock Creek.

According to him.

What else could he say?

I believe him.

Well, I was there.

And I don't.

I was living in that
camp when they rode in,

and I saw them cut
down women and children.

Saw my own son trampled
under Cavalry horses.

I don't want to
listen to any more.

Words won't
restore my son's leg.

Won't bring back the people
butchered at Rock Creek.

That's true, Miss Morgan.

But there's a man in
there, he's a good man.

And you can help him.

Not me, Marshal.

Not me.


Anything I can do to help?

Nothing right now, Jim.

Mr. Dan says he
wants me to help you.

Well, that's what you do.

I wonder when he's gonna
come and tell me how

to take care of Courier?

I showed you how
to do that, Jimmy,

now don't pester
me about it anymore!

Mr. Dan isn't coming
back anymore.

Why, Momma?

He was one of the soldiers

who attacked our
village long ago.

Made your leg the way it is.

Killed your father.

Mr. Dan did that?

He led the soldiers who did.

Why did they do it?


How do I know why?

Why do people murder
one another in war?

Mr. Dan told the
soldiers to kill my father.

No, but he was there!

He was one of them!

Jimmy, I'm sorry
I told you like that.


If I ever did anything
that was wrong,

that was bad, would
you forgive me?

Of course I would.

I love you.

Doesn't anybody love Mr. Dan?


Hello, Mr. Dan.

You're leaving, huh?

Gotta be going.

Traveling's a
salesmen's life, Jimmy.

My mother said that
you were a soldier.

That you were the leader of
the men that killed my father.

I was there, Jimmy.

I never got over
being sorry for it.


You know what honor is?

Well, I guess it's acting
so you don't ever have

to be ashamed of
what you've done.

I guess nobody ever
put it better than that.

I was a soldier, Jimmy.

Like your mother said.

We were at war with the Indians.

War means men
fighting, and dying.

But I always tried to
behave like you said,

so that I'd never have to
be ashamed of anything I did.

I never was.


Until that day at Rock Creek.

The Cheyenne had hurt
us, they'd hurt us bad.

I mean, they'd
killed a lot of us.

The men I had left were...

were mean, and angry, scared.

And I knew that scared
men are dangerous.

But I was ordered to attack.

I was angry too, Jimmy.

I remembered the men I'd lost.

And I screamed at my men.

I told them to
fight like wild men.

But when we rode
down into that village,

I realized that there
was just a handful

of warriors there.

All the rest were
women and children.

Babies, old people...

I yelled at my men, I
told them to hold their fire.

It was too late.

I'd lost control, they
wouldn't hear me.

We roared through that camp
like fire through a wheat field.

I saw women, babies,
run through with sabers.

Children trampled.

Old people shot.

When it was over, I
rode away from there

like a man in a nightmare.

My whole life, ruined
by what I'd seen that day.

From that day, Jimmy,

I have not known one hour,

or one moment

free from the guilt,
and the shame

that settled on me that day.


I can't ask you to forgive me.

I can only hope
that you understand.

And that you don't despise me.

Mr. Dan, you didn't mean to.

I forgive you, Mr. Dan.



I asked Mr. Dan
to stay for dinner.

Mr. Shay.

I left a stew simmering.

I wouldn't want it to burn.

Won't you come in?

Stay tuned for exciting scenes

from our next "Gunsmoke."