Gunsmoke (1955) s02e25 Episode Script

Bureaucrat

ANNOUNCER: Starring James Arness as Matt Dillon.
Trying to enforce the law in a town as wild and unshod as Dodge City is no job for a man who'd like to ease out his days sitting in the sun counting his grandchildren.
You just don't get that far.
But you run the town anyway.
Any way you can.
There aren't any rules out here to being a peace officer.
You make them up as you go along.
And usually you do pretty well until a man comes along who has different ideas and to whom you have to listen.
Matt Dillon.
US Marshal.
Well, I never read such nonsense.
That's just plumb crazy, Mr.
Dillon.
Well, I don't know, Chester.
That's the United States War Department in Washington DC.
They're not usually given to nonsense.
But sending a man out here to check up on you is an insult is what it is.
That "bad reports" on Dodge.
What does he know? Well, of course, Dodge isn't exactly the most peaceful community in the United States.
Well, I don't like it, Mr.
Dillon.
I just don't like any part of it.
This- This telegram here gives this Rex Propter say-so over you.
Well, that man's my superior, Chester.
They wouldn't be sending him out here if they didn't figure he knew what he was doing, would they? But what I want to know is, what does somebody from Washington know about the frontiers.
That's the point.
No, sir, Mr.
Dillon, you'll be making a big mistake if you even let him off the train tomorrow.
Ah, Chester.
You've been in the army, haven't you? You know how those things go.
Yeah, that's just the point.
You're judging a man you haven't even seen.
Well, I don't have to see him.
He'll be wearing a beaver hat and a starched-collar shirt and he probably takes a bath every single day.
Well, in that case I think we ought to go over to the Dodge House and get him a room.
Wouldn't hardly do for him to go bathing in a river, would it? Well, it wouldn't hurt him.
Especially if he was to drown.
Trail hands.
Must be a new herd in.
Two months on a trail without drink they're gonna be shooting for the moon.
Well, I can't say as I blame them, Chester.
As long as they don't hit it.
Hello, Marshal.
Whoa.
This here is Marshal Dillon.
Just come in on the Santa Fe.
Name's Propter and he- I'm perfectly capable of stating my own business, driver.
I suppose you are, mister.
Just trying to help out.
That's all right, Husk.
Thanks.
Don't give it any thought, marshal.
Giddy up.
How do you do, Mr.
Propter? We didn't expect you till tomorrow.
That's the idea, marshal.
I don't like to have my inspections anticipated.
I see.
That's Chester Goode, here.
Goode? Don't think I was informed about him.
Oh, yeah.
Well, uh Well- Well, you'll be wanting a place to stay and the Dodge House is the best hotel in town.
No, thanks, marshal.
I'll just inspect the jail facilities first and I would like to wash up a bit.
Figured you would.
All right, I can pick you up later.
Show you the town.
We may as well understand each other from the beginning.
I prefer to look over the town alone.
That way I can form an unbiased opinion of the situation here.
All right.
I may as well tell you we've had some pretty rough reports about Dodge City.
Yeah, I suppose they all tell you what a rough town Dodge is, huh? Well, there's nothing personal involved here.
It's just the government wants to make the frontier safe.
Safe for everybody.
Reports in Washington have it that Dodge hasn't exactly achieved that status.
Oh, for goodness' sake.
Chester.
Now, Mr.
Propter, just between you and me.
Washington is right.
Humph.
These arrest sheets aren't even arranged according to date of entry.
Well, now.
We may not have the sheets arranged just right but we don't have any trouble finding them.
Really, Marshal.
A man in your position ought to understand the importance of organization.
Now, I've been here, what, two hours.
I can't make heads or tails of this mess.
Well, Mr.
Propter, I-I keep them records and I don't have no trouble making heads or tails of them.
I see.
But what if there's a fire? Where are the duplicates? Well, Mr.
Propter.
If we had a fire I'm afraid we'd need more than just duplicates.
Yes, but it does make sense though, doesn't it, marshal? Yeah, I guess it does.
You can't keep the peace in Dodge on paper.
If you could there wouldn't be no need for a man like Mr.
Dillon.
That's an interesting point of view.
I'll remember it.
Well, forever more.
Did you ever? I'm- Chester, Chester.
Now, there's no use getting all riled up.
He's just doing his job.
Well, I never seen such a persnickety feller in all my life.
He's a troublemaker, Mr.
Dillon.
That's what he is.
A troublemaker.
I'll tell you one thing for certain, Chester.
Oh? If he's a troublemaker, he's come to the right place.
Mr.
Stroud, are going to pay us off in Dodge? Yeah, you young ones is all alike.
You ride through rain and hot sun for 800 miles, nursing 3000 head of stubborn cows and all you can think of is throwing your earnings away.
Oh.
How's that, Ben? You'd think we drove the last cow that ever made it to Dodge.
Mr.
Stroud, me and Ben have been figuring to make this trip regular.
Don't we, Ben? Regular.
And as often as the traffic will allow.
Oh.
Oh.
I don't know whether it's safe to turn you two wildcats loose on civilized folks.
Ah, do you think there's enough whiskey in Dodge to wash this trail dirt out of your throat, Ben? More than enough, from what I hear.
My father told me you can get beer that's ice-cold.
Is that a pure fact, Mr.
Stroud? It is.
But if I was you I wouldn't figure to go out and to prod.
Mr.
Stroud, there ain't nothing you don't know about trail driving and cattle.
When it comes to that, I'll listen every time.
But when it comes to fun I'm a ring-tailed bearcat and I got ideas of my own.
I know.
But Dodge ain't no wide place on the Santa Fe trail.
It's a town.
If get out of line you can wind up in jail.
Howdy, boys.
I'm Matt Dillon.
I'm the marshal over in Dodge City.
I've heard about you, marshal.
My name's Will Stroud.
Trail boss to the TR outfit.
How do you do? Just want to tell you boys, you're all welcome to come on in to Dodge and makes yourselves at home.
As long as you keep it within reason.
Now, marshal.
You don't look like the stuffy kind to me.
Does he, Ben? Sure not.
Well, I didn't mean to make it sound as though we play for matches over there.
We've been good to doggies for so long we've kind of got an urge to have somebody treat us to a little kindness.
Ain't that the truth, Ben? Yeah, maybe somebody on the female side.
Yeah.
Well, now, boys.
You'll find plenty of ladies who'll take real kindly to you in Dodge but, uh, just don't forget they're ladies, huh? Boot Hill's a little crowded with boys who figured different.
We ain't aiming to make any trouble, marshal.
Well, I'm not saying that you are, Mr.
Stroud.
I, uh- I just make it a practice to come on out and talk to all of the trail hands before they hit town.
Kind of saves trouble all the way around.
They ain't no different than any other trail hands, marshal.
Maybe a might younger, more foolish.
I'll see they stay in line.
I'm sure you will.
I'll be over at the Long Branch tonight.
Serves the best beer in town.
Come on in and I'll buy you the first drink.
Make mine a whiskey, marshal.
Ha, ha, ha.
Yee.
Seems to me, Marshal Dillon spends a good deal of time away from his office.
Yeah.
Well, not much trouble we have in Dodge happens in this office.
And that'll be him.
He walks heavy, don't he? Hope he's not going to trod on me.
Mr.
Propter.
Chester.
Mr.
Dillon.
Marshal, I'll come to the point.
I've looked Dodge over pretty carefully.
Pretty quiet out there today, so far.
You mean, you're expecting trouble? Nothing out of the ordinary.
And just, uh, what is the ordinary.
Guess you didn't get out to Boot Hill yet, did you? Oh, but I've heard of it.
It's got a growing population.
That doesn't seem to bother you much, marshal.
It has.
I've accounted for my share of those graves.
So I understand.
That's one of the things that's wrong in this town.
Oh? Doesn't need to be any shooting here.
I can't understand why you run Dodge the way you do, marshal.
How do you mean? Well, for one thing, there's no deadline.
Your riffraff should be restricted to one part of town where they won't endanger the lives of respectable people.
There was a deadline here when I came.
I took it off.
May I ask why? Yeah, I'll tell you why.
Because most of those riffraff you're talking about aren't bad people.
Most of them are honest cowboys, buffalo hunters or sod busters in town on a spree.
And they don't like to be reminded that they're not respectable.
They don't need any deadline.
They know where it is.
Well, we'll see about that later.
But right now I'd like to know why it is that I haven't seen a man in Dodge City who isn't wearing a gun.
Because it's an old habit they've gotten into.
You know what I'm getting at, marshal.
Yeah.
Yes, I'm afraid I do.
You want them to check their guns.
Check their guns? Well, that's the craziest- If you don't mind.
Mr.
Propter.
If men want to fight.
They're going to fight.
And if I make them check their guns they're going to think I'm afraid of them.
And that's going to be the end of law and order in Dodge.
It'll be the beginning of a stronger law.
I've made arrangements to have these posters printed up.
They state clearly that's it's illegal for a man to carry a gun in Dodge City.
I want those posters put up before sundown.
What, are you going to do that, Mr.
Dillon? Yeah.
Chester, I am.
Why? It's the only way I can teach Mr.
Propter a lesson.
Ah, hello, Husk.
I don't remember when I fired this last, marshal, but I'll still feel naked without it.
Well, you'll get it back all right.
Let's move on, now.
Big crowd out there.
And not one of them is in any hurry to get this done.
Well, I am.
Come on.
Let's move along.
Hello, boys.
Cold beer they got but that's all.
Where's all the action? You want action? You'll get it if you ram me again.
I was talking to my friend, mister.
You're not the most popular man in Dodge tonight, Matt.
Well, I don't recall that I ever was, Kitty.
People are saying you're getting to be an old maid.
Yeah.
All because of that idiot Propter.
Staring at everybody like they were freaks.
Well, he's just trying to do his job, Kitty.
The only trouble is, he doesn't know how.
This isn't like you, Matt.
Do you have to do what he tells you? Well, I'll admit I've never run a town any way except on my own terms, yet.
Why start now? You just ought to quit and let Mr.
Know-it-all handle it.
Well, I've never run from a fight and it's Mr.
Propter there I'm fighting.
The only way I know how.
Well, maybe you're right.
If you left now things would probably be worse than they ever were.
Let's get out of here, Ben.
Hey, where's the best place in town? This is the best place in town, mister.
He says this is the best place in town, Charlie.
Yeah, well, I'm leaving.
Oh, all right, I told you.
Now, that's it.
Hold it, mister.
Stop right there.
All right, now, drop the gun.
Drop it, Charlie.
The boy is drunk, marshal.
Yeah.
And he also killed a man.
An unarmed man.
Chester, he's under arrest.
Take him.
Yes, sir.
All right, feller.
Let's go.
It's just a short piece down the street.
I don't like to see that, marshal.
Neither do I.
You all heard.
You all saw.
The big man started it.
Charlie didn't know he wasn't armed.
He hadn't heard about the new rule against carrying a gun.
Well, it's a good defense, Stroud.
But he did know.
He had his gun hidden.
All right, I tried.
But I've seen this in other towns.
You can't disarm men, marshal, it won't work.
You better do something about it and fast.
Got yourself another man for Boot Hill, marshal.
Did you hear what he just said? I heard him.
All right, then we'll count this man as yours.
Think about it.
Hello, Doc.
Good morning, Matt.
A little early for you, ain't it? Yeah.
You got another cup of that stuff? Well, you bet your luck.
Here you are.
You're looking a little tired this morning.
Golly, I am tired.
I've been up this whole night.
Just got in.
Sarah Doldger.
Oh.
Yeah, her seventh.
Spindly little old woman like that.
Seven kids.
All girls too.
Sheesh.
Hey, you don't look too good, either.
No, I don't exactly feel full of cheer, I'll tell you that.
What the matter? Propter? Yeah.
You know that killing last night didn't even seem to bother him.
Well, some folks are just slow to learn.
Set in their ways, you know.
Like Sarah Doldger.
Now, she just had her heart set on a boy.
Some darn fool woman, a neighbor, I guess, told her that if she worked hard, right up to the last minute, that's the way it'd happen.
Well, she did.
It brought her time on too soon and she blame near died.
Had another girl too.
Oh, no.
Yeah, well, some folks just don't learn at all.
Well, I'll tell you one thing, Doc.
That Propter is going to have to learn sooner or later.
Well, I admire the way you're trying.
The way people are talking.
How you're buckling under to him, it makes you look pretty foolish in their eyes.
Yeah.
Well, they don't work for the government, Doc.
I do.
That's what I've told them.
I've said a man with a job like yours has to take the good and the bad.
Eh, to a point, I guess.
What do you mean, "up to a point"? Well, things might get so bad around here I'd have to quit.
Ho, ho.
Now, wait a minute.
Things ain't going to get so bad in Dodge that you- Well, I'm beginning to think more of Chester's potential.
He said you'd be here.
What's the matter now, Mr.
Propter? Oh, nothing much, marshal.
Not a thing.
Except there's a man in Long Branch who's wearing a gun on his belt.
Well, it's probably somebody who didn't see the posters.
I told him the new rule.
He just laughed at me.
He said to send you in.
He said you knew him.
What's his name? Fane.
Nick Fane.
What's the matter? Is he a special friend of yours? I don't have any special friends, Mr.
Propter.
Nick Fane's a gunman.
Does that mean you're afraid of him? There's only one thing I'm afraid of right now and that's myself.
Propter? What do you got under that beaver hat you're wearing? Another beaver? Hold on a minute, marshal.
I don't think I like your attitude.
Mr.
Propter, you shouldn't be trying to enforce the law around here.
I have that authority.
On paper, maybe, yes.
But I'm telling you for your own good.
You can get hurt.
Hello, Fane.
Hello, marshal.
Fane, we got a new rule about carrying guns.
Yeah, I know.
Saw the posters.
Then why are you wearing one? Shut up.
Stay out of this, Propter.
Now, listen, marsh- I said, shut up.
Have I ever caused any trouble in Dodge, marshal? No, you never have.
And I don't intend to.
As long as you keep running this town the way you have.
You see, mister.
A man like me makes a lot of enemies.
Every gun-crazy kid looking for a ready-made reputation's after me.
No, marshal.
If I take off my gun I- I won't live very long.
No, Fane, I don't think you would.
So I'm not taking it off.
Not even if it means drawing against you.
Is it going to come to that? No.
I'm going to make an exception.
So you are afraid of him.
Don't be stupid, mister.
He's no more afraid of me than I am of him.
There can be no exceptions, marshal.
You break the rule for him you have to break it for everyone.
It's a bad rule, can't you see that? We've been over all that.
Are you going to take this man's gun from him? Nope.
Then I'm sending a telegram to Washington.
We need a new marshal in Dodge City.
I say a man's gun is just as much a part of him as his horse.
Or the air he breathes.
Ain't a man among you that doesn't feel he's been put upon by the marshal.
Your treeing' the wrong cat, mister.
Mr.
Fancy-Pants-Propter is behind all this.
Propter? Yeah, and I'm getting as tired as I can be.
You talking about Mr.
Dillon like that.
If you've got any complaints, take them to that Mr.
Propter.
Well, now.
That kind of puts a different light on things.
Running him out of town shouldn't be too hard.
Could be a little tar under them nice clean fingernails of his would do the trick.
Where are you going? My old woman's got a couple of good down pillows.
You can't just feather a big man like Propter with just plain o'' chicken plucking.
Come on.
There's a night train going east.
You going to be on it.
Of course you won't be dressed so pretty but you'll be on it.
All right, get it over with.
Later, I'll look you all up personally.
Mr.
Dillon? You better come quick.
What's the matter? Well, they go this Mr.
Propter out in front of the Dodge House.
They're going to tar and feather him.
All right, hold on here, boys.
Just a minute.
Stroud, I hate to spoil your fun.
You ain't going to spoil it, marshal.
All right, boys, now, break it up and go on back home.
We're going to forget about this whole thing.
No we won't.
We've got no argument against you, marshal.
We know the story now.
Get rid of this meddler here and things will be all right again.
A little hot tar ain't going to hurt him.
Nobody's going to get tarred and feathered tonight.
You can't stop us, marshal.
You heard me, boys.
I said, get out of here and get on home.
See what I mean? They ain't about to move.
What are you going to do, marshal? Shoot us? If I have to.
You're forgetting something.
The little signs you put up, marshal.
There ain't a man here who's got a gun on him.
You ain't going to shoot no unarmed man.
And you can't take us no other way.
There's too many of us.
My God, he's right, Mr.
Dillon.
I sure am.
Let's get on with the party.
All right, hold it.
You're pretty smart, Stroud.
All right, you win.
What? Chester? Yeah? Go over and tear down every one of those signs.
I'll do that, gladly.
All right, boys.
Come on over and pick up your guns.
Yoo-hoo.
Yippee.
No hard feelings, marshal? No.
No hard feelings.
You're a man I'd like to know better.
When you make them reports to Washington.
Tell them we got our own ways.
They work for us.
Well, Mr.
Propter.
Go ahead and say it.
You've never been at a loss for words before.
I know when to keep quiet, Mr.
Marshal.
I'm sorry for the way those people treated you.
By and large they're not bad people.
Hey, you don't scare too easy.
A man tries to face things as they come.
You know that you've got nothing to be ashamed of.
You acted like a man.
Thank you, marshal.
Coming from you that's a compliment.
Coming from me? I'd like to shake your hand.
I've learned a lesson here than I'm never going to forget.
I'm going to include it in my report to Washington.
Well, that's mighty good to hear.
Just to prove I have learned it well I'm not even going to bother you with a copy.
Thanks.
Well, now maybe you'll let me show you around the town, huh? That would be just fine.