GunsmokeSeason 22

 

 

Episode 685: Elegy for a Marshal – Part One

 

 

WRITER:  Amanda

 

CAST:

 

Matt Dillon – U.S. Marshal

Kitty Russell Dillon – part-owner of the Long Branch Saloon

Doc Adams – Dodge City physician

Festus Haggen – Deputy U.S. Marshal

Fred - Jeddo barkeeper

Quincey Neagle – gunfighter

Alice Miller – widowed land owner

Claude Pickens – Jeddo undertaker and blacksmith

Betsy - Saloon Girl in Jeddo

Three Gravediggers in Jeddo

 

 

TEASER

 

FADE IN:

 

EXTERIOR MEDIUM SHOT (DAY): UNFAMILIAR SALOON.  IT’S SMALL AND ROUGH LOOKING WITH FEW ADORNMENTS.  THE BAR TAKES UP MOST OF THE ROOM.  THERE ARE A FEW TABLES WITH A FEW PATONS SEATED AT THEM.  THE BARKEEPER IS LEANED OVER THE BAR PLAYING SOLITAIRE ON THE COUNTER.  THE SCENE CONTINUES FOR SEVERAL SECONDS.  NO ONE IS TALKING.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: DOOR OF THE SALOON.  FESTUS HAGGEN PUSHES THROUGH INTO THE ROOM, LOOKING AROUND WARILY, HIS EYES SQUINTED.  AFTER HE HAS SCANNED THE ROOM, HE WALKS UP TO THE COUNTER, HIS SPURS JINGLING AS USUAL.  WE CAN SEE HE HAS BEEN TRAVELING A LONG DISTANCE.  HIS CLOTHES ARE DUSTY, AND HE LOOKS TRAIL-WORN.  HE LEANS ON THE BAR AND GLANCES AT THE BARKEEPER, WHO CONTINUES TO PLAY CARDS.  FESTUS CLEARS HIS THROAT AND THE BARKEEPER FINALLY LOOKS UP.  NOT IN A HURRY, HE PUSHES AWAY FROM HIS GAME AND STEPS CLOSER TO FESTUS.

 

BARKEEPER: Howdy.

 

FESTUS: Howdy.  How ‘bout a beer?

 

BARKEEPER: Sure.  It’s ten cents.

 

FESTUS: (His eyes widen.)  Ten cents?

 

BARKEEPER: Somethin’ wrong, Mister?

 

FESTUS: (frowning) Why, in Dodge we onliest pay five cents fer a beer.

 

BARKEEPER: Well, you ain’t in Dodge, are ya’?

 

FESTUS: (He grumbles and fishes out the required coins.) Whoever heerd a’ sich

 

BARKEEPER: (He hands Festus the beer.) So, you from Dodge, are ya’?

 

FESTUS: (still irritated over the beer) Uh huh.

 

BARKEEPER: That’s a far piece from here.  Whatcha doin’ in Jeddo?

 

FESTUS: (glancing around as he drinks) Lookinfer somethin’. 

 

BARKEEPER:   Most folks lookinfer somethin’ are really lookinfer someone.

 

FESTUS: (He glances up at the barkeeper, but doesn’t respond to that comment.  Instead, he makes a simple observation.)  Seems like ya’ got yerseffs a quiet town.

 

BARKEEPER: Mostly.

 

FESTUS CONTINUES TO DRINK, WHILE SCANNING THE SUBDUED CUSTOMERS.

 

BARKEEPER: ‘Course, if you’d been here coupla days ago, you’d a got yer fill of excitement.

 

FESTUS: Thet a fact?

 

BARKEEPER: Had us a shootout, just like ya’ do in Dodge.

 

FESTUS: (suddenly interested) A shootout?

 

BARKEEPER: Yep.  Lawman come inta town lookinfer Ouincey Nagle.  Sed he wuz gonna take him in fer shootin’ up a freight office in Wichita.

 

FESTUS: (puts down his beer, very interested now) Lawman?

 

BARKEEPER: Big fella.  I told him Quince was fast, fastest I ever seen, but he didn’t listen.  ‘Bout that time ol’ Quince come in and before I knowed it they wuz drawed and done.

 

FESTUS: (licking his lips as if he’s not sure he wants to hear more) Whutwhut happened?

 

BARKEEPER: Like we figgered, ol’ Quince plugged him good, kilt him.  Shame, but I told him Quince was fast.

 

FESTUS: (His face has gone white.)  The lawman’s – dead?

 

BARKEEPER:   Deader’n my Aint Maisey.

 

FESTUS: (We can see he’s having trouble taking this in.) Where – where’s the – the body?

 

BARKEEPER:  Oh, he’s over in th’ churchyard.  Him bein’ a lawman and all, we felt the Christian thing ta’ do wuz see him buried proper.  (He digs into his vest pocket.) This is his.  Weren’t sure where ta’ send it.

 

THE BARKEEPER HOLDS OUT THE BADGE TOWARD FESTUS, WHO TAKES IT HESITANTLY.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON THE BADGE.  WE CAN CLEARLY SEE THE ENGRAVING: U.S. MARSHAL.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON FESTUS.  HE STARES AT THE BADGE, HIS EYES PAINED AND SHINING.

 

DISSOLVE TO MAIN TITLE

 

FADE OUT

 

 

XXXX

 

 

FADE IN:

 

 

ACT ONE

 

EXTERIOR MEDIUM SHOT (DAY): A SMALL, UNKEMPT CEMETERY.  THE WIND IS BLOWING TUMBLEWEEDS PAST THE CRUDE CROSSES AND MARKERS, ONLY SOME OF WHICH HAVE ROUGH, HAND-CARVED LETTERING.  CAMERA SHOT IS FROM FESTUS’ BACK AND OVER HIS SHOULDER.  HE IS STANDING IN FRONT OF A FRESH GRAVE, HAT IN HIS HAND, HEAD BOWED.  A JAGGED PIECE OF WOOD PROTRUDES FROM THE GROUND AT THE HEAD OF THE GRAVE – NO LETTERING ON IT. 

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON FESTUS’ FACE.  THE GRIEF IS PLAIN ON HIS CRAGGY FEATURES.  HIS EYES ARE MOIST, AND HIS TEETH ARE CLENCHED.  FOR A LONG MOMENT, HE JUST STARES AT THE GRAVE.  FINALLY, HE SIGHS.

 

FESTUS: (his voice full of sorrow and loss) Oh, Matthew.

 

PULL BACK TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE BARKEEPER WALKS INTO THE SHOT, STANDING AT FESTUS’ LEFT.  HE LOOKS DOWN AT THE GRAVE AND SHAKES HIS HEAD.

 

BARKEEPER: I told ‘im.

 

FESTUS: (still too stunned to be angry at the remark) Did Matth – did the lawman hev ennythang on him?  Enny personal items?

 

BARKEEPER: (looks a little sheepish) Well, he had three twenty-dollar gold pieces, a few ten-dollar pieces, and a watch.  Didn’t figure he’d be needin’ them, so we – uh – we divided up the money –

 

FESTUS: (his head snaps around to glare at the barkeeper) Whut kinda men live here, ennyway?

 

BARKEEPER: We didn’t know he wuz somebody –

 

FESTUS: (snapping and grabbing the man’s shirtfront) Somebody?  Somebody!  Listen ‘chere ya thickheaded, thievin’ no ‘count –

 

BARKEEPER: (pulling away) Hey, now.  I ain’t no thief.  Didn’t take none a thet money.  It was the others.  (softening a little) Look, I kin tell he was a friend of yours, and I’m sorry about that.  (He reaches in to his vest pocket and pulls out a long folded wallet and hands it to Festus.)  He had this, too.  I reckon they’re his papers.  Has a picture in there of a pretty woman and some kids.  (shakes his head)  Shame.

 

SHAKEN, FESTUS TAKES THE WALLET AND LOOKS INSIDE.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: THE OPEN WALLET.  FESTUS PULLS SOMETHING OUT OF ONE OF THE FOLDS.  WE SEE A PICTURE THAT CLEARLY SHOWS KITTY AND THE THREE CHILDREN. 

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: FESTUS.  HE CLOSES HIS EYES AS IF HE CAN’T BEAR TO LOOK ANY MORE.  AFTER A MOMENT, HE CLOSES THE WALLET AND TURNS ANGRILY TOWARD THE BARKEEPER.

 

FESTUS: You had this chere wallet all along and didn’t send no wire er nothinta let nobody know about him?

 

BARKEEPER: (shrugs) Ain’t many folks ‘round here kin read.  Nobody know’d what his name was.

 

FESTUS: Nobody in this chere town kin read?

 

BARKEEPER: Town ain’t that big, mister.  We ain’t educated like you folks from the city.

 

FESTUS: (looks a bit chagrined at this statement) Yeah, wael

 

BARKEEPER:  Now, the Wider Miller can read and cipher and everything, but she lives more’n fifteen miles out.  Don’t git inta town much. Hadn’t seen her in a couple of months, I suppose.

 

FESTUS: (realizes it doesn’t matter anyway) You got a telegraph office?

 

BARKEEPER: Used to.  Ain’t nobody kin operate it no more.  Closest operator’s ‘bout thirty miles.

 

FESTUS: (nods tiredly) How ‘bout a place fer thnite?

 

BARKEEPER: Ol’ Grady Buckhorn’ll bed ya down at his place.  Next to th’ stables.  Not fancy, but – (He looks Festus up and down.) – I don’t figure you much for fancy, anyway.

 

FESTUS: (ignores the insult) Whut about th’ feller whut done this?

 

BARKEEPER:  Quincey Neagle?  Ain’t seen him since the’ shootin’.  He’s a restless one.  Comes and goes.  Won’t be long afore he comes back through.  (His eyes narrow at Festus.)  I wouldn’t wait fer him unless you wanna join yer friend, here.

 

FESTUS: (He looks down at the grave again, grief anew on his face.) Jest show me th’ way ta’ Buckhorn’s place.

 

BARKEEPER: Shore.  I think ol’ Grady’s got rid of most of them bedbugs by now.

 

CLOSE SHOT ON FESTUS, WHO SHOOTS THE BARKEEPER A WARY LOOK AS THEY WALK AWAY FROM THE CEMETERY.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM SHOT (DAY): A BLACKSMITH’S SHOP.  THERE IS ONE RATHER BEEFY MAN HAMMERING AT A PIECE OF IRON FROM A WAGON.  HE IS SWEATING, AS WOULD BE EXPECTED FOR THAT KIND OF WORK.  FESTUS ENTERS THE SCENE FROM HIS RIGHT AND WATCHES HIM UNTIL THE MAN NOTICES HIM STANDING THERE.  THE MAN LOOKS UP, BUT DOESN’T STOP WHAT HE IS DOING.

 

BLACKSMITH: Can I help you?

 

FESTUS: I’m lookinfer th’ undertaker.  Some feller over ta th’ saloon sent me chere, but –

 

BLACKSMITH: That’s right.  I’m the undertaker.

 

FESTUS: (eyes wide) You’re th’ undertaker?  I ain’t never seed no undertaker ‘at looked as healthy as you.

 

PICKENS: (looks up briefly, then goes back to work) Well, now you have.  Name’s Pickens.  Claude Pickens.  You have somebody needs burying?

 

FESTUS: (Sadness crosses his face before he can push it back.) Naw.  You done that fer me arreddy.

 

PICKENS:  (looks up again, interested) You mean the lawman?

 

FESTUS: (nods) Kin ya tell me much about whut happened?

 

PICKENS: (Considers for a minute, then lays down his equipment and steps back.) It was pretty fast.  Lawman said he had come for Quince.  Quince said he wasn’t going.  The lawman went for his gun, Quince outdrew him, and that was that.

 

CLOSE SHOT ON FESTUS:  HE FROWNS AT THIS INFORMATION.

 

FESTUS: Did th’ – the lawman say ennythang before – well, wuz there enny last words?

 

PICKENS: (shakes his head) Quince’s bullet hit him square through the heart.  Didn’t have time to blink, much less say anything.  He was warned.

 

FESTUS: And ya’ say the lawman drawed first?

 

PICKENS: That’s what I said.  He must not have been a very good lawman judging from all the scars on his body.  It appears like he got hit more than he hit.

 

FESTUS: (teeth almost snarling, steps close to the blacksmith) Mister, if I wasn’t in a hurry, I’d take a bullwhip to ya fer sayinsich.  That thar lawman yer a talkin’ about is the best lawman this chere country’s ever seen.

 

PICKENS: (not particularly worried) Was.

 

FESTUS: Whut?

 

PICKENS: He WAS the best lawman, maybe.  Not anymore.  Look, I’m sorry about your friend.  I gave him a decent, Christian burial.  I figured maybe you’d thank me for that.

 

FESTUS: (visibly keeping himself from throttling the man) Yeah.  Much obliged.

 

FESTUS GLARES ONCE MORE AT PICKENS AND SHUFFLES AWAY FROM HIS SHOP.

 

XXXX

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT:  SALOON.  FESTUS IS LEANING ON THE BAR AT THE FAR RIGHT, A SALOON GIRL LEANING NEXT TO HIM.  HER MAKE-UP IS HEAVY, AND UP CLOSE WE CAN TELL SHE HAS THE WORN LOOK OF SOMEONE WHOSE BEAUTY DAYS – IF THERE WERE ANY – HAVE LONG PASSED.

 

SALOON GIRL: Like I said, I noticed yer marshal becuz he wuz a good lookin’ man.  And there ain’t too many of them ‘round here no more.

 

FESTUS: Miss – uh –

 

SALOON GIRL: I’m jest Betsy.  That’s all.

 

FESTUS: Wael, Miss Betsy, whut kin ya tell me ‘bout Quincey Neagle?

 

BETSY: (rolls her eyes) He don’t like ta pay.   Thinks he’s pretty enough to git it fer free, but I told him –

 

FESTUS: (interrupting and turning a bit red) Fergit that.  Jest tell me ‘bout him shootinMatth – the marshal.

 

BETSY: (frowns in disappointment at having her story cut short.)  Arrite.  That lawman come in here askin’ after Quince.  He wuz a big, good-lookin’ feller, and I declared to him how I’d be rite partial to a beer, but he wuz set on Quince.  No sooner’n Fred told him –

 

FESTUS: Fred?

 

BETSY: (nods her head toward the bar) Fred – the barkeeper.  Figured you knowed his name, much as ye’ve talked at him.

 

FESTUS: Go on.

 

BETSY: Wael, no sooner’n Fred told him he ain’t seen Quince, Quince come rite on in.  They looked at each other fer a minute.  Then the lawman told Quince he’d come ta’ take him in fer somethin’ – I don’t remember.  They looked at each other fer a minute.  Then they drawed and next thing I knowed, that lawman was on th’ floor.  Quince got ‘im rite through th’ heart.  (She smiles wistfully.) Shame.  I think I coulda gotten ta’ know that marshal rite well.

 

FESTUS: (teeth gritted) Don’t you count on it.

 

BETSY: (glaring at him) Wael, don’t matter none now, does it?

 

FESTUS: Where did Neagle go after thshootin”?

 

BETSY: Don’t know.  He comes an’ goes as he pleases.  Some folks say he spends time with a Mulatto girl down near El Paso. He kin have her fer all I care.

 

FESTUS: (disappointed) Wael, thank ye fer yer time.  If ya see or hear ennythang, I’ll be around.

 

BETSY: I won’t, but you kin come around enny time.

 

FESTUS NODS AND STEPS UP TO THE BAR.  FRED IS BEHIND IT.  HE LOOKS UP FROM HIS GAME OF SOLITAIRE.

 

BARKEEPER (FRED): Find ennything?

 

FESTUS: Not much.  Whut about this Wider Miller ya’ talked on before?

 

FRED: Wider Miller?  Oh, she ain’t bin in town fer a coupla months.  She wouldn’t know nothin’.  Her place is ‘bout fifteen miles north, if ya’ got a mind.  Be a waste of time, though.

 

FESTUS: I don’t reckon it’d do much good at that.

 

FRED: You gonna stay in Jeddo long?  Ol’ Quince might not be back for weeks or even months.

 

FESTUS: I s’pose I outta be headin’ back fer Dodge.  Miz Kitty’ll be worried – (He stops suddenly, as if realizing what he’ll have to face when he returns home.  His voice is hoarse when he speaks again.)  I – uh – I thank yafer yer hep.  An’ fer seein’ Matthew – the marshal – buried.  I’ll be a comin’ back sometime later.  (Now his eyes harden.)  You see Quincey Neagle, you kin tell him Festus Haggen is a lookinfer him.

 

FRED: (lifts an eyebrow) I’ll do it.  Agin, I’m sorry ‘bout yer friend.

 

FESTUS NODS SADLY.  THE CAMERA FOLLOWS HIM AS HE WALKS TO THE STABLES, BRINGS RUTH OUT AND MOUNTS HER, HEADING TOWARD DODGE, WEARY AND DREADING THE NEWS HE HAS TO TELL.

 

 

FADE OUT

 

 

XXXX

 

 

FADE IN:

 

 

ACT TWO

 

EXTERIOR LONG SHOT (EVENING): FRONT STREET.  FESTUS AND RUTH ARE PLODDING DOWN THE STREET, THE LONG BRANCH ON THEIR RIGHT, THE JAIL ON THEIR LEFT.  RUTH’S GAIT IS WEARY AND SLOW.  FESTUS IS SLOUCHED IN THE SADDLE, PHYSICIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY DRAINED.  HE PULLS RUTH UP TO THE RAILING OF THE JAIL, BUT DOESN’T GO IN.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: FESTUS GAZES ACROSS THE STREET AND UP.  WE CAN TELL HE’S LOOKING AT DOC’S DOOR.  WITH A SIGH, HE STARTS TO WALK ACROSS FRONT STREET.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: DOC’S STAIRS.  FESTUS SLOWLY CLIMBS THE STAIRS, THE RELUCTANCE CLEAR IN HIS MEASURED STEPS.  WHEN HE REACHES THE TOP, WE

 

CUT TO INTERIOR MEDIUM SHOT: DOC’S OFFICE.  DOC ISN’T IMMEDIATELY VISIBLE.  FESTUS CLOSES THE DOOR AND TAKES A BREATH.

 

FESTUS: Doc?

 

FROM THE BACK ROOM WE HEAR DOC RESPOND.

 

DOC: Here.  I’m comin’.

 

HE SHUFFLES OUT AS FAST AS HE CAN.  WE GET THE IDEA THAT HE HAS BEEN WAITING FOR FESTUS’ RETURN.  HE IS DRESSED IN HIS USUAL CLOTHES EXCEPT FOR THE COAT.  HE TAKES HIS GLASSES OFF AS HE ENTERS, AS IF HE HAS BEEN READING OR WRITING. 

 

DOC: Where in tarnation have you been?  It’s been ten days and –

 

HE STOPS SUDDENLY, GETTING A GOOD LOOK AT FESTUS’ FACE.  HESITANTLY, HE SWALLOWS.

 

DOC: Did you – did you find Matt?

 

FESTUS NODS, LOOKING EVEN MORE MISERABLE.  WE SEE THE ANTICIPATION ON DOC’S FACE.  THEN IT CHANGES TO CAUTION.

 

DOC: Is he – is he okay?

 

FESTUS CAN’T ANSWER.  HE JUST LOOKS AT DOC.  REALIZATION HITS THE DOCTOR HARD, AND HE GRIPS THE BACK OF HIS CHAIR FOR SUPPORT.

 

DOC: Oh, no.  No, no, no.  No, Festus.  No – you – you can’t tell me that –

 

STILL UNABLE TO TALK, FESTUS HOLDS OUT HIS HAND AND OPENS IT TO REVEAL THE FAMILIAR BADGE RESTING IN HIS PALM.  DOC STEPS BACK AS IF THE DEPUTY HAS HIT HIM.

 

DOC: It could – it could belong to another marshal –

 

FESTUS: (pulling the wallet out, too) It don’t, Doc.  It don’t.

 

DOC: (takes the wallet, his hands shaking) Oh, dear Lord.  Dear Lord.  Oh, Matt. (softly) Oh, son.

 

DOC LIFTS HIS EYES FROM THE WALLET TO LOOK AT FESTUS, THE TWO MEN SHARING A DEEPLY GRIEVOUS MOMENT, MOURNING THE LOSS OF A MAN WHO WAS MORE THAN JUST THEIR FRIEND.  AFTER A FEW SECONDS, DOC CLEARS HIS THROAT AND SWIPES A HAND OVER HIS MOUTH.

 

DOC: Where is he?

 

FESTUS: (wiping his eyes) Jeddo.

 

DOC: Jeddo?  Never heard of it.

 

FESTUS: Almost taMissouri.  (He glances up at Doc.) They – buried him in th’ churchyard there.

 

DOC: (This news makes him react again and he has to take a moment to regain his composure.)  Have you – have you been to Kitty’s?

 

FESTUS SHAKES HIS HEAD.  WE CAN TELL IT’S THE LAST THING HE WANTS TO DO.

 

DOC: We’ve got to – got to go out there.

 

FESTUS: (shaking his head) How air we gonna tell her, Doc?  How kin we tell her?

 

DOC: (sadly) We won’t have to, Festus.  She’ll see it on our faces.

 

FESTUS NODS, ACKNOWLEDGING THAT TRUTH.  THE TWO MEN WALK SLOWLY FROM THE OFFICE, THEIR SHOULDERS STOOPED WITH THE BURDEN THEY CARRY AND THE ONE THEY ARE ABOUT TO SHARE.

 

 

XXXX

 

 

CUT TO INTERIOR CLOSE SHOT: THE DILLON HOUSE. 

 

KITTY IS SITTING AT THE DINING TABLE, STARING AHEAD.  WE CAN READ ANY NUMBER OF EXPRESSIONS IN HER EYES, BUT ALL OF THEM INDICATE THAT SHE IS STUNNED.  DOC SITS BESIDE HER, HOLDING HER HAND. FESTUS HOVERS HELPLESSLY.  WE HEAR CHILDREN’S HAPPY VOICES IN THE BACKGROUND.  THEY DON’T KNOW, YET. 

 

KITTY:  (still staring ahead) I can’t – I can’t believe it.  Matt.  I thought – I was afraid all those years and now just when it seemed like we were – it’s just not right, just not time.

 

DOC STANDS AND STEPS TO A CABINET, OPENING IT AND WITHDRAWING A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY AND SHOT GLASS.  RETURNING TO THE TABLE, HE POURS A GENEROUS PORTION OF THE LIQUID INTO THE GLASS AND HANDS IT TO KITTY.

 

DOC: Take a good gulp of that, Kitty.

 

KITTY: (stares at the glass for a moment, then shakes her head) No.  I need to – I need to be clear when I tell – (Her voice catches, and she fights to keep from losing control.) – when I tell the children.

 

FESTUS: Miz Kitty, is thar ennythang I kin do fer ya?

 

Kitty: (smiles weakly at him) Thank you, Festus.  No.  No, nothing.  (She stares off again.) You know, it’s ironic, really.

 

DOC: (He takes her wrist in his hand.  We can see he’s checking her pulse.) What’s that, honey?

 

KITTY: This is the first time I didn’t really worry when he left.  He said he would be gone a few weeks, but it didn’t seem to be all that dangerous.  I don’t even remember if I reminded him to be careful.  (She turns to Doc, suddenly anxious.) Maybe if I had – maybe he wouldn’t be –

 

DOC: (taking both of her hands in his) Matt was always careful, Kitty.  You know that.  This time, he just – well, I don’t know what happened, but I know one thing.  Matt Dillon loved you more than anything else in this world.  And he loved those children.  And nothing – not even death – can take that away from you.

 

KITTY: (Her shoulders slump suddenly.)  The children.  Oh, Doc, how can I tell the children?  (She sits again and faces Festus.) Festus, are you – are you sure?  Absolutely sure?

 

MEDIUM SHOT: DOC AND FESTUS EXCHANGE SAD GLANCES.  FESTUS NODS AND PULLS OUT MATT’S BADGE AND WALLET TO HAND TO HER.  SLOWLY, SHE TAKES THEM, AS IF THE ACTUAL PROOF IS TOO MUCH TO CONSIDER.  SHE TURNS THE BADGE OVER IN HER HAND.  A SOB CATCHES IN HER THROAT AS SHE COLLAPSES ACROSS THE TABLE, BURYING HER HEAD IN HER ARMS.  DOC REACHES HIS ARMS AROUND HER SHOULDERS.  IT IS ALL HE CAN DO AT THE MOMENT.

 

DOC: (looking up toward Festus) Festus, why don’t you go see how the kids are?  Keep them busy for a while.

 

FESTUS: Arrite, Doc.  (As he leaves, he looks at Kitty as if his own heart is breaking.)

 

KITTY: (in between sobs) What am I going to do, Doc?  How am I going to live without him?  I told you once, I wouldn’t want to –

 

DOC: (still holding her) Hush.  You will live, Kitty Dillon.  You have to.  For those children.  And for Matt.  Wouldn’t he want you to?

 

KITTY’S SOBS LESSEN.  EVENTUALLY, SHE SITS UP AND WIPES AT HER SWOLLEN EYES.  WITH A DEEP BREATH, SHE REGAINS CONTROL.

 

KITTY: You’re right, Doc.  Of course, you’re right.  I have to go get him.

 

DOC: What?

 

KITTY: I have to go to – to – where did you say?

 

DOC: Jeddo.

 

KITTY: To Jeddo and get him.  I can’t leave him there, Doc.  I have to bring him home.

 

DOC: That’s a long trip, Kitty.  I’ve already checked at the depot.  This place is in the middle of nowhere.  You’d have to take a train – several, actually – then a wagon across some rough ground.

 

KITTY: (sitting straight, now, her jaw hard) Doesn’t matter.  I’m going – and you can’t stop me, Doc.

 

DOC: (His eyes soften.  He knows he can’t stop her.)  All right.  I’ll go with you.  And I’m sure Festus will insist, as well.  We’ll bring Matt back.

 

KITTY: (She takes a deep breath, then rises, back straight, head high.) Thank you.  Now, I need to talk with the children.

 

WE FOLLOW HER BACK AS SHE WALKS AWAY FROM DOC.  CUT TO CLOSE SHOT OF DOC.  HE IS WATCHING HER, HIS FACE A MIXTURE OF DEEP SYMPATHY AND PRIDE.

 

 

FADE OUT

 

 

XXXX

 

 

FADE IN:

 

 

ACT THREE

 

MEDIUM EXTERIOR SHOT (DAY): A LONELY ROAD THROUGH THE ROLLING PLAINS OF EAST KANSAS.  DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS ARE PERCHED ON A BUCKBOARD WAGON, ALL THREE OF THEM LOOKING TENSE AND TIRED.  WE CAN TELL THEY’VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY IN A SHORT TIME.  KITTY IS WEARING A TRAVELING SUIT OF BLACK AND GREY, UNLIKE HER USUAL COLORFUL CLOTHING.  THE DUST OF THE ROAD SHOWS ON ALL OF THEM.

 

FESTUS: I wish somebody’d build one railroad acrost this chere state.  As many times as we had ta’ change trains, it’s a wonder we didn’t end up in Mexico, don’t cha know.

 

DOC: (shaking his head) Festus, Mexico is south of us.  We’re headed east.

 

FESTUS: That’s whut I mean.  We coulda bin plumb opp’site of whar we wuz a goin’.

 

DOC: South is NOT opposite of east.  WEST is the opposite of east.

 

FESTUS: (ignoring this) An’ they ain’t even got a train taJeddo.  Had tagit off in Cahoots –

 

DOC: Chanute.

 

FESTUS: Had to git off thar and git this chere wagon – 

 

DOC: Well, for Pete’s sake, we knew that when we started –

 

KITTY: (voice tight) Doc, Festus, please

 

BOTH OF THE MEN STOP, CHAGRINED THAT THEY CAUSED KITTY MORE GRIEF.  THEY RIDE FOR A WHILE IN SILENCE.  AFTER A FEW MINUTES, WE

 

CUT TO LONG SHOT: FROM THE WAGON WE SEE A SMALL TOWN IN THE DISTANCE.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY.  SHE TAKES A DEEP BREATH AND ON HER FACE WE SEE THE STRUGGLE TO MAINTAIN HER COMPOSURE AS SHE APPROACHES THE TOWN WHERE HER HUSBAND WAS KILLED AND IS BURIED.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT:  THE WAGON COMES INTO TOWN.  THE FEW FOLKS ON THE STREET WATCH AS DOC, FESTUS, AND KITTY RIDE BY.  PULLING UP JUST OUTSIDE THE BLACKSMITH’S SHOP, FESTUS HOPS DOWN.

 

FESTUS: You wait rite chere, Miz Kitty.  I’ll git thundert – uh, th’ blacksmith.  (He disappears into the shed.)

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT:  DOC AND KITTY ARE LEFT ALONE ON THE BUCKBOARD SEAT.

 

DOC: (pats Kitty’s hand gently) How are you doing?

 

KITTY: (laughs humorlessly) Just dandy.

 

DOC: Why don’t you go wait at the saloon?  Festus and I can –

 

KITTY: (She shakes her head firmly.)  No.  No, I have to do this, too.  Matt would do it, if it were me.

 

DOC: (He smiles sadly and blinks.) Yeah.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: FESTUS EMERGES FROM THE SHED WITH CLAUDE PICKENS IN TOW.  THE BLACKSMITH NODS POLITELY AT KITTY AND PUTS ON HIS BEST MORTICIAN’S DEMEANOR, HIS TALK MUCH MORE POLISHED THAN WHEN HE ADDRESSED FESTUS EARLIER.

 

PICKENS: I take it you are the wife of the dear departed?

 

KITTY:  (takes a deep breath) Yes.

 

PICKENS: (bows, looking rather strange in his blacksmith’s garb) May I extend my deepest sympathies.

 

KITTY: (woodenly) Thank you.

 

PICKENS: If you will excuse me for a few minutes, I will make myself more presentable so that we can visit the grave.

 

FESTUS: We kin meet yathar.

 

PICKENS: As you wish.  I will be only a little while.

 

PICKENS LEAVES AND FESTUS REACHES UP TO HELP KITTY DOWN FROM THE WAGON.  DOC CLIMBS DOWN AFTER HER, ACCEPTING FESTUS’ HELP, AS WELL.  FESTUS BLINKS AT HIM IN SURPRISE, BUT DOC JUST BLINKS BACK AND SMILES SLIGHTLY.  FESTUS SMILES BACK.

 

FESTUS: Th’ church is jest over yonder.  Air ya’ ready, Miz Kitty?

 

KITTY: (after a pause) Yes.

 

THE THREE WALK ACROSS THE DIRT STREET TO THE FAR SIDE OF A SMALL, WOODEN-FRAMED CHURCH.  THE CEMETERY IS JUST AS IT WAS WHEN FESTUS WAS LAST THERE, WITH THE MARKERS ROUGH AND MOSTLY BLANK.  THEY PAUSE AT THE FRESHEST GRAVE.  KITTY LOOKS DOWN FOR A LONG MOMENT.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY.  TEARS SPILL OVER HER CHEEKS, DESPITE HER EFFORTS NOT TO LOSE CONTROL.  WE SEE THE DEVASTATION OF COMPLETE LOSS IN HER EYES.

 

KITTY: (whispering) Oh, Matt.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: DOC AND FESTUS. THEY EXCHANGE PAINED LOOKS, THEIR OWN GRIEF COMPOUNDED BY KITTY’S.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: PICKENS ARRIVES, LOOKING ONLY A BIT BETTER IN A DARK COAT AND STOVEPIPE HAT.

 

PICKENS: If you would like, you may carve the departed’s name on the stone.  There’s, uh, no one in town presently who can – write.

 

KITTY: (straightens and turns to him) That won’t be necessary.  We will be taking him back with us.

 

PICKENS: (startled) What?

 

KITTY: My husband.  I would like for you to – disinter the – (She chokes a little here, but regains control.) – the body.  We are taking him back to Dodge where he belongs.

 

PICKENS: But –

 

KITTY: (She lifts the reticule that she has on her arm and removes a generous bundle of greenbacks.)  I will pay you well, of course.

 

PICKENS: (face changing immediately) But, of course, ma’am.  Let me gather a few men.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM EXTERIOR SHOT (LATE AFTERNOON): THE CEMETERY.  WE SEE THREE MEN, SWEATING AND DIRTY, TUGGING AT ROPES THAT EXTEND FROM THE OPEN GRAVE.  FESTUS TAKES HIS PLACE TO PULL ON ONE ROPE SO THE LIFTING OF THE COFFIN IS EVEN.  DOC AND KITTY STAND NEAR, WATCHING.  DOC HAS KITTY’S HAND IN HIS.  PICKENS IS ALSO WATCHING, LOOKING AS IF HE HAS NOT PARTICIPATED IN THE DIGGING.  THEY HEAVE THE COFFIN FROM THE GROUND AND STRUGGLE TO LOAD IT ONTO THE BACK OF THE BUCKBOARD.

 

PICKENS: There you are, ma’am.  I hope your trip back to Dodge is pleasant.

 

DOC: (glares at him) Thanks.  (His expression grows softer as he looks at Kitty.)  Are you ready, Kitty?  We might be able to make it to Chanute before night.

 

KITTY: No.

 

DOC: What?

 

KITTY: Not yet.  I want to see him.

 

FESTUS: (alarmed) Miz Kitty, I ain’t sa’ sure thet’s a good idée.

 

KITTY: I want to.

 

PICKENS: Ma’am, perhaps I should remind you that it’s been almost three weeks since the death.  I gave your husband a proper burial, but – uh – since there was no one to pay, the body wasn’t prepared.  It will not be a – pleasant sight.

 

KITTY: I don’t care.  I want to see him.

 

DOC AND FESTUS EXCHANGE GLANCES, BOTH LOOKS SHOWING THAT THE MEN KNOW IT’S NO USE TO ARGUE WHEN KITTY HAD MADE UP HER MIND.  PICKENS LOOKS AT HER, TOO, AND REALIZES THE SAME THING.  HE SHRUGS AND STEPS TO A PILE OF TOOLS, RETURNING WITH SOMETHING THAT LOOKS LIKE A CROWBAR. 

 

PICKENS: Are you sure, ma’am?

 

KITTY: (bracing herself) I’m sure.

 

PICKENS CLIMBS ONTO THE BUCKBOARD AND SHOVES THE CROWBAR UNDER THE COFFIN LID. 

 

PICKENS: You may want to cover your noses.  The odor –

 

CLOSE SHOT ON DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS.  NONE OF THEM FOLLOWS HIS SUGGESTION.  WE HEAR A LOUD CRACK AS THE LID POPS UP.  PICKENS PUSHES IT AWAY AND IT FALLS WITH A BANG ONTO THE BED OF THE BUCKBOARD.  HE CAN’T SUPPRESS A WINCE HIMSELF, AND PULLS OUT A HANDKERCHIEF TO COVER HIS OWN NOSE AS HE JUMPS DOWN.

 

PICKENS: (extending his hand to Kitty) May I help you up, ma’am?

 

KITTY HESITATES ONLY A MOMENT BEFORE SHE TAKES A DEEP BREATH AND NODS, HOLDING OUT AN ELBOW FOR THE MAN TO HELP HER ONTO THE BACK OF THE WAGON.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY.  SHE IS LOOKING, STUNNED, INTO THE COFFIN, HER EYES WIDE, HER MOUTH OPEN.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: DOC AND FESTUS: THEY ARE WATCHING KITTY, WAITING TO SEE HOW SHE WILL REACT TO SEEING MATT’S BODY LIKE THIS.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY AGAIN.

 

KITTY: (She holds her hand to cover her mouth, tears in her eyes.)  Oh, oh, my.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: DOC AND FESTUS, AGAIN.  THEY HAVE TEARS IN THEIR OWN EYES, LOOKING AT KITTY.

 

RETURN TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY.  SHE LOOKS UP AT DOC AND FESTUS, AND WE SEE HOPE IN HER EYES FOR THE FIRST TIME.

 

DOC: (frowning in confusion) Kitty?

 

KITTY: (hardly able to talk) Oh, Doc, it – it isn’t – Doc, it isn’t him!

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: DOC, FESTUS, KITTY, AND THE BUCKBOARD.

 

DOC: What?

 

KITTY: (finding her voice more easily now) Matt!  It’s not – it’s not Matt.  Oh, dear God, it’s not Matt.

 

PICKENS: (uneasily) Of course, you realize that death changes features.  Why, many times I’ve seen a wife unable to recognize her husband because of those changes.  And since there is quite a bit of decay already –

 

KITTY: (shakes her head furiously) I’m telling you, this is not my husband.  (She climbs down from the buckboard and falls into Doc’s arms.)  Oh Doc, it’s not Matt.  It’s not Matt!

 

FESTUS, DOC, AND KITTY CLING TO EACH OTHER FOR A LONG MOMENT, THE RELIEF AND JOY AT THIS DISCOVERY ALMOST MORE THAN THEY CAN DEAL WITH.  KITTY IS CRYING AND LAUGHING ALL AT ONCE. 

 

AFTER A FEW MORE HUGS, FESTUS SUDDENLY STRAIGHTENS AND FROWNS TOWARD THE COFFIN.

 

FESTUS: Wait a minute.  Wait jest a dadblamed minute. 

 

DOC: (still smiling broadly) What do you mean?

 

FESTUS: I mean, if THIS chere ain’t Matthew –

 

DOC: Yeah?

 

FESTUS: Then whar is he?

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY AND DOC EXCHANGE GLANCES, THEIR GLEE DIMISHED WITH THE REALIZATION THAT MATT IS STILL MISSING.  THE THREE FACES FALL INTO WORRIED LINES AS WE

 

DISSOLVE TO CREDITS

 

 

FADE TO BLACK: END OF PART ONE

 

 

~MK~

 

 

Gunsmoke – Season 22

Episode 686: Elegy for a Marshal – Part Two

WRITER
: Amanda

CAST:

Matt Dillon – U.S. Marshal
Kitty Russell Dillon – part-owner of the Long Branch Saloon
Doc Adams – Dodge City physician
Festus Haggen – Deputy U.S. Marshal

Alice Miller – widow

Petey Miller – Alice’s son

Willie Langley – town drunk
Fred - Jeddo barkeeper
Quincey Neagle – gunfighter
Claude Pickens – Jeddo undertaker and blacksmith
 

TEASER

 

THE STORY THUS FAR:

FADE IN:


MEDIUM SHOT: DOOR OF THE JEDDO SALOON. FESTUS HAGGEN PUSHES THROUGH INTO THE ROOM, LOOKING AROUND WARILY, HIS EYES SQUINTED. AFTER HE HAS SCANNED THE ROOM, HE WALKS UP TO THE COUNTER, HIS SPURS JINGLING AS USUAL.  WE CAN SEE HE HAS BEEN TRAVELING A LONG DISTANCE.  HIS CLOTHES ARE DUSTY, AND HE LOOKS TRAIL-WORN.


BARKEEPER: (He hands Festus a beer.) So, you from Dodge, are ya'?

FESTUS: Uh huh.

BARKEEPER: That's a far piece from here. Whatcha doin' in Jeddo?

FESTUS: (glancing around as he drinks) Lookin' fer somethin'.

BARKEEPER: Most folks lookin' fer somethin' are really lookin' fer someone.

 

FESTUS: (He glances up at the barkeeper, but doesn’t respond to that comment.  Instead, he makes a simple observation.)  Seems like ya’ got yerseffs a quiet town.

 

BARKEEPER: Mostly.

 

FESTUS CONTINUES TO DRINK, WHILE SCANNING THE SUBDUED CUSTOMERS.

 

BARKEEPER: `Course, if you'd been here coupla days ago, you'd a got yer fill of excitement.

FESTUS: Thet a fact?

BARKEEPER: Had us a shootout, just like ya' do in Dodge.

FESTUS: (suddenly interested) A shootout?

BARKEEPER: Yep. Lawman come inta town lookin' fer Ouincey Nagle. Sed he wuz gonna take him in fer shootin' up a freight office in Wichita.

 

FESTUS: (puts down his beer) Lawman?

 

BARKEEPER: Big fella.  I told him Quince was fast, fastest I ever seen, but he didn’t listen.  “Bout that time ol’ Quince come in, and before I knowed it they wuz drawed and done.

 

FESTUS: (licking his lips as if he's not sure he wants to hear more) Whutwhut happened?

BARKEEPER: Like we figgered, ol' Quince plugged him good, kilt him. Shame, but I told him Quince was fast.

FESTUS: (His face has gone white.) The lawman's – dead?

BARKEEPER: Deader'n my Aint Maisey.

FESTUS: (We can see he's having trouble taking this in.) Where – where's the – the body?

BARKEEPER: Oh, he's over in th' churchyard. Him bein' a lawman and all, we felt the Christian thing ta' do wuz see him buried proper. (He digs into his vest pocket.) This is his. Weren't sure where ta' send it.

THE BARKEEPER HOLDS OUT THE BADGE TOWARD FESTUS, WHO TAKES IT
HESITANTLY.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON THE BADGE. WE CAN CLEARLY SEE THE ENGRAVING:
U.S. MARSHAL.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON FESTUS. HE STARES AT THE BADGE, HIS EYES
PAINED AND SHINING.

 

XXXX

 

EXTERIOR LONG SHOT (EVENING): DODGE. FRONT STREET. FESTUS AND RUTH ARE PLODDING DOWN THE STREET, THE LONG BRANCH ON THEIR RIGHT, THE JAIL ON THEIR LEFT. RUTH'S GAIT IS WEARY AND SLOW. FESTUS IS SLOUCHED IN THE SADDLE, PHYSICIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY DRAINED. HE PULLS RUTH UP TO THE RAILING OF THE JAIL, BUT DOESN'T GO IN.

 

CUT TO INTERIOR MEDIUM SHOT: DOC'S OFFICE. DOC ISN'T IMMEDIATELY VISIBLE. FESTUS CLOSES THE DOOR AND TAKES A BREATH.

FESTUS: Doc?

 

DOC: Did you – did you find Matt?

FESTUS NODS, LOOKING EVEN MORE MISERABLE. WE SEE THE ANTICIPATION ON DOC'S FACE. THEN IT CHANGES TO CAUTION.

DOC: Is he – is he okay?

FESTUS CAN'T ANSWER. HE JUST LOOKS AT DOC. REALIZATION HITS THE DOCTOR HARD, AND HE GRIPS THE BACK OF HIS CHAIR FOR SUPPORT.

DOC: Oh, no. No, no, no. No, Festus. No – you – you can't tell me
that –

STILL UNABLE TO TALK, FESTUS HOLDS OUT HIS HAND AND OPENS IT TO REVEAL THE FAMILIAR BADGE RESTING IN HIS PALM. DOC STEPS BACK AS IF THE DEPUTY HAS HIT HIM.

 

XXXX

 

INTERIOR CLOSE SHOT: THE DILLON HOUSE.

KITTY IS SITTING AT THE DINING TABLE, SOBBING.  DOC SITS BESIDE HER, HIS ARM AROUND HER.

 

KITTY: (in between sobs) What am I going to do, Doc? How am I going to live without him? I told you once, I wouldn't want to –

DOC: Hush. You will live, Kitty Dillon. You have to. For those children. And for Matt. Wouldn't he want you to?

KITTY'S SOBS LESSEN. EVENTUALLY, SHE SITS UP AND WIPES AT HER SWOLLEN EYES. WITH A DEEP BREATH, SHE REGAINS CONTROL.

KITTY: You're right, Doc. Of course, you're right. I have to go get him.

DOC: What?

KITTY: I have to go to – to – where did you say?

DOC: Jeddo.

KITTY: To Jeddo and get him. I can't leave him there, Doc. I have to bring him home.


XXXX

 

MEDIUM EXTERIOR SHOT: JEDDO CEMETERY. JUST AS IT WAS WHEN FESTUS WAS LAST THERE, WITH THE MARKERS ROUGH AND MOSTLY BLANK. DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS PAUSE AT THE FRESHEST GRAVE. KITTY LOOKS DOWN FOR A LONG MOMENT.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY. TEARS SPILL OVER HER CHEEKS, DESPITE HER EFFORTS NOT TO LOSE CONTROL. WE SEE THE DEVASTATION OF COMPLETE LOSS IN HER EYES.


KITTY: (whispering) Oh, Matt.

 

MEDIUM EXTERIOR SHOT (LATE AFTERNOON): THE CEMETERY. WE SEE THREE MEN, SWEATING AND DIRTY, TUGGING AT ROPES THAT EXTEND FROM THE OPEN GRAVE. FESTUS TAKES HIS PLACE TO PULL ON ONE ROPE SO THE LIFTING OF THE COFFIN IS EVEN. DOC AND KITTY STAND NEAR, WATCHING. DOC HAS KITTY'S HAND IN HIS. PICKENS IS ALSO WATCHING, LOOKING AS IF HE HAS NOT PARTICIPATED IN THE DIGGING. THEY HEAVE THE COFFIN FROM THE GROUND AND STRUGGLE TO LOAD IT ONTO THE BACK OF THE BUCKBOARD.

PICKENS (UNDERTAKER): There you are, ma'am. I hope your trip back to Dodge is pleasant.

DOC: (glares at him) Thanks. (His expression grows softer as he looks at Kitty.) Are you ready, Kitty? We might be able to make it to Chanute before night.

KITTY: No.

DOC: What?

KITTY: Not yet. I want to see him.

FESTUS: (alarmed) Miz Kitty, I ain't sa' sure thet's a good idée.

KITTY: I want to.

 

CLOSE SHOT ON DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS. NONE OF THEM FOLLOWS HIS SUGGESTION. WE HEAR A LOUD CRACK AS THE LID POPS UP. PICKENS PUSHES IT AWAY AND IT FALLS WITH A BANG ONTO THE BED OF THE BUCKBOARD. HE CAN'T SUPPRESS A WINCE, AND PULLS OUT A HANDKERCHIEF TO COVER HIS OWN NOSE AS HE JUMPS DOWN.

PICKENS: (extending his hand to Kitty) May I help you up, ma'am?

KITTY HESITATES ONLY A MOMENT BEFORE SHE TAKES A DEEP BREATH AND NODS, HOLDING OUT AN ELBOW FOR THE MAN TO HELP HER ONTO THE BACK OF THE WAGON.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY. SHE IS LOOKING, STUNNED, INTO THE COFFIN, HER EYES WIDE, HER MOUTH OPEN.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: DOC AND FESTUS: THEY ARE WATCHING KITTY, WAITING TO SEE HOW SHE WILL REACT TO SEEING MATT'S BODY LIKE THIS.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY AGAIN
.

KITTY: (She holds her hand to cover her mouth, tears in her eyes.) Oh, oh, my.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: DOC AND FESTUS, AGAIN. THEY HAVE TEARS IN THEIR
OWN EYES, LOOKING AT KITTY.

RETURN TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY. SHE LOOKS UP AT DOC AND FESTUS, AND
WE SEE HOPE IN HER EYES FOR THE FIRST TIME.


DOC: (frowning in confusion) Kitty?

KITTY: (hardly able to talk) Oh, Doc, it – it isn't – Doc, it isn't him!

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: DOC, FESTUS, KITTY, AND THE BUCKBOARD.

DOC: What?

KITTY: (finding her voice more easily now) Matt! It's not – it's not Matt. Oh, dear God, it's not Matt!
 
FESTUS, DOC, AND KITTY CLING TO EACH OTHER FOR A LONG MOMENT, THE RELIEF AND JOY AT THIS DISCOVERY ALMOST MORE THAN THEY CAN DEAL WITH. KITTY IS CRYING AND LAUGHING ALL AT ONCE.

AFTER A FEW MORE HUGS, FESTUS SUDDENLY STRAIGHTENS AND FROWNS TOWARD THE COFFIN.


FESTUS: Wait a minute. Wait jest a dadblamed minute.

DOC: (still smiling broadly) What do you mean?

FESTUS: I mean, if THIS chere ain't Matthew –

DOC: Yeah?

FESTUS: Then whar is he?

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY AND DOC EXCHANGE GLANCES, THEIR GLEE DIMINISHED WITH THE REALIZATION THAT MATT IS STILL MISSING. THE THREE FACES FALL INTO WORRIED LINES AS WE

DISSOLVE TO MAIN TITLE


 

FADE OUT

 

 

XXXX

 

 

FADE IN

 

 

ACT ONE

 

CLOSE INTERIOR SHOT: THE FOOT OF AN IRON BED.  THE CAMERA SLOWLY PANS UPWARD TOWARD THE HEAD OF THE BED, CROSSING OVER THE QUILT THAT IS OBVIOUSLY COVERING SOMEONE.  WE CAN SEE THAT THE LEGS UNDER THOSE COVERS ARE LONG.  HALFWAY UP, THE COVERS STOP TO REVEAL THE BARE TORSO OF A MAN, PURPLISH-YELLOW BRUISES MARRING THE FIRM RIBCAGE, AND ANGRY WELTS SLASHING ACROSS THE BROAD CHEST.  PERSPIRATION SHINES ON HIS SKIN, AS IF HE IS OR HAS BEEN FEVERISH.  AS THE CAMERA SHOT CONTINUES UPWARD, WE SEE THAT A BANDAGE COVERS THE UPPER LEFT CHEST AND SHOULDER.  FINALLY, THE CAMERA MOVES UP TO REVEAL MATT DILLON’S FACE, HIS RIGHT CHEEK BRUISED AND SWOLLEN, HIS LIP GASHED, A HALF-GROWN BEARD SHADOWING HIS JAW.  ANOTHER BANDAGE WRAPS HIS HEAD.  HIS EYES SQUINT OPEN, AS IF THE LIGHT IS PAINFUL TO HIM.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT SO THAT WE SEE THE ENTIRE BED.  A BOY OF ABOUT TEN STANDS NEXT TO IT, LOOKING DOWN AT MATT.  WHEN HE SEES THAT MATT’S EYES ARE OPEN, HE TURNS AND RUNS FOR THE DOOR.

 

BOY: Ma!  Ma! He’s awake! He’s awake!

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: MATT TRIES TO TURN HIS HEAD TOWARD THE BOY, BUT CAN’T MANAGE IT.  HIS GRIMACE TELLS US HE IS IN SIGNIFICANT PAIN.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE DOOR OF A MODEST CABIN.  A WOMAN ENTERS QUICKLY, WIPING HER HANDS ON HER APRON.  SHE APPEARS TO BE IN HER MID-THIRTIES, DRESSED PLAINLY, BUT QUITE ATTRACTIVE.  SHE BRUSHES BACK A STRAND OF HONEY-COLORED HAIR AND LEANS OVER THE BED, HER HAND RESTING BRIEFLY ON MATT’S FOREHEAD.

 

WOMAN: (smiling in cautious relief) Well, welcome back.

 

MATT BLINKS AND LOOKS UP AT HER.  WITHOUT SPEAKING, HE TRIES TO RAISE HIS BODY, BUT BARELY MOVES BEFORE HE GASPS AND FALLS BACK.  THE WOMAN PRESSES HER HANDS GENTLY AGAINST HIS BARE CHEST.

 

WOMAN: You just stay right there, Mister.  It’s gonna be a good, long while before you’re ready to do more than just lie quietly.

 

MATT: (with effort) Where – (His voice is hoarse.)

 

WOMAN: You’re at my farm, mine and Petey’s here.

 

THE YOUNG BOY STEPS INTO VIEW, GRINNING AT MATT.

 

PETEY: Howdy, Mister.  You’re ‘bout the biggest man I ever seen!

 

WOMAN: Petey! I’m sorry, but he’s been talking about that ever since he found you.

 

MATT: Found – me?

 

WOMAN: Out by the road about a mile from here.  As near as I can figure, you got yourself bushwhacked but good.  Whoever did it sure didn’t mean for you to linger long enough to remember anything about it.

 

MATT: (frowning) No, I – can’t –

 

WOMAN: (soothingly) Don’t fret over it.  You took a few good punches to the head in addition to the bullet wounds.  Looks like you got kicked a few times, too.

 

MATT: Bullet – wounds?

 

WOMAN: Two in the chest and shoulder and one in the leg.

 

MATT: (grimaces) Which – leg?

 

WOMAN: The right.

 

MATT: (He closes his eyes and winces.) Great.

 

WOMAN: Yeah, I can see you’re no stranger to the lead.

 

MATT: “Fraid – not.  (He looks at her as if he has just realized that her comment implies a rather intimate knowledge of his body.  Then he continues, a little uncomfortably.)  I’m – obliged for your – help, Miss –

 

WOMAN: Alice.  Alice Miller.  And I’m glad I could help.  We were awfully worried you wouldn’t make it, though.  I had to dig out all three of those bullets, and you’d already started with a fever when we got you here.  Been going in and out of one the whole time.  Until last night when it finally broke for good.

 

MATT: How – long?

 

ALICE: Friday’ll be three weeks.

 

MATT: (alarmed) Three – weeks!

 

ALICE: Like I said, we didn’t figure you to make it.  Sometimes, your temperature would be normal, then the next night it would be back up.  You’ve been awfully sick.  I’m pleased you didn’t die.

 

MATT: I’m rather – pleased – myself.

 

ALICE: (smiles cautiously again) You hunting somebody or being hunted?  Not that it matters, unless you plan on giving me or Petey a problem.  I know how to use a Greener pretty well.

 

MATT: (shakes his head weakly) No – problem.  I’m a – U.S. Marshal – tracking a – man who – shot up a – freight office.  My badge is – on my shirt.  Wallet’s – in – my vest.

 

ALICE: U.S. Marshal! (Her cautious smile broadens to one of relief.) Well, don’t that beat all?  I had to cut up your shirt to get it off you, and it was already ripped up good as it was.  I’m afraid it’s only fit for rags, now.  I didn’t see a badge, though.  No wallet, either.  (She shrugs apologetically.)  Marshal, huh? Where are you from?

 

MATT: Dodge.

 

ALICE: Dodge?  (She looks at him closely.)  Dodge City?

 

MATT NODS.

 

ALICE: I’ve heard of a marshal from Dodge.  Matt Dillon?

 

MATT: Yes, ma’am.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON PETEY. HE IS WIDE-EYED.

 

PETEY: (excited) Matt Dillon!  Wow!  Marshal Dillon!

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT OF ALL THREE CHARACTERS.  MATT GRIMACES UNCOMFORTABLY.

 

ALICE: My goodness!  I’ve heard all sorts of stories about you, Marshal Dillon.

 

MATT GRIMACES AGAIN.

 

Alice: Oh, all good, although some of them I don’t really believe.

 

PETEY: (still awe-struck) Wow!  I shoulda known.  I shoulda known Matt Dillon would be the biggest man in the world!

 

MATT: Maybe not – the world, Petey.

 

PETEY: I wanna be that big when I grow up.  I bet nobody messes with you.

 

MATT: (glances down ruefully at his battered body) Apparently – they do.

 

PETEY: (confidently) Not unless they cheat.  I bet you’d a taken that bad guy for sure if you’d known he was comin’.

 

MATT TRIES TO SMILE, BUT HIS STRENGTH IS FADING RAPIDLY.  ALICE SHOOS PETEY AWAY.

 

ALICE: Go on, now, boy, and check the corral.  The Marshal needs his rest.

 

PETEY: Aw, Ma!

 

ALICE: (a little more sternly) Go on.

 

PETEY: (reluctantly) Yes’m.  (He shuffles outside, looking back at Matt a couple of times, hero-worship in his eyes.)

 

MATT: Thank you – again – for your help.

 

ALICE: You feel like eating? Been a task just to get broth down you.  You need something to build your strength.

 

MATT: (looking as if he might be sick just from the suggestion) Ah, no, ma’am.  Not – yet.

 

ALICE: I’ll fix something anyway, in case you change your mind.  (She steps away from the bed and toward the small kitchen area.)

 

MATT: I need to – get a wire – to my wife.

 

ALICE: (Quickly, she turns back to him and regards him with surprise for a moment.  Then, her face falls, even though she tries to mask her reaction.)  Your – wife?

 

MATT: (nodding) Kitty Dillon.  In Dodge.

 

ALICE: (recognition in her eyes) Oh.  I was wondering who Kitty was.

 

MATT’S BROW RISES IN QUESTION.

 

ALICE: You were calling out her name.  Through the fever.

 

MATT: (He nods uneasily.  We see he’s wondering what else he might have said or done under the influence of a fever.)  There a telegraph – office around here?

 

ALICE: Well, Iola’s got one, but it’s a fair piece off.  There’s an office in Jeddo – that’s only about fifteen miles – but nobody around here knows how to operate it anymore.  Last fellow left more than a year ago.  I’m about the only person around here who can even read and write.

 

MATT: Can you –

 

ALICE: I don’t know how to operate it.

 

MATT: I do.  If you can – get me to – town.  (He tries to push up, but grunts harshly and falls back.)

 

ALICE: (She brushes his forehead with her fingers.)  I don’t think so.  Not anytime soon.

 

MATT: (sweat trailing down his face) But –

 

ALICE: No buts.  You’re in no condition even to think about getting out of that bed.  Now, you just lie back and close your eyes again and go back to sleep.  At least this time, it’ll be real rest and not the fevered kind.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT:  MATT SIGHS, REALIZING SHE HAS A POINT.  AFTER A MOMENT, HIS EYES CLOSE AND HIS HEAD RELAXES ON THE PILLOW AS HE SUCCUMBS TO HIS BODY’S NEED TO HEAL.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ALICE.  SHE WATCHES HIM ANOTHER FEW BEATS, HER EYES SOFT AND WISTFUL.  SMILING WITH REGRET, SHE TURNS AWAY FROM THE BED AS WE

 

FADE OUT

 

 

XXXX

 

 

FADE IN

 

 

ACT TWO

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: THE JEDDO SALOON.  DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS ARE SITTING AT ONE OF THE FEW TABLES, THEIR BODIES SLUMPED IN PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL FATIGUE.  BEHIND THE BAR, FRED CONTINUES HIS UBIQUITOUS GAME OF SOLITAIRE AS THEY TALK.

 

FESTUS: I jest kaint figger on whar Matthew kin be.  I done looked in ever cranny in this chere town, an’ thar ain’t hide ner hair of him.

 

DOC: And nobody around here seems to know anything more than what they’ve already told us.

 

KITTY: What do we do now, Doc?

 

DOC: (clicks his tongue) I’m not sure.

 

KITTY: (frustrated) What if he isn’t here, at all?  What if he never was here?  What if he’s a hundred miles away?

 

DOC: We have the badge and his wallet.  They came from here.

 

KITTY: They came off a man who happened to be here.  Who’s to say he didn’t get them in Wichita or Ellsworth or –

 

DOC: Kitty, I can’t help but believe that this town is the key to finding Matt.  I just can’t figure out exactly how that key fits into the lock.

 

KITTY: He could still – (She swallows and looks at Doc, her eyes bright.) He could still – be dead, Doc.  What if that man killed Matt and took –

 

DOC: (patting her hand) Now, we’re just not gonna think that way.

 

KITTY: I don’t want to think that way, but let’s face it.  He might be – well, we might never find him.  This country’s too big, too much wilderness. (She drops her head in her hands wearily.)

 

FESTUS: Now, Miz Kitty, ol’ Matthew could jest be hurt and a layinsomewhars waitinfer us ta find him, ya’ see?

 

DOC: (running a hand over his mustache and huffing) Oh, that’s just fine.  A great deal of help.  Thank you for your insightful input.

 

FESTUS: (a bit confused) Wael, I wuz jest tryinta’ make Miz Kitty feel some better.

 

DOC: I’m sure she does.  You’re a great comfort, you are.

 

KITTY: (sadly, but gently) Thank you, Festus.  I know what you meant.

 

THEY SIT SILENTLY FOR A FEW MOMENTS, UNSURE WHAT STEP TO TAKE NEXT.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON THE BAR: FRED HAS STOPPED PLAYING SOLITAIRE AND IS LISTENING TO THEM.

 

FRED: You folks talked ta’ Willie Langley?

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS AT THE TABLE.  THEY TURN AND STARE AT FRED.

 

FESTUS: Willie Langley?

 

FRED: Lives ‘bout five miles out toward th’ Wider Miller’s place.  Ain’t sayin’ he knows somethin’, ain’t sayin’ he don’t.  Just askin’.

 

DOC: (irritated) Why didn’t you say something about him earlier?

 

FRED: (shrugs) Ya’ didn’t ask.

 

FESTUS: (splutters) If you ain’t th’ thick-headedest

 

KITTY: (rising) Nevermind, Festus.  Doc, you think this Langley might know something?

 

DOC: Not gonna hurt to ask.  (He glances at Fred.) Is it?

 

FRED: Ol’ Willie’s harmless.  If ya’ catch him sober, he’ll be right friendly.

 

FESTUS: Whichaway did ya’ say his place wuz?

 

FRED: Northeast.  If yagit tath’ Wider Miller’s, ya’ done gone too far.

 

KITTY: Thank you.

 

FRED: (nodding in rare deference) Surely, ma’am.

 

THE THREE LEAVE THE SALOON QUICKLY, THEIR STEPS PURPOSEFUL.

 

 

XXXX

 

 

CLOSE INTERIOR SHOT: MATT IS SITTING UP IN THE BED, A TRAY WITH A BOWL OF STEW IN FRONT OF HIM.  HE LOOKS STRONGER, AND WE SEE THAT HE IS EATING A LITTLE BETTER.  HIS CHEEK IS STILL BRUISED, ALTHOUGH NOT AS SWOLLEN.  THE THREE WEEK’S WORTH OF BEARD GROWTH HAS DARKENED HIS JAW CONSIDERABLY.  HE IS STILL BARE-CHESTED, WITH FRESH BANDAGES COVERING HIS SHOULDER AND CHEST.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: ALICE IS IN THE KITCHEN, CLEANING.  SHE LOOKS OVER HER SHOULDER AT MATT.

 

ALICE: Don’t be shy about finishin’ that stew.  There’s plenty more.  And you need the strength.

 

MATT; (glancing down) I think that’s about all I can handle for now.  It sure is good, though.

 

ALICE: (She moves to stand over him, frowning.) You surely didn’t eat much.  Big man like you needs lots of nourishment.  My husband was a big man, too, and he could put away – (She stops suddenly, her eyes watering before she turns away.)

 

MATT: (after a pause) What happened to your husband?

 

ALICE: (She sighs before she turns to him, her eyes red.)  He wasn’t ever much account, at least for makin’ a livin, but I figure I loved him some, anyway.  That was my mistake.  (She laughs lightly.) Fancied himself a gunslinger for a while, but he wasn’t the best.  I’ve had good practice doctoring on the likes of your wounds.

 

MATT: Is he – (He hesitates to ask the rest.)

 

ALICE: Dead? (laughs again humorlessly) Don’t know.  Petey was just four when he left.  Said he was going out to make his fortune, and he’d be back for us, but he never came back.  Heard he got into bounty hunting.  Haven’t seen him in years.

 

MATT: (looks around, amazed) You work this farm by yourself?

 

ALICE: Heaven’s no.  (nods toward a closed door) That room back there is full of material and sewing supplies.  I’m a seamstress.  Four or five times a year Petey and I load the wagon and ride up to Lawrence to sell to the stores.  Keeps us going.

 

MATT: That’s a long way. Why don’t you just move to Lawrence?

 

ALICE: Don’t really know.  This was my folks’ place.  Maybe I’m sentimental, or maybe I figger Rudy might come back one day.  Kinda like being out of the busy-ness, too.  Lawrence is too loud and rowdy for me.

 

MATT NODS IN UNDERSTANDING AND LIFTS THE TRAY TO HER.  SHE GIVES HIM A SCOWL THAT TELLS US SHE’S NOT SATISFIED WITH HOW LITTLE HE HAS EATEN.  NEVETHELESS, SHE TAKES THE TRAY AND WALKS TO THE KITCHEN.  BRACING HIMSELF, MATT PRESSES HIS LIPS TIGHT AND SWINGS HIS LEGS OVER THE SIDE OF THE BED, CAREFUL TO KEEP THE COVERS OVER HIM.  IT APPEARS AS IF HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY CLOTHES ON UNDER THOSE COVERS.

 

MATT: (lips still pressed tight against the pain) Do you mind – bringing me my pants?

 

ALICE: (startled, turns quickly) What?  (She sees him sitting and rushes back.)  Look at you.  You lie back down.  It’s still too soon –

 

MATT: It’s been three weeks.  That’s plenty of –

 

ALICE: You tell that to those bullet holes when they bust back open on you.  You’ve had some good healing, but you got a lot more to go.

 

MATT: I want to help.  You and Petey have taken care of me too long.  I can bring in the water, at least, or –

 

ALICE: (easing him back down onto the bed) Or you can just lie there and get well.  That’s the only help I want right now.  You think I’ve worked this hard to keep you alive just to have you go and fall and bleed to death?

 

MATT: (smiles a bit and pulls his long legs back under the covers) I guess not.

 

ALICE: I know not.  Now, Petey’s been begging to hear some more of those stories about that Festus fellow and Doc Adams.  I’d be obliged it you entertained him while I did some sewing.

 

MATT: (seeing straight through her ruse) Glad to be of help.

 

ALICE SMILES, KNOWING HE SEES WHAT SHE’S TRYING TO DO.  FOR A MOMENT, THEIR EYES MEET.  MATT BREAKS THE CONTACT FIRST, LOOKING DOWN.  SIGHING, ALICE TURNS AND MOVES TO THE DOOR TO CALL HER SON INSIDE.

 

FADE OUT

 

 

XXXX

 

 

FADE IN

 

 

ACT THREE

 

EXTERIOR LONG SHOT (LATE AFTERNOON): A WAGON TRAVELS DOWN A ROUGH ROAD, NOT MUCH MORE THAN A TRAIL.  WE SEE THE FIGURES OF DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS ON IT.  BEYOND THEM WE SEE A DILAPIDATED CABIN, THE FRONT PORCH FALLEN IN SO THAT IT IS ALMOST FLUSH WITH THE GROUND.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE WAGON PULLS UP TO THE DIRT YARD IN FRONT OF THE CABIN. 

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY, DOC, AND FESTUS LOOK TOWARD IT WARILY.

 

KITTY: (eyeing the place doubtfully) Somebody lives here?

 

FESTUS: This chere is whar Fred sed Langley’s place’d be.  Shore don’t look like much, though.

 

DOC: It’s not much.  But just because he has no pride in his abode, doesn’t mean he can’t help us.  Let’s get down.

 

THEY CLIMB DOWN FROM THE WAGON, FESTUS HELPING KITTY, DOC REFUSING HELP.  A BIT HESITANTLY, THEY WALK TOWARD THE PORCH, WARY ABOUT STEPPING ONTO IT.

 

DOC: (calling) Hello the house!

 

THEY WAIT FOR A MOMENT, BUT NO ONE ANSWERS.

 

FESTUS: Ennyboddy ta’ home?

 

AGAIN, THEY WAIT, BUT THERE IS NO SOUND FROM THE HOUSE.

 

KITTY: Doesn’t look like he’s here.

 

DOC: Maybe he came to his senses and moved out.

 

THEY TURN TO LEAVE JUST AS THE DOOR OPENS WITH A LOUD SQUEAK.  A TATTERED, BEARDED MAN PEEKS OUT, HIS FACE WIZENED, HIS TEETH LONG GONE.  HE SQUINTS SUSPICIOUSLY TOWARD THEM.

 

LANGLEY: Who air ya’?

 

THE THREE TURN BACK TOWARD HIM.  FESTUS STEPS FORWARD, A FRIENDLY SMILE ON HIS LIPS.

 

FESTUS: Howdy.  We’re a lookinfer Willie Langley.

 

LANGLEY: Whatcha want with ‘im?

 

DOC: Just to talk.  The barkeeper from Jeddo – uh –

 

FESTUS:  Fred.

 

DOC: Right, Fred.  Fred said that Mister Langley might be able to provide us with some valuable information regarding a friend of ours.

 

LANGLEY: Fred, huh?  (He thinks it over a minute.) You cud come in, but I ain’t got but one char.

 

KITTY: (answering quickly) Oh, that’s all right.  We’ll just stay out here.

 

LANGLEY: Suit yerseff.

 

FESTUS: Air Willie Langley?

 

LANGLEY: I air.

DOC: Mister Langley, we are looking for a friend of ours – and this woman’s husband.  We were wondering if you might have seen him or maybe heard something about him.

 

LANGLEY: Whut does he look like?

 

FESTUS: Big feller – hard ta’ miss.  Six and half feet tall or so.  Mebbe had on a red-like shirt and tanny britches.

 

LANGLEY: (thinks about it) No. No.  Don’t sound familiar.  Figger I’d remember a man like that.

 

THE THREE LOOK AT EACH OTHER, DISAPPOINTMENT PULLING DOWN THEIR EXPRESSIONS.

 

KITTY: You’re sure?

 

LANGLEY.  Yes’m.  Ain’t no livinthang bin by here in over a month. (He pauses and shrugs.)  Exceptin that thar horse whut wandered into th’ yard a few weeks ago.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY.  HER HEAD SNAPS UP.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: KITTY, DOC, AND FESTUS.

 

FESTUS: Horse?

 

KITTY: (eagerly) What kind of horse?

 

LANGLEY: A rite fine ani-mule.  Big buckskin.  Biggest I ever seen.

 

KITTY: Oh, my God.

 

DOC: (stepping forward) Where is this horse, now?

 

LANGLEY: (a little hesitantly) Out back hitched to a tree.  I didn’t steal ‘im if’n yer tryinta

 

FESTUS IS ALREADY HEADED AROUND BACK WITH DOC AND KITTY CLOSE BEHIND.

 

LANGLEY: Hey!  (He follows them.)

 

MEDIUM SHOT: BACK OF THE HOUSE.  WE SEE A SMALL FIELD WITH A TINY SHED TO THE LEFT AND TWO GNARLED TREES TO THE RIGHT.  A HORSE IS TIED TO ONE OF THE TREES.  WE SEE THAT IT LOOKS VERY MUCH LIKE BUCK, THE MARSHAL’S HORSE.

 

KITTY: Oh, Buck!  (She places on hand against the horse’s neck and smoothes the other down his side.  Then she turns to Doc and Festus.)

 

DOC: (to Langley) Where’s his saddle?

 

LANGLEY: (eyes the suspiciously) I found ‘im, far and skwar

 

DOC: (impatiently) The saddle, man.  Where is it?

 

FESTUS: We ain’t a sayinya’ stole ‘im.  We jest wanna see it.

 

LANGLEY: (slowly) You aint’ gonna tek it?

 

FESTUS: (not sure he can promise that) Wael

 

KITTY: (interrupting) No.  No, we won’t take it.  Now, please show it to us.

 

LANGLEY HESITATES, THEN TAKES THEM INTO THE SMALL SHED.  NOT TOO FAR INSIDE IS A SADDLE, THROWN ACROSS A LOW STALL.  IT’S FAMILIAR.  KITTY RUNS HER HAND OVER IT AND NODS TO DOC AND FESTUS.

 

LANGLEY: Cleaned it up some, but you kin still se whar th’ blood stained it.

 

KITTY: (pales suddenly and grabs the saddle horn for support) Blood?

 

DOC STEPS NEXT TO HER AND PLACES HIS HAND UNDER HER ELBOW.

 

LANGLEY: Good bit on th’ left side of th’ horn, then lower over th’ right side.  I figger th’ feller whut wuz ridin’ him ain’t got no use fer him no more.

 

KITTY: (eyes wide) Oh, Doc.

 

DOC: Now, now, we don’t know –

 

KITTY: This is Matt’s saddle.  That’s Buck over there.  What more evidence do you need?  Oh, God.  (She takes in a deep breath, trying not to lose control.)

 

DOC: Well – (He’s grasping at straws, now.) Remember what Festus said – Matt could be out there, hurt, but alive – alive and – and waiting for us –

 

FESTUS SLIDES DOC A POINTED LOOK BEFORE HE TURNS TO KITTY AND SMILES ENCOURAGINGLY.

 

FESTUS: ‘At’s right, Miz Kitty.  I done told yathet, remember?  (He turns to Langley.) How long ago did ya’ say ya’ found this chere horse?

 

LANGLEY:  ‘Bout three weeks ago, I reckon.  Mebbe a smidgen more.

 

KITTY: (stepping suddenly up to Langley) I’ll buy him from you – and the saddle.  How much?

 

LANGLEY: (surprised, but sees a deal to be made) Wael, he’s a rite fine piece o’ horse flesh.  An thet rig ain’t too shabby, neither.

 

KITTY: (She’s determined, doesn’t care how much.) How much?

 

LANGLEY: (his voice shrewd) Ten dollars.

 

FESTUS: (insulted for Buck) Ten dollars? Why thet horse is worth –

 

KITTY: (quickly) I’ll take it.

 

FESTUS STARTS TO SPLUTTER AGAIN, AND DOC GRABS HIM TO DRAW HIM AWAY FROM THE ACTION BEFORE HE CAN SPOIL THE TRADE.  LANGLEY LOOKS TRIUMPHANT AS KITTY OPENS HER RETICULE AND PULLS OUT THE CASH.

 

CLOSE SHOT ON FESTUS AND DOC.

 

FESTUS: Ol’ Buck’s worth ten times more –

 

DOC: I know he is.  But Langley doesn’t know he is.  Besides, it’s Matt’s horse anyway.

 

FESTUS’ EYES WIDEN IN UNDERSTANDING.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: LANGLEY REACHES OUT TO TAKE THE MONEY.

 

LANGLEY: He’s all yer’s, ma’am.  Pleasure doinbidness with ya’.

 

FESTUS: I’ll gitim saddled, Miz Kitty.

 

KITTY: Thank you, Festus.

 

DOC: (to Langley) Is there anybody else around here that might know something about our friend?

 

LANGLEY: (feeling more sociable now that he’s bested these foolish city folks) Ain’t nobody ‘round chere a’tall, ‘ceptinth’ Wider Miller, but she don’t never come this way much.  Not since her husband done gone.

 

KITTY: How far is her place?

 

LANGLEY: Oh, mebbe ten miles thataway.  (He gestures in the general direction of northeast.) But this time of year, she ‘n her youngun go up taLawrence ta’ sell them wimmin’s thangs she makes.

 

KITTY: Women’s things?

 

LANGLEY: Fancy duds.  Aint’ nobody ‘round chere needs sich.  More’n likely she ain’t home.  Be dark afore ya’ get thar, anyhoo.

 

DOC: (looks at the sky) He’s right about that.  Why don’t we head back to Jeddo, put Buck up in a real stable, and go visit the Widow Miller tomorrow?

 

KITTY; (We see she’s anxious to keep looking for Matt, but she sees the logic in what Doc says.) All right, Doc.

 

FESTUS HAS BUCK SADDLED AND WALKS TOWARD KITTY AND DOC.

 

FESTUS: All reddy, Miz Kitty.  Ol’ Buck seems happy ta’ see me.

 

KITTY: I sure wish he could tell us where Matt is.

 

FESTUS: Me, too.  (He pats Buck’s neck as he mounts the animal.)  Me, too.

 

CUT TO EXTERIOR LONG SHOT: DOC AND KITTY CLIMB BACK INTO THE WAGON AS FESTUS FOLLOWS BEHIND ON BUCK.  THE THREE HEAD BACK TOWARD JEDDO, THEIR SILHOUETTES CLEAR AGAINST THE SETTING SUN.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: THE MILLER CABIN. AN EMPTY BED.  THE COVERS ARE STILL DISARRAYED, BUT NO ONE IS LYING THERE ANYMORE.  WE HEAR THE DOOR OPEN.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: THE OPEN CABIN DOOR.  MATT IS STANDING IN THE THRESHOLD, CLAD ONLY IN HIS PANTS.  HE IS HOLDING A BUCKET IN HIS RIGHT HAND, HIS LONG FINGERS WRAPPED AROUND THE HANDLE.  WE SEE THAT THIS EFFORT HAS TAXED HIM, BUT HE IS DETERMINED TO BRING THE BUCKET INSIDE.  AFTER BRACING AGAINST THE DOORFRAME FOR A MOMENT, HE TAKES A STEP INSIDE THE ROOM, LIMPING HEAVILY ON HIS RIGHT LEG.

 

ALICE: (OS) Hey!

 

MATT WINCES, KNOWING HE IS CAUGHT.  HE CONTINUES ON, RAISING THE BUCKET, WHICH SLOSHES WATER, AND PLACING IT ON THE KITCHEN TABLE.  IMMEDIATELY, HE BRACES AGAINST THAT TABLE FOR SUPPORT.  ALICE APPEARS IN THE DOORWAY, A FURIOUS FROWN ON HER FACE.

 

ALICE: Just what do you think you’re doing, Mister?

 

MATT: (turning carefully and straightening) I’m just helping a little.  It wasn’t very heavy.

 

ALICE: (eyes a small sprinkle of blood on his shoulder bandage) Not very heavy, huh?  I work for weeks to keep you alive and here you try to undo all that work in five minutes.

 

MATT: Really, I’m fine –

 

BUT HE SWAYS SUDDENLY.  ALICE MOVES TO HELP HIM, WRAPPING HER ARM AROUND HIS WAIST, HER OTHER HAND ON HIS CHEST TO STEADY HIM.  HE LOOKS DOWN AT HER, AND SHE FREEZES AS THEIR EYES MEET.  ALICE LIFTS HER FACE, HER MOUTH JUST BELOW HIS.

 

ALICE: (breathing quickly) I never knew there were men out there like you, Matt Dillon.  Strong, tall, handsome, tough.  But gentle, too.  And you treat a woman right.

 

MATT: (uncertainly) Uh – Alice – I –

 

ALICE: (rubbing his chest intimately) I know we can’t be together.  I know you have a wife and children.  I won’t take you away from them.  (Her arms reach higher around his neck.) I just want this moment.  Please, Matt.  Just this moment with you.  It’s been so long.

 

HER ARMS LINK BEHIND HIS NECK, AND SHE REACHES UP AND KISSES HIM PASSIONATELY AS WE

 

DISSOLVE TO CREDITS.

 

 

FADE TO BLACK: END OF PART TWO

 

~MK~

 

 

 

GunsmokeSeason 22

 

Episode 687: Elegy for a Marshal – Conclusion

 

 

WRITER:  Amanda

 

CAST:

 

Matt Dillon – U.S. Marshal

Kitty Russell Dillon – part-owner of the Long Branch Saloon

Doc Adams – Dodge City physician

Festus Haggen – Deputy U.S. Marshal

Fred – Jeddo barkeeper

Quincey Neagle – gunfighter

Alice Miller – widowed land owner

Petey Miller – Alice’s son

Willie Langley – farmer and drunk

Betsy - Saloon Girl in Jeddo

 

TEASER

 

FADE IN

 

THE STORY THUS FAR


MEDIUM SHOT: DOOR OF THE JEDDO SALOON. FESTUS HAGGEN AND FRED ARE STANDING AT THE BAR, TALKING.

 

BARKEEPER: Yep. Lawman come inta town lookin' fer Ouincey Nagle. Sed he wuz gonna take him in fer shootin' up a freight office in Wichita.

 

FESTUS: (puts down his beer) Lawman?

 

BARKEEPER: Big fella.  I told him Quince was fast, fastest I ever seen, but he didn’t listen.  “Bout that time ol’ Quince come in, and before I knowed it they wuz drawed and done.

 

FESTUS: (licking his lips as if he's not sure he wants to hear more) Whutwhut happened?

BARKEEPER: Like we figgered, ol' Quince plugged him good, kilt him. Shame, but I told him Quince was fast.

FESTUS: (His face has gone white.) The lawman's – dead?

BARKEEPER: Deader'n my Aint Maisey.

 

THE BARKEEPER HOLDS OUT THE BADGE TOWARD FESTUS, WHO TAKES IT
HESITANTLY.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON THE BADGE. WE CAN CLEARLY SEE THE ENGRAVING:
U.S. MARSHAL.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON FESTUS. HE STARES AT THE BADGE, HIS EYES
PAINED AND SHINING.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM SHOT: DOC AND FESTUS IN DOC’S OFFICE IN DODGE.

 

DOC: Did you – did you find Matt?

FESTUS NODS, LOOKING EVEN MORE MISERABLE. WE SEE THE ANTICIPATION ON DOC'S FACE. THEN IT CHANGES TO CAUTION.

DOC: Is he – is he okay?

FESTUS CAN'T ANSWER. HE JUST LOOKS AT DOC. REALIZATION HITS THE DOCTOR HARD, AND HE GRIPS THE BACK OF HIS CHAIR FOR SUPPORT.

DOC: Oh, no. No, no, no. No, Festus. No – you – you can't tell me
that –

STILL UNABLE TO TALK, FESTUS HOLDS OUT HIS HAND AND OPENS IT TO REVEAL THE FAMILIAR BADGE RESTING IN HIS PALM. DOC STEPS BACK AS IF THE DEPUTY HAS HIT HIM.

 

XXXX

 

CLOSE SHOT: KITTY AND DOC AT THE DILLON HOUSE.

 

KITTY: You're right, Doc. Of course, you're right. I have to go get him.

DOC: What?

KITTY: I have to go to – to – where did you say?

DOC: Jeddo.

KITTY: To Jeddo and get him. I can't leave him there, Doc. I have to bring him home.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM SHOT. THE JEDDO CEMETERY.  KITTY IS STANDING IN THE BACK OF THE WAGON, LOOKING, STUNNED, INTO THE COFFIN, HER EYES WIDE, HER MOUTH OPEN.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: DOC AND FESTUS: THEY ARE WATCHING KITTY, WAITING TO SEE HOW SHE WILL REACT TO SEEING MATT'S BODY LIKE THIS.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY AGAIN
.

KITTY: (She holds her hand to cover her mouth, tears in her eyes.) Oh, oh, my.

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: DOC AND FESTUS, AGAIN. THEY HAVE TEARS IN THEIR
OWN EYES, LOOKING AT KITTY.

RETURN TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY. SHE LOOKS UP AT DOC AND FESTUS, AND
WE SEE HOPE IN HER EYES FOR THE FIRST TIME.


DOC: (frowning in confusion) Kitty?

KITTY: (hardly able to talk) Oh, Doc, it – it isn't – Doc, it isn't him!

 

XXXX

 

CLOSE INTERIOR SHOT: THE FOOT OF AN IRON BED.  THE CAMERA SLOWLY PANS UPWARD OVER THE LONG BODY OF THE BED’S OCCUPANT. WE SEE THAT A BANDAGE COVERS THE UPPER LEFT CHEST AND SHOULDER.  FINALLY, THE CAMERA MOVES UP TO REVEAL MATT DILLON’S FACE, HIS RIGHT CHEEK BRUISED AND SWOLLEN, HIS LIP GASHED, A HALF-GROWN BEARD SHADOWING HIS JAW.  ANOTHER BANDAGE WRAPS HIS HEAD.  HIS EYES SQUINT OPEN, AS IF THE LIGHT IS PAINFUL TO HIM.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: A BOY OF ABOUT TEN RUNS FOR THE DOOR.

 

BOY: Ma!  Ma! He’s awake! He’s awake!

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE DOOR OF A MODEST CABIN.  A WOMAN ENTERS QUICKLY, WIPING HER HANDS ON HER APRON.  SHE APPEARS TO BE IN HER MID-THIRTIES, DRESSED PLAINLY, BUT QUITE ATTRACTIVE.  SHE BRUSHES BACK A STRAND OF HONEY-COLORED HAIR AND LEANS OVER THE BED, HER HAND RESTING BRIEFLY ON MATT’S FOREHEAD.

 

WOMAN: (smiling in cautious relief) Well, welcome back.

 

MATT BLINKS AND LOOKS UP AT HER.  WITHOUT SPEAKING, HE TRIES TO RAISE HIS BODY, BUT BARELY MOVES BEFORE HE GASPS AND FALLS BACK.  THE WOMAN PRESSES HER HANDS GENTLY AGAINST HIS BARE CHEST.

 

WOMAN: You just stay right there, Mister.  It’s gonna be a good, long while before you’re ready to do more than just lie quietly.

 

MATT: (with effort) Where – (His voice is hoarse.)

 

WOMAN: You’re at my farm, mine and Petey’s here.

 

XXXX

 

ALICE: (smiles cautiously again) You hunting somebody or being hunted?  Not that it matters, unless you plan on giving me or Petey a problem.  I know how to use a Greener pretty well.

 

MATT: (shakes his head weakly) No – problem.  I’m a – U.S. Marshal – tracking a – man who – shot up a – freight office.  My badge is – on my shirt.  Wallet’s – in – my vest.

 

ALICE: U.S. Marshal! (Her cautious smile broadens to one of relief.) Well, don’t that beat all?  I had to cut up your shirt to get it off you, and it was already ripped up good as it was.  I’m afraid it’s only fit for rags, now.  I didn’t see a badge, though.  No wallet, either.  (She shrugs apologetically.)  Marshal, huh? Where are you from?

 

MATT: Dodge.

 

ALICE: Dodge?  (She looks at him closely.)  Dodge City?

 

MATT NODS.

 

ALICE: I’ve heard of a marshal from Dodge.  Matt Dillon?

 

MATT: Yes, ma’am.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON PETEY. HE IS WIDE-EYED.

 

PETEY: (excited) Matt Dillon!  Wow!  Marshal Dillon!

 

XXXX

 

MATT: There a telegraph – office around here?

 

ALICE: Well, Iola’s got one, but it’s a fair piece off.  There’s an office in Jeddo – that’s only about fifteen miles – but nobody around here knows how to operate it anymore.  Last fellow left more than a year ago.  I’m about the only person around here who can even read and write.

 

MATT: Can you –

 

ALICE: I don’t know how to operate it.

 

MATT: I do.  If you can – get me to – town.  (He tries to push up, but grunts harshly and falls back.)

 

ALICE: (She brushes his forehead with her fingers.)  I don’t think so.  Not anytime soon.

 

MATT: (sweat trailing down his face) But –

 

ALICE: No buts.  You’re in no condition even to think about getting out of that bed.  Now, you just lie back and close your eyes again and go back to sleep.  At least this time, it’ll be real rest and not the fevered kind.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT:  MATT SIGHS, REALIZING SHE HAS A POINT.  AFTER A MOMENT, HIS EYES CLOSE AND HIS HEAD RELAXES ON THE PILLOW AS HE SUCCUMBS TO HIS BODY’S NEED TO HEAL.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ALICE.  SHE WATCHES HIM ANOTHER FEW BEATS, HER EYES SOFT AND WISTFUL.  SMILING WITH REGRET, SHE TURNS AWAY FROM THE BED.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: THE JEDDO SALOON.  DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS ARE SITTING AT ONE OF THE FEW TABLES, THEIR BODIES SLUMPED IN PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL FATIGUE.  BEHIND THE BAR, FRED CONTINUES HIS UBIQUITOUS GAME OF SOLITAIRE AS THEY TALK.

 

FESTUS: I jest kaint figger on whar Matthew kin be.  I done looked in ever cranny in this chere town, an’ thar ain’t hide ner hair of him.

 

DOC: And nobody around here seems to know anything more than what they’ve already told us.

 

KITTY: What do we do now, Doc?

 

DOC: (clicks his tongue) I’m not sure.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON THE BAR: FRED HAS STOPPED PLAYING SOLITAIRE AND IS LISTENING TO THEM.

 

FRED: You folks talked ta’ Willie Langley?

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS AT THE TABLE.  THEY TURN AND STARE AT FRED.

 

FESTUS: Willie Langley?

 

FRED: Lives ‘bout five miles out toward th’ Wider Miller’s place.  Ain’t sayin’ he knows somethin’, ain’t sayin’ he don’t.  Just askin’.

 

XXXX

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: ALICE IS IN THE KITCHEN, CLEANING.  SHE LOOKS OVER HER SHOULDER AT MATT.

 

ALICE: Don’t be shy about finishin’ that stew.  There’s plenty more.  And you need the strength.

 

MATT; (glancing down) I think that’s about all I can handle for now.  It sure is good, though.

 

ALICE: (She moves to stand over him, frowning.) You surely didn’t eat much.  Big man like you needs lots of nourishment.  My husband was a big man, too, and he could put away – (She stops suddenly, her eyes watering before she turns away.)

 

MATT: (after a pause) What happened to your husband?

 

ALICE: (She sighs before she turns to him, her eyes red.)  He wasn’t ever much account, at least for makin’ a livin, but I figure I loved him some, anyway.  That was my mistake.  (She laughs lightly.) Fancied himself a gunslinger for a while, but he wasn’t the best.  I’ve had good practice doctoring on the likes of your wounds.

 

MATT: Is he – (He hesitates to ask the rest.)

 

ALICE: Dead? (laughs again humorlessly) Don’t know.  Petey was just four when he left.  Said he was going out to make his fortune, and he’d be back for us, but he never came back.  Heard he got into bounty hunting.  Haven’t seen him in years.

 

XXXX

 

EXTERIOR LONG SHOT (LATE AFTERNOON): A WAGON TRAVELS DOWN A ROUGH ROAD, NOT MUCH MORE THAN A TRAIL.  WE SEE THE FIGURES OF DOC, KITTY, AND FESTUS ON IT.  BEYOND THEM WE SEE A DILAPIDATED CABIN, THE FRONT PORCH FALLEN IN SO THAT IT IS ALMOST FLUSH WITH THE GROUND.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE WAGON PULLS UP TO THE DIRT YARD IN FRONT OF THE CABIN. 

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY, DOC, AND FESTUS LOOK TOWARD IT WARILY.

 

KITTY: (eyeing the place doubtfully) Somebody lives here?

 

FESTUS: This chere is whar Fred sed Langley’s place’d be.  Shore don’t look like much, though.

 

XXXX

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT:  DOC, FESTUS, KITTY AND LANGLEY OUTSIDE LANGLEY’S SHACK.

 

DOC: Mister Langley, we are looking for a friend of ours – and this woman’s husband.  We were wondering if you might have seen him or maybe heard something about him.

 

LANGLEY: Whut does he look like?

 

FESTUS: Big feller – hard ta’ miss.  Six and half feet tall or so.  Mebbe had on a red-like shirt and tanny britches.

 

LANGLEY: (thinks about it) No. No.  Don’t sound familiar.  Figger I’d remember a man like that.

 

THE THREE LOOK AT EACH OTHER, DISAPPOINTMENT PULLING DOWN THEIR EXPRESSIONS.

 

KITTY: You’re sure?

 

LANGLEY.  Yes’m.  Ain’t no livinthang bin by here in over a month. (He pauses and shrugs.)  Exceptin that thar horse whut wandered into th’ yard a few weeks ago.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY.  HER HEAD SNAPS UP.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: BACK OF THE HOUSE.  WE SEE A SMALL FIELD WITH A TINY SHED TO THE LEFT AND TWO GNARLED TREES TO THE RIGHT.  A HORSE IS TIED TO ONE OF THE TREES.  WE SEE THAT IT LOOKS VERY MUCH LIKE BUCK, THE MARSHAL’S HORSE.

 

KITTY: Oh, Buck!  (She places on hand against the horse’s neck and smoothes the other down his side.)

 

DOC: (to Langley) Is there anybody else around here that might know something about our friend?

 

LANGLEY: (feeling more sociable now that he’s bested these foolish city folks) Ain’t nobody ‘round chere a’tall, ‘ceptinth’ Wider Miller, but she don’t never come this way much.  Not since her husband done gone.

 

KITTY: How far is her place?

 

LANGLEY: Oh, mebbe ten miles thataway.  (He gestures in the general direction of northeast.) But this time of year, she ‘n her youngun go up taLawrence ta’ sell them wimmin’s thangs she makes.

 

KITTY: Women’s things?

 

LANGLEY: Fancy duds.  Aint’ nobody ‘round chere needs sich.  More’n likely she ain’t home.  Be dark afore ya’ get thar, anyhoo.

 

DOC: (looks at the sky) He’s right about that.  Why don’t we head back to Jeddo, put Buck up in a real stable, and go visit the Widow Miller tomorrow?

 

KITTY; (We see she’s anxious to keep looking for Matt, but she sees the logic in what Doc says.) All right, Doc.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: THE MILLER CABIN. AN EMPTY BED.  THE COVERS ARE STILL DISARRAYED, BUT NO ONE IS LYING THERE ANYMORE.  WE HEAR THE DOOR OPEN.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: THE OPEN CABIN DOOR.  MATT IS STANDING IN THE THRESHOLD, CLAD ONLY IN HIS PANTS.  HE IS HOLDING A BUCKET IN HIS RIGHT HAND, HIS LONG FINGERS WRAPPED AROUND THE HANDLE.  WE SEE THAT THIS EFFORT HAS TAXED HIM, BUT HE IS DETERMINED TO BRING THE BUCKET INSIDE.  AFTER BRACING AGAINST THE DOORFRAME FOR A MOMENT, HE TAKES A STEP INSIDE THE ROOM, LIMPING HEAVILY ON HIS RIGHT LEG.

 

ALICE: (OS) Hey!

 

MATT WINCES, KNOWING HE IS CAUGHT.  HE CONTINUES ON, RAISING THE BUCKET, WHICH SLOSHES WATER, AND PLACING IT ON THE KITCHEN TABLE.  IMMEDIATELY, HE BRACES AGAINST THAT TABLE FOR SUPPORT.  ALICE APPEARS IN THE DOORWAY, A FURIOUS FROWN ON HER FACE.

 

ALICE: Just what do you think you’re doing, Mister?

 

MATT: (turning carefully and straightening) I’m just helping a little.  It wasn’t very heavy.

 

ALICE: (eyes a small sprinkle of blood on his shoulder bandage) Not very heavy, huh?  I work for weeks to keep you alive and here you try to undo all that work in five minutes.

 

MATT: Really, I’m fine –

 

BUT HE SWAYS SUDDENLY.  ALICE MOVES TO HELP HIM, WRAPPING HER ARM AROUND HIS WAIST, HER OTHER HAND ON HIS CHEST TO STEADY HIM.  HE LOOKS DOWN AT HER, AND SHE FREEZES AS THEIR EYES MEET.  ALICE LIFTS HER FACE, HER MOUTH JUST BELOW HIS.

 

ALICE: (breathing quickly) I never knew there were men out there like you, Matt Dillon.  Strong, tall, handsome, tough.  But gentle, too.  And you treat a woman right.

 

MATT: (uncertainly) Uh – Alice – I –

 

ALICE: (rubbing his chest intimately) I know we can’t be together.  I know you have a wife and children.  I won’t take you away from them.  (Her arms reach higher around his neck.) I just want this moment.  Please, Matt.  Just this moment with you.  It’s been so long.

 

HER ARMS LINK BEHIND HIS NECK, AND SHE REACHES UP AND KISSES HIM PASSIONATELY AS WE

 

DISSOLVE TO MAIN TITLE

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXX

 

FADE IN

 

ACT ONE

 

CLOSE SHOT: MATT AND ALICE.  HER ARMS ARE AROUND HIS NECK, AND SHE IS KISSING HIM PASSIONATELY – BUT ONLY FOR A MOMENT, BECAUSE ALMOST IMMEDIATELY, MATT’S HANDS MOVE UP TO GRASP HER ARMS AND PUSH HER BACK, HIS EXPRESSION BOTH STARTLED AND REGRETFUL.  AS HE HOLDS HER AWAY FROM HIM, HE SHAKES HIS HEAD AND LOOKS DOWN AT HER SADLY.

 

MATT: Alice – no – I – I’m sorry, but – no –

 

SHE STARES UP AT HIM, HER EYES WIDE, HER MOUTH OPEN.  THE HEATED AND EAGER ANTICIPATION ON HER FACE FADES TO BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT AND EMBARRASSMENT.  AFTER A MOMENT, SHE BACKS AWAY AND LAUGHS REGRETFULLY.

 

ALICE: I hope Kitty Dillon knows how damned lucky she is.

 

MATT: (at a loss to tell her anything else) I’m sorry –

 

ALICE: (She turns her back to him, her face flushed.) You said that. 

 

MATT: Alice

 

ALICE: No.  It’s my fault.  I just – you’re just – (She clears her throat and smoothes her hair nervously, still not facing him.) I think maybe we need to get you a new shirt before I make a fool of myself again.

 

MATT LOOKS DOWN AT HIS BARE CHEST AND FLUSHES.

 

MATT: Alice

 

ALICE: No, really.  I just – I’ll – I’ll need more material.  Most of what I make is for women. 

 

MATT WATCHES HER BACK, NOT SURE WHAT TO SAY.

 

ALICE: It’s too far to go to Lawrence and leave you.  I’ll go into Jeddo.  Not much there in the way of stores.  More like a trading post, but they might have a bolt of wool.  You just rest here –

 

MATT: I’ll go with you. (taking a limping step toward her)

 

ALICE: (spinning to face him) Absolutely not!  You can barely stand on your feet as it is.  How are you going to make a fifteen-mile trip – and back – without collapsing?  Besides, I already told you, you could break open those wounds.

 

MATT: (almost desperately) Alice, I have to use that telegraph.

 

ALICE: It probably doesn’t even work anymore.  Be reasonable, Matt.

 

MATT: My wife would tell you I’m usually too reasonable – but my family needs to know that I’m all right.

 

ALICE: (She blanches at the mention of his wife and drops her eyes to look pointedly at his bandages.) ‘All right’ is a relative term, but I – understand.  (She raises her chin and forces a smile.)  I sure know if I were your – your wife – I’d be lookin’ under every scrub of sage out there for a man like you.

 

MATT SMILES KINDLY AT HER, AND WE SEE THE REGRET IN HIS EYES OVER HAVING TO HURT HER.

 

ALICE: (drawing a deep breath to break the flow of the conversation) Now, let’s see if we can get you halfway presentable to go into town.  (She reaches into a basket next to the kitchen table and takes out a familiar bugger-red shirt and tan vest.  Both look quite ragged.)  Hmm.  Not much of these left.  Been years since I had material to make a man’s shirt.  Used to make Rudy’s all the time.  He was partial to plaid, himself.  (She looks sideways at Matt.)  I’m thinking that’s not your style.  Besides, I haven’t had that pattern in years.  (Sighing, she holds up the shirt again, dropping the vest back into the basket.) mm.Maybe I can salvage enough of this to make do for the trip.

 

MATT NODS GRATFULLY TO HER AND WATCHES AS SHE TURNS TOWARD HER SEWING ROOM.  BEFORE SHE TAKES TWO STEPS, HOWEVER, HE SWAYS AGAIN, CATCHING HIMSELF BY GRABBING ONTO A CHAIR.  ALICE DROPS THE ITEMS AND RUSHES TO HIM, HELPING TO GUIDE HIM BACK TO THE BED.  HE SITS HEAVILY, THEN LIES BACK, HIS LIPS AND EYES TIGHT.

 

ALICE: Are you always this stubborn?

 

MATT: (giving her a weak smile) Probably.

 

ALICE: (smiling and shaking her head at the same time) Look, I can go into town myself.  Maybe you can give me instructions –

 

MATT: I’ll make it.

 

ALICE: (looking doubtful) Well, I do know a shorter route taking a back trail.  But it might pain you more – It’s kinda rough.

 

MATT: (nods) Okay.

 

ALICE: (smiling and shaking her head) Stubborn.

 

CLOSE SHOT ON MATT AS HIS EYES CLOSE.  WE SEE HE IS STILL VERY WEAK.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON ALICE: HER SMILE FADES INTO MELANCHOLY REGRET AS SHE REACHES OUT TO BRUSH A LOCK OF HAIR FROM HIS FOREHEAD. 

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ALICE’S HAND.  SHE STOPS JUST BEFORE SHE TOUCHES HIM, AND SHE CLOSES HER FINGERS SLOWLY, PULLING BACK TO LET HER HAND DROP TO HER SIDE.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM EXTERIOR SHOT (DAY): DOC AND KITTY ARE SITTING IN THE WAGON IN FRONT OF THE STABLES.  FESTUS STANDS ON THE STREET NEXT TO THEM.  THE TOWN IS QUIET, NO ONE STIRRING YET THIS MORNING.

 

FESTUS: You shore you’n Doc don’t need me ta’ go wiya’, Miz Kitty?

 

KITTY: We’re fine, Festus.  You go ahead and stay here and see if you can find out anything else.  See if that barkeeper has anyone else he can think of that might know something. 

 

FESTUS: But whut if ya’ find Matthew an’ – (He looks a little hesitant to finish.) – an’ he needs hep?  Just th’ two of ya’ –

 

DOC: (bristling a bit) I might be able to manage a few crude medical procedures.

 

FESTUS: Aw, now, Doc, I didn’t mean thet.  I wuz thankin’ if ya’ needed ta’ load ‘im up in th’ wagon –

 

KITTY: (wincing at the thought) Thank you, Festus.  If we find Matt, and he’s – he’s that badly hurt, I’ll come get you while Doc tends to him.

 

FESTUS: (looks doubtful) You ain’t gonna wanna leave his side if –

 

KITTY: (smiles in acknowledgement of that truth) We’ll get you, Festus.  Don’t worry.

 

FESTUS: Fiddle.  I ain’t a-worried – (But we see that he is.)

 

DOC: (his tone softer) Well, from what that barkeeper and Langley said, I don’t really figure we’re gonna find anything, but at least we will have eliminated another place to look.  We’ll be back in a while.

 

DOC CLICKS AT THE HORSES AND SNAPS THE REINS.  THEY JERK FORWARD, AND THE WAGON MOVES AWAY FROM FESTUS, WHO GIVES THEM A WAVE AND SHAKES HIS HEAD BEFORE TURNING BACK TOWARD THE SALOON.

 

XXXX

 

LONG EXTERIOR SHOT (DAY): A WAGON IS MAKING A ROUGH CROSSING OF A SMALL CREEK, THE SINGLE HORSE STRUGGLING TO PULL ITS BURDEN THROUGH.  WE SEE THREE OCCUPANTS, TWO ADULTS ON THE SEAT AND ONE CHILD IN THE BACK.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT SO THAT WE RECOGNIZE MATT, ALICE, AND PETEY.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: MATT. HIS JAW IS CLENCHED TIGHTLY AS HE ENDURES THE JOLTING OF THE WAGON OVER THE ROCKS OF THE STREAM.  HE IS WEARING THE REMNANTS OF HIS OLD SHIRT, PATCHED ENOUGH IN PLACES TO HOLD IT TOGETHER, BUT STILL BARELY COVERING HIM.  HIS FACE IS PALE, HIS BROW FURROWED WITH A GRIMACE.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ALICE. SHE GLANCES OVER AT HIM AND GRIMACES HERSELF.

 

ALICE: I’m awfully sorry, Matt.  I told you, though.  It’s shorter, but rougher.

 

MATT: (voice strained) It’s – okay.

 

ALICE: Uh huh.

 

MATT: You know this – area well.  Have – you always – lived here?

 

ALICE EYES HIM, AND WE SEE THAT SHE SUSPECTS HE’S TRYING TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT AWAY FROM HIS HEALTH.  AFTER A PAUSE, SHE SHAKES HER HEAD AND LETS HIM BY WITH THE PLOY.

 

ALICE: No.  I started off here, but figured there was more to life than stuck on a farm in the middle of nowhere.  Ran off north.  I met Rudy in Topeka.  He was handsome and a little bit wild.  Appealed to the rebellion in me, I guess. But after – after he left, I realized maybe there were worse things than being stuck on a farm in the middle of nowhere, so I came back home to help my folks.  (She laughs harshly.) They both died of the fever two years later.  Petey and I have been on our own since.

 

MATT: (after a pause to regard her with admiration) You’ve done well.

 

ALICE: Oh, just great, I’m sure.

 

THEY HIT A PARTICULARLY ROUGH PATCH, WHICH JOSTLES MATT HARD.  HE GRUNTS INVOLUNTARILY AND GRIMACES.  ALICE DARTS A WORRIED LOOK HIS WAY.

 

ALICE: I’m sorry.  Are you

 

MATT TURNS SLIGHTLY TO ATTEMPT A LOOK OF ASSURANCE, BUT HE DOESN’T QUITE MANAGE IT.

 

MATT: I’m – fine. (But we see that he’s far from it.)

 

ALICE: (wincing in sympathy) Jeddo’s just past that little rise.  I’ll take you right to the telegraph office, then run over to Mister Pranton’s and get that material.  Maybe you should lie down in the wagon bed on the way back.

 

MATT: I’ll be – all right.

 

ALICE: (to herself) Stubborn.

 

XXXX

 

LONG EXTERIOR SHOT (DAY): JEDDO. A LONE RIDER ON A DARK HORSE COMES INTO TOWN FROM THE FAR END, OPPOSITE THE SALOON.  HIS HAT IS PULLED DOWN LOW OVER HIS EYES.  HE HAS THE LOOK OF A ROUGH CHARACTER.  HIS CLOTHES ARE DUSTY, INDICATING HE HAS RIDDEN A LONG WAY.  HE WEARS A DOUBLE HOLSTERED GUNBELT.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: WE CAN SEE THE RIDER’S FACE, NOW.  IT’S RATHER HANDSOME UNDERNEATH THE SCRUFFY BEARD AND DIRT OF THE TRAIL.  AS HE ENTERS TOWN, HIS EYES FLICKER BACK AND FORTH, CHECKING OUT THE BUILDINGS.  EVERYTHING IS QUIET.  THE HORSE PLODS UP TO THE SALOON RAILING, AND THE RIDER DISMOUNTS, WRAPS THE REINS LOOSELY OVER THE POST, AND STEPS INTO THE SMALL ROOM.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: THE JEDDO SALOON.  FESTUS IS PROPPED AT THE BAR WATCHING FRED PLAY SOLITAIRE.

 

FESTUS: Thet thar black Jack’ll go on yer red Queen.

 

FRED: (irritated) I see it.  Who’s playin’ this game, anyhow?

 

FESTUS: Jest heppinso’s ya’ didn’t hev ta’ cheat like ya’ did last time.

 

FRED: (pulling back, insulted) Cheat?

 

FESTUS: (raising a calming hand) Now, don’t go git yer hackles up.  Ain’t nobody a-playinya’, no how.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE DOORS OF THE SALOON.  THE RIDER PUSHES THROUGH THE DOORS, HIS EYES MEETING FRED’S.  THE BARTENDER LOOKS STARTLED FOR A MOMENT, THEN LOWERS HIS GAZE AND TURNS BACK TO HIS CARDS.  THE RIDER STEPS TO THE FAR END OF THE BAR, AWAY FROM FESTUS AND FRED.

 

RIDER: Gimme a beer.

 

FRED: (reacts immediately) Yes, sir.  Comin’ up.

 

FESTUS WATCHES THE EXCHANGE, FROWNING.  AFTER FRED DELIVERS THE BEER, HE MOVES BACK TO WHERE FESTUS IS.

 

FESTUS: Why in tarnation’ did ya’ jump right on that thar feller’s drank, when I kain’t git ya’ to refill my littlest glass ‘chere?

 

FRED: (quietly, not looking back toward the rider) He’s a paying customer.

 

FESTUS: Wael, I tolya’ when Doc gits back, he’ll settle thangs with ya’.

 

FRED: (glancing nervously back at the rider) Just – nevermind.  I’ll git you another.

 

FESTUS: Arrite, then.  Thet’s better.

 

AS FRED FILLS ANOTHER GLASS, FESTUS LETS HIS GAZE SLIDE TOWARD THE RIDER AT THE END OF THE BAR, HIS EYES NARROWING SUSPICIOUSLY.

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXX

 

FADE IN

 

ACT TWO

 

MEDIUM EXTERIOR SHOT (DAY): KITTY AND DOC PULL UP IN FRONT OF ALICE MILLER’S HOUSE.  THE OUTSIDE PORCH IS NEAT AND TIDY.  A FEW CHICKENS WANDER AROUND, BUT THERE IS NO OTHER MOVEMENT. 

 

DOC: Looks quiet.  Langley said she was probably in Lawrence this time of year.

 

KITTY: (discouraged) Yeah.

 

DOC: (pats her on the leg) Won’t hurt to knock.

 

DOC CLIMBS DOWN STIFFLY FROM THE WAGON, THEN LIFTS HIS HAND TO HELP KITTY DOWN.  THEY BOTH WALK TOWARD THE DOOR.  DOC KNOCKS FIRMLY, BUT, AS EXPECTED, THERE IS NO ANSWER.  HE WAITS A FEW MOMENTS, THEN KNOCKS AGAIN.  AGAIN, THERE IS NO ANSWER.

 

KITTY: (sighs) Well, let’s go, Doc.

 

DOC: (looks down at the wood of the porch and frowns) Wait a minute.

 

KITTY: (looks down, too) What?

 

DOC: (He bends, with effort, to look more closely at something.) Well, this looks like – could be –

 

KITTY: (a bit anxiously) Could be what?

 

DOC: (points) See those marks?  Looks like spurs made them.

 

KITTY: But lots of men wear spurs, Doc. 

 

DOC: But not lots of widows.

 

KITTY: (eyes widen as she sees his point) You think –

 

DOC: Seems like maybe somebody wearing spurs was dragged across this porch not too long ago. See that the wood is lighter in those gouges?  Hasn’t had time to weather like the top layer.

 

KITTY: Can we – should we go in?

 

DOC: (He swishes a hand over his mustache, then pushes gently on the door, which opens slightly.) Hello?

 

DOC AND KITTY STEP INSIDE, THEIR EYES ADJUSTING TO THE DARKER ROOM.  THE CAMERA PANS ACROSS THE ROOM, SHOWING THE KITCHEN AREA.  A POT SITS ON THE TABLE, WITH THREE SPOONS LYING NEXT TO IT.  THE CAMERA MOVES TO THE BED NEXT TO THE KITCHEN.  WE SEE THAT THE BED HAS BEEN STRAIGHTENED, BUT THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT SOMEONE HAS LAIN THERE RECENTLY.  A BASKET RESTS NEXT TO THE BED.  ITS CONTENTS APPEAR TO BE SOILED RAGS.

 

KITTY: Anybody home? (There is no answer.)

 

DOC: (He steps to the table and places a hand around the pot.) Doesn’t look like the Widow Miller is in Lawrence.

 

KITTY: What do you mean?

 

DOC: There’s stew in this pot, and it’s still warm.  Somebody was here not too long ago.

 

KITTY’S EYES WIDEN IN HOPE.  SHE STEPS TO THE BED, ALMOST TRIPPING OVER THE BASKET, WHICH BRINGS HER GAZE DOWN.  INSTANTLY, HER HAND GOES TO HER CHEST.

 

KITTY: (gasping) Doc!

 

DOC: (looks up) What is it?

 

KITTY CAN’T ANSWER.  DOC WALKS OVER TO FESTUS AND LOOKS INTO THE BASKET.  HIS EYES TIGHTEN AS KITTY LIFTS A FAMILIAR TAN VEST, RIPPED AND BLOOD STAINED.

 

KITTY: Oh, Doc.

 

DOC: Now, Kitty.  This is not necessarily – I mean, this could be a good sign.  This means Matt’s here, or has been here.

 

KITTY: But, Doc, the blood – the holes at the chest and shoulder –

 

DOC: I know.  I know, but Matt’s had worse.  (He doesn’t look very convinced.)

 

KITTY: Where do you think he is?

 

DOC: I don’t know, Kitty, but I think maybe we should go back and get Festus.

 

KITTY HESITATES, NOT WANTING TO LEAVE WHEN MATT MIGHT BE NEAR, BUT KNOWING THAT FESTUS MIGHT BE ABLE TO TRACK HIM.  FINALLY, SHE NODS, AND THEY WALK BACK OUTSIDE.  AS THEY CLIMB INTO THE BUGGY, THEN TURN BACK TOWARD JEDDO, KITTY CASTS A WORRIED GLANCE OVER HER SHOULDER.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM EXTERIOR SHOT: OUTSIDE A DILAPIDATED BUILDING IN JEDDO ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TOWN FROM THE SALOON.  MATT, ALICE, AND PETEY PULL UP IN THEIR WAGON AND STOP. MATT’S SHIRT IS DRENCHED IN SWEAT, AND HE IS BREATHING HEAVILY.

 

ALICE: This is it.  Not much, as you can see.  I still think it’s not going to work.

 

MATT: Worth a – try, anyway.

 

ALICE: (She eyes him with unconcealed worry.) I’m not so sure.

 

MATT BRACES HIMSELF TO CLIMB DOWN FROM THE WAGON, MANAGING SOMEHOW TO MAKE IT TO THE GROUND WITHOUT COLLAPSING.  ALICE HAS MADE IT AROUND TO HIS SIDE BEFORE HE CAN STRAIGHTEN.

 

ALICE: This is ridiculous.  You’re about to drop right now.  Let’s go back to the house.

 

MATT: (forcing himself to stand straight) You go – see about that material.  I’ll – check on the telegraph.

 

ALICE: (frustrated) You are the most stubborn man –

 

MATT: You’ve mentioned that.

 

ALICE: (turns to her son) Petey, you go with the Marshal.  (She leans down to talk with him quietly.) And you come get me right away if something happens, do you understand?

 

PETEY: (nods seriously) Yes’m.

 

ALICE: (looks at Matt cautiously again) I’ll just run over to Mister Pranton’s for that material and be right back.

 

MATT NODS WITHOUT ANSWERING VERBALLY.

 

ALICE: Matt?

 

MATT: (realizing he wasn’t very convincing) I’m all right.  Go ahead.

 

ALICE NARROWS HER EYES AT HIM ONCE MORE BEFORE RELUCTANTLY HEADING ACROSS THE STREET.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT:  MATT SLOWLY MAKES HIS WAY INTO THE TELEGRAPH OFFICE WITH PETEY RIGHT BEHIND HIM.  HE PAUSES AT THE DOOR, HIS HANDS GRASPING IT SO HARD THAT HIS KNUCKLES ARE WHITE.  AFTER A MOMENT, HE STUMBLES THE FEW FEET INSIDE THE ROOM AND COLLAPSES ONTO A SPLINTERY-LOOKING CHAIR BY THE DESK THAT HOLDS THE MACHINE.  SHOULDERS SLUMPED, HE GRITS HIS TEETH IN AN EFFORT TO STAVE OFF THE PAIN.

 

PETEY: (watching him in worry) Are you all right, Marshal?

 

MATT: (He looks up, realizing that Petey is watching him, and draws himself upright as best he can.) I’m fine, Petey.  I just – need to sit here in this chair and – work this telegraph.

 

PETEY: Can I ask you somethin’, Marshal?

 

MATT: Sure.

 

PETEY: Are you gonna stay with Ma and me? When you’re better, I mean.

 

MATT: (pressing his lips together) Ah, Petey, I – uh – I can’t stay with you and your ma.  I have a family of my own to go back to.

 

PETEY: Yeah, I know.  You told me.  You got a boy, too, like me.

 

MATT: That’s right.  Bobby.

 

PETEY: I bet he misses you.

 

MATT: (his eyes tightening) He probably does.

 

PETEY: I wish I had a pa, a real one, anyway.  Ma says I had one, but he left.

 

MATT: Your ma does pretty well by you, doesn’t she, Petey? 

 

PETEY: Sure, but a fella needs a pa, dontcha think?

 

MATT LOOKS AT HIM A MINUTE, HIS EYES SOFTENING.  HE REACHES OUT AND RUFFLES PETEY’S HAIR, THEN PULLS BACK AND BLOWS ON THE TELEGRAPH.  DUST BILLOWS FROM THE UNUSED MACHINE.  BOTH PETEY AND MATT COUGH. MATT WINCES AND PRESSES A HAND AGAINST HIS CHEST.

 

MATT: I’m going to need your help.  Let’s see if we can get this thing working, okay?

 

PETEY: (excited to be included in this important task) Yes, sir!

 

THEY BEND OVER THE MACHINE AND START CHECKING THE CONNECTIONS.

 

XXXX

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: KITTY’S AND DOC’S WAGON.  THE SUN IS HIGH IN THE SKY AS THEY HEAD BACK TOWARD JEDDO, THEIR EXPRESSIONS ANXIOUS.  DOC CLICKS TO THE HORSES AND SNAPS THE REINS MUCH MORE VIGOROUSLY THAN HE USUALLY DOES.

 

KITTY: Doc, you really think Matt’s here somewhere?

 

DOC: I think it’s an awful good chance, Kitty.

 

KITTY: You think he’s – alive? (She looks as if she’s afraid to hope too much.)

 

DOC: (firmly) I have to think that, Kitty.  And you do, too. (He smiles gently.) We’ll find him, don’t you worry.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY TRIES TO GIVE HIM A RETURN SMILE, BUT MANAGES ONLY A WINCE.  SHE CLOSES HER EYES FOR A MOMENT, AS IF TO BRACE HERSELF, THEN NODS AND LOOKS AHEAD.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: JEDDO SALOON.  FESTUS AND FRED STILL STAND AT THE BAR.  FESTUS LETS HIS EYES DART PERIODICALLY TO WATCH THE RIDER, WHO IS LEANING CASUALLY, DRINKING HIS BEER.  A DOOR BEHIND AND TO THE LEFT OF THE BAR OPENS AND A SALOON GIRL WE RECOGNIZE AS BETSY WALKS OUT.  SHE LOOKS TOWARD THE RIDER, HER EYES WIDENING FOR A MOMENT.  THEN, SHE LOWERS HER GAZE AND SAUNTERS BACK THROUGH THE DOOR.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: THE RIDER WATCHES BETSY DISAPPEAR; THEN HE TAKES ANOTHER PULL FROM HIS BEER AND SETS IT DOWN ON THE COUNTER.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE RIDER WALKS AROUND FESTUS TOWARD THE CLOSED DOOR AS FESTUS AND FRED WATCH HIM. WHEN HE HAS GONE INTO THE BACK ROOM, FESTUS LOOKS UP AT FRED, WHO SHRUGS.  THE DEPUTY SHAKES HIS HEAD AND RETURNS TO SIPPING HIS BEER, BUT HE KEEPS A WARY EYE ON THE DOOR.

 

XXXX

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: JEDDO TELEGRAPH OFFICE. MATT IS BENT OVER THE TELEGRAPH MACHINE, FRUSTRATION DRAWING DOWN HIS BROW, WHICH IS ALSO DOTTED WITH PERSPIRATION.  HIS IS TRYING TO WIND AN UNCOOPERATIVE COPPER WIRE AROUND THE POST OF THE TELEGRAPH.  PETEY STANDS BEHIND HIM, LOOKING OVER HIS SHOULDER.

 

PETEY: Don’t look like it’s workin’, Marshal.

 

MATT: (voice tight as he struggles with the mechanism) Hasn’t been – tended in a while.  Looks like – wasn’t soldered well in the – first place –

 

HE USES ONE HAND TO HOLD THE THUMB SCREW AND ANOTHER TO TRY TO WORK THE WIRE AROUND THE STEM.

 

MATT: Petey, can you hold this top part still?  I’m gonna need two hands, I think, for this.

 

PETEY: Yes, sir.  (He reaches over to steady the top of the thumb screw.)

 

MATT WORKS WITH IT A BIT LONGER, TUGGING AS GENTLY AS HE CAN, BUT HAVING TO PUT MORE FORCE TO IT AFTER A FEW MORE MOMENTS WITH NO SUCCESS.

 

MATT: Can’t – get it to – stay.  There’s no – lock nut, and this wire is – brittle –

 

AT THAT MOMENT, THE WIRE SNAPS, AND MATT’S ARM JERKS UP WITH THE SUDDEN LACK OF RESISTANCE.  HE SIGHS, SHAKES HIS HEAD, AND WIPES A SHAKING HAND ACROSS HIS FOREHEAD.

 

PETEY: (looking concerned) Maybe you ought ta’ take a break.  You ain’t lookin’ so good, and Ma’ll have my hide if I let anything happen to you.

 

MATT: (tries to smile, but it’s weak) I think she’ll – have my hide, too, Petey.

 

PETEY: (grinning) Yes, sir, she will.

 

MATT: Maybe I’ll just – step outside for a little – air. (He pushes up unsteadily.)

 

PETEY: (rushing to grab Matt’s arm) I’ll help you, Marshal.

 

MATT: No, I – (He pauses, looking down at Petey’s earnest expression, and lets the boy lend his support.) Thanks.

 

PETEY BEAMS AT MATT, AND THE MARSHAL MANAGES A SMILE BACK AS WE

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXX

 

FADE IN

 

ACT THREE

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: SALOON.  WE HEAR A MUFFLED COMMOTION FROM BEHIND THE DOOR TO THE BACK ROOM.  FESTUS AND FRED LOOK TOWARD IT, BUT BEFORE EITHER ONE CAN MOVE, THE DOOR BURSTS OPEN AND THE RIDER STORMS OUT, RUBBING AT SCRATCHES ON HIS FACE.  HE GRABS UP THE BEER HE LEFT ON THE COUNTER, DOWNS THE REST OF IT, AND STOMPS OUTSIDE.  AFTER A MOMENT, BETSY COMES THROUGH THE DOOR OF THE BACK ROOM, HER HAIR DISHEVELED, HER CLOTHES TORN.

 

FESTUS: Missy, air yaarrite?

 

BETSY: Damn him. He don’t never think he has ta’ pay.

 

FESTUS SPINS TO LOOK TOWARD THE DOORS THE RIDER HAS JUST GONE THROUGH.  THEN HE LOOKS OVER AT FRED IN ALARM.

 

FESTUS: Wuz thet

 

FRED NODS.

 

FESTUS: Why didn’t ya’ tell me?

 

FRED: Didn’t ask.

 

WITH A GLARE AT FRED, FESTUS SLAMS DOWN HIS BEER AND DARTS FOR THE DOOR.

 

XXXX

 

CLOSE SHOT: MATT STEPS OUT OF THE TELEGRAPH OFFICE, LIMPING HARD AND HOLDING THE RAILING FOR SUPPORT.  PETEY FOLLOWS HIM OUT.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: AS HE LOOKS UP, HE SEES THE RIDER STEPPING FROM THE SALOON.  MATT SQUINTS, BLINKS, THEN SQUINTS AGAIN IN RECOGNITION.

 

MATT: (to himself) Neagle. 

 

HE MOTIONS FOR PETEY TO MOVE.

 

MATT: Get out of the way, Petey.

 

PETEY: But, Marshal –

 

MATT: I said get back.  Now!

 

PETEY STARES AT HIM FOR A MOMENT.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: ACROSS THE STREET, ALICE EMERGES FROM A STORE, A BOLT OF CLOTH IN HER ARMS.  PETEY SEES HER AND RUNS TOWARD HER.  SHE GASPS AS SHE SEES THE SCENE IN THE STREET.  PETEY RUNS TO STAND WITH HIS MOTHER AS THEY WATCH.

 

MATT: (calling out so that his voice can be heard.) Quincey Neagle!

 

NEAGLE STOPS, LOOKS UP, AND SQUINTS TOWARD MATT.

 

NEAGLE: What do you want?

 

MATT: I’ve come to take you in, Neagle.

 

NEAGLE STEPS A BIT CLOSER, HIS RIGHT HAND HOVERING OVER HIS GUN.  HE LOOKS MATT UP AND DOWN.  THE MARSHAL IS SWAYING SLIGHTLY NOW, THE RAGGED SHIRT HANGING OPEN SO THAT WE CAN SEE THE BANDAGES BENEATH IT.  HIS FACE IS PALE UNDER HIS BEARD.

 

NEAGLE: (incredulous) You what?

 

MATT: (patiently) I’ve come to take you in.  I’m a U.S. Marshal.

 

NEAGLE: (His eyebrow rises.) Another one?

 

MATT: (a bit confused here) What do you mean?

 

NEAGLE: (laughs) I don’t know who you are, mister, but you look like yer arreddy half buried, and you think yer gonna take me in?

 

MATT: (His voice is firm, although his body still sways.) I am.

 

NEAGLE: Mister, the best man in Kansas done tried to take me in.  (He nods toward the church.)  He’s layin out there six feet under right now.

 

MATT CONTINUES TO WATCH HIM, EYES UNMOVING.

 

NEAGLE: (a little irritated that Matt hasn’t reacted to his comments) I’m talkin’ about Marshal Matthew Dillon.  (He grins.)  Maybe you heard of him?

 

ONLY A SLIGHT NARROWING OF MATT’S EYES BETRAYS ANY SURPRISE AT THIS DECLARATION.  IT IS SO SUBTLE THAT NEAGLE DOESN’T NOTICE.

 

MATT: Maybe.

 

NEAGLE: You think yer faster than Matt Dillon?

 

MATT: Nope.

 

NEAGLE: How come you think yer gonna take me, then?

 

MATT: Because you didn’t kill Matt Dillon

 

NEAGLE: (He’s taken aback for a moment, then he laughs.) Yer crazy, man.  I kilt Dillon a month ago.  (His eyes narrow.)  And now, I’m bout ta’ kill you.

 

MATT: (He sways, then braces himself.)  I’d just as soon take you in, Neagle, but it’s your dance.

 

NEAGLE: It’s yer funeral, mister.

 

MATT: Last chance.

 

NEAGLE: You won’t even clear leather.

 

MATT PUSHES AWAY FROM HIS SUPPORT AT THE RAIL AND SQUARES UP. 

 

CUT FROM MATT TO NEAGLE, BACK TO MATT, THEN BACK TO NEAGLE.

 

NEAGLE FROWNS BRIEFLY, THEN SMILES AND DRAWS, HIS MOVE LIGHTNING FAST.  FIRE LEAPS FROM HIS PISTOL.  WE HEAR THE REPORT OF TWO SHOTS.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON ALICE AND PETEY: THEY JUMP WITH THE SOUND OF THE SHOTS, THEIR EYES TERRIFIED.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON FESTUS: HE BURSTS THROUGH THE SALOON DOORS AND STARES OUT INTO THE STREET.

 

FESTUS: Matthew!

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON MATT: HIS GUN IS LEVEL AND SMOKING.  HE STILL STANDS BY THE RAIL, BODY SLIGHTLY BENT AT THE WAIST IN THE FOLLOW THROUGH OF HIS SHOT.  HIS EYES ARE FIXED ON NEAGLE.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON NEAGLE: HIS MOUTH HANGS OPEN AS HE STARES AT MATT.  BLOOD SOAKS HIS SHIRTFRONT.  HIS VOICE STRANGLED, HE UTTERS HIS LAST FEW WORDS.

 

NEAGLE: Matt – Dillon?

 

MATT: (nods) That’s right.

 

NEAGLE: But – you’re dead.

 

MATT: Not yet.

 

NEAGLE FALLS TO THE GROUND, EYES UNSEEING.

 

CUT TO MATT: HE CONTINUES TO STAND FOR ANOTHER FEW MOMENTS UNTIL HE IS CERTAIN NEAGLE IS DEAD.  THEN WE SEE HIS TENUOUS HOLD ON CONTROL FALTER, AND HIS SHOULDERS SLUMP A BIT AS HE RE-HOLSTERS HIS GUN AND REACHES OUT A SHAKING HAND TO GRASP THE RAIL. 

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE FAR END OF THE STREET.  KITTY’S AND DOC’S WAGON PULLS INTO TOWN JUST IN TIME TO SEE THE SHOOTOUT.  PAUSING A MOMENT, MORE THAN A LITTLE STUNNED, THEY TAKE IN THE SCENE.  

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY.  HER EYES WIDEN, AND HER JAW DROPS AS SHE SEES MATT. WITH A CRY, SHE LEAPS FROM THE WAGON AND RUNS DOWN THE STREET, HER SKIRTS FLYING.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ALICE STARTS TO RUN TOWARD MATT, BUT SHE SEES KITTY AND STOPS, WATCHING AS MATT’S WIFE HURRIES FRANTICALLY TO HIM.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: MATT. HE BRINGS HIS HEAD UP TO LOOK DOWN THE STREET, A WEAK SMILE CURVING HIS LIPS WHEN HE SEES HIS WIFE.

 

MATT: (almost in a whisper) Hello, Kitty.

 

KITTY: Matt!  Oh my God, Matt! 

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: DOC.  HE IS WIDE-EYED WITH THE SIGHT OF A LIVE MATT.  QUICKLY, HIS EXPRESSION BREAKS INTO A JOYOUS GRIN.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: KITTY RUSHES THE LAST FEW FEET TO FLING HERSELF AT MATT.  HE GRUNTS AT THE IMPACT, BUT WRAPS HIS LONG ARMS AROUND HER, PULLING HER CLOSE, HIS LIPS IN HER HAIR.

 

KITTY: I thought – I thought – Oh, Matt, I thought you were dead!

 

MATT: (stroking her back) It’s all right, Kitty.  It’s all right.

 

CLOSE SHOT ON MATT AND KITTY.  HE HOLDS HER FOR A LONG MOMENT UNTIL SHE LIFTS HER HEAD AND RAISES HER HAND TO CARESS HIS BRUISED CHEEK.  THEN, SHE RISES ON TIPTOE TO KISS HIM DESPERATELY.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: FESTUS HAS JOINED DOC.   THEIR GRINS ARE WIDE, AND THEY LOOK FROM MATT AND KITTY, THEN TO EACH OTHER, WITH SATISFACTION.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ALICE WATCHES THEM QUIETLY, HER EXPRESSION A MIXTURE OF REGRET AND UNDERSTANDING.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: MATT AND KITTY.  MATT SMILES DOWN AT HER; THEN WE SEE HIS EXPRESSION CHANGE AS HIS FACE PALES, AND HE SWAYS.

 

MATT: Uh – Kitty – I need to –

 

BEFORE SHE CAN SAY ANYTHING, HIS KNEES BUCKLE AND HE FALLS HEAVILY AGAINST THE RAIL, THEN SLIDES TO THE GROUND, KITTY FOLLOWING ALONG, TRYING IN VAIN TO BREAK HIS FALL.

 

KITTY: Doc!

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: DOC HURRIES TO THEM, KNEELING BY MATT.

 

DOC: Let me see.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON MATT: FRESH BLOOD STAINS HIS LEFT SHOULDER AND CHEST.  WE ALSO SEE BLOOD SEEPING ONTO HIS PANTS AT HIS RIGHT THIGH.  DOC PUSHES OPEN THE REMNANTS OF MATT’S SHIRT TO LIFT THE BANDAGE.

 

DOC: (He looks into Matt’s face.)  Matt?  Can you hear me?

 

MATT: (His eyes are closed, but he tries to answer.) Doc –

 

DOC: Just lie still, here.  You hit anywhere else?

 

MATT: – fine –

 

DOC: Oh, yeah, you’re just right as rain.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: JEDDO STREET. A FEW PEOPLE HAVE COME OUT OF THE VARIOUS BUILDINGS TO SEE WHAT HAS HAPPENED.  FRED STEPS FROM THE SALOON AND STARES DOWN AT NEAGLE’S BODY.  HE LOOKS BACK UP AT THE CROWD AROUND MATT, THEN AT FESTUS.  A VAGUE LOOK OF SURPRISE MIXED WITH ADMIRATION CROSSES HIS FACE.

 

ALICE AND PETEY ARRIVE, LOOKING OVER DOC’S SHOULDER.

 

PETEY: Marshal? Marshal Dillon?

 

MATT DOESN’T ANSWER.  WE SEE THAT HE HAS PASSED OUT, HIS HEAD RESTING IN KITTY’S LAP. SHE STROKES HIS CHEEK LOVINGLY.

 

PETEY: (alarmed) He ain’t dead, is he? Please say he ain’t dead!

 

DOC: (looking up at the boy, his face tender) He’s not dead, son.  He’s just very weak, and he’s lost a lot of blood.

 

ALICE: You’re – Doc?

 

DOC: (looking at her curiously) I am.

 

ALICE: He’s been awfully sick for three weeks.  Just came around for good a couple of days ago.  Been shot and beaten, but he’s a tough one.

 

FESTUS: (proudly) He is ‘at.

 

DOC: Did you – are you –

 

ALICE: Alice Miller. 

FESTUS: (surprised) Yer th’ Wider Miller?

 

ALICE: Well, yes. Something wrong?

 

FESTUS: It jest thetwael, yer awful purdy – an’ young – ta’ be a wider.

 

ALICE: (amused) Thank you.  You must be Festus.

 

FESTUS: (taken slightly aback) How did –

 

DOC: Matt’s been with you all this time?

 

ALICE: I’ve been caring for him since Petey found him out on the road.  (She looks down at Kitty and smiles tightly.)  And you must be Kitty.

 

KITTY: (She gives Alice only part of her attention.  The rest is focused on Matt.) Yes.

 

ALICE: You have a fine man.

 

KITTY: (She looks up now and purses her lips for a moment as she considers this woman.) Yes.

 

DOC: We need to get him out of this street.  Is there somewhere

 

ALICE: You folks come back to my place and we can get Matt – the Marshal taken care of.

 

KITTY: (Her brow rises, but her tone is genuine when she responds.) That’s very generous of you, Mrs. Miller.  We wouldn’t want to put you out.

 

ALICE: You’re not.  In fact, Petey would be awfully disappointed if you didn’t come.

 

PETEY: (lifts his head from staring at Matt) Yes’m, I sure would.

 

KITTY: (She smiles up at the boy, her hand still stroking her husband’s cheek.) Well, I guess that’s an offer we can’t turn down.

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXX

 

FADE IN

 

ACT FOUR

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: ALICE’S HOUSE. MATT IS BACK IN THE BED, HIS BANDAGES FRESH AND PROFESSIONALLY WRAPPED.  HE IS PROPPED UP AND PARTICIPATING IN THE CONVERSATION.  KITTY SITS NEXT TO HIM, HIS LEFT HAND CLUTCHED IN BOTH OF HERS.  FESTUS AND DOC SIT AT THE KITCHEN TABLE AS ALICE PREPARES FOOD FOR THEM.  PETEY SITS, MESMERIZED, AT FESTUS’ FEET.

 

FESTUS: Fiddle, I knowed you waddn’t daid th’ whole time. 

 

MATT: (hiding a smile – but not too much) Ya’ did?

 

FESTUS: Why shore.  It’uz ol’ Doc whut had us all mopey an –

 

DOC: Me! You were the one that came into town and – and

 

HE STOPS AT THE PAINED LOOK ON KITTY’S FACE.

 

DOC: (His tone becomes serious.) And I’m sure glad we were wrong.  I sure am.

 

KITTY TAKES A DEEP BREATH, TEARS GLISTENING IN HER EYES.  MATT SQUEEZES HER HAND IN COMFORT.

 

FESTUS: (cocks his head in agreement) I bin a wondrin’ ‘bout somethin’, though.

 

MATT: What’s that?

 

FESTUS: How you know’d it wuz olNeagle on thet street? Yaain’t never met ‘im, hev ya’?

 

MATT: Nope.  I recognized him from a wanted poster.  He was decked out like he had just posed for it.

 

ALICE STEPS UP NEXT TO FESTUS, WIPING HER HANDS ON A RAG.

 

ALICE: Stew’s ready.  There are plates on the table.

 

FESTUS: Ma’am, thet shore smells rite tastey.

 

ALICE: Thank you, Deputy.

 

DOC STEPS UP TO THE TABLE TO GET A PLATE.  ALICE LEANS CLOSE TO HIM AND NODS TOWARD MATT.

 

ALICE: How’s he doing?

 

DOC: Matt? You did a good job, Mrs. Miller. 

 

ALICE: Alice, please.

 

DOC: Alice.  He’s pretty weak, but I think he’s going to be all right.  (He frowns down at Matt pointedly and raises his voice.) If he follows his doctor’s orders and stays in bed for the next three weeks.

 

MATT: Three weeks? Doc –

 

KITTY: (brushing a hand through Matt’s hair lovingly) He’ll do it, Doc.  I’ll make sure.

 

FESTUS: One thang’s a-still botherin’ me, though, Matthew.  We ain’t got no idée who thet thar feller in box is.

 

MATT: Whoever he is probably knew who I was and jumped me so I wouldn’t get to Neagle first.  There was a hefty reward on Quincey’s head.  Sounds like this guy tried to pass himself off as me so Neagle would be more inclined to go with him.

 

FESTUS: Didn’t work too wael.

 

MATT: No.

 

FESTUS: He wuz almost big enuff ta’ pass fer ya’, though.

 

MATT: Yeah?  What did he look like?

 

KITTY: (shuddering) Not very pretty.  Not anymore.

 

MATT PLACES HIS FREE HAND ON HER ARM.

 

DOC: Fair-headed.  Main thing I remember was a silver belt buckle, sort of Mexican looking – and fancy spurs.

 

MATT: (pondering) Sounds kind of like Rude Milton.  I ran into him a few years back.  Sometime-gunman, sometime-bounty hunter.  Not very good at either. More gruff than grit –

 

MATT’S EYES WIDEN, AND HE STOPS SUDDENLY TO LOOK TOWARD ALICE, WHOSE EYES HAVE ALSO GROWN WIDE.

 

ALICE: (her hand at her throat) Oh, my God.

 

KITTY: What is it?

 

ALICE:  That man – that man – you think, you think it was –

 

MATT: (turns back to Doc) What kind of shirt was he wearing, Doc?  You remember?

 

DOC: Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.  It was sort of checkered, or plaid, maybe.  Looked kind of strange with that belt buckle.

 

ALICE SITS SUDDENLY, THE BLOOD DRAINING FROM HER FACE.  DOC PUTS DOWN HIS PLATE TO STAND OVER HER, HIS BROW FURROWED.

 

DOC: What’s the matter?

 

ALICE CAN’T ANSWER.  SHE SITS NUMBLY, STARING AHEAD.

 

MATT: Doc, I’m pretty sure that fellow you saw was Rude Milton – and I also think it was Rudy Miller.  (gently) Am I right, Alice?

 

ALICE: (nods slowly) I think so.  I think maybe so.

 

MATT: I’m sorry.

 

ALICE: (stares up at him, then shakes herself) You’re sorry?  My God, he tried – he almost killed you, Matt.  I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.

 

MATT: You had nothing to do with that.  You saved my life.

 

ALICE: I just can’t believe – after all these years – oh, Rudy – (She buries her head in her hands.)

 

MATT AND KITTY EXCHANGE A MEANINGFUL GLANCE.  KITTY RISES, MOVING BEHIND ALICE AND PUTTING HER ARMS AROUND THE DISTRAUGHT WOMAN.

 

KITTY: Come on.  Let’s go in the other room.

 

ALICE NODS, ACCEPTING KITTY’S SUPPORT, AND THE TWO WOMEN DISAPPEAR INTO THE SEWING ROOM.

 

FESTUS: (to Petey) Come on, Petey, let’s us take our vittles outside an’ I’ll tell ya’ all about th’ time I beat thet ol’ sawbones outta three bottles of whiskey –

 

PETEY: Oh, boy!

 

THEY GATHER THEIR PLATES AND HEAD TOWARD THE FRONT DOOR, LEAVING DOC TO GRUMBLE INEFFECTIVELY, WITH ONLY MATT FOR HIS AUDIENCE.  THE TWO MEN REMAIN SILENT FOR A LONG MOMENT BEFORE MATT SHIFTS ON THE BED, WINCING RUEFULLY WITH THE MOVEMENT.

 

DOC: I told you to take it easy –

 

MATT: (seriously) How was it, Doc?  On Kitty, I mean.

 

DOC: (hesitantly) Well, it was – she was – (He shakes his head finally.) It was hard, Matt.  It was hard.

 

MATT SIGHS AND NODS. 

 

MATT: I wish I could –

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE SEWING ROOM DOOR OPENS AND KITTY EMERGES, CLOSING IT BEHIND HER.  SHE SMILES TIREDLY AT THE MEN AS SHE SITS ON THE EDGE OF THE BED.  MATT PLACES HIS HAND ON HER ARM.

 

MATT: How is she?

 

KITTY: She’ll be all right.  She’s quite a survivor.

 

MATT REGARDS HIS WIFE WITH A SMILE OF ADMIRATION.

 

MATT: She’s not the only one.  You okay?

 

DOC: (He coughs roughly and stands, picking up his plate again.) Well, I guess I’ll join Festus and Petey.  No telling what lies that scoundrel is putting into that poor child’s head.

 

WITH A SMILE HE SHUFFLES OUT, LEAVING MATT AND KITTY ALONE IN THE ROOM.  FOR A MOMENT, THEY DON’T MOVE.  THEN, CAREFULLY, KITTY LEANS DOWN AND PLACES A LONG, WARM KISS ON MATT’S LIPS.  HE RETURNS THE KISS, HIS RIGHT HAND COMING UP TO CUP HER FACE.  WHEN THEY FINALLY PULL BACK, WE SEE TEARS IN KITTY’S EYES.

 

MATT: Kitty, it’s all right.

 

KITTY: I thought I’d lost you.  I was so afraid that –

 

MATT PRESSES A FINGER OVER HER LIPS TO STOP HER, THEN REPLACES THE FINGER WITH HIS MOUTH.  THIS KISS IS HARDER, MORE PASSIONATE.  THIS TIME, WHEN THEY PART, BOTH ARE BREATHING HEAVILY.

 

MATT: (pressing kisses against her neck) Kitty, I missed you so much.

 

KITTY: (arching her neck to welcome his caresses) I can’t believe you’re really here.  I can’t believe you’re really here.

 

MATT: (drawing her hand over his chest) I’m here, Kitty.  I’m here.

 

THEY KISS AGAIN, KITTY DRAPING OVER MATT SO THAT SHE IS PARTIALLY LYING ON HIM.  HIS ARMS GO AROUND HER, OBLIVIOUS TO ANY PAIN FROM HIS INJURIES.  IT LOOKS AS IF THE EMBRACE MIGHT DEEPEN, BUT THE MOMENT IS INTERRUPTED BY A POINTED COUGH.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ALICE IS STANDING IN THE DOOR OF THE SEWING ROOM, HER FACE A BIT PINK.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: KITTY LOOKS UP AND SEES ALICE.  SHE JERKS AWAY FROM MATT, WHO GRUNTS AS SHE PRESSES A LITTLE TOO HARD AGAINST HIS CHEST.

 

KITTY: (smoothing her hair) I – uh – we –

 

ALICE: (raising a brow) Yes, I – uh – see.  I’m sorry to – interrupt.

 

KITTY: We were just –

 

ALICE: And I don’t blame you one bit.

 

A FLUSH COLORS KITTY’S CHEEKS, AND SHE EXCHANGES A MISCHIEVOUS GLANCE WITH HER HUSBAND.

 

ALICE: I just came to thank you for – for helping me and to tell you that maybe it’s time Petey and I moved on.

 

MATT: (propping gingerly on an elbow) Does this mean Lawrence might be acquiring a new dressmaker soon?

 

ALICE: I wouldn’t be surprised.  (She takes in the loving scene another moment, then draws in a deep breath.) Well, I don’t want to – keep you from – well, I’ll just be out here with everybody else – talking, and – things – We should be – a while –

 

QUICKLY, SHE WALKS OUT THE FRONT DOOR, MAKING SURE IT IS CLOSED BEHIND HER.  KITTY LOOKS AT MATT, ONE BROW RAISED.  MATT SHRUGS, CATCHES HER HAND IN HIS, AND TUGS HER BACK DOWN INTO HIS EMBRACE AGAIN.  THEIR LIPS MEET ONCE MORE AS WE

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXX

 

FADE IN

 

EPILOGUE

 

MEDIUM EXTERIOR SHOT: ALICE’S HOUSE. IT IS SEVERAL DAYS LATER. A WAGON HITCHED TO TWO HORSES WAITS JUST OFF THE ROAD.  BUCK IS HITCHED BEHIND IT.  FESTUS AND DOC ARE SITTING ON THE SEAT.  MATT AND KITTY STAND IN FRONT OF ALICE AND PETEY.  IT IS CLEAR THEY ARE ABOUT TO LEAVE.

 

ALICE: Are you sure he’s strong enough to travel, Doc?

 

DOC: Hell, no.  But when has my learned professional opinion ever mattered?

 

MATT: (ignoring him) Alice, thank you for going into Iola with Festus and sending that telegram to Dodge.  In fact, thank you for – well, for everything.

 

ALICE: It was my pleasure, Marshal.  It really was.

 

CLOSE SHOT ON MATT AND KITTY.  HER BROW RISES JUST SLIGHTLY.  MATT NOTICES AND SHIFTS AWKWARDLY ON HIS BAD LEG, NOT SEEING THE SMIRK THAT CROSSES HER LIPS.

 

PETEY: I sure am gonna miss ya’, Marshal.

 

MATT: I’m gonna miss you, too, Petey.

 

PETEY: Would it be okay, ya’ think, if one day maybe I’d come and visit ya’?

 

MATT: (smiling) It sure would.  I bet Bobby would like to meet you.

 

PETEY: He sure is lucky.

 

MATT: (nods toward Alice) You’re pretty lucky, too, huh, Petey?

 

PETEY: (grins up at his mother) Yeah.

 

MATT: (He nods toward Alice.) Good luck in Lawrence.

 

ALICE: Thank you.

 

KITTY: (She takes Alice’s hand.) I can’t thank you enough for what you did, for – for saving him.

 

ALICE: I’ll tell you something, he saved my life, too.

 

MATT: (surprised) How’s that?

 

ALICE: (takes a deep breath) I had pretty much given up on men before you came.  Didn’t think there were any good ones out there.  Lord knows Rudy wasn’t.  (She looks up and smiles.) And then Matt Dillon drops into my life, and I find a man who is honorable, and noble, and brave, and handsome – and very, very tall.

 

MATT SMILES BACK, CASTING ANOTHER CAUTIOUS GLANCE TOWARD HIS WIFE.

 

ALICE: And I’m thinking that maybe, somewhere, there’s another man out there like you.  Or close, anyway.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: MATT AND ALICE.  SHE STEPS OVER TO HIM AND STRETCHES UP, ONE HAND GOING AROUND HIS NECK TO PULL HIM DOWN TO HER SO SHE CAN PLACE A SOFT, BUT QUICK KISS ON HIS CHEEK.

 

ALICE: Thank you.  (She takes a breath and hurries back inside.) 

 

CLOSE SHOT: KITTY LOOKS UP AT MATT, HER BROW COCKED SHARPLY.  HE SHRUGS, THEN WINCES AT THE MOVEMENT.

 

MATT: Kitty, I – I didn’t –

 

KITTY: Never mind, Cowboy.  I can’t say as I blame her.

 

MATT’S OWN BROW RISES IN SURPRISE.

 

KITTY: You are tall, after all.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT

 

DOC: You two gonna jaw all day or are we headed back to Dodge?

 

MATT: (He limps to the wagon to help Kitty into the back and climbs in carefully himself) Doc, I don’t think we can get back there fast enough.

 

DOC: We can the way Festus drives, but you won’t have a tooth left in your head.  He’ll rattle them all out.

 

FESTUS: Aw, fiddle, yaol’ scudder.  If I let you handle these chere ribbons, we’d be Christmas a’getting’ home.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: THE BACK OF THE WAGON AS THE HORSES JERK FORWARD.  MATT AND KITTY ARE LEANING AGAINST THE SIDE BOARD, HER HEAD ON HIS SHOULDER, HIS ARM AROUND HER.

 

KITTY: Home.  It sure will be good to get back.

 

MATT: Yes, it will, Kitty.

 

KITTY: And I know a few children you’ll be hard-pressed to keep from smothering you when they see you again.

 

MATT: See, the thing of it is, I don’t mind being smothered. 

 

KITTY: (feigning surprise) You don’t?

 

MATT: Not at all.

 

KITTY: (snuggling closer to him) I’ll have to remember that.

 

MATT LOOKS DOWN AT HER, A TEASING, BUT HEATED SMILE ON HIS LIPS.  SHE LOOKS BACK UP WITH THE SAME EXPRESSION.

 

PAN OUT TO LONG SHOT: PETEY WAVES GOODBYE AS THE GLOW OF THE EASTERN SUN TOUCHES THE BACKS OF THE WAGON’S OCCUPANTS.  THE CAMERA PULLS BACK AS THEY DISAPPEAR DOWN THE ROAD TOWARD JEDDO, A PATH WHICH WILL LEAD THEM TO CHANUTE AND, EVENTUALLY, HOME.

 

DISSOLVE TO CREDITS

 

FADE TO BLACK: END OF EPISODE

 

 

 

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