Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 8, Episode 6 - Collie's Free - full transcript

Released after eight bitter years in prison, Collie Patten has difficulty adjusting to the fact that things have inevitably changed with respect to his relationships with his wife, his son, and the citizens of Dodge.

(theme music playing)

(both guns fire)

ANNOUNCER: starring
James Arness as Matt Dillon.

Everything seems
to be in order, Matt.

The marshal always
does things orderly.

I sure wish you'd take
these cuffs off, Marshal.

So I could shake your hand.

You've earned your
way in here, Dutton.

Someday I'll earn my way out.

You mind that.

Take him out.

You never get
used to it, do you?

Well... I can ride
out of here, Warden;

I don't have to get used to it.

Hmm, you ought to try my job.

No, thanks. Mine's bad enough.

They don't threaten me
when they leave here.

They don't say they're gonna
come back and get me someday.

You're the man
that sent them in,

you're the man
they're gunning for.

Yeah. Well, I hope I don't have
to come back again too soon.

You sure bring in
your share, Matt.

I know it.

Maybe that's what gives me
the willies about this place.

Locking a man up here is
like inching the life out of him.

You think on it too personal.

I'll see you next time around.

Right, Matt.

Marshal Dillon?

Sure, it's the marshal.

You remember
me... Collie Patten?

Well, sure. How are you, Collie?

Well, I'm fine.

Eight years in a place like this

is just the right
tonic for a man.

- I'm gonna hate to leave.
- Oh, that's right.

You'll be getting
out soon, won't you?

Today, Marshal. I get out today.


Francie know you're coming home?

She'll know when I get there.

Well, you are planning to
come back to Dodge, aren't you?

(chuckles): What
I'm planning, Marshal,

I'll let you worry about that.

Good luck to you, Collie.

(humming quietly)

My horse ready yet?

I got one shoe to go, Marshal.

Give me ten, 25 minutes.

You hungry, they got
eats two doors down.

Saloon's across the street.

All right, thanks.

Glass of beer.

(Dillon sighs)

Hello, Collie.

Can I buy you a beer?

I want whiskey.

And I'll buy my own.

A bottle of whiskey.

Can I see your money?

I look like I don't have money?

(slaps coin on bar)

No hard feelings, mister.

A lot of men get out,
they want whiskey,

they ain't got a dime.

Nothing against you, mister.

Is that the way it's
gonna be, Marshal?

Everybody takes a look,
they don't know your name,

your face... they just
know you've been in prison.

I don't know, Collie,
maybe that's up to you.

That's something else I'm gonna
have to add to what I owe you.

Eight years.


That's a hunk you
took out of my life.

You can't put eight years back.

Wasn't me that took
those eight years, Collie.

Well, we don't remember
it the same way.

You rode me up here; you
give me over to the warden.

I ain't forgetting that.

Seems to me, you
kind of pick and choose

what you want to remember.

Do you happen to remember
stealing Davis Henry's cattle?

Blowing his leg half
off with a shotgun?

Tell you the truth,
Marshal, all these years,

I hardly give Davis
Henry a thought.

Mostly I been
thinking about you.


Now, it so happens, you
got a wife and boy back home.

You been doing any
thinking about them?

Rob was four
years old when I left.

He's grown into a good boy.

He won't know me.

My own son won't know me.

That's something else I owe you.

When are you coming home?

Oh, they give me a
stage ticket to Dodge,

but they didn't
say when to use it.

You'll know when I'm home.

Collie, let me tell
you something.

You made a mistake,
you've paid for it...

The books are balanced.

Now, if you're smart,
you'll forget about the past

and you'll go on
home and start fresh.

Well, this must be my lucky day.

In a minute, I'm gonna
look you straight in the face,

and I want you to look
up and smile at me.

I don't mind smiling...
if I got a reason.

Well, you got a reason.

I've been away a long
time and now I'm back,

and, uh, you're glad to see me.

It don't matter I never
laid eyes on you before?

It don't matter.

You smell like the prison.

That don't make me too smiley.

We drink a while,
we'll both smell better.


Well, if it isn't old

Welcome home.

Well, now, thank you, ma'am.

Thank you kindly.

(Collie chuckles)


(chickens clucking)

Marshal Dillon, good morning.

Hello, Francie.

Soon as I could get a ride,
I was coming in to see you.

Well, I guess I
saved you a trip, then.

It's time Collie's
free, isn't it?

Yeah, he got out yesterday.

(sighs): Well...

I didn't know how I'd hear.

Collie's no hand to write.

I been trying to
get things ready

in case he just
walked in someday.

I was up there yesterday.

When he got out?

Why didn't you bring him home?

Well, they, uh, they gave
him a stage ticket up there.

He'll be along in a day or two.

He's all right, isn't he?

I mean, he's... he's
not sick or in trouble?

No, he's fine.

He's... well, he's changed some.

Well, I guess we all change.

Gonna take some
patience, Francie.

I think I've learned patience
these eight years, Marshal.

You know, if there's anything
I can do to-to help you,

I'd be more than glad to.

You've already done more
than your share, Marshal.

I don't know what would've
come of Rob and me

if you and a lot of other
folks hadn't been so helpful.

We just wouldn't have a home

for Collie to come
to, I know that.

You've done a good job, Francie.

Nothing special.

Having Rob to think
of and look after,

that made all the difference.

You can't love your boy
with bitterness in your heart.

Francie, I still think
that Collie's a good man.

I think that what it's
gonna do is take some time

for him to get himself
straightened around.

Well, we're long
on time around here.

ROB: Hello, Marshal.

Hello, Rob. How are you?

I'll be fine if I can get
rid of the potato bugs.

Plants out here are full of 'em.

Well, a little kerosene
usually takes care of them.

Course, you got to be
careful, or it'll take care

- of the plants, too.
- Yeah.

Marshal's come
with good news, Rob.

Rob, your pa's coming home.



Couple of days.

Seems kind of funny.

It's not like he
remembers him, Marshal.

Rob, your pa's gonna
be mighty proud of you.

Sure will seem strange...

having him around.

I better get back to those bugs.

Time and patience.

Yeah, Francie, a lot of it.

Well, I, uh, guess I better
be getting back to town.

I'm much obliged to you for
coming out to tell us, Marshal.



everything's gonna be
all right, you wait and see.

Be nice if we were
sure of that, wouldn't it?

So long.


Well, I sure wouldn't
want to be in his shoes

for anything in the
world, tell you that.

Well, he's out of
prison; that's something.

It's not enough, though.

People are not gonna forget.

Well, they should, Doc.

You know, I remember when...

Collie was courting Francie.

He'd never been in
any kind of trouble.

I guess things just
piled up on him.

It's not like as if he'd
been a criminal all his life.

As far as I'm concerned,

he's made a mistake
and he's paid for it.

People should leave
him alone to start over.

It just don't work out
that way every time,

you know that, Matt.

That's right, but...

you see, it's not
the cattle stealing,

it's what he did to Davis
Henry they're not gonna forget.

I mean, shooting
him in the leg like that.

Horseman like that, a
rancher, an active man,

shot in the leg. (clicks tongue)

Well, the law put a price
on that, Doc... eight years.

Well, I'm not talking
law, I'm talking people.

Sure, Collie paid with
eight years of his life.

Davis Henry's gonna have
to pay all the rest of his life.

Can't argue that.

No, he's got an
awful lot to live down.

Well, you act like he's
got nothing on his side.

Rob and Francie have
done a wonderful job.

They've worked hard
and held on to that farm,

and people aren't
likely to forget that.

Well, I think you're
right about that.

Doc, what would you
do if you were Collie?

Golly, I'd leave town.

Well, you're not a man
to run from a problem.

Think I'd run from this one.

I don't think there's
any question about

what a fresh start
someplace else

for the whole family would
be the best thing in the world.

Maybe you're right.

You don't think
so, though, do you?

I think it's good advice.

I don't think he'd take it.

Maybe if you talked to him.

(chuckles) If I made
that suggestion to him,

he'd figure on staying
here the rest of his life.

I'll see you later.

You know what I think?

I think Matt's worried.

Well, I think he
is, too, and he's...

he's not much of a hand to
worry about himself, you know that.


All right, now push
it up, just push it up.

- Now hold it steady there.
- Yes, sir.

Only, you got company.

Aw, you'll take any
excuse, won't you?

Now, just hold it
steady there while I tie it.

- Yes, sir, I hear you fine.
- (grunts)

No, don't give me no hand.

Can't hold the fence,
you can't hold me.

(horse neighs)

Hello, Davis. Nort.

- Marshal.
- Howdy, Marshal.

Now, I want that fence
fixed right, and today.

I couldn't have broke no law.

Ain't been off my
land in a month.

(chuckles) Well, it's nothing
like that, I'm afraid, Davis.

As a matter of fact, uh...

came over here to ask
your help on something.

(chuckles) Any man
needs my help is in trouble.

I can't help myself.

Uh, sit down, Marshal.

I do every chance I get.


Collie Patten's out of prison.

And you want me to help him?

Look, I know how
you feel about Collie.

I don't blame you.

You got every right in the
world to be bitter about him.

But I'm asking
something of you, Davis.

I'm asking you
to go easy on him.

Everybody in town's
gonna follow your lead.

Well, now, Marshal, you get
your leg messed up like mine,

go stumping around
on it for eight years,

and then you come back
and ask me that again.

Davis, you've done right
well by Collie's wife and boy.

I know you think a
lot of them; so do I.

I'm asking you to
do this for their sake.

Rob hires out to me right often.

Francie does my
washing, bakes my bread.

That can go on.

I won't hinder
him, Marshal, but...

I got no mind to
turn the other cheek.

I'll tell you
something, Marshal,

if Francie and Rob
belonged to me,

I wouldn't ask for any
more help than that.

Thanks, Davis.

Thanks for hearing me out.

At least you didn't
throw me off your place.

(chuckles) Take a look, Marshal.

I couldn't throw
you off if I wanted to.

So long, Davis.



- Much obliged.
- No trouble at all.

(birds chirping)

What do you want?


They didn't give me a razor.

You're thinner.

Took me a minute.

You don't change, Francie.


Everybody changes some, Collie.

It's been dry.

A good rain wouldn't hurt.

The marshal said
you were coming.

He came here?

Yeah, day or two ago, he
stopped on his way back...

uh, from after he saw you.

We had a talk.

He tell you about that?

No, he just said you
were coming back.

Nothing but kindness.

Oh, he's full
of that, all right.

I got hot bread in
the oven, Collie.

(inhales deeply)

Smells like it.

You still like eating
fresh from the oven?

I think I do.

You change this?


Well, it was red.

Had some life to it.

It's just fading, Collie.

I guess eight years of wear
just took the life out of it.

Yeah, that's what
it does, all right.

Where's the shotgun?

I sold it.

We ought to have a shotgun.

Not that one.

This bread's ready to eat.

An extra lot of bread, isn't it?

Well, I-I do some baking
for folks that don't know how

or can't take the time...
Brings in a little money.

Do you want some
coffee to wash it down?

No, no, it's fine; I'm
just not hungry, that's all.

Sometimes things just aren't
as good as you remember.

I meant maybe the bread...

Sometimes they're not, Francie.


I didn't mean that the
way it sounded, Collie.

It just might be a while
before we talk natural.

You, uh, keep any whiskey?


It might ease me to have some.

Rob will be home soon.

What's he like, Francie?

Oh... h-he's just a boy.


22 now.

He's a good boy.

Takes after his mother, huh?

You mustn't expect
too much of him, Collie.

I-I don't think he
remembers you.

Does he know where I've been?


As soon as he was old
enough to understand, I told him.

You see, it wasn't fair not
to; everybody else knew.

That's a devil of a
way to meet your son.

Just give him time, Collie.


I know you're gonna
want to wash up and shave

before he gets here.

There's hot water.


You got to give
me time, too, Collie.

You think about how
it'll be, coming home.

You're right, Francie,

sometimes things aren't
as good as you remember.


You'll kill yourself
working, boy.

Won't never grow
to be a man that way.

I'm almost through for today.

You like it...

hiring out to Mr. Davis Henry?


He's a rich man, you know that?

I don't know.

I guess he is.

Why, we're working for
him; that's how you tell, boy.

You and me and your ma.

Course, what I heard
today might change that.

I better get on home.

Hey, I'm talking to you, boy!

Well, it's getting kind of late.

The marshal was here today.

He talked some
to Mr. Davis Henry.

Guess you're gonna have
big doings at your house.

What do you mean?

Marshal says your
pa's most home.

I guess he is.

You know about your
pa and Mr. Davis Henry?

Ma told me.

Bad blood between them, boy.

That's why I was remarking
about how this might all change,

you working here and your ma,
now that your pa is coming home.

I got to get.

Sure would be something...

I had that rich
man all to myself.

I was a bigger man before.

Lots of ways bigger.

You look fine, Collie.

Just fine.

Uh, where's the boy?

Well, sometimes it's almost
dark before he gets home.

Where's he been?

He hires out to a neighbor.

He does his chores
around here, too,

but then he gets a
little money hiring out.

Like you do, washing
and baking and all.

It hadn't hurt us, Collie.

(door opens)

My goodness, you two
ought to know each other.



I-I been telling your pa
how we been expecting him.

Marshal said you'd be coming.

Marshal talks a lot, don't he?

No, sir, he...

You better wash up, Rob.

We're waiting supper.

Oh, here, Ma.

(coins clinking)

Sit down, Collie.

(water sloshing)

You been sick?


You sure are white.

Like you been sick, I mean.

Well, you know where I been.

You don't get no sun in there.

See that you eat
now while it's hot.

What are you staring at?


Yes, you are.

You're looking at your pa.

You get used to that.

Yes, sir.

He didn't mean nothing, Collie.

(Collie sighs)

Tell your pa and me
what you did today.

Nothing to tell.

Well, I mean, about your work.

I slopped hogs some.

Pitched hay.

Helped on the corral fence.

He works real good.


Nort said the marshal was
by, but I didn't get to see him.

Maybe your pa can help
you with the potato bugs.

Sure have a raft of 'em.

What do you do for 'em?

Uh, well, you, uh...

you kick 'em off, stomp 'em.

Take some stomping.

Powerful lot of 'em.

Get 'em off the
plants into a pile

and pour kerosene on 'em.

Marshal said that, right, Ma?

He said that, but I
thought he was funning me.

The marshal!

Collie, he didn't mean anything.

I'd have been here
these eight years

if it wasn't for the marshal.

Now, I got a craw full of
him, you understand that?

Collie, just give him time.

What I'm saying don't take time.

He's no friend to us.

I don't want to hear his name
not one more time out of you.

Ma, why? Ain't he
been a good friend to us?

Now, don't you go to her...
I'm the one who tells you now.


I got a score to settle
with your marshal.

We all of us do.

He's gonna pay
for eight long years.

I... ain't quite sure
how, but he's gonna pay.


What'll it be, mister?

Whiskey, mister.

That enough?

Yeah. Just enough.

Whiskey prices
don't change, hmm?

No. Not much.

You remember me,
Sam... Collie Patten.

Yeah. Sure.

Yeah. Sure.

Welcome home, Collie Patten.

Hello, Abel.


Maybe you don't remember...

I remember.

Well, you could look at me.

We were friends once!

All right, I'm looking
at you, Collie.

I just got back in
town yesterday.

Just yesterday.

Town's grown.


Lot of people don't
remember me now.

Lot of people do
remember you, too.

Now, listen to me, Abel.

Now, don't you force
yourself on me, Collie.

- Well, hello, Collie.
- (Collie chuckles)

Now, you know me
right enough, Miss Kitty.

You come right up
and speak to me.

Well, sure! Sure.

You remember Abel... he's
always grouchy when he's losing.

- Now, how about a drink?
- (Collie sighs)

Sam, let's have a couple drinks.

I know what you're
doing, Miss Kitty.

Now, you don't
have to lay it on.

I'm just offering you a drink.

You're just stopping a fight.

Are you looking for one?

(sighs): No.

If, uh, you really want
to talk about it, I'll listen.

I come home to a bunch of faces,

faces that used to
have names to 'em.

Now they just got looks...

Fear, disgust, pity.

I know it isn't easy.

Some of 'em I don't
know at all, like...

Francie and Rob.

Well, this might be a good
time to get to know 'em.

My own wife and boy?

I knew 'em once.

But eight years is a long time.

You can die in
eight years almost.

Only, you don't quite
get the dying done;

that's the worst of it.

Well, what's left is worth
saving, if you'll do it.


You don't know what you're
talking about, Miss Kitty.

Well, hello, Collie.

What are you doing in town?

I come to see about
balancing the books, Marshal.

(Dillon chuckles)

How about a cup of coffee?

"Come on home, Collie.

Everybody's gonna
forgive and forget."

Collie, as far as I'm concerned
and the law is concerned,

the account is settled.

Now, the rest
of it is up to you.

How's that?

You're the only one that
can make people forget.

Why don't you go on
back out to that farm

and start acting like a
father and a husband.

That's not gonna change things.

It's the only thing that will.

It might even change you.

You know, you got a
conscience about me, Marshal.

I saw it up at prison, the
way you acted with me.

You got me on your mind.

Well, I plan to
live right there.

Collie, this is gonna take time.

It's gonna take
time and hard work.

Maybe you got too much to
go up against here in Dodge.

Maybe you ought to
take Francie and Rob,

and go somewhere
else and get a new start.

Out of sight, out of mind?

Oh, no.

I'm not gonna let you
off that easy, no, sir.

I can't accommodate
you that way.

If that's all you got
to say, I'm busy.

Might surprise you what I
got in store for you, Marshal.


Hey, ain't you Collie Patten?

Remember me? Nort Saffle.

Oh, yeah. Yeah, I remember.

I heard you was out.

Home, that is.

It's good to have you back.


Well, you was always
square enough with me, Collie.

I don't bear you
no hard feelings.

We hardly knew each other.

Now, that don't matter.


Uh, here. You... want a drink?

Much obliged.

- Yes, sir.
- Go ahead.

Go ahead. Have another.

Well, just one. I-I got
to get back to work.

(sighs) That's aplenty now.

Oh, where do you work, Nort?

I supposed your boy told you.

We both work at the same place.

It's no secret.

We work for
Mr. Davis Henry, Collie.

Is that so?

It's all right, my
telling you that?

Oh, sure, sure.

Well, he thinks an awful lot of
your boy, Mr. Davis Henry does.

Course, everybody does.

Yeah, I keep hearing that.

And your missus.

If it weren't for her baking
and putting things up,

we wouldn't have a
decent meal there ever.

He's mean, though.

Just 'cause he don't walk good,
he takes it out on everybody.

Well, me mostly.

I don't want you to think
he don't treat your boy

and your missus right enough.

What are you saying to me, Nort?

Well, nothing bad, Collie.

I-I just come along and saw
you and give you a greeting.

You're just being friendly, huh?

That's all.

You ought to take kindly to it.

Not too many folks
are gonna feel like me.

Well, like I said,
good to have you back.


(chickens clucking)

Whose rig is this?

I borrowed it.

Now, I asked you a
question... Whose rig is this?

It's a neighbor's.

You ever lie to your ma, Rob?

No, sir.

Do you hedge around with words,

not lying, but not telling
all the truth with your ma?

No, sir, I don't do that.

Then are you doing it with me?

I don't know.

You afraid of me?

I don't know you.

Are you afraid of me?!

Collie, what are you doing?!

All I want is an answer, a
straight-out answer from him.

Well, you got him scared
to death, can't you see that?

All I want him
to do is admit it!

He doesn't have to admit it;
it's written all over his face.

I'm not afraid of him.

Not what he'll do to
me, it's what he'll say,

how he'll take on, like
he did about the marshal.

Just asking him
whose rig this is.

It's Davis Henry's.

You couldn't have said that?

I should've.


This his food, his clothes?

Yes, sir.

It's how we've lived, Collie.

Working for Davis Henry?

And others.

But mostly him.

You stay right here.

Stay here.

Collie, what are you gonna do?

You like working for
Davis Henry, Francie?

Collie, we were lucky.

We had to eat,
can't you see that?

Man's wife and boy
being taken care of,

I guess that's lucky.

Kind of depends on
how far that care went.

We did our work
and we got paid for it.

You grow to like him, Francie?

There was never
anything, Collie.

He's a kind man, and he's
been good to me and Rob.

But there was never anything.

Collie, whatever
you're up to, don't do it.

Shouldn't take long.

Where you going with that gun?

I'm gonna ride
over there with Rob.

You gonna drive over
there, boy, or shall I?

- I'll drive.
- Don't do it, Collie.

Don't go starting things
all over again. Please!

- I'm just riding over, Francie.
- I don't want you to,

not the way you are... We
can't take any more trouble!

Now, let's go, boy!

(Rob clicks tongue)

Come on, Rudy!



What do you want me to do?

Do what you get paid for.

Hello, Collie.

Never figured to see you here.

I'm full of surprises.

Mr. Davis Henry
know you're here?

I expect he will.

You don't mean
no trouble, Collie?

What ails you, anyway?

I'm just looking at
the only friend I got.

You mean me?

I call that a sad thing.

(door opens)

I was just remarking how
he had a nerve coming here.

You got chores, Nort.

You must've come
here for a reason.

I did.

I wouldn't think you
could look me in the eye.

I see you just fine.

Rob, bring the rest of
his things in the house.

You hear me?!

You'll be all right, Mr. Henry?

Best you go along, boy.

I don't see we got much
to say to each other.

It don't set with
me, you being here.

It don't set with me.

Rob and Francie
working for you...

I'd like to know why.

I need the work done,
they need the money.

Nothing's that simple.

You keep your distance,
no reason it can't go on.

Just like I wasn't around, huh?

Just exactly like that.

My being around, that
doesn't bother you any?

Long as I don't lay eyes on you.

My boy looks to
you more than me.

Not my fault he's
been around me more.

I'm asking you what
my wife and boy

meant to you while I was gone.

Just this much:

I'd be proud to claim
them if they were mine.

But they're not.

They never were.

Well, that's all over now!

They do their work
for me at home!

I catch one of 'em over here,

you won't have
one leg to stand on!

Ma's right, you
are causing trouble!

Now, they belong to me!

I don't care what you
been paying them...

They ain't for sale!

You're talking like a
loon all of a sudden.

Now, you go on home, Rob.

No, I don't want to.

Well, you're going!

Let go of the boy.

Talk's not gonna
get the job done.

You asking for a settling?

That's got to be.

Go on!

No, I want to stay.

I want you to go, boy.

I can't figure you out.

You act one way with the
boy and one way with me.

Just what do you want?

You'll find out soon enough.

You come out here to kill me?


You better go for
the marshal, Rob.

I don't know what to do;
there's gonna be trouble.

I told you there was
bad blood between them.

I'll do what I can, but you
better get the marshal out here.

Why'd he have to come
back and spoil everything?

A lot of folks are
gonna be asking that.

There's a saddled
horse back there.

- You all right?
- (panting): Yeah.

I'm just not used to riding.

We can rest a while.

No, I'm all right.

(horse approaching)

Go! Go!

You better hurry, Marshal.

They sent me away, but
I'm afraid for Mr. Henry.

Your pa hasn't hurt him, has he?

They fought over me, but I don't
know what's happened by now.

I'll ride on. You stay
here with your ma.

Come on, Rob, we can't
waste any more time.

Now, I might want that mare.

I could ride a long way
out of here on that mare.

A long way.

You gonna leave them?

Sure can't ride three on a mare.

No, sir.

Rob and Francie,
they'd just be in the way.

All they done for you, and
you don't want them now?

Seems like I just
want that mare.

You want to stand aside, Collie?

Uh, no need for that gun, Nort.

What's the idea?

Idea is that you and me are
both gonna get away, Collie.

And we're gonna take his
money with us when we go.

Now, wait a minute.

Nothing like that is...

It don't matter if you
come with me or not.

Folks are gonna
think you done it.

Step aside now, Collie.

You're talking
like a fool, Nort.

I'm tired of you
talking like that!

Shaming me in front of folks!

Well, I ain't no fool.

The minute Collie got
back, I planned how this'd be.

You're in the way, Collie.

That's what I've
been trying to tell you!

Now, you better make
some sense, Nort.

It's him I want.

Well, it's me you got.



What happened?

There was a fight, Marshal.

Nort tried to kill me.

Collie stepped
in to save my life.

He's crazy, Marshal.

Don't believe him.


Try to understand, Francie.

It's... better this way for...

for everybody.

Francie... I...

He's dead, Marshal.

He didn't have to get killed.

He could've stepped aside
when Nort come at me.

I told him he was in the way,
and he said something funny.

He said, "That's what
I've been trying to tell you."

Rob, I'm gonna
tell you something.

No matter how your pa lived, he
was a brave man when he died.

If he'd only given
hisself a little more time.

Just a little more time.