Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 5, Episode 10 - The Boots - full transcript

Onetime gunman Zeno Smith faces an unenviable choice. If he does not help would-be gambler Hank Fergus rob Mr. Jonas's general store, Fergus will tell 12-year old orphan Tommy the full story of how Zeno's descent into deprivation and alcoholism dates to the day he backed down from facing Fergus in a gunfight.

Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

Yes sir, Mr. Smith.
What'll it be?

Give me a small
whiskey and a short beer.

Coming right up.

There you are.


I'm Hank Fergus.

They tell me you're Zeno Smith.

That's right.

I come to Dodge
to meet you, mister.

Why don't you go back, son,
to wherever you come from?

They tell me Zeno Smith's got a
big reputation for handling a gun.

I didn't ask for it.

But you got it.

Well, now maybe that ain't
such a good thing to have.

No? Why?

'Cause it attacks young
fools like you to try me out.

They get themselves killed.

But if I don't get killed
if I kill you instead...

Now look, Fergus.

I just want to have a quiet
little drink and go to bed.

Now, leave me be, will you?

Wait a minute.

You see that picture they
got hung up down there?

I ain't interested, Fergus.

You will be. Watch.

Powerful shootin', huh?


Not bad.

Not bad?

Let's see you do better.

I told you, Fergus.
I'm worn out.

I'm not interested
in your games.

I ain't playin' games
with ya, mister.

No, I tell ya.

All right, then.

You froze.

You froze solid.

Maybe this'll thaw you out.

Look at him.

The great Zeno Smith,

crawlin' like a snake.

And I done it.

Hank Fergus.

Remember that.

Good night, Zeno Smith.


bring me a bottle of whiskey.

A full one.

Right up to the top.


bring me a bottle of whiskey.

A full one.

Right up to the top.

Zeno, don't you think you've
had about enough for tonight?

Oh, I got money to
pay for it, Miss Kitty.

Honest. See?

That's not what I meant.


Hello, Matt.

All right, Zeno, go ahead.

Now, here's the money, barkeep.

Give me the bottle, please.

I sure wish there was
something I could do to help him.

Well, I'm afraid you can't stop
Zeno Smith from drinkin', Kitty.

I can keep trying.

He's been at it more years
than you and I have been here.

About 10, they tell me.

Thank you.

He's such a nice man.

What got him started
drinkin' anyhow?

Well, he used to be something
of a gunman, they tell me.

That's kind of hard to believe.

A gunman loses his nerve,
he loses everything, Kitty.

Is that what happened?

So they say.

Seems some newcomer
called him out, and he froze.

Been drinking ever since.

Guess it helps him forget.

You know, Matt, it's awful nice of
Mr. Jonas to keep him on at the store.

Most employers
wouldn't be that patient.

Well, he doesn't go over
there when he gets too drunk.

Tommy sees to that.

What a combination.

40-year-old drunk and a
12-year-old orphan boy.

There he goes.

Matt, does Tommy know about
Zeno backing down that time?

No. That's one thing people
have been pretty good about.

They haven't told the boy.

That's good.

Funny thing, Kitty,
you know they say

it happened right here
in the Long Branch?

Well, this place has
got an awful lot of history

that I'm just as
glad I've missed.

- Mr. Dillon.
- What?

You'd better get out there.

There's some tough
plaguing Zeno Smith.

They're pretty drunk.

They could hurt him some.

See you later.

They wouldn't listen to me.

Dillon: All right,
that's enough.

Been havin' fun, have you?

All right, get out of here.

I'll do it!

You cowards!

I'll show every one of
ya what gunfightin' is!

Forget it, Zeno. They're gone.

They think I'm a
coward, Marshal.

They think I won't put
on a gun. I'll show 'em.

You're not a coward.

You don't have to prove
anything to anybody, Zeno.

I'll shoot 'em down,
every one of 'em.

I'm goin' right now.

They'll see what
Zeno Smith is like.

You gonna let him
do it, Mr. Dillon?

It's just the whiskey
talking, Chester.

He'll sober up by the
time he gets home.

They broke his bottle, remember?

It's easy enough
to get another bottle.

Where you been, Zeno?

Oh, I got me another bottle.

Another bottle?

You drunk one already?

I didn't drink it.

It got broke.

I... I dropped it, Tommy.

You fell down with it, you mean.

You got drunk and
fell down with it.


That's not true.

I didn't fall down with it.

It got knocked out of my hands.

Three men done it.

They was hurrahin' me.

Hurrahin' ya?


I'm gonna get 'em,
though, Tommy.

I just stopped by for
a little drink, that's all.

And I'm gonna get 'em.

I'll go right now.

But how? How you
goin' to get 'em?

I'll show ya.

I'll show you how.

I'll show you how
I'm gonna get 'em.

I'm gonna gun 'em down easy,
Tommy, every last one of 'em.

Call me a coward, huh?

Nah, not me.

Never again by heaven.

Zeno, wait!

Tommy, let go.

Well, have another drink,
Zeno. It'll steady you.


Maybe you're right.

Maybe it will.

Maybe it will.

Have another one, Zeno.

One more good
one's what you need.


Just one... then I'm goin'.

Sure, Zeno.

Come on, Zeno. Wake up.

Wake up.

Huh! What? What's the matter?

Oh. Tommy, what is it?

You've got to get
up and go to work.

Mr. Jonas wants
you at the store.

Oh, no. No, I can't. I can't.

But you got to.

Mr. Jonas needs you.

I can't work today.


You was awful drunk
when you came in last night.

You even put on
your gun, remember?


So I did.

- Where's the gun?
- I hid it.


Put it away, Tommy.


You was talkin' about
some fellas last night...

How you was goin' get
your guns and fight 'em.


Yeah, I remember.

Oh, I'm sick, Tommy.

Just leave me be, will ya?

But you got to go to work.

You spent all your money
last night on whiskey.

Well, there's food
on the shelf there.

I'll get some more
money in a couple of days.

Sure, Zeno.


I forgot.

I clean forgot about
your birthday tomorrow.

Tommy, you'll get those boots.

I promise you will. I swear it.

But you're broke.
You can't work.

And Mr. Jonas won't ever
advance you no money.

You leave it to me, Tommy.

You'll get your boots. I
promise. You hear me?

Sure, Zeno.

I'll fix you some coffee now.

Hold it there, Tommy.

I'm sorry, Marshal.

There somethin' wrong?

We seen you standin' there
at the window, cryin', Tommy.

I'm okay.

What's the trouble, Tommy?

Tomorrow's my birthday, Marshal.


Zeno promised me a
pair of them boots there.

I see.

But he's home sick,
and he can't even work.

Well, Zeno's generally
pretty good to you, Tommy.

Maybe he'll get a
pair of boots next year.

But next year's too late.

Now, Tommy, you're gettin'
to be practically a man.

You're gonna have to learn
how to take hard knocks.

You're right, Marshal.

I'm okay now.

Sure you are.

Well, I'd better
get back to Zeno.

He might need me.

So long.

So long, Tommy.

Poor kid.

Ah, he'll make out all right.

Let's stop by the Long
Branch and have a beer

before we head
back to the office.

Oh, suits me fine.

Now, you pay for
that one, stranger,

and I'll pour you another.

I said I'll pay you later.


I got half a mind to put another
hole in your nose, mister.

It's been 10 years
since I was in this town.

And it stinks as
bad as it ever did.

You got a complaint, mister?


Oh, you're the marshal.

That's right.

Well, I'm Hank Fergus, Marshal.


You never heard of me?


Well, I've been in
California for quite a spell.

Well, this is Dodge, Fergus.

Big gunmen with big reputations
come and go a lot here.

Mostly they go.

Look, Marshal,

I don't aim to cause no trouble.

I'll tell you the honest truth.

I'm headin' for St. Louis, and
kind of went broke on the way.

So I thought I'd stop here

and make a little
money gamblin', that's all.


It's the truth, Marshal.
You can believe me.

I'll let you know when
I don't believe you.

You don't make it very
easy for a man, do ya?

I'm not paid to make it easy
for men like you, Fergus.

I'll see ya later, Marshal.

Wasn't you a little bit
hard on him, Mr. Dillon?

You're forgetting
something, Chester.

He came here to make
some money, and he's broke.

Where's he gonna get
the stake to start gamblin'?

Couple beers, Clem.


Hello, Zeno.

What do you want here, Fergus?

I overheard some talk
about you at the bar.

So I found out where
you live and just come by

to see how you're gettin' along.

Oh, no.

That ain't true.

You want to call me a liar?

You'd better get off that
bed and put on a gun, Zeno.

Or don't you wear a gun anymore?

What do you want, Fergus?

I'm broke.

Well, I don't have any money.

I need a little stake
to start gamblin' with.

I don't want no trouble
from that marshal.

I hear you work at
the general store.

What about it?

They got money at the
general store, don't they?

You want me to help
you rob the store?

Well, I won't do it, Fergus.

I may be a lot of
things, but I'm not a thief.


Don't bother us now.

Oh, come in, son. Come on in.


I heard about Tommy, too.

What'd you hear
about me, mister?

Tommy, please.

Son, Zeno's upset.

He thinks there are things
a boy shouldn't know.

What things?

Oh, things about
him, for example.

Right, Zeno?

Don't, Fergus.

I know everything about Zeno.


We'll see.

Do you know that one time
right here in Dodge about...

How long ago was it, Zeno?

All right, Fergus. You win.

[scoffs] I kind of
thought I would.

What's he win?

Nothin'. Never mind now.

Well, I want to know
what this is all about.

I said never mind.

I want to know!

What'd you win, mister?

I said shut up!

You hit me.

You hit me, Zeno.


Tommy, I'm sorry.
I didn't mean it.

Tommy... Tommy,
I didn't mean it.

I didn't mean it.

Tommy. Tommy, wait!

Come back!

Get out, Fergus!

You're mighty
rough, Zeno, on kids.

Get out, will you?

Oh, I'll get out.
I'll be back tonight.

You'll be here.

All right, I'll be here.

You got to promise not to tell
that boy about what happened.

Of course not.

I wouldn't want him to
know what a coward you are.

At least not if I
get that cash box

out of the general
store without no trouble.

You got your choice, Zeno.

I'll be back tonight to see
how you made up your mind.

And remember, I
don't want no trouble.

No trouble at all.

Hello, Doc.

Good evenin', Marshal Dillon.

Marshal Dillon.

Uh-oh, you must've
been drinking again.

A little wine maketh
glad the heart.


There hasn't been any
wine in Dodge since the flood.

I presume you're referring

to the recent flood that brother
Noah weathered so skillfully?

That's the one I had in mind.

Well... Tommy: Marshal!

You're up a little late, Tommy.

I got to talk to you, Marshal.

What's on your mind, Tommy?

I had to come to you.

I've been thinkin'
on it for hours.

What's the problem?

Well, that man...
that man Fergus...

He's got somethin'
on Zeno, Marshal.

And he's gonna make him help rob
the cash box out of the general store.


Tonight. You got
to stop him, Marshal.

I'm gonna get over
there right now.

Well, now wait.
Hold on a minute.

I saw Zeno buy a
bottle about an hour ago.

He's probably drunk by now.

Then you'd better come along
and help sober him up, then.


Tommy: If Zeno ain't
home, he's got to be

in here robbin' the
store, don't he, Marshal?

We'll soon find out, Tommy.

There doesn't seem
to be anybody in there.


Zeno's key fits the back
door, not this one, Marshal.

All right, let's go around back.

Come on, Tommy.

[dog barking in distance]

It's Zeno!


But Marshal, I... Stay here.


Let's get to work on him.

Doc: Yeah.


There you are, Matt.


Tommy: Marshal!

Come here, quick!

It's that man Fergus.

He's dead.

Been shot.

Well... there's
nothin' on him, either.

You mean no
money from the store.


Well, you don't think
Zeno took it, do you?

I'm afraid it looks
that way, Tommy.

Oh, gee.

I'm sorry, Tommy.


He's been shot.

Oh, Zeno! It's Tommy!

Dillon: Doc?

That's Fergus over there, Doc.

He's dead.

He's dead?

Looks like they shot
it out over the money.

Well, I never figured
Zeno that way.

That's too bad.

Yeah. Too bad for Tommy.

My boots!

My boots, Zeno!

Then you didn't rob the store.

No, Tommy.


I... I owe Mr. Jonas
for the boots.


Get my gun and give it to him.

I made a deal for the boots.

Oh, no. No!

Be a man, Tommy.

I'm countin' on you.

I'm countin' on you.

Don't die, Zeno. Don't die!


Tommy, come on.

He's dead, Marshal.

I know.

There's nothin' more you
can do for him now, Tommy.

Here, son.

Come on.

Tommy, you're a man now.

Don't ever look back.

Tomorrow mornin' I want
you to start wearin' those boots.

And you can walk
mighty proud in 'em, too.

Come on.