Gunsmoke (1955) s04e05 Episode Script

Letter of the Law

starring James Arness as Matt Dillon.
Hi, Kitty.
Well, how was he riding this morning? Oh, just fine, real fine.
Of course, you're not gonna make much money riding him all over the prairie.
We didn't ride all over the prairie; we just went up the river a few miles.
Well, that's real good for you, Kitty.
You ought to do that more often.
Well, I'm going to.
You can come along anytime you want to.
That is, if you don't mind my stopping to do a little fishing by the river.
Not at all.
How about next Saturday? All right, fine.
Say, I'm gonna stop off at Doc's.
You want to say hello to him? Gee, I'd love to, Matt, but I got to get out of these clothes and get back to work.
Tell him I said hi, though, will you? All right, Kitty.
I'll see you later.
Yes, sir.
Well, my carbolic a Well, where's my carbolic acid? That's what I need.
The car must be in here.
Oh, come in, Matt, come in.
Morning, Doc.
How are you? I'm fine.
Fine, if I can get this box open.
What you can't get a hammer in Ooh! Ulysses S.
Grant! Hey, a little thing like that just hurts something What you got there, anyway? Well, I've got carbolic acid in here, if I can ever get to it without killing myself.
I'll get you open this time.
Well Here we Eh Seidlitz powd Seidlitz powders? Where's my car? Well, it says "carbolic acid" right there.
Yep, sure does.
Well, what in thunderation? is enough to cure every bellyache from here to the Rocky Mountains! What's the matter with those dunderheads back there? Doc, you better slow down.
Well, look at it, just look.
And now I've got to crate that all back up, pack it all up and take it to the depot and What's the worst part of it is, what am I gonna use for disinfectant? Well, you could always try some of that whiskey they sell around town.
Oh, yeah, sure.
One drop of that on a man's sore toe, it'd eat his leg off clear up to his belt buckle.
You ought to know; you drink enough of it.
What was that? I said you drink your share.
Well that's true.
That is true.
On occasion, I have been known to stoop to the temptation.
And that must be what's wrong with me.
What's the matter? What do you mean? Well, it's probably eating my brains out.
Otherwise, I'd have sense enough to get out of this flea-bitten town and get back where Mr.
Dillon, this is marked "official business.
" I thought maybe it might be important to you.
back where practicing medicine is something besides - Hmmpicking bullets out of people and getting How are you, Doc? - Huh? - How are you? I'm just terrible, if you really want to know.
Did I hear you say you was gonna pack up and leave and go back east? By golly, I'm just gonna do it.
I just probably will do it and leave you all right here to stew in your own juice.
Get back where, when you order something, you don't get a half a dozen cases of stuff What's the matter there, Matt? Is it important? Yeah, looks that way.
It's from Judge Rambeau over in Wichita.
Homesteader case, court order for eviction.
- Oh? - What homesteader's that, Mr.
Dillon? Brandon Teek.
Seems like he didn't file legally for that land of his over by Wagon Mound.
Brandon Teek I knew him in Abilene.
I was there the day he shot it out with the two Jelder brothers; he killed both of them.
He'll fight you, Matt; he's mean.
Oh, I think he's changed some, Doc.
He's married now, trying to make a go of that farm of his.
Yeah, I'll tell you, you go out there with an eviction notice, and you just better make sure your gun's loaded.
Oh, I-I don't hardly think it'll take a gun to do the job.
Well, I wouldn't bet on it.
Well, of course, you never know.
See you later, Doc.
Marshal! Chester! How are you, Teek? Afternoon.
Can't complain.
Well, your place looks in pretty good shape.
You're doing all right out here.
It's the hardest year's work I ever put in.
What brings you out this way? Well, I guess there's no point in beating around the bush, Teek.
Here, you might as well read it yourself.
What's this? "Land office, court order.
" "lmmediate eviction.
" What's this all about, Marshal? I own this land; I got a deed to it.
Yeah, but the deed's no good, Teek.
You see, you didn't register it with the land office I'm sorry about this, but You're sorry, are you? Well, let me tell you something.
Anybody tries to put us off this land's gonna be a whole lot sorrier.
Brandon? Brandon, did you Oh, hello, Marshal Dillon.
Howdy, ma'am.
Well, how you, how you feeling, Mrs.
Teek? Oh, just fine.
It's going to be any day now.
Oh, well, that's fine.
What is it, Brandon? Oh, nothing, Sarah.
Just, uh, some fool paper that says we got no legal right to this land, that I forgot to register the deed or something.
Oh? Now, don't worry.
There isn't any law in this country that's gonna put a man off his own land he's worked and slaved over.
Well, Teek, uh, I'm afraid this is the law.
That's a court order there.
I made my own laws once, Marshal.
And I can do it again.
I ain't wore a gun since the day we got married.
Sarah made me promise.
I still got one.
I know how to use it.
No, Brandon.
Brandon didn't make this promise easy, Marshal.
And he won't go back on it.
Now, look, folks, uh don't be in a big hurry to pack up and leave here.
I Well, I'm gonna see what I can do about this immediate eviction notice.
Well, that's mighty nice of you, Marshal.
Uh, we'll we'll be back out to see you in a couple of days.
- Bye.
You think he's gonna keep that promise, Mr.
Dillon, about not wearing a gun? I sure hope so.
Judge Rambeau.
Yes? Matt Dillon.
I'm the marshal over in Dodge City.
Well I've heard a lot about you, Marshal.
Welcome to Wichita.
Thank you.
Oh, uh, this is Jim Haley, deputy sheriff here.
- How do? - How are you? How about a drink, Marshal? No, thank you.
Well, you fetch us another one, Jim.
Yes, sir.
How did you know I was in here? Well, your, uh, office told me this would be the most likely spot.
Well, now, uh, I'll have to speak to them about that.
Uh, sit down, Marshal.
Well, what brings you to Wichita? It's about that court order you sent me, Judge.
Hmm Now, let me see, uh, uh which court order is that? The one to evict a Brandon Teek off his land over by Wagon Mound.
Oh, yes, yes.
I remember that one.
He's putting up quite a fight, I suppose.
Not so far, no.
Well, he sure must have changed.
He was a wild one around here in the old days.
Well, he's changed all right, Judge.
He settled down, and he's married.
They're expecting a baby any day.
Hmm, you don't say so.
Uh, how about that bottle, Jim? Yes, sir, Judge.
Coming up right away.
Well I'm glad he didn't give you any trouble evicting him, Marshal.
Well, I haven't evicted him yet, Judge.
See, I told him, under the circumstances, I thought it would be all right to take his time in moving.
I presume by "circumstances," you mean the fact of their, uh, approaching parenthood.
Marshal this is a matter of law.
And the law leaves no room for sentiment.
What's right is right, what's legal is legal, and the two are one and the same thing; don't you agree? Not entirely, no.
Well, will you explain yourself, sir? Well, Judge, I don't think the law is quite as clear-cut as you make it out to be.
I think the people that make the laws leave a lot of leeway for people like you and me the judges that decide what the law should mean and the law officers that carry it out.
Marshal, I find it somewhat remarkable that a cow town peace officer sets himself up as a law instructor, instead of doing the job he was hired to do.
Well, that may be.
But I don't think it's any more remarkable than what you're doing to Brandon Teek.
Now, what do you mean by that? He's been on that land over a year, Judge.
He's put in a year of hard work on it.
He's built himself a house, a barn.
He's broke sod on most of it.
Now, how come this business about the deed just came up? Well, it was only recently brought to my attention.
Well, if you don't mind my asking, who by? I hardly think it's any concern of yours.
There's nothing irregular about it, if that's what you're driving at.
No, I'm sure it's legal.
Right to the letter of the law.
Then I suggest you go back to Dodge City and carry out that order, Marshal.
Judge Teek used to be a gunslinger.
Now he's trying to go straight.
If you evict him off his land, you're gonna be knocking the props right out from under him.
Don't blame me; blame the law.
That's not my kind of law.
There's only one kind, Marshal.
Judge, the law is new out here on the prairie.
It takes people a while to get used to it.
Now, you got to help 'em out sometimes.
You've got to loosen that law up a little bit keep it from choking 'em to death.
I've never listened to so much poppycock before in my life.
You better take my advice, Marshal, and stop being a sentimental fool.
Now, go back there and do your duty.
Well, Judge, how are ya? Matt Dillon! What the dickens are you doing in Wichita? Oh, hello, Lee.
Just down here on a little business.
What are you doing so far from home? Well, the same as you, business.
I've been here a week.
I see you know Judge Rambeau.
Oh, yeah.
Yeah, we just met.
Judge, you know you're talking to the best doggone lawman in the whole doggone west.
Sprague, he's come here about the Teek deal.
Oh? Now, wait a minute, Lee.
You own a lot of land down by Wagon Mound.
You the one that's behind this court eviction order against Brandon Teek? Matt, you've known me for a long time.
There's nothing illegal about this.
Oh, no.
The judge here made that clear enough.
Well, then what are you getting so all fired-up about? He refuses to evict him because the woman's gonna have a child.
Is that the reason, Matt? Part of it.
But there's a whole lot more to it than that, Lee.
I'm in the land and cattle business, Matt.
I got in it and I stayed in it by watching out for chances just like this one.
You own half of Ford County already, Lee.
You don't need that land; Teek does.
He's put in a year of his life on it.
He's just now getting started.
Look at it this way, Matt: If his wife is gonna have a baby like you say, they're better off in town somewhere away from the farm.
That's just how I lost my own wife years ago, on a dry dirt farm like this one where she had to work too hard and she didn't get the proper attention.
I see.
That's why you're doing it, is it? Just looking out for Teek's wife? I'll tell you exactly why I'm doing it.
A man never gets enough land.
It gets in his blood.
I got a chance here to get ahold of some more.
And if Teek gets caught in the squeeze through his own stupidity, that's just too bad! Mm-hmm.
Well, at least you can be honest about it.
Now I'm gonna tell you something.
Teek used to be a gunman.
This could make him one again.
That's your job, Marshal to keep gunmen in line and protect law-abiding citizens.
You know, I don't hold with the kind of law that you and the judge here seem to want, Lee, and I never will.
If I serve that notice, I couldn't face anybody again.
- Are you refusing to serve it? - I am.
You're in for trouble, Matt.
Now look here, Marshal.
That's a court order.
I can hold you in contempt.
I've got a lot of power, you know? Yes, I guess you have, Judge.
Both of you.
There's only one trouble: Neither one of you ever learned how to use it.
Dillon, that Mr.
and Mrs.
Teek, what are you gonna tell 'em? Well, I don't know.
The way it looks right now, they don't stand much of a chance against Sprague.
You know, I used to figure he was a pretty nice feller.
He ain't no better than that judge is.
It's a good thing they're not all like him, isn't it? Yeah, it sure is.
Yeah, you know, somehow to me that trip to Wichita seemed like a waste of time.
Yeah, all except for that train ride.
You know, that's something I never get tired of, riding those trains.
I could go twice a week, if I had the time and money.
You know what I'd like to do sometime? Huh? Just get on there and and-and ride all the way to Topeka.
They tell me that there's a feller up there that's built a-a restaurant right down by the station where the trains come in.
That so? Oh, yeah! That ain't all, either.
I hear tell that one of these days he's gonna have 'em all along the railroad.
You know, Mr.
Dillon, that's gonna make traveling just a pure pleasure.
What with that and them sleeping cars that they're beginning to get.
You all set? Yeah.
Golly, looks to me like them Teeks has got company, Mr.
Can't recognize him from here.
Do you know who he is? Yeah, I met him in Wichita.
His name's Haley.
Come on.
I thought you said there was no hurry about our leaving, Marshal.
I did.
It ain't up to him now.
You're a long ways from home, aren't you, Haley? How'd you get here? I took the train, and I hired me a horse in Dodge.
You know what I mean.
Judge Rambeau sent me.
Maybe he figured the law needed some enforcing down this way.
I thought maybe, uh, you was in on it, Marshal.
He's got one of these court orders, just like the one you had the other day.
And it's legal, too.
So you people pack up and start getting out of here, right now! Just hold on a minute.
Never mind, Marshal.
I'll take care of him.
Brandon, no! - Let him try it if he wants to.
- Leave him alone! - It might save us all Let go of my arm! - Sarah! - Sarah! - Hold it! Sarah, oh, Sarah Sarah here Get his gun, Chester.
Yes, sir.
How is she? I don't know.
Brandon, promise me you won't do anything.
I'll be all right, really.
I'll be all right.
Chester, ride for town and bring Doc back here as fast as you can.
Yes, sir.
That Doc ever gonna come out, Mr.
Dillon? I don't know, Chester.
He's been in there a couple hours now.
He'll do everything he can for her, though, Teek.
I'll promise you that.
I kept trying to tell you - it ain't my fault.
- Oh, shut up.
She hadn't ought have grabbed me; made me lose my head.
Just keep your mouth shut! Teek, I'm sorry.
I couldn't save your baby for ya, but Sarah's gonna be all right.
Oh, thank you, Doc.
- Well - I Well, I-I I'm-I'm grateful to you I know, I know.
Now you, you make her stay in bed for about three days, and then she'll have to take it mighty easy.
I will, Doc, I will.
All right.
I Now, look, Teek, you can't blame me for this.
I didn't mean to do it.
Haley, my wife made me promise I wouldn't kill you, but a man can take only so much.
You ever come around here again you so much as bother us again I'm gonna break that promise.
You can't fight the law! That's a court order! Marshal, it's your duty to back me up.
You're a deputy in Wichita, Haley.
You got no authority here.
What are you talking about? Well, I'm gonna take you back, and I'm gonna throw you in jail.
And tomorrow you're going to Wichita under guard.
Have you gone crazy?! Get on your horse.
Judge'll get you for this.
Doc, we're heading back into town.
You gonna stay out here? Well, yeah, I think I better for a while.
Well, soon as things are a little, little better here, why, uh, send Teek in to see me, will ya? Yeah, I will.
- All right, Doc.
- All right.
Well, good morning, Teek.
Hiya, Straker.
Say, I got something to tell ya.
What, something about how to record my land? No, no, this has to do with Lee Sprague.
What do I care about Lee Sprague? He was in here this morning.
I don't care if he was here this morning or any other morning.
Listen to me a minute.
He was in to sign them papers.
You stopped me to tell me that Sprague was in here to sign my land over to himself? You're as bad as he is, Straker.
Hey, Teek, how's the missus? Better, thanks.
Did Mr.
Dillon get word to you? He wants to see you up to his office.
That's where I'm heading now, if you quit bothering me.
How do you think he's gonna take it? Well, I guess there's only one way he can take it.
You never know what to expect from a man like that.
Uh-oh, here he comes now.
Well, hello, Teek.
Guess you know Lee Sprague here, don't you? What are you doing here? You made your kill.
Now what are you gonna do, sit around and eat like a turkey buzzard? Don't you talk loose to me, ya mule head.
I can't stand the sight of you, Sprague.
Then do something about it.
I will! Hold it! Hold it! Hold it! Just where do you stand, Marshal? I'll tell you where he stands.
If it wasn't for the marshal here, you wouldn't be getting your land back.
- Land back? - It was him who talked me into it! Right now, it wouldn't take me much to change my mind.
Straker said you signed the papers.
Yeah, and you didn't wait to find out what papers, did you? Here.
This is made out to him.
There's an endorsement on the back.
This land's signed over to me.
Like I say, the marshal talked me into it.
Why? I told him about your wife losing your baby, Teek.
He lost his own son on a dirt farm, and his wife, too.
Guess he kinda blames himself for what happened to you.
I don't know what to say.
With a temper like yours, maybe it's best you say nothing.
Teek, maybe you better go tell your wife about this, huh? Yeah.
Thanks, Marshal.
lf, uh, you're ever out our way, we'd be proud to have you take dinner.
Thank you.