The Prisoner Full Episode – Gunsmoke, Season #7, Episode #33
Gunsmoke is a classic American Western television series whose success led to various spin-offs, feature films, and more. The series follows the adventures of Marshall Matt Dillon, who is in charge of keeping the peace in the town of Dodge City. Gunsmoke follows his adventures as he deals with everything from gunfights to Wild West shenanigans. Gunsmoke has “The Prisoner” as the title for two of its episodes from different seasons.
The first among the two, Episode 33 from Season 7, depicts the story of Billy Joe, a federal custody escapee who finds himself entangled in another murder case. Billy Joe insists he’s innocent, reminding Marshal Matt Dillon of his responsibility to protect him from the potential lynching. Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and written by Robert E. Thompson, the episode aired on May 19, 1962.
On the other hand, if season fourteen’s episode about the prisoner, Steven Downing, is what you’re looking for, you can find that here.
Read The Prisoner, Season 7, Episode 33’s storyline, including some behind-the-scenes trivia, or watch the Gunsmoke episode below.
Watch the Full Gunsmoke Episode, The Prisoner
Watch the full episode of The Prisoner:
Gunsmoke The Prisoner Cast
Here are the actors that appeared in the Gunsmoke episode, The Prisoner.
- James Arness as Matt Dillon
- Dennis Weaver as Chester
- Milburn Stone as Doc
- Amanda Blake as Kitty
- Andrew Prine as Billy Joe
- Nancy Gates as Sarah
- Conrad Nagel as Major
- Ed Nelson as Seth
- Dabbs Greer as Mr. Jonas
- Rayford Barnes as Jellicoe
- William Phipps as Ham
- Charles Fredericks as Hunk
- William B. Corrie as Waiter (as William Corrie)
- Dorothy Neumann as Mrs. Pierson
- Cathie Merchant as Sally (as Cathy Merchant)
- Ollie O’Toole as Postmaster
- Chris Whitman as Mrs. Thurmon
- John Close as Turner
- Victor Adamson as Prisoner (uncredited)
- John Breen as Townsman (uncredited)
- James J. Casino as Prisoner (uncredited)
- Frank Ellis as Barfly (uncredited)
- Duke Fishman as Townsman (uncredited)
- George Ford as Townsman (uncredited)
- Joseph Glick as Prisoner (uncredited)
- Chuck Hamilton as Prisoner (uncredited)
- Tex Holden as Prisoner (uncredited)
- Kermit Maynard as Townsman (uncredited)
- Fred McDougall as Barfly (uncredited)
- Frank Mills as Townsman (uncredited)
- Mike Morelli as Prisoner (uncredited)
- Lucian Tiger as Barfly (uncredited)
- Bill Walker as Townsman (uncredited)
Full Story Line for The Prisoner
Sergeant Jellicoe assigns two prisoners, Billy Joe and Hunk, to work on some rocks outside the federal prison. The two prisoners tried to flee despite knowing that the sergeant had killed around three or four men who attempted to escape in the same place. Billy Joe pretended to get hurt by Hunk to distract the sergeant. Realizing their plan, the sergeant shoots Hunk. However, Billy Joe managed to attack him, causing his death. Without remorse, Billy Joe flees after removing his chains, leaving the dead sergeant and his fellow prisoner dying.
Billy Joe arrives at Dodge, inciting trouble at the Long Branch Saloon over a saloon girl. Marshal Matt Dillon immediately shut off the commotion he caused, implying he left as soon as possible.
The next day, Dillon receives a wanted poster with Billy Joy’s picture, stating he escaped from Fort Leavenworth and is wanted for murder. Dillon immediately goes out to find the convict. He eventually finds Billy Joe in the middle of nowhere, injured with broken ribs, after his horse throws him against a rock. Dillon tells Billy Joe that he has to take him back to Dodge after learning he busted out of prison.
While Dillon and Billy Joe are talking, Major Owens and his son, Seth, arrive. Seth claims that Billy Joe snuck into their place, killing his brother, Ham, in cold blood before running away. Billy Joe protests his innocence, claiming he had never moved from that place before noon yesterday because of his injury. Seth insists on killing Billy Joe on the spot, but Dillon tells him to let the law handle the case.
Doc tends to Billy Joe’s injury in jail.
Meanwhile, the Marshal gets a word to take Billy Joe back to federal prison before facing the trial in Dodge for murder.
Later, Major Owens and Seth arrive to prove Billy Joe’s the murderer. Despite Doc insisting Sarah’s in no condition yet, the Owens insists that Sarah identify whether Billy Joe is the murderer. Sarah slowly looked at Billy Joe, then claimed to see him at their place. Billy Joe claims he did go to the farmhouse but never killed anybody. Major Owens tells Dillon they’re willing to wait for the trial, no matter how long it takes. However, Dillon reminds them that Billy Joe’s a federal prisoner he needs to return to the proper authorities before facing the murder trial. This news doesn’t sit well with Major and Seth, so they stay outside the jail overnight, waiting for an opportunity to kill Billy Joe.
Billy Joe reminds Dillon of his duty to protect him from Major and Seth, stating Dillon hasn’t heard his side of the story. Billy Joe tells Dillon that he went to the farmhouse to ask for water. Sarah invited him to the kitchen to have some coffee. However, Sarah’s scared expression upon someone’s arrival through the front way was his cue to leave the place.
Dillon goes outside to talk to Major. However, Major insists on killing Billy Joe when he exits through the door. Dillon tells Major that Billy Joe will face a fair trial at Leavenworth, where he’ll receive his rightful punishment. Still, Major threatens to administer “justice” for the death of his son.
Dillon asks Mr. Jonas to try to talk sense to Major Owens, considering he knows Major more than anyone else in town. However, Mr. Jonas believes nothing will stop Major from going over the law after what happened to Ham and Sarah.
Major Owens and Seth continue to wait outside for a chance to kill Billy Joe. Dillon tries to talk to them again, but they’re still determined to kill Billy Joe before he gets transferred back to federal prison. With four minutes to go, Major Owens and Seth have their rifles on standby, ready to shoot anytime Billy Joe steps out. However, Sarah comes out to the street to stop her family. Sarah tells Major Owens that Billy Joe didn’t kill her husband. While conversing, Dillon and Billy Joe exit through the back door. Upon realizing this, Major Owens and Seth run after them, with Chester not far behind.
Seth shoots Billy Joe as he rides up the train. Dillon immediately fires back, leading to Seth’s death. Sarah explains that she might have been the killer. Billy Joe did go to their place, but talking to him made her forget how lonesome she had been. Ham saw Billy Joe run away, then accused Sarah of things, calling her cheap and no good, even to the extent of hitting her. Seth saw Ham hitting her, eventually leading to a fight where Seth shot him dead. Sarah confessed that she was afraid of speaking the truth because Seth threatened to kill her. She also reveals that Seth killed Ham so they could get married.
In the end, Major Owens accepts the truth, bearing responsibility for what has happened.
Meanwhile, Sarah insists on receiving punishment, to which Dillon replies that she has experienced enough.
Full Script and Dialogue of The Prisoner
Collins, jute mill. Bricker, laundry detail. Zenner, jute detail. Turner, shovel detail. McCreary, jute mill. Stevens, jute mill. Baker, shovel. Bass, laundry detail. Jute smoke's just like a whiff of French perfume, ain't it, Hunk? Sure don't smell that way to me, Billy Joe. Here comes your friend Jelly Bean. Someday, I swear, I'm gonna pay him off in full. McDonald, shovel detail. Harris, jute mill. - Gaffney... - Corporal, hold it there! Prisoners halt! Morning, Sergeant Jellicoe. Hunk, I've got a little job for you... the rocks. Any complaints? That goes for you, too, Billy Joe. Load 'em in the wagon. All right, move out. Carry on, Corporal. Carter, laundry detail. Henderson, shovel detail. McDonald, shovel detail. Harris, jute mill. Gaffney, laundry detail. Baker... That goin' to Chicago, Billy Joe? Westbound. All the way to Dodge. That next to the last one there... That's the ladies' parlor car. You can almost smell all that perfume and powder from right here. Well, you just look your belly full, Billy Joe, it ain't gonna cost you nothing. That's so, Sergeant. That is so. - Stop here! - Whoa. Sure is lonesome out here, Billy Joe. Maybe that's the way Jelly Bean wants it. I heard he's killed three or four men out here already. Trying to escape, he said. Course one day he just might miss. I got an idea, Hunk. Hunk. Billy Joe, grab them tools and get up here. I got a nice, easy job planned for you. Jones, you get back here by suppertime. Yes, Sergeant. Is he watching me close now, Hunk? Are you game for this, Hunk? Then let it go. O-Oh, I'm sorry, Billy Joe. I didn't mean to let it slip. My hands just sweated up on me! Get away from him, Hunk! Go on, get back there! - Where you hurt? - My arm. I think it's broke. Let me take a look at it. I don't know if I can even loosen my shirt off it. It hurts somethin' fierce. Oh, you're gonna get it now, Hunk. You're gonna get the sweatbox. And I don't mean for just a couple of hours or a day or two. You're gonna stay in that sweatbox till your insides cook! Nobody's gonna put me in that. Nobody! Oh, Billy Joe. You ain't gonna leave me, are you, Billy Joe? Now, what do you want to go and make me feel bad for, Hunk? You're gonna die anyway. Billy Joe! Billy Joe, don't leave me! Billy Joe! Well, scooch over, Doc. Is this everything, Miss Thurmon? Well, let's see... Two lamps, wicks, letter paper, and a tatting hoop. That's everything. - Thank you, Mr. Jonas. - Well, thank you. Now, what can I do for you, Doc? Well, if you can spare the time, I'd like a spool of white thread. I want the kind that's strong enough so it won't break if I sneeze at it. And a package of needles. Spool of thread... No, you need something with bigger eyes. I don't need any bigger eyes. What do you plan to do, Doc, open a little tailoring shop on the side? I know some folks in this town that could benefit by a good tailor. So do I. Anything else, Doc? Yeah, I want a button. One button? Yes, one button. Well, Doc, why don't you just take your shirt on over to Mrs. Bird? She could fix it a whole lot cheaper than buying all this stuff, you know. It may surprise you, but I thought of that, but, you see, I figure, Matt, a practicing surgeon ought to be able to sew a button on his own shirt or else go to a nurse's home or get married, and I'm not planning to do either one of those. - Well, pick it out, Doc. - I don't want one of those old, ugly buttons... I want a pearl button up there. Well, Jonas, don't... Just go on about your business. I know where you keep 'em... I'll find it. Mr. Jonas, I'll, uh, take a box of those, uh, patches of cheesecloth. Oh, sure, Marshal. Well, why in thunder does he... put 'em in there... Ooh! Ooh, for heaven's sake. Matt, Matt. What is it? By golly, take a hold of that arm and jerk it, will you? Just jerk... Well, jerk it! Quick! Yeah. Golly, I got a crick there. Twisted a tendon or something. Well, is it all right now? Yeah, it's fine. Well, good, at least I fixed it for you. Well, now, just... as a matter of professional courtesy, don't go telling everybody in town that you fixed it. People will be coming over to the jail for their medical attention. This the one you wanted? Here you are, Marshal. Oh, thanks, Mr. Jonas. Button, spool of thread and needles. - Put 'em on the bill. - What about the licorice? Well, must be the second Monday of the month. There's Major Owens and his family. That major's a pretty fierce ol' boy. Yeah. Sometimes I feel kind of sorry for Sarah, married into a family like that. Well, Ham's a pretty good husband to her, isn't he? Well, I've known better. Major Owens. Marshal Dillon. - Dr. Adams. - Major. Oh, here, Sarah. Well, you plan to stay in town long this trip? Just long enough to pick up supplies, Marshal. There's work yet to be done today for all of us. Ham. Yes, sir. You know, I don't think the major cares too much for me, Matt. Why's that, Doc? Well, it goes back three years ago when Sarah lost her baby, you know, I... I told the major right out then it was Ham's fault, nobody else's... He was so doggone drunk he couldn't find his way into town to get me. And you know something, I just don't think the ol' boy ever forgave me for that. In spite of it, I got a lot of admiration for him. You know, he's made out of the... kind of solid rock granite that we just don't see too much of anymore. Yeah, that's the truth, Doc. I think I'll stop over at the Long Branch. Want to have a beer? Well, golly, I bought this stuff... I guess I better put it to use. Yeah, all right. Just holler if you need me. Well, why would I need you? Well, you, uh... you might need some medical help. Piece of horehound, Miss Sarah? Oh, no, thank you, Mr. Jonas. Well, I'll take me a piece of that. Seth. On second thought, I-I best not. Leastwise, not until after the wrestling throw downs next month. Oh, you gonna enter again this year, Seth? Well, I come in second last time, didn't I? I would've won it, too, if Jed Barker hadn't busted my arm up on me. Keep an eye on me this time, though. I'm gonna get him in a headlock straight off, and I'm gonna squeeze him, I'm gonna squeeze him until his brains pop out. Mr. Jonas. Let's see now: three sacks buckwheat mill, ladle blackstrap, three yards of ticking, tin of coffee, four pounds dark sugar. Th-That's the coarse sift you take, ain't it, Major? Yes. Half pint of vanilla extract, sack of baking soda, one bottle Gerber's Mange Cure and Hog Tick Eradicator. Is that all of it? That's all of it. Ham, the crinoline for my curtains, you promised. Pa... There's no money this month for curtains. I could put it down on credit for you, Major. What we buy, we pay for. What we cannot pay for, we do without. I'll box this all out for you. Seth, come to the feed store with me. Yes, sir. Ham, when Mr. Jonas has these things ready, see them into the buggy. You understand me? Sure, Pa. Have the bill ready, Mr. Jonas. I'll settle it when I come back. You heard Pa, Sarah. I heard him. Anyway, he's right. What's the need of curtains when there's plenty of jute sacks around? Excuse me. Now, why don't you sit down here and be friendly? I told you just as nice as I could before, I can't sit down unless you're buying a drink. 'Cause a fella's broke one day, that don't say nothin' about the next. Well, then come back tomorrow. Tomorrow's a long way off. Why don't we just... slip off someplace now? - Hello, Kitty. - Oh, hello, Matt. You want a drink? Well, I might have a beer, I guess. This certainly isn't my day for the big spenders. What do you mean? You see that young fella sitting over there? Yeah. Well, he's been sitting there since before noon, and he's still in the middle of his second drink. Well, don't think I've seen him around before. - Have you? - Mm-mm. Looks like a cowboy... He probably broke off from some trail herd and now he's wishing he'd stuck around till payday. Well, I don't know about that, but, uh, he seems to think he's Casanova come back to life. - Oh, he does, huh? - Mm-hmm. Well, has he been bothering you? He's not exactly my type. Well, maybe he's Sally's type. - Let me go! Let me go! - Leave her alone, mister. There ain't no reason to torment her. Sally, come back to my table. I guess she's happy right where she is. But that's natural, now, ain't it, - seeing the choice she's got. - Yeah? There ain't gonna be any choice when I'm done with you, because I'm gonna bust you clean in half. - Hold it! - Let's see you do some of that busting you're talking so big about. Go on, Turner, go back to your table. If you say so, Marshal. Only he's the one that made the trouble. I had to defend myself, didn't I? With that? Well, I wasn't gonna use that. Just scare him off a little. Now, look, I'm not looking for no trouble. - I'm just passing through, that's all. - When? Day or so. Maybe tomorrow. Now. Well, I did kind of have a couple of plans in mind. You want to think about 'em in jail? In that case, I guess I'll be... moving along, like you said, now. Maybe some other time, honey. I guess there's lots of other fish in the sea. Why can't they send a widow's pension when they're supposed to? Can you tell me that? You're part of the government, aren't you? Yes, but not that part, I'm afraid, ma'am. Here it is, Mrs. Pierson. Well, about time! Thank you. - Miss Kitty. - Ah, thank you. Here you are, Marshal... just a new batch of wanted circulars. Thank you. I swear to goodness, look at this. - What is it? - Hello, Matt. Look here. "Dr. Cyrus W. Penfield announces his new miracle herb elixir. "100% safe. "Absolutely guaranteed to cure pneumonia, gout, "gallstones, chilblains, vespers, liver ailments of all kinds, and rheumatism and pleurisy." Kind of puts you out of business, doesn't it, Doc? Say, look here, Kitty. - Hmm? - Look at this. Isn't that the fella I threw out of the Long Branch the other day? Looks like him. Hey, wait a minute. That looks like the young fella I met coming back from Two Castles yesterday. - Two Castles? - Yeah. He acted like he was going there. Where else would you go out in that country? Maybe I better head out there and look for him. Well, I don't see what chance you have of finding him now. Well, not much, probably. But that's what they're paying me for. ♪♪ Hey! Hey! Over h... over here! Hey! Hey, it's you, Marshal. - Yeah, it's me. - You... you got some water? What's happened to you? Horse... stepped in a chuckhole, threw me up against this rock, stove my side right in. The way the pain's been putting me out of my head, I figured something must be busted loose inside. Let me take a look at it here. By the feel of it, you got a couple of busted ribs there. - Where's your horse? - He took off. Some Indians probably got it blanketed by now. Well, I guess you'll have to ride back to Dodge double with me. Dodge? There's a little town up a way here, ain't there? You get me to that town, I'll be fine. It just so happens there's a wanted poster out on you, mister. On me? There must be some mistake, Marshal. That's a mistake? Just like you was cattle to be roped and branded. I guess you never been in prison, Marshal. Guards tramping up and down with jack clubs, just itching to bust your back open if you so much as look sideways. If you had, you wouldn't blame me for trying to keep from going back. Should've thought of that before you got yourself in trouble. Trouble? I guess I was born into that. Hello, Major. Marshal. That's him, Pa. It's him, all right... look at the scratches on his face. Yeah. I-I got those when my horse throwed me. What are you talking about, Seth? This piece of jackal scum there. He snuck up on Sarah out at our place while Pa and me was gone. And Ham caught him. He shot Ham. He killed him cold, and then he run. I never done no such a thing. They're lying, Marshal. When did this happen? Yesterday, late. Well, I was in town... Why didn't you come and tell me? With my own hands, I drew my son into life. This morning, by my own hands, he was put to earth in death. It's our grief. We don't need or ask help to settle it. Major, that's what the law is for. Well, we don't need the law to tell us what to do with him. I told you what he done, didn't I? Did you see him? Of course he never seen me. I been lying right here, too broke up to move since before noon yesterday. And you heard the old man say himself, whatever it was happened was way after that. What this man claims, Marshal... do you know it to be true? I don't know, Major. He's an escaped prisoner from Fort Leavenworth, and I'm gonna take him back. Well, don't that settle it, then? He's a convict, his trail leads here, and them scratches on his face. Let's kill him right here. Seth! Now, whatever this man's done, the law'll take care of him, not you. Now, put that gun away. Just looking at him, and you know he's the one that did it. And you know it, too, Pa. I believe he did it. I believe it. But I don't choose to take the blood of any man on my conscience without certainty. But if proof were brought to you, Marshal? If this man's guilty of what you say he is, he'll die for it. That will content me. We can go now, Seth. Seth. ♪♪ - All right, let's get started. - All right. Oh, that's awful tight, Doc. Yeah. It's got to be tight, otherwise it won't do any good. Giving you some pain, huh? Well... I still get a sort of a twitch when I suck in deep, but not much as yesterday. Yeah, I know. Kind of hits you about right... right there? Yeah. Well... I want these ribs to set. Well, that's all right. You know... if I had my life to live over, I figure maybe I'd be like you, Doc. Try doing good for people. Yeah, I expect you'd do just about exactly what you did before. What'd they send you to prison for, anyway? Well, there was this widow, lived near the fort. I was sort of working for her in my spare time. She claimed I stole some money her husband left her. I never done it. She gave me that money. There wasn't nobody believe me, but she did. She just huffed herself out of joint and set the law on me 'cause I took off finally. It wasn't exactly hard work, but I sort of got tired of it. You know what I mean? Yeah, I know what you mean. Matt? Don't move around for a couple, three days. Well, I wasn't exactly planning on taking any trips, Doc. You got any word for me, Marshal? I'll let you know. No rush on my part. ♪♪ - Well... - You're leaving now? Yes, I must go. But you haven't done anything for her; just those powders. Well, they'll relax her; she'll get some sleep. Is that all that can be done? Right now, yes. What Sarah needs is lots of rest and quiet. We'll see she gets that, Doctor. All right, fine. Well, I'll run along, and I'll drop in, in a few days. - Thank you, Doctor. - Major. It ain't right, Pa, it just ain't right. No. Poor child. Well, I'm sorry enough about Sarah, but I was thinking more about that fella, the one that killed Ham. I been thinking about him, too, son. A killer like that shouldn't ought to go free, Pa. Seems like somebody ought to do something about him. I think you're right, Seth. Somebody should. I just wish there was some way you could fix the time, because if you could, I could prove whether he was out there or not, you know? Well, I can't do it, Matt. I... came as close as I could. I told you that from the time he was flipped off his horse till you came across him there, it could be... oh, two, three days at the most. Close as I can come. You know, I was out to the major's place last night. Looked in on Sarah. By golly, I'm pretty worried about her. Well, Doc, she seen her husband killed, and after the rest of what almost happened to her, why, I think she's got a right to be upset. Well, if she'd just cry and complain or something like that. She won't even answer yes or no. She just... sits there like she's frozen. Makes me feel kind of helpless. I'm afraid that... the kind of medicine she needs I haven't got in my bag there. How about that major? Well, he let me in the house and let me out. That's about it... Except he did say he was coming into town to see you. Yeah. I been looking for him. Matt, what are you gonna do about this fella here? Well, we got a telegram from Leavenworth this morning. They want me to take him back there on the train tomorrow. Well, you gonna do that? There's nothing else I can do, Doc. He's an escaped federal prisoner and a murderer. Even if he's tried for murder here, he has to go back there first. By golly, that sure seems like a roundabout way of doing things. If he was tried by some circuit judge here and convicted, he could still get off on some technicality over jurisdiction. Well, if he done what Seth and the major said he done, well, it'd sure make me sick to think of him getting away with it. Well, I'll tell you one thing, if he did it, he won't get away with it. Well... I better be getting along. All right, Doc. Matt? Marshal... you asked for proof before the law would take its course. We've come to provide that. Sarah saw the man before he scared off. Now, just-just hold on here a minute. Matt, Sarah's in no condition to go through with anything like this. Well, Doc, she's the only one that can identify him for certain. Well, I don't care about that... She's in a state of shock, and I... well, I'm just not gonna stand for it. - Marshal? - Major... now, I know you don't care much for medical opinions, and particularly mine, but if you insist on Sarah going through with anything like this, the responsibility is gonna have to be yours, not mine. Sarah, are you prepared to identify this man? Are you prepared to know and speak the truth without fear? You got to Sarah. Go on. Tell the marshal you're ready to identify him. Sarah, you don't have to go through with this if you don't want to. I'm ready. My son's dead, Marshal. I ask only the right to know his murderer. You know any other way of being certain? No, I don't. Sarah? It's right this way. That's him. That's him, ain't it, Sarah?! Is this the man, Sarah? The one that came to your place? He was there. She's lying. You tell 'em I never done nothing. Tell 'em! You're sure this is the man? All right, I did go out there, but I never killed nobody. I never done nothing! Please. Please tell 'em how it was. Sarah? Sarah! Sarah? Chester, bring my bag and let's get her up to my office. I hope you're satisfied now. Marshal, when will he be put up for trial? I'm not sure exactly, Major. However long it takes, we'll wait right here in town. Seth? Major, now you're aware that he's wanted for killing a guard and escaping from an army prison. So? He's a federal prisoner, Major, he's got to be returned to the proper authorities before he can stand trial for the murder of Ham. You can't do that! He'll lie his way clear if he doesn't escape again first. Now, I gave you people my word and I'm gonna stand by it. Whatever he's done, he's gonna pay for it. He'll pay for it, Marshal. Marshal! Yeah? What's gonna happen to me, Marshal? If you're lucky, you may live long enough to hang. ♪♪ Somebody moving around in there, Pa. The marshal must be up. Hey, Marshal? They're still out there? Yeah. If I had a gun and was free of here, I'd send the two of them booting quick enough. But seeing as I ain't, you better make sure they stay out there. Now, mister, let me tell you something. The only thing standing between you and a lynching is me. And I don't much like where I'm standing. Yeah, just like all my life; everybody spitting on me just 'cause I'm dragging the low end. No. You only heard their side of it. You never even bothered to hear mine. I'm listening. I did go by there, I told you that. But that's all I done. I swear it. I just asked for a drink of water. She invited me into the kitchen to have some coffee. Then a little while, I heard somebody come through the front way. She looked kinda scared. I didn't want no more trouble. I just lit out. You believe me, don't you? You think a jury will? Miss Kitty's up at Doc's helping him with Miss Sarah. Mm, good. What are you gonna do about them two... Seth and the Major? I don't know yet, Chester. Well, you know, I kindly understand how they feel. What with Billy Joe being so doggone guilty-looking and all. Chester, only the law has the right to try and execute a man no matter what he's done. Otherwise, the law doesn't mean anything. Where you going? Well, it ain't no reflection on how I feel, Major. We got a contract for feeding prisoners is all. Any prisoners. Take him his meal. Wait a minute. What for, Pa? What's right's right. I had a hunting dog once that went bad. Killed my lambs, clawed your mother, God be pleased to rest her. But I let that dog feed before I shot it. I wouldn't do less for a man, even that one. Go ahead. I'm going out there and try to talk some sense into that major. I was hoping you'd thought overnight about it, Major. I did. I'm still gonna bring that prisoner out of there and take him to the train at 2:00. You take him out that door to put him on the train, we're gonna kill him. Even if it means that me or you or your son here might be killed, too, huh? I wouldn't wish that. Well, that's what's liable to happen. You bring him out, give him a trial and hang him here, and we'll stand peaceably by to watch. Now that wouldn't be any more legal than lynching him, Major. Now, he's gonna get a fair trial at Leavenworth. You know the army better than any of the rest of us. You know they'll see he's properly punished. Don't talk to me about army justice. The army was my life. I was discharged for a wound that didn't matter. The only law I believe in is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Ham was blood of my blood and bone of my bone. That man took him from us. I won't stand aside and see him led away no matter what the cost may be. Nothing I can say to change your mind, huh? Pa, there's a half a dozen men in this town that will throw in with us. We could bust that jail open and drag him out of there. That'll lower ourselves to the kind of trash that runs in mobs. We have a duty. It's ours and nobody else's. We'll face it here in the open. Now get back to your post. Yes, sir. Mr. Jonas... all I'm asking you to do is go out there in the street and have a talk with him. You know Major Owens as well as anybody. Maybe he'll listen to you. I'm not sure I don't agree with him. If Ham had been my son, or if... Sarah was my daughter, I'd feel just exactly the same way he does, wouldn't you, Marshal? Maybe I would. You know, I don't like this job I have to do, Mr. Jonas, but I'm gonna see it through. Sometimes the law can be wrong, Marshal. That may be. But we can't always just pick and choose the part of it we like, you know. Well, maybe you're right. I... I guess you are. I mean, I-I know I wouldn't like to be in the spot you are. I know something else, too. I got a daughter. And if it had been her instead of Sarah Owens, I'd be right out in that street with a gun, too. I'm sorry, Marshal. Yeah, well, thanks, Mr. Jonas, for coming over. Sure, Marshal. Oh. How is she? Oh, better, I guess. She woke up for a little while. I think she can sleep now. That's good. I wonder if she'll ever really get over what happened. Well, I just don't know. How about some coffee? Yeah, I could use some. Doc, do you think there'll be a shooting? Well... if Matt brings him out in the street at 2:00 like he says he will, I don't know what's gonna stop it. Well, maybe if Matt put off taking him to the train today, maybe waited till tomorrow. Well, you know the major. That would only delay it. Just put things off till tomorrow. It's terrible to think of anybody else dying on account of somebody like Billy Joe. There just ought to be somebody that could talk the major out of this. Is Seth still there? Yeah. Well, what in the world are you gonna do, Mr. Dillon? You just can't up and shoot them. Well, I'm going out and try to talk with him one more time. Major, I'm coming out alone. Come ahead. Now, Major, I'm ordering you off the street before I bring the prisoner out. Well, you can order all you want to, Marshal, and you can try and bring him out of that jail, but you ain't gonna get him past here on the way to no train. What do you say, Major? My son speaks for both of us. Get your rifle ready, Chester. You taking me to the train now, Marshal? Something like that. You ain't gonna let them get at me, are you? Can you think of any good reason why I shouldn't? Why sure, you're the law. You got to protect me. It's four minutes to 2:00, Pa. We'll wait. Get back to your post. Better let me take the marshal. No, we've no quarrel with the marshal. But, Pa, he's gonna... I said no. Which door you going out, Mr. Dillon? I'm gonna go out the front door. Cover me from the window and keep your eye on Seth. Yeah. Mr. Dillon? Sarah, get off the street. No, there's been enough grief already. Don't bring any more on us. You stay out of this, Sarah! Sarah, the man who's coming out of there killed your husband. No, he didn't. What are you talking crazy for, Sarah? You know he did it. She ain't in her right mind, Pa. You shut up, you hear me? Looks like maybe we can make it after all. We'll go out the side door. Now you follow me close or you're liable not to make it at all. Please, you have to listen to me, please. Pa! They're gone, Pa. Chester, Chester, you've got to stop them. Billy Joe didn't kill my husband. You better stay here, Sarah. All right, get ready, now. They ain't out there? You'll find out if they are. Now. Get up, Seth. Do you hear me, son? Get up! See to him, will you, Chester? I'm sorry, Major. You wouldn't listen to me. You wouldn't ever listen to anyone. I tried to tell 'em. Tell 'em what? It wasn't him killed Ham. Well, then who did? I guess it was really me, Marshal. Being alone out there... just work and... and told to do things. But he was at your place. Oh, he was there. And I gave him some coffee. And we laughed and talked, and... and he said I was pretty. He said that. And for just a little while, I... I forgot how lonesome I'd been. I hoped he'd stay... I wanted him to stay. But he didn't. He heard Ham coming in the front way and... and he ran. But Ham saw him, and... and he accused me of things, Marshal, bad things. When I tried to tell him there'd been nothing wrong, he wouldn't listen to me. He said I was cheap and no good. And then he hit me. That's when Seth walked in. Seth? He tried to stop Ham from hitting me. But... but there was a fight. And Seth shot him. No! I wanted to say it right out. I was afraid of Seth. He... he told me he'd kill me if I said anything. None of this is true, Marshal. She's lying. No, I'm not. I'm not lying, Marshal. He killed Ham, so... so we could get married. He said that's the way it should have been from the beginning, that he'd always loved me. But when I told him I'd never marry him, that's when he threatened to kill me if I said anything to anyone. So, you see, Marshal, I really did kill Ham. It was because of me. If somebody would help me with his body. We'll see that he's buried, Major. No, Marshal. I'll take him home and put him to earth in his own ground. Whatever he did, he's my blood and my sin to bear. Marshal. Like I said... it was really me killed Ham. And Seth, too. I have to be punished. No, Sarah. I think you've been punished enough.
Behind the Scenes of The Prisoner
The end of the episode supposedly took place at 2 in the afternoon. However, some of the shadows at the train station made the scene appear as if it happened early in the morning or late afternoon.
Looking for More Gunsmoke Episodes?
Are you fond of an old-fashioned yet classy television series? Then Gunsmoke is for you. Whether alone or with loved ones, this 20-season television series aired from 1955 to 1975 on the CBS network will surely hit your boredom. The Prisoner is the 33rd episode of Season 17.
You can find more about any of the Gunsmoke episodes here.