Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 3, Episode 27 - Joke's on Us - full transcript

A horse thief is headed for a rope. At least that's how his friends see it. They find out too late they may have the wrong man. The joke may be on all of them now as someone is killing them one by one.

...starring James Arness
as Matt Dillon.

You know, men die
for a lot of reasons.

I've even heard of worthy ones.

Like the man who's
willing to face it

for the good
that might come after.

But he's a different breed

than most
of this Boot Hill trash.

These people died
for foolish reasons.

A spilt drink, a wrong card,
or maybe worst of all,

the bullheaded stubbornness

that keeps a man
from listening to reason.

To die like this...

is a waste.

For nothing is gained
by the dying.

Matt Dillon, U.S. Marshall.

Tie 'em up, would you, Duval?

Sure, Jake.

Looked like rain this morning.

Sure clear now.


Been like that all week.

Take Tilman's horse over
there, will you, Vince?


Hey, give him
a hand, will you?

Yeah, sure.

We been neighbors
long time, Tilman.

Eight years.

Makes a man feel bad
about a thing like this.

I always liked you.


You ain't never had
much luck, have you?

Last couple years have
gone mighty hard.

That ain't no excuse
for horse stealing.

Jake, will you
drop by my house

and tell my wife
on your way home?

Of course I will.

I figured on doing that anyway.

I'd be beholding to you.

Doggone it, Tilman.

You know we can't have no man
stealing horses around here.


You'd have been after me
just as fast if I'd done it.

I would.

Only difference is
I'd want to be awful sure

you was the one that done it.

I am sure.

Heck, we caught
you red-handed,

didn't we? I told you a dozen times, Jake.

I found them horses
running wild.

Exceptin' we don't believe you.

None of us do.

Ask Bill Jennings.

He saw me.

He knew I was
only rounding

them up for you.

Jennings ain't here.

Well, why doesn't
one of you go after him?

He can't be far away.

We've seen enough without
what you say Jennings seen.


You got your minds
made up anyway.

We got to protect
ourselves, Tilman.

We got to protect what's ours.

Hey, Jake!

Come here a minute.

What for?

Come here.

What's the trouble, Duval?

I seen somebody coming.


Ain't close enough.

Can't tell yet.

We don't want no snoopers.

Just don't let him
get too close.

We got a job to do.

All right.

You alone here?

Where's Jake Kaiser?

I've been tracking you fellas.

Now, who else is here?

What's going on here, Duval?

You ain't got Frank Tilman
in there, have you?

Why shouldn't we have him?

You have got him.

Where'd you come from, Jennings?

I seen you men way off,
then I lost you.

Till I picked up
your trail out there.

What'd you want to find us for?


Frank Tilman wasn't
stealing them horses.


Where is he?

What have you done?!

Howdy, Mrs. Tilman.

Well, hello, Jake.

Come on inside.

No, thanks, ma'am,
I'll stay out here.

My husband
ain't home, Jake,

he's out on the
prairie some place.

I know.

My boy's here, though.

Would you like to see him? No, ma'am.

I want to see you.

What about?

Well, it's about your
husband, Mrs. Tilman.

Something's happened to him.

Well, it's like this, ma'am.

You know me and Duval and Benson
been losing some horses lately?


But Frank ain't somehow.

So, naturally,
when we caught him

driving a bunch
of mine today,

we figured it's him that's
been doing the stealing.

No, my husband's
an honest man.

You know he'd never do
a thing like that, Jake.

Yes, ma'am.

I do now.

Well, Bill Jennings seen him

rounding up them horses

where he found them
running loose on the prairie,

I guess whoever had
tried to steal them

got scared and left them there.

Where's my husband, Jake?

That's what I'm trying
to tell you, ma'am.

Jennings come and told us
what had really happened,


he got there too late.

Too late?

Yes, ma'am.

We'd already hung him.

It's the Lord's truth, ma'am.


Clabe, come out here.

I'm here, mom!

Hi, Jake.


Tell him what you've done, Jake.

I want him to hear it from you.


we hung your old man today.

You what?

We hung him.

For stealing horses.

Of course they found
out he didn't do it.



Yeah, I guess the joke's
on us, all right.

Somebody ought to
kill you, Jake.

Now, Clabe, don't
talk like that.

I said we were sorry.



Just the same, I reckon
you know what'll happen

if you say anything
to the law about this.

I got to go now.
I'm late for dinner.

I brung his horse.


Thanks a lot.

No trouble.

Here's your old man's gun.

Sit still.


Clabe, I want to
talk to your mother.

How are you, ma'am?

I'm middling.

- Ma's kind of tired, Marshall.

I heard about what
happened to your husband.

I-I'm sorry, ma'am.

But the cowboy that found him,

he rode on into Dodge last night
and told me about it.

Did he?

But he didn't say who did it.

I don't reckon he knew
who did it, Marshall.

Do you?

Like I say, Marshall,
Ma's kind of tired.

Clabe, you have
any idea who did it?

I wasn't there.

I don't understand you people.

You don't seem to be
particularly interested

in whether these lynchers

get caught or not.

They'll get caught.

Clabe, let me
tell you something.

Now, don't get it in your head

to go out after
those men yourself.

If you do that, you'll be
just as bad as they are.

And I'll be after you.

It ain't that, Marshall.

It's just that we wouldn't
inform on anybody.

We don't believe
in doing things that way.

Well, then how do you
expect them to get caught?

God has his ways.

It's no use arguing
with her, Marshall.

Now, look,

I know that there are
ranches around here

that have been losing horses.

And I also know
that they'd probably

lynch the first man
they got their hands on

if they thought he's the one
that'd been stealing them.

You saying my husband
was a horse thief?

No, ma'am, I'm not.

But he might've made a mistake.

Or they might have.

Well, I can't do anything
without your help.

Sorry, Mrs. Tilman.

Don't forget what
I told you, Clabe.


Well, I got to get on home.

Now, don't you
worry about a thing.

Everything's going
to be all right.

Well, I just don't like that

Marshall Dillon sniffing
around, that's all.

He's come and talked
to three of us now.

There ain't a thing he can do.

I know them Tilmans.

They ain't gonna talk
to nobody about nothing.

And it's a sure thing

none of us will.

Of course not.

I reckon you're right
about everything, Jake.

Of course I am.

So long, Benson.

I'll be talking to you.

Come on.

Well, by golly, there's not
very much I can tell you, Matt.

Wasn't much point in bringing
him in, then, I guess, huh?

No. Who did bring
him in?

Oh, some immigrant
and his wife.

They ran across
him out there,

and they didn't even
know who he was.

Benson wouldn't like
that being known.

About all I can tell you
is he died

yesterday afternoon.

Mm. Saturday.


What else, anything?

Well, no, except
shot twice

and that's what killed him.

You don't expect me to tell you
who did it, do you?

I wish you could.

You haven't got much
to go on, have you?

Nothing that'll hold up
in court.

Well, it seems like ambush
is a pretty safe way

to kill a man, huh?

Better than killing him
in church.

See you later.


? She's got the big eyes
of brown... ?

Oh, hello,
Mr. Dillon.

Hello, Chester.

What are you doing?

Well, it's come
a full week.

It's Saturday again.

Oh, yeah.

I got me a little squashy gal
all lined up for the evening.

Well, I hope
you didn't tell her.

Tell her what?



You, uh, you ain't
heard no more

about Tom Benson,
have you?

No, why?

Well, you know,

it's been a full week
since he got killed.

Yeah, it's been just
about a week and a day

since Frank Tilman
got lynched, too.

Yeah, it's been pretty lively
around here, ain't it?

Well, I guess that depends
on how you look at it.

Where you going?

I don't know. I guess
I'll just go out

and take
a little walk.

I'll be back.

You look about as sour
as Chester did last week

when his girl
didn't show up.


Oh, come on, Matt.

Everybody else is having
a good time. Look.

I'm sorry, Kitty.

You're still bothered

about the Tilman
hanging, aren't you?

He was lynched.

All right, lynched.

That was two weeks ago.

What are you gonna do
about it?

I don't know.
Just wait around

for somebody to make
a mistake, I guess.

Maybe somebody
already has.


Tom Benson.

What about him?

Well, it could be that his
conscience got to bothering him.

and, well, maybe Jake Kaiser
and Duval killed him

in order to keep him
from talking about it.

I've already thought
of that, Kitty.


There's no way
I can prove it.

There's not much
you can do, is there?

Nope, I might as well
be in St. Louie.

Mr. Dillon...
Hello, Miss Kitty.

Hello, Chester.

I just run into one
of Jim Duval's riders.

Duval's been shot.

Oh, no.

Yeah, he said it happened

just as he was going
in the house for supper.

His family heard the shot,

but by the time
they reached the body,

they couldn't find nobody
that had done the shooting.

How long ago
did it happen?

Well, he said it was
about four or five hours ago.

And he said that it was
a rifle that killed him

just like the one
that killed Tom Benson.

How long's
he been here?

Oh, at least
that long, Matt.

He was here
when I came to work.

Excuse me a minute.


Hello, Marshal.

Jake, I'd like to talk
to you for a minute.

Let's step over here,
we'll be out of the way.

I'm kinda late getting
out home, Marshal.

What is it?

Jim Duval was
killed tonight.


Killed from ambush,
same as Benson.

Same way, huh?


It's that Tilman boy, Clabe,
that's who's doing it.

What makes you
think that?

He's crazy, that's why, Marshal.

Ever since his old man got hung,
he's been out of his head.

He's out gunning for anybody

who was around out there
that day.

How do you know that?

He told me so,
right here in town today.

Say, he was in town last
Saturday, come to think of it.

He threaten
to kill you?

Of course he did.

You go arrest him,

No evidence, Jake.

You mean, you ain't gonna do
nothing about it?

Not yet, no.

Well, he ain't gonna shoot me.
I'll kill him first.

By golly, I'll do it
right tonight

on the way home.

Jake, you're not
gonna kill anybody.

Now you just go on back home
and let me handle this.

Then you go arrest him.

You leave it to me.

Not for long, Marshal.

Not for very doggone long.

I'm looking for Clabe.

He's out in the barn.

Mrs. Tillman, did you
hear about Jim Duval?

He was killed
last night.

All right.

All right?

Seems to me there've been
several people killed

around here lately, Marshal,
my husband included.

Do you think Duval and Benson
had anything to do with that?

I didn't say they were.

What about Jake Kaiser?

You're prying,

That's the trouble
with the law

You're always prying.

We don't know nothing.

And Clabe didn't shoot nobody.

He was in Dodge yesterday

and the Saturday
before, too.


Hello, Clabe.

You been hunting?


Put the gun back
where it belongs, son.

Okay, Ma.

I was shooting hawks
with it yesterday.

I left it in the barn.

You should have put it back
yesterday, son.

Oh, yeah.

It was dark when
I got home, Ma.

I didn't see it
out there.

I should have
put it away myself.

What brings you
out here, Marshal?

Jim Duval was killed last night.

That so?

Ambushed with a rifle.

Same as Benson.

You don't say.

Jake Kaiser, he, uh,
he thinks you did it.

He does?

Yeah, he says you threatened
to kill him, too.

Maybe I oughta.

Clabe, now don't
talk that way, son.

How you gonna prove I
murdered anybody, Marshal?

There's laws against murder,

My pa was murdered.

Where was the law then?

If I knew who they were,
I'd go after 'em.

Too bad you wasn't
there, Marshal.

We don't know nothing
about nobody, Marshal.

Do we, son?

Nothing at all.

Bye, Mrs. Tillman.
Come on, Chester.

Hello, Doc.


You're just in time
for some coffee.

Well, good.
I'm lucky.

Oh? How do you mean?

Well, see, you're making
the coffee, not Chester.

That's being
pretty lucky.

I'm sorry to disappoint
you, Doc,

but this is
Chester's coffee.

I'm just warming
it up.

Oh, well, if it hasn't
killed me by now,

I guess I can
take a chance.

That's better
than usual.

What's he using now,
sunflower seeds?


You know, Chester's
got a theory

that coffee ought to
be a meal in itself.

Where is he?

Oh, I got him outside
watching for Clabe Tilman.

What fer?

It's Saturday.

Clabe's been making a point of
coming into Dodge every Saturday.

What do you mean?

Well, you know, there's been
a killing every Saturday

for the past two weeks.

Well, you don't think
it's Clabe?

Well, he's sure got more
reason than anybody else.

Well, you, you mean he could
have gotten out there

and killed them fellas
and then gotten back in here

without anybody
noticing it?

Could have.

Mr. Dillon...

Oh, Doc.

He's here. I seen him
going into Delmonico's.

You know, you said
he'd be here.

Yeah. Have you seen
Jake Kaiser in town?

No, I ain't seen Jake.

I seen one of
his riders, though,

and he said Jake wasn't
coming into town today.

Well, guess I'd better
ride out to Jake's then.

Don't you want to follow
Clabe when he leaves?

It's Jake I want
to keep an eye on.

So long, Doc.

Yeah, yeah.

Well, Mr. Dillon,
I don't see Jake

or nobody around
the house.

You sure that we just
ain't wasting our time?

No, he's in there,

And whoever's after him

is bound to show up here
sooner or later.

Yeah, I reckon so.



Stay here.

Yes, sir.

You let me go!

Don't shoot, Jake!
It's Marshal Dillon!

This ain't gonna do
you no good, Marshal!

I ain't gonna quit
till Jake Kaiser's dead!

What's going on
out here, Marshal?

What's she
doing here?

She wants to kill
you, Jake.

A woman?

A better shot
than most men.

She's proved that

You killed Benson and Duval?

And I'll kill you
if I have to use a knife!

A woman going around
killing people.

Why, that's terrible!

You lynched my husband!

I told you that was a mistake.

I said we was sorry.

Don't touch the gun, Jake.

Now, don't make me kill ya.

You're gonna have to.

I'm sorry, Mrs. Tilman.

I... I'm gonna have
to arrest you, too.

I don't mind...

as long as he
hangs with me.

Well, he'll, he'll
probably hang, all right.

but I imagine they'll
send you to prison.

Prison? What'll Clabe think?

I think Clabe probably knows
about you already.

He probably figured out

that day he found the rifle
in the barn.

He probably just didn't know
how to stop it.

You found the only way, Marshal.

I'm sorry,
Mrs. Tilman.

Now don't you feel bad.

I don't mind.
I don't really mind at all.

Go find your horse.

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