The Sharecroppers Full Episode – Gunsmoke, Season #20, Episode #24
Gunsmoke joins many other Western television films and series as the enduring symbol of the Old West. Gunsmoke was highly influential in shaping the Western genre with its complex characters and storylines that tackled mature themes like racism, sexism, and violence. Among its episodes include The Sharecroppers, a Gunsmoke episode directed by Leonard Katzman and written by Earl W. Wallace. This episode is the 24th of season twenty, aired on March 31, 1975.
Festus accidentally shoots a farm boy in the leg and ends up working for the boy’s family of lazy sharecroppers. While at the farm, one of the family members tries to flirt with Festus, hoping to make her boyfriend jealous.
Read The Sharecropper‘s plotline and additional trivia, or watch the full Gunsmoke episode below.
Watch the Full Gunsmoke Episode, The Sharecroppers
Watch the full episode of The Sharecroppers:
Gunsmoke The Sharecroppers Cast
The following cast members acted in the Gunsmoke episode, The Sharecroppers:
- James Arness as Matt Dillon
- Milburn Stone as Doc
- Ken Curtis as Festus
- Buck Taylor as Newly
- Susanne Benton as Av Marie Pugh
- Victor French as Dibble Pugh
- Terry Williams as Abel Pugh
- Jacques Aubuchon as Linder Hogue
- Bruce Boxleitner as Toby Hogue
- Lisa Eilbacher as Lailee Pugh
- Graham Jarvis as Rupert
- Ted Jordan as Nathan Burke
- Robert Brubaker as Floyd
- Danil Torppe as Hargis
- Chanin Hale as Woman
- Ted Christy as Townsman (uncredited)
- Fred Dale as Townsman (uncredited)
Full Story Line for The Sharecroppers
Linder Hogue, the landlord, expresses his dismay toward Dibble Pugh after failing to turn his land into a showplace as he promised three years ago. Av Marie, Dibble’s daughter, tells Linder to leave by stating she’s going to marry his son, Toby, and live as far away from him as possible. Linder refuses to let his son marry Av Marie, only for Av Marie to drive him off by hitting his horses with a broom.
Av Marie gives Dibble her hard-earned $12.16, so the family can invest in a mule and grow crops on their land before Linder evicts them. She orders her brother Abel to go to the city and return the next day with a mule. After Av Marie leaves, Dibble tells Abel to get Av Marie an $11 mule and a dollar worth of rye whiskey and save the 16 cents for himself.
Abel attracts a crowd watching him singing and playing his old guitar. One of the townspeople gives him money for his stunning performance. A man named Rupert approaches Abel, commending him for his song. After learning that Abel’s looking for an $11 mule, Rupert fools Abel into buying Festus’s mule. Abel requests a bill of sale. Rupert gives him a piece of paper, tricking him into thinking that it’s the document he was asking for since he cannot read.
Festus finds Abel riding his mule and then asks him to get off. Abel argues that he bought it from a man. However, Festus accidentally shoots Abel as he rides off the mule, hurting his leg.
Doc tends to Abel’s wound, telling him he’ll be all right after two or three days. Marshal Matt asks Abel for a bill of sale but finds Rupert has given him a poster for a steam bath in New Orleans instead. Festus apologizes for the accident and offers to take him home.
Meanwhile, after a couple of weeks of not seeing her, Toby visits Av Marie. While in a hug, Av Marie tells Toby that Lailee saw someone like Toby riding up toward Callie Dorn’s place. Toby initially argued that other men might look like him but later confessed. He tells Av Marie that he only went to Callie’s place to give himself a chance to meet other girls before they get married. Toby further argues that he returned anyway. However, Av Marie has a revenge plan in mind: doing something similar to what Toby did to her as revenge.
Festus brings Abel home through his carriage and apologizes to Dibble for the accident he caused to his son. Abel also reveals that someone tricked him and got the money meant for buying the mule. Despite the circumstances, Abel managed to buy Dibble the whiskey, much to his delight.
Dibble used the situation to put Festus to work on his land. Av Marie sees the commotion outside and asks about what happened. After knowing that Abel lost the money and used some to buy Dibble his liquor, Av Marie suggests Festus leave. However, feeling obligated to help Abel, Festus stays and agrees to work. Abel returns to playing his guitar, and Dibble insists he gets some rest before he starts farming. Av Marie also offers Festus to come after for supper.
Toby visits Av Marie and asks about Festus. Abel introduces him as the deputy. Av Marie sees this as a chance to make Toby jealous by saying Festus has been sweet and helpful to their family and clinging onto him as she invites her inside. It is a successful attempt to make Toby jealous as he immediately leaves and warns Av Marie to be careful.
Festus starts to plow the land but grows annoyed because of Dibble’s endless talking instead of helping.
Later, Linder and Toby visit Festus to enlighten him about the shiftless Dibble. However, Festus drives them off, stating that he’s plowing the land for a reason. Av Marie brings Festus some cool water, then tells him about the Chokecherry pie she prepared for supper. Linder and Tobias tried interfering with their conversation, but Av Marie told them to leave.
While eating supper, Festus realized Av Marie was using him to make Toby jealous. Av Marie believes it’s only proper to give Toby back what he did to her. Festus tells her that it is improper to trample over others for her benefit. Av Marie could only tell him he got nothing to do about it.
Meanwhile, Linder ignites Toby’s jealousy one more time by lying about Festus and Av Marie’s relationship. His plan worked as Toby stopped chopping wood and headed to Av Marie’s place. Toby sees Festus plowing, then calls him from the bushes, only to hit him with a tree branch.
Av Marie finds Lailee with Hargis Sills, her boyfriend, who runs away as soon as he hears Av Marie. Lailee tells Av Marie that he wasn’t hiding Hargis; it’s just that she plans to introduce him to their father once everything’s settled between them.
Av Marie finds Festus groaning at a bush, complaining about the pain caused by someone he believed to be Toby. Festus tells Av Marie that her plan worked, yet he can’t stop Av Marie from heading to Toby’s place to make him apologize.
Toby was washing his face when Av Marie pushed him from behind, causing Toby to wet his torso. Av Marie argues that it’s what he deserved after hitting Festus, even stating that she no longer wants anything to do with Toby. Riled up by Av Marie’s behavior and remarks, Toby plans to hurt Festus again. Av Marie stops him, then confesses that she did those to make him jealous. After settling things between them, Av Marie encourages Toby to apologize, and although initially hesitant, Toby complies.
Toby approaches Festus, who’s busy plowing. Festus thinks his apology isn’t enough, so he tells him to prove it by finishing the work. Toby refuses to work for the shiftless Dibble. However, when Festus is about to hit him, he starts working with the plow.
Dibble receives $20 for allowing Av Marie to be with Toby. Before heading inside, Av Marie tells Dibble she’ll miss their place, even Dibble himself.
On the other hand, Rupert visits Abel and apologizes for what he did. He returns Abel’s $11, then offers him a partnership where he’ll get paid to play music. However, Rupert tells Abel that he needs $30 to make their partnership work. Abel discretely takes Dibble’s $20, then drives off with Rupert.
Linder finds Toby plowing the land, not understanding why his son has to do such a thing. Festus tells him that things Linder couldn’t understand could fill a barn, yet he might also lose his chance to see his grandchildren. Festus also tells Linder that Toby and Av Marie look like a beautiful couple.
Av Marie thanks Festus for putting up with her shiftless family. She also tells Festus that Linder gave them $50 for their trip to California, much to her delight. Before Festus leaves, Dibble asks him to return by next week so they can start planting the crops. However, Festus refuses to work for him again.
Meanwhile, Lailee feels sad about Av Marie marrying and leaving, Hargis not revisiting her, and getting stuck with Dibble. Suddenly, Hargis calls from outside, stating he’s tired of sneaking and wants to meet Lailee’s father. Dibble sees Hargis’ mule, then approaches him kindly, most likely with plans to get Hargis and his mule to work for his land.
Full Script and Dialogue of The Sharecroppers
♪ Oh could we do ♪ ♪ With this world of ours ♪ ♪ As thou dost with thy ♪ ♪ Garden bowers ♪ And a deacon of the Baptist church, and the Lord knows I try to think charitable of my fellow preacher, but Dibble Pugh, you are the laziest man the Almighty ever breathed life into! And I'll go no further with you. I want you to pack up and get on. I got a new tenant for the ground you let lay idle here. I'll tell ya, I see, I got this here paper, see? This here paper, it says... Well, you know what it says. See, right there's my mark, see that? It's right next to where you signed your name. Linder Hogue. There's writing all over it. I sure do admire writing. Surely do. Dibble Pugh, I signed that paper in good faith and charity. Av Marie, come in here. What is it, Lailee? What? (Lailee) It's Linder Hogue again. He's out there chewin' at Pa. Well, that's certainly nothing. I'll tell you what's happened. The Lord he, he separated me from my fellow man and he's marked me by misfortune. What he marked you with, Dibble Pugh, was a slothful nature! Why you come onto this farm three years ago, swearing up and down and sideways you was gonna fix it up, turn it into a showplace. A showplace. And just look at it. Look at it. You haven't even put a plow to this land. I'll tell you what, there ain't a doubt in the world but what us Pughs ain't gonna get us a plantin' of corn in the ground this year, Linder Hogue. Well, it's just gonna be a while before we can start breakin' the ground. Breaking ground? Our mule come down with this something about a week ago, and next thing I know he's belly up! Know what I think it was? Overwork. See, I'm a terrible fierce worker, and once I set my hand to it. I'll fix him. - War criminal. - Dibble! Dibble, you run that old fool off. I won't have him round here, thinkin' his people are too good to mix with us. Now Av Marie, I'm your daddy and wish you'd learn to call me right. If it wasn't for my Christian charity, young woman, you would not have had a roof o'er your head these three years gone. But she won't be satisfied unless I take her in as a daughter-in-law. If Toby and me do marry, gonna find us a place as far away from you as I can drag him. You've been taking advantage of him ever since he was big enough to push a plow. Now, Av Marie. Hush up. You ain't gonna marry him, and that's that. We'll do as we please, and you ain't got nothing to say in it. Now, I told you. Get out! (Linder) I want you to pack up, paper or no paper! Now, I surely do wish you hadn't done that. See, I think we oughta try to keep on the good side of Linder Hogue. Wish you had a more tolerant nature, that's what I wish. Well, what are we gonna do? He's got the rights on us. Unless we put on a crop, he'll send us packing. I wish Mama was here. She'd know how to get you to work. Lord knows she never taught me the secret. ♪ As thy dust... ♪ And Abel won't quit picking on that old guitar long enough to be of any help. Mama was a fine woman. Fine woman. Yes, we were man and wife for many years. It was my misfortune when the Lord chose to call her to glory. I don't begrudge her that $10 coffin. Dibble, what about Lailee? What's she to do when we're moved off? Just don't you trouble yourself about it. You listen here, any man that the Lord sets apart to make suffer the misfortunes that I've had to suffer, well he's gonna reward him in equal measure in his turn. Well, I hope he rewards you with another mule, and I hope that mule kicks you right upside the head. You ain't got a tolerant nature. That's your problem, no tolerance! Always been a grief to me. Surely has been a grief. Yes sir, grief. One of these days I'm really gonna get that plowing done. ♪ I ♪ ♪ In your ♪ ♪ Graces ♪ Ooh, what in the tarnation? That's $12.16. Twelve dollars? Well I'll... $12? That's more money than I... Twelve dollars. And I earned every penny of it too, mending other women's dresses and baking the bread. And I never meant to see it invested in no mule, but I suppose Mama would have wanted it that way. What mule, what mule you talkin' about? The mule Abel is gonna walk into town and buy, so you two can put down a crop. You know with $12, you could... you could buy yourself a good mule from most any man. You know, that's what we been needing around here is a good $12 mule. Old Bess was just pullin' on three legs. With a $12 mule, why we could just... plow this place up in no time at all. My back's been telling me, we's gonna have us a wet summer. Now, what that means is that come fall, we gonna be money ahead! Dibble. Then after a couple of years, then why we can buy our own place... Dibble, just plant one crop at a time! Now, give the money to Abel. He can be back here by tomorrow night with the mule. You know with a $12 mule, we could farm this place right. That's been the whole trouble here. Ain't had a proper mule up to now. Abel, Abel... Listen here, you know that $12 is a lot of money. Yep. You know what I was dreaming about, just a minute ago here? No. Rye whiskey. - Rye whiskey? - Rye whiskey. You know it's been so long since I settled down with a good jug of rye whiskey. Well, I can't hardly remember. No? You know what? Eleven dollar mule's a good mule. Well shoot, I've done a lot of farming with an $11 mule. Yeah? I tell you what you do. You go into town, and buy Av Marie an $11 mule. You take the other dollar, and buy me a jug of rye whiskey. - Yep. - I tell you what else you do. You take that 16 cents that's leftover, and buy yourself something. Anything catches your eye. Might as well. Good boy, Abel. (upbeat music) Mister, you know where I might be able to find a mule? A mule? Don't bother me now, I'm in a hurry. An oversight, sir. Oh, I'm sure it is. But I suggest you don't come back until you can pay for what you drink. Quite right sir, and I apologize for leaving my wallet in my other trousers. Whoa. Ah, fine afternoon wouldn't you judge it? Suppose it is. (Abel singing) What have we here? ♪ How can there be a ring ♪ ♪ That has no end ♪ ♪ How can there be a baby ♪ ♪ With no crying ♪ ♪ A cherry ♪ ♪ When it's blooming ♪ ♪ It has no stones ♪ ♪ A chicken when it's pippin' ♪ ♪ It has no bones ♪ ♪ A ring ♪ ♪ When it's rolling ♪ ♪ It has no end ♪ ♪ A baby ♪ ♪ When it's sleeping ♪ ♪ There's no crying ♪ (crowd applauding) That was simply beautiful, young man. Thank you, ma'am. She's right, son. You sure can play that thing. Bravo! Bravo, young man. You brought tears to these old eyes a moment ago. Just give me this money. A gift, boy, for your beautiful song. Tell me your name, boy. - Pugh. - Pugh? A fine and graphic name. And where are you from? Farm up in Crow Tree Valley. And what brings you to the big city? I'm gonna buy an $11 mule. - Eleven dollar mule? - Yep. - Cash money? - Yep. A mule. I think I might be able to solve your problem, young man. I might be persuaded to part with my mule over here. What do you think, my boy? Now, is this not a fine animal? Suitable for a day's work in harness, or to pull the family wagon on a Sunday picnic. Well we ain't got no wagon. Eleven dollars... Yep. Now, I want you to spend the next few minutes getting acquainted with this remarkable beast, get used to each other. Oh, I would stay to keep you company, but I've got an appointment that I'm late for. How about a bill of sale? Ah, yes of course. Blast it, I seem to have misplaced that particular document. I left my glasses at home, boy. Would you see if this is it? - Nope. - What? I can't read. Can't read, hm. Yes, it is it, of course. As long as you have that, the mule is yours. (country music) Hey you! Get your carcass off of that mule, you hear me? - What fer? - Because, that's my mule. This is my mule, I just bought it off a fella. Well I ain't gonna tell you no more, you get yourself and that banjo off of that mule. (dramatic music) (gun fires) (Abel yelping) I didn't mean to shoot ya, boy. - You hurt? - It smarts some. Deputy, will you check to see if my guitar got busted? Here, come on. (dramatic music) All right now Abel, it's gonna be all right. That is, it will if you don't go jumpin' around on it for two or three days. You know something? Kinda too bad Festus wasn't really trying to hit you. You'd have been home now without a scratch. Oh, why you old scutter. Thank you, sir. Abel, do you have a bill of sale for that mule? He gave me one. You, you can't read Abel? Nope. Well, what you got here is a hand bill for a steam bath in New Orleans. I wondered why there'd be a picture of a pretty lady on a bill of sale for a mule. I sort of figured she was the last owner. Abel, I'm sorry about what happened out yonder, but I ain't just gonna let it drop there. Matthew, I'm going after that Rupert feller and bring him back. I doubt it would do any good, Festus. There was no witnesses. It would be just the drummer's word against Abel's here, and that's not gonna stand up in court. Besides, even if we did catch up to him I doubt he's got any of the money left. Well, I just don't know what to say, Abel. It wasn't no excuse for my pistol a-going off like that. Don't trouble yourself. Don't know how I'm gonna get home, though. Can't walk. Don't you fret a bit about that. I'll see that you get home all right. Howdy, Av Marie. Well, your daddy say it was all right for you to come calling over here, Toby Hogue? He don't have no say over when I come and go. - Oh, is that so? - Of course. Aw, guess I'm just mad. 'Cause you ain't been around to see me in a couple weeks. I figured maybe there was another girl. Of course not. You're my only girl. (gentle music) Lailee was coming home from cleaning out Ms. Elwood's Tuesday night late, and she says she swore she saw someone looked just like you riding up toward Callie Dorn's place on the ridge. And everybody knows Callie entertains men callers! Well, I guess there's others round look like me. Callie's a sweet little thing. So I hear. Callie Dorn's a shameless hussy and you're worse for lying about it. Oh Av Marie. Maybe you oughta be spending all your time with her! Maybe you should take her up to the waterfall at night, when the moon is full! That's enough! Now, the only reason I went up to see Callie Dorn was, well I figured you and me was getting pretty close to being married. Close ain't close enough! And I figured, well... I figured you and me was gonna be married a long time and I figured I wouldn't get no more chance to... What are you trying to say? Well, you know, see no other girls. Uh-huh. Well, I thought I oughta have something to think about. You know, look back on. A man needs. So you thought you'd go up to Callie Dorn's, maybe store yourself up a little memory, huh? Well, I came back, didn't I? Doggone you, Av Marie. Maybe I want something to look back on. What do you think of that? What does that mean? A decent girl can't go around like that. It's different with a man. (Av Marie) Goodbye, Toby Hogue! - (carriage approaching) - (gentle guitar music) (Abel humming) Whoa. Who you got here, Abel? Deputy. He ain't got nobody. I just brang him home. You his pa, are ya? Well, that kinda depends. He ain't done nothing unlawful, has he? Oh no, no, he ain't did nothing wrong. See, there was this here little accident where he kinda took a bullet in his leg there. - (Dibble) He what? - And me, I'm the one that shot him. You shot him? Well, here let me look at that. Well that surely is a bullet hole. It goes right in there, comes right out the other side clean as a whistle. Clean through, yep. Say, is this here the mule you got? No, this here ain't your mule, no. Well, where's the mule you were supposed to get? City feller snookered me out of the money, Pa. He didn't slick you out of all of it, did he? No. Just enough left for this. Oh, now that there is gonna be a blessing to help me through my trials. Give her here. Where do you want me to put your boy, Mr. Pugh? I've gotta be gettin' on back to Dodge. I wanna tell you, Deputy, you putting a bullet here in old Abel, you know that kinda changes my prospects. What do you mean? Well, my prospects was I was gonna have me a mule, and me and Abel here was gonna get us a plantin' of corn in. See, we gotta get us a crop in. We don't, Linder Hogue's gonna run us off the place here. (Abel playing gentle guitar music) Sure is a fine lookin' mule you got there, Deputy. Why, a man had a mule like that, why, he could plow up this place. Mule like that I'd calculate, why shoot, it wouldn't take no more than a week. You could plow up this whole place here. Whoa, whoa, you just back up now. If you're thinking what I'm thinking you're thinking, that old dog won't hunt. If you's to give me the loan of that there mule, why you'd be out of here in four days. Shoot, all you'd have to do is lay in the shade and sip on lemonade. Tell you something else, Deputy. I'm a terrible fierce worker once I set my hand to it. Ain't that right, Abel? He's got a reputation, all right. Who do you figure? (Festus) Plow? Hogue got a plow. Using it like a... Oh, Av Marie. - This here's Festus Hoogen... - Haggen. Haggen. He's gonna stay with us for a few days. Give us the loan of his mule. His mule? What happened to our mule? What mule was that? The one Abel was supposed to buy with my money. Oh, that mule. See Av Marie, what happened was I... You lost the money. Well missy, I can tell you what happened there. See, your brother, he run into a slipperty yahoo there in town and just got shucked clean out of that money. Well, you lost all the money huh? Well, I see there was enough left so y'all can get liquored up. Oh well, that there's the deputy's. Why you, I don't know how you got tangled up with them two, but you take my advice. Turn around home. Well missy, ain't nothing I'd ruther do, but see I kinda feel like I owe Abel here something, being I'm the one that shot him in the leg. Shot him in the...? On top of every, did you go get yourself shot too? (Av Marie) Well, that... That does. Get yourself over to the house. Easy. (sighs) You don't look like the sort to shoot a man outta meanness, Deputy. Oh no, ma'am. Surely do appreciate your bringing my brother back. Yes'm, you're welcome. Dibble, what do you think you're doing? You might just help the deputy unhitch now. Now Av Marie, me and the deputy got it all talked out. See come daybreak, I'm gonna bite into that plowing like it is soft crackers. I just gotta get me some rest. Gotta get my strength up. I got a lotta hard farming facing me come daybreak. (gentle guitar music) Come up into the house after you've finished deputy, and I'll scare you up some supper. Obliged, ma'am. Giddy up, Ruth. (Dibble sighs) (Abel's guitar music continues) (boy cooing) (boy) Lailee. Lailee! (gentle guitar music) Howdy, Abel. Howdy. Well, I thought you'd be at home where you belonged. Or maybe riding up towards sweet little Callie Dorn's house. I come by to see Abel. Oh? I guess I can come by to see Abel if I want to. Well, you two just go right ahead and visit, then. Well, how you doing, Abel? Tolerable. Who's that feller out there? Just a deputy feller. Deputy, huh? What for? What for, what? What's he hanging around here for? (Abel) Pa's taking loan of his mule. I think he's been real sweet, helping us out the way he is. I'm gonna have to try to make him feel right at home. Maybe take him up to the waterfall. Well I'd better not catch you up by the waterfall. You wasn't hardly invited to come along now, was ya? Missy? If you'll show me where I'm gonna be bedding down, I'll... Well, right inside with the family, deputy. Oh, by the way, this here's Toby Hogue. His daddy owns the land. He's the one that's trying to move us off. Howdy, Toby. Inside, just like the family. Well you better be careful, Av Marie, that's all. You just better be careful. He ain't too sociable a feller, is he? I don't know what's gotten into him. I want you to come in and meet my sister. Lailee? Lailee. Well, Deputy you come right over here and set yourself down. Make yourself right at home. Much obliged, ma'am. I'll get you a nice hot cup of coffee. Well, where have you been? Oh, just out for a walk. Who's he? This here's Deputy... Festus Haggen, ma'am. - Festus, this is my little sister, Lailee. - Howdy. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Lailee. Pa's gonna borrow his mule to do the planting. Well I'll believe that when I see it, excuse me. Don't feel like she's got too much faith in your pa. Well, we'll just have a nice hot cup of coffee and don't worry about nothing until dinner's ready. Get a good night's sleep. I have a feeling you're gonna be needing it. (Dibble) It's a sandy loam. It's softer than mush. We oughta be done with this in three days, tops. I'll tell ya, Deputy, no man is more grateful for the favor you're doing us. See this back of mine, you see, it's... Well, I'll tell you it just... sometimes it goes out for no reason at all. It happened two springs ago right around planting time. The one thing I live in dread of, it's suffering. See, I'm a man that's been marked by misfortune... Pugh, you just keep up that yapping of yourn, and I'm gonna show you what actual misfortune is. And I'm just liable to straighten out that back of yourn to boot. Shiftless old knucklehead. Next time somebody wants to steal a mule of mine, I'm just gonna draw back and let him go ahead on and steal him. I swear I am. Get up, Ruth. Well now, there ain't no reason to turn sour about it. Seemed like a nice fella first off. Now he's gotten all grumpy, snappin' at everybody. (plucky music) I don't suppose you've come out to help chop a while. Choppin's a young man's work, Tobias. Be grateful you've work to keep your hands busy, and a roof over your head. Clyde Oaks just dropped by. He told me there's a stranger plowing my ground for Dibble Pugh. So? Well, only a terrible misguided man would take on Dibble Pugh's burden. Or a mighty dumb one. You and me are going out there and enlightening him. Can't you spread the word yourself since I got to finish with this? Come along, Tobias. I want you by my side, and you are my son and my good right hand, my boy. And your left, and your back, and both your legs. Respect thy parent, Tobias. (Festus) Whoa, whoa. Get yourself some wind. (Linder) You there! Don't "you there" me, what do you want? Why are you doing Dibble Pugh's work for him? He can't be paying you anything. I reckon that there is my business. You must be that Hogue feller that girl told me about. That's right, and this here is my land you're working. Hugh has just been squatting on it going on three years now. Well that there is betwixt you and him. Now get out of my way, I got plowing to do. What my pa's saying is, it'd make us real happy if you'd turn around and get back where you came from. Just let me tell you Hogueses something. Ain't nothing that'd make me any gladder than to do just that, just quick as I get this here field turned. I ain't prancing up and down here behind this here mule for the fun of it. It ain't right, mister. It ain't right under heaven that a man be given a crop without he invests his toil. Sets a bad example for neighbors. Don't appear to me like you give much of a hoot about your neighbors, or what they think neither. (Av Marie) Ha, that's sure the truth you pious old loafer. Heaven forgive her. What are you doing, Av Marie? I'm just bringing Festus some cool well water. Gotta keep him company while he drinks it. I drew it up for you myself. Much obliged, it's mighty thoughty of you, missy. Well, why don't you and me go find some shade? What? Tobias, you just ignore her. I've been busy all morning - baking you a surprise for your supper. - You have? Chokecherry pie. Chokecherry pie? - Well I ain't eat me no Chokecherry... - Deputy! Are you gonna do as I ask? Festus is gonna do just as he pleases, and you can go hang, Linder Hogue. You take that there Toby Hogue too. (plucky music) Festus, why don't you tell me what it's like living in the big city? - Pa! - Oh, hush up, Tobias. I swear, I never have saw nobody eat so blame fast and run off like your pa and brother done there. Oh, there's times he can move fast, all right. Missy? That there is as good a chokecherry pie as I've ever laid a tooth to. Purty near worth all that plowing. I never seen anyone eat a whole chokecherry pie by itself. I'll bet you come down with a bellyache. Lailee, don't you have chores need doing? Well, it seems to me you wanna be alone with him. You better watch out, Festus. She just got rid of one beau. She's lookin'. Lailee, I told you get yourself in the other room. How long you been herding this bunch, missy? Can't you call me Av Marie like everybody else? Av Marie. More than two years since our mama died. I'm about done now. Lailee's old enough to take care of herself. Now I'm not about to end up no old maid. Did you say you was married, Festus? I didn't say. What are you getting at, Av Marie? I was just asking whether or not you was married. Well no, I ain't! Oh. That's too bad. No, it ain't too bad neither. That there is just the way it's gonna stay, too. Let me tell you what the truth of this whole thing is. I'm old enough to be your pa, don't you know that? Here you are, trying to use me for bait to get your hook into that Toby Hog, or Hogue, or whatever his name is. Ain't that right? Give him back some of his own's what I say. Well, that there ain't no way to go about it. Tramping over other folks to have your own way. Anybody do a thing like that ain't much of a person. That's all I got to say. Well you don't know nothin' about it. I hope you do get a bellyache. I just now took a ride down by Dibble's. Feller's still there, turning ground. I'd say that deputy is not a man who is heedful of the Lord's will. Even when it's pointed out to him clear as I could make it. Can't say for rightly sure, but from my point of vantage kind of looked like he was sweet-talking Av Marie. Wouldn't surprise me none if they were closer than the bark of a tree by now. Probably sitting in the shade, kissin' like fools. You feel wrath rising up in you with a great and righteous storm? I feel like bustin' a certain somebody in the teeth, that's the same thing! His will be done. (pleasant music) Whoa! (Toby) Deputy. Over here! (Festus) Who's that? How's that pie sit in your belly now? - (gentle guitar music) - (boy cooing) What in the tarnation is that hooting? Young feller come along courtin' Lailee. He's off in them trees yonder. Sure is a queer way to go about it, that's all I can say. (Av Marie) Don't you boys work too hard. (Lailee giggling) (Lailee) Hargis, stop it, no. Lailee! Hargis, wait! Hargis Sills, you come back here! It's only my sister! Who was that, if you don't mind me asking? That's my beau. What are you hiding him for, does he have fits? I wasn't hiding him. (Av Marie) Oh no, not much. What's that you got all over your eyes? Just a little lamp black. And I'm not hiding him. I've been wondering where you've been sneaking off to in the afternoons. Oh, Av Marie. Having a name like Pugh's hard enough to overcome. I just didn't want him to meet Pa 'til I had him good. Well, I can't blame you for that, honey. Now, you go home and start the hominy soaking. He ain't never coming back, neither. Don't worry, he'll be back. (pleasant music) Deputy? (Festus groans) What happened? Somebody clobbered me on the head. Sounded awful lot like that Toby Hogue. Looks like it worked, though. He's jealous, all right. If that's what you was aiming for, it blame sure worked. I'm gonna get myself over to Hogueses place, and I'm gonna learn that young feller a hard lesson. You ain't in no condition to do nothing like that. I'll go get Toby, and I'll bring him back and I'll make him apologize to ya. Apologize, my foot! That ain't gonna help my head none. How do you like it, Toby Hogue, getting tipped from behind? Av Marie, what'd you go and do that for? 'Cause you had it coming. Crackin' that deputy's skull. Oh, I didn't hurt him much. Figured he needed some learning. Well, you better learn to stay off our place. 'Cause I don't want nothing more to do with the trashy likes of you. It's still that deputy, ain't it? Well I'm going over there, and finish the job! You lay one hand on him, I never will say another word to you and I mean it! You already said you didn't wanna have no more to do with me. Well, I didn't mean it. Anyway, I seen you playing up to him. I was just doing it to make you jealous, you fool. Don't you understand nothin'? (pleasant music) I bet we got time for a little walk up to the waterfall. After you go over and apologize to the deputy for hitting him. Apologize? Well. (upbeat music) (Festus) Get up, get up Ruth. Whoa, whoa. Well, there you are with your bald face hanging out. Just step up here, I'm gonna knock knots on your head faster than you can rub 'em. Now, now I don't know what your plans are deputy, but I just been up to the house and gave Dibble Pugh $20 to claim Av Marie. You'll excuse me if I don't throw no chivaree for ya you back quacking clod hopping... Now, now, now! Now, Av Marie sent me up here to apologize to you for whomping you with that stick. Your blamed sorrying don't help my head a bit. Well, what do you want, then? I ain't gonna crawl over it. I'd ruther knock you flatter than a wet toe sack, but I'll tell you what I'll do. I have just about a half day's plowing left to do here, and if you're as sorry as you claim you're being... What? Work Dibble's ground for him? That's just what I figured, all talk. Now you had your chance. I probably should've let you have her, Deputy. Giddyap! Never thought I'd see the day I'm pushing a plow for Dibble Pugh. I wish y'all weren't so darn interesting. You keep them furrows straight now, you hear me? (upbeat music) (Dibble) Seventeen, 18, 19, 20. Dibble, if you got a lick of sense, you'll take some of that money and fix this place up some. Oh, that ain't the half of it, Av Marie. This here money's gonna put this family back on its feet. Now, you've been a comfort to me since your ma's passed on. It's gonna be a terrible burden when Toby takes you off. Terrible burden on me. Well, I figure you'll bear up. I'm going to miss this old place, though. Don't know why. Even you, Dibble. Did you hear that, Abel? Do you hear what she said? That's a real sweet thing for Av Marie to say. Real sweet. Yep. I never figured nobody would give me $20 for her. You figure maybe I ought've asked 25? Twenty dollars is good money, Pa. This money's gonna make all the difference in the world, Abel. Yessir. Ain't gonna be no more cropping for us Pughs. Gonna get us our own place. Bottom land, right down by the river. Might even get us a buggy. I oughta have a buggy. It's only fittin' for a man of position in the community. (gentle guitar music) I'm delighted to see you haven't lost your touch, young man. Young man, I'm aware I did you something of a disservice a few days ago, and my conscience has not ceased tormenting me since. So, having recouped my fortunes through various transactions in the next towns, I vowed to come in search of you and make things right. And furthermore, I am here to propose that you and I establish a partnership. I happen to be in a unique position to acquire the rights to a remarkable potion. A purge of heretofore unequaled velocity. What's that got to do with me, though? In your music, my boy. You have the power to attract multitudes. In my tongue, I have the power to part them from their money. Together, we will become a legend and all you have to do is play. You mean I'd get paid for just playing my music? Handsomely. And I'll even get you a new guitar to replace that one. - Woowee! - Sh sh sh. - New guitar? - Yes, sir. There is one need, however. A supply of this remarkable medicine is gonna cost the partnership $30. Now having returned your $11 to you, leaves me quite bereft of funds. Trying to tell me you're broke again? Precisely. (Abel) I know where there's another $20. (Abel plays slow song) (man) We're not selling tombstones boy, happy, happy! (Abel) Yes sir! (Abel plays upbeat guitar music) What's goin' on here? What's Toby doin' out in that field? Appears to me like he's plowing. Ain't gonna be for long, though. Purty near got her done. (Linder) I just don't understand. World's gettin' too confusing. You know something, Hogue? The things you don't understand would fill a good sized barn and then some. You might not even get a chance to see your own grandchildren. They probably won't ever even come to visit you. I dang sure wouldn't. They sure do make a looksome couple, don't they? - Festus? - Yes'm. I wanna thank you for putting up with us. Well, reckon everything worked out tolerable well. When are you and Toby fixin' to leave for California? - Next week. - Y'are? Old Linder give us $50 for the trip. Do tell. He did, you could've knocked me over. Lean over here. You better not let old Toby catch you doing that. I couldn't stand another clobberin' on the noggin. (chuckles) Get up, Ruth. Get up. Get up. Hey, Hogan. Whoa. Haggen. Pugh, I wished I could say it's been pleasuresome. Oh, it's been a misery. First the back, Abel runnin' off with all my money. That's money I was countin' on to get me back on my feet. Been one misfortune after another. I'll tell you what, Deputy. Why don't you come on back up this way next week, sit a spell? I'll be doing the seeding. Why shoot, you could just sit in the shade and drink lemonade. You talk like my foot's asleep. Well, what's wrong, honey? You gettin' married and goin' away. I ain't seen Hargis since you scared him off the other day. What am I gonna do here stuck with Pa with a name like Pugh? (Hargis) Lailee! Lailee, you come out here! Hargis? Lailee, I'm tired of sneaking around out in the woods out there, and I come to face your daddy man to man and that's all there is to it. Oh, Hargis. (pleasant music) That's some strumpin'-lookin' fine boy. You're doing the manful thing, boy. I'm Lailee's daddy. Dibble's the name. Yes sir, that's a fine lookin' mule you got there. You know when a man got a mule like that, he's got prospects. I'll tell you something else, you know I done a lot of hard farming with a mule worse than the one you got there. I'm a terrible fierce worker once I set my hands to it. - Would you like a lemonade? - Yes sir. (Dibble) Get the man some lemonade. (upbeat music) (upbeat orchestra music)
Behind the Scenes of The Sharecroppers
James Arness commented that the series’ cancellation caught the actors by surprise. This episode wasn’t supposed to be the last as the cast members and crew expected the show to continue at least for another season, possibly even three more.
Looking for More Gunsmoke Episodes?
If you’re planning to watch something alone or with friends, try any episode from the Gunsmoke franchise! It is a classic American Western television series under the CBS network, airing from 1955 to 1975. The 24th episode of Season 20 is entitled The Sharecroppers.
You can find more about any of the Gunsmoke episodes here.