Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 20, Episode 11 - Island in the Desert: Part 1 - full transcript

Matt and Festus bring a particularly notorious killer into a town on the edge of a desert, where the sheriff cheerfully informs the killer that "tomorrow we start working on the gallows." The sheriff spoke too soon: the killer gets the drop on him, murders him and flees into the desert. Festus, who stayed behind to borrow a new mule, goes in pursuit but is bushwhacked in his own right. Festus, however, is rescued by Ben Snow, a hermit who was a gold miner many years earlier -- only to be shot in the leg and left for dead by his partner. Snow is half-crazed ("I'd even make friends with a snake!") -- but he actually found his gold mine, a spring which provides him with water and shelter and food from desert animals. He's panned the spring incessantly and racked up a huge cache of gold dust. Snow might be able to get out of the desert (he's tried before and left water caches as far as he could walk), but he's so bent out of shape that he refuses to go without the gold -- many dozen pounds of it. So he steals Festus's weapons and handcuffs, turns them against them and makes Festus into his "pack mule." When Festus asks why, Snow explains that he will buy up the town where his ex-partner fled and make life a living hell for the man. He also warns Festus that if he collapses, "I'll shoot you like a mule gone lame!" With all the cards stacked against him, Festus sets out carrying the huge sacks of gold, while Snow follows in his tracks under the blazing sun.

(theme music)


With Milburn Stone as Doc...

Ken Curtis as Festus...

Buck Taylor as Newly...

And starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

(ominous music)

Looks like ole Ruth's
limpin' a little, Festus.

Appears like it, Matthew.

Looks like his
tendon's swold up.

I'll have to rest
him a day or two.

All right, Dixon, get down.

(horse whinnies)

- (Sheriff) Marshal.
- Hello, Sheriff.

I see you ran him down.

Yep, yeah, I sure did.

This is my deputy,
Festus Haggen, here.

- How are ya?
- Howdy, Sheriff.

He'll be handlin'
the transfer papers.

I gotta head back to Dodge.

That's a good ride.

Looks like you
could use a little rest.

Yeah, well, I'd like to,

but I gotta testify
at a trial tomorrow.

Festus, I'll see you later.

Take care of yourself, Matthew.

So long, Marshal.

It's been an interstin' ride.

(Festus) Come on, get in!

Rope's all ready, Dixon.

Tomorrow we start
workin' on the gallows.

Well, I sure am tickled
to get shed of him.

I come within a whisker
of shootin' him twice.

Well, I'm glad
you didn't, Deputy.

Hangin's gonna
cost the tax payers,

but it's gonna be
welcome as rain.

He killed Hector
Simms, a bank clerk.

Folks here liked Hector.

Well, since you're gonna
be in town for a while, Deputy,

I'd, I'd like to buy you a beer.

I could sure use me a
cold beer, I'll tell you that.


If it had been you and me,
on that trail out there alone,

you'd be crow bait by now.

This here's one hangin'
I'd sure like to see.

Don't count on it.

After you've stabled
your mule, Deputy,

I'll meet you in the Union Bell,

it's the only (chuckles)
saloon in town.

I'll find her. (tense music)

Us Haggens has got a
eye for saloons. (chuckles)

All right, Dixon,
get back there.

Come on, come on!


(Sheriff gasps)

Come on, come on, ole Ruth.

(tense music)

(handcuffs clicking)

- (Sheriff coughing)
- (handcuffs clanking)


(Festus) Come on, come on, Ruth.

- (tense music)
- I told ya no hangin'.

(dramatic music)

He's escapin'!

(horse whinnies)


(Festus) You son of a...

(woman screams)

(man) Where's the sheriff?

(tense music)

(Festus) Easy does it.

He, he just shot me.

(tense music)

All right, boy, let's go.

Come on, come on!


Let's go.

(critters chittering)

(people chattering faintly)

Marshal. I been
lookin' all over for ya.

Barney said that was urgent.

Burke, get ahold of Newly.

Tell 'em to pack for the trail,

meet me at the stable
right away, will ya?

- What's it all about?
- I haven't got time to tell ya right now.

See that they saddle
my horse too, will ya?

Oh, and put on badge,

and take care of things
here in town 'til I get back.

Yes, sir!

(coin clanking)

Marshal, Burke
said it was important.

Gard Dixon killed the sheriff
over in Cottonwood and escaped.

Festus has gone after him.

Well, Festus has always
been able to handle himself.

Well, as good a
man as Festus is,

I'm worried about him this time.

This Gard Dixon, he's
about the closest thing

to a vicious animal, I ever saw.

(tense music)

(Dixon) Come on!

Come on!

(tense music)

(ominous music)

(tense music)

(suspenseful music)

(gun firing)

(horse galloping)



Your turn to sweat, Deputy!

(voice echoing)

That horse is gonna
run till he drops.

You're a dead man, Deputy!

You're dead!

I told ya you'd
end up crow bait!

(tense music)

(horse neighs)

Marshal Dillon?

(Matt) That's right.

Sheriff Lipon.

Glad you got my wire.

(Matt) This is my
deputy, Newly O'Brien.

- Hi, how are ya?
- Newly.

I come over from Yates,

kinda hold things down
until I appoint a new sheriff.

Can you tell us what happened?

Well, from the pieces
I can put together,

somehow, Gard Dixon got
the jump on Sheriff Grimes,

killed him and rode out of town,

with your deputy
ridin' after him.

No sign of either
one of 'em since?

No, but I'm sure
glad you got here.

Something happened this
morning you should know about.

Seems your deputy's
mule wasn't fit.

So, when he took off after
Dixon, he was ridin' a stable horse.

Little after sunup today,
an Indian came into town,

trying to sell a saddle and a
rifle that he found in the desert.

What's that got
to do with Festus?

Well, it seems that
saddle was on the horse

that your deputy
got from the stable.

What about the rifle?

Come on inside, I'll
let ya take a look at it.

Here it is.

You know it?

- (door slamming)
- (rifle clicking)

It's his all right.

I fixed the hammer a month ago.

This Indian, where'd he find it?

He claims he found
it on a dead horse,

in the desert, near Rim Rock.

How far is that?

That's a good 60 miles or so.

But there's no water
out there, Marshal.

There's not a tree
or a blade a grass.

Why, hell's got nothing
to what it's like out there.

We rode our horse
pretty hard gettin' here.

You supposed they'd have a couple
of fresh horses down at the stable?

You goin' after him?

Got no choice.

Them Badlands just ain't
no place for a man, Marshal.

Not even the likes of
a man like Gard Dixon.

- (vultures screeching)
- (tense music)

(man chuckling)

(man chuckling)

Who are you?


Who am I?


Who am I? (laughs)

It's been a while
since I heard a voice

'sides my own. (chuckles)

Go on, go on, say
somethin' again. (chuckles)

(coughs) Go on.

We talk later.

Come on, boy.

Let's get you on your feet...

out of the bakin' sun.

(spurs clanking)

(man chattering faintly)

Mmhmm, come on, come on.

(man) Come on up there.

Soft, soft pallet. (sighs)


- (groaning)
- Little more water.

Open that up.


(Festus groaning)

Well, go on, say
somethin' again.


How'd you get me here?


I dragged ya.

I coulda toted ya, if I had to.

Saw buzzards circlin',
that's how I found ya.

My name is Snow, Ben Snow.

Who am I addressin'?

Festus, Festus Haggen.

Festus Haggen. (chuckles)

Festus Haggen. (chuckles)

Festus Haggen! (chuckles)

How'd ya get in this fix, huh?

Ain't no wonder you
don't feel like talkin'.

Appears like you been
grazed by a bullet real good.

You just get sleep.

I'll fetch you some food
and we can talk later.

I been storin' up lots of talk.

I wanna hear what
it's like... out there.

(ominous music)

Festus Haggen.


- (fire crackling)
- (Festus groaning)

I cleaned up that
wound of yours,

but it's gonna have
to heal on its own.

Ah, don't, don't,
don't pick at it.

Obliged to ya.

Are you hungry?

Tolerable hungry.

Won't be long.

You're a lawman.

Out of Dodge City.

Dodge City.

I was chasin' this here feller.

He bushwhacked me.

Left me out yonder
to die, I reckon.

Did you come through Ten Strike?

Ten Strike?

I don't know where that is.

I was comin' from Cottonwood.



Where abouts is that from here?

Well, from wherever it
was that you found me,

it's three hard day's
ride, southeast.

Now walkin', it's six.

Six days or more.

Ten Strike is 80 miles
due north of Cottonwood!

You're a godsend, Festus Haggen.


You know, the Lord figured

that he'd fried ole Ben
Snow's brains out by now.

But I still got enough
sense to spit downwind.

You know, been out here
so long, just talkin' to myself.

You know, talkin', talks,

just to hear the
sound of my own voice!

(voice echoes)

It's a habit you
don't break right off.

(water falling)

Ah, come on.

Come on down here, supper's on.

Figured this here desert
had no water, at no place.

Only critters and a few
Injuns knew it was here,

until I come along.

Festus, you are the only
human animal I've seen

in this desert, 'cept
for a few Indians.

Apache, I think.

Whenever one of them
comes around, I hide.

Figured less said
to a Injun, the better.

But the worst,
is bein'... alone.

Well, how long ya
been here, anyhow?

Well, so long...

I've lost track.

You ain't never went
back to Ten Strike at all?

I couldn't.

I didn't know where I was.

I'm stuck here, Festus.

Like a man closed in by the sea.

You sittin' there tellin'
me that you're lost?

Like a holler for
help in a big wind.

You know, I had friend once.

He died.

Snakehead Whiskey.

But he told me about a
glory hole that he'd found.

Well, I needed a grubstake,

so I got myself a partner.

And we come in to this
desert, lookin' for gold.

We found it.

We was headed back

and run into the worst
sandstorm I ever seen.

It blew like fury, for
six days, with no letup!

When it was over, I lost
my partner, I lost my horse,

I lost my pack mules... I was
out of food, I was out of water...

(gasps) I was out of luck.


That's no way to
be in this desert.

Well, how did you come
on to this here place?

A miracle.

When I was crazy with
thirst, I saw a wild burro.

And I knew if he was
livin' in this desert,

there had to be water,
and he knew where it was.

So, I followed him.

Walkin', crawlin'
and clawin', beggin'.

And that little ole burro...

lead me right
through that passage.

And here this was.

Well, what do ya
do for eatin' vittles?

Lizard. Goat.

Once in a while, a deer.


You're lookin' at the
only water for 100 miles.

Everything that moves,

well, it comes here
at one time or another.

Cactus apples keep
me from gettin' scurvy.

They ain't bad
lizards too, either.

Well, what?

Prairie dog.

It ain't the Ten Strike
Hotel, but it fills the ribs.

Well, I reckon I have
tasted worse prairie dog.

(fire crackling)

Look at you.

Hungrier than a starved dog.

You know, Ten Strike
would a been a good place

for the likes of you.

Run all over with rats.


A good rattin' dog was
worth his weight in gold there.

Yeah, Ten Strike was some town.

Especially, fandango houses.

Women. (chuckles)

Some of 'em was
dancin' partners,

and some of 'em was a
good deal more. (chuckles)

One night, Ben Snow
got hisself good and corn'd.

Hit every gamblin'
palace on Cedar Street,

from one end to
the other. (chuckles)

Woke up the next mornin',
holdin' on to a lady's corset.


It's no good.

Nothin's inside there.

Still hungry, are ya?


Here you go, boy. (chuckles)

- Oh!
- (snake rattling)

Sorry, did we wake you, Festus?



Festus here is a guest.

You just pull them
fangs in and get!

(Ben laughing)

Look it, he's apologizing'
for his behavior. (chuckles)

He don't come out,
unlessin' he's hungry.

I been fetchin him mice for
quite a spell now. (chuckles)

I know what you're thinkin'.

Man makin' a pet out of
a rattler like he's the dog.

I recall a sayin'.

Man gets lonely enough,
he'll make up to a snake.

Festus, you're lookin' at a
man that's been alone too long.

Homer, you're comin' to
depend too much on me.

I ain't gonna be here forever!

With Ben Snow gone,

you're gonna have to
start paddlin' for yourself!

(snake rattling)

(ominous music)

(dramatic music)

(Newly) Either
that Indian was lyin'

about where he
found Festus's horse

or we're headed the wrong way.

(Matt) Maybe.

If we find the horse,

we backtrack to where
he dumped Festus.

Otherwise, we can ride
around this desert forever,

tryin' to pick up the trail.

(Newly) How much
water have we got left?

(Matt) Enough for two
to three days, maybe.

But if we haven't
found Festus by then,

won't be much point in lookin'.

(Ben) Mornin'!

You're up early. (chuckles)

Tell ya the truth.

I slept with one eye
peeled last night,

after seein' that
friend a yours.

Homer. (hums)

Cold night, he come
lookin' to curl up with ya.

Sleeps with me all the time.

How are ya feelin'?

Feels like it's still
festerin' some,

but it ain't gonna be long

'till I'll be able to
get after that feller.

Festus, you're lucky that feller

didn't put a wind in your head.

You need time.

Time to get your strength!

Besides, don't worry
about that outlaw.

Desert'll take care of 'em.

I'm aimin' to go
back to Cottonwood,

and pick me up a horse
and some supplies.


From what you say, it's six
days, on foot, to Cottonwood.

Totin' one canteen, that's a
good way to end up a cinder.

Could be right,
but I've gotta try.

You are a fool, to be goin'
out there, the way you feel.

I know this desert,

- and I know...
- (men hollering)

Did you hear that?

It's Injuns...

up in those rocks.

Well, maybe they
don't mean no harm.

Yeah, maybe they're
in a scalpin' mood.

Well, come on, do you
wanna lose your hair?

(men hollering)

(men hollering)

(speaking in foreign language)

Look at 'em.

Worse than a bunch of pack rats.

Got no respect
for a man's goods.

Put that down!


Put down my personals!

Here, here, yeah.

(gun clicking)

- (gun firing)
- (indistinct shouting)

(gun firing)

- (Ben laughing)
- (gun firing)

(Ben laughing)

Run, run, you
scalp-liftin', red-rump trash!

If you hadn't a stopped me,
I might have dropped them!

You standin' up, a
squawlin' like that,

it's a wonder they didn't
cut your blamed head off.

Nah. (chuckles)

They wouldn't a killed me.

They had plenty of
chances before now.

It might a been different,
if they'd seen you, though.

What do you mean by that?

Well, they think I'm tetched.

You know, loco.

Bad luck for Apache
to kill a crazy man.

Yeah, and them Injuns
could just be dead right.

(dramatic music)



It's an uncommonly poor meal.

Real mean pickin's.

Chuckwalla lizards, eh?

When they get old, they get...


I don't know how many times

I think of a big, juicy
beefsteak. (chuckles)

Well, ain't you never tried

leavin' this here place at all?

I've tried walkin' out of here

as many a directions
as you can point!

I made earthin's out of mud,
so I could carry more water!

Go a few miles, bury one
of these under a marker.

Each time, goin' a little
bit far, little bit farther.

Never saw nothin' but sand
and more sand ahead of me.

I didn't know where I was!

Or which direction
to Ten Strike.

Pretty soon, it got too
risky to meander too far.

Besides, my legs start
actin' up on me. (chuckles)

What is it ailin' your leg?

Well, I owe that to a fella
by name of Sam Bristol.

He's in Ten Strike,
livin' respectable,

off my sweat and my blood.

Remember the glory
hole I told you about?

Needin' a grubstake?

Sam Bristol put up the money.

And the sandstorm
I told ya about...

When it was over,
we was down to,

oh, half a canteen of water.

That's when Sam Bristol shot me!

Took the gold, took the water.

Left me on the desert, to die.

I'm lucky I still
got a leg. (laughs)

Dug the bullet out
myself. (chuckles)

Reckon that must of
smarted some, huh?

Well Ben, I reckon it's time
for me to be a movin' on.

Ever so much obliged to ya,
for everything you did for me,

but first light, I'm settin'
out for Cottonwood.

I'm fixin' to glom on,
to that mangy yahoo.


What is so important
about a bushwhacker,

makes you risk
your life goin' after?

Ben, I done told ya that!

He killed that sheriff
in Cottonwood,

just as coldblooded
as you please,

and that there ain't the
onliest one he's killed, neither.

Now, I'm fixin' to catch him
and see that he gets hung!

Festus, you and me together,

could get to Ten Strike,

a lot easier than
you goin' it alone.

Cottonwood's closer, Ben.

Now, when I get there,

I'll send somebody
back here to fetch ya.

You've... seen
my gold, ain't ya?

(dramatic music)

Yeah, I seen it.

I know you did...

but you ain't seen all of it.

I got a lot more
hidden around here.

Enough to bend a pack mule.

Now, I told you how
I got here, didn't I?

Yeah, follerin' that ole burro.


Well, wouldn't you know,
when I took my first drink,

right over there, I seen
somethin' shining in the water.

It's gold, Festus.

More gold than any
glory hole I ever seen.

More gold than
Bristol stole for!

Festus, the whole
bottom, at that there pond,

was inches deep, the little
bitty nuggets, gold dust.

All comin' down from
those hills up there.

I got a fortune, Festus.

You help me get to Ten
Strike, I'll buy ya a horse,

I'll buy ya supplies,

- I'll buy you anything you want!
- Ben, Ben!

It's just to blame far!

No, seven to eight
days, at the most.

Oh, totin' all that gold
and water, it's closer to 10.

No, sir.

Cottonwood's the closest,
and that's where I'm goin'.

Don't wanna go to.

I've got to Ten Strike.

Three or $400 worth.

Ten more just like it, if you
help me get to Ten Strike.

Well, go on, put
it in your poke.

I'll send somebody
to fetch ya, Ben.

(tense music)

No, no need for that.

I'll think of a way.

I'll think of a way.


I'll cut ya, Festus.

I'll cut you good.

I'll take the gun.

(gun clicking)

Pitch me the manacles.

Right there.


Figure you owe me, Festus.

Wasn't for me, you'd
be dead by now,

buzzards peckin' at your eyes.

We get to Ten Strike,
that'll figure us even.

We get to Ten Strike,

just don't you forget
I'm a deputy marshal.

I'm gonna throw you in jail.

You ain't the law out here.

(dramatic music) 'Til
we get to Ten Strike,

you're a mule.

And you'll pack like a mule.

You don't, I'll shoot you,
like a mule gone lame!

(dramatic music)

(water burbling)

Go on, snap it on.

(manacles clicking)

Let me hear it click.

(manacles snapping)

You'll have a lot better
chance packin' my gold,

than laying here
with a shattered knee.

Wolves get the scent,
won't be nothin' left to bury.

You're crazier than a
broomtail on locoweed.

Crazy or not, don't
change the fact

that I got this here
gun, and I'll use it!

I thought you was just takin'
enough gold to buy supplies?

It's gonna take a lot of
gold to break Sam Bristol!

And that can't wait.

All right, load up.


I just want to
tell you one thing.

You better not
get to close to me,

or I'm just liable
to wrap this chain

around that scrawny
neck a yours.

I'll keep a tolerable distance.

You know, it coulda been
done so easy, Festus.

You and me, workin' together,

and you endin' up
with a share of the gold.

(water flowing)

(tense music)

(Ben hums)

Jump it, boy.

Just keep goin' along there.


It'll get a little easier, when
we get down to the flats.

Careful, Mule.

We're gonna need
every drop a that water,

if we're gonna
get to Ten Strike.

Just keep goin' along there.

(Festus) Quit your
jabbin' me with that stick!

♪ Ten Strike girls
are fat and sassy ♪

♪ Red-dyed hair
and mighty brassy ♪

(tense music)

(Ben humming)

♪ Smiles and sweet
talk, just like honey ♪

♪ Pick your pocket,
for your money ♪

(Ben humming)

- (Ben humming)
- (Festus panting)

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah,
ah, ah... Keep movin'!

Quit your jabbin' me
with that blame stick!

And I mean it!

Don't you never do that again!

Here it is, hot enough
to fry a horseshoe...

Me, totin' a load like this...

I gotta have me a drink.

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah.

What do you think you're doin'?

I ain't goin' one more
step without some water.

I'll say when.

Get movin'.

- You!
- (panting)

(Ben chuckling)

♪ Ten Strike girls
don't give a holler ♪

♪ Long as you
give them a dollar ♪

(Ben humming)

(Matt) He must a been
followin' Dixon for two days,

to have come this far.

Looks like somebody
went down, there.


It's blood stains.

Think they belong to Festus?

Or Dixon.

Nobody else would have
any business out here.

Look at them marks and tracks.

Maybe they belong to that Indian

the sheriff was talkin' about?

I don't think so.

That horse dropped
a long ways from here.

Then where'd they come from?

Well, they came from over this
way and went back that way, too.

Except going back,
he wasn't alone.

Those boot tracks belong to
Festus, that means he's still alive.

Let's go.

(dramatic music)

(Festus exhaling loudly)

(tense music)

Oh, my, my...

What's the matter?

Your ole leg a
ouchin' you some, is it?

No, it ain't hurtin' me at all!

Keep movin'!

(Festus panting)


Get up, get up on your feet!

Get move!

I ain't takin' me another step,

'til I get me a drink of water.

I reckon when you
had yourself a mule,

you'd give him a
drink, or did ya?

All right.

But just two swallows!

That's enough!


I'll get me a drink... myself.

All right, let's move out.

You sure are in a powerful hurry

to get to Ten Strike, ain't ya?

What do ya figure to do to
Sam Bristol once ya get there?

Well, I've had a long
time to think about that.

(dramatic music)

I ain't gonna kill him.

That would only get me hung.

So, I ain't gonna do anything
so harsh and direct as that.

Gold can build,
or buy, the devil!

That's what I'm gonna do.

I'm gonna buy, and sell,
and finagle Sam Bristol

'til he's ruined,
'til he's nothing!

And then, once
he's down to the lent,

I'm gonna see that he's
tarred and feathered,

and run out a town, on a rail.

Gonna be somethin',

when Ben Snow comes
back to Ten Strike.

Move out.

Go on, move out!

(upbeat music)

(narrator) Stay tuned
for exciting scenes

from our next Gunsmoke.

(theme music)