Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 4, Episode 31 - Murder Warrant - full transcript

Matt and Dodge City's businessmen employ an unusual tactic to save ambush victim Lee Prentice from being taken to corrupt Baker City to face certain hanging on a trumped-up murder charge.

Starring James Arness as Matt Dillon.

Lee Prentice?

Thunder here. Come over here, boy.

Just kind of roll over on that. That's it.

No, you're almost...

There we are.

I took one in the shoulder, Doc.

It's bleeding, bleeding bad.

All right, let me look at it here.

Just let me look at it, Lee.

All right, put that on there
and hold it tight.

All right now, here it is.

Let me raise you up there a little.

No, no.

There you are. There you are.

Happen out on your ranch?

Yeah, yeah.

Thunder, that's the trouble
from living alone out there.

Can't help that, Doc.

All right, now, here.

Let me see this.

All right, just let go there.


This may sting a little now. Easy.

Well, here.

Now, you hold that one
on there good and tight.

Twenty miles.

Never thought I'd make it.

All right now.

Just take your hand away now, boy.

Who in thunder shot you?

l... I don't know, Doc.

I go out of the house,
and he knocked me over.

Got off a couple of shots back at him.

He rode off.

He never knew he hit me, I guess.

All right, Lee, now, look.

You're bleeding pretty bad.

Before I can stop it, though,

I've got to get that bullet out of there.

It's not going to be very pleasant.


you... you don't let me die, Doc.

I've got a man to find first.

All right, you hold on tight, boy.

Take it easy.


Mr. Dillon, I just can't understand

anybody shooting that Lee Prentice.

He's just about as nice a fella as there is.

Yeah, but everybody's got enemies,
Chester, no matter who he is,

and Lee never told us
where he came from, you know.


How is he, Doc?

Why don't you ask him? He's awake.

Lee? How you feeling?

Fine, Marshal.

I got a little sleep during the night,

but Doc didn't, did ya, Doc?

He's going to have to stay here a while.

He lost a lot of blood.
He's pretty weak.

I don't want to cause you any more trouble.

Yeah, you're a terrible nuisance, Lee,

but I'll manage somehow.

- You took a bullet, huh?
- Yeah.

Any idea who did it?

I'd tell you if I knew, Marshal,

but I'm going to find out.

Well, Matt, it's a pretty terrible thing

when a young fella like Lee comes along

and makes as many friends
as he has in a year

and somebody tries to kill him.

Something ought to be done about it.

Well, something will be done about it.

I'll tell you the first thing we ought to do

is see that nobody else knows about this.

You think that whoever done it might come
back and try to finish him off?

They might.

Can you keep him in the back room
so his other patients don't know he's here?

Sure, glad to, but... well, food...
He's got to have him something to eat.

Chester can bring him up something.

What would you like?

Let me see, Lee.

What... What about
a nice, thick, juicy steak, huh?

- Yeah.
- All right.

Good. We'll be back in a little while.

All right.

And Doc, you better not let anybody
in here unless you know them.

Shame on you, Clem.

Now would he have done that to you?

Yes, ma'am.

Two cards.

Oh, Sam, get those receipts today.
I'll take a look at them, okay?

Evening, Kitty.

Good evening, Matt.
You want a drink?

No. No, thanks.

Well, it looks like it's going to be
a pretty big night.

Yeah, really does.

All of them will be broke and hung over
in the morning.

Guess that's what they came here for,
isn't it?

Say, Kitty,
you know this young Lee Prentice?

Yeah, I know him.

Did he ever get in any trouble around here?

No. Lee's a real good boy.

He may be a good boy,

but he's not feeling so good right now.

What's the matter with him?

Doc just got through digging
a bullet out of him.

What happened?

Somebody tried to ambush him, murder him.

Who in the world would do
a thing like that to him?

I don't know.
He's always been very well liked around here.

It must be some stranger.

I think it's just terrible.

He's worried about that ranch of his,

he's put in a year of hard work down there.

It would be a shame to lose it, you know.

- Stranger, huh?
- Yeah.

Hm. Um. Hey, Mister,

you down there at the end of the bar...

can you come here a minute?

What do you want?

I'm Kitty, remember?

Yeah, I remember.

You must've been drunker
than I thought last night.

I wasn't so drunk.

Do you remember asking me
about Lee Prentice?

Did I?

You really were drunk.

Well, if you're still interested
in finding him, Marshal Dillon here

- tells me that he's up in...
- Kitty.

Well, l... I don't need him now.
Forget it.

Wait a minute.

You a stranger around here, ain't you?

I'll talk to you later, Marshal, not now.

- What's your name?
- Jake Harbin.

Why were you looking for Lee Prentice?

All right, Marshal, since you're so nosy,
I'll tell you.

When I find him, I'm going to kill him.

Yeah, huh?

You can't stop me, so don't even try.

Well, Mr. Dillon.


He's been putting up an awful fuss
to talk to you.

Yeah, bring him in.


It's about time.

You'd have saved yourself a lot of trouble
if you'd have stayed around here last night.

That so?

What do you mean knocking a man out
and throwing him in jail like that?

- Where you from?
- Baker City.

- By the Canadian River?
- That's right.

In Baker City, they throw a man in jail,
they search him first.

If you had, you'd have found this.

Read it, then you can apologize to me.

What is it, Mr. Dillon?

It's a warrant.

It also says I'm a legal deputy.

You can wire Ben Goddard about it
if you want to.

- Is he the sheriff down there?
- That's right.

It's all legal, Marshal.

Who's the warrant for, Mr. Dillon?

Lee Prentice, for murder.

Wanted dead or alive.

Oh, no.

There's your gun.


And I'm not giving it to you so you can
shoot anybody in the back with it.

You read the warrant, Marshal.
"Dead or alive."

I don't care what the warrant says.

I was going to tell you about it
after I killed him.

Just didn't want any interference.

What kind of laws they have
down there in Baker City?

- Don't they give a man a trial?
- Sure they do.

Then why did they send a killer like you
up here after Lee Prentice?

It's all legal, Marshal.

What's legal depends
on who's representing the law,

and if you take another shot at Lee Prentice,

I'm going to kill you myself.

Protecting a murderer?

Get out of here.

I'm going to talk to Lee.

- Hello, Matt.
- Hello, Doc.

You're up early this morning.

No more than usual.
You want some coffee?

No, thanks.

- Well, Lee, how you feeling?
- A lot better, Marshal.

He's going to be fine.

Lee, you ever hear of a man
by the name of Jake Harbin?

Yeah, sure, I know him, Marshal. Why?

He's here with a warrant
for your arrest, Lee,

from the Sheriff of Baker City.

Ben Goddard, right?

The warrant's for murder.

Sure, for the murder of Jim Turner, ain't it?

Did you do it?


I killed him, all right, Marshal.

He tried to shoot me in the back,
and he missed.

Well, then, that's not exactly murder, is it?

His old man owns Baker City.

He owns Ben Goddard,
and he owns Jake Harbin, too.

I suppose that makes it murder.

I see.

What if you go back there and stand trial?

He'd run that trial
just like he runs everything else.

I'd hang for sure. I ain't going back.


I guess that Jake Harbin figured on it,

and that's why he wanted
to bring you back dead.

I guess that's about it.

I got an idea, Lee,
but you'll have to trust me for it.

- Sure, Marshal.
- All right.

Give me your gun.
You're under arrest.

What for?

I don't know, horse thieving or something.

Well, what do you say?

All right, let's go to jail.

See you later, Doc.

Marshal... Marshal, I don't know
if I like being a horse thief.

It beats being a murderer, doesn't it?

Besides, I don't think you're going to hang.

There's Jake Harbin.


I'd be a lot safer
if you'd give me my gun back.

Wouldn't look right, Lee.
You're a prisoner.

Well, Lee, it's been a long time.

Still carrying a gun for old man Turner,
are you, Jake?

I won't take no talk from a murderer.

Why did you try and ambush me
the other night?

You afraid to face me?

I've got a warrant for you, dead or alive.

Why should I take chances?

Nobody cares how you die.

That's where you're wrong.

You can't stand in the way
of a legal warrant, Marshal.

- You're too late, Harbin.
- What do you mean?

I've already got him under arrest
on another charge.

He's my prisoner.

You what?

As long as he's my prisoner,
nobody's going to lay a hand on him,

warrant or no warrant.

You're being tricky, Marshal.

What are you arresting him for?
He ain't done nothing.

He's under arrest for horse thieving.
Let's go.

I can't go back to Baker City without him.

Well, you better go back there, and you
better tell them what's happened.

You're forgetting...

I can kill him any time I want...

for free.

That was too close, Marshal.

People don't care that much how they do
things down where you come from, do they?

Ben Goddard's not going to like this.


I guess I'll send him a telegram

and tell him his deputy got himself killed.

- Mr. Dillon?
- Hm?

You got a telegram here
form Sheriff Goddard down in Baker City.

What's he say, Chester?

It wasn't addressed to me.

What's he say, Marshal?
What's he going to do?

He's going to come to Dodge hisself,
is what he's going to do.

Oh, he is?

Yeah, he wants to know
who it was killed his deputy.

Well, didn't you tell him?

No. I'll tell him day after tomorrow.

He'll be here on the noon stage.

What are you going to do,
though, Mr. Dillon?

I don't know.

I know Ben Goddard, Marshal.
He's going to be tough to handle.

You can't keep Lee, you know,
arrested without bringing him to trial,

and just as soon as you do,

this Goddard can arrest him

and take him back to Baker City.

Lee, I think you're going to find out just
how many friends you've made here in Dodge.

That's about the size of it, Mr. Botkin.

If we let Sheriff Goddard
take Lee back there,

it's sending him to his death.

Hm. Yeah.

You're asking me to take quite a chance

just on a hunch of yours.

I don't know whether I should do it or not.

It's more than just a hunch with me,
Mr. Botkin.

I'm staking my job and my reputation on it.


Well, I made him a loan six months ago,

and he sure didn't have much collateral,

but I took a chance then.


He paid it back. He paid all of it.

All right, Marshal,

you can count me in.

Thanks, Mr. Botkin.

I've got a few others to convince.
I better get started.

Well, good luck. You'll probably need it.


I have three horses run off last fall,

and Lee Prentice offered
to round them up for me.

I had a bad leg at that time.

Yeah, I remember hearing about that.

Well, it took him two days to find them,

but he done it, all right,

and, you know, he wouldn't
take a penny for it, either.

Well, what do you think, Moss?

I'll be there, Marshal.

You bet I will.

Kind of thought you'd want to be.

So long, Marshal.

The stage ought to be here any minute.
It's late now.

Maybe it got held up.

I'm afraid you're not going to get off
that easy, Lee.

Chester, we're going
over to the Dodge House.

When the Sheriff gets here,
bring him over, will you?

Oh, yeah. Oh, all right.

I don't think he's going to like it too much.

Excuse me.

Yeah, what do you want?

Well, is... is your name Goddard?

That's right.

You got anything to say, young feller,
go on, say it.

I ain't got nothing particular to say.

I just thought you might want to know
where Lee Prentice was.

Lee Prentice.
That's who I came after.

- Where is he?
- He's over there.

- Where?
- Over at the Dodge House there.

Uh-huh. He rooming there?


What's he doing there?

- Well, I think he's waiting for you.
- He is, is he?

Yeah, but if I was you,
I don't think I'd go using that.

Marshal Dillon's there with him.

Well, good.

I'll go with you.

Hello, Sheriff.

- Well, oh, Marshal Dillon, huh?
- That's right.

I've got a warrant here for Lee Prentice.

Yeah, I know about that.

Sheriff, I'd like you to meet
some friends of mine.

This is Mr. Dobie, owner of the Dodge House,

Mr. Botkin, owner of the bank,

and Moss Grimmick.

They're some of our leading citizens here,

and I guess you know Lee Prentice.


You went to a lot of trouble, Ben,

you and old man Turner.

It was worth it,

getting you back where you belong.

After killing Jake Harbin,
you'll hang for sure now.

- He didn't kill Jake Harbin.
- Oh, who did?

I did.

He was trying to shoot Lee in the back.

Well, what difference does it make?

Lee's wanted dead or alive.

What did you end up here for?

Ain't you have no respect
for the law, Marshal?

Not that kind of law.

Well, I don't aim to stand around and argue.

I'm taking him with me.

I'm sorry, but I've got him
on another charge.

He's under arrest.

What about this warrant?
You claim that's illegal?

Can't arrest a man twice.
You know that.

- What did you arrest him for?
- Horse stealing.

I don't believe it.

Mr. Dobie.

Well, I brought the charges, Sheriff.

It was my horses he stole.

But you own this hotel.

What are you doing with horses?

I also own a small ranch near here.

I raise horses.

Maybe so, but I know you're lying about Lee.

- Am I?
- Of course you are.

You're not so smart, Marshal.

He's going to have to stand trial, isn't he?

That's right.

And you expect this man to get him to stand
and swear to that story under oath

and face perjury?

No, I didn't think so.

Well, I wasn't going to say anything

until after Lee's trial
for horse thieving was over, but...

well, he came into my stable a few days ago.

I was back in one of the stalls,

and he didn't see me,

but he went into the office,

and I kind of wondered about that,

and so I sneaked up,

and I saw him taking money
out of my cash drawer.

Now, wait a minute.

Moss, are you accusing him of robbery?

No. No, not yet, Marshal.

I'm going to wait and see how his trial
for horse thieving comes out.

Well, Lee, looks like you're in
for a lot of trials and retrials.

I'll be preferring charges for forgery.

Why, you're nothing but a pack of crooks...

cheating the law, including you, Marshal.

He's my prisoner, Sheriff.
Now you're whipped.

Why don't you admit it
and go on back to Baker City?

I've gotta take him back with me, Marshal.

I just gotta.

His life against your job, is that it?

All right, take him.

I guess I'm licked.

I knew it would happen sometime.

All right, there's a train going east
about an hour from now.

Of course you're free to go
any way you want to.

Well, my boy.

I guess we can go back to jail now,
huh, Marshal?

No, Lee, you're a free man.
I'm turning you loose.

But I'll tell you one thing.

You're going to be under arrest
for a long time to come.

Come on.
Let's go to Long Branch and have a drink.