Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 19, Episode 9 - A Game of Death... An Act of Love: Part 2 - full transcript

As the trial for a renegade group of Indians accused of murder during a rampage gets under way, half-breed defense counsel Cicero Wolfe turns it into an expose' on the plight of Native Americans and how they have been prejudged on the basis of their skin color. Matt has sneaked Wolfe a piece of evidence that will clear the defendants -- if Wolfe doesn't get gunned down first. The rancher who lost his wife in the attack, and his daughter, start to develop deep respect for the high-principled Wolfe and start to believe his theory that the wrong men were arrested for the murder. But will it be enough?


And starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

Who's there?

Who's there?

Oh Festus, how are you?

So nice to see you, thank you.

Oh, Doc Adams,
how good to see you.

Cora, thank you.

Cora there's
something I must tell ya.

Renegade Comanches have
been rampaging all over Kansas

and while your father was
away they raided your place.

Cora, your mother's dead.

Oh, my God.



Hold fire, no fire, no firing!

C'mon, give it up there.

Give it up there.


Probably split off from
the main raiding party.

Captain, look at this.

I don't reckon they made
this on no reservation.

This watch is from Dodge,
belongs to Bear Sanderson.

I want them men.

They're goin' to jail, Bear.

They don't need
jailin', they need killin'.

That'll be decided
by a court of law,

there's gonna
be no killin' here.

I'm sayin' the killin's
been on the wrong side

and I'm gonna change it now.

Hold it right there.

These men are gonna
be tried in a court of law

and if they're found
guilty they'll hang.

In the meantime, nobody
takes justice into his own hands.

Not you or anybody else.

That's the way it's
been around this town,

that's the way it's gonna be.

Now stay outta the way.

Now listen to me!

Those murdering
savages killed my wife

and I'm gonna see
'em burn in Hell for it!

Any man that ain't
with me is against me!

We're with you Bear,
we're on your side!

You would ask me, let me
understand, to take a case

that no other lawyer
will touch, forgive me,

in order
intentionally to lose it.

It's not question of that.

I'm truly afraid of what
my father might do

if you don't help me.

I sympathize with
you, believe me I do

Well then please,
will you take the case?

I'll see that you're
paid very handsome

Miss Sanderson, it is
not a question of money.

I cannot take the case.


Because it would not be fair.

Not to the men on
trial and not to you

because you see, if I
take a case I take it to win.

And those are the
reasons you choose to give?

They are real and legitimate.

No, I'm sorry, they're false.

I think I'm beginning to
understand you, Mr. Wolfe.

You are one of those
very practical men

who is so indifferent to justice

that he won't take the time
and trouble to see it done.

Goodnight, sir.

I want the ones that done it.

I want 'em and I'll have 'em.

Papa, listen to me, please.

If you try and deal with
these men the way you want to

it won't work and you'll
only destroy yourself.

You think I care what
happens to me now?

What about me, papa?

Do you care what happens to me?

We want those Indians, Dillon!

- Yeah!
- Come on,
Send 'em out Dillon!

- We'll come in and get 'em!
- Send 'em out!

Kill 'em!

Listen to me, those
Indians are in jail,

that's where they're gonna stay,

nobody's gettin' 'em out.

Then we'll come in and get 'em.

That's far enough! Back off.

Break it up.

Back off all of you, before
somebody gets blowed in two.

I came here to ask your help.

Now if you want to you could
cool that town off right now.

If you don't you
can blow the lid off it.

It's up to you.

Talk to me, mister.

Bear, if you come
to Dodge on the prod

and you try to face me
down, I'm gonna have to kill ya.

Come down to that, has it?

It's gone as far as it can go.

Marshal, you have prevailed
on me to take the case

and I must warn you, I
will fight it with all my skill,

which is considerable.

And how do you suppose
your good public will react, sir,

when they
discover, as they will,

that the man who
represents your renegades

is himself a
half-blooded Cherokee.

- There's one thing, Mr. Wolfe.
- Yes?

Well, you and I both know you
don't have much of a chance.

But there's one
piece of evidence

that everybody
seems to have missed.

I wanna make sure you don't.

I intend to prove
beyond all possible doubt

that these men are not guilty.



And ladies and gentleman,

it is my painful
duty to show as well

that this whole indictment
is the kind of conveniently

and irresponsibly
trumped up slander

which would never
have come to trial

if the two defendants had been
white men instead of Indians!


Order! Order!



Order, we will have
order in this courtroom.

This court stands
adjourned until tomorrow.

We could take care
of that judge too.

Well you could be in
quite a bit of danger

after this morning, Mr. Wolfe.

I'm gonna have to ask your
cooperation in a few things.

Of course, Marshal.

I'd like you to take
your meals in your room

and confine yourself there
when you're not in court.

I'm also gonna have a
guard take you back and forth

and he'll be outside
your room at all times.

I appreciate your
concern, Marshal,

but I am able to defend myself.

Against a man who doesn't
care whether he lives or dies?

You're talking
about Mr. Sanderson.

I am.

Mr. Wolfe.

Come in.

Miss Sanderson's
here to see you.

Miss Sanderson?

Please forgive me for
coming here to see you,

there didn't seem
to be any other way.

Of course.

Of course, I'd hope to see
you again to talk with you.


I would've thought otherwise.

You're angry.

Does that surprise you?


No, I suppose it shouldn't.

Did you think that by
trying to save the men

who murdered my
mother you would win

my undying gratitude, Mr. Wolfe?

I didn't come here
to talk about myself,

I came here to talk about you.

You see, I understand you now.

Am I so complicated, Miss Cora?

When I first came to
you and you refused me,

you concealed the fact that
you were yourself an Indian

and afraid to risk involvement.

Fear for myself had nothing to
do with my position. I assure you.

You needn't justify
it to me, Mr. Wolfe.

You refused me, shamed
me for having asked

and then, as if to spite me,
perversely took the case.

And I know why.

Perhaps you'd better tell me.

Because your own vindictive
prejudice overcame your fear.

I've seen you in
court, Mr. Wolfe,

I know how you feel about us.

You intend to destroy my father

because he's symbol of our
domination over your race.

And you count on
the law to protect you.

You poor, uncomprehending,
miserable woman.

Are you really so corrupt
as to think that I would

take the case of
men such as these

if I didn't believe
them to be innocent?

I am not so shallow as to be
affected by anything you say.

You think it matters to me

what affects you
and what doesn't?

What is sad is that a woman
of your beauty and intelligence

has become so
used to judging others

by the narrow likes
of bias and prejudice

that she is unable
to recognize idealism.

How can you talk about idealism?

Don't you see that
I refused at first

because I knew that
I might jeopardize

whatever chances
they had for a fair trial?

I felt it altogether possible

that I might ensure
their conviction.

I came in when I realized
there was no ethical alternative.

These men mean so much to you?

Justice means so much to me!

Is that so hard for
you to understand?

You made me a shameful
offer and surely you know it.

My taking the case had
nothing to do with fear

or money or your father, as
man's symbol, or anything else.

I took the case when I realized

it was ethically
impossible not to take it.

Justice in my life is
everything, Miss Cora.

When you understand
that, you will understand me.


And in your opinion,
the ponies with which

the defendants were
captured had never been shod?

Not the ones I
looked at, they hadn't.

Objection, Your Honor.

Counsel's argument
is proving nothing.

We all know that the tracks
found on the Sanderson's place

where those of shod horses.

But they might
have changed horses

once they left the premises.

Might, indeed, Your Honor.

Why from shod to unshod?


Proceed, Counsel.

And when you arrived

will you tell the
jury what you saw?

Well, the whole place
was burnin' down.

Did you see anyone
on the premises?

Anyone at all?

I found poor Lavinia, dead.

And as far as you know,
you were the only person

on the premises between
the time of the departure

of the guilty parties
and the arrival of the law.

Well I'm the one that
come in and got the Marshal.

Then I submit, gentlemen,
and let the record so show,

that there is not a single
soul alive that can identify

the killer or killers
in a court of law.

At about 6:30 in the morning,
we came on their camp.

They'd been sleeping,
they offered no resistance.

They simply surrendered
without a fight, sir?

Does that sound like
fugitive murderers?

It would have been useless,
we had them surrounded.

Captain, would you
step over to this map, sir,

and show the court

the approximate
location of the capture?

Here, near Jonathan Cooley,

about six miles south of the
south fork of the Cimarron.

Some 45 miles from Dodge.

Thank you, Captain.

Captain Sykes, you are a
cavalry man, are you not?

Yes sir, I am.

And in your work, what do
you consider a hard days ride?

Well 30 miles would be
a tough trip in one day.

Twelve or 15 hours riding time.


And what do you consider to be

the furthest possible distance

a horseman might ride
in say, a 12 hour day?

A man might make 40
miles on a fine horse.

And yet, we are told
by the prosecution

that in the space
of less than 9 hours

from the time of the
murder, the defendants

who were mounted on
unshod Indian ponies

and who appeared to
have been camped, slept,

and gave no
resistance to capture,

had covered the almost 45
miles from the Sanderson house

to the point of their capture?

I call it utter
nonsense, gentleman!

And I say it could
not have been done!

Thank you.

No further witnesses for the
defense today, Your Honor.

Tomorrow defense
will call our key witness

and rest our case.

Then if prosecution has
no further desire to recross?

None, Your Honor.

Captain, you may step down.

This court stands adjourned.

It's open.


What are you doin'
up this time of night?

Come on in.

Thank you.

Marshal, I have to talk to you.

What can I do for you?

It's about my father.

I'm afraid for him.

I'm afraid of what he might do.

I understand how you feel.

If they call him to
the stand to testify

I don't know what'll happen.

They already have called
for him tomorrow morning.


Oh Marshal, he's not responsible
for what he does anymore.

Cora, every man's
responsible for what he does

and that includes your father.

I mean he doesn't have
control over himself.

He's been hurt by
so many things lately.

Everybody knows that, Cora.

People think more of
him than anybody alive.

But if those men
are acquitted he...

Cora, you know how
I feel about your pa.

I'd do anything in the world
to keep him outta trouble.

But he's gonna have
to make a choice

between the law and violence.

All we can do is hope that
he makes the right choice.


Papa, please stop drinking.

It isn't gonna solve anything.

It won't, huh?

They started the
trial yesterday, Papa.

Everyone saw that
you weren't there.

Well they're gonna
see a lot more of it

because I ain't playin'
along with their game.

Well you'll have to
go in if they call you.

I ain't never had to do nothing.

This is different.

Those men have a
lawyer now, a good one.

I know all about it.

They got 'em one
to match their color.

Makin' a joke outta me.

Nobody's making a joke
out of anything, papa.

The people in the town
are all on your side.

Take my name and let
some halfbreed Indian shyster

drag it through the bumble.

Oh, Papa.

Ain't gonna matter
in the end, though.

Papa, listen to me.

Now are you sure that
those men are the ones who...

I know what happened, don't I?

And I know who done it.

Found them with
her jewels on them.

In their filthy hands.

In court today, he
made it sound like

the case against them was weak.

What else would he do?

That cheatin',
low-livin' Indian liar.

But it ain't gonna
make no difference.

What do you mean?

I mean there's three
renegade bucks

gonna pay for
it, instead of two.

Don't talk like that, Papa.

I'm gonna kill 'em.

Oh, all right then, kill 'em!

Ruin your life, throw
everything away.

Put yourself and your own
revenge before everything else.

That's the way it's always
been, hasn't it, Papa?

I guess it'll never change.

It's always been Sanderson's
this and Sanderson's that.

Your ranch, your
wife, your daughter.

Until you made
us feel like nothing

but little insignificant
pieces of you.

Don't you talk to
me like that, lady.

You've always had
everything your own way

every time because you bullied
everybody into submission.


You made mama hate you.

You drove her to it.

'Cause you never
once let her be herself.

Don't you say anything
else about that woman.

I loved her.

Did you?

Then how is it every
time she needed you,

you were 50 miles away,
drunk in some bordello?

Get out.

Go on, get out.

You ain't never talked
to me like that before.

And you ain't never
going to again.

I raised you up to
be my princess, lady.

Give you everything
I could think of.

'Cause you was the rose
of my love for your mama.

But you never know'd it, did ya?

No, Papa.

Well, maybe that don't
make no difference neither.

Not anymore.

Because you see,
I'm just a plain man.

But I am a man.

And you're just like her.

A man ain't good enough for you.

So, you just go on.

You go on back
to your tea parties

and your high-tone
college socials.

And if my name
makes you ashamed,

you just leave it
here when you go out

and don't come back again.

Mr. Sanderson.

You're not supposed to be here.

I've got to talk to
that man yonder.

I can't let anybody in there
unless Marshal says so.

I wasn't gonna kill
him, not this time.

Mr. Sanderson, of course.

You've got that right, injun.

You come into my
room like a common thief.

You have some reason for that?

Or shall I have you arrested?

I reckon you know if
I'd come here to kill you

we wouldn't be a-talkin'.

When you turned that light up

it might have been the
last light you ever saw.

I wouldn't have needed no light.

And you'd be all through
hornin' in to other folks' business.

So you just put away
that arm and listen.

I'm gonna give it to you
as plain as I know how.

One is, you ain't callin'
me in to talk at your circus.

Two is, if you get them
crossbreeds anything but hung

in what you're doin'
then I will come a-killin'.

You right along with 'em.

You savvy that?

As clearly as I have
ever understood anything.

Now, you hear this.

It's my job to get those
men acquitted if I can.

And I intend to do just that.

If I find it necessary
to call you, I will.

And if you try to
kill me because of it,

you may find that
for once in your life

you've bitten off a lot
more than you can chew.

All right, injun.

We understand each other.

And I'll give you one thing.

I never liked stepping
on mealy bugs.

So, when I kill you,
I'll have the satisfaction

of knowin' I killed a man.

C'mon Deputy, get up.

You ain't hurt that bad.


This court is now in session.

Bailiff will please
call the first witness.

Mr. John Uriah Sanderson.

Mr. John Uriah Sanderson?

Is the witness present?

Mr. John Uriah Sanderson?

Your Honor, we cannot
continue without his testimony.

Prosecution requires his
identification of the jewelry

and the watch in question.

Here comes Bear now!



Oh, Mr. Sanderson.

Would you please step
up to the witness stand?

Your Honor, may
it please the court,

prosecution has no
desire to call Mr. Sanderson

if defense acknowledges
as a matter of record

that the items in
question did indeed belong

to him and his wife.

Defense so affirms.

Let the record so state.

If prosecution desires,
defense will waive

formal right to
administer the oath.

Do you concur, Counsel?

Yes, yes Your Honor.

Then the witness is excused.

If the court please,

defense will now
call our final witness.

The court calls
Miss May Lassiter.

Mighty pretty, May.



I will have order in this court!


Order in this court!

Do you swear to tell
the truth, the whole truth,

and nothing but the
truth, so help you God?

I do.

Sit down please.

Will you state your
name please, madame?

I'm May Lassiter, sir.

Pleased to make
your acquaintance.

Miss Lassiter, will
you tell the court

where you live and have
your place of business?

In the town of Sinnify
on the Cherokee Strip.


And what is the nature
of your business, madam?






If we cannot have order
I will clear this courtroom.


Do you know what these
items are, Miss Lassiter?

Well, of course.

Tell the court, please.

A watch and some jewelry.

Now I'm going to ask you

a very important
question, Miss Lassiter,

and I want you
to consider closely

before you answer,
is that clear?


Have you ever seen
these items before

at anytime, anywhere?

Have you?


Where and when?

You know the answer to
that or you wouldn't ask me,

now why do we have
to play these games?

I must caution
you, Miss Lassiter,

we are in a court of law.

You will answer Counsel's
questions, if you please.


Miss Lassiter?

They were in my jewelry box
until a couple of weeks ago.

How did they happen to
come into your possession?

Do I have to say?

Answer the question,
Miss Lassiter.


Mr. Sanderson gave 'em to me.

As a present.

Then Mr. Sanderson knew
all along that this watch

and these jewels were
not taken from his house.

No sir, he didn't.

How can you explain that?

Well, some men, when
they've been drinkin' real heavy,

black out, don't remember
anything that happens for hours.

Sometimes days.

Mr. Sanderson was like that.

When he'd been drinkin' he tried

to give away everything he had.

Mr. Sanderson gave you these

when he was in the
condition you describe?

Yes, sir.

I always put things
away that he gave me

when he was drunk.

I tried to give 'em back
to him when he was sober.

But he'd never take 'em.

Did you try to return
these jewels to him?

No, sir.

I ain't seen Mr. Sanderson

since the night
he gave 'em to me.

Oh, I understand.

Now, if you will, Miss
Lassiter, will you tell the court

how it was that these
jewels came to be lost to you?

They were stolen by a
couple of renegade bucks.

They were stolen?

I was closin' up.

I saw two Indians in my room

riflin' through my jewelry box.

I took a shot at them as they
were goin' out the window,

but unfortunately I missed.

And would you recognize
these men if you saw them again?

They're sittin'
right over there.

Thank you, Miss Lassiter.

I just hope with all my heart

that if you made me
do somethin' bad to Bear

you will pay for it.

I assure you ma'am,
in the long run

you have done him the
greatest favor anyone ever could.

That will be all.

Prosecution has desire to cross?

None, Your Honor.

Miss Lassiter, you
may step down.

Gentleman of the jury, you
have heard all you need here

in the defense of
these two men...

except a closing summation.

Let me review.

Bear Sanderson was not at
home when he might've prevented

the murder of his wife.

Overcome with rage and grief,

he seized on the first
convenient scapegoats

without any concern for
evidence, much less justice.

This is sad for many reasons.

It exposed a strong and decent
man to harsh public scrutiny.

It wasted the time
and the emotion

of the man, the
town, and the court,

and most unfortunate of all,

it may have allowed the real
killers to escape unpunished.

The watch and the jewels,

which were taken to have
been totally incriminating

have been shown to be
instead totally irrelevant.

They were not in
the Sanderson house,

nor had they been there for
some time prior to the crime.

And the fact that the
defendants were found

with them in their possession,

exonerates rather
than convicts them.

In closing, I ask that you
find the defendants not guilty

because they are not guilty.

There is another,
perhaps a higher duty

which I feel I must fulfill.

Bear Sanderson is a man Kansas
has known and come to love.

A man respected with the best.

A man who grew to maturity

in conditions which have
marked him for better and for worse

as what he is.

It has given him his
strengths, which are many,

and his weaknesses
and prejudices as well.

It could not be otherwise.

It is not for me, a
man you do not know,

to tell you how you must adjust
to what has happened here.

But I am a man of
law, and I hope justice,

and I may ask.

It is perfection
that makes ideals...

and flaws that
make human beings.

And while to be blind
is divine in justice,

it is only human in a man,

and to be forgiven.

The defense rests.

Miss Cora.

May I come in?

Of course, please do.

I don't imagine I'm welcome
and I won't stay long.

But you are welcome.

I don't know quite how to begin.

I can't remember the last
time I apologized for anything.

I guess we Sandersons
have never been

very good at admitting mistakes.

You don't have to apologize
to me for anything, Miss Cora.

In the courtroom you
talked about forgiving.


I hoped I might come here and
try and make you understand

how sorry I am for all
the things I said and did.

I must have hurt
you very deeply.

Oh, please.

I've been sitting
in that courtroom

watching you,
listening to you...

and although I
was angry and hurt,

I came to know you really.

To know your sense of justice,

as you said I must if I ever...

I guess what I'm
trying to say is that

I'm very ashamed.

I want you to know that
I have never in all my life

met a man like you.

That I respect and
admire so much.

Please forgive me.

I've been thinkin' strong
on goin' away, Matt.

I think that a lot of
folks around here'd

miss you if you left.

Would they?

I don't know.

Just all seems to
come apart on me.

Think you're wrong.

What about Cora?


No, I've done lost her too.

Pushed her away myself.

Just 'cause she criticized me.

She never done
that before, you see.

Nobody had.

Not for a long time.

Well but she's still
your daughter, Bear.

She still loves you.

Yeah, she does.

But you see, everything
she said is the truth.

That's what really burned.

Told me I'd forgot how
to care about anybody.

Every man's got a few things
in this life that he regrets.


I guess I was just never made
to be married to any woman.

Well I'm, I learned
how to give a little, but...

I never learned how to share.

You know what I mean, Matt?

Yeah, but there's a
lot to be said for giving.

Yeah, but it's kinda sad
when a man has to wait

until the shadows
get long on his life

before he can see
what he's been.

That fancy-schooled Cherokee
done showed me my colors.

He's even took Cora from me now.

I know how she feels about him.

Doesn't have to
end that way, Bear.

What can I do?

Well if I was you
I'd go talk to 'em.

Talk to both of 'em.

Settle what's between you.

You figure a man can
begin about sundown

and make a new life for hisself?

Best time of day in
my way of thinkin'.

Come in.

Mr. Sanderson, sir,
what can I do for you?

I'd like to talk to you.

Of course, come in.

Mr. Wolfe, I came
here because...

I believe you're just.

And I know you can
understand another man's pain.

I don't think badly of you.

Well I wouldn't
blame you if you did.

You see, it ain't
me I come about.

It's my girl, Cora.

I love her, Mr. Wolfe.

I ain't got the words
to tell ya how much,

but I just don't care much
about nothing no more

exceptin' her well-bein'.

You see, I know how
Cora feels about you.

She told me.

And you would be a lot
less man than you are

if you didn't feel
somethin' for her.

Now, I ain't got the
right to ask you nothin'

and I ain't goin' to.

I just say this.

If there's anything in your
heart tells you it ain't right

for any reason,

I know you got the strength

to go and leave her.

Mr. Wolfe, no
matter what happens,

I just want you to know I'd
be proud to call you my friend.

Matthew, Miss Kitty, good news!

You couldn't get no
better news than that

if you went to work and
dreamed it up your own self.

- Read that.
- Well you got it upside down.

Well it ain't for
you, it's for Matthew.

It's official.

The rebellion's over.

- Thank Heavens.
- Oh that's wonderful.

And you know what's
gooder than that?

The Widow Brundage, Woody
Lathrop, and the Banker Bodkin,

they're throwin' the biggest
barn dance and chivaree

you have ever saw
down there at the barn,

it's startin' right now.

And you just can't
wait to get down there

and sop up all of
that free suds, can ya?

You old scutter you, there
ain't nothin' you can say to me

tonight to make me feel less

than a barn top
rooster on a prime hoot.

I'm on the way.

We have strange ways
of finding each other.

We're strange people.

I'd be foolish if I denied that.

I've never been very good
at getting close to people.

Do you know that in all my life

I've never really had a friend?

Because Miss Cora,
I have no people.

Can you understand that?

Well I had parents, of
course, and they loved me.

But, well, they were different.

My mother's name
was Shaughnessy.

My father's name was Wolf.

Not Mr. Wofle, just Wolf.

He worked a lifetime
in the futile attempt

to earn that title, but
they never gave it to him.

Whoever they are.

So he had little half-breed
boy with the woman he loved.

And he read to him
and made him study.

And when the boy was well grown

he sent him off to Princeton.

To become a gentleman.

To be called not
Wolf, but Mr. Wolfe.

And he made his dream come true.

His, yes.

And the boy's?

He never had a dream.

I can't believe that.

But it's true.

Instead he became bitter,

and he made a life, compulsively,
to compensate for that.

But a good life is a good life,

no matter what the motivation.

I like to think so.

But the boy never
learned to love.

Well, that's something that
comes late to many people.

Never to some.

Will it ever come to you?

If I am fortunate.

I've been fortunate.

All aboard, folks.
Stage is leavin', hold up.

Cora, I have to go now.

Could've been different.


But not for Wolf's son and
Bear Sanderson's daughter.

But I have loved you Cora.

I do love you.

Know that.

All aboard!

Stay tuned for exciting scenes

from our next Gunsmoke.