Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 6, Episode 34 - The Imposter - full transcript

A man claiming to be a sheriff from Texas comes to Dodge and asks Matt for help tracking down a named fugitive, but the man may not be a sheriff.

Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

Oh, Mr. Dillon.

Who's the telegram from?

It's from the sheriff
down in Miami, Texas.

Miami, Texas?

Well, that there's
a new name on me.

Well, it's down in the
panhandle, Chester.

Last time I was through there

it wasn't even big
enough to have a sheriff.

"Bringing in
prisoner. Need help.

"Arriving Monday stage.

Ab Stringer, Sheriff
of Miami, Texas."

That's funny.

It was sent from Dalhart.

Well, maybe that's where
he picked up the prisoner.

It could be.

Anyway, it's Monday.

The stage ought to
be in in about an hour.

Wonder what he wants help for?

I don't know.

Well, I guess we'll
find out soon enough.

I mean, we-we're gonna
meet the stage, ain't we?

Well, I'm gonna
meet him, and I think

you ought to go somewhere
and take yourself a nap.

Oh, no.

No, heavens.

I couldn't take a nap.

My conscience would
clean destroy me.

Well, you look about half
destroyed already to me.

Well, I mean, I-I-I'm
just all spunked out

is what I've done.

I mean, it's... I need
a tonic, you know.

Well, fine. Why don't you
go up to the doc and get one?

Oh, yeah, go up to
Doc's and get one.

They charge you
a whole dollar for it.

Might be worth it.

Well, they aren't
even no guarantee

that it's gonna
do the job at all.


Well, I declare.

Ain't that that
nice Mrs. Curtin?


Well, what is she doing out
there loading that wagon?

I wonder where Rob is,

letting his wife
do a thing like that.

I just can't abide a
woman doing a man's work.

Here now, Mrs. Curtin.

Don't bother with that.

Oh, hello, Chester.

You just take it easy now.

I'll load this
here stuff for you.

Oh, Chester, there's
no reason for you to...

This ain't no job for a woman.

Hello, Mrs. Curtin.

Well, hello, Marshal.
How are you?

Fine. You're loading up
pretty heavy here today.

Well, yes, we are.

Mr. Dillon, I-I could use a
hand there on the other end.

Looks like you got enough
here to last you all winter.

There you are.

I certainly do appreciate it.

Oh, Rob.

Look at what
they've done for us.

You loaded all that stuff?

Well, I sure do thank
you for it, Marshal.

You, too, Chester.

I was settling my bill in there.

I thought you was
home sick or something.


Well, why'd you think that?

Well, I don't know.

Mrs. Curtin was trying
to load the wagon and...

Ain't got time to
get sick, Chester.

Too busy. Ready, Clara?

Marshal, how about
you and Chester

coming out to the place
for dinner sometime soon?

Fine, we'd like that.

Yeah, would be nice. Yeah.

Yes, Chester, any day.

Any day next week at all.

It's a long time since
you been by the place.

We've got it all fixed
up since you seen it.

Well, so long and, uh,
thanks again for the help.

Don't mention it.

Well, I think it deserves
a small mention.

- Oh, you must be Marshal Dillon.
- Yes.

- Ab Stringer?
- That's right.

Glad to know you, Marshal.

How do you do? This
is Dr. Adams here.

Well, proud to meet you, Doc.

Well, thank you.

Well, where is he?

Where's who?

Well, the telegram said you
were bringing in a prisoner.

No, it said I need help
bringing in a prisoner.

They must have got it mixed up.

Oh, you mean you think the
man's around Dodge somewhere?

Listen, Marshal, why don't we go

and have a drink,
talk it over, huh?

I got 200 miles of dust
just a clogging up my throat.

- How about it, Doc?
- Oh, no thanks.

I'm waiting on a
package. Thank you.

Well, I'll tell you, I better
get back to the office.

Why don't you come on
over when you get settled?

All right, I'll get a room,
get kind of washed up

and, uh, be right over.

All right.

- I'll see you later, Doc.
- Yes.

Well, I'm through
with these, Chester.

Thank you.

He's not in there?


That's all you got, huh?

Yeah, I'm afraid so.

Well, I sure ain't seen no
Sam Fraser around Dodge.

Oh, changing your name

is just kind of like rolling
over in bed, Chester.

Ain't a thing to it.

But changing your face,

well, that comes a might harder.

Well, there's a few of them
will try that too, you know.

Yeah, and you know, they'll get
away with it now and again, too.

I found out a long time ago
that if a man sets out to fool you,

and he's half bright about it,
well, he can get the job done.

Now, this Sam
Fraser, you know him,

and you'd recognize
him on sight, huh?

Yeah, and he'll know
me, too, Marshal.

Fact is, he'll probably try to
kill me soon as he sees me.

Well, if you think
he's around Dodge,

you better get out
and look for him.

Well, I know he's around
Dodge somewhere,

and I want him.

He robbed a bank, and
he killed a man, Marshal.

Well, that makes
him worth finding.

It sure does, and I
might as well get started.

Well, Marshal, I want to
thank you for all your help.

- Sure.
- By the way,

them credentials I gave you,
I might have need of them.

Oh, yeah.


Well, I'll be getting
to work now.

Let me know if there's
anything I can do to help you.

I will, Marshal. I sure will.

Thanks to both of you.

- Good luck.
- See you later.


Oh, thanks, Fred.

I sure need that.

You're kind of thirsty, huh?

No, I just don't
want to get thirsty.

Hello, Matt.

- Hi, Kitty.
- Oh, Matt.

- Care to join us?
- No, no thanks.

I tell ya, I'm looking
for Ab Stringer.

I got a couple more
pictures I found.

I thought he might want to take
a look at them. You seen him?

Well, he was here last night.

He was here until closing
time, as a matter of fact.

He gets paid for doing that.

He's looking for a murderer.

I know it.

Hello, Marshal.

Clara asked me to drop
this by for you, Miss Kitty,

and to thank you kindly for her.

Oh, is that the dress
I sent out to her?

Well, she's mighty grateful,
but it's just not right for her.

You're different sizes, I guess.

Oh, I'm sure sorry.

She'd have come by herself,

but she's got too
much to do today.

I'm leaving her here and
riding back alone as it is.

Got a cow about ready to calf.

That so?

Say, you're kind
of busy, ain't you?

Sure am today, Doc.

Really am sure
glad I'm a doctor.

We're all glad you are, Doc.

Well, thank you, Rob.

Clara's still expecting
you and Chester

for dinner sometime
this week, Marshal.

Well, good. Tell her
we'll be over tomorrow.

I'll do that.

Well, good afternoon to you.

- Rob.
- Bye, Rob.

Fred, would you put
this in the back for me?

They're sure nice
folks, those two.

Oh, I don't know about that.


Well, they didn't
invite me to dinner.

I got some letters to write.

See you tonight, Matt.


Oh, you must be
a fighter, hey, Ab?

Oh, I'd be a fool to
try that, wouldn't I?

Nope, that's the truth.

You just ask the Marshal.

He's been to Miami, Texas.

Well, let's just sit down here.

All right.

You mean to tell me
that-that all the buildings there

are just them dugouts,
just storm cellars?

Chester, there's only two
buildings in that whole town

standing above the ground.

Did you know if a man went
through that town at night,

he'd swear there was
no town there at all?

And riding through by the
light of day, he'd be sure of it.

Well, it makes for
cool living, all right.

I mean, living down
underneath the ground like that.

Oh, but that ain't the
main reason, Chester.

It's them winds.

Them big old cyclones.

That's how come
they live underground.

Well, the cyclones
can't blow down nothing

that ain't standing
there in the first place.

I mean, I can see that.

You know, some folks say

that's why you can't
never talk a Texan down,

'cause he learned to
talk against the wind.


Well, you got too many
of them doggone stories.

I ain't even half
started yet, Chester.

Well, I don't believe
no part of none of that.

Well, that don't bother
you none, does it?

Well, not hardly.

You ain't getting any closer
to that Sam Fraser, are you?

Well, I sure enough ain't
found him yet, Chester,

but with all this
looking behind me,

well, I must be getting
closer, now, wouldn't you say?

Well, I'd say you have a way

of looking at the
brighter side of things.

What is it?

- You know the lady, Chester?
- Yeah,

I think I better go down and
give her a hand there, Ab.

I'll go along with
you if you don't mind.

Oh, no, be glad to have you.

I get kind of fidgety. I like
to keep moving around.

Howdy there, ma'am.

Oh, well, Chester. How are you?

We come down her
to give you a hand.

Oh, well, don't bother.

Oh, no, no, it ain't
no bother at all.

As long as Rob don't
show up, you know,

after all the work is done.

Rob's gone on back to the ranch.

Oh, this is Ab
Stringer, Mrs. Curtin.

It was very nice of you
to help, Mr. Stringer.

Right pleased to
meet you, ma'am.

Mrs. Curtin, was it?

Yes, that's right.
I'm Rob Curtin's wife.

Maybe you know him.

Rob Curtain?


No, I'm afraid I don't, ma'am.

Well, see Ab ain't been in town
long enough to know everybody.

Oh, you will.

It don't take long
to know folks here.

I'd like to meet
everybody, ma'am.

Well, that's right
friendly of you.

I've got to get
back to the ranch.

My goodness,
Rob will be worrying

I don't get home.

Don't forget you're
coming out to dinner soon.

Oh, don't you worry
none about that.

I ain't gonna forget.

You're welcome,
too, Mr. Stringer,

seeing as you're a
stranger here and all.

Thank you, ma'am.

By golly, she sure is
a nice lady, isn't she?

She's mighty
hospitable, I'll say that.

Yeah. Well, I got to be moseying

over to the post office
to pick up the mail.

You want to go with me?

Uh, no, I think I'll go

over to the stable
for a spell, Chester.

You ain't figuring on
leaving us now, are you?

Now if was to tell you,

you wouldn't
believe a word of it.

Well, I reckon not.

I'll see you later, Ab.




Um, can I talk to
you for a minute?

Yeah, come on in.

What can I do for you?

Well, I was... I was over at
the Long Branch a while ago.

I-I heard you talking.

You said you were
looking for Ab Stringer?


You ain't never gonna find him.

What do you mean?

Well, he's dead.


Yeah, he got killed
about... two weeks ago

down near Miami, Texas.

Who are you?

Oh, I'm... I'm Harve Peters.

I just rode up from Texas.

I'm going to work
for Jake Worth.

- You know him?
- Yeah, I know him.

Well, someone's fooling
you real good, Marshal.

Ab Stringer got killed
about two weeks ago,

bringing in a prisoner.

They tell me the man robbed
his badge and robbed his papers.

Someone's fooling
you real good, Marshal.

Why didn't you tell me about
this down at the Long Branch?

Well, I-I don't like messing
in business that ain't mine.

I got to thinking...

I do you a favor, maybe, uh,

when I get my first month's
pay from Jake Worth

and come into town, why,
you'll go a little slow on me

if I get to hollering too loud.

If what you say is true, cowboy,

you can do all the hollering
you want to around here.

- Oh, thanks a lot, Marshal.
- You bet.

- Who was that?
- Chester, you seen Ab Stringer?

Yeah, I was with him just
before I went down to get the mail.

Where is he now?

Well, he said he was
going down to the stable.

- Something wrong?
- I'll be back in a bit.

There's a couple
things I got to find out.



- Hello!
- I made it.

I knew you would.

I'm sure glad to see you.

So you were worried about me.

I don't like leaving
you alone like that.

- How's the calf?
- The calf's fine.

Come on, you can see him.
I'll unhitch the horses later.

It was rough going, but
he's gonna be a fine calf.

Just wait till you
see him, Clara.

That's as fine a calf
as we've ever had.

Oh, Rob,

it's a beauty!

Oh, say, you got much
to unload out there?

You'd think, but I think we
can carry them up to the house.

Oh! -Back! Back!

Oh, Rob... Rob, I'm scared.

You just stay still.

We'll be all right.

Who is he? What's
he shooting for?

I don't know, but I
wish I had my rifle.

I thought you kept it down here.

Took it up to the
house yesterday.

I was gonna clean it.

You crawl back there, Clara.

- Go out the back.
- Oh, I can't leave you.

He won't come in here;
he don't know I ain't armed.

Maybe I can go get help.

You hide back there.


You hear me, Sam?

Don't think about
running out the back.

You ain't got time.

I'm gonna set fire to your house

in a minute if you
don't answer me, Sam.

I'll burn her down!

What do you want here?

You know what I want.

Get out of here
and leave me alone!

All right.

You stay there.

Stay there and watch
your house burn down.

If the money's
in it, it'll burn, too.

Wait a minute!

Where's that money, Sam?

You better tell me quick.

Rob, what in heaven's
name is it all about?

I got to get you out
of here somehow.

I'm getting tired
of waiting, Sam!

He keeps calling you Sam.

He's mistook you
for somebody else.

Tell him you're not who he
thinks you are, Rob. Tell him.

Time's up, Sam!

Wait, Lou!

I'll give you the money!

It's out here in the barn!

It's hid!

It'll take me a couple
of minutes to dig it out!

Two minutes, and that's all.

Don't you try no tricks, or
that pretty little wife of yours

is gonna get hurt for sure.

Rob... what's this all about?

What money have you got?

What's this Sam business?

It was Sam, Clara...

a long time ago.

Before you, it was Sam Fraser.

And this money...

well, it ain't mine.

Well, if it's his,

why does he have to come
shooting to get it from you?

It ain't his, either.

But why?

Please tell me, Rob.

What is it?

The right time, Clara.

Later, maybe I can
help you understand.

Now, you stay
here out of the way.

There it is, Lou!

I got it!

Well, you bring it
right up here, Sam.


you took your gun off.

That was smart.

I don't wear a gun no more.

Oh, is that why you
didn't do no shooting?

Now, a man shouldn't
ever try to change his habits,

now, should he, Sam?

It works sometimes.

Not this time, huh?

I thought you was dead, Lou.

Aw, now what kind of talk
is that between old friends?

Course, I can see how
you'd lot rather I was dead.

Then you could've
kept all that money.

Most of it's there. Not all.

I been working hard, Lou.

I planned to send it all back.

Send it back?

To that bank we robbed?

I got a good life now.

I want to live it clean.

What, by calling
yourself Curtin?

You know, that's your ma's
name you're hiding behind, Sam.

That your idea of living clean?

There's blood on
that money, Lou.

Oh, you've changed, Sam.

You really changed.

I'd kind of be a fool to
trust you now, wouldn't I?

Minute I leave here,
you go over to Dodge City

and to talk to that
marshal over there

and tell him the whole story.

Thinking maybe they'll go
easier on you about things.

They'll catch you
without my help, Lou.


But I kind of got to do
what I can, don't I, Sam?

We was friends, don't
that mean nothin'?

Not if I'm on the
end of a rope, it don't.

- But you got the money.
- I'm sorry, Sam.

It's the only way. I'm
gonna have to take care

of that pretty little
wife of yours, too.

I can't leave no witnesses.


You know, Sam, you
really should've worn a gun.

Like I say, it don't
pay for a man

to try to change his habits.


Take care of her, Chester.


how is he?

Chester, he's...




Careful of that money, Marshal.

It's... got blood on it.

What your real name?

Lou Potter.

And Rob Curtin was the man
you were after all the time?


You caught on
real fast, Marshal.

Not fast enough.


you remember what I
was telling you about...

a man sets out to
fool you and he's...

halfway bright about it,
he can get the job done?

Well, nothing works
all the time, Marshal.

You all right, Mr. Dillon?

Yeah. Yeah, Chester.

How's Rob?

Well, he's... he's dead, too.

Oh. I'm sorry to hear that.

Well, maybe it's better
this way, Mr. Dillon.

You know, he was
really Sam Fraser.

- Yeah.
- Miss Curtin told me the whole story.

- How's she taking it?
- Well, not too good.

Poor thing, you can't
hardly blame her none.

Yeah. She deserved
better than this.

- They both did.
- Yeah.

Well, are we gonna
be riding back that way?

Yeah, as soon we get
him buried, we'll head back.

- She's gonna be needing some help.
- Yeah.

Maybe there's something
we can do for her.



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