Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 2, Episode 31 - What the Whiskey Drummer Heard - full transcript

A weird whiskey drummer named Wilbur Hawkins makes a claim to Matt that he overheard a man making a offer to pay 300 dollars to kill him, and shortly thereafter an attempt is made on Matt's life.


Starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.


Oh, hello, Mr. Dillon.

What was the matter
with your gun?

Well, that sure pin
was worn down, Chester.

I took it over,
and old Eli fixed it up.

It's as good as new now.

It seemed like you been gone
long enough

to test it real good.
Well, I wasn't really,

but I wanted to get over
and meet the stage today

in case Sheriff Smith
comes in from Tascosa.

Oh, I sure hope that he does.

You know, we been holding
that prisoner of his

for better than a week now?

Well, he's done the same
for me.

Oh, yeah,
but this fella here,

I've been getting real impatient
with him.

It's just all day long. I'm just
like an old mother hen to him.

"Get my water." "Get my food."
"Get this." "Get that."

He just keeps on complaining.

Well, he's got nothin' better
to do.

Oh, but this one is just
downright unreasonable.

You know, he said that he'd been
in 50 jails better than this,

and now you know
that ain't true.

We keep a real nice place

Well, Chester, we got
some room for improvement.

Well, I don't- Mr. Dillon,
some jails I've been in,

you just walk in there-

Yeah, you were, uh,
visiting friends, I suppose, uh?

Visit- Yeah, yeah.

Come on. You wanna go over
and meet the stage with me?

Oh, I- I sure do.
Heh. Stay here much longer,

he's liable to tell me
they got suet pudding

in the Abilene jail.

Well, do they?

Well, that ain't
the point, Mr. Dillon.

Heh. I...

Well, it looks like I'm gonna
have to feed that prisoner

another two weeks.

That's when the next stage from
Tascosa comes in, ain't it?

Mm, give or take a day or two.

Uh, don't throw mine down.
It's bottle goods.

Just hand it to me.

Thank you.

What's the matter with him?

He sure looked at you funny,
didn't he?

Yeah, I guess some people just
like to know who the law is

when they come to town.

Well, maybe he'll be
on the next one, huh?

Well, I hope so.
That prisoner of his

is sure gettin' on my nerves.

I thought you said you used
to be a cook in the Army.

Well, I was once.
Well, in the Army,

you had to cook for a whole
company of men, didn't you?

Well, that's different,
Mr. Dillon.

I had a lot of help there.

Besides, the supplies come in
a lot steadier than ours do.

Well, at least you don't have
to stand reveille here.

Oh, uh, Mr. Dillon,

you mind stopping in
at the Long Branch for a minute?

Kind of early in the day,
isn't it?

Oh, well, it ain't for a drink.
It's not that.

But Sam's holding my winnings
from last night,

and I didn't wanna put it
back in a game, you know.

Oh, I see.
So you wanna get it out now

so you can put it back tonight,

Well, if there's nothin'

there's nothin' gained.

All right.

Morning, Sam.

I can have this
delivered to you

right from Kentucky
once a month.

I don't do the buying in here,

And besides, we're getting
along fine the way things are.

But you don't have one single
whiskey with this quality

on your bar.

Oh, your money, Chester?

Hello, Marshal Dillon.
How are you, Sam?

Oh, I just come in to pass
the time of day.


Ah, here it is.

Well, thank you, there, Sam.

Buy yourself a beer.

I'll do that.

Excuse me,

but I heard the bartender
call you Marshal Dillon.

That's right.


I got something to tell you,
marshal. It's important.

All right, go ahead.

You're gonna die, marshal.

Who are you, mister?

Wilbur Hawkins.
I'm a whiskey drummer.

First time I ever been
to Dodge though.

I worked around St. Louis
till they sent me out here.

I liked it better in St. Louis.

There's lots of important people

What are you talking about?

You're gonna die, marshal.
I heard 'em saying so?

You heard who saying so?

Well, I don't know
their names.

It was dark, and they
weren't there very long.

And of course,
I couldn't say anything,

because then they'd have known
I was listening.

And I didn't know
who you were,

till just now, that is.

You're not making a whole lot
of sense, you know.

Oh, it makes sense,
all right.

You see, I rode all the way out
here on the stages,

and this one night, I was all
wrapped up, trying to sleep,

and these two men were there.

And one of the men
gave the other one $300.

He said it was to kill
Marshal Dillon,

but he didn't say where.

So- So I didn't know
until just now.


That's all you know about it?

That's all.

Well, I've done my duty now.

I'll be going.


What do you make of that?

Well, I don't know.

But if he's telling the truth,
we'll find out soon enough.

Is everything all right?

Yeah, it's all right so far.

How's the prisoner?

Well, he's fed
and sound asleep already.

And it's just barely
dark out.

Well, I'll tell you,
it sure wears a man down

waiting for somebody
to shoot him in the back.

Yeah. Well, it's been going on
for almost a week now.

What do you think's
gonna happen?

I don't know, Chester.
I got no idea.

Well, would like for me

to fix you a cup of coffee
or something?

Yeah, it'd go mighty good.

It's kind of cold.
It'll be just a minute.

Say, did you feed
the horses yet?

Huh? Oh, no, I didn't.

That prisoner's been keeping me
so busy I plum forgot.

I'll get 'em in a minute.

No, you go on and warm up
the coffee. I'll feed 'em.

Well- Well, he ain't
been run long enough

to get hungry.

Mr. Dillon.

Mr. Dillon!

Get down, Chester.
Get down on the floor.

Are you shot?
No, no, I'm not shot.

What is it?
Get down, get down.

Somebody's out there
trying to ambush me.


Stay down.

I was trying to play possum.

I wanted to get him
in here close

where I'd get a better look
at him.

Well, I guess I scared him away,
Mr. Dillon,

runnin' out like that.

It's all right,
it doesn't matter.

I was sure that you was shot
when I heard that shooting.

Well, it's all right, Chester.
He probably thinks I'm dead.

Maybe I'll just go on
playing possum.

What do you mean?

Come on, let's get over
to Doc's.

What'd you say
that whiskey drummer's name is?

Wilbur Hawkins, Doc.

But you've never heard of him.
It's his first trip to Dodge.

Well, I just don't understand
why the fool

didn't try to follow those men,
find out who they are.

Well, he was probably scared
half to death.

Anyway, he acts like somebody
hit him in the head

with a bolt of lightning.

I mean, you know,
even when he's standing still,

he gives you the feeling that
he's- He's walking sideways,

kind of like a crab,
you know what I mean?

No, and I'd think twice before
I'd ask you to explain it too.

What do you got in mind now,
Matt? What are you gonna do?

Not a thing, Doc.


I'm gonna let Chester
do the work for a while.

I'm just gonna sit up
in your office and wait.

Wait for what?

Chester, I want you go down

and spread the word around
that I'm dead.


And when you do, I figure it is
whoever wants me that way

is gonna make his play.
He's gonna go ahead

and do whatever it is
he had planned out.

And we're gonna have
a little surprise for him.

That's a wonderful idea,
Mr. Dillon.

I wonder why I didn't think
of that.

By golly, it might work.

I'm kind of anxious to meet
this man. Him and his gunman.

Now, Chester,
I want you to go down

and start spreading it around
to everybody you see.

Just tell 'em exactly
what happened.

Mm, all right, all right.
Only, there's just one thing,

Mr. Dillon. Ain't the boys
likely to run wild, uh,

once they find out you ain't
around to hold a lid on things?

Well, that's just a chance
we'll have to take.

Well, all right, I'll-

I'll start tellin' 'em.

You know, Matt,
he's right about one thing.

A lot of men in this town just
waiting for an excuse like this.

Yeah. Well, if things
get too bad, Doc,

I'll just have to come back
to life.

He's spreadin' the word

Well, what are you gonna do
to keep me entertained

while I'm staying here
with you?


Well, I'll be doggoned,
I never thought of that. I-

I suppose I gotta feed you too,

Well, you'd be a mighty poor
host if you didn't.

How long you gonna be here?

Might be quite a spell.

Well, you wanna play
a little checkers,

or do you wanna start
fixing me some supper?

Supper? Well, you're the first
dead man I ever saw

with an appetite.
I'll play you some checkers.

I'll go get the board now,
and I'll beat you.

But I'm not gonna make you any
promises about cooking for you

and cleaning up and...

Fixing supper.

Oh, it was terrible, terrible.

A man like Mr. Dillon to get
killed like that in cold blood

without even a chance
to fight back.

Well, he killed a lot of men.

A cinch he had to lose

But it wasn't no fair fight.

He didn't even have a chance to
get his gun out of his holster.

You see it happen?

Well, n-no, I-I-I didn't.

By the time
that I got out there,

Mr. Dillon was already down.

Now, how you know
it wasn't a fair fight?

Well, I know.

I know how fast Mr. Dillon
was with a gun. He-

It couldn't have been
no fair fight.

What is it, Miss Kitty?

I know you pretty well,
don't I, Chester?

Yes, ma'am.

Well, the rest of them
may believe you, but I don't.

Matt isn't dead.

Well, I-

I was only doing
what he told me to.

You- You ain't gonna let on,
are you?

No, of course not.

Only, just don't overdo it.

Oh, no, no, I- I thought
I was doing pretty good.

You are.

But sometimes
you do too good.

Now, why don't you
get out of here

and start this story
someplace else.

Oh, yeah,
I was just about to.

What time's it getting to be,


I was just wonderin'
what time it was.

It's almost midnight.

You're not thinking of going
to bed on me, are you?

No, no, I'm just gonna stay up
till something happens.

Chester ought to be
letting me know.

Well, the town's
pretty quiet.

I don't think anything's
gonna happen at all.

Yeah? Well, they didn't
take a shot at me

just for the fun of it,
you know.

Oh, well,
probably some fool

just trying to get a reputation
or something.

Well, if that was the case, then
what was the payment for it?

Three hundred dollars.
Well, don't ask me questions.

I'm trying to concentrate.

I'll go in.

Probably somebody
with an ear ache.

Well, I'm coming, I'm coming.

Well, it's Kitty. Wh-?

What are you doing here
at this time of night?

Well, I might tell you
if you ask me in.

Oh, well, yes. Come in, come in,
come in, come in.

Where's corpse?

Where's the-?
Where's the what? The what?

The body. You know, I expected
to see it all laid out.

Body? There's-
Oh, you- You mean Matt.

Who else is dead?

Well, I just thought
that you knew that-

You don't look very dead
to me.

Yeah, well, you don't look
very surprised either.

Well, all that talk
didn't fool me.

It just doesn't make sense
Chester runnin' all over town

tellin' everybody
you've been killed.

And why not?
I almost was.

I know Chester too well.

If you were dead,
he wouldn't be acting like this.

Heh. Well, who can tell
what Chester's thinking?

Where is he, anyway?

Well, I don't know. I haven't
seen him for a couple of hours.

What a story.
Heh. I gotta admit though.

He's got everybody
pretty well convinced.

What happened?

Well, they tried to ambush me
out in back of my office.

Ambush, huh?

Well, there's a man at the bar
at the Long Branch,

and that's not the story
he's telling.


Who is it?

I don't know. I never saw him

But he sure is bragging
about outdrawing you.

You mean to say he's actually
admitted that he killed me?

I just thought
you'd like to know.

That's it, Matt.
That's what you're waiting for.

Is there anybody with him?

No, he was all alone,
as far as I know.

Too bad. I was kind of hoping
he'd have his employer with him.

You can find out
who his employer is.

I'd beat it out
of that son of a-

Yeah, yeah.
Look, uh, Kitty,

you better come on along with me
to help me identify him,

and then you can
get out of the way

in case he wants
to start a fight.

Now, Matt, Matt, wait.
There's just one thing.

Anybody's who's fool enough
and coward enough

to take a shot at you
in the dark

is not gonna face up to you.

Well, that may be true, Doc,
but I can't count on it.

That's him, Matt, the loud one
at the end of the bar.


You better stay out of the way.
Let's see how he's gonna behave.

Be careful.

Marshal Dillon.

We heard you were dead?

Who are you, mister?

Uh, uh, T-Tom Roberts.

I thought you was dead.

So I hear.

You been bragging to everybody
how you shot me, huh?

Oh. Oh, tha-

That was just talk, marshal.

I-I didn't mean nothing by it.
I was just talking.

Kind of dangerous talk,
don't you think?


Everybody said you was dead.

I've been waiting for you
to come out of your hole.

Mister, I don't like
being ambushed.

Marshal, now-

No, okay, m-
I never saw you before.

I didn't try to ambush you.

Somebody hire you?

No, I-I ain't got a job.

Turn around.

Oh, look, marshal, I'm not-

Turn around.

Look, marshal,
you got the wrong man.

I-I didn't try to kill you.

The jail's right up the street,
mister. You lead the way.

Honest, marshal, no,
I didn't try to kill you.

Get going.

Well, you can't arrest a man
just for talking.

This way.

Mr. Dillon?
Mr. Dillon!

Mr. Dillon, what in the world
are you doing out here?

Who's this fella?

His name's Roberts, Chester.

He's been braggin' he's the one
that shot me.

Oh, I-I was just- Just having
a little fun.

Do I look like a gunman?

It doesn't take much of a
gunman to ambush a man, mister.

But I didn't do it,

Look, I- I heard 'em
talking about it inside,

and I- Well,
I don't know why,

I just said I-
Said I did it.


Well, uh, Mr. Dillon, uh,

I was just on my way up to Doc's
now to tell you something.


Well, t-there's this fella
over at the Lady Gay,

and, well, I just don't
understand it at all. He-

Well, what are you trying
to say?

Well, he said that-

That he shot you too.

Yeah, that's right?

He said that he just up
and outdrew ya.

'Course, he is a little drunk.

Yeah, so was he until I scared
him sober.

Oh, s- Sure,
I was just drunk, marshal.

Well, you don't think
I'd say a thing like that

if I was sober-?

Y-you lettin' me go?

Yeah, I'm lettin' you go.

Go on back and get yourself
another drink.

Th- Thanks, marshal.
Look, I'm sorry I said w-

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.
Go on.


Well, what about the other fella
over at the Lady Gay?

Hell, I don't even want
to see him, Chester.

He'll shut up as soon
as he learns I'm still alive.

I don't know why I didn't
figure this out sooner.

I might've known there'd be at
least a couple of drunks around

want the reputation
of having killed me.

Well, we're right back
where we started now.


Well, maybe that whiskey drummer
was lying too.

Yeah, but you're forgetting that
somebody took a shot me,

Chester. And whoever it was will
be waiting around for a chance

to try it again.


Hey, Mr. Dillon!

I been looking all over
for you.

You know, you'd be a lot safer

not yelling at me from behind
like that, you know.

Yeah, well, coming from
the telegraph office,

it's a little hard
to get in front of you.

Who's it from?

Sheriff Smith in Tascosa.

What's he got to say?

Well, I didn't get a chance
to read it too good,

but he is coming for his
prisoner the day after tomorrow

and that's none too soon
for me.

Hm. Well, there's one thing
you missed here.

What's that?

The date it was sent.

It must have been delayed
somewhere along the line.

He's coming in
on today's stage.

It's almost noon,
he should be here any minute.

Let's go see if he really
made it this time.

Well, look who's getting off?

Well, I'll be.
That whiskey drummer.

I wondered what happened to him.

There's Sheriff Smith now.

Well, sheriff, I-I
I just want to say-

Hey, Matt.

Heh, well...

It's been a long time.

How are you, Tom?

Glad you finally made it.
You remember Chester.

Be careful with it.
Well, hello, Chester.

Good seein' you,
Mr. Smith.

Thank you. Well, I'm glad
that ride's over.

Next time, I'll come horseback.

Well, the stage
is a little easier

when you're taking a prisoner
back, Tom.

Well, I guess you're right
at that.

Hey, I hope you still got him.

I'd hate to travel
all this way for nothing.

Yeah, we got him.

You can have him
anytime that you want.

He's the eatingist man
that I ever seen.

Well, what's that little
whiskey drummer doing?

Ain't he even gonna say hello?

Hey, you know
that little fella?

Yeah, yeah, we know him, Tom.

Well, I got acquainted with him
on stage.

He told me he was staying
down at the Dodge House.

Strangest man I ever met.

What do you mean, Tom?

Well, he told me,

and of course,
this could be true,

he said he heard a couple of men
in a bar talking about me.

'Course, he didn't know
who they meant

until I introduced myself
to him on stage.

Then he recognized my name.

What's the matter, Matt.

Go ahead, Tom. What did he hear?

Well, it seems this one fellow
was gonna give the other fellow

$300 to kill me.

Ain't that the darndest thing?


Yeah, that sure is.

Oh, I know there's a lot of men
around that'd like to kill me,

but, uh, I don't think they'd be
standing around in saloons

talking about it.

No, I think this Hawkins
made the whole thing up.

No, no, Tom,
he didn't make it up.

Not quite.

You know something about this?

You mean, somebody is out
to shoot me?



Wilbur Hawkins.

Come on, I'll tell you about it
on the way to the Dodge House.

Chester, you stay here
in case he gets past us.

He ain't gonna get past us.

There it is, Tom.
Number 3.

I can't figure why Hawkins
would want to kill you and me.

Tom, he's tricky,
so be careful.

Who is it?

Tom Smith and Matt Dillon.

What are you doing here?

We want to talk to you,

Open up the door.

All right, get...

He's not dead yet, Matt.



I'm gonna die.

Hawkins, why did you wanna kill
Sheriff Smith and me?

Lots of people do.

I heard 'em saying it.

Nobody said nothing.

You made all that up.

You took a shot at me
last week, didn't you?

Didn't you?

I'm dying.

I can't kill anybody now.

Why, Hawkins?

Why'd you wanna do that?

I killed lots of men.

Important men.

I told 'em about it first,

and then I killed them.

But why?

I don't know.

I had to.

I- Ugh.

Just had to

do it.

He's dead.

What the devil
was he talking about?

I don't know, Tom.

I guess it doesn't much matter

I don't understand it.

I never saw him before yesterday
on that stage.

Well, he was a murderer.

The kind that murders
for no reason at all.

Guess we'll never know
why he did what he did.

Call him crazy if you like.

He sure was crazy.

You think he's done
a lot of killings, Matt?


That's the most dangerous
kind of man there is.

The kind that'll kill
for no reason at all.

Just an innocent looking
little whiskey drummer.