Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 2, Episode 14 - Cholera - full transcript

A landowner's attempt to evict homesteaders is helped by a cholera outbreak.


Starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.

Not all the men buried

out here on Boot Hill
were shot.

Some of 'em were knifed,
some were lynched,

and some were just plain
kicked in the head.

But most of 'em died

I guess not many folks around
here pay enough attention

to that saying about how
vengeance belongs to the Lord.

At least,
they sure don't act like it.

If they did,
they wouldn't need me:

Matt Dillon, U.S. marshal.

Good morning, Chester.


Morning, Mr. Dillon.

Well, it looks like we're in
for another warm day.

Heh-heh. Well, you'd complain
if it wasn't, wouldn't you?

Well, I don't mind
the heat so much.

As a matter of fact,
I kind of like it.

Well, what are you
complaining about, then?

It ain't so much that I'm
complaining about the weather.

It's now I'm worried
about the flies.

You know, every time we get
a warm spell like this,

I swear that all the blowflies
in Kansas come to this office.

Chester, you know, for a man
who's lived on the high plains,

you're getting pretty soft.

Maybe you'd better head
back to St. Louis, huh?

Oh, now, Mr. Dillon, you know
I never was in St. Louis.

Well, don't have
to worry about him.


If that don't beat a hen
a-peckin', I'll swear.

That- That darned old pump
down at the end of River Street

is sucking up mud again.

Now, Chester,
I've seen you drink

a whole lot worse than that.

Oh, well, I don't mind a little
bit of mud every now and then,

but if we don't get some rain
pretty soon,

every pump in Dodge
is gonna be bone-dry.

I remember one time
down in Atascosa County

all the wells went dry.

There wasn't a sober cowboy
in 15 miles.

Oh, mercy.

Well, what in the world's
he think he's doing?

What's who think he's doing?

Well, Old Man McCready's son,
Billy McCready.

Well, I'll sworn to goodness,
he's got no business doing that.

Well, what's he doing?

Well, I don't know,

but he sure ain't up
to no good.

Just look at that,
would you?

Well, I guess that's
the only way I'll find out.

Well, you're too late now.
He's quit.

Well, what was he doing?

Well, I don't know,
but he- He- He was-

He was messing around
with that wagon.

He was fooling with the traces
or the singletree, or something.

Well, let's go find out, huh?

Now, Billy McCready
always was a wild one.

Well, he's young, Chester,
with no mother.

Well, I just hope
he don't grow up

to be as ornery
as his old man.

Yeah, I hope
you're right about that.

I wonder whose wagon
this is, anyway.

Well, I don't know,
Mr. Dillon.

I don't think
I've ever seen it before.

Look at that.

Well, I'll be. Them traces
cut pretty near in two.

Now, what'd Billy want to go
and do a thing like that for?

Hey there.

What are you men doing
to that harness?

Is this your wagon, mister? It sure is.

Well, does Billy McCready
got any reason

to have it in
for you folks?

Billy McCr-

Don't you tell 'em nothing, Jim.

T'ain't none of their business.

Now, wait a minute, Jenny.
This is Marshal Dillon.

I don't get
into Dodge much, marshal.

Haven't had a chance
to meet you.

Proving up a homestead
don't leave a man much time.

Proud to know you, marshal.

I'm Jim Gabriel.
This is my wife, Jenny.

How do you do?

This is Chester Goode, here.

Hi, Chester.

We've got a quarter section just
this side of McCready's ranch.

And you was right, marshal.
They have got it in for us.

Them McCreadys have been trying

to hound us off our land
for months,

but Jim and me
ain't budging.

We filed on
that land last fall.

We've been living on it
ever since.

Proving it up,
like the law says.

It's been
a backbreaking job, marshal.

Touch and go,
all the way.

We've put our blood
and sweat in that land.

McCready ain't
gonna touch it.

What does he want it for?

Doesn't he have enough land
for his cattle?

It's the water he wants.

I run onto a spring
a couple of months back

and opened it up, and they've
been after us ever since.

What's he been doing to you?

Talk, mostly.
Made threats.

But yesterday,
Billy come by

with that no-good Bart
that rides with him,

and he says
they was through talking.

Well, it looks to me like
they meant what they said.

Do you see this?

Look at that, Jenny.

Cut pretty near through.

They was aiming for us to lose
our team on our way home.

And leave us stranded
out on the prairie.

They ain't running
us off, marshal.

Me and the boy will
fight 'em to a standstill.

Our son, David.

He's over getting the mail.

He's a fine boy, marshal.

When are you folks
planning to head home?

Be late afternoon,
I reckon.

I gotta get
them traces fixed.

Well, there's a harness shop
just down the street there.

Just across
from the Long Branch.

You stop over at my office
before you leave, will you?

Yes, sir.

It's a terrible way
to plague a body.


And I think they got a lot more
trouble ahead of them, Chester.


We've got company, Jim.

Seems like.

Your sister and the family
from Philadelphia.

Got here sooner than we figured.
Here, take the wagon, son.

You get the horses unhitched,
son, then come on in

and meet your cousin
from the East.


What are you doing here,

How'd you get back
from Dodge?

In our wagon.
Same way as we got in.

Were you lying to me,

I did what you told me, Pa.

Shut up
about what I told you.

I wouldn't worry about it,
Mr. McCready.

Who's gonna believe
a no-good sodbuster

with the seat
of his pants out?

I just don't want the law
to come snooping around.

The law's on your side,
Mr. McCready.

They've been stealing water
off your cattle, ain't they?

We ain't stole nothing.

That's our land
that water's on.

I found that spring myself.

I cleaned it out,
and I opened it up.

If you want to talk
about the law,

you talk about
the homestead law.

I don't hold much
to that one.

Reckon the government
made a mistake.

There's too many of your kind
out here already

trying to steal
from us honest ranchers

that built up
this country.


You get out of here, McCready.

Take them vultures with you.

I guess you found them
cut traces and fixed 'em, huh?

That's too bad. A good long walk
might have made you less uppity.

And, uh, we were gonna light you
a nice signal fire

so you could find
your way home.

We still can, Pa.

Only now they can watch it
up real close.

Yeah, might be
kind of convincing at that.

Bart, throw some coal oil
over this junk.

Wait till the marshal
hears about this.

I've already heard about it,
Mrs. Gabriel.

Just hold it right there.

Well, what are you doing
out this way, marshal?

Same thing I'd be doing
in Dodge, McCready:

enforcing the law.

Well, I guess there's no call
for that around here.

Can't we drop in
for a neighborly visit

without everybody making
a fuss about it?

Why, you're getting as bad
as Gabriel here.

He's been talking real wild.
You oughta heard him.

Yeah, I heard him.
And I heard you too.

Well, you can't put a man
in jail for talking, I reckon.

Bother you some to go
to jail, wouldn't it?

There weren't no jails out here
when I first came.

No marshals neither.

And things were a lot better
then than they are now.

Yeah, for people
like you they were.

if you or your son

or that hired man of yours cause
these people any more trouble,

I'm gonna throw you in jail.

You got that?

Come on, boys.
Let's get out of this shack.

Wait a minute.

Not till you put those things
back where they belong.

All right. Get going.

Mrs. Gabriel, you see
they put 'em back right.

It's a lucky thing
you followed us out, marshal.

Reckon that's the last trouble
we'll be having with them.

I wouldn't
count on it.

Morning, Miss Hyde.

What's the matter, Doc?

One of your patients
run out on you?

Guess a man has to be in pretty
good shape when he comes to you

if he aims to survive
at all, huh?

Well, it's not absolutely
necessary, but it might help.

I swear, I don't know
what's happened to him.

What's happened to who?
Oh, fella out on the Bar Z.

They're bringing him in
in a buckboard.

A horse rolled on him,
broke his leg.

I'm supposed
to set it for him.

He ought
to be here by now.

Well, maybe he heard
they were bringing him to you

and, uh, put up a fight, huh?

By golly, you just never get
tired of making fun

of the old
and honored profession-

What's that?

Hey, that feller's
lathering up his horse.

Doc! Doc!

What's the matter?
It's my boy. He's sick.

He's awful sick.
Doc, you gotta come.

What's wrong with him?
I don't know exactly.

My wife's sister just
got here from the East.

Her little girl
was sick the same way,

and she died that first night

before I could even
come for you.

She died?
Well, what's it like?

What's the boy act like?

Well, he- He gets awful cramps.

In the legs, mostly. And-
And he can't hardly talk.

And- And he's turned
kind of blue all over.

Stomach hurting?

Just something terrible, Doc.

He keeps wanting water,

but it don't seem
to help him none.

The little girl who died,
she act the same way?

Just the same way.

What do you think it is, Doc?

Sure sounds like cholera.

Maybe the little girl

caught it back east
and brought it out here.

I haven't seen any indication
of cholera around here.

My boy, Doc.
He ain't gonna die too, is he?

Well, now, I'm gonna do
everything I can for him.

But you hightail it back home.

You tell your wife

to burn everything
that little girl touched.

Clothes, blankets
and everything.

And you stay away
from your boy too,

otherwise you may all catch it.
All right.

Now, it's very important you
don't touch any of his dishes.

Everything he eats off of,
you have your wife boil.

Boil them good, don't get 'em
mixed with yours, understand?

Yes, sir.
Are you coming, Doc?

I'll be there
as soon as I can.

But I've gotta stay
here in town now

and set a broken leg
for a fella.

But rush out there
and tell 'em what I said.

I'll tell 'em, Doc.

And I'll tell 'em
you're coming too.

Yes, I'll- I'll hurry.

What do you think, Doc?

Well, if it's cholera,
it's bad.

Real bad.

Well, if that don't beat all.

A red seven.

Red seven.


Mr. Dillon, there's times
when you can't beat this game,

even if you cheat.

Now, Chester, I'm afraid there's
a lot of games like that.

Say, have you seen Doc tonight?

No- No, I guess
he ain't got back

from the Gabriels' yet.

He should have been back
a long time ago.

Seven games in a row
and I couldn't beat it once.

Red seven.

This be your trouble?



Oh, well.

If that don't beat all.

Mr. Dillon, do you think
that there's any danger

of that cholera
spreading to Dodge?

Why, are people worried?

Well, yeah, they have.

There's been some talk, yeah.

Well, I hope
they don't panic.

If everybody keeps their head,
there shouldn't be any danger.


What are you doing here
this time of night?

I'm looking for Doc.
He never did show up,

and I can't find him
no place in town.

He should have been out
to your place this afternoon.

I know, and when it come dark,
I got worried.

The boy's a lot worse, marshal.
I gotta find Doc.

McCready been in town today?

Well, yeah. I saw him
and that Bart fellow

when I was helping Doc splint
that- That fella's leg.

Go get our horses.
Marshal, we've just got

to find Doc right away.

We'll find him.

Let's go.

Jenny, how's the boy?

A lot worse.

I couldn't find Doc, Jenny.

I didn't expect you would.

I know what's happened to Doc.

What do you mean,
Mrs. Gabriel?

I figured it all out last night

after Jim left for Dodge.

I know how Doc is.

Ain't nothing in this world

to keep him from coming
when a person's sick,

unless somebody stopped him.

I reckon somebody did.

Oh, Jenny, I-

You said you saw
McCready in town

when you was talking
to Doc yesterday morning.

Well, of course he done it.

You may be right,
Mrs. Gabriel.

I didn't want to worry you,
but I'll tell you one thing:

if he does have Doc,
he won't have him for long.

He wants us all dead.

He'd like that fine.

But I figured it out,
marshal, and I got him beat.

You what?

Like the hand of God,
and I knew what I had to do.

Mr. Dillon?

I'm gonna get my rifle.

No, you stay here.
I'll handle this.

Morning, Gabriel.
Mrs. Gabriel.


Me and Bart thought
we'd ride over this way

and see if there was anything
we could do to help.

I mean it now, folks. I'm only
trying to be neighborly.

McCready, you get back on
that horse and take me to Doc.

Doc? Well, what are you
talking about, marshal?

Doc's here, ain't he?

I said get back on that horse.


All I'm doing is breathing hard.

You touch that,
you won't be breathing at all.

All right, McCready. Let's go.

Now, look here, marshal.
I don't know-

Wait, all of you.
Listen to me.

I can save us a lot
of time.

Your boy, Billy. Where is he?

Why, he stayed
at the ranch.

He wasn't feeling so good
this morning, and-

Why? What difference
does it make where he is?

Billy come by here last night.
Stopped for a few minutes.

Said he'd been out
on the prairie

for a couple of days,
was heading home.

Well, what about it?

He didn't give you
no trouble, did he?

No. No trouble at all.

He just wanted a drink
of water.

It was real late, after Jim
had gone back into Dodge.

After I'd figured out
why Doc hadn't come.

Just a drink of water,
that's all he wanted.

So I went in the house and
I got it and give it to him.

Well, I'll pay you
for the water,

if that's all
that's bothering you.

Yes, you'll pay me,
Mr. McCready.

Because my son's
in that house, bad sick,

dying, maybe, of cholera.

And he's been drinking
water too. Lots of it.

Out of the same cup.

But Doc said-

I know what Doc said.

Nobody is to use dishes
after my boy

without their being
boiled first.

And nobody has,

except your son.

And he didn't feel
so good this morning.

Why, he's got it.

she did it deliberate.

She tried to kill my son.

McCready, where's Doc?

But Billy'll die.

Yes, he'll die,
without Doc.

Just like you meant
my son to die.

All right,
where is he?

All right, we did lay for Doc.
I'll admit it.

We got him in a cavern of mine,
five, six miles from here.

Me and Bart took him.

Well, he'd better be all right.

He's all right.
Just locked up, that's all.

McCready, you're the worst
I've ever seen.

Get on that horse!

Doc's been in there with
that Gabriel boy all afternoon.

What's he aiming to do?
Spend the night?

He could get away for an hour
or so. It wouldn't hurt nothing.

He could leave
some medicine.

He's a pretty sick boy
in there.

Well, I got
a sick boy too.

There ain't nobody
with him but Bart,

and he don't know
nothing to do.

Yes, and neither did
the Gabriels, till Doc got here.

All right. Well,
what's done is done.

Ain't no call
to let my boy die

over a little

Doc's never let anybody die
in his life, McCready,

if he could help it.
What's he doing in there now?

Why don't you shut up
and go back and sit down.

Now, look here-


How is he, Doc?
Is he any better?

No, he's dead, Chester.

Yeah, the little feller died

about a half-hour ago.

Well, why didn't
you tell us?

Well, I've just been trying
to tell those folks

how to keep
from getting it themselves.

I thought you told
Gabriel that back in town, Doc.

Yes, I did, Matt.
I- I told him.

Takes a little persuading,
people as hard up as they are,

to get 'em to burn
what little they got left.

Hm, it's a doggone shame,
that's what it is.

Well, too bad the boy died,
but he has.

And that's that.

Ain't no use wasting any more
time around here now.

Wasting time?

McCready, if I ever start
laying it into you,

so help me, I-
Look, Mr. Dillon, who's coming.

Why, what's Bart doing
over here?

He hadn't ought
to let Billy alone.

Doc, how are the folks
taking it inside?

No, they're not saying much,
and they're not crying any.

Well, they're
pretty lean folks.

I guess they'll
make out all right.

Why'd you go off
and leave Billy alone?

Mr. McCready-
What is it, Bart?

Billy's dead.


He died right there in his bed.

I did all I could.

I just didn't know nothing
really to do for him.

He got blue all over
and cold, and-

And then he just choked up
and died.

Billy's dead.

I did all I could,
Mr. McCready.

I put blankets on him.
I gave him water.

Wasn't your fault, Bart.

It was Doc's fault.

And hers.

You gave my boy that water

knowing what it would do.

You killed my son.

Now, that's enough, McCready.

It wasn't your son that died,

It wasn't your son
that was murdered.

McCready, I'm going-

No, marshal.

He's right.

The guilt's mine.

But as the Lord
as my witness,

I didn't aim for nothing
like this to happen.

I didn't want the boy to die.

I figured if-
If Billy got sick,

McCready would let Doc go.

He could cure both boys.

That's what I meant
to happen.

Well, my boy would be
alive right now

if you hadn't wasted
the whole afternoon in there.

McCready, it's about time
you learned some facts,

and that goes for the rest of
you here too. Now, listen to me.

Your boy, and yours too,
Mrs. Gabriel,

they'd have both died, whether
I'd have been here or not.

What are you saying?

Well, I'm just saying
that the medical profession

has got no answer at all
for this. Not yet.

They may have someday,
but- But not yet.

I just made your boy
as comfortable as I could,

and that's all I'd have been
able to do for Billy.

Probably no more than Bart

was able to do here,
more than likely.

What I'm saying is
that I just don't know

how to treat cholera,
any more than...

I'd know how to cure insanity.

And neither does
any other doctor.

Then I did kill him.

Like I'd shot him with a gun.

I reckon I better go home
and look after my son.

Mr. Dillon,
what about the law?

Ain't there nothing
you can do about him?

Well, there's different kinds
of law, Chester.

McCready has already been tried,
judged and sentenced.