Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 7, Episode 20 - Half Straight - full transcript

A man has been hired to kill Matt, but when he meets and quickly falls in love with a decent girl, he has a change of heart--or does he?

Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

Hey... Hey, bartender,

man get a drink around here?

What'll it be?

Shot of whiskey.

Leave it here.

Bring it over here, stranger.

I'll keep you company.

This place is a morgue.

Sit down, cowboy.

This Cimarron ain't
much of a town, is it?


- My name's Grant Hatcher.
- Yeah, that's what I figured.

- You're Lute Willis?
- That's right.

I been waiting for
you since yesterday.

I got held up in Pueblo. I
was having a good time there.

You're gonna have more
fun when you get to Dodge.

I got your letter, Hatcher,

but you didn't say how
you heard about me.

Santa Fe. A man named Ed Grimes.

Oh, yeah. I did a
job for him last spring.

You did it good,
according to Grimes.

He seemed satisfied.

This one won't be as easy.

Who's your man, Hatcher?

His name's Dillon.

He's the marshal of Dodge.

That's why I'm willing to pay
you more than your usual price.

I'll give you $250 now,

and $250 after
you've killed him.

Not so sure I'm a match

for a man like that.

There's a lot of
ways to shoot a man.

I think you know most of them.

You must have a
pretty big grudge

to want to spend $500 on him.

I had a brother...
Dillon killed him.

Now I'm gonna get him.

No. I'm gonna get him.

It's the same. It's my money.

Dodge about 20 miles from here?

That's right.

I take it you don't
plan to ride in just yet.

If Dillon saw me, he'd
get suspicious right off.

You got the money?

Right here.

I'll count it later.

You able to get it
done today? Tonight?

It ain't that simple, Hatcher.

It'll take me a couple of
days to get the lay of the land.

About the rest of
the money, Hatcher,

it wouldn't do you
no good to run with it.

I'll be in Dodge Friday.

You ought to have
it done by then.

That'll give me enough time.

It'll be a pleasure
to pay you off.

I'll see you later.

♪ Danny, come west to Kansas ♪

♪ Come make a home in Kansas ♪

♪ Born in Maine ♪

♪ One hand on the reigns ♪

♪ When he crossed... ♪

Either you or that
hammer's left-handed.

Well, that wouldn't happen

if you got some of those
nails that don't bend.

Doc, ain't there
somebody around Dodge

that's got an old, sick cow

that you can attend
to somewheres?

Ooh! Ooh!

Well, now, that wouldn't happen
if you held onto the hammer

with both hands.

Oh, there, that'll hold it.

No, don't.

That's a doggone good job,
even if I do say so myself.

That'll hold up.
I'm just gonna rest.

I certainly would,
too, if I was you.

That's one nice thing about

doing a hard day's
physical labor.

Always nice to
sit down and rest.

Well, I've done a hard
day's work all right.

I been up since
5:00 this morning.

Oh, golly, that's
gonna be a good one.

Well, I don't think
it's gonna be fatal.

It's too... too far
from your heart.

You had any time to
make coffee this morning?

No, I ain't made no
coffee this morning.

Well, could you do...
could you do that right now?

Or are you just too worn out?

What do you do, Doc,
go down to Delmonico's

so's that you can
mooch a toothpick,

so's you can come up here
and mooch a cup of coffee?

Well, all right.


Let me give you
a hand there, miss.

No, thank you. I can... manage.

Where do these go?

Over there in the wagon.

Oh, no, really, I can manage.

You must be alone.


You live around here?

Up river five miles.

Oh, you bring the milk
and eggs in to sell, is that it?

Yes. Thank you for helping me.

I've got to be going now.

Maybe I ought to see you home.

That's kind of a long
ride for a girl all by herself.

Oh, I make it every day.

Then, I'll know where
to look for you tomorrow.

You mind telling me your name?

Mine's Lute. Lute Willis.

I'm Fanny Fields.

That's a pretty name.

You live here with your
folks, do you, Fanny?

Just my pa. He's 62.

62... He must've
married late in life.

He did, but he's very
active. Works real hard.

I'll bet he does.

Uh, I've really got to go now.

Don't worry about
what people think.

It's none of their business.

Now, let me help you up.

Thank you.


Oh, my goodness. Thank you.


I'll look for you tomorrow
around the same time.

Oh, no, you really mustn't.

Why not? Don't you like me?

I don't even know you.

That's what I'm
aiming to fix, Fanny.

Hello, Matt.


Matt, this is, uh, Lute Willis.

Lute, this is Marshal Dillon.

- Marshal.
- Lute.

- We were just talking about you.
- Beats shooting at me.


Well, around this
town, you never know.

Oh, yeah, being
the marshal and all.

I guess it never is a
popular job, is it, Marshal?

That's what I keep
trying to tell him.

Yeah, she wants me
to run the general store.

Oh, you wouldn't
like that, Marshal.

Well, uh, I'll be
getting to bed.

Good night, Miss Kitty. Marshal.

Night, Lute.

Well, he's new
in town, isn't he?

Yeah, he just rode
in today, he said.

What's he doing, you know?

Well, he told me he was
just a cowboy drifting north.

When's he leaving?

Oh, I don't know.
Couple days, I guess.

After he looks the town over.

Is that why he's
going to bed so early?

Hey, clerk?

Here, what are you doing there?

Oh, it's you.

I got tired of waiting.

Well, I had to go out for this.

Well, if I had to stand
behind that desk all night,

I guess I'd get
me a bottle, too.

Oh, but it's not for me.
Mr. Browder sent me for it.


Mr. Browder. One of our guests.

That wouldn't be Hank
Browder, would it?

- Oh, you know him?
- Yeah, I know him.

- I'll take his bottle to him.
- Now, wait...

- What room is he in?
- But he sent for me...

What room?


But now, you be sure to
tell him this was your idea.

Who is it?

I brought your whiskey.

Lute. Lute Willis.

I took it away from the clerk.

- Come in, come in.
- Hank, how you doing?

- How you been, huh?
- All right.

You want one?

All right.

What're you doing
in Dodge, Lute?

Ah, just passing through.

You on a job?

Yeah, up north, but I can take
my time about getting there.

Hey, I heard about what
happened to you in Tascosa.

Yeah, I come close
to not making it.

An old gunman like you?

I was hired to kill a
rancher down there, Lute.

Just a plain, ordinary rancher.

And he darn near killed me.

You been on this stuff
too much, Browder.

Not while I'm on
the job. Not ever.

But after... and
that's different.

At least lately
it's been different.

Maybe you're getting too
old for this kind of work.

Yeah, maybe that's part of it.

What are you doing in Dodge?

Same thing you see me doing.

It ain't the killing that
bothers you, Browder.

I known you too long for that.

Must be something
else you're scared of,

like maybe getting
killed yourself.

Now, don't you tell
nobody that, Lute, please.

Now, this is the only way
I know to make a living.

Why would I tell anybody?

I'll be all right in a day
or two. I always am.

Yeah, till the
next man you kill.

At least I get 'em killed.
Give me credit for that.

Sure, Browder, sure.

I'll see you around.

Hello, Fanny.



You mustn't.

There we go.

I timed it just
about right, didn't I?

Shh, you'll have people talking.

Well, I don't care, so long
as they're talking about us.

Oh, look, Fanny, you don't
want people to see us, well...

why don't you meet
me this evening?

I could come out to your place.

Oh, no, Pa'd have a fit.

Why? Doesn't he
let you see callers?


Well, that's downright mean.

I know, but I can't change him.

Well, we don't have
to worry about him.

You can get away from
the house, can't you?

What do you mean?

After supper.

Tell him you have to go
out to the barn for something.

Tell him anything.

I'll meet you out there.

I don't know if I'd dare.

Course you'd dare.

There's nothing to be afraid of.

All right.

Then it's settled.
I'll see you tonight.



Oh, you forgot to tell
me where your place is.

Oh, you go upriver about
five miles to the first big bend,

and our place lies about a
quarter of a mile due north.

- I'll find it.
- Bye.

Oh, I had to do that.

I've been thinking
about you all the time.

I'm in love with you, Fanny.

I ain't never been in love
before in my whole life.

Oh, Lute, you mustn't say that.

Why not? It's true.

Because you hardly know me.

I know all I need to know.

I love you, Fanny. Don't
that mean nothing to you?

Oh, Lute.

- Mmm. Oh, no, Lute, we mustn't.
- Why? Why not?

I guess maybe it's because
it's I who don't know you.

Well, what do you want to
know about me, Fanny? Tell me.

It's not that easy.

You haven't heard
nothing, have you?

People haven't been saying
anything about me, have they?

Lute, you're hurting me.

Have they?

No, of course not.
Why should they?

Lute, there isn't something
you ought to tell me, is there?

No. What are you talking about?

I mean, you're not trying
to hide something, are you?

Why do you say that?


I don't know what it is,
but something's wrong.

I know something is wrong.


Hello, Fanny.


I'm sorry if I scared you.

Why did you come here?

I had to talk to you.


Fanny, I been doing
a lot of thinking.

Maybe for the
first time in my life.

Then I was right.

Something is wrong.

What is it, Lute?

- I want you to come away with me, Fanny.
- What?

Oh, I'll marry you...
First town we hit.

I want you, Fanny.

I want you for good.

Oh, Lute.

But you still haven't told me

why you acted so
funny the other night,

why you left and everything.

Fanny, I came here
to Dodge to kill a man.


It's true.

It wouldn't hardly be the
first man I'd ever killed, either.



Lute, I-I couldn't
marry a killer.

Now, you listen to me.

What's past is past.

If I tell you I
won't kill no more,

if I swear to it, what then?

But why did you have to kill?

It don't matter now, I tell you.

It's over with.
Ain't that enough?

But who did you
come here to kill?

It don't make no sense, Lute.

Why do you have
to kill somebody?

I don't have to kill anybody.

I don't have to do
anything I don't want to.

It's just something
I got caught up in.

I can get out of
it anytime I want.

Then get out of it.
Get out of it now.

I'm going to... that's
what I wanted to tell you.

You'll come with
me, won't you, Fanny?

- You will come?
- I don't know.

- Give me a little time.
- How much time?

A few days, a week.

Oh, Lute, why did
you have to tell me?

You'd have found out about
it anyway, sooner or later.

You love me, don't you, Fanny?

Oh, Lute!


Feeling better?

I'm all right.

How would you like a job?


There's $500 in it.

Whoever heard of one
professional gunman

offering a job to another?

Well, you're
hearing about it now.

There's $250 in there.

You get the rest
when you finish the job.

I still don't get it.

There's a U.S.
marshal here in Dodge.

Matt Dillon? Oh, no.

Shut up and listen
to me, will you?

You don't have to face him.

I wouldn't myself.

He sits in his office
late every night.

All you got to do is walk by
and get him through the window.

It couldn't be easier.

If it's so easy, why
ain't you doing it?

Personal reasons.

That ain't good enough, Lute.

I want to know.

All right.

It's a girl.

I promised her I'd quit.

I want to quit and that's all.

You know, that's so wild-crazy,
I'm half a mind to believe it.

I don't care if you
believe it or not.

You want the money, Browder?

$500 ain't bad.

Tell me something, Lute.

If you're quitting the business,

what do you care if this
job gets done or not?

I never went back
on my word yet.

All right. I'll do it tonight.

I'll see you tomorrow.

You bet you will.



How is he, Doc?

Well, Kitty, he's...
he's all right.

- Here, will you hold that arm up for me?
- All right.

Well, the bullet went
through his flesh there.

He's gonna have a
sore arm for a while,

but there's no bones broken.

Well, that's good.

- Hello, Matt.
- Hello, Kitty.

I-I'm sorry, Chester. I
would've been here a lot sooner,

but I-I just heard about this.

Oh, that-that's
all right, Miss...

Yeah, look out, you're
gonna spoil him, Kitty.

Well, Doc, I-I guess you figure

if a man ain't half-dead,

there ain't no sense
into fussing over him.

Has Doc given you any coffee?

Oh, he ain't given me
nothing but a lot of misery.

Well, I'll fix you some.

Now, just heat that
up. It's on the stove.

- Mmm. All right.
- Thank you.


Here, I'll give you a hand.

Oh, thanks, Matt.

You know, I-I just
don't understand this.

Chester doesn't have
an enemy in this town.

The whole thing just... It
just doesn't make any sense.

Well... that's
the trouble, Kitty.

I'm afraid it does.

See, Chester was
bending over my desk

with his back to the window
when the whole thing happened.

He may not have any
enemies, but I sure do.

Oh, Matt.

Hey, Doc, I'm gonna
take a look around town.

I'll be back later.

Yeah, fine. I'll just keep
him here tonight, Matt.


Well, of course, I
want to watch this.

That is, unless you
want to bleed to death.

Well, I'm sure getting out of
here first thing in the morning,

I can tell you that.

You bet you are.

Coffee'll be ready in a minute.

Thank you, Miss Kitty.

You're welcome.

Well, I just been down over
at the post office, Mr. Dillon.

You know there ain't a single
piece of mail for us there.


we're probably
better off, Chester.

Well, sometimes I
don't understand you.

I-I don't think you'd care
if we never got no mail.

Well, mail usually spells
nothing but trouble for me.

Well, that could be, yeah.

Do you know him?


You better stay here.

Hello, Hatcher.


What's the matter,
something wrong?

No, I, uh... I
heard you got shot.

You heard I got shot?

Where'd you hear that?

Down the trail.


Well, I'm sorry
to disappoint you.

I don't care one
way or the other.

I don't exactly bear
you no goodwill, Dillon.

That was two years ago, Hatcher.

That's time enough
for you to understand.

Understand what?

That you murdered my brother?

Your brother killed
a man in cold blood.

And he tried to kill me
when I went after him.

I wish he had killed you.


Who'd you hire, Hatcher?

What are you talking about?

You hired a gunman. I
want to know his name.


You don't have guts to
come after me yourself,

but you hired somebody
else to do it for you.

Now I want to know who it is.

You gonna tell me who it is,

or am I gonna
beat it out of you?

What's his name?

Lute Willis.

Now, that's better.

Now you're going to jail.

Me? What for?

I was in Cimarron last night.

I can prove it.

Doesn't make any difference.
You're guilty anyway.

Oh, no, no.

You're going too far.

I won't take it.

You're going to jail.

I won't take it!


Get away from it.

What's going on, Marshal?

Been looking all
over town for you.

Why? What for?

I guess you heard that
shooting out there a while ago?

I heard a couple of shots, yeah.

That was your
friend, Grant Hatcher.

He told me all about you

just before I killed him.

I guess you didn't
kill him soon enough.

Not as far as you're concerned.

He told you he hired me, did he?

And you're after me for
the shooting last night,

- is that it?
- That's part of it.

You're making a
mistake, Marshal,

but let's go.


Uh, I had to get me
a box to stand on.

Glad you came.

What's going on?

You know that man
the marshal killed?

He's the one that hired me.

Well, I'll be darned.

He told the marshal about
me; that's why I'm in here.

That ain't good.

You're darn right it ain't,
but you’re gonna get me out.

- Me?
- Yeah.

That marshal's got some
funny ideas, Browder.

One of them is that he holds
the man that does the hiring

just as guilty as the
man that does the killing.

That's why you didn't tell
him about your hiring me.

That's right.

But I'm gonna tell him,
all right, if you let me down.

Who said I was letting you down?

I'm here now, ain't I?

All right.

Now, here's what
I want you to do.

There's this girl, Fanny Fields,

she'll be at the grocery store
tomorrow afternoon around 1:00.

She drives her
buggy in every day.

Now, you be there tomorrow.

Yeah, what'll I tell her?

Tell her I'm in jail
for the shooting,

but tell her I didn't do it.

- Is that all?
- Not hardly.

Tell her that she's
got to be my alibi.

Now, when the marshal
comes out to see her,

she's got to say that I
was with her that night,

out by her place.

She's got to do that.

Now, you tell her, Browder.

All right, all right.

Make it strong.

If I don't get out of here,
you're coming in here with me.

Quit worrying, Lute.
I'll take care of it.

I better get out of here now.

- So long.
- So long.



Miss? Miss?

Hey, hold up there.

Uh, you're Fanny
Fields, ain't you?

Yes. What do you want?

Uh, Lute Willis sent me.

Lute? Where is he?

He's in jail.

Why is he in jail?

What has he done?

I'll tell you, but let's
get out of the way here

in case somebody rides by.

Uh, follow me.


Come and sit down.

But I want to know about Lute.

Well, that's what
I'm here to tell you.

Well, then, tell me.

It's a long story.

I've known Lute Willis for
about five years off and on.

I-I can't hear a
word you're saying.

Well, I ain't gonna shout it.

All right, now tell me.

Lute wants you for an alibi.

A what?

He wants you to
tell Marshal Dillon

that he was with
you the other night.

But why?

Well, there was a shooting,

and Marshal thinks Lute done it.

But he didn't, did he?

No, it wasn't Lute.

Well, then I'll
tell the marshal.

No, you won't.

What do you mean?

I can't take the chance, Fanny.

You might change
your mind later.

Or the marshal might prove
that Lute wasn't with you.

Then Lute would
tell him about me,

and I'd be in jail.

I still don't understand
what you mean.

It don't matter.

What's that for?

You're awful pretty, Fanny,

but a man's got to
look out for himself.

I'm sure glad I came along, Doc.

I wouldn't have missed
seeing Clara and her husband

and that new baby for
anything in the world.

They sure seem
happy, don't they?

Yep. You ought to
try that sometime.

What do you mean?

Well, I mean you
ought to get Matt

to quit playing with guns
and buy a little spread out here

and settle down with you
and start raising things.

Oh, I'd look cute out digging
potatoes all day, wouldn't I?

A lot cuter than he would.

Whoa, whoa.

Who do you suppose that is?

Whoa, whoa.

I wonder what an empty
buggy is doing way out here.

I sure don't know.

I don't see a soul.

Don't you think you
ought to tie him up?

Yeah, that's a good idea.

I'll tie him to that
tree over there.

We better let Matt know about
this as soon as we get back.

Hey, Lute.

Did you see her?

Of course I did, but I
can't wait here long.

Somebody might see me.

What did she say?

Is she gonna stand by me?

You bet she is.

She's all primed.

That little gal sure is
in love with you, Lute.

How was she? What did she say?

Was she... What did she say?

Here now, slow down.

She's fine.

She said for you
to quit worrying.

And I told her clear that
you didn't do the shooting.

That seemed to please her.


There was just
one thing, though,

but it ain't important.

What? What was it?

Oh, it's just that she's seen a
couple men out on the prairie.

She got the idea
they was following her.

But it ain't nothing.

You know how women are.

Doggone it, Browder,

why didn't you
ride out with her?

It only would've taken
you a couple hours.

I was tired.

I went and took a nap.

But quit worrying, Lute.

You're worse than she is.

Probably nothing but a couple
of cowboys coming into town.

I got to get away now.

I'll see you later.



You lose the trail, Mr. Dillon?

No, no, it leads
right over in there.

You better stay
out here, Chester.

I'll go and take a look.


Is she dead?


Oh, my goodness.

You was right, Mr. Dillon.

That-that must have
been Fanny's buggy.

That's just terrible.

Who-who would want
to kill a nice girl like her?

I don't know.

What's Lute Willis gonna say?

Yeah, she was his only alibi.

Yeah, well, he sure
don't have one now.

Chester, if I get
her in the buggy,

do you think you can
get her back to her place?


All right.


Come out into the office.


What's this all about, Marshal?

I'm gonna turn you loose.

Oh, you found Fanny.

She told you she was with me?

And you wouldn't believe me.

I found her all right.

I told you, Marshal,

I wasn't anywhere
near Dodge that night.

Why didn't you tell me
when I put you in jail?

Well, you wouldn't
have believed me.

I could've talked
to Fanny about it.

I'll tell you the
truth, Marshal.

I didn't want to get
her involved in this.

But after I'd been
locked up here for a while,

I figured there
wasn't no other way.

Afraid I got some
bad news for you, Lute.

I found Fanny, all right.

When I found her, she was dead.


About a mile out of town.

She was shot.

Fanny... Fanny shot?

I can't believe it.

I can't believe it.

Who would've done
a thing like that?

I was hoping maybe
you could tell me.

When I find him, I'll kill him.

You're forgetting
something, aren't you?


Seems to me you told Fanny

you weren't gonna
do any more killing.

Oh, yeah.

Yeah, I forgot.

Maybe you better tell
me who it was, Lute.

I don't know who it was.

How would I know?

I won't go back on my word.

I won't do no more killing.

I promised her that.

I don't understand just
why you're letting me go.

I got no alibi now.

'Cause I believe you.


Evening, Browder.

Hello, Lute.

It worked, huh?

He had to let
you out, didn't he?

Yeah, he let me out, all
right, but he didn't have to do it.

What do you mean?

Fanny alibied for
you, didn't she?

Fanny's dead, Browder.

Somebody shot her.


Where? Where did it happen?

About a mile out of town.

Oh, that's a shame.

I'm sorry, Lute.

She seemed like a
mighty nice little gal.

I've been thinking about the
men she mentioned to you.

It must have been
them, after all.

By golly, you're right.

I'd forgot about them.

She didn't describe
them to you, did she?

I'd sure like to find them.

I don't blame you.

But no, she didn't say nothing
more than what I told you.

Here, have a drink.

You must need one.

Wait a minute, I'll
fetch you a glass.

Give me a glass of that.

Here you are, Lute.


Say, I'll help you
look for them fellas

if you want me to.

- There's something else.
- Oh?

The marshal.

I still want you to kill him.

What for? Hatcher's
dead, ain't he?

I ran into Hatcher just before
the marshal caught up with him.

He'd heard somewhere
about the shooting,

and he figured I'd kill
the marshal for him.

- So?
- He paid me off.

I got the money right here.

It's yours

just as soon as
you finish the job.

Yeah, but... I want
him killed, Browder.

If he hadn't have locked me up,

Fanny would still be alive.

How do you figure that?

I'd be meeting her
out in the prairie.

Now, either you finish
the job and collect the $500

or else you pay me back
the $250 you've already got.

It ain't gonna be easy.

The marshal's probably keeping
his eyes pretty wide open now.

I'll tell you how
easy it's gonna be.

He always stops by
the Long Branch late,

after most everybody
else has gone to bed.

There's an alley nearby
he's got to walk through

on his way back to his office.


All right, I'll do it.


Let's drink to it.

I-I think this is
the worst thing

that's ever happened
around here.


Too bad she ever got mixed
up with a man like Lute Willis.

Yeah, she's young, romantic.

Well, that old man of hers

would never let her
out with anybody.

She sure would be a
lot better off if he had.

Yeah, that's the truth.

By the way, how's Chester?

Oh, he's doing fine.
Won't even go to bed.

He's over there drinking
coffee and reading magazines.

Good for him.

Well, better be going, Kitty.

I'll see you later.

Good night.

In the alley, Marshal! Look out!

That was close.

He's dead.

Who is he?

He's the one that killed Fanny.

What are you doing that for?

You must have wanted
him dead pretty bad.

What do you mean by that?

Don't try to fool me.

It's too late for that.

You got nothing on me, Marshal.

You're coming with me. Let's go.

I've changed my mind, Willis.

I brought you out here to
give you the beating of your life.

I thought it might
teach you a lesson.

But I guess,

if you haven't learned
it by now, you never will.

I told you I'd gone
straight, Marshal.

If you'd have gone straight,
Fanny would be alive right now.

Are you blaming me for
what happened to Fanny?

I am.

Well, I didn't kill her.

You didn't kill Browder, either,

but you fixed it
so he'd be killed.

What's the difference?

That's got nothing
to do with Fanny.

You know, if
you'd gone straight,

Browder wouldn't
have been in the picture.

But you couldn't
do that, could you?

You had to go half straight.

Now, you think
about that, Willis.

You think about
it and live with it

for the rest of your life.