Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 20, Episode 18 - The Angry Land - full transcript

After Matt finds a young girl on the prairie who's parents have been killed. He takes her to her only relative, an aunt that has troubles of her own and wants no part of her niece's life.

(theme music)


With Milburn Stone as Doc...

Ken Curtis as Festus...

Buck Taylor as Newly...

And starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

(peaceful instrumental music)

(dramatic music)

(solemn guitar music)

(dramatic instrumental music)

(horse neighing)

(Matt) Little girl?

Little girl.

It's all right, it's all
right now, come on.

Come on.

Here we go, all right.

It's all right, nobody's
gonna hurt ya.


You must've taken
a pretty good spill.

I want my ma and pa.

What's your name?

Bessie, but where's
my ma and pa?

Hold still, I wanna
take a look at this leg.

Where's Ma and Pa?

How'd this happen?

They started shootin'
at the wagon and yellin'!

Who did?

I don't know.

Ma screamed.

Where is she? Where's Pa?

Bessie, I want
you to hold still,

this may hurt a little.

No! Let me go!

- Ma!
- Now Bessie, hold on.

Look, there's nothing for
you to go back there for.

I'm afraid your ma
and pa are dead.

They ain't dead, they ain't!

(yells) They can't be,
let me go, they need me!


Afraid that's about the
best I can do for now.

Bessie, did you see
the men that did this?

When the bullets
started hittin' the wagon,

Pa shoved me out.

He said to get on
Galahad and ride.

And keep ridin'.

I must've hit a tree,
I don't remember.

Do you know where
your folks were headed?

My Aunt Rachel's.

And where does she live?

Pa said it was near a
place called Oak Hills.

Come on, I'ma take you there.

Here we go.

Are we just gonna leave Ma
and Pa out here, nowhere?

Afraid that's all
we can do, Bessie.

(solemn instrumental music)

All right.

There you go.

All right, hold on tight now.

If you get tired
of ridin', Bessie,

just let me know.

Sure is a nice lookin'
pony you got there.

His full name's Sir Galahad.

Named after somebody in a book.

Pa gave him to me
before he was born.

I even helped him
bring him into this world.

How's the leg feel, Bessie?

Hurts some.

Well... tell you what,

you better eat something here

'cause we got quite
a long ways to go.

Near a year ago, my ma
got a letter from Aunt Rachel.

"It's a fine land," she said.

"A place to grow.

"The soil's rich,

"days are warm."

Where were your
folks coming from?


Pa said he wanted to get to
Aunt Rachel's before winter.

After we got the letter,

he sold the farm
and we just left.

Bessie, do you think you'd
recognize your aunt if you saw her?

I don't know,

I haven't seen her or my
Uncle John since I was little.

Aunt Rachel's my mom's sister.

You know their last name?

Durham, Uncle John's a farmer.

Can't you eat just
a little bit of that?

I'm not hungry.

Well, here.

We'll get you into
bed now. Come on.

There we go.

How long will it take
to get to Aunt Rachel's?

Oh, maybe a couple of days.

But don't you worry
about that now,

- you just try to get some sleep.
- Yeah.

Goodnight, Bessie.

Goodnight, Marshal.

Goodnight, Galahad.

(horse neighs)

Hold up!


We're lookin' for some
folks around here somewhere

by the name of Durham.

I think they're farmers.

(grunts) Folks are fairly
scattered around here,

don't know none by their names.

Well, these folks had a boy.

Used to be a place
near Buffler Crossin',

ain't been there in
more than a year,

but there was some
homesteaders living there then.

Follow the South Road,

you'll come across 'em.

Much obliged to ya.

You all right, Bessie?

Yeah, I'm just a little tired.

If you get too tired
to ride, let me know.

- Yes, sir.
- All right.

(solemn instrumental music)

Well, it seems to be the
only farm around here.

Hold on, we'll be
there in a minute.

(cows mooing)

I don't see no one.

Maybe they've gone.

Well, I'll take a look
around, you stay here.

(Matt) Hello in there.

Who are ya?

What do you want?

My name's Matt Dillon,
I'm looking for a woman

named Rachel Durham.

Don't know no one by that name.

This is the Kane place.

Well ma'am, I've got
a little girl with me.

She's been injured
and she's very tired.

And it would help a lot if you
could open the door and talk to us.

I ain't openin' up,
I don't know you.

Well this girl's mother said that
this Rachel Durham and her husband

had a farm near Oak Hills.

Now you can certainly
give us some idea

of where that
might be, can't ya?

Ain't no other farms around.

Where's her mother?

Her mother and
father were both killed.

They were attacked
by prairie scavengers.

Please go!

My husband, he
don't like strangers!

You better go...
before he comes back!

I'm sorry, but this girl is too
tired to travel any further tonight.

We're gonna be staying here.

We'll bed down in your barn.

Was that Aunt Rachel?

No, I'm afraid not.

But don't worry, we'll find her.

(horses neighing)

(cows mooing)

How ya doin', Bessie?

I'm thirsty.

I'll get you a drink.

(chickens clucking)

(water splashing)

Who are ya?

My name's Matt Dillon.

Got a little girl with
me, she's been injured.

Well I don't give a diddly
squat about that girl or you.

I want you off of my land.

Let me tell you
somethin', mister,

I'm a United States Marshal,

and that little girl's
stayin' in that barn

till she's well
enough to travel.

You understand that?

Law man?

Why didn't ya say
so in the first place?

I didn't think it'd
be necessary.

Way out here, lots of
thievin' scum abouts.

Can't be too careful.

(pump clanking)

(banging on door)


(door banging)


(lock clicking)

(door slamming)

How long he been here?

Just a little bit.

I tried to tell 'em
they couldn't stay,

but there was a child.

You tell him anything?

You whine to him?

(woman gasping)

You say anything to him

and I'll kill him
and the kid both.

(ominous music)

And after that...

Now fix up some supper!

(solemn instrumental music)

(Bessie crying)

(ominous music)

(dishes clanking)

That's enough for tonight.

Time for bed.

Hear me?

What you lookin' out there for?

Think that law
man gonna help ya?

Law man?


Didn't he tell ya?

Well, he ain't gonna
do ya no good.

I told him to be
gone by mornin'.

We going through this again?

- (woman grunting)
- Hmm?

I thought you'd be
worn down by now.

But I ain't that bad, now.

Stay away from me!

(Bessie crying)

It's all right, Bessie.

It's all right.

(Bessie whimpering)

(ominous music)

(woman crying)

Soon as you get it in
that fat head of yours

that easy is best.

(woman sobbing)

- (Matt) Open up in there!
- Get back to the barn!

This little girl's
burning up with fever

and I said open the door!

(Matt) Now mister!

You get in there.

You say one word,
and I'll fix you good!

(yells) I said get
back to the barn!

He's not my husband!

(woman sobbing)

(dramatic music)

Is he dead?

- Yeah.
- Oh, thank God!

Thank God he's dead!

Are you Ms. Durham?

Who is he?

I... I don't know!

He never told me his name.

(sobs loudly)

(peaceful solemn music)

You buried him?


I never thought I'd ever
wanna see anyone die...

but all I can feel is relief.

He passed through just
after my husband died.

Found a woman alone
and just took hold.

You can guess the rest.

You couldn't leave?

I ran away three times

and he caught me and
brought me back and...

You don't know what
he was capable of.

How's Bessie?

I was a little worried about that
leg infection of hers last night,

but it seems better today.

Did you tell her who I was?

No, I thought she'd appreciate
hearing that from you.

It's my fault they were killed.

If only I hadn't
written 'em to come.

I wish you hadn't
brought her here.

You're the only
family she's got left.

Well, I can't keep her.

Every time I'd look at her

I'd think of Bill and Elizabeth;

that I was responsible!

She doesn't blame you.

She will.

Hey, you're not
supposed to be out of bed.

Come on, get back
under the covers, Bessie.

I was just watching
you and her talking.

She's my aunt, ain't she?

Yeah, she is, Bessie.

My ma, she showed me pictures.

Uncle John?

Well... (sighs)

your Uncle John,
he died a while back.

But if she's my Aunt Rachel,
why doesn't she tell me?

Well, I think she's afraid to.

See, she blames herself for
what happened to your folks.

It wasn't her fault!

Well, if you get a chance,
why don't you tell her that?

Now, in the meantime, lie
back, get some more rest.

(crickets chirping)

I'm sorry there's not more.

But the crop hasn't
been too good since...

Well, looks mighty good to me!

I'm not too hungry, anyhow.

You know, you had a pretty
good wheat crop going there,

and corn, too,
by the looks of it.

Little work.

I'm leaving here.


Soon as I can sell this place.

Where are you going?

Where there's people.

A town, maybe a city.

Someplace civilized.

But Ma said you took roots here.

Your mother, we hadn't seen
each other in over six years.

She talked about you a lot.

When I seen you, I
knew it was you right off.

We didn't know Uncle John died.

Eat. You need your strength.

Where's Aunt Rachel?

She's outside.

It was nice of her to
let me stay in the house,

in her bed.


Where will you be sleeping?

I'm gonna be right
out in the barn.

She doesn't say much.

Mom used to say Aunt Rachel
could prattle on like rain on a roof.

(chuckles) Well,
goodnight, Bessie.


(door shutting)

(sentimental music)

Ms. Durham, I can appreciate
what you've been through

but, maybe you don't realize,

but you're treating
her like a stranger.

I can't help it.

I can't have her here.

But you're her only kin.

Now, it was my duty
to bring her here,

but that's where my
responsibility ends.

Are you leavin'?

Well I'll stick around till you
two get used to each other.

Good night.

You're wasting sweat.

I told ya I'm
selling this place.

It doesn't matter.

The better shape it's in,
the better price you get for it.

Yeah, it's a little run down,

but you and your husband
did a good job with this farm.

It was just raw land
when we came on it.

He just stopped the
wagon and said this was it.

It was the wilderness.

I didn't see how,

but we built the
house, this barn...

Bessie tells me that you worked

right alongside your
husband building it.

Her mother used to
read your letters to her.

I best go in.

Mrs. Durham.

You know, it took quite a
woman to help build this place.

You haven't changed that much.

(soft instrumental music)

(knock at door)

Come in!

- Morning.
- Mornin'.

How's Bessie?

She's still sleepin'.

I'll just look in on her.

- (Bessie yawning)
- Well, there, sleepy head.

You gonna stay in bed all day?

Good morning.

How do you feel?

Real good, my leg feels good.

In fact, I guess I could
even visit Galahad.

Oh, say, I got a
surprise for ya.

He came to visit you!

(Galahad neighing)

Oh, Galahad, sure
missed you, Galahad!

Has he been eatin' right?

Well, I've been doing
the best I can with him,

but you know you're the only one

that can really take
care of him right.

You better hurry
up and get well!

Uh, look, you better get
over there and wash up,

it's about breakfast time.

Okay, you go on Galahad,
I'll see you directly.

(water splashing)

Aunt Rachel doesn't
like me, does she?

Well, I wouldn't say she
doesn't like you, Bessie.

It's just that, see, the
experience she had

was hard on her.

It's gonna take her a while
to think things through.

But what if she decides
she doesn't want me?

Breakfast will be
ready in a few minutes.

You look awful
pretty, Aunt Rachel.

Hurry up, before it gets cold.

Come on.

(solemn instrumental music)

Aunt Rachel, uh,
Galahad loves molasses.

Do you think he could...

Molasses costs good money,

I'm not gonna
waste it on a horse.

- Yes ma'am.
- More coffee?

Thank ya.

Where'd be the nearest town

or someplace around here
where they have a telegraph?

Goldsby, about 30 miles.

What're you gonna do there?

Well, I thought it was about time I let
the folks in Dodge know where I am.

Shouldn't take more
than a day or two.

You could be back by tomorrow.

Oh, it doesn't matter. No hurry.

Maybe Bessie would
like to go along with you.

No, no, I don't
think Bessie's up

to taking a ride like that yet.

You're not gonna go now?

No time like the
present to get started.

Bessie, I'll be back
in a couple of days.

(door shutting)

Get over to the couch.

I'm gonna change that bandage.

Mom told me that
you looked a lot alike.

She was right.

Except you have blue eyes.

(sentimental music)

Bessie, I haven't asked
much about your mother

because their comin'
here was due to me.

Well, what happened
wasn't your fault.

Last time I saw your
mother and father,

you were barely walkin'.

I remember...

she had just made
you a nightgown

and after you outgrew it,

she saved it, and
she sent it to me.

For my baby.

But the mail out
here takes so long,

by the time it arrived...

he had died!

(dramatic music)

(crying softly)

(soft instrumental music)

You might just as
well take her now!

Because I'm not gonna keep her!

- Mrs. Durham...
- Listen to me.

(Rachel) I already
lost too much.

The two things that I
loved most in this world

were my husband and my child.

I can't lose anymore.

There's nothing left to give!

What do you think Bessie's lost?

First her mother and
father, and now you.

(Matt) Both of you
going off alone.

What kinda sense does that make?

(Rachel) Don't you understand?

I won't be close to
anyone, ever again.

I can't.

All right.

But you'll have to tell
her, I'm not going to.

When you go into town,

you ask Mr. Holmby at
the land office to come out.

Tell him this
place is up for sale.

Even if I wanted to stay,

I couldn't work
this place alone.

Now, Mrs. Durham, I know
any number of men in Dodge

that would be willing to come out
here and help you work this place;

just for board and
a share of the crop.


I am leavin' this God forsaken
piece of ground forever.


(dramatic music)

(Bessie sniffling)

We're not wanted
here, Galahad (sniffs).

Nobody wants us, we're leaving.

Bessie, are you in there?

We're gonna go so far away,

nobody will ever find us.

We don't need nobody, never.

(horse hooves clopping)

(dramatic music)


(Galahad whinnying)

(Bessie screaming)



Bessie, are you all right?

It's Galahad, he's hurt!

It's all right, now,
just take it easy, boy.

Easy there.

What is it?

His leg's broke.

Shoulder too, it looks like.

Well, can it be fixed?

No, I'm afraid not.

Then what are we gonna do?

He'll have to be put away.

You mean kill him?

(crying) No, you can't do that.

There's no other way!

If I don't he'll die anyway,

only it'll be slow and painful.

(weeping) But don't you see?

He's all I've got,
you can't kill him,

you can't, you just can't.

You can't.

(dramatic music)



(solemn instrumental music)

Child, you haven't
eaten a thing all day.

I know how you feel.

Right now you wanna die.

I know, 'cause I
wanted to die too.

John Jason would've
been four in November.

I still had his father,

but I watched while he
worked himself to death

trying to make
this land take hold.

And then I had no one.

I was alone.

I didn't care to live.

There was no reason to.

If you don't get
out of this bed,

you're gonna dry up and die

like I tried to.

Bessie, you're gonna have to
get out of this bed sooner or later.

(soft instrumental music)

(horse hooves approaching)

I'm glad you're back!

What's the matter?
Something wrong?

Bessie tried to run away.

Galahad broke his leg.

You had to shoot him.

What was she tryin'
to run away for?

She won't say.

But my guess is she
was outside the barn

and she heard me tell
you I didn't want her.

She's been in that
bed ever since.

She's just staring,
she won't budge.

She needs a reason.

I can't.

I'll talk to her.

(horse neighing)


She killed Galahad.

She had to, Bessie.

No, she didn't.

He just hurt his
leg a little bit.

Bessie, you know what happens
when a horse breaks his leg?

People break their legs
and they don't kill them.

Well, yeah, but see,
it's different with people

because people are smart.

And they can go to bed
when they break a leg

and stay there until
it gets well again.

But, see, a horse is different.

He has to stand up
on his feet all the time

because of his circulation.

So when he breaks his leg
he just stands around on it

till it gets worse and worse.

Do you understand that?

Sort of.

But couldn't we have
done something?

Nothing more than
your Aunt Rachel did.

See, she put Galahad
out of his misery.

She knew he was in pain

and that he wasn't
gonna get any better.

Your Aunt Rachel thought as
much of Galahad as you did.

Say, you know, I been thinking.

I was thinking maybe I might
take you to Dodge City with me.

You'd like it there.

Would I be living with you?

Well, I don't know
about that because,

being a law man,
I'm pretty busy and all,

but we could find
some real nice folks

that would love to
have you live with them.

But if I'm not living with you,

I'd be living with strangers.

It should be with kin.

You know something, Bessie?

Your Aunt Rachel, she needs
you just as much as you need her.

She just doesn't realize it yet.

She's just gotta have
a little time to think.

Matter of fact, you know, I
wouldn't be a bit surprised

to see her come to Dodge City
one of these days looking for you.

You think so?

Wouldn't surprise me a bit.

(soft instrumental music)

(carriage wheels rattling)

Who's that?

That's Mr. Holmby,
he's from the land office.

Good morning, Mr. Holmby,
thank you for coming out.

Mrs. Durham.

Mornin' Marshal.

- Mornin'.
- You too, young lady.

Marshal tells me you
want to sell this place.


Oh, by the way, my
condolences about your husband.

He was a fine man.

Thank you.

How much you askin'?

I don't know.

You homesteaded, as I recall.

That's right.

Well, you've done
a pretty good job

considering you
started from scratch.

Well, we had a fine yield of
both corn and wheat last year.

It's just since John died,
they hadn't been tended to.

Soil seems kinda dry.

Well, it's good
soil, Mr. Holmby.

Least that's what you told us
when we filed the homestead.

I know that the crops are dying.

I told you why.

Barn needs paint!

Yeah, look.

Those boards are
starting to warp a little.

Well, I been meaning
to hire someone out.

(chickens clucking)

Well, let's take a
look at the house.

You've got to admit, Ms. Durham,

this place is gonna
need a lot of work.

I realize that it's
been neglected,

but it's by no
means falling apart.






house seems to be built
fairly well, Ms. Durham.

It's been standing
here for six years,

and not one drop of rain
has come through that roof.

When the wind blew,
this house kept it out.

I deal only in
dollars and cents.

And all I can offer you is, uh,




We poured our
lives into this land.

For six years!

It's worth...

it's worth more than
that Mr. Holmby.

All right.

Seven hundred, then.

But that's my final offer!

Mrs. Durham?

Get out, Mr. Holmby.



Please leave.

What are you gonna do?

I don't know.

But I'm not sellin'.

I'm not gonna sell my
husband's dream for $700.

(Mr. Holmby sighing)

(door shutting)

(carriage wheels rattling)

There was nothin'
when we came here.

And now there's a
house, a good house.

And a barn.

A corral.

And crops.

(inspirational music)

A farm.

We took a piece of land...

and we made it...

a home.

(soft instrumental music)

Where's your aunt?

Up there.

She's stayin'.

Yeah, I know.

Well, she's gonna need
someone, Mr. Dillon.

To stay with her.

Well, I'm gonna send
somebody back out

from Dodge City to help her.

In the meantime, why
don't you just go up there

and tell her you
wanna stay, too?

I grew up on a farm.

I can milk a cow...

I can feed the livestock,

I can pick corn,

I can even put up
jams and preserves.

Ma taught me.


would you stay?

(horse neighing)

(upbeat music)

(announcer) Stay
tuned for exciting scenes

from our next Gunsmoke!

(theme music)

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