Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 2, Episode 3 - Custer - full transcript

"Rough justice" awaits cocksure Army deserter Joe Trimble after a civilian jury wrongly acquits him of murder and the Army forgoes prosecution in favor of returning him to his unit.


Starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.

You know...

it's one thing to see a man

call another man out

and shoot him down
in a fair fight.

But when you come on a man
who stays in the dark,

away from the crowd...

and seeks out lonely,
helpless people

to prove himself on...

then you get mad.

And you lose faith a little.

Faith in the whole human race.

And faith is something that
comes hard enough

in a job like mine.

U.S. Marshal.


You dirty old sidewinder!

You deserve what you got!

It's all ready,
Mr. Dillon.

I'm so hungry,
I could eat a whole hog.

Well, I'm afraid this is
all the hog you're gonna get

this morning, Chester.
Well, is it done?

Well, depends on
how hungry you are.

No, it's done.

This way you don't
cook out all the good.

Sure will be good to
get back to Dodge tonight

and sleep
in a bed again.

You know,
I think civilization

made you too soft, Chester.
Well, it could be.

But I don't see how
anybody could get used to

using the ground
for a mattress all the time.

Mm. Guess you were made
for bigger things

than...rootin' around
on the prairie

and sleeping
in the rain, huh?


Ain't rained in a long
time, Mr. Dillon.

Mm, yeah, I know
it hasn't.

But it will sooner or later.
It's bound to.

Well, I'm afraid
it won't be soon enough.

We're awful
short on water.

I don't think there's a creek
between here and Dodge.

There isn't.


Say, don't Old Granby
live around here somewheres?

Maybe we can get
some water off of him.

Well, from what I've
always heard about Granby,

he's not the kind to give
anything to anybody.

Well, people talk.

You really think he's
a rich miser

like everybody says?

Well, I don't know,

Sometimes a man's a lot
different from his reputation.

I've only met him
once or twice, but...

he always seemed like
a nice enough old fella.

Well, even if he does have
a lot of money out here,

it wouldn't do him
no good way out here.

Heck, I don't think
you could buy a beer

within 50 miles.


He's too old for drinkin'
and gamblin'

and hurrahin' the town, anyway.

I hope I never get
that old.

Well, at the rate you're
burnin' yourself up,

you won't,
so don't worry about it.

Oh, now, Mr. Dillon,
I think I live pretty quiet

for a young fella
that's fancy-free

and still full of blood.


Now, what's that
string of dust?

Ah, I've been
noticing that.

Looks like somebody
drivin' stock.

Maybe it's
Old Granby.

Yeah, maybe so.

Let's go over
and say hello to him.

That doesn't look like
Old Granby, does it?


Come on.



You workin' for
Old Granby?

I ain't workin'
for nobody.

Oh? Well, uh,
where is he?

Where's who?


I don't know no Granby.

Well, mister, those are
his horses you're driving.

wearin' his brand.

I ain't driving 'em.

I just found 'em
wandering around loose,

so I...gathered 'em up.


You a cowboy?

Yeah, sure.

I'm a cowboy.

You don't
look like one to me.

What do you know about
how I'm supposed to look?

And that's no cow pony
you were ridin' either.

That's an
Army horse.

The Army sells horses
all the time.

I bought 'em.

How come you're not
wearin' a gun?

Does a man
have to wear a gun?

No. But you're probably
the only man

within 1,000 miles of here
who's not wearing one.

Well, maybe I got
a better conscience

than the rest of you.

All right, I tell you
what we'll do.

You've run those horses

about 5 miles
off Granby's property.

You give us a hand,
we'll run 'em back.

I can't.
I'm in a hurry.

This won't take long.

Besides, it might take
Old Granby a couple of days

to round 'em up
if we don't.

Look, you worry
about 'em.

I gotta get
into Dodge.

That's where
we're headed.

We'll ride along
with you...


I ain't gonna do it.

It'd look a lot better
if you did, mister.

Look, I'd like to...

but I can't wait.

As long as you know
who they belong to,

you take 'em back.

I'm leavin' now.
Come on.

Come on.

You just gonna
let him leave like that,

Mr. Dillon?

Hey! What are you
shooting at?!

Ride back here.

What's the matter,
you crazy or something?

You tryin' to
kill me?

Not gonna kill you,
unless you try

to run away again.
Why would I try and run away?

You just did.

Chester, get those horses.

Yes, sir.

Now, if Granby says
everything's all right,

you can go wherever
you want to.

All right, you get
up ahead of me.

And don't try anything funny.

Get going.

Come on.

I'll wait here
for you, marshal.

Go in the house
and look around, Chester.

You've been kind of balky

ever since
I ran into you, mister.

I don't like to be
dragged around.

I never did.

You gonna get off that horse,
or am I gonna pull you off?

I know what you're
thinkin', marshal.

You think I stole
them horses.

Well, I never
heard of the old man.

And I ain't never been
near this place.

So you told me.

I ain't afraid of you
or nobody, marshal.

All right, then
let's go inside.

Mr. Dillon!

Old Granby's in there,
all right, but-

But somebody's gone and
beat him to death.

Just because I happen to be
in this part of the country

don't mean I killed nobody.

Keep this on him.

I ain't gonna
do nothing.

The whole house
was torn up.

You must have been searching
for Granby's money.

What money?

Go over and search
his blanket roll,

will you, Chester?

Put your hands
in the air.

What do you think
you'll find, marshal?

What's your name?


Joe Trimble.

And where are
you from?

Back East.

Back East where?

All over.

And what are
you doin' out here?

Makin' a change.


And some cowboy
you ran into

told you about
Granby bein' rich... you came in here

and tried to
beat him into

tellin' you
where the money was.

That's a lie.

This is the first time
I've ever been here.

There's no money here,
Mr. Dillon.

I wish I had more evidence
against you, Trimble...

but I'm
gonna arrest you,

and you're gonna
stand trial.

And I'm gonna do
my best to see you hang.


get a shovel,
will you?

We'll lay
Old Granby away.

Yes, sir.

All right.

Anyway, he tore
the whole house apart

for the money.

I'm pretty sure now
that Old Granby

never had
an extra dollar.

How old is
this fellow, Matt?

Oh, he's around 25.

I can't
figure him out, Doc.

He's not a gambler,
and he's not a cowboy.

He's not even a drifter.

He just doesn't seem
to fit anywhere.

Maybe he's just
a poor boy

runnin' away
from home.

Mm. And how old were you
when you ran away from home?

Age had nothing
to do with it for me.

Well, anyway,
they'll hang him.

I hope the judge
agrees with you, Doc.

Oh, why shouldn't he?

Because the only evidence
I've got against him so far

is circumstantial.

Uh, and I don't see
where I can

get anything else.
Then you should have

shot him right there
where you found him.

It's a good thing
you're not a lawman, Doc.

Well, maybe if I was,
there wouldn't be

so many killings
around here.

Tsk. I doubt that.

You goin' up to Hays
for the trial?

I have to.

take about a week,

I suppose.

Well, about. Why?

Oh, nothing.

Only you've just been away
for 10 days.

Well, I gotta earn
a living somehow, Kitty.

You could make more money
gamblin' right here in Dodge.

Is Marshal Dillon


Marshal Dillon?


I'm Major Banker.

May I have
a word with you?

All right,

I'll be back.

No hurry. Doc's
got a lot of money.

Haven't you, Doc?

No, I haven't.

Um, but I'll buy you
another drink.

Just one, though.

Well, it's a start.

Well, major,
what's on your mind?

I had to come to Dodge
on other business,

but I thought I'd
pass the word to you.

We're lookin'
for a man.

The Army?

Yes, a deserter.

Not from Fort Dodge.

He was stationed at Fort Lincoln
with the 7th Cavalry.

And we believe
he headed south.

He's about 25. A private.

Brown hair and
very dark brown eyes.

What's his name?

He enlisted as Joe Gale,

but he's known to have used
the name of "Trimble."

Well, major...

your man is
right here in Dodge.

You sure, marshal?

Got him locked up in jail.

Well now,
that's fine-

Fine, marshal.
But, uh...

how did you know
we wanted him?

I didn't.

He's under suspicion for murder.

I'm gonna have him tried for it.

Well, that won't be
necessary now.

I'll take over
custody of him.

Oh, no, major.

If you did that, he'd be tried
up at Fort Lincoln

for desertion.

I want him tried
for murder.

And I'm gonna be there

to present
the evidence I've got.

You could go
to Fort Lincoln.

Dakota's out of
my territory, major.

this is a civil crime.

The army wants that man,

I'm sorry, major.

He's gonna be tried
in Hays first.

He's still a soldier
even if he did desert.

If the jury lets him off,
the Army's welcome to him.

Major, he murdered
and tortured an old man.

And I'm gonna do
everything in my power

to see him punished for it.

I'll have to take this up
with my superior, sir.

Well, you'd better hurry.

I'm gonna take him
to Hays tomorrow morning.

Good evening, sir.
Good night, major.

I got the horses up,
Mr. Dillon.

They're tied
right outside.

Well, thanks, Chester.

You about ready
to leave?

Yeah, just about.

Well, Hays City

ought to take you
a couple of days,

hadn't it?
Day and a half, I figure.

It's only 100 miles.

Well, I'll bet
that's harder riding

than the cavalry's
got Trimble used to.

Yeah, it'll be something
different anyway.

At least we won't
be stopping

10 minutes out of every hour.


No, you won't be
doin' that.

That's for sure.

You won't be getting off
and leavin' your horses

for a whole hour
every evening

before you water 'em,

I'd like to get a picture
of you doin' that.

Well, I don't know,

If I had to spend a whole day

on one of those
McClellan saddles

like the cavalry does,

I think I'd welcome a chance
to get on my feet.

Well, I can't say that
I blame you none there.

Well, wouldn't hurt to rev
this place up a little

when I'm gone.

Oh. You know,

I knowed you was
gonna say that.


All right.

All right, I'll-

I'll...get at it
right now.

Do it.

Just an idea,

Yeah, I know.
I know.


I'd do it myself,
if I had the time.

Mm-hm. Just
an idea.

You know, Mr. Dillon, I-
I was makin' a cup of coffee,

so we could have
a cup 'fore you left,

is what I was doing.

Yeah, now there's an idea.

Well, it won't taste
like nothing

but cans of dust now.

Yeah, but think what
a nice, clean room

we'll have
to drink it in.

Yeah, well,
I'd just like

for you to answer me
one question.

What's that?

How come that
a debt-free, God-fearin',

law-abiding citizen
like myself

has to do all the hard,
dirty chores,

and some...Army deserter,
and a murderer to boot,

gets to lay in there
on his bunk

and stare at the ceiling,
and listen to the-

The birds whistling
outside his window?

Answer me that.

I don't know.

Now, that's a question
I'd have to break up, I think.

Take it a piece at a time.

Yeah, well, it ain't just,
and it ain't right.

That's all
I was gonna say.

Let's get that
cup of coffee, huh?

Oh. Yeah, that ought
to be about ready.


How is it?

Ah. Nothin' wrong
with that coffee.

Well, I made it
good and strong.

There's nothing like
a bellyful of powerful coffee

to keep you
in the saddle all day.

Yeah, this will keep me
all the way to Hays.

Well, Chester, you can
have the pleasure

of going in and prodding
Mr. Trimble loose

from his bunk
of leisure.

Oh. Well...

that'll make my day.



of the jury...

it's not
my place

to influence
the way you think.

But it is my place
to help you remember

the important points of
this case you have

the duty
of decidin' on.

Now, the difference between
circumstantial evidence...

and real, actual evidence

has been explained to you.

It only seems fair that,
in my opinion,

your decision
is bound to be swayed

by one or the other.

I don't think any of us
have any doubts

about the honesty
and reputation

of Marshal Matt Dillon.

In his opinion...

the defendant was found
in possession of

the horses of the deceased.

Now, the defendant
denies this.

And the marshal
further states

that at the home
of the deceased...

the way
the defendant acted

was caused by
his guilt.

Now, the defendant says
he's just naturally nervous

whenever he's questioned
by a lawman.

Now, these are not

things you can really
put your finger on.

But they're the only
things you have

to help you

I don't have to
remind you...

that a man's life
is at stake here.

All right,
jury can go now.

How come you
brought him back,

Mr. Dillon?

They found him innocent,


Nice folks
up in Hays.

Ain't that so,

Get inside,

Major Banker
still in town, Chester?

Yeah. Saw him not
more than an hour ago.

Would you mind
gettin' him for me?

Look, marshal,

I ain't afraid of
the Army either.

Want to play a little
poker while we wait?

I feel lucky.

Get inside.

You don't have to
lock me up.

I wouldn't
try and run away.

I know you won't.

You know why I wouldn't
try and run away, marshal?

That'd give you a good
excuse to shoot me.

I think you'd
like that.


I thought about that
all the way from Hays.

Get movin'.

Hello, marshal.


Well, I hear you
didn't have much of

a civil case
after all.

They acquitted

Law's the law,
I guess.

Yes, and in the Army,
orders are orders.

I'm sorry your court
didn't convict him.

That so?

Get the prisoner,
will you, Chester?

I'll say one thing
for the Army though,


What's that?

We were in the saddle
80 miles yesterday,

and all through
last night.

And your private

wanted to play poker
when we got back.

Yes, marshal.

The cavalry may have
some bad men in it,

but they're
all tough.

Private Trimble,

You're under military
arrest, private.

Not privileged
to salute.

Yes, sir.

Besides, you enlisted
as Private Gale,

not Trimble.

Yes, sir.


you don't deserve
to be here.

You know that,
don't you?

You ought to be hung
for what you've done.

I told you I'd go free,

It'll catch up with you.

It always does.


thank you, marshal.

We'll get going.



you said you were sorry
the court didn't convict him.

What made you
change your mind?

Because I've gotten orders
from General Terry

to return him to
his unit in the Dakotas.

You mean to say he won't even
be convicted of desertion?

Oddly enough,
he won't even be tried.

Not for several
months anyway.

Why not?

The 7th needs
every available man.

They're leaving Ft. Lincoln
soon on an expedition...

against the Sioux and
the Northern Cheyenne.

The Sioux, huh?

Wonder if
Sitting Bull's still

chief medicine man
for that tribe.

I don't know...

but I expect the 7th will
go into Montana Territory.

Well, they will if
they're after Sitting Bull.

He's always
in a large camp

up there on
the Little Bighorn,

you know.

Well, thanks
again, marshal.

We'll be getting along.

Good luck, major.


Well, maybe a Sioux war lance
will take care of him for us.

I doubt it, Chester.

Private Trimble is not
the kind of a man

to face danger if he can find
any way out of it.

Who's in charge of
the 7th now, anyways?

Well, he's one of the most
ambitious generals

in the Army, Chester.

And he's not
too well liked either,

from what I hear.

General George Custer.

Custer, huh?

Well, he sure must be
needin' soldiers awful bad

to take a deserter
like Trimble along.

Yeah, this Custer had better
watch himself.

Old Sitting Bull knows
that Little Bighorn country

like the back of his hand.

Ain't no Indians gonna massacre
the United States Army.

Well, I don't know, Chester.

Custer may overextend himself
one of these days.

Get it right in the neck.

You know, we can't
do anything to Trimble

for what he's done.

But like you said,
maybe, uh...

old Sitting Bull
and a Sioux war lance

will do the job for us.

I'll tell you one thing.

A man like Trimble
has to pay sooner or later.




No, I guess
I never heard of him.

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