Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 2, Episode 29 - Wrong Man - full transcript

Sam Rickers shot a man dead in the back to try and claim a $1,000 reward, but it turns out that the dead man was never wanted by the law.


Starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.

I knew a man once

who brought his blind
old mother to live with him.

And inside
of a week he gave her

a pair of his cast-off shoes

and put her out
in the yard making soap

in a big black kettle.

I remember at the time thinking
that man was plum mean.

But I've met meaner since.

Since I took this job, that is.

Matt Dillon, U.S. marshal.


Wake up, woman!

Now, you sit there.

Don't you move.

Hey, you!


Where's the marshal's office?

Why? What do you want him for?

I'll tell him that.

Where's his office?

Well, I'm leaning on it.

Ain't no use in you going
in there now, though.


I said there's no need for you
to go in there now.

Marshal Dillon won't be back
for three or four hours.

I can't wait that long.

Well, I work for him.

My name's Chester Goode.

Well, now, that's fine.

I'm Sam Rickers, Chester.

I got me a homestead I'm proving
up a couple miles West of here.

Yeah? Did you run into trouble,
did you, Rickers?


Oh, no. Not me.

I want to show you something

over there in my wagon.

Come on.

Got to see it to believe it.

Hey, Letty, just don't sit there
like you were stuffed.

That ain't the marshal, Sam.

Of course, it ain't. This
is Chester. He works for him.

Well, the marshal ain't here
right now, ma'am.

But Chester can take care of
everything. Can't you, Chester?

Well, you just tell me
what it is, I might.

You're gonna be real surprised.

Hurry up, Sam. Get it over with.

Give him the surprise
you're so pleased, he-

You shut up, Letty!
You'll get nothing out of this.

I don't want nothing out of it.

There. Take a look at that.

Well, sworn to goodness.

Where'd you get him?

Came riding into my place
last night around supper time.

I guess he didn't figure on
finding a fellow like me there.

Well, mister,
you must be facing a whirlwind

to have shot down Bob Hulburt.

Part luck, I guess.

I didn't hold him in here
for nothing, Chester.

Yeah, yeah. I know, I know.

Well, you'll have to wait

till Mr. Dillon gets back. He-

He'll take care of you.

So long as I know it's coming.

Yeah, well, I reckon we better
get him up to Doc Adams.

Ha-ha. Ain't it
a little late for that?

Well, there's got
to be an autopsy.

Well, whatever you say.

Well, it's the law.

Especially in a case like this.

When will the marshal
let me know about everything?

Well, he'll let you know.

By golly,
it's 4:00 right now, Chester.

Well, I left a note
for him, Doc.

He ought to come up here
when gets back.

Well, he'll be pretty surprised.
I'll tell you that.

Well, yeah, he will be that-

Wait. What- What is that?
Is that him?

Sounds like him.

Mr. Dillon.

Come on in here.

What's all this about?

Did somebody really kill
Bob Hulburt?

Yeah, they sure did. It was
a fellow named Sam Rickers.

Sam Rickers? That homesteader?

Yeah, that's him.

Kind of hard
to believe, ain't it?

He never seemed
like the kind of man

that would take on
an outlaw like Bob Hulburt.

Well, there was a thousand
dollars reward on him, you know.

Well, maybe that's
what gave him the courage, yeah?

Well, Bob Hulburt's
a good bad mad now.

You can take him out
and plant him on Boot Hill

any time you feel like it.

Well, that doesn't sound much
like an autopsy report, Doc.

Well, what's there to report?
He was wanted dead or alive

and he got shot.
Doesn't make any difference how.

Well, how did he get shot?

Got shot twice in the chest-

-and once in the back.
In the back?

And I can't tell you
which one was first either.

Mr. Dillon, didn't you say
that you knew him at one time.

Yeah, some years ago, Chester.

This was his first time
in Dodge, though.

And his last time too.

Looks like Sam Rickers
is too tough for him.

I don't know, Doc.

That may be like saying
that John Wilkes Booth

was too tough for Lincoln.

Now, what do you-

Oh, you mean if he got shot
in the back first.

That's exactly what I mean.

What the matter?

Well, I'll tell you one thing:

Sam Rickers isn't going
to collect

any 1000 dollars reward
for this.

He might hang for it, though.


I don't know who that is.
But it's not Bob Hulburt.

Are you sure?

You bet I'm sure.

Well, look at that place,
would you?

You'd think Rickers would prove
it up better than that.

Well, he's never been
a particularly enterprising man

that I know of, Chester.

Not, uh, lately, anyway.

You know, I just can't get over
him murdering a man

and then trying
to collect a reward for it.

He must have seen us coming.



Well, marshal,
I didn't expect you so soon.

How are you, ma'am?

Say hello, Letty.

Say hello to the marshal.

Hello, marshal.

Nice to see you, Mrs. Rickers.

Letty, marshal.

"Mrs." makes me feel
kind of old.

All right, Letty.

Now, stop trying to fool people.

You know how old she is?
Please, Sam.

Why, she's going on-

Rickers. I came here
about that man you brought

into Dodge this morning.

That man?
That's the most valuable man

I ever run into, marshal

Why, out of him I going to build
me a whole new place here.

I'm going to get me some cattle,
some hogs and-

I don't know what all.

I've just been talking to Letty

about what all I'm gonna buy.

Ain't I, Letty?

I wish you wouldn't tell-
I wish you wouldn't take-

I don't want no part of it.

Hey, that's enough.

You interfering with a man
and his wife, marshal?

What kind of man are you anyway?

Now, let me tell you something.

In the first place, you're not
gonna collect any reward.


The man you shot
wasn't Bob Hulburt.

What do you mean? I recognized
him as soon as he rode in here.

You've got wanted posters all
over. I'd know him anywhere.

Yeah, well,
it may have looked like him.

But it wasn't him.

You shut up, Letty.

But that makes it murder.

Letty, maybe you better explain
what's happened.

No, I'll tell you.

I can tell it better.

Well, it was like this:

We were in the cabin there
about supper time

and, uh, I-

I happened to be looking
out this window.

And I- I seen him coming.

I yelled at Letty
and when he got close

we both recognized him.

I went and I got my gun

and I came out here
and I told him-

I said, "You keep moving.

We don't want
no outlaws around here."

And he started to pull
for his gun and I shot him.

I had to! It was self defense.

He would have killed me.

Ain't that right, Letty?

That's the way it happened,
ain't it?

That's right, marshal.
That's what happened.

You know, there's something you
haven't explained to me yet.

What's that?

How did he happen to take
a bullet in the back?

Well, the first shot knocked him
off his horse

and he rolling around
on the ground there

and I shot him
a couple more times.

One of them must have hit him
in the back.

You saw it, Letty.

I saw it.


would you swear
to all this in court?

I'd swear to it, marshal.

You're the only witness,
you know.

That's the truth, marshal.

It was self defense.

Why should I be lying?

I don't know.

I don't even know
who you've shot yet.

It was some outlaw
and you know it.

Or else why would he have drawn
to me like that?

Taking quite a chance,
weren't you?

Bucking a man you thought
was Bob Hulburt?

I ain't afraid
of no man, marshal.

No man at all.

Don't ride your luck
too hard, Rickers.

It might throw you some day.

Come on, Chester.

Honest to goodness.

Drink your beer, Matt.

Honest, I don't think
I better after that.

You're gonna have
to pay for it anyhow.

Oh, that's all right.
What's money to a rich marshal?

Oh, now, Mr. Dillon. You could
be rich if you wanted to be.

Yeah, I suppose so.

I could, uh, turn bounty hunter
like Sam Rickers.

Is there anything
you can do about him?

No, I'm afraid not, Kitty.

I talked to Judge Brookings
about it

and he said there's no point
even bringing him to trial.

Unless I can prove that the man
was shot in the back.

Well, maybe he didn't.


Are you Marshal Dillon?

Yes, sir.

My name's Catlin
from San Antonio.

Well, is there something
I can do for you?


Maybe you can explain
that to me.

You know this man?

Well, I don't know
no Bob Hulburt

but that's my partners picture
you got on there.

I'd like to know why.

Your partner?

What's his name?

Jake Haney. He's been my partner

for 10 years
and he ain't no outlaw.

So where is he?
He's supposed to meet me here.

You haven't got him locked up
in jail or something?

Mr. Catlin,

your partner's dead.



It's amazing how much
they look alike, isn't it?

Why, I don't believe it.

Who'd want to kill Jake Haney?

He never hurt nobody.
He carried a gun, sure.

But I've done all the fighting
for us when need be.

Well, I'm sorry, Mr. Catlin.

They buried him
on Boot Hill yesterday.

Who killed him, marshal?

It was a mistake.

Nobody's killed by mistake.
Now who done it?

It doesn't matter who it was.

You going to tell me?

No, I'm not going to tell you.

Jake Haney was as honest
and decent a man

as I ever known.

I ain't going to let him die
like this by mistake.

Mr. Catlin, I'm-

I'm sorry for what's happened.

It's a little too late
to do anything about it now.

It ain't too late
for me, marshal.

I'm going to find out who it was
and kill him.

You better get out
and tell Sam Rickers about this.

Tell him he can hide in jail
if he wants to.

Well, Mr. Dillon, I don't see
why you have to protect

a no good, wife beating,
reward hunting bum like him.

Go on. You get going.

He's right, Matt.

You ought
to let Rickers and Catlin

settle this for themselves.

Well, my job is to keep people
from killing each other, Kitty.

Not to promote it.

No matter who they are?

No matter who they are.

Sometimes I don't like it
any better than you do.

Mr. Dillon?

You gave me a start.

Where have you been?

You spend the night at Rickers?

Oh, yeah, I sure did.

Where did you sleep?
They don't have much room there.

Oh, they have plenty of room.
There's lots of it.

What do you mean?

Well, I didn't see hide

nor hair of them.

They'd cleared out.
Cleared out?

Yeah. There wasn't a sign
of them anywhere.

Well, Rickers must have had
some reason for running off.

Yeah, but what?

I don't know.


Catlin's found him.

He'll kill him for sure.

Well, let's get over there.
Come on.

Morning, marshal.


Something wrong, marshal?

No. No, nothing wrong.

Mr. Catlin, here,
is staying at the Dodge House.

Same as me and my wife.

Oh, I see.

Well, that's fine. Fine.

Thanks for the information,
Mr. Rickers.

I'll see you later.

Well, you stopped that
just in time, Mr. Dillon.

Stopped what?

What information
did you give him?

I told him where
the printing office was. Why?

He doesn't know who you are?

Of course, he does.
We introduced ourselves

over at the Dodge House.

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

He really don't.

What's this all about?

Catlin happens to be looking for
the man who killed his partner.

He's looking for you, Rickers.

You've got
to get rid of him, marshal.

You've got
to get him out of Dodge.

The only people
that know about this

is Doc, Chester here and myself.

And you wife.

But I don't think she'll talk.

He'll find out it was me.

He's- He's bound to.

Not unless you
give it away yourself.

What are you doing in town
at the Dodge House anyway?

Um, I'm going back tomorrow.

I'm making a loan at the bank.

Ain't you gonna do nothing
about him, marshal?

You just keep your mouth shut
and you'll be all right.

Let's go have breakfast.

You sure ain't eating much,
Mr. Dillon.

Something bothering you?

Yeah. I'm worried
about Sam Rickers, Chester.

Honest to goodness, you spend
more time worrying about him.

What's it about now?

This Catlin's no fool, you know.

Sooner or later he's going
to figure out

that Rickers is his man.

Yeah, well.
So what if he does?

Well, if he does, there'll be
a killing, that's what.

Where are you going?

Well, I'm gonna run Catlin
out of town.

Should have done it
a long time ago.

If you ask me
I hope he does find him.

Good enough. Treating that wife
of his the way he does.

Ought to be horse whipped.

Just kills your appetite.

Let's go on back out
to the place

and forget about this, Sam.

He'd find me.

They'll tell him.
I know they will.

They want to get rid of me.
They hate me.

No, Sam. They won't tell him.

Get out of my way.

It was self defense, marshal.

Pure and simple.

I said, "It was self defense."

I went in there to talk to him.

I wanted to tell him right out
that I made a mistake

about his partner.

I wanted him to know I didn't
mean any wrong in doing it.

Don't you think
that was right, marshal?

Catlin's dead, Rickers.

I had to.

As soon as I said that
he went for his gun.

I had to kill him, marshal.

Yeah, Letty saw it.

Ask her.

Tell him what happened, Letty

Please, Sam...

Tell him what I said.

I don't want to talk.
I don't want to talk at all.

I'll whoop you good.

It's all right, Letty.
He's not hurt.

You knocked him out.

Letty, he's no good.

He's no good at all.

You don't have
to do what he says.

Don't I?

You're afraid of him,
aren't you?

He's my husband.

No woman needs
a husband like that.

I married him, marshal.

Letty, listen to me.

Maybe he was different
when you married him.

But the way he is now,
he doesn't deserve a wife.

He's no good,
and you know it.

But if you go along with him-

If you lie for him you're
just as bad as he is.

No, don't say that.
I ain't like him.

Yes, you are. If you lie for him

you're just as bad.


You think about it.

You think about it real hard.

Mr. Dillon, are you sure you
don't want a hot cup of coffee?

It wouldn't hurt you none.


Well, it's awful good.
No thanks.

It's real coffee.
I've been adding to it

for about a week now.

Go on over to Doc's
and see if he's through

with Catlin yet, will you?

What for?

Well, if he is we'll hire

a couple of men and bury him.

Oh, yeah, that's right.

He didn't have
no friends here, did he?

Buried the only friend he had.

Oh, yeah. That Rickers,

what a down right, no good,
miserable man he is.

Hello, Letty.

Come on in. Chester will fix you
a cup of coffee.

I- I didn't come for that.

I can't stand it
no more, marshal.

I can't tell
no more lies for him.

Well, you don't have to, Letty.

We won't let him
hurt you anymore.

I ain't even
as scared no more.

I hate him.

He's a coward. And I hate him.

Where is he now?

I don't know.

I've come away from him.

Letty, do you want
to tell me what's happened?

That first man,

Sam thought
he was that outlaw.

He looked like him.

So he made me go out
and talk to him

while he sneaked around the side
of the house.

I didn't know he
was going to do that.

He had shot him
in the back, marshal.

And then he had run up,

turned him over

and shot him twice more.

Like killing a hog.

Makes me sick to think about it.

And what about Catlin?

Did Sam kill him the same way?

Of course, he did.

He had his gun out
and he just stood there-

What are you doing here, Letty?

Leave her be.

No, marshal, I'll tell him.

I ain't afraid. Not no more.

You've been talking.

You've been talking
about things.

I hate you, Sam Rickers.

You're nothing but a killer.

The worst kind of killer.

Don't listen to her.
She's lying!

She's nothing
but a cheap lying woman!

I ain't lying! I seen you do it.
Like killing hogs, it was.

Wait till I get you alone!
Talking about your husband-!

I don't care if you
are my husband!

You're a coward, Sam!

A terrible coward!

Why did you kill
that man in the hotel!

He tried to kill me.


He would have.

Yeah, and for no reason.

You couldn't have
testified against him.

He forgot your his wife.

I'm gonna forget it too.

I'm gonna forget I ever was.

I told the truth about him.

Like you said.

And it made me hate him,

talking the truth about him.

Made me hate him worse
than I ever did.

Letty, I'll take you back
to your hotel now.


I ain't even gonna bury him.

Well, we'll bury him.

I'm going out

and I'm gonna burn
the place down.

Then I'm leaving here for good.

I'm going now.

Well, you better get Doc again.