Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 2, Episode 19 - Executioner - full transcript

Grief-stricken rancher Morgan Curry proves willing to go to any length necessary to get revenge after cocksure gunman Tom Clegg kills his brother Abe in a needlessly provoked gunfight.


Starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.

Hey, mister.

I was.

Well, we didn't

cause you any trouble this time,
did we, marshal?

Nope. Hope you boys
aren't gettin' old.

You were good boys
till you ran out of money.

You headin' for home?

Yeah, got all our
whiskey-drinking done

for six months.

Get back to ranchin' now.

You know, I'm gonna be heading
up your way in a day or two.

I gotta go to Pico Ben.

Might stop in and say hello.

Sure would be proud
if you did.

You're welcome at our house
any time you want, marshal.

That is, if you can stand
my cooking.

I lived through it once before,
Abe, and got fat.

Well, we'll be seeing you,

Goodbye, ma'am.

So long, boys.

How'd you know
they lost their money?

I was there.

They drank too much
and got cleaned.

Heh. Well, I guess
they had it comin'.

But they're good men, Kitty.

They're the kind that are
gonna make something

outta this country someday,
if anybody does.

Well, they shouldn't start
by makin' the dealers rich.

Hell, I'd win 'em one bet.

What's that?

That they lost their money
dollar for dollar, together.

They're like that, aren't they?
Always together.

Closest brothers
I ever knew.

Why don't you turn
to ranchin', Matt?

It must be a good feeling to own
land and cattle and crops.

Well, you get me a brother
to share half the load,

and I might try it sometime.

I'll see you tonight, huh?

All right.


Say, who's that
over at our place, Morgan?

Sure a fancy rig.


Looks like he's been
hanging out some in Mexico.

Let's go.

You know this fella, Morgan?

He's a stranger to me.

What are you doin'
on our property?

Feedin' my horse. Why?

This is our spread.

We don't like it
for a stranger to ride in

and help himself
to anything he wants.

You got that hay
out of the barn, didn't you?

That's right.

Oh, well, I guess
if he needed a little hay-

But he gotta be more polite
about stealing it.

Oh, I ain't polite enough
for you?

Maybe I oughta change my ways,
just for you.

What are you, anyway?

Some kid who thinks he's a man
because he's wearing a gun

for the first time?

Mister, I've been wearin' a gun
for eight years.

Ever since I was 18.

That'll make you about 26.

And you're still a kid
that oughta be taken out

to the shed and whipped.

You wanna take me out?

Somebody ought to.

A lot of men
have tried.

I guess it's about
your turn now.

Go ahead.
You're wearin' a gun.

Now, wait a minute. We're not
gonna have any fightin'.

You watch your temper, Abe.

Kid didn't mean anything.

Name is Tom Clegg.
I ain't a kid.

All right, forget it.

You too, Abe.

Well, for that much hay...

Say you're sorry, mister.


You heard me.

You must be crazy-

Now, wait a minute.

Maybe this will help you.

Now draw.

No, Abe. No!

You killed him.
And he didn't even-

He started to draw.

Why don't you try me next?

Abe was no gunfighter.

Neither am I.

Tell you what.

You practice a little, huh?

I'll be in Dodge for a spell.

Come and see me.


Well, look at that,
would you?

I ain't seen a rig like that
since I was down in the basada.

He's spent time in Mexico,
that feller.

It's not the rig
I'm lookin' at, Chester.

Oh? Why, you know him?

Maybe I do.

What are you starin' at?

Aren't you Tom Clegg?

Matt Dillon.

Yeah, Las Cruces,
wasn't it?

About, uh, eight years ago?

Yeah, exactly eight years.

I've changed some since then.

Looks like you did too.

This is Chester Goode here.

How do you do?

I suppose you're rememberin' how
I didn't dare draw

on that fella in Las Cruces.

Yes, I remember
you were smart not to.

He'd have killed you for sure.

Yeah. I left there.

I went down into Sonora
by myself.

I practiced for two years,
every day.

I got pretty good with a gun,

Did you?

Now that fella's dead.

I went back and I killed him.

Now, that wasn't much
of a quarrel.

Certainly not enough to keep you
hating for two years.

I don't need much of a quarrel,

Killed a lot of men since then.

But don't worry about me.

Because they always draw first.

So you're a big gunman, huh?

I've got a pretty fair
reputation in New Mexico.

And now you wanna be known
in Kansas, is that it?

I didn't say that.

I know your kind, Clegg.

I ought to.
I've killed enough of 'em.

Not me, marshal.
You ain't gonna kill me.

I'm too fast for you.

And I'm too smart.

I'll show you someday.

You think he's as fast
as he claims to be, Mr. Dillon?

Oh, I've heard some talk,

Well, I sure hope that
you don't have to face him.

I've never liked it, Chester,
whoever I've had to face.

Well, hello there, Morgan.

Where's Abe?

I didn't know you two
could find your way around

without each other.

He's back at the ranch, Doc.

Hi, Chester.

Well, what are you doin'
back in town again so soon?

Where's Abe?

It's about Abe I've come
to see the marshal.

Ah, is something wrong, Morgan?

Marshal, you've known Abe and me
for a long time.

Well, I sure have.

Would you say I'm a man
that tells lies?

Well, you know
the answer to that, Morg.

Then I'll say it short.

There was a fellow
out at the ranch

when we got back.

Him and Abe got in
a little argument.

Abe was willin' to call it off,

but this fella...

slapped him.

And Abe went for his gun?

He never had a chance.

I'm sorry to hear that, Morgan.

This fellow was the fastest man
I ever seen.

Do you know his name?

Tom Clegg.

I thought so.

He's a killer.

He made Abe draw.

That's what he meant
about bein' smart.

No man can take bein' slapped.

That ain't self-defense,
and he can't claim it is.

Hell, I'm afraid you're wrong
about that, Morgan.

If Abe drew first,
it's a case of self-defense.

You know that as well as I do.

Look, marshal,

I ain't no coward,
you know that.

Well, what's the use
of my facin' him?

He'd kill me
just as easy as he did Abe.

What good would that do?

That wouldn't
do any good at all.

It ain't just me.

It's all the men he's gonna kill
before he's through.

Somebody's gotta stop him.

Now, before he kills
any more men.

It's just like poisonin' a wolf.

I don't know if you're
fast enough for him,

but you're the only man I know
that might be.

Well, Morg,
I'd like to see him dead

as much as you would,

but I'm not hired
to gun men down.

Now, when he breaks the law,
I'll go after him.

But until that time,
my hands are tied.

He's got to be killed.

The law is the law, Morgan,

and I can't change it

just because I don't happen to
agree with it sometimes.

Didn't you say something
about him bein' smart?

Well, we'll see
how smart he is.


Tom Clegg is going to die.

No matter what,

he's gonna die.

If you're so interested
in the game,

why don't you sit in?

Hit me one.

You want another beer, Matt?

Nope. One's my limit.

One? You must be
expectin' trouble.

I didn't say that.

One beer said it.

Ah, you know me too well, Kitty.

Oh? Too well for what?

Ever to have you as an enemy.

You know what I'm thinkin'
just by watchin' me.

I never know what you're
thinkin', Matt Dillon,

and it's probably
just as well.

Still don't know if you're right
about me expecting trouble.

Mm? That?

Oh, I knew about that.

I've been watching Morgan Curry

following Clegg around
half the afternoon

and so far all night.

I can't figure out
what he's trying to do.

I don't think he means to shoot
Clegg in the back or anything.

He's not even carryin' a gun.

I know, that's, uh-

His bein' unarmed,
it makes Clegg helpless.

Hm. Maybe he's trying to get him
into a fistfight.

Clegg's too smart for that.

He knows he'd get torn in two.

I wish Morg would forget
about the whole thing

and go on back home.

Maybe he's just trying
to shame you, Matt.

Me? What do you mean?

Well, for not doing anything

about Clegg
murdering his brother.

It wasn't murder, Kitty.

Abe drew first.

Well, the way I heard it,

Clegg made him draw.

And I don't care what
the law says about self-defense.

Well, I have to care, Kitty.

Marshal, I wanna talk to you.

All right.

Go ahead.

It's about him.

I want him to stop
following me around.

Why tell me about it?

'Cause you're gonna stop him.

Now, why should I stop him?
He's not breaking any laws.

He's a dirty coward.
He ain't wearin' his gun.

There's no law says a man
has to wear a gun, Clegg.

I don't like bein' stared at
all the time.

You got a guilty conscience
about something, Clegg?

Shut up.

Why don't you take off your gun
and make me shut up?

Look at the size of him.
See what a coward he is?

Sorry, can't help you.

Get him away from me.

You hear me?

Yeah, I hear you.

Then do it.

Sorry, Clegg,
it's none of my business.

All right.

You're wearin' a gun.

Are you a coward too?

Morgan, come on outside
a minute.

I wanna talk to you.

Why didn't you kill him
in there?

That was your chance.

Morgan, I am not a gunman.
I'm a lawman.

Aren't you ever gonna
understand that?

Maybe I'm beginnin' to.

Look, it's no use, Morgan.

I'm not gonna fight Clegg
without a reason.

You can't use the law
for your own revenge.

That's not what it's for.

Now, why don't you
forget about this

and go on back home, huh?

Do you think I'm a coward
'cause I don't put on a gun

and let him kill me?

You're the one
that seems to be

doing all the thinking
these days.

My brother was murdered,


Are you afraid of Clegg?

Is that why
you won't do nothing?

Morgan, I don't have
the privilege of bein' afraid.

But there's nothing
I can do for you.


Mr. Dillon.

Where is everybody?
Why is the town so quiet?

Well, there was trouble
here this morning.

Yes, sir.

Yes, sir. It was Morgan.

So he put his gun on
after all, huh?

No, sir. He was unarmed.

Yes, sir, but he ain't dead.

At least not yet. He-
He's up at Doc's.

Where's Clegg?

Well, I don't know for sure,

but he ain't left town.

Not yet, anyways.

I think he's waitin' for you.

Well, I'm here.

Well, I got those two shotguns
from Jonas' store

that make handy street weapons.

Take him over to the stable,

and then get outta sight,
will you?


Well, all right.

Hello, marshal.

I hear you killed
another man today.

He deserved it.

Did he?

I warned him about
following me around.

He'd oughta be
half crazy.

So you shot him, huh?

I told him for the last time.

You know what he did?

He slapped me.
No man can take that.

No, not even
his brother Abe could.

Say, I plum forgot about that.

You told me once
you were smart, Clegg.

I guess you forgot
about that too.

Morgan was unarmed.

You're goin' to jail.

Now you're forgettin', marshal.

I also told you
I'm too fast for you.

Drop your gun belt, Clegg.

Come and get it.


You just gonna
let him lie there?

If he's got any friends,
they can move him, Doc.

I don't suppose
he's got any friends.

Man like that?
Not anymore, anyway.

Oh, then it won't hurt people
to look at him a while.

Might be a couple
of former admirers among 'em.

A would-be gunman or two.

I didn't wanna do that, Doc.

You did the only thing possible.

I walked out there
to arrest him, Doc.

I didn't mean to shoot him down.

Most people it won't make
any difference.

You killed a man
that needed killin'.

That's all there is to that.

That's the way
they'll look at it.

How's Morgan?

Two bullets in him, he's doing
as well as could be expected.


He's dyin'.

I-I just don't understand

what's making him
hold on like this.

I don't understand it.

Most men, they'd have died
right on the spot.



I hear-

Heard sh-shootin',

didn't I?

Yeah, you did.

W-was you in it?

I was.

And Clegg...

is dead?

It's the way
you wanted it, isn't it?

That's how I...

wanted it.

That's what I've been...

hangin' on to hear.


you knew he'd shoot you
when you slapped him,

didn't you?

I had him on-

On edge.

Planned it...

that way.

And you were willing to die,
just to get me to face him?


He murdered my brother.

He murdered me...

the same way.

But we got him anyway.

Didn't we?


Well, he was right, Matt.

He won.

Even if he had to die
to do it.


You know, Doc,

Morgan made an executioner
out of me.

I don't like that.

But right or wrong,

you've got to admire
the way he did it.

Yes, you do.

And in time, you'll forget
the bad part of it.


One more thing to forget.

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