Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 4, Episode 33 - Buffalo Hunter - full transcript

Marshal Dillon has to stop a ruthless, cold-blooded, greedy, buffalo hunter who is in the habit of brutally killing his hired help to avoid paying them their wages.

Starring James Arness as Matt Dillon.

What in the world's going on down there?

I don't know.
That's quite a crowd, isn't it?

Looks like a wagonload
of buffalo hides.

What's so curious about that?

I don't know. Maybe they got
a white one or something, huh?

They got something, all right.
That's for sure.


This your wagon?

Oh, no. It belongs to Jim Gatluf.

We skin for him.

What's going on around here?
What's the crowd for?

Curious, I guess.

We brought the other skinner in.

He got hurt, and, well,
we brung him in to the doc.

Gatluf took him up.

Is he hurt bad?

Bad enough since Gatluf didn't see
no sense in bringing him into town at all.

Chester, you better go check up on that.

Yes, sir.

Here's Gatluf coming now.

How is he, Gatluf?

The Doc will take care of everything.

But how is he?


Come on. Let's drive these hides
on down to the shed.

Just a minute. I want to talk to you.

Some other time, Marshal.
I'm busy.

Well, I'm busy, too,
but I want to talk to you anyway.

You call this busy... bothering people?

You gonna cause trouble?

Take those hides down and load them.
I'll be along directly.

Okay. Come on, Alvin.

All right, Marshal. What do you want?

I want to know about your skinner.

Billy? He got hisself hurt.

I thought you said he was dead.

Yeah, he's dead.

I want to know what happened.
How'd he get hurt?

I don't know, Marshal.
He was alone in camp.

When we rode up,
he'd gone and burned hisself.

- Burned? How?
- Hot lead. Spilled it all over him.


He was cooking up lead in the fry pan.

That was one of Billy's chores...
making my bullets.

He was always a mite clumsy, though.

Sure messed hisself up this time.

That must have been an awful lot of lead.

50, 60 pounds.

Mr. Gatluf,

Doc sent me for you.

What for?

Well, that man of yours...
Doc's finished with him.

- He said you could bury him.
- Bury him?

Oh, no. I ain't paying for no burial.

He was just a skinner I hired.
Don't even know his last name.

- You're his boss, aren't you?
- He was just a bum who worked for me.

- Well, I never heard of such a thing.
- He ain't my brother, is he?

- What do I care about him?
- Well, you oughta care something about him.

- He ain't just an animal.
- He is to me.

All right. We'll bury him for you.

- But, Mr. Dillon, he...
- Never mind, Chester.

Caused me trouble enough.

I don't want to hear no more about him.

Well, that's just awful, Mr. Dillon.
Just terrible.

Let's get up and talk to Doc.
I want to find out about this.

Pretty bad, huh?

I don't see how he lived as long as he did.

I don't, either.

I don't suppose he was able
to say anything at all, was he, Doc?

Good heavens,
he was way beyond that.


I didn't even know what happened.

That man Gatluf wouldn't tell me
anything at all.

Hot lead. A whole panful.

How in the world could he do
a thing like that?

That's what I'd like to know.

No man is gonna pour 50 pounds
of hot lead onto his own face.

Sure wouldn't think so.

Of course,
there is one other possibility.


Somebody could've pushed
his face down into it.

Chester, would you, uh... would you
do something about getting him buried?

Yes, sir, Mr. Dillon.

I'm gonna go down and look up
those two hired skinners,

see if I can get them to talk.

They're probably over to the Long Branch
by this time, drinking up their wages.

Yeah. See you later.


Hello, Kitty.

What are you doing around here so early?

Well, I'll tell you. I'm looking
for a couple of buffalo skinners.

Ugh. I hope they don't
show up around here.

If there's anything I can't stand,
it's buffalo skinners.

I don't even want them
dirtying up the bar with their elbows.

Well, I can understand how you feel,

but these are a couple
I'd really like to talk to.

Will one of them do?


Yeah, that one will do, Kitty.

See you later.

- Hello, Toby.
- Howdy, Marshal.

Sam, how about a bottle of rye
and a couple of glasses?

Sure, Marshal.

What's that for, Marshal?

Tell me, where's your partner, uh, Alvin?

Oh, he's with Gatluf
down at the shipping rigs. Why?

Oh, just wondered.

Here you are, Marshal.

Thanks, Sam.

Now, tell me, you're, uh...
your other partner, uh, Billy,

the one that died,
how'd he get along with Gatluf?

Well, you talked with Gatluf, didn't you?


Well, how'd you get along with him?

The man's greedy, Marshal. He...

He's downright wicked about money.

Well, here's how.

You know, I'm kind of curious
about that accident that happened out there.

- Could you tell me a little about it?
- Well, we... we drove in,

and we found him
rolling around on the ground, screaming...

Who rode in?

Me and Alvin.

Where was Gatluf?

Oh, he got there just ahead of us.

How long ahead?

- Oh, 20 minutes.
- Mm-hmm.

Then, uh, he found him first
before you did, huh?


Hey, I never thought of that before.




He murdered him, Marshal.

It all makes sense now.

But why?
Why would he do a thing like that?

He owed Billy a couple hundred dollars.

His whole wages.

He killed him so he wouldn't
have to pay him off, that's what.

Of course he did.

You gonna arrest him, Marshal?

Well, I don't know yet.

You planning to go back out
on the prairie with him?

I ain't afraid.

Of course, I'll keep one eye open
from now on.

Yeah, well, if I were you, I would.

When you planning to leave?

Oh, about dawn, I reckon,

or as soon as Gatluf hires on

a cook and another skinner.

He ain't one to waste time in town.

Yeah. Well, thank you.

Rest of the bottle's yours.
Good luck to you.

I sure do thank you, Marshal.

Mr. Dillon!

Mr. Dillon!

- The boy finally found you, huh?
- Yeah, finally.

I told him the amount of time.
What took you so long?

Well, I was over at the stable.
It was the last place he looked.

- Where's the body? In there?
- Well, yeah.

The boy was hunting rabbits
when he found it,

and then I come riding by just after that,

and I thought I'd better stay with the body
till you got here.

You did the right thing, kid.

There he is, Mr. Dillon.

It's just like the boy left him.
I didn't touch him at all.

I think it's that... that buffalo skinner.
What's his name?

- Yeah. Alvin.
- Yeah, that's him, ain't it?

That's him, all right.

Look to me like he got shot in the back.

Not shot in the back, Chester.

Stabbed? Well, who would've done
a thing like that?


one man gets his face shoved
into a pan of hot lead,

and another man gets stabbed in the back.

You're thinking it was Gatluf
done both, is that it?

Well, Gatluf owed both of them wages.

Mr. Dillon, would he do murder
just to keep from paying them wages?

Looks that way to me, Chester.

Well, don't you think we ought
to be going after him?

Mmm. Let's get him buried first.

Hello. Welcome.


You're just in time for supper.

Well, we don't want
to trouble you any.

Buffalo tongue.

You don't like buffalo tongue,
you go mighty hungry in this camp.

Sounds pretty good to me.

Say, uh, you must be a lawman.

Yeah. My name's Dillon.
I'm the marshal over in Dodge City.

Hi, my name's Tom Mercer.

- That's Chester Goode here.
- Howdy do?

- Mr. Mercer.
- Stew ain't ready yet,

but my skinners won't be in for a while.

How you doing with the buffalo?

Oh, I kill about 100 a day, Marshal.

Oh? How long
you been here, Mr. Mercer?

About a month.
I'm pulling out in a couple weeks.

I don't know.
I think this whole southern herd

is gonna be clean wiped out
before long.

Next year, I'm gonna try Dakota.

There are probably
too many hunters around here.

That's it.
That's just it exactly, Marshal.

Have you seen any around here
in the past couple of days?

Just who you looking for, Marshal?

A man by the name of Gatluf.

- What's he done?
- You know him?

No. No, I don't.

Nobody's come near us
in over a week.

Well, then, I guess you won't be
much help to us

except for that stew
you're cooking up there.

You're gonna like that.
Having dried apples, too.

Oh, well, I could eat a whole buffalo raw...
the entire beast.

You must be part Indian.

W-Why? Why you say that?

I seen one of them eat
a whole buffalo liver raw.

He just propped hisself up against a tree
and ate every bit of it.

Then went sound asleep
right there in the sun.

Oh, when did you get that close
to an Indian?

Well, Indians ain't always bad.


I'll tell you one thing, these Indians
are gonna get mighty hungry around here

when these herds are gone.

That's true.
That surely is true, Marshal.

They're getting mighty worked up
about it already.

I think they got good reason to.
Don't you?

Well, a fella told me only couple week ago

he run into a bunch of Cheyenne
just west of here.

Said they was looking
for scalps, all right.

Could be trouble any day, Marshal.


Say, we can get ourselves
some of this stew soon.

All of it?

Don't you feed this man, Marshal?

- Only when he works.
- Oh, Mr. Dillon.

Say, if you're gonna spend the night here,
you better get your horses staked out.

Yeah, we'll do that.
We ride out in the morning.


- Come on, Chester.
- Yeah.

If Gatluf says I cook slop,
I'm gonna throw it in his face.

He'll crush your head if you do.

Not as long as I got a knife in my hand.

Why did you hire on if you hate it so?

I don't hate it. I hate Gatluf.

I've been cooking in buffalo camps
now for about five years.

I've seen a lot of mean men,
but I've never seen one to match him.


If that woman back in Dodge
hadn't stole my money,

I'd sure never have hired on.

Any fool let a woman steal his money

don't deserve no better
than what you're getting paid.

You watch who you're calling
a fool, Toby.

Listen to that watery kid
trying to talk like a man.

You shut up now, Cook!

You know, Pete,

one of these days,
I'm gonna peel your skin off.

I'll bet you're blue as a grape underneath.

You sure talk funny, Cook.

I've had enough out of you.

Hey, now, take it easy now, Cook.
He didn't mean no harm.

Let go!

Hey, what happened to him?

Looks like he got drug.

Maybe he tried to skin a buffalo
that wasn't dead yet.

I had one get up on me once.

What happened to you, Duff?

I'll kill that man. I swear I'll kill him.

- Gatluf?
- Gatluf, all right.

Beat me half to death for nothing.

I told you. That man ain't fit to live.

He beat you good.

Yeah, just 'cause I was having
a little trouble

skinning an old bull he shot.

Rode up and jumped me.
Ride off on his horse.

Now I know why that fellow Alvin
you told me about quit.

Well, I'm quitting, too, and right now.

Say, he's right.
We don't have to stay here.

You know, Pete, that's the first
smart thing you ever said.

- Let's all quit.
- Now wait.

Wait? For what?

For Gatluf to trample all over us?
Work us to death?

For what?

Look, I got an idea.

Pack all our stuff, put it in the wagon,
take our horses and ride outta here.

You mean take the wagon?

Sure, I do.

Why, that's stealing.

A man like Gatluf... it don't count.

- I'm with you, Cook.
- Me, too.

Then let's go. I want to be long gone
outta here by the time Gatluf gets back.

Now, wait a minute.
He's expecting me and Pete

to start skinning out there again.

Well, he's gonna grow old waiting for me.

Throw my stuff in.
I'll hitch up the team.


- You coming with us?
- Oh, no, no.

I ain't going to have nothing to do
with stealing.

It's up to you.

Really, that buffalo hunter's
done all right for hisself.

That's not a hunter, Chester.
That's a hide buyer's agent.

Golly, you're right.
That's what that is. Yeah.

Yeah, see, come to think of it, Toby told me

that Gatluf usually sells his hides
right out here on the spot.

Well, maybe he'd know
something about him, then.

Let's go over there and find out, shall we?



Quite a lot of hides you got there.

Yeah. The biggest year we've had so far.

- You must be the marshal from Dodge.
- Yeah, I am.

What are you doing way out here, Marshal?

Well, we're looking for
a buffalo hunter. A man named Gatluf.

- You know him?
- Sure, I know Gatluf.

A matter of fact, I just picked up a load
of hides from his rig yesterday morning.

Why? Is he in trouble?

He will be when we catch him.

I got no use for that man, Marshal.

You ride straight south from here,
you'll find him.

I can't spot him for you exactly.
He moves around a lot.

- We'll find him.
- Be a day's ride.

- Thanks for the help.
- I'm glad to be of help.

He's a hard man. No good at all.

I don't envy you coming up against him.

- It'll be a pleasure.
- I'll see you, Marshal.

So long.

A whole day's ride, Mr. Dillon.

We won't get there till tomorrow.

Yeah. We better get started.
Come on.

Yeah. I reckon.

What's going on here?
Where are the men?

Where are they, I said? Talk up!

They're gone.

Gone? Gone where?

Why ain't you and that miserable Pete
out there skinning buffalo?

- What is this anyway?
- I had nothing to do with it, Gatluf.

Tell me what's going on,
or I'll tear your head apart!

- No. Let me go.
- Talk.

- Talk!
- They left. Ran off.

- Ran off?
- Yeah.

- With my wagon, my horses?
- Look, Gatluf, I stayed.

I stayed. I didn't leave.
Now let me go!

- You're no better than they are.
- No...

- You let them get away.
- No... No...

- No, I couldn't do nothing.
- I'm gonna cut you.

I'm gonna get you!

I'm going hunting.

I'm gonna kill me some buffalo.

- Look at there.
- Yeah.

It's that buffalo skinner Toby, ain't it?

Get some water, Chester.

Yes, sir.

Toby. Toby, it's Matt Dillon.

What happened?

Gatluf... left me.

Where's the rest of the crew?

They stole the wagon, ran off.

And Gatluf? Where is he?

Went hunting. Gone crazy.

I heard a lot of shooting,
and then it... stopped.

Which way were the shots coming from?
Which direction?


He cut me bad, Marshal.

- Get him, will you?
- We'll get him.

Give him some water, Chester,
and do what you can for him.

- I'm going after Gatluf.
- Yes, sir.



Somebody help me!

Keep low, Chester.

- Did you find him?
- Yeah.

Toby's dead just after you left.

Ah. Well, Gatluf
is down there in the hollow.

He's killed a bunch of buffalo,
and he's out in the middle of them,

lying there with a Sharps rifle.

- Well, how are we gonna get to him?
- I don't know.

What's he shooting at now, Mr. Dillon?

Mr. Dillon, the way them shots is spaced...

Sounds like signaling of some kind,
doesn't it?


Could be a trap, though.

You better stay here, Chester.

Is he dead?


- Lucky for him he is, too.
- Why?

Well, I hadn't noticed it before, Chester,
but there are horse tracks around here.

- Indians.
- Indians?

They got themselves a buffalo killer,

and what they did to him
is something terrible.

Well, Mr. Dillon, he had his rifle with him.

They wouldn't have left that, would they?

Oh, yeah. Probably just
a gesture of contempt.

Well, he was a bad one, that's for sure.

I feel kind of half sorry for him.

He must've died awful hard.

I'll tell you something,
he died as hard as any man ever did.

Come on. Let's get outta here.