Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 19, Episode 18 - The Foundling - full transcript

Marshal Dillon is forced to kill a man he knew personally, a farmer named Eli Baines, who had too much to drink. Shaken by the experience, Dillon heads out of Dodge City for a few days. On the trail he discovers a rape victim, named Lettie, and her newborn baby girl. When Lettie is well enough to travel, Dillon heads to her parents' farm, where her parents finally relent to take in the daughter they had sent away. Dillon is left with the task of finding a home for the baby girl. Back in Dodge City, Marshal Dillon entrusts the baby girl to Kitty Russell while he tries to find a home for the baby. At last he finds that Eli Baines' widow, Maylee, is eager to raise the baby. But by that time Kitty has grown so fond of the girl that she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep and raise her.


And starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

Mm, oh good heavens!

That is the worst
stuff I have ever tasted!

That is poison, that's lethal!

If you ever drank that,

there's not an antidote
known to medical science

that could take of ya.

You know what I think, Matt?

I think he's got
something against you.

I think he's trying
to get rid of you.

I'll tell you what I think.

I think he's after
your job, that's it!

Pills with a mouth, that
there is what you are.

Now, ain't nobody sayin' that
you gotta drink it, is they, Matthew?

Matt, don't do it, don't now.

Come on, I'll buy ya a cup
of coffee at Delmonico's.

Just hold your taters now.

Let Matthew make
up his own mind.

He ain't even put
a taste on it yet.

Go on, drink her down, Matthew.

I'm warnin' ya.

Does that offer still hold?

You bet, come on.

Now, just hold on.

What am I supposed
to do with all this coffee?

I don't think I can tell him.

I tell ya, that makes
me feel awful good.

There's nothing
I like better, Matt,

than to just ruin his day,
you see, just right off the bat.

Good morning, Marshal, Doc.

How are ya?

- Hello.
- Hi.

Good to see ya in town.

You don't get in
very much anymore.

Ah, it's only the
second time this year.

Been spending the
last couple of months

bringing in my harvest.

Looks like you
had a good spring.

Well, the rain helped.

That and a lot of hard work.

If Mr. Lathrop gives
us what were hopin',

we're gonna take
it easy for awhile.

Well now, that's exactly
what you oughta do.

- We'll see you later.
- You bet, good to see you.

You know, Matt, I
think that woman's

been kinda good for Eli.

Mm, settled him
down a lot, I'll say that.

I think so too.

Mrs. Baines, Eli, it's
good to see you again.

Well, looks like
you're about ready

to talk some business, Eli.

Yep, I want you to
take a look at my grain,

fix a price, then we'll haggle.

Glad to, glad to.

Maylee, you go do your shopping.

I'll go over to the Post Office,

and see if those catalogs
are there that I ordered.

Eli, don't stop at...

Now, Maylee, you know
it's been three months since.

I ain't plannin' on breakin'
my promise to ya now.

Now, don't be long.

Eli Baines, I thought
the wolves got you, man.

Hello, Bob, well, they did,

but they took one
bite of this old hide

and spit me right out.

How long has it been

since you were in town last?

Oh, gosh, about three months,

but it sure seems like a year.

Well, you're just in time
to help me celebrate.

What's that?

You remember
Adam, my oldest boy?

Oh yeah, the old boy

with the crossed eyes
and knobby knees?

Yeah, well, he ah,

just got an appointment
to West Point.

Gonna be an Army officer.

Are you foolin' me?

If I was foolin', I
wouldn't be buying.

Come on over to the Long
Branch and have a drink with me.

Oh, Bob, Bob ah, ah,
oh Maylee's in town,

and ah, you know how women are.

She's no worse than my wife.

Come on, have one,
we'll never tell her.

Well, just one.

- How ya been, huh?
- Not bad.

Well, do I have to wait all day

for you to take me to dinner?

Kitty, I got busy
with these posters.

- I guess I just forgot.
- Be right with ya.

That's not very flattering.

Marshal, it's Eli Baines,
he's, he's gone crazy.

He's over at the Long
Branch breaking up things.

Eli, let him go!



Marshal, I'm sorry.

It's gonna sting
a little bit now.

How's Mrs. Baines
taking it, Doc?

Well, she's taking
it pretty hard.

Kitty's with her,
looking after her.

What's that woman gonna do now?

Well, Matt, I don't know.

I just know that you didn't
have any choice, not at all.

I've had to kill a lot of men.

Usually had a good reason.

Eli Baines was no killer.

He was just a farmer
that had too much to drink.

Well, he couldn't
hold his liquor.

We both know that.

Wasn't over a year ago
that he almost killed a man

over at the Bull's Head
with his bare hands.

Yeah, I know, but
he wasn't a killer.

Was then, capable
of it at least,

and he was again today too.

Matt, if you hadn't
have used your gun,

he'd have killed you.

He almost did.

All I know is if I hadn't
been wearing a gun,

Eli Baines would
be alive right now.

And you'd be dead.

What you're saying, Matt, is
that if you weren't a lawman...

Doc, that's the trouble.

I am a lawman.

One minute I'm
having a cup of coffee.

The next minute I'm
killing a man, a good one.

Matthew, I was just fixin' to
go over to Long Branch and...

Hmm, maybe I'll see
you over there later.

What is it you're doin'
there that's gotta be did now?

I'm making up my report
to Judge Brooker, Festus.

All right, then.

Maybe I'll see you
over there directly.

Mrs. Baines.

Marshal, can we talk?

Yes, would you like to sit down?

Thank you.

Marshal, I know what
you're going through.

Doc Adams told me,

and it's plain just
by lookin' at you.

I want you to know that I
know it wasn't your fault.

If anyone was guilty, it was me.

I should've been with
him every moment.

No woman can keep that kind
of hold on a man, Mrs. Baines.

Oh, I know.

He didn't have an
angry bone in his body.

He was the most gentle
man I've ever known.

Marshal, you and I both
know that wasn't the man

you were forced to shoot.

That man I only saw a few times,

and I lived in fear of him.

Whiskey had a hold
on Eli like I never saw.

He said himself they didn't mix.

- If he knew that then why?
- I don't know.

Eli was a strong man,

but every man wants to
believe he can hold his liquor.

Even the worst drunk
won't admit he can't.

Maybe he was tryin' to prove
to himself that he'd changed.

Like a sick man
hopin' he's cured.

He was strong,

but like any other man
he had his weaknesses too.

Maybe Eli was being too proud.

It wasn't your fault, Marshal.

Please don't blame yourself.

Ah, thank you.


How long will you be gone?

Oh, I guess just
a few days, Kitty.

I was gonna come
by and tell ya about it.

No need, Matt, you can't
keep blaming yourself.

If it was anybody's
fault, it was mine.

When Sam was here he
knew about Eli's problem.

Never served him
more than one drink.

New bartender came
on, I just didn't tell him.

Eli hadn't been in
Long Branch in so long,

I just completely
forgot about it.

Well, I appreciate
your saying that, Kitty,

but the fact remains,

Eli's dead and it
was me that shot him.

You know, most of the
time I got about one second

to decide whether
or not to kill a man?

Sometimes that's a weight

that gets a little
heavy to carry around.

I just wanna get away from it.

Festus and Newly will look
after things till I get back.

Don't be gone long, huh?

See ya later, Kitty.

Please don't hurt me.

I'm not gonna hurt you, Miss.

What're you doing here?

Sure you ain't no
outlaw or something?

Miss, I'm not gonna hurt ya.

My name's Matt Dillon.

I'm the United States
Marshal from Dodge City.

The baby doesn't look very old.

Got a name for him?

It's a her.

She ain't got no name.

She's pretty.

It's chilly in here.
She needs her mother.

No, I don't want her.

She's your baby, Miss.

She needs ya.

I didn't ask for her.

I ain't got no husband.

You must have a family.

Yeah, but they don't
want her neither, or me.

She's shivering, she
needs to be kept warm.

Take her, go on.

Let's get over here by the fire.

What's your name?


Where you from, Lettie?

A farm near Plainville,

but I haven't been
home in seven months.

I, I've been in
sort of a school.

It's a place where
they send bad girls.

Some of them like
me... having babies.

Here we go, sit down.

Easy now.

What was that, kinda like
a school of corrections?

They called it a home
for wayward girls.

I ran away.

The doctor told me that the baby

wouldn't be coming for
a couple of weeks yet.

See, I, I was scared
to have it there,

'cause one of the girls died.

Where were you headed?

To see Mrs. Rogers.

She delivered every baby
from miles around my home.

She even brought
me into the world,

and I, I wanted
to be with her...

and I walked.

Then yesterday, I started
getting these terrible pains.

It was the baby comin'.

Who sent you to that school?

Papa did. He said I shamed him.

The baby coming wasn't my doin'.

Where's the child's father?

I don't know.

It didn't happen like it
did to all them other girls.

Honest, it didn't.

Papa didn't understand.

Some man came by when
Ma and Pa were away.

Buffalo hunters they was and...

one of them... he made me...

It's all right, Lettie, you
don't have to talk about it.

A couple of months later

I found out I was
gonna have a baby,

and Papa sent me away.

Well, why'd he do that?

He said the baby
was an evil doin' and...

he didn't want me
or it in his sight.

What about your mother?

She, she felt bad
about sending me off,

but seeing me the
way I was and...

You see, she's just like Papa.

They're God fearing people.

They believe real
strong in the gospel.

I'm gonna fix something to eat.

Well, then what're you gonna do?

I don't know.

I'm not gonna leave you
here by yourself, that's for sure.

We'll think of something.

Maybe she's hungry.

I'm gonna take you
back to your folks, Lettie.

No, my Pa, he'll
turn me away again.

You're gonna need your folks.

I'll talk to your Pa.

When we be goin'?

Soon as your strong
enough to travel.

She's got such tiny hands.

I ain't never held
a baby before.

She's got my mother's eyes.

That's a miracle.

You're right, Lettie.

Marshal, there's Mama.

Papa must be out in the field.


It's a girl, Mama.

My name's Matt Dillon,
I'm a United States Marshal.

I found your daughter here
in a cave with this baby alone.

Take that child and
leave here, girl, now!

- Joseph!
- It was agreed!

I know that, Joseph,

but after all that
she's been through,

we just can't send her away.

Where will she go?

She's no long a part of us!

She's your daughter,
she needs ya.

Do you know what kind
of a man it was that...

I know, what difference
does that make?

She's not to blame.

We only got her word for that.


That child is the
seed of an evil act!

The sins of the fathers!

I want them out of my sight!

Would you liked it better if
she'd been killed that day?

That child is part of that man.

Evil begets evil.

The Bible says!

Yeah, well, those
are fine words,

but you stay too close
to the letter of them

you get blinded.

My life is guided by
the gospel, Marshal.

Yeah, and the gospel
says a lot of things

you're not livin' by, either.

Leave here, Marshal.

Take her and the child with you.

If she leaves,
Joseph, I go with her.

You don't know what
you're sayin', woman.

Lettie is still a child.

She needs me.

And what of me?

It'll be your decision.

There's no way I
can let that child stay.

And Lettie?

She's my daughter.

Go into the house,
child. Wait there.

Marshal, I'll never be able
to accept that child either.

I don't understand
either of you people.

That child's a human being.

How can you turn
your back on her?

It would only
remind us of that day.

Surely you can understand that.

Marshal, Lettie is
only a child herself.

That's why she needs your help!

Yes, she does and she
can stay, but the baby can't.

Even if it could, it would
grow up being unloved,

and punished for
something she couldn't help.

I'm sorry, but you were right.

We've lived too
long by the word.

Much too long to change,

and the pity of it is
we're the poorer for it.

Will you take the baby, Marshal?

Find a home for it.

Here's some things for the baby.

They were Lettie's.

There's a milk bottle in here,
some milk, and some diapers.

It's clear, Marshal, you
don't think much of us.

They say that time
heals all wounds,

but in this case, I
don't know if that's true.

That's a question
you and your husband

are gonna have to live with
a long time, Mrs. Graham.

I'm sorry. You know, I
never even gave her a name.

You'll have to name her.

She belongs to you now.

Goodbye, Lettie.


Go away, we're closed!

Kitty, it's me!

- What is that?
- Trouble.

I'll see ya in the morning.

Would you warm up some
milk for me, she's hungry.

We don't have
any milk, Miss Kitty.

Well, then get some.

Yes, ma'am.

What's the matter with you guys?

Haven't you ever
seen a baby before?

Well, you can button
her up now, Kitty.

How is she?

Well, she's amazing,
just amazing.

You know when you
brought her in here,

she was kinda frail and I
was kinda worried about her,

but my golly, she's got the
heartbeat of a racehorse.

What have you been giving her?

Security, can you
imagine what it was like

out in the wilds with Matt?

Hello, Matt.

How's she doing?

Well, fine, just fine, Matt.

Thanks to Kitty's expert care.

Oh well, now I don't want
you two to get any big ideas.

You know I've
got a saloon to run,

and a saloon is no
place to raise a baby.

Well, I'm sorry
it's taking so long.

I'll try to find a place
for her as soon as I can.

Well actually, you don't have
to be in any real big hurry.

Well, you know, I was hoping
the Parkers would take her.

Oh, Matt, they've got
enough of their own.

Well, I thought maybe they
wouldn't mind one more.

You know, if we don't find
a place for her pretty soon,

we're gonna have to
take her over to Pierceville.

You mean the orphanage?

Well, I don't know
what else we can do.

Oh no, Matt, mm-mm,
not an orphanage, no.

No, Kitty's right.

No, I wouldn't stand for that.

There's something
we haven't thought of.

Maylee Baines is out
there on that farm all alone.

Think she might
be interested, Doc?

Well, I don't know now.

Eli and Maylee had a baby
about six years ago, stillborn.

They wanted another
one, they couldn't have it.

Just might be that Maylee
would want this baby.

She just might.

That's a good idea.

I'm gonna go out and see her.

Miss Kitty, how is she?

Well, she's fine,
Festus, just fine.

Ain't she the very

She's growing like
a weed, ain't she?

You know, Miss Kitty, I
noticed here the last few days

you've been a haulin' this
youngin around here and there.

Why don't you git
you one of them kind of

a pushy around things
that's got the wheels on it?

I'm on my way to Mr. Lathrop's
now to see if he has one.

Well, good, that way
she'll be ridin' in style,

don't you see?

Are you doing anything
for the next few minutes?

Well no, ma'am,
I was just fixin'

to go in' yonder
and gittin' me a beer.

Would you like to
carry her for me?

- Me?
- Mm hmm.

Can I?

Well, certainly.


Now, just hold your arms out.

No, the other way,
it'll be easier, yeah.

Now, just like that.

Be sure to keep her, keep
her head up there, that's it.

Well, you can hold her
a little tighter than that.

She's not made out
of crystal, you know.

She sure is little, ain't she?

Just like a little old chick
that went got herself hatched.

Come on.

Oh, Matt.

Hello, Doc.

How are ya?

How's Miss Baines?

Oh, fine, fine, it's good news.

She wants that baby.

In fact, she was
all excited about it.

She's out there now getting
her house all straight around.

I'm gonna take the
baby out tomorrow.

Should be a big
burden off of Kitty.

Well, I ah, I don't know.

What do you mean?

I'm not sure that
Kitty is gonna be

all that happy about it, Matt.

This one just came in
last week, Miss Kitty.

Well, it's kinda
plain for a little girl.

I'm sorry, but it's
the only one I've got,

but you could pretty
it up a bit yourself.

You know, a little silk,
some satin, a few frills.

All right, I'll take it.

I've got some nice material
right here in the back.

Good, and I'm gonna
need some baby clothes too.

All right, Festus, you
may put her in the carriage.

It's all hers now.

All right, Miss Kitty.

In you go, little dumpling.

You little bitty
old scutter you.

You ain't no bigger
than a tater bug.

Binky, boppy,
boggy, bee, bee, bop.

Binky, binky, bop, you...

Why don't you let a
feller know you're around.

You come a slippin' up like a

blamed ole coyote through a bog.

What're you doing to that baby?

Well, I'm makin' her
laugh, that's what...

Making her laugh
with an ugly face

full of whiskers like that,

you're scaring her to death!

Now, you just
hold on, now you...

Well, where'd you get the buggy?

Miss Kitty just went
and bought it for her.

Where's Miss Kitty?

She's back yonder.

Itsy, bitsy, bits.

Woody, would you excuse us?

Oh sure, I'll see ya
up front, Miss Kitty.

All right, Mr. Lathrop.

Kitty, can I talk to you?

What is it?

Well, Matt just came back
from seeing Mrs. Baines,

and ah, she wants the baby.

I'm keeping her, Doc.

Doc, Kitty admits herself

she's in no position
to raise that baby.

I know that, but you see
she's been ah, taking care of it.

Now, she's become
attached to it.

She don't wanna give it up.

Well, Mrs. Baines is expecting

that baby out there
tomorrow, Doc.

What am I gonna tell her?

I don't know.

It's up to you to make Kitty
realize she can't keep it.


Sure, you're the only one.

Lord knows, I've tried.

Matt, Maylee Baines
has already lost one baby.

I just don't think we want
to see her lose this one.

Well, all right, I'll go
have a talk with Kitty.



She's ah, she's gone to sleep.

Um, well, I guess I
know why you're here,

and you might as
well forget about it.

Kitty, you can't expect

to take care of that
baby by yourself.

Mrs. Baines is alone.

Well, I know, but she
leads a different kind of life.

You mean she
doesn't run a saloon.

Well, you said yourself
the Long Branch

is no place to raise a child.

Well, Matt, I've
taken care of that.

I've taken a room over at the
Dodge House, move in tomorrow.

And then when
she's a little older,

I'm gonna take a
house outside of Dodge.

You won't have to
worry about a thing.

She'll be raised in
a proper manner.

Even if I have to sell
the Long Branch to do it.

Who is it?

It's Matt Dillon, Mrs. Baines.

Come in!

In here!

Morning, Marshal.

Mrs. Baines.

I'm just going
through some things.

What's wrong?

I'm sorry, Mrs. Baines.

What happened?

Well, you know, I told you

that Miss Kitty was
taking care of the baby.


I don't know how to tell
ya this, except just to tell ya,

but she's gotten
so fond of that baby

that she wants to
keep it, I'm sorry.

Did she know I wanted the baby?

Yes, I told her that.

Marshal, you've known
Miss Russell for a long time.

She's a very beautiful woman,

and has her own business
and money and everything.

Does she really want the baby,

or is it just a passing fancy,

something she'll get
tired of in a few months?

Well, she says she's
willing to give up

everything she has to keep it.

I spent the whole night
gettin' this room ready.

Just spent the rest of it
tossin' and turnin' and waitin'.

That trunk full of baby clothes.

Six years ago Eli and I
expected a child of our own.

This nursery was for our baby.

You can see for
yourself it's still empty.

After that we just
closed the room off.

Used it for storage mostly.

Yesterday was the first
time I've been in here since...

I'm not blaming you, Marshal.

You started out
with good intentions.

Thank you for coming out.

Miss Russell, please.

She's in the back, ma'am,
workin' on the books.

Is the baby with her?

Oh no, ma'am, she's
upstairs in Miss Kitty's room.

Would it be all
right if I went up

and sat with the baby
till Miss Russell's free?

Well, I guess so.

Her room's at
the end of the hall.

Thank you.

Miss Kitty, Mrs. Baines
is here to see you.

She's ah, she's
waitin' upstairs.


I was tempted to steal her.

I don't blame you.

Sit down, Mrs. Baines.

Can we talk without wakin' her?

Oh, she'll sleep
through a storm.

Marshal says you
mean to keep her.


Miss Russell, I guess you
know how much wanted her.

Yes, and I understand
how you must feel,

especially when you thought
she was gonna be yours.

That was my fault
for letting it go so far.

You know, um, when Matt
first brought me the baby,

I felt like it was an
intrusion, I was busy,

but then after, well,
feeding her, and clothing her,

caring for her, and
most of all loving her,

well, she gave me a
feeling of responsibility

I'd never had before.

That's a good feeling.

Up till now I'd always felt

that my life was
reasonably full,

but the baby's changed all that.

She's all I care about now.

I can understand why
you won't give her up.

In your position,
I wouldn't either,

but ma'am, I gotta try.

Miss Russell, I know
you never had a child,

but now suddenly you
wanna be a mother.

The only difference between
us is I always wanted to be one.

I did have a child, a girl.

Although she died,

and I never really
knew her in one way,

I was very close
to her in another.

For nine months
she was part of me.

You've only known
this baby for two weeks.

If you lost her
now, it'd be hard,

but only a woman
who's carried a child

really knows the loss.

I lost mine.

This baby can take her place.


Matt, I, I decided that Mary

will be better off
with Mrs. Baines.

Will you take me out there?

Are you sure?

Now, look, it's not
gonna take very much

to get me to change my mind,

so please don't say anything.

Let's go.

Miss Russell.

Take her, Mrs.
Baines, she's yours.

But you were so sure.

Well, I, I changed my mind.

Would you like to see
what I fixed for her?

Well, sometime
later, not right now.

Miss Russell, when
we come into Dodge,

I hope we can come by.

You better. Bye.

Oh, ah, when you
do come into town,

there's a baby
carriage, it's Mary's.

Oh, thank you,
but I can't afford it.

Oh, no, no, it was
just an old thing

that was just lying around.

Good luck to ya, ma'am!

Oh, thank you, Marshal.

Thank you, Miss Russell,
thank you very much.


Kitty, it's gonna be all right.

She's, she's in good hands.

Oh, I know that, damn it.

What'd you have to say that for?

Didn't know what else to say.

I, a woman crying, boy.

What'd you want me to say?

Well, you could've said
that, well, I don't know!

Why don't you just ask me to
have dinner with you tonight?

All right, how about it?

Well, say it!

Well, Miss Kitty, I'd
consider it a pleasure

if you'd join me
for dinner tonight.

How about my place?

Sounds good.

Stay tuned for exciting scenes

from our next Gunsmoke!