Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 5, Episode 5 - Tail to the Wind - full transcript

A father and son bully a farmer and his wife who won't sell their land, but the farmer is oddly reluctant to let Matt arrest the two, even when they resort to gunfire.

Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

Look at him down there.

Acting like he owned the place.



They do own it now, Pa.

Yeah. Not for long.

That old lady is looking
healthier than she did

the last time I seen her.

They've been eatin' too good.

We'll put a stop to that.

Come on, boy.

Sure, Pa.

Pez... [horses approaching]

Morning, Pezzy.

Morning, Burke.

Morning, ma'am.



Harlow.

The place looks mighty
dry this year, Pezzy.

Yeah, it is.

You know, it could be we
don't get a rain all season.

Yeah, it could be.

Now, a man like
you loses a crop,

that'd go mighty hard
with him, wouldn't it?

Well, sure.

We'll make out all right.

Quit foolin' with him, Pa.
He's just bein' stubborn.

You shut your mouth, boy.

You probably heard I own Ed
Talmadge's homestead now.

Yeah. You bought
it off'n his widow.

That was a sad thing,

Ed getting bushwhacked that way.

You know, he was young to die.

Any man's young to die
when he gets murdered.

Now, that's the truth, ma'am.

That is the very truth.

That offer for
$1,200 still goes.

This land's worth 3
times that much, Burke.

$1,200. And if you
know what's good for you,

you'll take it.

Yeah, and right away too.

We're tired of messing
with you, Pezzy.

What do you say, Cora?

You want to sell out for $1,200?

I kind of like it here, Pezzy.

I guess that's your
answer, Burke.

As long as Cora
ain't unhappy here,

I reckon we'll just stay on.

Well, Cora's going
to be unhappy here.

I promise you that.

We've been too easy on 'em, Pa.

Let me tell you
something, Burke Reese...

And I mean every word of it...

Maybe Pezzy don't carry
a gun, he don't believe in it,

but if he should get bushwhacked
like happened to Ed Talmadge,

I won't be sittin' here
waitin' to sell out to ya.

I'll be sniffing your trail
with a shotgun in my hands.

And as soon as I've
blown your head off,

I'll come after that rotten,
no-good son of yours,

and I'll get him.
I'll get both of you.

Now, Cora, that
ain't no way to talk.

Pezzy, as long as you're
alive, we do things your way.

Your word's law with me.

But... But if something should
happen to you, God forbid,

then I won't care no more.

I'll fight like an animal.

She means it, Pa.

Sure, she do.

Pezzy, you was
always mild as milk.

Where'd you ever get
such a woman like her?

Don't you worry about
Cora and me, Burke.

Like I said, I
ain't aimin' to sell.

And I warn ya,

you ride clear of
my land from now on.

Listen to him.

All right. We'll do it.

But when you're
ready to sell out,

you come over to my place.

And you'll be comin' soon, too.

Come on, boy. Let's go.

Pezzy, I'm sorry I
busted out that way.

Ah.

It's all right, Cora.

[Metal clanking]

Never did put up that
clothesline I promised ya, did I?

Ain't you the one?

Come on into the house.

We'll have a cup of
coffee and talk about it.

Whoa now! Whoa.

Doc. I thought there was
a loose horse for a minute.

By thunder, he is loose any
time he's headed for the barn.

I can't do anything with him.

Probably that squeaky
wheel you got there.

You'd better grease that.
It's liable to freeze up on ya.

Yeah. Last longer than I will.

Matt, I've been out in
Muddy Canyon all night.

And I came by Pezzy
Neller's place on the way back.

Oh, how is he?

Well, he's not very good.

That dang Burke Reese
and his son are at it again.

You mean they're after Pezzy?

Well, I'm afraid so.

They shot up his place last night
and burned down his chicken house.

Anybody get hurt?

No. Cora and Pezzy stayed
in the house, they said.

But, you know, I just
don't understand him.

He didn't even want me to
say anything to you about it.

Didn't want any
trouble, he said.

Well, if Burke Reese is after
him, he's already got trouble.

I probably better
ride out there, Doc.

Kind of figured you'd want to.

- I'll see you later.
- Okay.

Here. Tck-tck-tck.

[horses approaching]

Go get some coffee, Cora.

I was fixin' to put some on.

Howdy, Marshal.

Chester.

Well, this is a
pleasant surprise.

Pezzy.

Get down and sit a spell.

Thank you.

Cora's got some coffee on.

She'll be mighty
glad to see you, too.

Uh-huh.

Looks like you had a
little trouble here last night.

Oh, no.

The studding wasn't hurt much.

It won't be no
chore to fix it up.

Lose many chicken?

About a dozen, I reckon.

Got most of 'em out, though.

Uh-huh. You're
mighty lucky, Pezzy.

That's the way I
figure, Marshal.

I'm mighty lucky. [chuckles]

I understand that there
were some shots fired here.

Oh, might have
been. It sounded like it.

Wasn't nobody hurt, though.

Nah, it didn't amount to
a hill of beans, Marshal.

Pezzy...

it was Burke Reese
and his son, wasn't it?

Well, I couldn't rightly
say it was them, Marshal.

It was awful dark last
night. There was two men.

I seen 'em circling the
house on horseback.

But who they was,
that's a different thing.

You ever been
bothered like this before?

Yeah. Some.

Might have been
the same two men.

It might not, though.
That's hard to say.

Well, now what did they do?

Oh, just a little shootin'.
Didn't do no harm.

It's a good thing
they didn't hurt

the old brindle milk cow
Cora's so fond of, though.

That might have gotten me riled.

Now, Pezzy, has Burke Reese
offered to buy this place off of ya?

Yeah. He made me
an offer last week.

I ain't aiming to sell, though.

Well, neither was Ed
Talmadge aiming to sell.

Now, we weren't ever
able to prove anything,

but you know as well as I
do what happened to him.

Now, Pezzy, you
just sign a complaint,

and I'll have Burke Reese and
his boy locked up in jail by sundown.

I couldn't rightly swear
in court that it was them.

Well, then you know what's
liable to happen to you, don't you?

Well, I'm a kind of...

mild sort of fella,
I reckon, Marshal.

I believe in nature.

That's like with cattle...

When there's a big storm coming,

they just turn their tails
to the wind and wait it out.

Yes, a man can learn a
lot by just watching animals.

Yeah, he sure can, Pezzy.

And Burke Reese learned
his from a hungry wolf.

Mr. Dillon, I just been
over at the Long Branch.

Burke Reese and
Harlow just come in.

You know, that's the first time

they showed their faces
anywhere in three or four days.

They sure were carrying
on, laughing something awful.

Well, I guess they figure they
got Pezzy Neller on the run.

You know, I wish that he'd fight
back a little bit harder or somethin'.

He just don't seem to care.

Well, he cares, Chester.

Looks like the Nellers come
in to do a little shopping.

Yeah.

I wish Burke Reese would jump
Pezzy while he's here in Dodge.

Are you hurt, Cora?

I'm fine.

Your lip's split there.

- Oh, it is?
- Yeah.

Didn't even know.

You sure you're all right now?

I'm fine.

Oh, now go see
about our things there.

Go on. Go on.

Well, what happened here, Pezzy?

Well, I reckon the
burr must've fell out.

A burr doesn't just fall out.

Sure looks like this one did.

You know, this looks like
Burke Reese's work to me.

You seen him around
here today at all?

No, sir, I ain't seen him.

Cora and me was in the store.

Uh-huh.

How about the rest of ya?

See Burke Reese or anybody else

foolin' around this wagon?

Don't bother about it, Marshal.

We just lost about
half of our flour

The rest of the stuff
we got ain't hurt none.

Uh-huh.

Pezzy, I don't suppose
there's any point

in my asking you to sign a
complaint against Burke Reese, huh?

Well, I couldn't rightly
say it was him, Marshal.

Nobody seen him around.

He and his boy are over at
the Long Branch right now.

Well, that don't prove
he was doing nothin'.

Pezzy, if you don't care
anything about yourself,

maybe you ought to
think about your wife here.

Oh, now don't you go
plaguing him, Marshal.

Pezzy's been taking care of
me for a good lot of years now.

Pezzy's got his principles,
Marshal, and I respect him for 'em.

He's a mild man. He
can't abide violence.

And I got all the faith
in the world in him.

Mm-hmm.

All right.

Well, I know you folks get
tired of standing around.

You might give
Pezzy a hand here.

Come on, Chester.

You sure can't help a man that
won't even lift a hand to help hisself.

Maybe I can.

Hi, Kitty.

Hello, Matt. Hello, Chester.

Miss Kitty.

I hear there was an accident
up the street a few minutes ago.

Well, it wasn't hardly
no accident, Miss Kitty.

What do you mean?

Well, somebody pulled the burr off
the wheel of Pezzy Neller's wagon.

Mr. Dillon thinks it
was Burke Reese there.

You know how Burke has
been plaguing Pezzy all the time.

Of course, Pezzy, he just
won't stand up to him at all.

Well, Pezzy's got his ways, but
it's sure not because he's a coward.

Well, no.

Well, if it ain't the marshal.

Got a little game going here,
Marshal. Would you like to sit in?

You men proud to be gambling

with a yellow dog like
Burke Reese, are ya?

Hold on, Marshal.

Burke, you're nothin'
but scum to me...

You and this boy of yours both.

Hold it!

Now, you got no call
to talk like that, Marshal.

First you shoot Ed Talmadge in
the back so you can buy off his land.

Now you're after Pezzy Neller.

You got proof of
all that, have ya?

You ride around his
place at night shootin' it up,

burn down his chicken shack.

Now you're trying
to wreck his wagon.

Pezzy tell you all that?

Reese, I just called you a scum.

Hold it!

Just what he wants us to do.

I'm not gonna draw, Marshal.

No.

No, of course you're not.

You'd only draw against
an innocent man like Pezzy

who doesn't even wear a gun.

You're too yellow, both of ya!

Hold it!

No matter what you
do, I ain't gonna draw.

I... I know you, Marshal.

You wouldn't shoot
a man down cold.

There it is, gentlemen...

Burke Reese in his true colors.

He'll plague an innocent man,
or he'll shoot one in the back

But he sure won't fight.

Now go on. Get out
of here, both of ya.

Go crawl in a hole somewhere.

Come on, boy.

Want a beer, Matt?

Yeah, I guess so.

- How 'bout you, Chester?
- Oh, yeah, yeah.

Clem.

As far as I'm concerned,
you let him off too easy.

Oh, Miss Kitty, there wasn't
nothing else that he could've done.

Well, I guess there's
one more thing I can do.

What's that?

Attend Pezzy's funeral.

Pezzy, ain't you got this
clothesline a might high?

Well, you don't want
things like bed sheets

scrapping the ground, do ya?

Well, I don't want 'em
scrapping the sky, neither.

Try it, Cora. If it
don't work, I'll fix it.

All right.

You catch me a hen, I'll
put it on the fire for supper.

Why? It ain't Sunday.

We're gonna have chicken
anyway. I feel like it tonight.

The best reason I
know for having it.

I'll bring you one as soon
as I put these things away.

Come and get it, Pezzy!

Mm-mm! That sure smells good.

Sit down and start carving it.

I'll get the potatoes on.

Sorry supper's so
late tonight, Pez.

This is worth waitin' for.

Darn chicken wouldn't get done.

Boiled it a whole hour
longer than I usually do.

Plump chicken tonight, Cora.

[gunshots]

Get in the living
room, on the floor!

[gunshots continue]

Got all the lamps out now, Pa.

I bet that Pezzy's in there
crying like a baby right now.

Let give him a couple more.

All right, now get reloaded.

Gonna move in on him now, Pa?

Yeah, I got me a little trick
I'm gonna show that Pezzy.

He deserves it. He's
got it comin' to him.

Yeah. You stay right close
to me now, boy, you hear?

I sure will, Pa.

It's being awful
quiet out there.

They're reloading.

The place will look like a
honeycomb before they're through.

Don't you worry, Cora.
I'll patch everything all up.

[gunshots]

[clatter]

They gettin' closer.

[gunshots continue]

[hoofbeats]

[gunshots]

They're riding up.

Take it easy, Cora. They're
only trying to scare us.

[gunshots, hoofbeats]

- [sudden silence]
- They stopped.

Yeah.

Pez, they wouldn't be going to
burn the house down, would they?

I'll go take a look.

You be careful now.

You stay right where you are.

Please, God, don't
let 'em get him.

Make the Reeses go away.

Pez never done nobody
a wrong in his whole life.

He just wants to be let alone.

Please, Lord,
don't let 'em kill him.

It's all over, Cora.

Everything all right, Pez?

Yeah. Everything's all right.

They've gone.

You don't have to worry
about them no more.

Come on, let's eat.
Our dinner's getting cold.

I declare. You are the
calmest man, Pezzy Neller.

They caused us
enough trouble already

without us getting
our nerves all riled up.

Cora!

I'm leaving now.

You might fetch me back a
pound of salt if you got time.

I got plenty of time.

I'm glad you're
doing it this way, Pez.

Ain't no other way.

I guess not. But
you take care now.

You're always worrying about me.

You're all I got, Pez.

I'll be around a long time.

I hope so. I pray
for it every night.

I'll be home before supper.

You better be.

Or I'll start the darndest uprising
around here people ever seen.

Giddyup.

Well, that...

That tastes pretty good
this morning, don't it?

What'd you do to it today?

Oh, well, it's what
I done there is

I give it a real good cold
soak first is the thing there.

Oh.

Well, that's the reason it tastes a
little bit more like embalming fluid.

I noticed that you kept
your mouth shut long enough

until you drunk
three cups of it.

Oh, well, I couldn't help that.

My throat was paralyzed
after the first cup.

I wish it'd just stay that way.

Would you like some
more coffee, Mr. Dillon?

Yeah, fine, Chester.

You know, you bellyache, Doc,

but I notice you stagger over
here the first thing every morning.

Well, certainly I...

I figure if I can survive a cup
of your coffee in the morning,

I can face anything
the day has to bring,

including even that look like
Matt's wearing there today.

What in thunder's
the matter with you?

Well, listen, if you'd been hustling
drunks all night like the way I have,

you wouldn't look
so good, either.

Oh, you're wrong there.
I... I thrive on chaos.

I'm at my best where
there's plague and pestilence

and epidemics and catastrophes.

Yeah. And you
get richer in it, too.

Well, now that...

Only a man who took advantage
of helpless merrymakers

for a living would think
of a terrible thing like that.

Well, for heaven's sakes, I
wish you'd look who's coming.

Couldn't you just tell us?

Yeah. It's Pezzy Neller.

- It is?
- Yeah.

You know, I can't understand
a fella like Pezzy there.

He just don't believe
in trouble at all.

And yet he's standing
right in the middle

- of more of it than I've ever seen.
- [knock on door]

Pezzy, come on in.

No, I got something
out here for the marshal.

Morning. Morning, Doc.

- Hello, Pezzy.
- Pezzy.

Can you come out
here a minute, Marshal?

Sure.

We had a little accident at
my place last night, Marshall.

That's Burke Reese and his boy.

Sure sorry this
happened, Marshal.

Just one of these things
that couldn't be helped.

I figured I'd better bring
them in here to you, though,

instead of just burying
them where I found 'em.

Matt, look at those
marks on their neck.

Look like they been hung.

Hung?

Yes, sir. That's what I
said to Cora this morning.

"Look like they'd been
hung" is what I said.

What happened, Pezzy?

Well, sir...

we did have some more
shootin' out at my place last night,

like them other times.

Only this time it
stopped all of a sudden.

I run outside to see
what had happened,

I found them two up
close to the house,

deader than doornails.

I didn't want to
worry Cora none,

so I didn't say nothing
about it 'til this morning.

Go on.

Well, I finally figured
it must have been

that doggone clothesline
I stretched up yesterday.

They didn't see it, what
with the dark and all.

You mean they just run
right into the clothesline?

I reckon.

When a man's got a #20
rigging cable under his chin

and a galloping horse
stretching his feet in the stirrups,

it sure don't do
his neck no good.

Well, Pezzy... Yes, sir.

You're gonna have to take these
two out to Boot Hill and bury 'em.

I... sure am sorry this
happened, Marshal.

But a man don't have to go
out and explain to his neighbors

every time he hangs up a
new clothesline, does he?

Heh. I don't guess he can.

Cora complained yesterday
that I hung the dang thing too high.

Chester.

Yes, sir.

You suppose you could
give Pezzy a hand here?

Yes, sir.

Thank you, Chester.

Well, Doc, don't ever
sell a mild man short.

No. I've always said

that Burke Reese and his boy
was long overdue for hanging.

Well, they're paid up now.

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