Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 2, Episode 16 - The Cover Up - full transcript

Matt jails the wife abusing Sam Baxter on suspicion of murdering 2 squatters on his land, but after he gets locked up, a 3rd squatter is murdered.


Starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.

You know, I've heard it said

that the worse a man
treats a woman,

the more she loves him.

Well, I don't know much
about women,

but I do know something
about horses.

And I can tell you that
if you treat a horse bad,

he's not gonna come very fast
when you whistle.

Of course,
I could be wrong about it.

I know I was one time,

and it nearly cost me my job.

Matt Dillon. U.S. marshal.

What in the world's
Erik Hoffer

doing with that
old horse pistol?

I don't know.

Stuck in his belt
like that,

it looks real farmer's style,
don't it?

You know, sometimes those
old horse pistols go off.

Why don't you
mosey on over there

and see what
he's doing, huh?

Yeah, well,
I reckon somebody better.

Well, would you look
at that?

Hey, get going,
will you?


Good morning.

Morning. Morning.

Well- Well,
I'll see you later.

Well, how do you
like the outfit?

Well, it's fine.
That's just fine.

But I never saw you wearing
a riding skirt before.

You've been
riding sidesaddle?

For the first
time in my life.

Well, sit down.

I'd love to.

Well, at least I'll know
how to do it now.

In case I'm ever
called on to be a lady.

I know ladies who don't
always ride sidesaddle.

Like that wildcat
down in the panhandle

you were telling me about.
What was her name?

Oh, some lady.

Well, everybody always treats
her like one. Of course, uh,

sometimes she has to use
a six-gun to make them do it.

Hm. Maybe I ought to try that.

Takes more than a six-gun
to make a lady, Kitty.

That's a fine way
of putting it.

Now, there's somebody that
tried too hard to be one.

Who, Mrs. Baxton?

Oh, I'm not saying
Mrs. Baxton isn't a lady,

but look what
it's cost her?

What do you mean?

Well, I-

Well, I've known Sara Baxton
a long time, Matt.

Uh, we used to work together
up at the Oasis in Abilene.

Yeah? Well,
I never knew that.

She was a lot prettier then,
before she married Sam.

I've heard he treats
her pretty rough.

Rough? She's 30
and looks 40.

He did that to her.

Guess she'd have been
better off in Abilene, huh?

Nobody treated her so gentle
in Abilene, Matt.

Well, what do you mean then?

she loves Sam Baxton.

I guess that's what makes
the difference to her.

How could she love him?

He's nothing but
a land-hungry rancher.

He thinks more of his cattle
than he does of her.

Well, there's never
an answer to that question.

She does.

Don't try to figure out
why any woman loves, Matt.

I'd go crazy if I did.

What, are you leaving?

I'm just going to go
to say hello to Sara.


She's waiting for Baxton, Matt.

And he's probably down
at the Long Branch

not caring what she does.

Well, I wouldn't
be surprised about that.

You might go tell him.

Me? O-oh no, Kitty.

That's one thing I never do,
is mix in family matters.

Well, I didn't mean
to run him out with a gun.

Well, I-I know.
But I couldn't do that anyway.

I-it's just a bad policy
in my job.

Well, he'll probably be in there
sloppin' in up all day.

Mr. Dillon!

Hey, does Chester want you?

Mr. Dillon!

Yeah, I better go see
what he wants.

Matt, if Baxton is in there-

No dice, Kitty.

You better do something,
Mr. Dillon.

There's gonna be trouble, sure.

You mean Hoffer?

Well, you know that neighbor
of his, Zack Ritter?


Well, he says
he's gonna kill him.

Well, is Ritter in there?
Well, no, he ain't yet,

but you better jail Hoffer
before he gets here.

He's telling it
to Sam Baxton now.

I'll just
listen in.

Yes, sir. I'm giving
you fair notice.

All you molly grubs.

If Zack Ritter gets here,

you're going to see
his blood all over the place.

What you got
against Ritter, anyway?

I'll tell you what, Baxton.

He started running cattle,
that's what.


So his cattle are in my corn,
eating it.

This is growing land,
not grazing land.

Man's got no right
to run cattle on it.

Man's got no right
to run cattle or grow corn

on land that don't
belong to him.

What are you
trying to say?

Just that everything between
the south fork of Buckner Creek

in the Arkansas is my land,
all 10,000 acres of it.

That's a powerful lot
of land for one man.

Depends on the man.

Does it?

How many head of cattle
is Ritter running?

Ten or twelve.
Enough to ruin my corn.

Well, I'm running over 2000
in my south range.

I'm taking delivery
of another 1000 next week.

I'll be ranging close to you,

They might just
run right over you.

Then I'll kill you too
if I have to.

Well, marshal. I suppose
you're a friend of his.

Doesn't matter one way
or the other.

Oh, yes it does.
Because if you are,

I'm just as liable to take
to mind to shoot you too.

You're not gonna shoot anybody,
Hoffer. Now, give me the gun.

Come on,
I said give it to me.

Zack Ritter,
Mr. Dillon.

Oh, are you hurt bad,
Mr. Dillon?

Oh, it's all right.

Here, get him out of here.
Take him over and lock him up.

What about your arm?
Doc won't be back till tonight.

I'll take care of it then.
Go on.

All right, let's go, Hoffer.

The devil got into him.

Where do they bottle
the devil around here?

You want to proffer chargers
against him? Attempted murder?

No, marshal.

He has a farm to work.

You're a pretty forgiving man.

But seeing as you're not
wearing a gun,

maybe you'd be a little safer

if I kept him locked up
for a few days.

Well, it's against
my beliefs to carry a gun.

Well, what if I hadn't
been here just now?

You were here.

All right,
what about next time?

I can't be everywhere
at once, you know.

God will provide.

I hope so, Ritter.

I certainly hope so.

You should have been
taken care of before now.

Well, you've been out
in the country all day.

Well, I can't sit around
neglecting other patients,

waiting for you to get shot.

Might make more money that way.

The only way I can make
any more money around here

is to have your job.

And you wouldn't get rich
that way, either.

Hey, Chester,
go get Hoffer, will you?

Oh, yes.

I want you to wash this, now.

Well, it looks clean
as rain to me.

I don't know. You never can tell
about a thing like this though.

It can get infected overnight.

I don't see how
it can get infected

after all that turpentine
you poured in there.

Hurt you, didn't it?

You know,
one of these days,

I might get a chance
to work on you.

No, no, sir.
No, I couldn't stand that.

I-I'd sooner die.

Out on the prairie
in the snow.

All alone, bleeding
to death in the snow.

Nobody around to bury me-

Now, how did you
get out in the snow, anyway?

Hm? Oh, I hate snow.

Here he is, Mr. Dillon.


I'm going to turn you loose
providing you go straight home.

How come?

Because Zack Ritter won't
proffer charges against you.

He says you got a farm
to work.

Some farm I'll have
if he don't fence-in his cattle.

You ever try fencing-in
your corn?

I find that barbed wire
is a lot cheaper

than gunpowder in the long run.

Now, don't preach to me,

Look, you try using this again,
and I'm not gonna wait

for somebody to proffer charges
against you.


Marshal Dillon.

Oh, Bates. Well, he's, uh-
Mr. Dillon?

What is it?

There's been a killing.


Zack Ritter.
He got bushwhacked.

His place ain't far from mine,
you know.

I was riding by there
and I heard his dog howling,

so I rode up and there he was,
laying dead on the ground.

It was terrible, marshal.
Him laying there, murdered.


You've got any idea who did it?

Well, if I did have
I wouldn't say.

I don't wanna die like that.

You know Erik Hoffer?

All right, better go bury Ritter
and then we'll pick up Hoffer.

Don't tell him I said nothing.
Don't tell him I found Ritter.

You got nothing
to worry about.

We'll have Hoffer
locked up by sundown.

Well, it looks like that Hoffer
pulled out in an awful hurry.


Left the fire burning. Didn't
even bother to shut the door.

Well, he won't get far.

Come on.

Well, I'll be.
Just like Zack Ritter.

He's still breathing.


Take it easy, Hoffer.


I opened the door,

took the whole load of it.

Did you see
who did it to you?

Sam Baxton.


You sure about that?

Saw him plain,

waitin' out there
for me to come out.

How about Zack Ritter?

Did you kill him?

Zack Ritter?


This morning.

Hm. Hm.

Both of us dead.

I don't wanna die, marshal.

It's a wonder he stayed alive
that long.

Well, I just can't believe
that Sam Baxton did it.

And both of those men were
nesters, Chester,

squatting on his land.

Well, still and all.

Come on, we've got
some burying to do.

Then we'll see about Mr. Baxton.


Chester. I heard you coming,
I saw ya.

Hello, Mrs. Baxton.
How do you do, ma'am?

Well, come on in,
don't stand around out here.

Uh, no, thanks.
We don't want to bother you.

Oh, come on in
and sit a while.

I just cooked up
a fresh pot of coffee.

Well, thanks anyway, but we
really don't have the time.

I, uh, would like to talk
to your husband if I could.

Oh, well,
he was down at the corral.

I yelled at him
when I saw you were coming.

Oh, well, thanks.
We'll find him.


Hello, Baxton.

What are you doing here,

Why, Sam, that's no way to-
Shut up, woman.

Please don't talk that way.

Would you rather get whipped?

I said, what are you doing here,

I heard you.

Then say it out.
I got work to do.

Erik Hoffer and
Zack Ritter were killed.

Oh no.

They're dirty nesters.

They both died the same way.

What do I care how they died?

As long as they're dead.

I'm gonna tell you anyway.

Each of them was killed when
he stepped out of his cabin

early this morning by a rider
waiting outside with a shotgun.

How do you know?

You weren't there.

Hoffer was still alive.

He didn't live long but before
he died he told me who shot him.

Did he?

And who is that, marshal?


Oh, no, marshal. Not Sam.

I'm sorry, ma'am,
but that's what he said.

Chester here can tell you that.

That's true, ma'am.
That's what he said.

I'm gonna have to arrest you,

On the word of a dead sodbuster?

Who'd believe it?

The court will decide that.

Don't be a fool, marshal.
Hoffer knew he was dying.

It was his last chance
to get me into trouble.

And he wanted that.

He even threatened my life,
you head him yourself.

You'll get a trial.
You can defend yourself then.

Right now I'm charging you
with both murders.

But, marshal.
Zack Ritter was dead already.

He couldn't have
told you anything.

Well, ma'am, both men were
killed exactly the same way.

Must've been the same man.

They weren't the only nesters
squatting on my land.

There's Jim Fowler and Jed Bates
up on Ginger Creek.

If I was out
to eliminate sodbusters,

maybe you'll explain to me
why I haven't rid of them too.

Maybe I just didn't give you
enough time, Baxton.

You're going too far, marshal.

When we get this
little business cleared up,

you're gonna wish you'd
never come near me.

Come on,
let's get in to Dodge.

Wait, marshal.

It wasn't Sam.
He didn't do it.

He hasn't been off the place
since we was in Dodge.

I-I've been right here
with him, I swear it.

It's the God's truth, marshal.

I'm sorry, Mrs. Baxton.

You'd take the word
of a man who hates him

over the word of
a woman who loves him?

I'll handle this my own way,

You stay out of it.

Now, don't go running into
Dodge talking your head off.

Just stay here
and take care of things.

That'll give you plenty to do.

Yeah, Sam.
That'll give me plenty to do.

Mr. Dillon, you're going over
to talk to Sam Baxton some more?

Oh, I don't think so, Chester.
I've talked to him

enough already,
he's not going to confess.

he's going to hang anyway.

Ain't going to be any tears
shed around here when he does.

What about Mrs. Baxton,

I wasn't thinking of her.

Mr. Dillon,
ain't that Jed Bates?

Wonder what in the world
he thinks he's doing.

I don't know.

Looks like he's pulling out.
That wagon's plum loaded.

Yeah, without even
saying goodbye.

Where you headed, Bates?

I'm going hunting
for new country.

Something wrong?

I'm quittin' while
I'm still alive.

Was somebody after you
or something?

They will be.
They shot Jim Fowler.

Jim Fowler?

Up on Ginger Creek.
Right near me.

I found him early this morning.
I buried him.

Went home, packed my things
and I'm leaving.

What happened, Bates?

He was laying in the door
of his cabin. Just woke up.

He was tore plum in two
with a shotgun.

Ain't that enough?

Mr. Dillon, he was killed just
like Ritter and Hoffer and-

And Baxton was in jail.

Yeah, I don't have much
to hold him on now.

Well, I guess he was telling
the truth after all.

Sure looks that way.

You going to turn him loose?

Yeah, I guess I'll have to.

Oh, hello, Mrs. Baxton.

How do you do, marshal?

What are you doing here?

Waitin' for you.

It was too bad about
Jim Fowler being killed.

Well, news gets around fast.

One of our cowboys was up
on Ginger Creek,

and he rode by there
this morning and saw him.

Then he rode straight to
the ranch and told me about it.

I see.

He said it happened
the same way, marshal.

Early, when Jim Fowler first
came out of his cabin.

That's right.

Well, I've come to take
Sam home, marshal.

Well, it looks like
that he's innocent, ma'am,

because he was here in jail
when Fowler was killed.

Would you let
Sam out now, marshal?

I'd like to get
started for home.

I'm sorry, Mrs. Baxton, but,

I'm going to have to hold
your husband a while yet.

Mr. Dillon,

you said out there
in the street that y-

I said that he hasn't cleared
himself of this yet, Chester.

Guess you didn't hear me
so well.

Well, no.
I guess I didn't.

I'm sorry, Mrs. Baxton.

I can't turn your husband loose

because the last killing
might be a coincidence.

But I'm gonna find out about it

and if he's innocent, I'll turn
him back to you right away.

Well, you gotta do
your duty, marshal.

You've gotta do what you think
is right.

Could I see Sam
before I start back?

He's right in there.

Uh, right through here,
Mrs. Baxton.

He's in the last cell.

Mr. Dillon, I could've sworn
that out there-

Chester, go saddle us a couple
of horses, will you?

And get one for Baxton too.

As soon as she leaves,
we're riding out of here.

You think that the damn blankets
are really gonna fool anybody

into thinking that
Bates is still here?

I don't know, Chester.

When I get through,

I'm gonna hang it up here
behind the door in the shadows.

From outside,
it should look like him.

Well, yeah, I guess it might.

If you don't get too much
light on it.

Sleep well, Baxton?

I'd rather have spent
the night in jail.

Why? Jed Bates has a pretty nice
little place here.

Well, he improved it some
by clearing out.

Chester, be sure and put plenty
of green wood on that fire.

I want it to smoke up so that
anybody waiting outside

would be sure to see it.

Yeah, well, that's what I did.
You want me to get it lit now?

Yeah, go ahead.

Baxton, don't stand there
where you can be seen,

get away from there.

Well, if anybody's outside,

they sure ought to think
Jed Bates

is up and stirring about.

Ah, we'll give them
another minute or two.

Say, marshal.

If there really is a bushwhacker
out there,

it'll sure enough prove
I didn't kill nobody, won't it?

I thought I told you to get away
from that window. Now, go on.

You want me to work the dummy
or yank the door open?

You work the dummy.

As soon as I hear
a couple of shotgun blasts,

I'm gonna step out there
and try to take him alive.

Give me that gun.

I got him! I got him twice.

I was only trying to help.

I got him, didn't I,

I guess that puts me-

Oh, no.

Oh, no.

I didn't know who it was.

I couldn't see.

How would I know she was going
around killing people?

The only person she
killed was Jim Fowler.

I never knew she hated
nesters that bad.

It's kind of hard to believe,


Guess you can't tell
about a woman.

I can tell you about
that woman, Baxton.


She didn't kill Jim Fowler
because she hated him.

She killed him
because she loved you.


She was trying
to cover up for you.

Why, I guess this proves
I didn't kill Ritter and Hoffer,

don't it?

Baxton, the biggest mistake
you ever made was killing her.

I tell you,
I didn't know who it was.

You knew.

But what you didn't know was
that she would have confessed

to killing Hoffer
and Ritter also.

She loved you that much.

Got it all figured out,
haven't you?


Except for one thing.

How could she have loved
a man like you?