Gunsmoke (1955) s02e16 Episode Script

The Cover Up

Gunsmoke.
Starring James Arness as Matt Dillon.
You know, I've heard it said that the worse a man treats a woman, the more she loves him.
Well, I don't know much about women, but I do know something about horses.
And I can tell you that if you treat a horse bad, he's not gonna come very fast when you whistle.
Of course, I could be wrong about it.
I know I was one time, and it nearly cost me my job.
Matt Dillon.
U.
S.
marshal.
What in the world's Erik Hoffer doing with that old horse pistol? I don't know.
Stuck in his belt like that, it looks real farmer's style, don't it? You know, sometimes those old horse pistols go off.
Why don't you mosey on over there and see what he's doing, huh? Yeah, well, I reckon somebody better.
Well, would you look at that? Hey, get going, will you? Yeah.
Good morning.
Morning.
Morning.
Well- Well, I'll see you later.
Well, how do you like the outfit? Well, it's fine.
That's just fine.
But I never saw you wearing a riding skirt before.
You've been riding sidesaddle? For the first time in my life.
Well, sit down.
I'd love to.
Well, at least I'll know how to do it now.
In case I'm ever called on to be a lady.
I know ladies who don't always ride sidesaddle.
Like that wildcat down in the panhandle you were telling me about.
What was her name? Battlestar.
Oh, some lady.
Well, everybody always treats her like one.
Of course, uh, sometimes she has to use a six-gun to make them do it.
Hm.
Maybe I ought to try that.
Takes more than a six-gun to make a lady, Kitty.
That's a fine way of putting it.
Now, there's somebody that tried too hard to be one.
Who, Mrs.
Baxton? Oh, I'm not saying Mrs.
Baxton isn't a lady, but look what it's cost her? What do you mean? Well, I- Well, I've known Sara Baxton a long time, Matt.
Uh, we used to work together up at the Oasis in Abilene.
Yeah? Well, I never knew that.
She was a lot prettier then, before she married Sam.
I've heard he treats her pretty rough.
Rough? She's 30 and looks 40.
He did that to her.
Guess she'd have been better off in Abilene, huh? Nobody treated her so gentle in Abilene, Matt.
Well, what do you mean then? Well, she loves Sam Baxton.
I guess that's what makes the difference to her.
How could she love him? He's nothing but a land-hungry rancher.
He thinks more of his cattle than he does of her.
Well, there's never an answer to that question.
She does.
Don't try to figure out why any woman loves, Matt.
I'd go crazy if I did.
What, are you leaving? I'm just going to go to say hello to Sara.
Oh.
She's waiting for Baxton, Matt.
And he's probably down at the Long Branch not caring what she does.
Well, I wouldn't be surprised about that.
You might go tell him.
Me? O-oh no, Kitty.
That's one thing I never do, is mix in family matters.
Well, I didn't mean to run him out with a gun.
Well, I-I know.
But I couldn't do that anyway.
I-it's just a bad policy in my job.
Well, he'll probably be in there sloppin' in up all day.
Mr.
Dillon! Hey, does Chester want you? Mr.
Dillon! Yeah, I better go see what he wants.
Matt, if Baxton is in there- No dice, Kitty.
You better do something, Mr.
Dillon.
There's gonna be trouble, sure.
You mean Hoffer? Well, you know that neighbor of his, Zack Ritter? Yeah? Well, he says he's gonna kill him.
Well, is Ritter in there? Well, no, he ain't yet, but you better jail Hoffer before he gets here.
He's telling it to Sam Baxton now.
I'll just listen in.
Yes, sir.
I'm giving you fair notice.
All you molly grubs.
If Zack Ritter gets here, you're going to see his blood all over the place.
What you got against Ritter, anyway? I'll tell you what, Baxton.
He started running cattle, that's what.
So? So his cattle are in my corn, eating it.
This is growing land, not grazing land.
Man's got no right to run cattle on it.
Man's got no right to run cattle or grow corn on land that don't belong to him.
What are you trying to say? Just that everything between the south fork of Buckner Creek in the Arkansas is my land, all 10,000 acres of it.
That's a powerful lot of land for one man.
Depends on the man.
Does it? How many head of cattle is Ritter running? Ten or twelve.
Enough to ruin my corn.
Well, I'm running over 2000 in my south range.
I'm taking delivery of another 1000 next week.
I'll be ranging close to you, Hoffer.
They might just run right over you.
Then I'll kill you too if I have to.
Well, marshal.
I suppose you're a friend of his.
Doesn't matter one way or the other.
Oh, yes it does.
Because if you are, I'm just as liable to take to mind to shoot you too.
You're not gonna shoot anybody, Hoffer.
Now, give me the gun.
Come on, I said give it to me.
Zack Ritter, Mr.
Dillon.
Oh, are you hurt bad, Mr.
Dillon? Oh, it's all right.
Here, get him out of here.
Take him over and lock him up.
What about your arm? Doc won't be back till tonight.
I'll take care of it then.
Go on.
All right, let's go, Hoffer.
The devil got into him.
Where do they bottle the devil around here? You want to proffer chargers against him? Attempted murder? No, marshal.
He has a farm to work.
You're a pretty forgiving man.
But seeing as you're not wearing a gun, maybe you'd be a little safer if I kept him locked up for a few days.
Well, it's against my beliefs to carry a gun.
Well, what if I hadn't been here just now? You were here.
All right, what about next time? I can't be everywhere at once, you know.
God will provide.
I hope so, Ritter.
I certainly hope so.
You should have been taken care of before now.
Well, you've been out in the country all day.
Well, I can't sit around neglecting other patients, waiting for you to get shot.
Might make more money that way.
The only way I can make any more money around here is to have your job.
And you wouldn't get rich that way, either.
Hey, Chester, go get Hoffer, will you? Oh, yes.
I want you to wash this, now.
Well, it looks clean as rain to me.
I don't know.
You never can tell about a thing like this though.
It can get infected overnight.
I don't see how it can get infected after all that turpentine you poured in there.
Hurt you, didn't it? You know, one of these days, I might get a chance to work on you.
No, no, sir.
No, I couldn't stand that.
I-I'd sooner die.
Out on the prairie in the snow.
All alone, bleeding to death in the snow.
Nobody around to bury me- Now, how did you get out in the snow, anyway? Hm? Oh, I hate snow.
Here he is, Mr.
Dillon.
Hoffer? I'm going to turn you loose providing you go straight home.
How come? Because Zack Ritter won't proffer charges against you.
He says you got a farm to work.
Some farm I'll have if he don't fence-in his cattle.
You ever try fencing-in your corn? I find that barbed wire is a lot cheaper than gunpowder in the long run.
Now, don't preach to me, marshal.
Look, you try using this again, and I'm not gonna wait for somebody to proffer charges against you.
Ah.
Marshal.
Marshal Dillon.
Oh, Bates.
Well, he's, uh- Mr.
Dillon? What is it? There's been a killing.
What? Zack Ritter.
He got bushwhacked.
His place ain't far from mine, you know.
I was riding by there and I heard his dog howling, so I rode up and there he was, laying dead on the ground.
It was terrible, marshal.
Him laying there, murdered.
Terrible.
You've got any idea who did it? Well, if I did have I wouldn't say.
I don't wanna die like that.
You know Erik Hoffer? All right, better go bury Ritter and then we'll pick up Hoffer.
Don't tell him I said nothing.
Don't tell him I found Ritter.
You got nothing to worry about.
We'll have Hoffer locked up by sundown.
Well, it looks like that Hoffer pulled out in an awful hurry.
Yeah.
Left the fire burning.
Didn't even bother to shut the door.
Well, he won't get far.
Come on.
Well, I'll be.
Just like Zack Ritter.
He's still breathing.
Marshal.
Take it easy, Hoffer.
Buckshot.
I opened the door, took the whole load of it.
Did you see who did it to you? Sam Baxton.
Baxton? You sure about that? Saw him plain, waitin' out there for me to come out.
How about Zack Ritter? Did you kill him? Zack Ritter? Dead? This morning.
Hm.
Hm.
Both of us dead.
I don't wanna die, marshal.
It's a wonder he stayed alive that long.
Well, I just can't believe that Sam Baxton did it.
And both of those men were nesters, Chester, squatting on his land.
Well, still and all.
Come on, we've got some burying to do.
Then we'll see about Mr.
Baxton.
Marshal? Chester.
I heard you coming, I saw ya.
Hello, Mrs.
Baxton.
How do you do, ma'am? Well, come on in, don't stand around out here.
Uh, no, thanks.
We don't want to bother you.
Oh, come on in and sit a while.
I just cooked up a fresh pot of coffee.
Well, thanks anyway, but we really don't have the time.
I, uh, would like to talk to your husband if I could.
Oh, well, he was down at the corral.
I yelled at him when I saw you were coming.
Oh, well, thanks.
We'll find him.
Sam? Hello, Baxton.
What are you doing here, marshal? Why, Sam, that's no way to- Shut up, woman.
Please don't talk that way.
Would you rather get whipped? I said, what are you doing here, marshal? I heard you.
Then say it out.
I got work to do.
Erik Hoffer and Zack Ritter were killed.
Oh no.
Good.
They're dirty nesters.
They both died the same way.
What do I care how they died? As long as they're dead.
I'm gonna tell you anyway.
Each of them was killed when he stepped out of his cabin early this morning by a rider waiting outside with a shotgun.
How do you know? You weren't there.
Hoffer was still alive.
He didn't live long but before he died he told me who shot him.
Did he? And who is that, marshal? You.
Oh, no, marshal.
Not Sam.
I'm sorry, ma'am, but that's what he said.
Chester here can tell you that.
That's true, ma'am.
That's what he said.
I'm gonna have to arrest you, Baxton.
On the word of a dead sodbuster? Who'd believe it? The court will decide that.
Don't be a fool, marshal.
Hoffer knew he was dying.
It was his last chance to get me into trouble.
And he wanted that.
He even threatened my life, you head him yourself.
You'll get a trial.
You can defend yourself then.
Right now I'm charging you with both murders.
But, marshal.
Zack Ritter was dead already.
He couldn't have told you anything.
Well, ma'am, both men were killed exactly the same way.
Must've been the same man.
They weren't the only nesters squatting on my land.
There's Jim Fowler and Jed Bates up on Ginger Creek.
If I was out to eliminate sodbusters, maybe you'll explain to me why I haven't rid of them too.
Maybe I just didn't give you enough time, Baxton.
You're going too far, marshal.
When we get this little business cleared up, you're gonna wish you'd never come near me.
Come on, let's get in to Dodge.
Wait, marshal.
It wasn't Sam.
He didn't do it.
He hasn't been off the place since we was in Dodge.
I-I've been right here with him, I swear it.
It's the God's truth, marshal.
I'm sorry, Mrs.
Baxton.
You'd take the word of a man who hates him over the word of a woman who loves him? I'll handle this my own way, Sara.
You stay out of it.
Now, don't go running into Dodge talking your head off.
Just stay here and take care of things.
That'll give you plenty to do.
Yeah, Sam.
That'll give me plenty to do.
Mr.
Dillon, you're going over to talk to Sam Baxton some more? Oh, I don't think so, Chester.
I've talked to him enough already, he's not going to confess.
Well, he's going to hang anyway.
Ain't going to be any tears shed around here when he does.
What about Mrs.
Baxton, Chester? Well, I wasn't thinking of her.
Mr.
Dillon, ain't that Jed Bates? Wonder what in the world he thinks he's doing.
I don't know.
Looks like he's pulling out.
That wagon's plum loaded.
Yeah, without even saying goodbye.
Where you headed, Bates? I'm going hunting for new country.
Something wrong? I'm quittin' while I'm still alive.
Was somebody after you or something? They will be.
They shot Jim Fowler.
Jim Fowler? Up on Ginger Creek.
Right near me.
I found him early this morning.
I buried him.
Went home, packed my things and I'm leaving.
What happened, Bates? He was laying in the door of his cabin.
Just woke up.
He was tore plum in two with a shotgun.
Ain't that enough? Giddyup.
Mr.
Dillon, he was killed just like Ritter and Hoffer and- And Baxton was in jail.
Yeah, I don't have much to hold him on now.
Well, I guess he was telling the truth after all.
Sure looks that way.
You going to turn him loose? Yeah, I guess I'll have to.
Oh, hello, Mrs.
Baxton.
How do you do, marshal? What are you doing here? Waitin' for you.
It was too bad about Jim Fowler being killed.
Well, news gets around fast.
One of our cowboys was up on Ginger Creek, and he rode by there this morning and saw him.
Then he rode straight to the ranch and told me about it.
I see.
He said it happened the same way, marshal.
Early, when Jim Fowler first came out of his cabin.
That's right.
Well, I've come to take Sam home, marshal.
Well, it looks like that he's innocent, ma'am, because he was here in jail when Fowler was killed.
Would you let Sam out now, marshal? I'd like to get started for home.
I'm sorry, Mrs.
Baxton, but, I'm going to have to hold your husband a while yet.
What? Mr.
Dillon, you said out there in the street that y- I said that he hasn't cleared himself of this yet, Chester.
Guess you didn't hear me so well.
Well, no.
I guess I didn't.
I'm sorry, Mrs.
Baxton.
I can't turn your husband loose because the last killing might be a coincidence.
But I'm gonna find out about it and if he's innocent, I'll turn him back to you right away.
Well, you gotta do your duty, marshal.
You've gotta do what you think is right.
Could I see Sam before I start back? He's right in there.
Uh, right through here, Mrs.
Baxton.
He's in the last cell.
Mr.
Dillon, I could've sworn that out there- Chester, go saddle us a couple of horses, will you? What? And get one for Baxton too.
As soon as she leaves, we're riding out of here.
You think that the damn blankets are really gonna fool anybody into thinking that Bates is still here? Well, I don't know, Chester.
When I get through, I'm gonna hang it up here behind the door in the shadows.
From outside, it should look like him.
Well, yeah, I guess it might.
If you don't get too much light on it.
Sleep well, Baxton? I'd rather have spent the night in jail.
Why? Jed Bates has a pretty nice little place here.
Well, he improved it some by clearing out.
Chester, be sure and put plenty of green wood on that fire.
I want it to smoke up so that anybody waiting outside would be sure to see it.
Yeah, well, that's what I did.
You want me to get it lit now? Yeah, go ahead.
Baxton, don't stand there where you can be seen, get away from there.
Well, if anybody's outside, they sure ought to think Jed Bates is up and stirring about.
Ah, we'll give them another minute or two.
Say, marshal.
If there really is a bushwhacker out there, it'll sure enough prove I didn't kill nobody, won't it? I thought I told you to get away from that window.
Now, go on.
You want me to work the dummy or yank the door open? You work the dummy.
As soon as I hear a couple of shotgun blasts, I'm gonna step out there and try to take him alive.
Give me that gun.
I got him! I got him twice.
I was only trying to help.
I got him, didn't I, marshal? I guess that puts me- Oh, no.
Oh, no.
I didn't know who it was.
I couldn't see.
How would I know she was going around killing people? The only person she killed was Jim Fowler.
I never knew she hated nesters that bad.
It's kind of hard to believe, marshal.
Yeah.
Guess you can't tell about a woman.
I can tell you about that woman, Baxton.
Huh? She didn't kill Jim Fowler because she hated him.
She killed him because she loved you.
What? She was trying to cover up for you.
Why, I guess this proves I didn't kill Ritter and Hoffer, don't it? Baxton, the biggest mistake you ever made was killing her.
I tell you, I didn't know who it was.
You knew.
But what you didn't know was that she would have confessed to killing Hoffer and Ritter also.
She loved you that much.
Got it all figured out, haven't you? Yeah.
Except for one thing.
How could she have loved a man like you?