Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 7, Episode 24 - Coventry - full transcript

Land-grabbing Dean Beard is wrongly acquitted after he murders popular feed store owner Jessie Ott to prevent Ott from exposing his land swindles. Beard is eventually forced to leave Dodge when no one will do business with him or even acknowledge his presence, but an ironic fate awaits him.

Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.


Whoa, boy.

Let's take a look, Clara.

It's probably the last
time we'll see the place.

Five years we worked
that ranch, Jessie.

I hope we're doing
the right thing.

Why, sure we are. Now,
you stop your frettin'.

I just hope you'll
be happy in Dodge.

'Course I will.

Life will be easier
for both of us.

Besides, that little old ranch

paid for the feed and
grain store, didn't it?

Come on, boy.

Clara! Are you hurt?

Oh, oh... Oh, I...
guess I'm all right.

- Help me up.
- No, no, you stay here.

I want to be sure
you're not hurt.

Doggone old Red run off
right over the hill. He's gone.

And we're still some
15 miles from Dodge.

Over to Jed Stokes... his
place is... just over there a bit.

Couldn't be more
than two or three miles.

Well... I'll try and make it.

Are you sure?

Take it easy, now, take it easy.

Doggone my time! I
should've sent you to town

in the wagon
yesterday with the stuff.

Oh, don't be blamin'
yourself, dear.



This fellow'll help us.

Hello there. I'm Jessie Ott.

This is my wife, Clara.

- She's hurt.
- How far to Dodge?

Some 15 miles.

I've got to get my wife in
there before the storm breaks.

Uh, mister, I was just
wondering if that horse of yours

would maybe pull a buggy.

This ain't no buggy horse!

No. Well, uh, say, a
friend of mine, Jed Stokes,

lives just over there a bit.

Wouldn't be more
than two or three miles.

If you was to ride
by and tell him,

he would come and get us.

I'm headed for Dodge.

That's out of my way.

Mister, there's something
you don't understand.

When the wagon broke
down, it threw my wife out.

I... I don't know
how bad she's hurt.

She don't look hurt to me.

Mister, my wife is with child.

Well, that's no concern of mine.

You mean you're
gonna... leave us here?

Ain't a man in the
world would ride off now.

I'm headed for Dodge,
and that's where I'm going!

No, Jess! Jess, don't!

Let him go! Let him go!

She's smart.

We better try to get
over to the Stokes' place.

- How do you feel about it?
- I'll try.

You think you'll
be all right now?

Take it easy.

Easy, now.

Come on.

Let's go.

Oh, Jess, I can't
go any farther.

Not too long now.

I'm gonna carry you.

Don't you worry.
We'll be all right.

We'll be all right.


I'm a terrible burden.

Oh, you're not at all.

Now, I'm gonna fix
something for your face.

It'll help you breathe easier.

Put it over your nose.

That's right.

Come on, we're gonna make it.

All right, here we go.


Hedda, where's Jessie?

He and my man went
to fetch Doc Adams.

How long have they been gone?

About four hours.

They left just as soon
as the storm let up a bit.

Out there in this weather,
while I'm lying here sleeping.

Best thing in the world for you.

You're awfully
good to take us in.


Now I'm gonna fetch
some tea for you.

I'll be right back.

Thank you.

Doc, I'm glad you're here.

- Hedda.
- Jed's putting the horses up.

You must be plumb
wore out, Jessie.

How's Clara?

Well, she slept for a few
hours, but she's awake now.

You go on in there
and see her, Jessie.

And then you better
get yourself some rest.

Well, I'd like to help you, Doc.

No, Hedda will be
all the help I need.

- You go ahead.
- Sure.

I'll have some coffee
for you in a minute, Doc.

Oh, that's fine. Thanks.

Well, she's gonna be all right.

That's good, Doc.

That's good.

Jessie, uh... I lost the baby.

Her getting throwed
out of the wagon,

that's what done it, isn't it?

Well, sure didn't help any.

And the storm...

being carried all that distance.

That man passing
us up on the trail...

Things'd be different

if he hadn't done
that, wouldn't they?

Now, Jessie, I... I think
I know how you feel,

but going after him is
not gonna help anybody.

He's gonna be punished, Doc.

He'll be punished.


Hello, Clara.

Hello, Marshal.

- Uh... where's Jessie?
- He's out back.

Don't tell me you're
gonna turn farmer.

Well, if I had any
sense, I probably would.

No, I just came by to
see how you're doing.

Well, I just figured
we're out of the red

for the first time
since we opened.

Well, that's real
good for six weeks.

Mm-hmm. Not much
ahead, but it's a start.

Well, hello there, Marshal.

Well, hello, Jessie.

Excuse me a minute.

Hi, Pete.

Something I can do for you?

Jessie, I...

I don't hardly know what to say.

Well, is something the matter?

I ain't making it, Jessie.

I... I just ain't making it.

And I can't pay you for all
that feed I bought a month ago.

I don't know what to do.

I... promised I'd pay you.

Well, now, Pete, that can wait.

That feed seen my
horse and cows through

the last of the cold weather.

I'm mighty grateful
to you for that.

You ought to be
raising your own feed.

You ought to be
planting right now.


I got lots of seed.

Sacks right there with it.

Now you just pick
out what you want,

we'll weigh it up
and put it on your bill.

No, I-I couldn't do that.

Ah, you do like I tell you.

I'm bigger than you are.

Now you get to work.

I gonna say hello
to the marshal.

Well, we're back
in the red again.

Eh, he needs it worse
than we do, Clara.

I know. I'm glad you did it.

How are you, Marshal?

Fine, Jessie.

Excuse me.

I'll see if I can help Pete.

Something I can do for you?

Yeah, Jessie, I, uh...

I did want to talk to you.

What about?

About Dean Beard.

I don't know him.

Well, he's the, he's the man

that left you and Clara
out there on the prairie.



I never mentioned it before

because I thought
he'd left Dodge for good.

But he hasn't?

Turns out he's
heading back this way.

I just found out.

Now, Jessie...

you and Clara got
an awful fine life here.

You're doing real well.

I'd hate to see you do
anything to ruin that.

Like what, Marshal?

Well, Doc told me
what you said up there.

How you made some
pretty serious threats.

Oh, no.

No, Marshal,

I told Doc that this Dean
Beard would be punished.

Not by me.

I meant by God.

Well, I hope you remember that.

- Sam, bring Chester a beer.
- Yes, ma'am.

Oh, no, no, I didn't,
I didn't want no beer.

What's the matter
with you? You sick?


I'm just, uh, broke.


First of the month, huh?

Well, I spent all
of this month's pay

last month already.

Oh. Well, I'll tell you what.

You can have this
one on the house.

But from there on in,

you've gotta start
spending next month's pay.

I don't think I'll ever catch
up, not in a million years.

I sure do thank you, though.

You're sure welcome.

- Whiskey.
- Beard...


What do you want, Hager?

I want my land back.

What are you talking about?

I worked eight
years for that land.

Eight hard, miserable years.

I didn't force you to sell it.

All them papers you showed me...

They was lies, all lies.

You cheated me half
what my land's worth.

You're nothing... but a thief.

You're drunk.

Why don't you go find
some pig sty and sleep it off?

I'm gonna kill you.

I'm gonna kill you now.

I seen the whole
thing, Mr. Dillon.

Hager here drawed first.

He said that that fella
cheated him out of his money.

The man was drunk,
and he was lying.

Take care of him,
will you, Chester?

Yes, sir.

I want to see you outside.

So Jed Hager called you
out for cheating him, huh?

He was drunk, Marshal,
and he was lying.

You've been out of
Dodge for quite a while.

Where you been?

Been riding around the country
looking for some land to buy.

You don't look like
a rancher to me.

I made my money in
San Francisco, Marshal,

but I'm investing it here.

Let me tell you something.

If you're gonna live
around this town,

you better start
changing your ways.

Hager drew on me, Marshal.

I'm not just talking
about Hager.

Couple of months ago,

a friend of mine,
Jessie Ott, and his wife

asked you for some help
out there on the prairie

with a broken wagon.

You didn't give him any help.


His wife lost her
baby because of that.

Look, Marshal,
is there a law says

I got to help every poor
fool I find in trouble?

Jessie Ott's a good man.
You stay away from him.

If anybody ever had
reason to kill you, he does.

Oh, I thought you was
supposed to be against killing?

That's why I'm warning you.

Keep away from him.

Howdy, Jack.

Give me a beer.

Sure was a nice funeral

they gave Jed,
wasn't it, this morning?

What do you think is nice
about funerals, Chester?

Well, I didn't mean the
funeral itself was nice.

I meant that it was kind of nice

the way the people felt
so kindly towards him.

Why'd a fellow like
Jed have to draw

on a killer like that with a...?

Why'd he have to
draw his gun on him?

Well, I think you'd
have drawn yourself

if he'd have cheated
you out of your land

the way he cheated Jed.

Ain't you gonna
take your coat off?

I don't need my
coat off to beat you.

Well, that didn't leave
me too much, did you?

I didn't intend to.


You know, Jed was having a
tough enough time out there,

he was, on that
piece of land anyway.

Well, I can name 30 or
40 people around here

that are having a
tough time, Chester.

Take that widow...
What's her name?

That Jenkins woman
with all those kids,

eight or nine of 'em.

And what about that little
Pete Rankin out there?

Well, Pete's gonna
make out all right.

If he'd just hang on.

Well, which way is...?

Oh, dog gone! I
made both of 'em.

I knew you'd do that.
I knew you'd do that.

Pop that up there
where it belongs.

'Course I will admit
that it ain't too easy

to hang on when you're
half starving to death

the way he is.

Which one you shooting?

15 in the side
pocket. Can't you tell?

Oh, yeah.



Uh, my name's Beard. Dean Beard.

Uh, you're, uh... you're
Pete Rankin, ain't you?

How'd you know?

Well, uh, I heard
about you in town.

What'd you hear?

Well, I got something
to tell you, Rankin.

Something to show you.

Can we go inside?

Well... sure, I guess so.

Well, sit down, Rankin.

Take a look at this.

Look at it, read it.


I can't read this.

I never seed words
like that before,

except United States
government and stuff like that.

Well, I have.

I make it my business to
understand government papers.

Why are you showing this to me?

You're, uh... you're
mentioned in there, Rankin.


Oh, not by name, but
your land is described there.

Here, let me show you.

Now, let's see.

You've got, uh, how
many acres is it?


Oh, yes, of course. 500.

Now let's see here.

Why, here it is.

Now, there is the legal
description of your 500 acres.

It is?

Yes, Rankin, I'm afraid it is.

You're in trouble, Rankin.

What for? I ain't done nothing.

No, 'course you ain't.

But the United States
Government's gonna reclaim

a big area of
land around here...

and yours is included.

Reclaim it? What for?

Well, they don't say.

They just say it's
gonna be reclaimed.

They can't do that.

This here's my land.

Oh, they're gonna pay
you something for it.

Now let's see here, uh...

"rated at one-third
original value said land

as quoted in Article V,
Section Ill, Sub-paragraph E..."

Never mind all
that. What's it mean?

Well, your land's worth
about $1.25 an acre.

They're gonna pay you one third.

That'll come to about... $175.

A hundred seventy-five dollars!

For my land?

That's right, Rankin.

But... but it's worth over $500!

That ain't fair!

That ain't gonna stop them.

And you know it.

I got a gun.

I'll shoot them, they
come around here.

You're gonna take on
the United States Calvary?

Don't be a fool, Rankin.

You're licked, and you know it.

What's a man like you gonna do

against the United
States Government?

It ain't fair.

It just ain't fair...

Rankin, instead of $175,

I'll give you $250.


What for? You
said yourself it was...

You can't fight the
Government, but I can.

I've got the money.

And it'll cost money...

I gotta hire lawyers, go
to Washington, everything.

For this little old
piece of land?

Not hardly.

I aim to buy up the whole area.

Otherwise, it ain't worth it.

Now, how about it?

You want the $250, or don't you?

I've got it right
here... in cash.

Well, I...

don't reckon I got much choice.

Pete, how could you do it?

Why'd you listen to him?

Well, he-he had all them

government papers
and everything.

Papers you couldn't even read!

I'll bet he could
read the bill of sale.

Oh, sure.

He made that out real simple.

Sure he did.

Pete, why don't you go
and see Marshal Dillon?

I'm sure he'll help you somehow.

Nothing he can do.

That bill of sale
is plumb legal.

Well, let the
Marshal decide that.

You go ask him.

Look, you've been
mighty good to me.

Both of you.

That's why I came by to
pay you what I owe you.

But I'm finished out here.

I'm leaving.

I'm tired of fighting the land.

I'm tired of everything.

I got my stuff all
packed and... I'm leaving.

We're sorry to see you go.

A man makes up his
mind, I gotta respect it.

Good luck to you, Pete.

Thank you, Jessie.

- Good-bye.
- Good-bye, ma'am.


What do you want?

I'll tell you what I want.

I want you to stop
mistreating folks around here.

I want you to stop
cheating them.


It's a bad thing you
done to Pete Rankin.

You broke his spirit. He's quit.

I made him an
offer and he took it.

And anyway, what
business is it of yours?

And Hager...

the man you killed
here the other night...

you cheated him, too.

Look, mister...

I don't take that kind of talk.

Now you get yourself a
gun or keep your mouth shut.

Get me a gun?


The Lord'll punish
you... Sooner or later.

All I want from you now
is that you leave here,

and you don't come back.


You're telling me to leave?


I'm telling you.

And if I see you here tomorrow,

I'm gonna spread the
word about Pete Rankin.

Everybody in this
country'll know

exactly what you are.

I'll kill you, you start
talking about me.

You get out of Dodge, Beard.

Don't you come back.

Barkeep, get me a drink.

Oh, what am I doing?

I forgot to lock the
storeroom door.

You stay here,
I'll be right back.

Leave it open.

What are you doing here, Beard?

Waiting for you.

I figured you'd
remember to lock the door.

You get out of here right now.

Don't worry.

I'm going.

That's why I want
the door left open.

Clara, you say that

Jessie had a talk with
Beard this afternoon?

Yes, he told him
to get out of Dodge,

or he'd tell everybody how
he cheated Pete Rankin.

Oh, I-I just know
it was Dean Beard.

Chester, why don't
you take her on home?

Yes, sir.

Come on, ma'am.


I promise you, if it was
Dean Beard did this,

we'll get him.

Set 'em up again, barkeep.

Nothing's too
good for my friends.

And it pays to be a
friend of Dean Beard's.

You'll see.

I'm gonna own this
town before long.

Oh, Marshal Dillon.

Uh, have a drink, Marshal.

How long you been in here?

A little while. Why?

Where were you earlier?

I was walking
around in the street.

Have a drink, Marshal.

Always glad to
buy the law a drink.


All right.

Here's to Jessie Ott.

He was a good man.

What do you mean,
he was a good man?

He was a good man till
he was murdered tonight.



I thought maybe
you could tell me.

Look, Marshal, are
you accusing me

of killing that

Beard, you're rotten.

You're rotten clean through.

If I had my way,
I'd take you outside

and I'd beat you half to death.

Now you're going to jail.

Murder's a serious
charge, Marshal.

I can't condemn a man
on hearsay evidence.

The evidence I've given you
isn't exactly hearsay, Judge.

Well, there've been no
witnesses to the murder.

The accused wasn't even seen

entering or leaving
the storeroom.

Well, he wasn't seen
anywhere else, either.

Not till shortly
after the murder.

He said he was
walking in the street.

You haven't proved
he was lying, Marshal.

Judge, Jessie Ott didn't have

an enemy in this
country that I know of.

He had nothing but friends.

Now, this man here
was the only one

that had any reason
to go after him.

And his reason
was a criminal one.

He's taking the word
of his wife, Judge.

Like I said before,
she'd say anything.

When I want to listen
to you, I'll say so.

Now you sit down and shut up.

Go ahead, Marshal.

Well, that's all I've
got to say, Judge.

You've heard from
Doc Adams here,

and Mrs. Ott... who didn't
even want to show up today.

That's all there is.

Quiet in here.

Now, since Dean Beard
chose to be tried by me

rather than by a jury,

it's been my duty to try him.

Now, you all know that
I'm not one to shirk my duty,

but that doesn't
make it any easier.

Especially in this case.

Jessie Ott's been
quoted as saying here

that God will punish Dean Beard.

Well... God's going to have to.

I can't sentence a man to hang

on circumstantial evidence.

The law requires a witness.

Case dismissed.

Fellas, the drinks are on me.

Belly up to the bar.

Come on, Clara,
I'll take you home.

What's the matter?

Dean Beard's buying!

You never turned
down a drink before.

What's the matter with you?

I'll tell you what's
the matter, Beard.

Everybody in this town knows
what kind of a man you are.

You'd better watch
yourself real close,

or you're gonna wind
up in an alley some night,

shot full of holes.

You take my advice, and
you get out of this town.

I ain't leaving here, Marshal.

I got all my money tied up here.

You stay around Dodge,

you're gonna get what's
coming to you, mister.

One way or another.

I just don't understand
that judge at all,

saying that he wasn't guilty.

I mean, there wasn't anybody
in that courtroom, now,

that didn't think he is guilty.

That judge is the only one.

I've never seen
people that were so...

that felt so strong about
anybody before in my life

as they do about
that Dean Beard.

And you're right about that.

I was over in Jonas's
a while ago, and...

he was waiting on two fellas...

strangers, I never
saw 'em before...

But this fella walked in,

those two fellas turned right
on their heels and walked out.

Ignored him completely.

Well, I'll tell you something.

The worst thing that could
happen to Dean Beard

wouldn't be bad enough.

I agree with that.

You know, either this
food in here's getting better,

or I'm just hungrier than usual.

Well, if you're unusually
hungry, that's because

you put so much in your
stomach you got it stretched

and you can't
satisfy it anymore.

What do you mean, stretch it?

Well, you're... eating too much.

You're getting fat.

I've been meaning
to talk to you about it.

- He's getting fat.
- Fat?

You are.

What's the matter with you, Doc?

Can't you stand to see
anybody that's in good health?

Does it bother you?

Do you kind of get the shakes

if you see somebody
that's healthy?

Well, just because you're fat

doesn't mean you're
healthy, you know.

That's a... that's a fallacy.

That's a what?

A fallacy.

That's a fallacy?

But you... you didn't...


Dried apple pie
and a cup of coffee.

Fool, you silly fool.

Howdy, fellas.

Jack, bet you don't make it.

What's the matter with you men?

You got something
to say, say it.

Y'all gone dumb?

Look at me. Look at me!

Come on, boy, come on...

Why don't you sit down?

How's everything going, Kitty?

Mm, fair to middling.

How about a drink?

No, I don't think
so. Not right now.

How's everything going with you?

Fairly. Hup, no, no, no.

Barkeep, give me a drink...

give me a bottle and a glass.

Barkeep, drinks for the house.

Go on, I'm buying.

Come on! I'm buying!

Step up, everybody.

I'm buying!

Well, can't you hear
me? I said I'm buying!

Step up, what's
the matter with you?

What are you
standing there for?!

Get busy and pour them drinks!

I'll smash your head in!

A couple of you men take
him on out of here, will you?

All right, don't say hello,
but you're gonna listen.

Oh, you're gonna
listen, all right.

Take a look at them.

Those are deeds, legal deeds,
signed, sealed and recorded.

The land represented
by those deeds

is worth at least
$5,000, maybe six!

I'm leaving town, I'm
getting out of here,

and I'll let you have that
land, all of it, for $4,000.

Wait a minute
now; wait a minute.

If you give me cash right now,
I'll let you have it for $3,000.

What kind of a banker are you?

You want to go broke?

Well, I hope you do!

Look, make it $2,000,
and we'll forget about it?

But don't you see?
You can use this land.

A man can't ever
have too much land!

And all I'm asking
is a thousand dollars.

A thousand dollars for land
worth five, six times that much!

All you have to do is
look at these deeds!

You can see for yourself!

It'll just cost you a thousand
dollars, and you can afford it!

You'll make a fortune on it!

A-a thousand
dollars... that's all.

A thousand dollars for
land worth five, 6,000.

800 then?


Listen, everybody...
I'm leaving town.

I'm gonna get out, but
I got to have a stake.

All this land I got here,
you can have it for $500.

500, that's all.

You can all, all
buy it together!

You can own it together!

You've fixed it so
nobody will buy my land.


Well, a curse on you.

A curse on your town!

You can all rot!

Moss... here are the deeds.

Give me a hundred
dollars for 'em.

Well, give me whatever you want!

Keep 'em! Choke on 'em!

Hah! Hah!


By golly, it looks like

he finally took your
advice, Mr. Dillon.


Busted my leg!

I can't, I can't lay here.

Here, boy. Here, boy.

Here, boy. Come here!

You rotten crow bait!

That horse is saddled, Harry!

We better take a look.

What's the matter?!

What's the matter with you?!

I need help!

I didn't even
recognize him at first.

No, me either.

He's went and busted his leg.

He's got himself in a
real fix now, hasn't he?


What are we gonna do, Harry?


You just can't leave a
man laying out here like this.

He left Jessie Ott
and his wife, didn't he?

Yeah, I know, but...

He murdered Jessie, didn't he?


He same as murdered Jed Hager.

He ruined Pete Rankin.

Now why can't we leave him?

He may be mad, and a
murderer and all that, but we ain't.

We be leaving that
man, we'll be killing him!

You'd kill a mad
dog, wouldn't you?

It's not the same thing.

Harry, we can't let Dean
Beard drag us down to his kind!

Come on, we got to
put a splint on that leg!

Get him on his horse and
head him towards Dodge.

Dodge... it's
that way, ain't it?

No, it couldn't be!

Well, you could've
said good-bye!

Just one word!

Just one word!

Rotten scum!

Lying to me about
the way to Dodge!

Well, you ain't gonna
fool Dean Beard!

I ain't gonna follow
your directions!

This ain't the way to Dodge!

It ain't it!

I'd have been there by now!