Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 5, Episode 4 - Johnny Red - full transcript

A man suddenly turns up in Dodge City claiming to be Billy Crale, the long-lost son of a well-to-do local widow. Matt knows that Billy Crale was reported dead during the Civil War and he becomes highly concerned for Mrs. Crale's safety when he confirms that the man is actually a onetime outlaw known as Johnny Red.

Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.


[knocking on door]

Come in, come in.

Oh, Matt, for heaven's sake!

Well, they said
you were in here.

They said you might
take a shot at me.

It's a wonder I didn't.

Why don't you pour us a drink?


That crowd down there
sure got me on edge.

Well, they're kind of on
edge themselves, Kitty.

You know, they've had a
pretty long, hard cattle drive.

Every trail boss
says the same thing.

I just had to get away
from them for a few minutes.

Well, listen. I don't blame ya.

Thank you.


So help me, if that's...

Take it easy. Take it easy.

They told me downstairs I
might find you up here, Marshal.

What can I do for ya?

I thought you might be able
to give me a little information.

It's all right, Matt.
Bring him on in.

Okay. Come on in.

I hope you'll excuse me, ma'am.

At least you're sober.

What's on your mind?

Well, I'm tryin' to locate
some folks named Crale...

Mr. and Mrs. John Crale.

I was told they had a
place near here somewhere.

Well, Mrs. Crale does. Mr. Crale
died about three years back.

Oh, no.

Are you a friend of theirs?

Well, they're my folks,
Marshal. My ma and pa.

Your folks?

Yeah. I'm Billy Crale.
Maybe they mentioned me.

Well, Mrs. Crale mentioned
that she had a son, yeah.

How is she, Marshal?

She's not doing too good.

She's had a tough time running
that ranch since her husband died.

You... You think
she'll recognize you?

Well, maybe not right off.

It's been 17 years
since I run off from home.

But I'll convince
her, all right.

Yeah, maybe you will.

Where you been all these years?

Oh, here and
there. Just driftin'.

You know how it goes.


Well, how do I get out there,
Marshal? I'm kind of anxious to see her.

Well, it's easy.

You just follow the river bottom
about 5 miles out. You can't miss it.



Sorry to have
bothered you, ma'am.

It's all right.

So long.

wrong there, isn't it?

Yeah, Mrs. Crale asked me to
trace her son a few years back.

I did, but I didn't have
the heart to tell her.

Tell her what?

Well, I got a report back
from the War Department.

Billy Crale enlisted in the Union
Army at the start of The Civil War.

He was killed in action
at the Battle of Shiloh.

Mr. Dillon, I could go
blind lookin' at these things.

Well, just try to hold out for
a few more days, Chester.

A few days?

Yeah. We ought to have
them all done by then.

Already got
everything here there is.

Bank robbers, cattle
rustlers, cutthroats, murderers.

Ain't a one of 'em fits the description
of that fella you was talkin' about.

Well, it may have
been a long time back.

But I know I've seen this man's
picture on one of these circulars.

[sigh] Well...

get us some coffee.

All right.

You know the thing I
can't figure out, Mr. Dillon,

is how in the world he
figures on gettin' away with it.

You know, I mean, a
mother can tell her own son.

Well, ordinarily.

But I'm not so
sure in this case.

You know, she hasn't seen
him since he was a boy.

She's gettin' pretty old.

Her eyesight might
be failing, you know.

Well in that case, he
could make out all right...

You know, with the ranch and all

and all that money
that's she's got saved.


Find it?

Here it is, right here.

Look at that.

Three years ago.

"Height 6 feet.
Weight 180. Red hair."

Well, that's him. "Wanted
in Lubbock, Texas,

"for questioning in connection with
the holdup of the Lone Star Bank.

"Previous arrests...
Pecos Crossing, cattle theft.

"Acquitted for lack of evidence

"Convicted, San Antonio,
eight years ago. Armed robbery.

"Served four years. Paroled.

"Known associates...

Nate Barker and
the Panka City Kid."

$1,000 reward.

Calls himself Johnny Red.


Let's go get him.

Doesn't look like
there's anybody here.

Well, she's only got two
or three hands, Chester.

They're probably out
on the ranch somewhere.

I was thinkin' about Johnny Red.

I want to talk to
Mrs. Crale first.

Mrs. Crale: Who is it?

Matt Dillon, ma'am.

Well, come in.

Marshal Dillon.

Hello, Mrs. Crale.
You remember Chester.

Chester! Well, land
sakes, this is a surprise.

Well, come in.

Thank you.

Sit down, both of you. I'll
fetch some cups for coffee.

Oh, don't bother to
do that, Mrs. Crale.

Got 'em right here. Sit down.

If'n a body can't do a little
something for her company,

she ain't fit to have none.

- I do like company.
- Oh, yeah?

Seems like nobody ever
comes out this way no more.

Sit down, Marshal.

Well, I guess it probably
does get kind of lonely

out here, doesn't
it, Mrs. Crale?

Well, it did.

But I got a big surprise
for you, Marshal.

Is that so?

He come home.

My Billy come home, just
like I always said he would.

Well, folks used
to think I was crazy.

Nobody'd ever believe me.

Even Mr. Crale used to
tell me to forget about it.

Our son's dead.

But I knew different.

And I was right.

Tell me, Mrs. Crale,
has he changed much?

Good heavens, yes.

He was just a boy
when he went away.

Now he's growed-up man.

Seems kind of like
a stranger in a way.

How's that?

Well, not really, Marshal.

Deep inside, he's still the
same as he always was.

Have a cookie.

No, thank you.

Well, you really feel
that he is your boy, then?


the second he walked up onto that
porch and said "How are ya, Ma?"

Well, I knowed
him just like that.


Oh, thank you.

You know, since
Mr. Crale passed on,

seems kind of like I
lost my reason for livin'.

But the minute Billy
put his arm around me...

I started feelin' like a
young woman again.

I still do.

Well, you look just
wonderful, Mrs. Crale.

Well, my son come home.

Could a mother ask for more?

No, Mrs. Crale.

I guess that's the
important thing.

Yeah, that's all
that really matters.

Well, Chester, I guess
we'd better be going.

Oh. Well, Billy rode out
somewheres this morning.

But you come back soon
so's you can see him.

We'll certainly do that,
Mrs. Crale. And thank you.

Thank... Thanks a
whole lot for the coffee.

Anytime, Chester.

Bye, Marshal.


Remember, come back soon.

Well, you just couldn't
have done nothing else,

Mr. Dillon. It'd just've broke
her heart to have told her.

Yeah, she's goin' to
find out anyway, Chester,

as soon as he runs off
with everything she's got.

It's a bad deal any
way you look at it.

Johnny: Kind of sets you a
problem, don't it, Marshal?

Nothin' I can't handle, Johnny.

Break an old lady's
heart? I don't think so.

And the name is
Billy, by the way.

Billy Crale.

Not in Lubbock, it ain't.

Lubbock? Where's that?

Well, we'll send somebody along
with you next time you get down there.

Show you the way.

You're pretty sure
of yourself, ain't ya?

You've got a little
time yet, Johnny.

You see, I didn't tell Mrs. Crale
that her son was killed at Shiloh.

Oh, well, that... That report
was a mistake, Marshal.

I deserted the army
two weeks before Shiloh.

Sure, you did.

Before you go off half-cocked,

I think you ought to check with
Lubbock and see what you find out.

And in the meantime,
like I was sayin',

you wouldn't want to break an
old lady's heart, now would you?

[door opens, closes]

Come on, let's
get back to Dodge.


Watch your step, Ma.

You sure you don't want me to
help you up the stairs to Doc's, Ma?

No. No, Billy,
you just wait here.

- All right.
- I won't be long.

All right.

Come in.

Mrs. Crale! Good
heavens! Are you alone?

Of course I'm alone.
What you think?

Well, here, you sit down here.

Why, I didn't think you could
get up those stairs by yourself.

I don't think you
should've tried that.

Well? What you lookin' at?

Well, I'm... I'm surprised.

I thought I'd be coming
out to your ranch there

to see you the
rest of your life.

To tell you the truth, I
thought you were gettin' feeble.

Well, I ain't.

Well, I don't understand it,
but you just look years younger.

You know all them
pills you give me, Doc?

I throwed 'em away, every one!

You did?

I had to prove it to you, Doc.

I ain't weak and sick no more.

I'm my old self again.

Well, Mrs. Crale.

I don't mind losing
you as a patient one bit.

You know, Doc, I
wouldn't want you to starve.

Well, I'll... I'll be all right.

You threw the pills away, huh?

Well, then what did it?

It was somethin' wonderful.

My son Billy, he come home.

He did?

He's right down there in
the street now waiting for me.

Chester, need some
help with those?

What are you doin' in town?

Ma wanted to see the
doc. I just drove her in.

You ought to be
ashamed of yourself.

For drivin' Ma to town?

You know what I'm talking about.

Tell me, the marshal
hear from Lubbock yet?


When he does, you'll find
yourself in jail soon enough.

I don't think so.

You know, I've known men that
would hide behind a woman's skirt,

but you just beat all.

You must've lost your pride
somewheres along the trail.

It's been a long trail,
Chester, but I still got my pride.

Well, why don't you act like it?

Things ain't always
what they seem.

No, I know. That's...
That's sure enough true!

But you know, sometimes a
half-blind old woman can't always tell.

That's mighty cruel
words, Chester.

They're just what you deserve.

You know, I like you, Chester.

Maybe one of these days
you and I are goin' be friends.

You know, Johnny, about the only friend
you'll have around here is the hangman.

Well, nobody can say you
don't speak your mind anyway.

Excuse me.

Here now. Don't be
treatin' me like an old lady.

You're doing just fine, Ma.

Here you go.

Chester, ain't it?

Mrs. Crale.

Well, when you comin' back out
to the place, you and the marshal?

Oh, we'll be out there
real soon, ma'am.

You're welcome any time.


Dirty rotten shame,
that's what it is.

[Doc sighs]



What are you
doin' racin' around?

Well, the same
thing you are, I guess.

I'm just sittin' here thinking
about buying a ranch, Doc.

What were you going
to use for money?

I thought maybe
you'd loan me some.

Oh, no. Not me.

Can't do it. I'm losing
too many patients.

Lost one yesterday.

Died, huh?

Oh, no. Cured.

- Cured?
- Yes, sir.

Say, I bet that did
come as a surprise.

Now, who would do a
thing like that to you?

Well, Mrs. Crale. Sure, got well.
Strangest thing I've ever seen.

I'd have sworn she wouldn't
live through the winter.

Well, she's a mother
now, Doc, you know?

Oh, yes. Yes. I heard
all about that from her.

And then Chester told
me his version later.

What do you think?

Well, I'll tell
you what I think.

As a rule, a woman
can tell her own son.

She may be the exception
that proves the rule, Doc.

Well, that is...

I knew this was
too good to last.

Looks who's comin'.

Mr. Dillon, got you a
telegram come for ya.

Well, you've done your
day's work, Chester.

Why don't you lie down?

Why ain't you operatin' on
somebody? Your hands too shaky?

Well, that's a fine thing for you to
say. I was gonna buy you a drink.

Heh. Yeah.

What's the matter?

Nothing. Just that I got no case
against Johnny Red, that's all.


Well, they arrested him
down in Lubbock a year ago.

Had to release him...
lack of evidence.

You know, that circular
was over three years old.

I'll be doggone.

What worries me is Mrs.
Crale all alone out at that ranch

and all her money
out there with her.

Oh my gosh, she don't
believe in banks, does she?


Hey, look at it come.


There's nobody
ridin' shotgun there.

There's a man laying on top.

You'd better come along, Doc.

All right, a couple of you
men give me a hand here.

Pass him down, Jim.


Easy with him now.

He's dead, ain't he?

Well, that don't give
you no cause to drop him.

- We ain't droppin' him!
- You'd better not, blast you.

Dillon: How do you do, boys?

Doc, take a look
at him, will ya?

Well, they finally
got to me, Matt.

How'd it happen, Jim?

Boldest thing I ever seen.

About 10 miles west of here.

They throwed some
cottonwood limbs across the trail

so's I'd have to pull up.

Then they jumped me.

How many of them was there?

Well, just two. They
were brassy as sin.

Didn't even bother
to wear masks.

Got any idea who they were?

No, they were strangers to me.

Poor ol' Barney there. They shot
him before he'd even seen them.

Mm-hmm. What'd they get, Jim?

Cash box.

I don't know how much was in it.

He didn't know what hit him.

Well, Chester, could you
give Doc a hand with him?

Yeah, have somebody help
you bring him upstairs, Chester.

All right.

Jim, what can you tell
me about those men?

Well, one of 'em was
kind of tall and skinny.

The other one was just a kid.

Tall one called him Panka.


They ain't from around here.

I know everybody
in the territory, Matt.

Yeah. They're not
from around here, Jim.

Tell me something, which
way did they go when they left?

They rode east
down the river bottom.

Yeah. Right toward
the Crale ranch.

Yeah, that was the funny thing.

I figured naturally
they'd make a run south.

Don't you worry about it, Jim.

I'm gonna have all
three of 'em in jail.

Hey, Matt, I said two.

Yeah, I know what you said.

But I'm jailin' three, Jim.

It's that third one
that I really want.

Let's get the horses
around back, out of sight.

Maybe they're just waitin'
for us to come inside.

Well, let's go
over and find out.

Beaten to death.

Sure never thought
it'd come to this.

Well, at least we know
what we want Johnny Red for.

Just terrible.

Reach, both of you.

Don't you try nothin' now.

Where's your partners?

They're down in the
riverbed, diggin' for the money.

But they'll be back.

Who shot you?

Don't matter none.

I'll last 'til they get here.

Get over there now, both of ya.

Easy now.

I wouldn't want to
have to shoot you.

I got nothin' personal against
you, but I'm handlin' this myself.

Come on.

[horses approaching]

Imagine us being taken by
an old lady like that, Panka?

She's got that money
hid in the house.

Told you all the time she did.

One thing for sure...

If she's still alive, she ain't
gonna lie about it this time.

All right, hold it.

I quit. Now don't shoot.

Keep your hands up.

Chester, keep the rifle on him.

All right, put the
gun down, Johnny.


I'm all done with it now.

Nate Barker thought
I'd double-crossed him.

They came here.

They beat her and shot me.

They thought I
was... I was dead.

They didn't get her money.

I took it into the
bank last week.

I figured it wasn't safe
for her to keep it out here.

You still think a mother
can't tell her own?

Sure. I've been called Johnny
Red for years and years.

My real name is Billy.

Billy Crale.


If he'd just stayed away,

she'd still be
alive, Mr. Dillon.



at least Billy made
her happy for a while.

Well, yeah. Yeah,
you're right about that.

We got a lot of work to do.

Better get started.