Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 8, Episode 19 - Cotter's Girl - full transcript

A father's dying request is that Matt go to retrieve his daughter. Expecting to find a little girl, Matt finds a near-grown woman, but one who's wild and desperately in need of civilizing.

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Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.

I need breathing room.

Don't you touch
me again, old man.

What are you, some kind
of special dirt or something?

The sight and smell
of you is enough.

That's the best thing
for an empty head.

Fill it full of whiskey.

Now, don't make
me hit you, old man.

I don't think you've got
nerve enough to hit anybody!

Now you're aggravating me.

No, I'm not.

I'm pushing you.

Ain't they tucking no guts
in you young'uns today?!

You smelly old rat!

You want to get yourself killed?

What are you gonna
do, talk me to death?!

You're nothing but
a crazy old man.

At least I'm a man!

Now, you crawl back in
your hole and you stay there!

He made me fight him, Marshal.

Oh, Matt.

I was afraid someone might
fetch you in here too soon.

Just take it easy now, Cotter.

Real easy.

What's happened here?

Oh, nothing.

Nothing at all.

He just kept at me, Marshal.

No man'd stand for it.

He never once hit me.

Tell him to get out of here.

All right.

I thought you said
you were leaving town.

Ain't much chance
of that now, is there?


What's this?

For my little girl, Clarey.

Here's her picture.

You got to remember, now.

Get that money to her.

And there's a letter in there

tells you how to
take her to my sister

in Harrisburgh.

I never knew you had a family.

Well, they didn't
know it much either.

Best thing I could do
was stay away from 'em.

Where is she?

She's up on the Smoke
Hill Farm, out of Elkader.

I got one more
drink up there, Matt.

Can I have it?

I come out even, Matt.

That takes planning, hmm?

It had to end this way, Matt.

Just like I lived.

It had to.

I'd have put both his
names on there, Mr. Dillon,

if I'd knowed it.

Well, Cotter's all
I ever knew, too.

Don't hardly seem
right, does it, just...

just you and me
laying him to rest?

That's the way he wanted it.

He say that?

Well, no, not in so many words.

But... well, I think he
kind of planned it like that.

Well, seems to me like

he would at least
want his little girl here.

No, I...

I got the feeling he wanted
me to find his little girl for him.

Well, why would he do that?

I mean, you said yourself
he seemed real proud of her.

Yeah, but he wasn't
very proud of himself.

I don't think he
wanted his little girl

to find out about him.

Well, sure too bad.

He never hurt
a soul in his life.


Just himself.

It don't rest easy
with me, Marshal.

I don't see how our
ruckus could've killed him.

If I was gonna hang
anybody for his death,

why, it'd be a
whiskey bottle, Mackle.

Or a whole life
of whiskey bottles.

I didn't like him.

He was a provoking old man.

But I wouldn't kill him.

You didn't kill him.

I got Doc's report.

He died from living.

Just like he said.



Anybody home?

Anybody home?

What's the idea?

Oh, I didn't hurt you much.

Well, no, but I
can sure think of

better ways of greeting people.

Give me time to
give you a lookin',

see if I wanted to come down.

Most times I don't bother.

You the only one
lives around here?

You never been here before.

No, I haven't.

I'm looking for a girl by
the name of Clarey Cotter,

about ten years old.

Do you know her?

What do you want with her?

Well, I got a letter for
her and some money.

I'm the marshal from Dodge City.

I knew her father.

Ain't no Clarey here
that's ten years old.

What's your name?


I ain't heard that last
part for a long time.

You grew awful big.

You're Clarey Cotter?

Well, Clarey, uh...

I guess this is for you, then.

The money and
the letter's inside.

I can't read.

You remember your
pa at all, Clarey?

You got any name but Marshal?

Well, my name's Matt Dillon.

Marshal's just my job.

I guess he could read
and write, my pa, huh?


You want me to
read that for you?


"Dear Clarey,

"Your aunt Flo
hasn't got a little girl.

"She wants you to come and
live with her in Harrisburgh.

"This money will see you there
and help pay your keep awhile.

"I wish I knew you, honey.

"I know I love you.

Your Pa."

It says all that?

Sure does.

You, uh, want to keep this?

Why you come instead of him?

'Cause your pa's dead, Clarey.

You any kin to me?

No, I'm just a
friend of your pa's.

I promised him I'd come
out here and try to find you

and get you back to your aunt's.


Well, I was going hunting...

but I'll go with you.

You're a pretty
good hunter, are you?

I find all I need.

There ain't a
rabbit, then I fish.

Do you want to see something?

Well, you can't see
it from down there.

Well, Clarey, I'm not much

of a hand at climbing trees.

You get an awful flat look

at things from down there.

Well, that's all
right, I'm used to it.

The air is fine up here.

Come on, we better get started.

They got any trees
at this Harrisburgh?

Sure, they got 'em all over.

That one and me's been
friends long as I can remember.

I give up on the
house before they died.

Who's "they"?

One was called "aunt"
and the other one "uncle."

They died of something out
of a jug they kept drinking.

Yelling and beating on
each other all the time

till I wanted to run off.

I was feared to run too
far, so I'd go up that tree.

Well, Clarey, if you want
anything from the house,

you better go get it,
because we got to get started.

I'll take a look around.

Okay, jump up.


Where's your clothes?

I'm wearing my clothes.

Well, that's not gonna
be much of a load.

Hey, not too hard, now.

I got to breathe, you know.


Where you been, Dillon?

Well, I been out hunting
a couple of rabbits.

I see you beat me to it.

Don't take me long.

I don't fuss with them.

Ain't you gonna wash
before you take your food?

No, thanks, I can wait.

You ought to come in.

It's the greatest
feeling there is.

When you gonna wash, Dillon?

Don't worry about me.

I'll get it done.

See this dries some, will you?

Listen, we're gonna have to
get you more than one dress.


Well, because you're gonna
have to have something else

to put on if you're
gonna wash this one.


Well, I just thought, long
as you were sitting there,

you could...

No, I'll do it this once.

Throw it to me.

I'll run it dry.

Think the rabbit's cooked?

It's hot through.

It'll eat.

Oh, thanks.

I don't remember
when I eat with anyone.

Guess you've lived alone
a long time, haven't you?

It don't bother me,
eating with you.




I give you a bite.

Yeah, I know.

I like you.

Oh, that's fine.

I like you, too,

but, look, I'll like
you a whole lot better

if you go back in that
bed and go to sleep.

I was up the tree.

Well, all right, go on
back up the tree, but...

stay there and go to sleep.

Are you a-feared of me?

- Yeah.
- Oh.

Maybe you'll learn
better as we go along.

Well, one of us
is gonna have to.

Now, go on.

Air's nice up here, Dillon.

Well, fine.

You, uh, you just stay
up there and breathe it.


Morning, Dillon.

Well, say, you get active pretty
early in the morning, don't you?

Sun comes up, I get to stirring.

You go slosh in the
stream; I'll mind your clothes.

Uh, no, I think I'll just
stay right here, thank you.

Don't you never wash?

Well, sure I do, but I pick
my own time and place.

Here, I'll do that.

Ah, you are right
good to look at.

I never seen better'n you.

Now, Clarey, just stay
right where you are.

Don't matter I'm near you.

Well, yes, it does.

I... well, I've been
meaning to talk to you,

and, uh, well, I can't do it
when you're bobbing around

all over the place.

I'm not used to talk.

Well, you know,
you're gonna be living

in the city now...
There's a lot of things

- you're gonna have to get used to.
- Like what?

Well, wearing
clothes, for instance.

Uh, women in the city
wear a lot of clothes.

Why do they do that?

Well, that's just the custom.

That's the way things are.

Besides, they
look good that way.

You'll look good, too.

Then maybe you'll
think I'm good to look at?

Everybody will.

Now... another thing is,
you're gonna have to learn

how to, how to act around
people a little bit better.

Uh, see, you can't just
do anything you feel like

whenever you want to.

Like I'm thinking about you?

No, not like you're
thinking about me.

Well, y-you'll see
when you get there.

I don't know, Dillon.

When I feel like
something, I do it.

That... that
stopping to think...

I don't know, it all
sounds kind of... skimpy.

When I'm hungry, I eat.

When I'm sleepy, I sleep.

When I want
something, I find it.

And when I don't want, I don't.

It won't be like
that, huh, Dillon?

Well, no, I'm afraid
it won't, Clarey.

Well, we could stay here.

Uh, no, no, we couldn't.

Look, you, uh, you get the
fish going and the coffee.

I'll... I'll see to the horse.


This where you live, Dillon?

No, no, this is a town
called Shallow Water.

We'll spend the night here
and go on to Dodge tomorrow.

Maybe we can get you
some clothes here, too.

You want that, don't you?

Come on.

Could I help you?

Ma'am, yes. We'd like to
fit her out with some clothes.

He'd like, not me.

Any special occasion?

Well, the, uh, the occasion
is that she doesn't have

any clothes besides
what she's wearing there.

Oh, my.

You want me to outfit her?


Shoes and all?

Well, if you can, yeah.

I usually close
shop about this hour,

but, uh... it would
be challenging.

Did you see this, dear?

Do you think you'd
like anything like this?

- No.
- Uh, look, you, uh,

you two go ahead;
I'll wait for you outside.

Come on down to the rack, dear,

and have a look
through these dresses.

I'm sure you'll find something
that you like very much.


Oh! Oh! Stop her!
Stop her! Stop her!

Come on, now. Hold it!

You said a dress!
That ain't no dress!

Tell her! Tell her
women wear these!

She was set to
lace me up in that!

That's enough, now.

Why, she-she's
nothing but a-a wildcat.

Well, forget about the dress.

She's dangerous,
do you know that?

Sorry to have
troubled you, ma'am.


Why, I could've been killed!

I don't like you.

If she were mine, I'd
see she was caged!

That's one mean woman, Dillon.

Clarey, you just can't act
like that around people.

You ever wear
one of those things?

No, I didn't.

Well, I ain't going to.

I ain't never!

Come on, we'll head for Dodge.

You got somebody following you?

Well, no, I just
don't want people

to see her till
she's ready, Doc.

Till she's ready?

Yeah, Kitty's bringing some
clothes over and so forth.

I... No point in having
people laughing at her.

What's she doing in there?

Well, I told her to stretch
out and get some rest.

Well, she's not gonna
get much rest in that bed,

I'll tell you that.

Well, it's my
bed; I sleep in it.

Yeah, but she's used
to sleeping in trees.

Well, probably got
back trouble, too, then,

along with a few other things.

Why don't you go ahead and
check her over. I'll be back later.

Thought I told you
to get some rest.

Now, these got a
right feel to them.

Well, here.

Come over, sit right
there on the table.

Shoes feel kind of
good to you, huh?

Ah, they sure do.

Well, I've broken those in
pretty good, I'll tell you that.

You ever go barefoot?

Well, not no more.

Feels good,
especially in the mud.

By golly, I'd
forgotten about that.

Wet and cool, oozing
up between your toes.

Guess nothing in the
world feels better than that.

You believe that,

how come you got
two pairs of shoes?

Well, you know, I
never thought of it,

but it's kind
of silly, ain't it?

You like those,
you can have them.

Dillon will be glad.

He's bound I'd have shoes.

Where's Dillon?

Well, he's gone,
but he'll be back.

He's right good to look at.

I don't know about that.

I do.

Here, now, you just
leave things alone.

I'm gonna examine your chest.

Why you do that?

Well, because
Dillon'd want me to.

I do what he says.

That's good.

What's that for?

Well, it's not to see through.

That's what I'm gonna
listen to your chest with.

Now, here, you just sit there

and breathe just
like you always do.

What'd you hear?

Not a thing... that's good.

Now I want to have
a look at those teeth.

Open your mouth.

Real wide, open it up.

What do you eat, anyway?

Most anything I can find.

Well, what?

Rabbits, prairie chicken, fish.

Sometimes I eat them cooked.

Oh, you do?

What else?

Dried corn, sheep shower,

sweet clover.

Uh, I like a hedge
apple now and again.

Good heavens, you hadn't
ought to eat hedge apples.

Well, they're filling.

And what else?


They're kind of scratchy,
but I get them down.

Well, I guess they would be.

I just never saw
anything like it.

You saying something ails me?

No, no, you're as
sound as a new dollar,

and, by golly, you got
the best set of teeth

I ever saw in my life.

Hedge apples and sunflowers.

I was missing you.

Oh... yeah.

This is Kitty
Russell here, Clarey.

Hello, Clarey.

He is hard to leave be.

Takes years of practice.

Clarey, look, uh, Kitty's
got some clothes here

and things she
wants you to try on.

I won't wear that
stiff thing that laces.

I didn't even bring a corset.

Did you tell her?

Yes, I told her.

Come on, let's go in
and try the dress on.

He wants it.

She's really
something, isn't she?

Golly, she's an education.

But, you know,
she's right, I think.

If we paid attention to her,
we wouldn't wear corsets

and confining things like
that, like belts, collar buttons,

and might even eat a hedge
apple or two once in a while,

and maybe a cooked
rabbit, you know.

By thunder, I'll
tell you something.

We shouldn't wear shoes.

Yep, I have a feeling,

Matt, that she just
knows the secrets of life.

Sure wish I'd have
found out about 'em

before I ruined my feet.

I can't see!

Well, just a minute.

I don't want you to
start throwing anything.

I never throwed, I just
scared her with a shoe.

Well, the shoes I brought
are just for wearing.

I got a pair of shoes.

Don't you want to try
the ones I brought?

Oh, these got a
right feel to them.



Well... you look fine.

I do?

Take a look at yourself.

I wear this, do I?


You look at yourself in it.

It's a looking glass.

Haven't you ever seen
yourself before, Clarey?

In the creek, but...
never this clear.

Well, you ought
to be very pleased.

You're very attractive.

Dillon will get me one of these.

You can have that one.

Here, you take this.

Thanks very much.

Come on.

Let's go show
Dillon how you look.

When you look, it
looks back, Dillon.

Well, you look
real nice, Clarey.

I know. I saw me.

Kitty, why'd you have
to go spoil her for?


Well, now she's gonna
be like any other woman,

you gave her a looking glass.

Well, there'll be
one difference:

she prefers your shoes to mine.

Well, then there's
still some hope for her.

What I see in there, that's what
you see when you look at me?

What everybody sees.

Uh, Matt, if, uh,
if you want me to,

I'll take her over to Ma
Smalley's and get her a room.

Yeah, say, that'd
be a good idea, Kitty.

Dillon will take me where I go.

All right, I'll see you later.

Well, I'll tell you, feel
kind of sorry for her.


Well, you saw her... she's...

she's got an awful lot to learn.

Mm, I don't think so.

She's got the first thing
a woman needs: instinct.

You want some coffee?

Mmm, fine, thanks.

Ooh, my gracious.

Don't that smell good?


Sure looks good there, Joe.

- Don't it, Mr. Dillon?
- You bet.

Why are we waiting?

Go ahead. You can start anytime.

You see, it's customary for
the lady to begin eating first.

Uh, Clarey, look.

Uh, you really should start
eating with a knife and fork.

Why'd I do that?

Well, like I say,
it's-it's customary.

And I'll tell you another thing,

it'll sure help keep
your hands a lot cleaner.

Uh, you see, it's kind of
like that dress we bought.

I mean, it just looks better.

You do it.

Well, you just kind of stick the
meat real good with your fork,

and then run your
knife right down it.

Then you change hands.

Well, that... that, uh...

If you just...

Well, that ain't too bad
for the first time. I mean...

It ain't?

Uh, yes, you see, you should
swallow before you talk, Clarey.


What's the matter?

It's still setting right there.

Well, you should chew
before you swallow.

You just said swallow.

That's right, Mr. Dillon.

That's all you said
is just to swallow it.

You didn't say nothing
about chewing at all.

All right, Chester, fine.

Let's just be quiet
about the whole thing.

We'll get along all right.

Well, I just didn't
want her to think that...

she misunderstood.

Ooh. Oh, golly.

Sakes alive.

Pardon me, ma'am, but I
believe you dropped your steak.

Come on.

Did you quiet her
down, Mr. Dillon?

Yeah, I guess so.

Well, people can really
be mean, can't they?

Sure can at times.

I just wish that
there was some way,

somehow that I could help her.

Yeah, there's a lot of things
she's gonna have to learn,

Chester: how to eat, how
to act, how to read and write.

Take your choice.

Chester, what are you doing?

Uh, you remember that
book that I had, Mr. Dillon?

What book?

Oh, you remember. That...

school-teaching feller
came through last year,

and I beat him at
Cutthroat Euchre

and come to find out
he didn't have no money,

so he give me this book instead.

You mean McGuffey's Reader?

Yeah, that was the one.

Well, I thought it
might be of some use

to Miss Clarey, but,
dogged, I can't find it.

Well... you lost it,
don't you remember?

I did?

Yeah, don't you
remember the, uh...

the girl that worked
for the medicine show

that came through here?

Oh, yeah.

For heaven's sakes, yes.

I bought a bottle
of elixir off of her,

and the next thing I
knowed, she's gone.

So was my elk's tooth, my
watch and my McGuffey's Reader.

Remember she tried to
teach me to walk on my hands?

Yeah, I wonder what
she did with the book.

Oh, good morning,
Marshal and-and Chester.

Morning, Ma.

Well, she's gone.

You mean Miss Clarey?

Yes, I went to call
her for breakfast,

and she didn't answer,
so I opened the door,

and, Marshal, her bed
hasn't been slept in all night.

Well, did you look
around the room, Ma?

She's not used to
sleeping in a bed.

Oh, well, she's not
any place in that room,

I made sure of that.

But wherever she is,
Marshal, she's in a petticoat.

Her dress was just
tossed over the chair.

Well, thanks for coming.
We'll take a look around.

- J-Just in her petticoat?
- Mm-hmm.

Oh, forever, mm.



Hi, Chester. Dillon.

Yeah, Miss Clarey.
Where you been?

I come out for a wash.

What'd I tell you, Chester?

She likes to come
out and slosh around

in the stream in the morning.

Oh, it gets you stirrin'.

You ever wash, Chester?

Well, yeah, I mean, right along.

Come on.

We'll ride you back to town.

Ma Smalley said you never
once slept in your bed last night.

Oh, I slept fine.

Dillon, there's
the nicest elm tree

right out the
window of that room.

Oh, it was good
sleeping up near the top

where a person can breathe.

You ready to start with
a knife and fork again?

If you want.

Come on.

You know, it says
here that to curtsy

is to bend both knees
and lower the body.


Let's-let's see you do that.

Bend both knees
and lower the body.

Well, no, there's got to be
something more to it than that.

Let's see.

"Put the left foot
behind the right."

Put your left foot... put your
left foot behind your right.

Now, try it that way.

No, it's not so far down.

Just easy like.

And up.

Dink, like that.

Like a cork on water.

Dink, that's it.

That-That's fine.

Why am I doing this, anyway?

Well, that's so's that if
you meet a gentleman,

well-well, he-he'll
bow to you like this,

and then you can
curtsy back to him.

Yeah, that's...

That's fine.

Oh, it's 'cause you
help me, Chester.

Oh, well.

Help. H-E-L-P.

Can you write it?






Ah, that-that's good.



Hey, Dillon!


Now, Clarey, just
hold on a minute.

I can't wait for hugging you!

Yeah, but just hold on, now.

Did you read my writing?

Yes, I read it here.


Hold just a second now, Clarey.

Um, yes, that's
a real nice letter.

It's just fine.

I'm-I'm sure your
Aunt Flo will be...

will be glad to hear from you.

You don't like me any better
than you did, do you, Dillon?

Well, sure I do, Clarey.

And you're learning
real well, too, but...

well, I'm afraid you still
got a few things to learn.

Chester says I learn fast.

Well, you do.

But... well, you see,

all this business of running
around hugging a man

and everything just
every time you feel like it,

you-you got to cut that out.

It just says I like you.

Well, I know, but, see, the man
is supposed to do the courting.

Now, if you go
around hugging a man,

it's liable to scare him off.

You mean I'm supposed
to let him hug first?

Yeah, that's the idea.

Well, what if he don't hug?

Well, I don't think you're gonna

have to worry about
that very much.

But you are gonna have
to develop a little patience.

That means waiting, don't it?


Just a minute.
What'd I just tell you?

I can't even do that to
show him I'm willing?

No, no, doggone it, you can't.

Come on, let's get out of here

and go get
something to eat, huh?

I'm better with knives
and forks, I think.

Yep, you know, Kitty,

it's a terrible thing, the way
he has to hold women off

at arm's length all the time.

Oh, I know it.

You know, uh, I think you
ought to hire a peace officer

to help protect yourself.

Yeah, now, listen, I'm
worried about that girl.

She can get in trouble
running around acting that way.

Oh, well, she's gonna meet
her match one of these days,

but, uh, oh, the
world will rock a little,

but I don't think anybody's
gonna get killed over it.

I don't think so.

Sometimes I forget what clear,

thinkers you two are.

Yeah, well, you're kind
of lucky to have us around

when you need advice like this.

Uh, just set there like you are.

Don't make no fuss
about it at all, now.

Just pretend like it's
any other everyday night.

Well, I'm prepared for anything,
including an Indian uprising.




Gentlemen always bow first.

Well, of course, you're right.

Excuse me, Clarey.

There. Now, here, why don't
you sit down and join us there.

Thank you.

Hey, you know,

that's about the prettiest
entrance I've seen

through them swinging
doors in a long time.

Did you notice how
her hair is kind of fixed

a little bit different there?

Her and Ma figured
that out theirselves.

Mighty nice.

- You look very pretty.
- Sure do.

If I wasn't so proper,
I'd give you a hug.

They staring at me?

Oh, no, no, I...
Well, they're staring,

but what I mean is,
they're-they're admiring you,

is what they're doing.

It don't feel bad, do it?

Say, Kitty, h-haven't you got

something here in the Long
Branch that Clarey could drink?

You know, a...

Yeah, you... kind of a
cordial or something.

- What?
- A cordial.

It's, uh, it's a...
well, it's in the book.



It means friendly-like.

That stage leaves
tomorrow, Dillon.


Yeah, about noon.

You excited?

There's something
stirring in me.

Part like a fear and
part kind of poundy.

Well, you'll do
just fine, Clarey.

Did I show you that
letter where Aunt Flo

says she'll love
me like her own?

She will, too.

I don't mind
belonging to someone.

I wouldn't mind
it was you, Dillon.

That's very nice of
you to say, Clarey.

But, you know, uh,

when you get to
Harrisburg, well...

you'll find somebody
that's right for you.

Oh, I'll miss you, Dillon.

I'll miss you, too, Clarey.



I'm gonna write you
my thanks, Dillon.

In the book, it
says it's proper.

Well, good, I'll be
anxious to hear from you.

Oh, give these back
to Doc, will you?

All right.

Say, this is something
you might want, Clarey.

Belonged to your pa.

I'm gonna worry
about you, Dillon.


You're awful set in what you do.

You ought to move
more on what you feel.

Grab things up, hug 'em.

Climb a tree, slosh in a stream.

Well, I'll think about it.

Don't think.

Just feel and do.

All right, Clarey,
I'll give it a try.

We're ready to roll.

Pardon me, ma'am.

Why, sure.

Why, now.

Good-bye, Dillon.

So long, Clarey.


I've been missing you, Dillon.

Listen, don't you start that.

Got to get my
ribs taped as it is.