Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 4, Episode 15 - Snakebite - full transcript

Claustrophobic plainsman Poney Thompson is arrested for murdering a man who maliciously shot his dog, but an ironic fate awaits him after he breaks free from Chester's custody.

James Arness as Matt Dillon.

Hey, it's kind of cooled off,
Mr. Dillon,

after all that hot weather.


Yeah, it'll probably heat up
again, Chester.

How do you know?

Well, I'm part Indian.
Didn't I ever tell you?


Looky there, Mr. Dillon.

You know, I wish I had me
a dog like that.

You know, if he doesn't get out
from under those horses,

he's liable to get
his head kicked in.

Get away, you mutt!

Mr. Dillon, that dog
wasn't hurting a thing.

Hey, Moorman.

Well, now,
what's your trouble, Marshal?

I want your gun, mister.

- What?
- You heard me.

Well, I ain't done nothing.

I'm not going
to argue with you.

- Here, Chester.
- Yes, sir.

I want yours, too.

Sure, take it, Marshal.

All right, now,
what's your name?

Name is Walt Moorman.

What's this all about?

And yours?

Hakes, Jod Hakes.

What do you aim to do
with them guns, Marshal?

I ought to bend them
over your skull.

But you can pick them up
at my office

just before you leave town.

Well, we ain't planning
on leaving town.

Well, your plans have changed.

You finish your business
and get out, both of you.

I don't see why we got to...

Oh, come on.

Don't pay no attention to him.

Why that Moorman... he sure is
a mean one, ain't he?


Shooting a dog like that.

Probably belonged to some kid
around here, you know.

Maybe I ought to take him
behind the jail there

and get him buried.

All right, fine, Chester.

I'll see you back at the office.

Could I help you, mister?

You got him buried, eh?

Is that your dog?


Fella told me what happened.

Said he seen you
bring him back here.

Oh, yeah, it was just terrible.

Of course, I didn't know
who he belonged to,

so I thought at least
I could get him buried.

I'm going to miss
that little dog.

I'm sorry.

Sure was good company.


Here, uh, you mind if, uh...

if I throw in
the rest of the dirt, eh?

Oh, no, no.

A fella ought to bury
his own dog.


Maybe I could get
a marker for you

to put up there.

No, no, no.

Don't believe in markers.

Best to let things
just disappear

like nature intended.

Yeah, yeah.

Could I ask maybe
what your name is?

- Poney Thompson.
- Poney Thompson.

All my life.

Yeah, well...

My name's Chester Goode.



Thank you, Chester.

Well, now,
that's all right, Poney.

I, uh, just done what I could,
you know.

Oh, Mr. Dillon,
this here is Poney Thompson.

This is... this is the marshal,
Mr. Thompson.

Oh, I ain't no mister.

Poney's good enough.

How do you do?

This was his dog that got shot,
Mr. Dillon.

We just finished burying him.

Yeah, well,
I'm sure sorry about that.

I shouldn't have brung him.

Towns is bad enough for humans.

Where you from?

I don't think I've seen you
around Dodge before.

I don't seek out no town
but once a year.

I move around the prairie,

Yeah, sometimes
I go up in the mountains.

Well, I don't like
to be closed in.

Can't stand four walls
and a roof.

Well, it's... it's like being
in jail, I guess.

Well, what are you doing
in town here now for, then?

Well, once a year, I...
I get drunk.

I see.

Who shot my dog, Marshal?

Oh, just a couple fellas
that rode into town.

I'll have to have their names.

Why, you want them
to pay for the dog?

No, it ain't money I'm after.

I got me a heavy old rifle
down at the stable

with my gatherings, and I figure

to go kind of beat them
half to death with it.

Well, now, that wouldn't do
much good, would it?

You ain't going to tell me
their names, are you?

No, I don't think so.


Where you going?

Well, I can't get drunk
unless I start drinking, can I?

But I'll find out
who shot my dog.

And, uh, don't you worry,

By golly, Mr. Dillon,
he means that.

He's going to find them fellas.

Oh, he'll probably get drunk,
forget all about it, Chester.

You think so?

Well, I don't know.

Hello, Kitty.

Hello, Matt.

- Marshal.
- Sam.

Have a drink?

No, I don't think so,
not right now.

Well, just holler
when you're ready.

All right.

Well, what are you doing
prowling around here so early?

Well, to tell you the truth,
I was kind of interested in him.

Old Poney Thompson?


Yeah, Chester was in,
told me all about it.

Well, he seems
sober enough so far.

What, you want him drunk?

Well, it's all right with me

as long as it keeps him
out of trouble.

Well, that's his second bottle
he's working on.

His second bottle?


Well, he does all right for
an old prairie wolf, doesn't he?

Well, Chester says

he only gets around to this
about once a year.

And come to think of it,

I think that's a good idea
for just about everybody.

I don't know about that.

If everybody did that
around here,

you might be out of business.

Yeah, well, then I can open some
other kind of business, you see?

Something that isn't
so much trouble.

Miss Kitty,
can you come here for a minute?

Mmm. I'll be right back.

That fella sitting over there
by himself...

Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

...gave me this IOU.

Hey, Hakes.

Look at that one over there.

Yeah. She's right pretty,
ain't she?

Yeah, it's all right, Sam.

I've taken them before.

Ah, don't rush off there.

My name is Walt Moorman.

I'm going to buy you a drink.

No, thanks.

I said
I'm going to buy you a drink!

I said no.

And I said yes.

Come on, honey, loosen up.

Now, just what would you do
if I don't?

Shoot me like you did
that dog this afternoon?

Hey, she's got a lot of fire.

- Ain't she?

Must take a real man
to do something like that.

You want me
to smash in your face?

Hold it!

That's enough.

Oh, it's you again.

Take your friend
and get out of here.

You sure do like
to have your way

in this town,
don't you, Marshal?

You better go
while you still can.

Come on, Moorman,
let's get out of here.

All right.

I sure am getting
a bellyful of you.

You don't have to take it.

Come on!

Get your hands off me!

What a hero.


Hello, Poney.

Hi, Marshal.

Moorman is the name, huh?


Got a mean face, ain't he?

Now, Poney,
I'll take care of him.

Oh, I ain't going to follow him,

I got me a bottle to finish.

I'm getting drunk tonight,

Well, I guess
it's like you say, Matt.

Poney's had enough to drink that
those two don't seem to matter.

Well, I don't know.
I'm not so sure anymore.

Maybe I'll just have that drink
with you.

On the house this time.

Eh, morning.

Hello, Doc.

Had your breakfast?

Well, I'm just on my way
over there now.


Well, Chester know about it?

Yeah. Yeah, he just stopped off
to Moss Grimmick's

to pay him some money
before he loses it.

Oh. Lose it?

What is it, women or gambling?

You know Chester, Doc.

He can lose money just
standing around in the shade.

Hey, golly, that's the truth.

Hey, you're up kind of early
for an old man, aren't you?

Well, I go to bed early.

I don't fritter away my nights
in saloons

pretending to be working.

- You mean keeping the peace.
- Oh, yeah.

- Protecting honest citizens...
- Mm-hmm. they can get their rest?

Yeah, I know.
Oh, there he is right now.

Mr. Dillon?

Mr. Dillon.

What is it?

- There's been a killing.
- What?

Yeah, that fella, Walt Moorman...
he got his throat cut.

Moss Grimmick found him in one
of his stalls this morning.

You know who done it?

- Who?
- That Poney Thompson.

Poney Thompson?
How do you know?

Well, he was right there.

Uh, he still is, as a matter
of fact, 'cause we tied him up.

'Course, he was passed out drunk
when Moss found him,

but he come to
when we slew some water on him.

Well, if he was as drunk
as all that,

how could he have killed

Well, I don't know,
but he was covered with blood,

and he had his knife
right there by his hand.

You better come along, too, Doc.

He's right back here,
Mr. Dillon.

Where's Moss?

Well, I don't know. He was here.

Maybe he went out
looking for you, too.

Marshal! Marshal,
make him turn me loose.

Get me loose, Marshal.

I can't stand this.

This your knife, Poney?

Yeah. Yeah, sure, it's mine,
but I didn't use it

on Moorman or nobody else.

Well, it was laying
right there by his hand.

Then, somebody put it there.

Marshal, cut me loose, please.

All right, Poney.

Don't you try to run, now.

Thank you, Marshall.

Thank you.

Why should I run?

I ain't done nothing.

Well, I wouldn't say
things look too good for you.

- Doc?
- Yeah?

What do you think?

Well, not very much
I can tell you, Matt.

He's been dead about four
or five hours, the way I figure.

Throat cut, all right.

Took a knife in the back, too.

Marshal, I wouldn't do
a thing like that.

Well, I wouldn't
have thought so, Poney.

It's true. Sure, I...

did find him in the street later
after I left the Long Branch,

but, well, I only swored at him
a little for shooting my dog.

What did you come
to the stable for?

To get some sleep.

Moss told me
I could use an empty stall.

Well, Poney, I...

I'm sorry, but I'm going
to have to lock you up.



No, Marshal.

No. No, please don't do that,

Please don't.

I got no choice, Poney.

Marshal, I'll go plumb
out of my head.

You put me in jail,
I... I told you how I am.

I... I couldn't stand it.


Take him down, will you?

Yes, sir.

No, Chester. No.

- Now, Poney.
- Not jail. Please, Chester.

Well, now, Poney, you ought
have thought about that

before you went
and killed Moorman...

Chester, I tell you,
I'll go plumb out of my head...

I'd rather die, Chester.

Well, it ain't all that bad,

By golly, Matt.

You know, I feel kind of sorry
for him.

So do I, Doc.

Just hard for me to believe
he could do that.


You got to lock him up, though,
I guess, huh?

Oh, yeah, you know.

Well, maybe Moorman's partner
knows something about it.

I'll have to look him up.

I ain't got no money or nothing,

but I'll get some,
and I'll send it to you.

You sure don't want
to go to jail, do you?

Being in jail?!

I can't stand four walls even.

Well, Poney,
I'm just sorry for you.

I'm just as sorry
as I can be, but...

well, I just can't take
no money.

It wouldn't be right.



Poney! Wait.


Poney! Poney!


Wait. Poney.

Poney, you come back here!

Mr. Dillon!

Well, I guess that's about all
we can do, isn't it?

Yeah. Gosh, we've had our share
of killings here, Matt,

but nothing like that
for a while.

Yeah. That was a bad one.

Hey, Marshal!

Been looking for you.


Just ran into Moss Grimmick
a while ago.

Told me about Moorman.

This is Jod Hakes, Doc.

He's, uh, Moorman's partner.

- Hey.
- Howdy.

Well, do you know anything
about this?

Uh, no more
than Moss Grimmick told me.

That old devil,
Poney Thompson, murdered him.

And weren't you with Moorman
last night?

Well, yeah, I was with him
till about midnight.

Then I went up and went to bed.

Sure wish I hadn't.

He was pretty drunk by then.

Where is that old man, Marshal?

I'm going to get him.

Mr. Dillon?

Mr. Dillon,
it's Poney Thompson.

He got away.

He got on a horse,
and he rode out of town.


Yeah. Well, uh, you see,

he got in between a couple
of wagons there, and...

I lost him.

Well, let's get the horses.

Yes, sir.

Wait a minute, Marshal.

I want to go with you.

I'm going to shoot that old man
on sight.

No, you're not going
to shoot anybody, mister.

But you're coming with me,
all right,

because I don't want you
around here

trying anything on your own.

Now, get going.

- See you later, Doc.
- Yeah.

He went this way.

Well, he angled off over here.

That old man sure led us
a chase.

It's going to get dark
pretty soon, too.

Let's get going.

Mr. Dillon, you ought to go dunk
your face in that river there.

Sure feels good.

I'd like to dunk my face
in a big plate of beef stew.

That's what I'd like to do.

Well, I'll tell you, Hakes,

you ain't the only one
that's hungry.

You know that.

I still don't why we couldn't

have caught that old man
before dark.

We were pretty close to him
when we stopped.

And we had to stop.

Otherwise, we'd lost him
for sure.

I ain't arguing about that.

Well, from the looks
of the tracks,

I'd say his horse
was starting to sull.

He couldn't have got far.

Well, he must be
around here someplace.

Well, did you think you could
follow his tracks in the dark?

No, I couldn't follow him
in the dark!

I just don't want him
to get away.

That's all.

Now, suppose you let me worry
about that, huh?

Chester, you better get
some sleep.

I'll take the first watch.

All right.

What are you standing watch for,

Well, let's just say I wouldn't
want to wake up in the morning

and find that you'd gone hunting
with one of these rifles here.

So, that's it, huh?

Yeah, that's it.

Now, why don't you get
some sleep?

Oh, Mr...

Mr. Dillon, it's me.

You scared me to death.

Oh, sorry, Chester.

Well, I-I just thought
it was daylight enough

that we could really start
tracking again.


You know, if we run Poney
Thompson down early enough,

we can go hunting.

I sure can taste me
some meat right now.

Hey, Marshal,
I've been thinking.

Why don't you let me have
one of those rifles today?

You're sure anxious
to shoot him down, aren't you?

No, I'm just anxious to see
he don't shoot me down.

He's probably got him a gun
by now.

Oh, yeah, he could find a gun

anywheres out here
on the prairie.

You're awful smart, ain't you?

Yeah. Mr. Dillon,

maybe while you's a-saddling up
the horses,

I could make us a fast pot
of chicory.

Well, all right, Chester,

as long
as it doesn't take too long.

Well, I'll get some dry wood
so it won't make too much smoke.

- All right.
Hey, you could have

kept it going for us,
couldn't you?

Well, yeah, Hakes, I could have.

I could have kept it going,
but if you're so cold,

why don't you get up
on your feet, move around?

Might stir your blood up.

Might even go out
and get some wood for us.

Don't get lost

out there, sonny.

Why don't you keep quiet?

That voice of yours
itches my ears.

You ought to have your ears
knocked off.

All right, let's go get
the saddles on. Come on.

- Marshal?
- Yeah?

You going to let me have one of
them guns today, or ain't you?

Hakes, I wouldn't trust you
with a buggy whip.

You ain't got no cause
to talk to me like that.

I want Poney Thompson alive.

He's no good to me dead.

Ah. What do you mean?

I want to have a little talk
with him, for one thing.

Poney Thompson told you that
he didn't kill Moorman, huh?

Yeah, that's right.

Marshal, I don't understand you

You got the best case
against him

of anybody I ever heard of.

That right?

Mr. Dillon!

Mr. Dillon, come here quick!

Let's go.

It's Poney Thompson,
Mr. Dillon, in the cave.


Oh, he's dead, ain't he?


Oh, look.
His face is all swole.

Lookit here.

Fang marks.

Must have been a big rattler.


Well, Mr. Dillon,
he-he must have knowed

that we was close by here.

Oh, when he got bit, why didn't
he yell out to us for help?

Poor little fella.

I guess he figured
it was better to die

than spend the rest
of his life in jail.

That's awful.

Just awful.

Well, I don't feel sorry
for him a bit.

He stuck Moorman in the back,
and he cut his throat,

didn't he?

He got just what he deserved.


did you tell him about Moorman
being stuck in the back?


No, I didn't say nothing to him.

All Moss Grimmick knowed
was that he got his throat cut.

Well, that's not so.

Moss Grimmick told me
all about it.

Moss Grimmick didn't know
about it.

Nobody did.

Not until after Doc
had examined him.

Hakes, I don't know why
you killed your partner,

and I don't particularly care

because you're going to hang
for that.

But right now,
you're going to dig a grave.

You're going to dig it
with your bare hands.

And you're going to dig it deep.

The old man deserves
that much from you.

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