gunsmoke the jailer
Gunsmoke Western TV
The Lone Writer  

The Jailer Full Episode – Gunsmoke, Season #12, Episode #03

Six years after her husband’s execution, Ette Stone meticulously devised her revenge against Matt Dillon. Her plan unfolded in two stages: first, she orchestrated the abduction of Kitty, imprisoning her to serve as bait. Second, she aimed to imprison Matt and execute him by hanging the following day. In a cruel twist, Kitty would be forced to witness the death of her beloved. This episode of Gunsmoke The Jailer aired on October 1, 1966.

Explore further details and intriguing trivia about The Jailer, or watch the episode below.

Table of Contents

Watch the Full Episode of Gunsmoke The Jailer

Watch the full episode of The Jailer:

Gunsmoke The Jailer Cast

The cast members who performed in the Gunsmoke episode titled The Jailer included:

  • James Arness as Matt Dillon
  • Milburn Stone as Doc
  • Amanda Blake as Kitty
  • Ken Curtis as Festus
  • Roger Ewing as Thad
  • Bette Davis as Etta Stone (as Miss Bette Davis)
  • Bruce Dern as Lou Stone
  • Robert Sorrells as Mike Stone
  • Zalman King as Jack Stone
  • Glenn Strange as Sam
  • Tom Skerritt as Ben Stone
  • Julie Sommars as Sara Stone
  • Stephen Burnette as Townsman (uncredited)
  • Fred McDougall as Prison Wagon Driver (uncredited)
  • Anthony Redondo as Guard (uncredited)

Full Story Line for The Jailer

In an episode ranked quite high on TV Guide’s “Top 50 Dramatic Episodes of All Time,” Etta Stone emerges as the formidable matriarch of a criminal clan. Matt’s six-year-old instigation of her husband’s hanging and her sons’ imprisonment set the stage for a gripping tale.

With her sons released from jail, their first move is to abduct Kitty, compelling Matt to face them alone in her rescue. Matt’s arrival brings a chilling revelation as he confronts a makeshift gallows erected in the Stone family’s yard. Swiftly captured and confined to the barn, with Kitty held separately in the house, Matt faces a dire ultimatum from Etta Stone and her imprisoned sons: death by hanging awaits him come the morning.

Amidst the chaos, the only beacon of honesty lies with the youngest son and the wife of another, who forge an unexpected romance. However, betrayal lurks within the family ranks as one son’s greed leads to a fatal showdown—Etta herself guns down her kin upon discovering his betrayal.

With Kitty also facing the gallows for “murder,” Matt must navigate a treacherous game of wits and survival against the remaining criminals. Despite a harrowing escape attempt, Matt’s resilience is tested as Etta’s relentless pursuit threatens to seal their fates.

Full Script and Dialogue of The Jailer






(doorknob rattling quietly)



(theme music playing)

Matt, we talked to 25 people.

Nobody has seen her. Nobody.

Sam, when's the
last time you saw her?

Last night when I closed up.

Her bed hasn't been slept in.

Clothes are all still there.


I'll get the horses, Matthew.

Thad, keep an eye
on things here in town.


Well, Matt, where in thunder
are you going to look for her?

(chickens clucking)

They're here.

Where's Ma?

By the grave.


I'd best get Ma.

Hey, Mama!

I want you to meet somebody.

Where's Mama?

Ben went to fetch her.

Honey, I want you to
meet Miss Kitty Russell.

This is good.

This is very good.

Well, don't you think
she's pretty, honey?


We should've taken a case or two

over at your place,
saloon keeper.

Are you gonna tell me
what this is all about?

Oh, now, don't you worry

your pretty little head
none about it, ma'am.

Mama's gonna
tell you all about it.

Listen, if you think
for one minute...

(door opens)

You done fine, Lou.

You all did.

How you been keeping, Ma?

I feel better now.

Just the sight of her
puts life in my bones.

Sarah, put the
food on the table.

Sit, boys, and eat.
You must be hungry.

- Sure am, Ma.
- Sure am, Ma.

It's good to see you boys again.

- Yeah.
- Looks good, Ma.

Good to see you.

What are you doing?

- Lou.
- Get your hands off me!


You just better settle down.

If it's money or
jewelry you want...

What is it you know
about what I want?

Well, I was hoping that
you'd get around to telling me.

Don't talk flippant.

You ain't in no position.

When you're
finished eating, son,

ride back to
Dodge with this ring.

Send one of the
other boys, Mama.

I got a wife here that I
ain't seen in six years.

You don't mind, do you, Sarah?

No, Ma Stone, I don't mind.

Well, I mind.

It'll wait.

You go.

Then he'll come the way I want.

What is all this about?

It's about a dream
started six years ago,

and you're gonna help
me make it come true.

My Judas goat.

It's your man I want.

That... Marshal Dillon.

You look a little
tired, Marshal.

Who are you?

Stone. Lou Stone.

Don't you remember?

Yeah, seems to me I do.

What do you want?

Well, it ain't so much a
question of what I want

as what do you want.

Seems to me a man just out of
prison's got better things to do

than play word games.

Well, I got a message
for you, Marshal.

You and I got to be a
certain place in ten hours.


If we ain't there, I know
a woman that you know

that's gonna be dead.


Now, I got the finger
that this belongs to.

Where is she?

You kill me, Marshal,
and you ain't never

gonna see her alive again.

Is that what you want?

(horses approaching)

Where's Kitty Russell?

She's here.

Jack, fetch her out.


Kitty, you all right?


What's going on here?

My, ain't you in one big hurry.

I've waited six years,

and you want to know
about everything right away.

Well, here it is, then.

I'll give you the same
measure of mercy

the law gave my husband
after you took him in, Marshal.

On the morning of the
second day, you'll hang.

All right, Kitty.

What about her?

Your woman?

Like I said, the same
measure of mercy.

She'll get visiting privileges,

like I did, two times
a day for ten minutes.

You'll get a taste of what
suffering is really like.

Your man's gonna die.

He's gonna swing from
the end of some hard rope

till he breaks his neck,

and there ain't nothing
you can do about it

except count the
hours until it happens.

He'll hang like a hammock,
swinging back and forth...

back and forth.

Lock him up in the tack room.

It's all right, Kitty.


you got a nice view.

You'll see each board

that goes into the
making of your gallows.

You're tying that rope
around your own neck.

And your boys'.

It's not gonna end right here.

You listen to me, old woman.

Let us go.

Let you go?

Do you think all you
got to say is "let us go"?

Six years I lived
for nothing but now:

the next two days, the
morning of the second day.

Lock her up.

I'll pay you.


Oh, you can get more than that.

How much?

Ten thousand.

I don't have it,
but I can raise it.

You're already beginning
to tear your heart to pieces.

Think what it'll be
like in five hours, ten...

the morning of the second day.

Put her in her cage, Jack.

That's a lot of money, Ma.

Well, after the marshal hangs,
maybe she'll talk money again

to save her own life.

Not one penny.

We'll see.

(lock clicks)




Fred, the boys are home.

And they brought the marshal
and that woman with them.

And in a little while,
he's gonna pay,

on the morning
of the second day.

It's come, Fred.


what am I gonna
do when it's over?

There'll be nothing left for me.

Nothing to make
me want to keep on.

But it'll be a glorious
two days, Fred.

You'll see.


You got ten minutes.

Enjoy them.

(Kitty sighs)

(lock clicks)

You all right?

Mm-hmm. How about you?


Now, Kitty, I know
what you're thinking.

But I don't want you to
give up hope on this thing.

Now, there's time,
and when there's time,

we can think of something.

I want you to believe that.


Y-You know,
I-I've been thinking.

I-I've got to be back
in Dodge by Friday.

I've got supplies coming in.

Now, Kitty, listen to me.

If you get a chance to
get out of here by yourself,

I want you to take it,
do you understand?


I mean it.

I know you do.

(spurs jangling)

Festus, will you
take off those spurs

and sit down or something.


Golly Bill, Doc, I'm worried.

Well... so am I.

First it's Miss Kitty.

Now Matthew's went
someplace... Who knows where.

He's probably out
looking for Kitty.

Ah, he wouldn't have did that,

'cause if he was to do that, I
was supposed to be with him.

He told me that.

Well, wherever he went,
he sure left in a hurry.

Has he ever done that before?

Matt's left in a hurry
an awful lot of times.

Not like this.

Well, fudge.

We can stand around
here a-guessing all day,

but the fact is Miss Kitty's
gone and now Matthew's gone,

and I'm fixin' to do
something about it.


We're gonna get us a
searching party together

and go out looking.

Get down there
at the Long Branch.

Get Sam and whoever
else you can find.

- I'll meet you back here in five minutes.
- Right.

Doc, I'm going to Delmonico's
and do the same thing.

Hold on, now.

That's fine, but why don't you
just wait till tomorrow morning?


Well, it's gonna be
dark in a couple of hours.

Well, so it gets dark.

Hold on a second.

What is it?

How about taking
these cuffs off?

I can't do that.

Well, it's like a jail in here.
There's nothing I can do.

I'll talk to Ma about it.

(door closes)

(lock clicks)


Ben, I got to get back.

I know. Just one minute.

SARAH: I'm scared.

I been scared all my life.

But not like this.

They should have
hung Lou with my pa.


We got to forget these last
years between you and me.

Lou's my husband, and he's back.

BEN: I'll talk to him.

- No!
- I'm not giving you up, Sarah!

I got to get back.

Oh, we just
forget it, is that it?

Maybe you have already.

Is that it, Sarah?

Is it?

LOU (in distance): Sarah!

Did you get lost or
something, Sarah?

No, Ma Stone.

What took you so long?

I'm sorry. I just
took a little air.

You got nothing to
do but take the air?

Let me see the tray.

I checked it.

Looks like the food wasn't
good enough for him.

It ain't the food.

He just ain't very hungry.

You said you checked
the tray, did you?!

I swear.

I took everything
out of the tack room.

It's all there.


There's no spoon.

It was on the tray.

We'll go find it, Mama.

Come on.

(door closes)


Found it right out on
the ground, right outside.

I was running.

It must have
fallen off the tray.

You gonna be needing her
anymore tonight, Mama? Hmm?

Make sure one of
you wakes Mike in time

to take over for
Ben at the tack room.


Come on.

Come on. Huh?

Dishes. I got to finish.

The dishes can wait.

Dishes can wait.

Go ahead.

Pleasant dreams, baby brother.

(door closes)

(lock clicks)

What do you want?

Well, I thought you'd like
to take a little company.


Would you like a drink?


I could use a drink.

Here's to you.

I'm glad you came in.

How about another?

(liquor pours)

(crickets chirping)

BEN (whispers):
Marshal. Marshal.

Hello, Ben.

Uh, I wanted to ask
you something, Marshal.

What's that?

Uh, what would happen if
you were to get out of here?

And the woman.

I mean, what would
happen to all of us?

Would we go to jail?

Well, I'll tell you one thing.

If your ma has her
way, you're gonna hang,

every last one of you.

If not?

Well, whatever it is would
be better than hanging,

wouldn't it?

Well, would it mean jail?

Ben, I couldn't make
any guarantees about that,

but I'll tell you something.

You help us get out of here,
I'll do everything in my power

to see that you
get a fair trial.

(door opens in distance)

Open it up, Ben.

Are you comfortable, Marshal?

No, I'm not.

What a pity.

What is it you're lacking?

Mrs. Stone...

One step nearer
could be your ending.

You wouldn't shoot me. You
want to hang me too much.

You'd hang
crippled just as well.

Marshal, you remember my man?

He was a handsome man.

He should've died a better way.

You gave him an ugly death.

Mrs. Stone, I didn't kill your
husband, and you know it.

Yes, you did.

You tracked him
with a vengeance.

The state of Kansas
hanged your husband

because a judge and jury
found him guilty of murder.

But you put him in their hands.

And now you're in mine.

And you're gonna sit here
and wait, just like he did,

and think what it's like
to swing from a rope.

What about afterwards?
Have you thought about that?

I don't care none
about afterwards.

Well, maybe not for yourself,
no, but what about your boys?

They've already spent
six years in prison.

Now, if you go
through with this,

they're gonna
swing from a gallows

just as sure as
your husband did.

Is that what you want?

You know what I want, Marshal.

What about Kitty?

She's just fine.

You don't have to
worry none about her.

All right, then let her go.

I'm the one you
want. You got me.

That's something else
for you to think about.

Just look at it like... her
being on your conscience.

Hey, Kitty, could you
see me in Chicago?

I'd have some time, wouldn't I?

$5,000 is an awful lot of money.

It sure is, lady.

Sure is.

You could, um, make up for
all that time you spent in prison.

Wait a minute.

How do I know that if
I get you out of here...

you're gonna give me the money?

(chuckles softly)

You're a lot stronger than I am.

I'd be afraid not to.


I guess you would, at that.


My mama, she'd kill me.

She'd kill me dead.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

All Ma wanted was the marshal.


That's right.

And all you were supposed
to do was help us get him.

That's all.

That's right.

Well, we got him.

Don't we?

Not only would you save
yourself from the noose,

but you'd be a rich man.

You sure do give a
convincing argument, lady.

All right.

I'm gonna do it.

I'm gonna help you out, lady.

I'm gonna help you out.

Now, listen.

We got to make it to the barn.

I want you to follow me.

I want you to be real quiet.

And, lady...

if you're double-dealing me...

You'll kill me.


Now, come on.

Come on out.


(door opens, closes in distance)

You watch him good, Ben.

All right, Ma.

Mike will be out
soon to take over.

- Yes, Ma.
- Night.

Good night, Ma.


Let's go.

I'm not going without him.

I told you, lady,
it's just you and me.

Without Matt
Dillon, the deal is off.

Oh, you're talking crazy.

I don't go without him!

All right.

Get off the horse!

I'm gonna take you
back in the house.

No, you're not.

If you make one move toward me,

I'll start yelling
this place down.

And what do you
think your ma would do

if she came out here and saw
me with two saddled horses?

Now, you got no choice.

Get another horse saddled!

(door opens)

It's, uh, not what
you think it is, Ma.

Believe me, Ma.

You-you know I wouldn't...

- (gunshot)
- (horse neighing)



My man wasn't enough.

Now Jack is dead.

You and that marshal,
you're killing my whole family.

But if it costs the
lives of all of us,

you'll both die on the rope.

Him first, then you.

(door opens)

What happened?

(Kitty sighs)

I must look like I fought
the War Between the States

single-handed and lost.

Come on, sit down.

Tell me about what happened.

Oh, Matt, that woman's crazy.

You know what
she did last night?

She shot her own son
without so much as a word.

She just shot him dead.


Well, I had one of the boys

talked into trying to
help us get out of here,

and-and she caught us.


Oh, Kitty, I'm sorry
you got mixed up in this.

You should've gotten
out of here by yourself

when you had a chance.

And leave you here?

Not on your life.

Or is that a bad joke?

Now, look. What about
this youngest son, Ben?

Have you had a
chance to talk to him?

- No. Why?
- Well, I did.

I talked to him last night.

And he doesn't want
any part of this thing.

And he and this girl Sarah
seem to be pretty close.

I think our best chance
is to get to one of them.

Well, I'll... I'll try
and talk with him.

I don't think she'd
be much help.

They've got her frightened
out of her own shadow.

Matt, we don't have much time.

Kitty, a lot of things can
happen before tomorrow morning.


(talking quietly)

BEN: What do you want?

Some water.

(lock clicking)

She'd look pretty
in a new dress.



How long has it been
since she's had a new dress?

You want something. What is it?

To get Matt Dillon
and myself out of here.

Yeah, well, Jack
died trying to do that.

So will you, Sarah
and your family

if your ma gets her way.


You're not much of a man.

They treat her like a slave.

She's Lou's wife.

But she loves you,
and you love her.

Yeah, it's simple as that.

We could help each other.

I don't think so.

I'd like to, but I... I can't.

Look, you could start
over, you and Sarah.

I'd see to it that you
got a place of your own.

It's her only chance, Ben.

There's no chance.

There is, and
you got to take it.

They'll hang you
and your whole family

for killing us.

And believe me, they'll get you.

Now, you think about the life

that you might
have had with Sarah.

(lock clicking)

(lock clicking)

Hi, Marshal.

Nice night out, ain't it?

Gonna be the last one
you're ever gonna see.

You got something
to say, say it.

Otherwise, get out of here.

(chuckles): Well, now...

ain't you the one for
giving orders, huh?

You know, I'll bet
tomorrow night at this time,

you're knocking
on the pearly gates

and hollering up at
Saint Peter, saying,

"Open up the gate, Saint
Peter. I'm the marshal."



You stay there, honey.


Now, why don't
you let the marshal

have his supper...
His last supper.


Thank you.


Lou, you out there?

Stay in here.

Open the door.

Marshal, if you don't
stand up in the moonlight

where I can see you,

I'm gonna unload my
rifle in your woman.

Marshal, do you hear me?

(whispers): Ben, I...

She's a dead woman right now.


Watch her.

Mike, go see what
happened to Lou.

If you killed him, Marshal...

MIKE: He's all right, Ma!

Don't, Lou. He's got to hang.

I've waited six
years for tomorrow.

You ain't gonna
cheat me out of it.

I'll shoot you dead
just like I done Jack.

Mike, drag him in the tack room.

Watch over him.

Lou, my true son, come
on in the house with me.


Nobody saw you?

I don't think so.

It's hard to forget, isn't it?

I don't want to.

I might as well
forget I'm alive.

When was the last time
you had a new dress?


A long, long time ago.


Uh, she asked. Miss Russell did.

She wanted me to help her
and the marshal get out of here.

She said she'd help us find
a place to start, you and me.

I couldn't.

I was... scared.

Scared of Ma, Lou...

I was scared I'd die and
never see you anymore.

Ben, Ma's gonna
kill us all, anyway.

(door opens)


What are you doing?


You take your
hands off her, Lou!

- What did you say?
- You heard me.

Let me tell you something, boy.

After that hanging tomorrow,
you see that gun you got on you?

Better come here
prepared to use it,

or you better
hightail out of here

and never let me
see your face again!

You got that?

Get out.

Get out!


(door closes, lock clicks)


It's morning of the
second day, Matt.

Please, you've got to help us.

There ain't no help.

You got ten minutes.

(lock clicks)

Thanks for all the
wonderful years, Matt.

MA: Lou!



Where are ya?

It's time!

Now, Kitty, I want you to
go through that door first,

and once you get outside, duck.

All right.

Hey, open up!

MIKE: What do you want?

I want to let Kitty
out. Open the door.

Hold it right there.

Now drop the gun.



Lou! Ben!

It was me, Ben.

I snuck a gun to the
marshal on the tray.


Kitty, get back.


Ben, open up on him!

You got a clear
shot from the house!

MA: Ben, do you hear me?

BEN: Ma, stop!

Call it off!

We can all get out of it alive!

You miserable cowards!



Looking for More Gunsmoke Episodes?

Do you appreciate timeless, sophisticated television shows? If so, Gunsmoke is a perfect choice. Whether enjoying it solo or with company, this classic series, spanning 20 seasons and airing from 1955 to 1975 on CBS, promises to captivate you. The Jailer is the third episode of Season 12, offering yet another compelling installment.

Books Worth Reading:

You can find more about any of the Gunsmoke episodes here.

Leave A Comment

book cover mockup for Western Writing

Looking for an Epic Western Adventure? Look No Further!

How would you like to ride hell-bent for leather into a world full of adventure and heroism?

Get Your Free Copy Today>>