Gunsmoke (1955–1975): Season 9, Episode 6 - My Sister's Keeper - full transcript

A despondent widower goes to work on a farm for two sisters, each of whom finds him fascinating in her own way.

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Starring James
Arness as Matt Dillon.




Whiskey, Sam.

It'll take money, Pete.

Kinda hoped you'd run out.

Everybody knows
I'm a rich man, Sam.

Rich and lucky.

You got a farm you could
work. You're that lucky.

You don't work it, it's
gonna die on you, Pete.

Everything else has.

I didn't mean to
say it that way, Pete.

Ain't many ways to say it.


Don't sell him any more, Sam.

I'm not anxious to.

You go on out back

and finish unloading
the whiskey, and I'll...

I'll keep an eye on him.

You give a holler
if you need me.

All right.

Poor Pete.

Yeah, it looks like he's
bent on destroying himself.

Well, I've tried not
selling him any at all,

but, well, there are
other saloons in town.

Oh, yeah, he can get it.

How long's it been since
Mary died, four months?


Seems like she took
all his strength with her.

Yeah, the meaning
went out of his life.

Trouble is he's the only
one that can put it back.

I wish you'd talk to him, Doc.

Well, Kitty, he'd
have to want to listen.

I don't think he's
ready for that yet.

Miss Nell's out
back, Miss Kitty.

Nell Shuler?

Says she'll wait for you there.

I'll be right out.

She always come
to the back door?

No proper lady is ever
seen coming into a saloon.

Now, you know that, Doc.

Oh, but it's all right to
come to the back alley, huh?

If you're a proper lady.

I'll see you later.

Morning, Nell.

Kitty, I hope I've
not come too late.

I thought you might
like these for breakfast.

Mmm. Mmm, they're still warm.

And light as air.

I wonder how they'll
taste with beer.


Might be better with whiskey.

You do delight in teasing
me, don't you, Kitty?

What else have you got?

Pies: gooseberry and
apple, fresh breads.

Oh, and Leah and I have
been doing some nice tatting.

Well, glad to see you've
given up on those doilies.

Oh, we haven't exactly
given up on them.

Leah grew impatient
with crocheting.

I can imagine.

Tatting is a nice change.

Oh, Nell, crocheting to tatting?

What kind of a change is that?

Well, a good deal, Kitty.

I mean, if you knew
anything about fancywork.

I know a lot about fancywork.

Real fancywork.

Well, if you're not
interested, Kitty...

I am interested, Nell.

I'm interested in you
and I'm interested in Leah.

You know, you ought to bring
her to town more often, Nell.

She's barely 20, Kitty.

I think I know
what's best for her.

You can't keep her wrapped
in damp cotton all her life.

I'm bringing her along

as our parents would
have wished me to...

as a gentlewoman.

Oh. You're gonna do
that without men, huh?

The time will come, of course,

when proper young men
will be allowed to call on Leah.

Oh, I see.

Well, I hope Leah's around
when that time comes.


I'll take the rolls,

four of those pillow slips.

I am grateful,
Kitty, you know that.

I guess we never can fully
understand each other, can we?

Not unless you want to
trade places for a while.

I'll say good morning to you.

Mary... Mary...

it's all gone now, everything.

The farm, Mary.

Our farm.

Fill it up.

- No.
- Come on!

If you want this,
you gotta pay for it.

That's all I got.

That'll buy you a
shot of warm beer.

I sure could use a real drink.

You've got me crying.

She'll buy me a drink.

Sure, give him a coal oil on me.

Well, that was real sweet.

Mary was sweet...

sweet and fresh and pretty!

You, you're ugly!

Plain ugly! All women are ugly!

I'd hate to look good
to you. I really would.

It's not right, Mary's
dead and she's living.

We've had about
enough out of you, mister.

Is he hurt?


Pete, Pete, what-what happened?

You go along, Chester.

No, I'm here to help
you. What happened?

I hurt everywhere.

Well, we'll take care of that.

Somebody go get
Doc Adams, will ya?

Tell him I'll be at
the marshal's office.

Now just put your arm around me

and get you to
your feet. Up you go.

I gotta die somewhere.

That's nonsense.

You're just down on
your luck, that's all.

Take it real easy.

I just found him
laying out there

in the middle of
the street, Mr. Dillon.

What's the matter,
you sick, Pete?

Not enough to die, Marshal.

We just get him back there

on one of them
cots, stretched out.

All right, all
right, here you go.

Down you go.

Well, did you get
enough to drink, Pete?

No, they don't give me enough.

Well, Mr. Dillon, it's
not just the whiskey.

He's cut pretty bad and all.

Yeah, I suppose
we better get Doc.

I already sent for him.


Mr. Dillon, I couldn't
just leave him

laying out there and...

No, you did the
right thing, Chester.

Well, you-you seem to be
kind of hard on him, though.

He's pretty hard on himself.

Somebody sent for me.

Neither one of
you two, who is it?

It's Pete Sievers, Doc.

What's the matter with him?

Well, he was just
laying out there

in the middle of the street.

He was kind of all
cut up and kinda...

Kinda drunk, maybe?

Well, he'd been
drinking right along.

About four months now.

Seems like everybody's
kind of given up on Pete.

Seems like he's
given up on himself.

You could sure tell

that they loved each
other, him and Mary.

You could just feel it, see it.

I used to see 'em

the way that they'd
look at each other,

and I'd just feel
good about it all day.

I'm sure they were a
fine couple, Chester,

but he's got to find
a new life for himself.

He's not even trying.

Maybe I ought to get him a
dinner, you know, Mr. Dillon?

That is if the office
could afford it.

Probably a good idea.

I can't go any more.

Well, you ought to try, Pete.

Well, he's been trying, Chester.

It don't swallow good, Marshal.

I tell you, it's no
good anymore.

Everything's gone.

You know, the farm's gone.

Yeah, I don't understand
how it'd burn that way,

with you being there.

Well, I was drinking.

I've been drinking,
you know that.

I was sitting at
the kitchen table.

There was an oil lamp on it.

I woke up...

I must've knocked the lamp over.

I never saw the
like of those flames.

You were lucky to
get out alive, Pete.

I don't see it that
way, Marshal.

Well, just stop to
think about it a minute.

You ran out of the
burning house, didn't you?

You tried to save your life.

That's just instinct, Marshal.

Well, yeah, sure it is.

The strongest instinct
there is: self-preservation.

The will to live.

Yeah... Sure, I had that once.

When Mary and I had the farm.

Thought I'd live forever.
I thought we both would.

Oh, nobody lives forever, Pete.

You know that.

The thing is, you got to live
all you can while you can.

You don't know what
you're talking about.

Why don't you try thinking
about Mary for a change?

I don't think of anyone else.

Sure, you think about
how much you miss her,

how poor life is without her.

You think that's what
she'd want for you?

I can't think that way.

I don't care how you think,

but I think that you ought
to go on trying to live

like a decent human
being for her sake.

You owe it to her.

Well, how do I go
about that, Marshal?

You tell me how.

Well, you get a job and you work

and you live and you eat
and sleep like everybody else.

It talks real good.

Well, I'm not saying it's easy.

Maybe it's hard.

But it works, Pete.

You won't find
better advice, Pete.

I'm the one has
to take it, Chester.

I don't know if I can.

Well, you're not
alone, you know that.

You got friends.

You understand?

You got friends.

Now, the cash is
your job, Mr. Sievers.

Only the cash.

Another clerk
handles the drafts,

the bank checks and the like.

All right, let's see now.

The, uh... the teller gives
me the money he takes in,

and I write down
the amount on the...

he writes down the amount
on these slips of paper.

Now, you count the money,

making certain that it tallies
with his notations on the slips.

You keep the bills in
a pile together here,

you put the coins
in these sacks,

and you make a running
total on this pad of paper.

At the end of the day,

you make two copies
of the grand total:

one for me,

and one to put in the
safe with the money.

Very simple, isn't it?

Well, it is when you
say it. I don't know.

It's a nice
business, banking is.

Merely a matter of
applying yourself.

We'll try it for a while,

see how it works.

I appreciate the
chance, Mr. Botkin.

Hello, Nell.

Oh, hello, Kitty.

You came empty-handed?

Oh, well, just this once.

I... I've come for some advice.

My kind of advice?

Well, it's about a man.

Nell Shuler!


Why, you're always
too quick for me, Kitty.

I didn't mean to
say it that way.

A hired man.

It's about a hired man.

That's a start.

Now, we haven't had
anyone since Old Bayless died.

It seemed to me he did so little
I could manage it myself, but...

well, I really can't, Kitty.

I thought maybe you could
tell me about someone.

Well, I don't know.

I do know that you don't
know very much about saloons,

and we're not
exactly hiring halls.

Oh, I have someone in mind.

You do?

I just know who he is, but...

as to his character...

I thought you might advise me.

Pete Sievers...
is that his name?

That's right.

He's working at the bank.

He's got that much character.

I know about his wife.

He lost his farm, too.

He's... he's always
farmed, hasn't he?

Ever since I've known him.

As to his, um, drinking...

well, I'm no judge.

Is it a-a lot?

It was, Nell.

But he's trying awfully hard.

The last few weeks, he's
really been trying awfully hard.

You like him, don't you?

Yes, I do.

Well, of course, then
he... he might like banking.

Why don't you ask him?

Well, I think I'll do just that.

Well, farming's been my
life, right enough, Miss Nell.

You've got a good one out there.

You know our farm, Mr. Sievers?

Yes, ma'am, I do.

I've admired it many's the time.

You've let it go some.

My father and Old
Bayless are the only men

who ever worked Shuler farm.

You don't replace men like
that without thought, Mr. Sievers.

Well, ground's no
good lying fallow.

Kind of like people...
gotta be worked.

You're willing to work hard?

I'm willing to try my best.

You'd have to judge,
is that hard enough?

Well, Mr. Botkin's
an old friend.

I'd-I'd want to give him a
proper amount of notice.

Well, he's been good to me,

even though banking
isn't the best thing I do.

I'd want to tell him myself.

But I suppose I
should speak to him.

I think it's my
place, Miss Nell.

Very well.

But I should think...

How much notice
will you want to give?

A week.

I could be at your
place a week from today.

Well, I'll...

I'll be expecting
you, Mr. Sievers.

I hope you'll be
comfortable here.

I'm not used to better.

Well, if everything's

I'd like to get started.

South field first, if
it's all right with you.

All I ask is good hard
work, Mr. Sievers.

Well, it won't be like
working my own, but...

farming... it's the best I know.

My father would have liked that.


Why, Leah.

I just thought I
ought to see him.

Well, of course, dear.

Uh, Mr. Sievers, this is my
young sister, Miss Leah Shuler.

Miss Leah.

Going to work for
us, Mr. Sievers?

Yes, ma'am.

I think that ought to be nice.

Well, we mustn't
keep him from his work.

Uh, we'll see you at
supper, Mr. Sievers.

What do you do besides
farmwork, Mr. Sievers?

I don't do much else, Miss Leah.

Not much of a life for a man.

I don't mind it.

Father worked the land, Leah.

There is no better life.

If I was a man,

I'd find ways to fill my time.

A man's free.

He can do most anything,

go most anywhere.

You think that, Mr. Sievers?

I guess it's, uh, true enough.

The wanderlust appeals to Leah.

We've not travelled much.

Why, Nell...

we drive most three miles to
church every single Sunday.

And once a week, we
go to the graveyard.

More peas, Mr. Sievers?

No, thank you, ma'am.

You're not eating, Leah.

You know I never eat
when I'm excited, Nell.

We don't share our table
very often, Mr. Sievers.

We Shulers traditionally
live to ourselves.

Well, I was thinking I,
uh, I might turn in now.

Well, if you feel you must.

Tomorrow's a long day.

We baked pies, Mr. Sievers.

We always bake pies.

Well, I've had
plenty, thank you.

Good night, Miss Leah...

Miss Nell.

Some evening, you'll have to
tell me where all you've been.

Oh, not far, ever.

Farther than me.

Mr. Sievers.

This isn't talk for the table.

I'm not long on any
kind of talk, ma'am.

Nor am I.

I... I realize you've had

your share of
misfortunes, Mr. Sievers.

I'm truly sorry for that.


You have a
reputation for drinking.

I must tell you that I
can't condone that here.

You judge me on
my work, Miss Nell.

If that don't please
you, you let me go.

What else I do is up to me.

Just me.

Tuck him in, Nell?

You've talked very freely
this evening, young lady.

I'd think about
that, if I were you.

When you said "hired man,"

I thought you meant
someone like Old Bayless.

Someone Papa's age.

Pete Sievers is young.

Mr. Sievers, dear.

He's still young.

We need a strong
man for the work.

I know you're
naturally friendly,

and that's a nice quality, Leah.

Mr. Sievers only works for us.

You must remember
you're a Shuler.

I don't have to remember.

You're always
around to remind me.

Giddup. Hah. Giddup.



Ho, ho!

It's cooler here under the tree.

Always is.

That water you got there?

Yesterday, at the barn,

is that the first time you
remember seeing me?

First time I ever did.

You just never looked.

I've seen you before.

At the graveyard.


Your wife's laid to rest
nearby where my parents are.

I've watched you a lot.

Sit down with me, Pete.

I got most of the
field yet to clear.

Well, I've brought your dinner.

You can stop for that.

I'm not hungry
just yet, Miss Leah.

Pete, you always look so lonely.

I'd understand if you
want to talk about her.

Well, I don't.

I don't want to talk about her.

Oh, we don't have to.

We won't.

You can just leave the dinner
there, if you like, Miss Leah.

Thanks a lot for the water.


I'm lonely, too.

I'm sorry.

Maybe not the way
you're lonely, for someone.

With me, it's for anyone at all.

Even when Papa and
Mama were alive, I was lonely.

Please talk to me.

Just for a little while.

I'm not paid to talk, Miss Leah.

Giddup, hyah.

Ho, ho!


May I come in, dear?

I'm in bed, Nell.

I could see your light.

Do you feel all right, Leah?

All right, I guess.

You hardly touched
your needlework today.

Now, if there's something
wrong, we should talk about it.

Oh, Nell, nothing's
wrong, nothing's right.

I'm just sick of
needlework, that's all.

And baking and cleaning
and everything we do.

You tried something new today.

Did I?

There's no need
to be devious, dear.

I saw you out in the
field with Mr. Sievers.

I just wanted to talk to him.

Think about it, Nell.

I haven't even seen many men.

Forgive me if I'm a
little curious about them.

But you know, i-it
really doesn't look well,

trailing out into the
field after the hired man.

There wasn't much
of a crowd around.

Oh, I'm not suggesting you
had any wrongdoing in mind.

I took him some dinner.

He didn't even eat it.

You know, Leah...

I always try to lead my life

as if Mother and
Father were with me,

watching and listening.

I try to measure up

to what they expected of me.

I'm sure you do.

It's a good
guideline for living.

I commend it to you.

I'm 20 years old.

Pete Sievers' wife was
dead when she was 20...

and I might as well be.

Why, Leah, you
do get such ideas.

Don't you?

Oh, I guess you don't.

You're so busy being
father and mother

and big sister and a Shuler,

I guess you don't
have any time for ideas.

I don't mind my

They don't weigh on me.

And I enjoy our little talks.

You don't hear me, Nell.


Someday, take a good look at me.

Look at me and listen to me.

I'm a woman.

I feel like a woman...

and I need like a woman.

Sleep well, dear.




My, I wondered when
you'd call it a day.

Well, just now,
ma'am. Glad to do it.

I... I put some fresh towels
and sheets in your room.

Oh, thank you.

I guess you know it's payday.

Yes, I do.

I don't mind that.

Well, you've earned it well.

I am very pleased
with your work.

- Very pleased.
- Thank you.

Uh, supper's most ready.

Father always cleaned up
special of a Saturday night.

Had a cigar after supper.

I have a cigar for
you, Mr. Sievers.

Oh, well...

that's very nice, Miss Nell.

I tell you...

I won't be taking
supper here tonight.

I thought I might
ride into Dodge.

Oh, I just supposed you'd...

Well, no matter.

When you're ready to leave,

you can stop off at
the house for your pay.

I'll do that.

I am very pleased
with your work.

Oh, I guess I said that before.

I don't mind hearing it again.

I dislike bringing this
up again, Mr. Sievers,

but I do hope you
won't get yourself

all whiskied up in town tonight.

You were to judge me
on my work, Miss Nell.

Just my work.

Yes, so I was.

Oh, come in, Mr. Sievers.

Thank you.

Evening, Miss Leah.

We'll miss you at supper, Pete.

I'll get your money for you.

Perhaps you'd prefer me to
keep some of this here for you.

I'll want all I earned, ma'am.

Thank you.


What will you do in town?

I won't do any farming,
I'll guarantee you that.

What Mr. Sievers
does on his own time

is his own affair, Leah.

If a lady were to go to
Dodge of a Saturday night,

what would she do?

Well, I guess she'd sit in the
lobby of the Dodge House and...

rock a little, ma'am.

But you won't, will you?

No, ma'am.

Well, I can't think

what a lady would find
to interest her there.

I'd like to see for myself.

I really would.

Why, Leah!

I'll say good night to you now.

Ah, I'll serve supper now, dear.

Good. And we can
have a cigar after?

I know you're restless, dear.

We'll go to church
tomorrow morning,

and you'll feel better
about things, you'll see.

Ah... That's a
good farm, Marshal.

I got the ground turned now.

Richest earth I've
seen in a long time.

Well, you better get planting.

Monday. Start planting Monday.

How are you getting
along with Nell and Leah?

Oh, fine.

Got a nice room out there, too.

It's in the barn, but it's nice.

What do you think about Leah?

Well, I don't think much
about either of them, Miss Kitty.

I, uh... I keep busy.

You know, I'm always
getting after Nell

to bring Leah and come
into town more often.

You know, mix with people.

I wouldn't know about that.

Thing is, Marshal,
it's a good job.

I think maybe my
luck is changing.

Well, that's good,
Pete. I'm glad to hear it.

Girl over there might want
to have a drink with me.

If you'll excuse me, Miss Kitty?

Have fun, Pete.


I'm glad you're home, Pete.

You better get out of here.

I've waited too long to go now.

Look, now, I need this job.

I've never kissed
a man before, Pete.

I want to kiss you...
whiskey and all.

I don't want to kiss you.

I've been here maybe an hour.

I couldn't sleep tonight.

I got to thinking about
you in Dodge City...

maybe with a woman.

Were you, Pete?

Were you?

Now you hear me, Miss Leah.

There was only one
woman for me, ever,

and she's gone.

You want to think about a man,
you think about someone else!

I know it'll take time.

Just let me be near
you once in a while.

Give me a little chance.

You can't stay here anymore now.

Miss Nell finds you here,

I don't know what
she'll do to you

but she'll fire me sure.

She would, too.

I'll leave, Pete,

because I want you to be around.

I'll be around, too, you know?

A little every day.

I won't give up on you, Pete.

Not ever.

I must say you're very quiet
this evening, Mr. Sievers.

I'm not a great talker
anytime, ma'am.

After a night in Dodge City,

surely there must be
some news to tell us.

I didn't hear any.

Perhaps it was a
quiet night after all.

Oh, certainly, I never
heard you come in.

I don't think Leah
slept too well.

She dozed in
church this morning.

The sermon was on conscience.

Mine is so clear I
could sleep like a child.

Well, can I offer you
something more, Mr. Sievers?

I'll just finish my
coffee, thanks.

You do that.

Well, I left my needlework
down by the brook.

I'll go fetch it.

I can get it for you, ma'am.

Thank you, no,
I'll-I'll enjoy the air.

Do try to remember something
of last night to tell Leah.

She's really very interested.

I couldn't sleep,
even after I left you.

You brought that on yourself.

But I planned, I
planned all night.

I've got some money.

It could be a start
for us somewhere.

I'm not going anywhere with you.

I got this job. I need
it! I want to keep it!

You get these crazy
ideas out of your head!

I can make you forget all
about Mary if you'd let me.

We could be free.

It wasn't at the brook at all.

Must have left it
someplace else.

Leah, dear, why don't
you run off to bed?

I know how tired you are.

I'll excuse myself, too, ma'am.

Good night, Mr. Sievers.

Good night.

You really look
quite drawn, dear.

We should go to bed now.

All right, if you say so.

- Good night, dear.
- Good night, Nell.

Yeah? Come in.

You've not gone to
bed yet. That's good.

I assume I may come in.

Oh, sure, sure.

I must have a settling
with you, Mr. Sievers.


I shan't lie to you.

I did not go to the
brook this evening.

I listened, quite
purposefully, at the window.

I must say I was
shocked at what I heard.

Well, you know your sister
better than I do, Miss Nell.

But if I had anything
to say about it...

You're quite right. I do
know my sister better

than anyone knows
her, Mr. Sievers.

And this thing you have
done to her is very apparent.

Done to her?

She was with
you here last night.

I know it.

Well, she was here when
I got back from Dodge.

I don't know how you've
influenced her to this extent,

but it was not my little
sister talking to you tonight.

It was a person you've
made her, Mr. Sievers.

Miss Nell, aren't you putting
kind of an odd light on things?

Miss Leah's what you've
made of her, I guess.

I'm not interested
in your impudence.

I ask you to face up to things

as the man you're
supposed to be.

You have encouraged
Leah is some base way.

I ask you to admit it.

I haven't done a thing.

I think she's honest
enough to tell you that.

Casting doubt on her honesty

is less than
admirable, Mr. Sievers.

Miss Nell, I've told Miss
Leah and I'll tell you.

There was only one
woman for me ever, my wife.

I have no doubt your
grief has twisted you.

I'm not trying to understand
your motives, Mr. Sievers.

I have simply seen the results.

You have harmed
my sister irreparably.

And I must meet
my task with courage.

Miss Nell...

you're not gonna use that.

Everyone will
understand the right of it.

I'm not afraid.


Wouldn't you be more
comfortable sitting down, dear?


Shouldn't take the marshal long.

How can you be so calm?

Don't you know what you've done?

When you've
done the right thing,

you know a wonderful
peace of mind.

I loved him, Nell.

I'm sure he made
you think so, dear.

He was shot from
awfully close up.

I believe he tried to take
the gun from me, Marshal.

Are you saying he was killed
in the struggle for the gun?

Oh, indeed not.

The moment he
lunged at me, I shot him.

Twice, I believe.

Why did you kill him?

Why, he was encouraging
my sister, Marshal.

Enticing her to
run away with him.

I'm all Leah's got.
I've got to protect her.

Look at me, Nell.

You know better.

Pete didn't encourage
me a nickel's worth.

I threw myself at him, and
he wanted no part of me.

You can see for
yourself, Marshal.

He's still got her believing it.

I can't blame the child.

There was a time when I
almost fell prey to him myself.

Had it not been for
my great strength.

I loved him, Marshal.

I loved him.

You'll have to come
with me, ma'am.

Oh, yes, I rather expected to.

I've packed a few
things. I'll go fetch them.

What will happen
to her, Marshal?

Well, I don't know.

There'll be a trial and all.

But the way she's
twisted things...

I think she believes
what she told you.

I think she does, too.

See, sometimes people can
get right and wrong confused.

I think the judge will find
that your sister is sick.

I don't know what
will happen to me.

I always wanted to be free...

and now I am,

it's kind of frightening.

Well, you know, being free
can take some getting used to.

But I think once you do,

you'll probably
find you like it.

I'm ready, Marshal.



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