Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 4, Episode 10 - Lynching Man - full transcript

After mild-mannered Hank Blenis is "lynched" by the two men who stole his horse, self-righteous Charlie Drain decides to take the law into his own hands and is led tragically astray by the culprits.

James Arness as Matt Dillon.

Real pretty here.

You think this is a good place
to camp?

Good as any, I guess.

The man at the land office
said I could probably

stake out any homestead land
I wanted around here,

but it don't look like the best
farmland a man could want.

I've seen better.

Cattle might make out, though.

Oh, yeah, but I don't know
nothing about cattle.

I sure wish you'd change your
mind and stay around with me

for a few days here.

Well, now, I'd kind of like
to do that, mister.

You're pretty green,
but you seem like a good man.

Then you'll stay?


No, I'm afraid not.

I don't know nothing
about farming.

I'm a drifter.

I don't reckon I'll ever change.

Don't know as I'd even want to.

You will, someday.

But anyway, it's been real nice
knowing you.

Same here.

And I sure do appreciate
your taking the time

to guide me out here from Dodge.

I was proud to help.

I'd have got lost, sure.

Say, uh...

you know...

I just, uh, thought
of something. Uh...

Yeah? What?

What do I do with him at night?

I mean, to keep him
from running away?


you shouldn't be out here alone.

Just ain't right.

I'll make out.

Well, I sure wish you luck.

If you don't have any hobbles,
stake him out.

Oh. How do you do that?

Oh, shucks.

Wait a minute.

You take these hobbles.

I won't need them.

What do you do with these?

You'd better put them
on his front feet.

Well, thanks.

I-I want to pay you, mister.

I won't need any money
where I'm going.

Good luck to you.

Well, thanks.

And good luck to you.

Ever seen that fellow before,

No. Looks like some kind of
nester to me, though.

Ah, country's getting overrun
with them.

That's sure true.

Ain't a bad-lookin' horse,

Well, let's have
a little talk with him.

Hello, mister.


You camped here all alone?

Yes, I'm alone.

Well, where's your partner?


I don't have none.

You ought to have one.

Man like you needs somebody
to take care of him, hmm?

What's your name, fella?


Hank Blenis.

You live around here?

No. At least not yet.

What do you mean?

Well, you see,
I've just been scouting around

for some homestead land.

Oh, I see.

Ain't a bad-looking horse
for a homesteader.

It seems like a fine horse.

Well, take a look at him,

All right.

Scouting for land, huh?

That's right.

I had a little orchard
back in Ohio.

I... I raised apples.

Well, I...
I guess apples is fine.

I sure wish I had some
right now.

Hey, Gringle.
- Huh?

That's a mighty sound horse,
far as I can see.

- Hmm? - There's just one thing
wrong with him.


Well, he ain't got no brand
on him.

No brand?

What are you doing riding a
horse with no brand, mister?

It washed off coming over
the Arkansas.

Washed off?

What are you talking about?

That's right, mister.
I ain't lying.

I guess it don't matter
whether you are or not.

Shelby, take your rope down.

What's he need a rope for?

What are you going to do?

Don't worry none about that.
We'll take care of everything.

- What are you going to do?! What
are you?! - It's all right!

Now, get him up here, Gringle!

Mr. Dillon, maybe there's
some water over there.

Well, I doubt it.

Not unless somebody's dug
a well.

Well, I tell ya, I'm gonna start
carrying me two canteens.

Let's rest the horses, anyway.

Well, all right, but I think
I'll just check to make sure

there ain't no water there.

Chester, what do you want,
all the comforts of home?

I don't know.

Mr. Dillon?!


Mr. Dillon!


Looky here.


I don't recognize him.
Do you?


There ain't no horse around.

Leastwise, I ain't seen one.

Well, Chester, he was
probably riding a stolen horse.

Whoever he stole it from
caught up with him

and took it back.

It's a terrible price
to pay for a horse.

Well, I don't know how
I'm gonna find whoever did this,

but I'd sure like to.

Well, let's get him
in the ground now.

What's bothering you, Matt,
the lynching?

Yeah, I guess so.

I don't know how men
can do things like that.

Yeah. It's easy
for some men, Kitty.

Who was he?

We found a letter on him.

His name's Hank Blenis.

Doesn't seem to be wanted
by the law anywhere,

but he must be a horse thief.

Must've been, or else
they wouldn't have lynched him.

Why don't you just find out
who's had a horse stolen lately?

It's not likely

they'd be talking about it now.

No, I guess not.

Miss Kitty!

I'll be back in just a minute.

All right.

Marshal Dillon?


I'm Charlie Drain, Marshal.

Run cattle up north
on the Republican River.

Happened to be in Dodge
on business,

and I heard about that lynching

Oh, sit down.

You know something about
the lynching, do you?

I know I don't like it.

My own pa was lynched, Marshal.

Mob strung him up by mistake.

I was just a boy,
but I saw them do it.

Laid on my mind ever since.

It's a big thing with me,

I can't endure seeing lynchers
get off free.

Well, I don't like it myself,
Drain, but...

Then you do something about it,

or by heaven, I will.

Then maybe you'd better tell me
what you got on your mind.

Fellow named
Gil Mather lives alone

on a small ranch over
in Dove Creek.

I stopped by there
on my way down.

He'd had a horse or two
stolen lately.

Talked of hanging
whoever stole them.


You go out and bring him in,
while there's still time.

Now, wait a minute.

I'll see him dead, Marshal.

I've told you how I feel
about lynching.

Drain, you'd better
take it easy.

Leave the law up to me.

Not for long, I won't.

As long as I'm alive, you will.

And don't you forget it.

Hello, Willy!

Oh, hello, Mr. Mather.
I didn't hear you right off.

Ah, you finish your chores,
come on in the house.

We'll see if we can find us
something to eat.

I'm done here now.

I just got some stuff
to put away in the barn.

- Well, then get on with it,
Billy. - Yes, sir.

Oh, Mr. Mather, do you have
anything for me

to do this afternoon?

Ma wanted me to get home
and get some sod cut.

You finish in the barn
and you go on.

I've got nothing I'll need
you for this afternoon.


Think Mather will put up
a fight, Mr. Dillon?

I'm not even gonna arrest him,

I don't have enough evidence.

But what if he admits it,

Well, not many men admit
to a crime.

Well, no, I guess not.

Well, hello, Marshal!

Hello, Mather.

What brings you out here?

I understand
you've lost some horses.

I didn't lose them, Marshal,
they was stolen.

Three of them.

You got any idea who stole them?

If I knew, there'd be a man
hanging from a limb somewheres.

Well, that's what I came out
here about, Mather.

There was.


About ten miles from here.

A man by the name
of Hank Blenis.

Who hung him?

There's a lot of people think
maybe you did.

No. No, it wasn't me.

Horse thieves got to be hung,

Well, this happened
last Thursday, Mather.

Would you mind telling me
where you were then?

Are you questioning my word?

You gonna tell me?

I don't like it,
a man questions my word.

Well, this is no time to get
proud and stubborn, Mather.

You got any evidence,
you come and arrest me, Marshal.

Meantime, I got things to do.

Sure is contrary, ain't he?


Could be hiding something.

Well, can't arrest him for that.

Might as well get back to town.



What? Oh, it's you, huh?

Oh, I say, you weren't asleep,
were you?

No. No, I was just

kind of resting my eyes here
a little bit.

Just... I was up all night.

Mm-hmm. What were you doing?

Well, I was doctoring.

Doctoring what?

Well, it's none of your

but I was doctoring
old man Clyde.

Oh, oh. I thought maybe you had
an old sick cow someplace.

You know, you ought to tie
a string around your neck

with a sign on it
explaining all that.

Otherwise, folks might get
the wrong idea.

Well, folks can mind
their own business.

And that goes for you, too!

I'm here if anybody wants me,

You, uh, you don't mind
if I join you, do you?

No, no.

Good. Thanks.


Oh, excuse me.

You know, a man'd have to be
awful sick before he'd trust

a doctor that looks like
he's sleeping off a drunk.

Yeah, from what I hear,

you haven't exactly been
distinguishing yourself

in your trade lately.

People going around
lynching folks,

and no interference
at all from the law.

I guess I should have
left you sleeping.

I wasn't asleep.

Marshal Dillon!

I want to talk to you.

What about?

I'm tired of waiting, Marshal.

Something's gotta be done.

Drain, why don't you go back
to your ranch

and let me handle this?

Because you ain't doing nothing
about it.

A man's been lynched,
and you just sit there

not caring a thing about it.

But I care.

I won't stand for it, Marshal.

If Gil Mather didn't do it,
you find out who did.

And you'd better
be darn quick about it.

Now, Drain, I'm gonna give you
a piece of advice.

Like what?

You go take a walk around town,
and you talk to people,

and you ask 'em what I'm like
when somebody crowds me too far.

And you go back out
to that ranch of yours

and you think about it,
real hard.

I'm telling you the truth, men.

Unless them lynchers are caught
and punished,

you'll have more of it.

None of you will be safe.

You calling us horse thieves,

Many an innocent man's
been lynched, my friend.

My own pa was.

I'll never forget it.

The law here's got to learn

that if they won't do something
about this, we will.

Them lynchers has got
to be punished.

Now, who's with me?

Well, what's the matter
with you men?

Afraid of Marshal Dillon?

Is that it?

Well, forget about him.

If he won't do his duty,
we will.

Now, what about it, men?

I know. You want to drink.

Bartender, drinks are on me.

Maybe it was Gil Mather.

Maybe it wasn't.

But if we all work together,
we'll soon find out who did it.

Well, what do you say, men?

Thanks, mister,
but I'm too busy.

No, thanks.

All I'm asking you men
is this...

whoever done it is bound
to make a mistake.

Maybe he talked to much,

maybe he bragged about getting
a horse back.

So you just keep your eyes
and ears open.

Come to me first thing
you find out.

Well, you can do that much,
can't you?

Another round, bartender.


Yeah? What is it?

Well, we want to talk to you.

Well, sit down, gentlemen,
sit down.

My name's Gringle.
This is my partner, Shelby.


We know something
about the lynching.

- Gringle, I don't want...
- Shut up!

I'll do the talking.

Never mind.

Tell me, what do you know?

We know who done it.

You do?

Who? Who did it?

Well, we come by there
just after it happened.

We seen him riding away,

but it was too late
to cut him down.

But you recognized him?

Plain as day.

Well, tell me, man. Who was it?

You want him real bad, don't ya?

I've got to have him.

Yeah, well, we don't feel
as strong as that, Drain.

Don't matter to us
one way or another.

We're just a couple of cowboys.

Real poor.

Bartender, more glasses.


that's what you want.

I'll pay...

anything within reason.

Hundred dollars?

All right.



I'll pay.

Now, who was it?

Better than that,
we'll take you there.

Take me there?

I want to see that
this thing is done right.

No mistakes.

Come on.

If was a bluebird
and you was a train

Tell you what I'll do

Pop my head and whistle

Build a nest for you

Build a nest for you...

Oh, howdy, Mr. Dillon.


Where've you been?

Why, somebody looking for me?

No, nobody that I know of.

Well, what'd you want
to know for, then?

Well, I-I come in,
and you wasn't here,

so I just was wondering,
that's all.

I see. Well, if you really
want to know,

I was out having dinner...
and thinking.

What was you thinking about?

Well, I was thinking
about that Charlie Drain.

He's been doing
a lot of talking,

and it may lead to trouble.

Oh, that Charlie Drain.

Talk that he does sure
don't make much sense.

You know, you'd think that
that Hank Blenis was his cousin,

some relative or something,
the way he's been carrying on.

- Yeah. - Instead of just some
poor old pilgrim.

You know, that, uh, that man
that was hung, he was...

he didn't look
much like a cowboy, did he?

No, no, more like
some farmer to me.

He wasn't wearing
Western clothes, either.

Well what difference
does that make?

Just that a man like that
doesn't usually steal horses.

He doesn't know enough
about it.

Well, now, I hadn't thought
of that.

Neither had I.

I'm going over to see Moss.
Maybe he can help me out.


Yeah, that must have been him,

He said his name
was Hank Blenis.

Yeah, I know.

The horse you rented him, Moss,
what did he look like?

Oh, a black three-year-old.

He was young, but plumb gentle.

Had three white stockings.

And another thing, that horse
didn't have no brand on him,

except that no-good stuff
I bought.

What stuff's that?

A traveling man sold it to me.

Kind of a chemical powder.
You wet it,

and then you kind of paint
your brand on with it.

Supposed to take the hair off.

It ain't no good.

I put it on another animal,
and it washed right off.

Hmm. Well, then whoever
stole this horse

could, uh, put
his own brand on it.

Yeah, I'm a fool, Marshal,

thinking you can brand
a horse that way.

Well, we all make mistakes.

But I saved Gil Mather
from getting took, though.


He came in the other day,

looking for the same kind
of powder.

He did? Now, what day was that?

Thursday. He always comes in
on Thursday.

He comes in, stays all day.

Well, that was the day
of the lynching.

You don't think Gil Mather
did it, do you?

I don't know.

Here comes Chester.

- Mr. Dillon?
- Yeah?

That Charlie Drain's headed
for trouble, for sure.

What do you mean?

Well, I just run into a fella
that rode into town.

He said he'd seen Drain
and a couple of strangers

headed out
towards Gil Mather's place.

Well, we'd better get out there.

Thanks, Moss.

I don't see anybody around.

Maybe they're in the barn.

There's their horses.

What are you doing around
here, Marshal?

Where's Gil Mather?

He's not around.

Take a look in the barn,

- Yes, sir.
- I said he's not around.

Go ahead.

What's your name?

What difference does it make?

I said what's your name?

All right, it's Bob Gringle.


Ed Shelby. Why?

It's his job.

His job is to punish criminals,

but he ain't been doing
very good at it.

You're slow, Marshal.

Much too slow.

I hope you're wrong
about that, Drain.

Mr. Dillon! Mr. Dillon!


He's in there, all right,
Gil Mather.

They went and hung him.

Don't move.

Just keep your hand away
from that gun.

you can't blame me, Marshal.

Weren't me, nor Shelby.
It was Drain's idea. He paid us

- to come along with him.
- And why not?

Because Gil Mather was in town
the day of the lynching.

How do you know?

I have one witness.
I can find more.

You sure of that, Marshal?

I'm sure.

I don't want any part of this.

Let's go, Shelby.

Hold it.

This your horse here?

The one
with the three white stockings?

What about it, Marshal?

Pretty smart of you
to lynch a man

instead of killing him
after you steal his horse.

Now, look...

What are you saying, Marshal?

Drain, these are the men
that lynched Hank Blenis.

They told me it was Mather.

They probably figured that
getting you out here

to help them lynch Mather

would throw everybody
off their track.

So you lynched him.

You did it.

Dirty dog!


Yes, sir?

Get his gun.

All, right, get up. Get up!

On your feet.

Get your hands up.

Here, Chester.

All right, now you two get
over there.


Dirty lynchers!

I hate them.

I'd have killed them both,
if you hadn't stopped me.

Dirty lynchers!

And what do you think you just
did in there to Gil Mather?

You're nothing
but a lyncher yourself.

I made a mistake.
I made a mistake.

I can't help that.

I only wish I could have
hung them, too.

They deserved it!

I hate them, I tell you!

I hate lynching!


He died plumb out of his mind,
Mr. Dillon.

Just wild and plumb out
of his mind.

Well, sometimes a man can
hate too much, Chester.

Can twist him till he doesn't
know the truth anymore.


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