Gunsmoke Ė Season 23

 

 

Episode 695: The House on Rue Chartres

 

 

WRITER:Amanda

 

CAST:

 

Matt Dillon Ė U.S. Marshal

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

Festus Haggen Ė Deputy U.S. Marshal

Lydia Russell

Marcus Wilhaven Ė Lawyer for the estate of Wayne Russell

Henri Gavereaux Ė Hotel Owner

Ambrose Colemire Ė Gambler

Frank Ellis Ė Gambler

Jud Britton - Gambler

Barney Ė Dodge City telegraph operator

Bobby and Beth Ann Dillon Ė children of Matt and Kitty

Albert, bellboy

Philippe Ė bellboy

New Orleans Police Officer

 

 

TEASER

 

FADE IN:

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT (NIGHT): THE DILLON HOME. BOBBY AND BETH ANN SIT AT FESTUSí FEET, EYES WIDE AS THEY LISTEN TO HIM SPIN A TALE OF GHOSTS.A FIRE IS CRACKLING HEARTILY IN THE FIREPLACE. MATT AND KITTY SIT TOGETHER ON THE SETTEE, MATTíS ARM AROUND HER SHOULDERS.

 

FESTUS: (hunched over, his voice soft and ominous) So then, Fleetis aní me, we creepy-toed around thí house, a waitiní fer the haint taí come on down aní git hisseff a load of haint bait.Now Fleetis, he wuz sorta figgeriní there werenít no sich thang as haints, but he wuz Ďbout taí change his thankiní Ė

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON MATT AND KITTY:SHE LEANS HER HEAD AGAINST HIS SHOULDER, HER SLIGHT SMILE SAD AND WISTFUL.

 

KITTY: They look so sweet, sitting there, listening to Festus. So young. I wonder what Ė

 

MATT: (his hand reaching up to tug gently through her hair, which is hanging loosely about her shoulders) Shh.Sheís fine, Iím sure.(But we hear the doubt in his voice.)

 

KITTY: Did you go by the post office on your way home?

 

MATT: Like I promised I would.

 

KITTY: And?

 

MATT: (shakes his head slowly) Nothing.

 

KITTY: They canít keep her from writing, can they? Surely, they canít keep her from writing.

 

MATT: I guess they could.(He sighs heavily and grits his teeth.) Iíll send another telegram to that Topeka lawyer Judge Brooker contacted for us.

 

KITTY: I wish Ė

 

MATT: I know, Honey.I know.But there are still Bobby and Beth Ann.They are having a hard enough time without seeing us Ė well, they need us, too.

 

KITTY: (sitting up quickly and turning to look at him) You donít think Ė

 

MATT: Itís hard, Kitty.They can tell itís hard on you Ė on Ė both of us.(He almost whispers this last phrase.)

 

KITTY: (leaning back against him and caressing his chest) I know, Cowboy.I know.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: FESTUS IS GETTING TO THE CLIMAX OF THE STORY, HIS VOICE BUILDING.BOBBY AND BETH ANN ARE RIVETED TO HIS TALE.

 

FESTUS: So Fleetis called out, ďWhoís thar?Ē Aní dontcha know, this chere hooty owl sound come on back at Ďim.

 

BOBBY: (wide-eyed) What did yaí do?

 

FESTUS: We couldnít move nairy a toe, even.Skeered taí death. Right Ďbout thet time, we heerd somethiní a crawliní rite behind us, aní Ė

 

A POUNDING ON THE DOOR STARTLES THEM ALL.BOBBY AND BETH ANN SCREAM. FESTUS JERKS IN SURPRISE.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: MATT AND KITTY.KITTY IS HOLDING HER HAND OVER HER HEART, AS IF SHE, TOO, HAS BEEN STARTLED.MATT EASES HIS ARM FROM AROUND HER AND STANDS A BIT STIFFLY.WE SEE THAT HE TAKES A SECOND OR TWO TO MAKE SURE HIS KNEE IS GOING TO COOPERATE BEFORE HE STEPS TOWARD THE DOOR.CAUTIOUSLY, HE REACHES TO HIS HOLSTER THAT IS HANGING ON A HOOK BY THE DOOR AND EASES THE COLT FROM IT BEFORE HE CALLS OUT.

 

MATT: Who is it?

 

VOICE: Itís me, Marshal!Barney!

 

MATT: (He lowers the gun, but does not holster it, yet; then, he opens the door.) Barney, what on earth are you doing out here this time of night?Whatís wrong?

 

BARNEY: (looks winded, as if he has come in a hurry) Had to bring you this telegram, Marshal.(He glances uneasily at Kitty.) Itís Ė uh Ė itís important.

 

MATT TAKES A BREATH, AS IF BRACING HIMSELF, REHOLSTERS HIS GUN, AND REACHES FOR THE PIECE OF PAPER BARNEY IS EXTENDING.AFTER A QUICK READ, HE LOWERS THE PAPER AND GLANCES TOWARD KITTY, HIS EYES UNCERTAIN.

 

KITTY: (eyes wide) Matt?

 

AFTER ANOTHER BEAT, HE HANDS HER THE TELEGRAM.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT ON KITTY: SHE HOLDS MATTíS GAZE FOR A LONG MOMENT, THEN LOOKS AT THE TELEGRAM.WE SEE HER EYES NARROW, THEN HER LIPS PRESS TOGETHER, BUT SHE DOES NOT LOOK TERRIBLY UPSET, JUST A BIT SAD.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: FESTUS STANDS AND STEPS OVER TO HER, HIS EXPRESSION CONCERNED.

 

FESTUS: Miz Kitty?

 

KITTY: (looking up and giving him a sad smile) My father died in New Orleans.

 

FESTUS: I didín know yer pappy wuz still liviní, Miz Kitty.

 

KITTY: I didnít know he was, either.I havenít seen him in twenty years.

 

MATT MOVES TO STAND CLOSER TO HER, HIS ARM SLIPPING AROUND HER WAIST.

 

MATT: You okay?

 

KITTY: Yeah.Itís just Ė itís kinda strange, you know.I mean, for me, heís been dead anyway all these years.

 

MATT: (draws her closer) Iím sorry, Kitty.

 

KITTY: (glancing back at the telegram) Iím supposed to contact a man named Wilhaven in New Orleans.Seems my father left me something and I have to claim it in person.(She laughs without humor.) Debt, probably.

 

MATT: Iíll take care of it.You donít have to go.

 

KITTY: No.Itís okay.I can go by myself.You stay here with the children.

 

MATT: You think Iím letting you go to New Orleans all by yourself?

 

KITTY: I went before, didnít I Ė (She stops, horrified at what sheís said, remembering that the last time she went to New Orleans was when she left Matt, intending never to return.)

 

CLOSE SHOT ON MATT: HIS JAW HAS HARDENED, BUT HE DOESNíT RESPOND.

 

KITTY: Oh, Matt.I didnít mean Ė Iím so sorry.

 

MATT: (nodding, the easy forgiveness on his face) Iím going with you this time.

 

KITTY: (smiling warmly and touching his arm) Iím glad.(Then she notices the expressions on Beth Annís and Bobbyís faces.) But what about the children?We canít just leave them.

 

FESTUS: Iíll be happy taí tek keer of thí younguns fer ya.Iím a natríl with Ďem.

 

MATT AND KITTY SMILE UNEASILY AND EXCHANGE HESITANT LOOKS.

 

MATT: Uh, well, thatís generous of you, Festus Ė

 

BETH ANN: (interrupting quickly) Donít you remember Mrs. Roniger inviting us to stay with them next week and celebrate All Saintsí Eve with them? Iíll bet they wonít mind if we stay a few more days.

 

KITTY: (smiling in relief) Thatís right.Oh, thank you, Festus, but I wouldnít want the Ronigers to be disappointed.

 

FESTUS: Wael Ė

 

KITTY: And Iím sure theyíd love for you to join in the fun.

 

BETH ANN: Sure, they would!

 

FESTUS: Iíll put Ďer down, then.

 

BOBBY: (pouting) But I donít wantchaí taí go, Mama.Or Daddy, neither.

 

MATT: (With effort, he kneels next to his son.) You wouldnít want your mama to go off to the big city all by herself, now, would you?

 

BOBBY: (looking over at Kitty) No, Sir. (He brightens.) I know! Iíll go with her!

 

KITTY: (kneeling, too) Thatís very generous of you, Bobby.But you would miss all the fun with the Ronigers.

 

BOBBY: (a little less enthusiastically now that sheís reminded him about that) Thatís okay.

 

MATT: You sure? Bobbing for apples? Sack races? Pie eating contests?

 

BETH ANN: (joining in) Hayride?

 

FESTUS: Catchiní a greased pig?

 

BOBBY: (thinking about these things) Well, if yaí think you could get along without me Ė

 

KITTY: (embracing him hard) Never, Sweetheart.We could never get along without you.(She lets go and holds him at armís length.) But we can go to New Orleans for a few days, just your daddy and me, and I think weíll be all right, as long as weíre not gone long.

 

BOBBY: (He thinks about it for a long moment.) As long as youíre not gone long.

 

KITTY: (With a teary smile she looks at up Matt, whose smile isnít much steadier.) We promise.

 

MATT PUSHES UP FROM THE FLOOR, A QUICK GRIMACE THE ONLY EVIDENCE HIS POSITION WAS UNCOMFORTABLE, AND TOUSELS BOBBYíS HAIR FONDLY.

 

BOBBY: Uncle Festus, you never finished the story!

 

FESTUS: I shore didnít.Set yerseffs back down Ďn lemme tell yaí how Fleetis aní me come taí invite a haint taí supper.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: THE CHILDREN SIT AGAIN AT HIS FEET AS HE FINISHES THE GHOST TALE.

 

CLOSE SHOT: MATT AND KITTY STAND WATCHING, ARMS AROUND EACH OTHER, THEIR EXPRESSIONS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HAPPY AND SAD AS WE

 

DISSOLVE TO MAIN TITLE

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXXX

 

FADE IN

 

ACT ONE

 

LONG EXTERIOR SHOT (DAY): JACKSON SQUARE, NEW ORLEANS. CARRIAGES AND HORSES GO BY.WE SEE COLORFUL DRESSES AND FANCY SUITS PASS IN FRONT OF THE LANDMARK ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: STILL IN FRONT OF JACKSON SQUARE. A CARRIAGE PASSES IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA.WE SEE MATT AND KITTY SITTING SIDE-BY-SIDE, BOTH OF THEM LOOKING AT THE SCENES AROUND THEM. MATT IS WEARING HIS GRAY JACKET.KITTY HAS ON A GREEN TRAVEL SUIT.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: MATT AND KITTY. ON CLOSER INSPECTION, THEY LOOK A LITTLE WILTED.MATT TAKES OFF HIS HAT AND WIPES HIS FOREHEAD WITH THE BACK OF HIS HAND BEFORE HE REPLACES THE HAT ON HIS HEAD.KITTY DABS AT HER NECK WITH A HANDKERCHIEF. AFTER A MOMENT, SHE SMILES AND BREATHES IN DEEPLY.

 

MATT: (raising a brow) You okay?

 

KITTY: (smiling slightly) Just breathing in.

 

MATT: (with an ironic look) Iím afraid if I breathe in, it wonít come back out again.

 

KITTY: (frowning) What?

 

MATT: I donít mean to insult your hometown, Kitty, but this is about the thickest air Iíve ever tried to suck in my lungs.

 

KITTY: (smiles) It is humid, Iíll agree.Iíd almost forgotten.Itíll be better when the weather gets cooler.

 

MATT: Itís almost November now.

 

KITTY: Does seem awfully hot for this time of year. Itís not usually like this.

 

MATT ARCHES A DUBIOUS BROW.

 

KITTY: (looking around at the sights) Do you remember the last time we were here?

 

MATT: (smirking and leaning in to whisper) I donít remember much of anything except the inside of our hotel room.It was our honeymoon, after all.

 

KITTY: (swatting playfully at him) We made the most of it, as I recall.

 

MATT: We did, indeed.

 

KITTY: Until we had to transfer it to Washington.

 

MATT: (grimacing) Donít remind me.

 

KITTY: (raising a pointed brow) But we made the most of Washington, too, didnít we?

 

MATT: True.Maybe this time we can see more of the city.

 

KITTY: (slipping a hand to squeeze his thigh suggestively) Maybe.Maybe not.

 

MATT: (glances down at her hand) Miss Russell, I should remind you Iím a married man.

 

KITTY: Youíd better believe it, Cowboy.

 

MATT GRINS AND LEANS CLOSE AS IF HE MIGHT KISS HER RIGHT THERE IN PUBLIC, BUT HIS MOVE IS INTERRUPTED BY THE CARRIAGE DRIVERíS VOICE.

 

CARRIAGE DRIVER: Here we are, folks.The Chartres House Hotel.

 

MATT GRUNTS AND GIVES HIM AN IRRITATED LOOK.KITTY SMILES AND PATS HER HUSBANDíS LEG.

 

KITTY: (looking up) Oh, itís beautiful, Matt. Look at the ironwork.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: THE ENTRANCE OF A TYPICAL NEW ORLEANS FRENCH QUARTER BUILDING, AN IRON BALCONY ADORNING THE SECOND FLOOR, IRON POSTS LINING THE WALKWAY DOWN THE STREET.DESPITE ITS BEAUTY, IT IS SHOWING SIGNS OF WEAR.

 

CARRIAGE DRIVER: You sure this is where you want to stay?

 

KITTY: Of course.Why?

 

CARRIAGE DRIVER: Oh, well, just the time of year, you know.

 

MATT: Whatís that got to do with it?

 

CARRIAGE DRIVER: All Saintsí Eve is night after tomorrow.

 

MATT: Yeah?

 

CARRIAGE DRIVER: Well, my goodness, everybody knows this place is haunted.

 

MATT ROLLS HIS EYES AND CLIMBS DOWN FROM THE BUGGY, REACHING BACK TO OFFER KITTY HIS HAND.SHE HAS STOPPED, HOWEVER, AND GIVEN THE DRIVER A CURIOUS LOOK.

 

KITTY: Haunted?

 

CARRIAGE DRIVER: (nodding enthusiastically) Sure. Lots of strange things going on, especially around All Saints Eve.

 

KITTY: (intrigued) Like what?

 

MATT: Kitty Ė

 

CARRIAGE DRIVER: Oh, sounds in the halls when no oneís there, things moving around.The place has several spirits. In fact Ė

 

MATT: (reaching into his coat pocket and handing the driver a coin) Thanks for the lift, Mister. Weíll be fine, here.

 

CARRIAGE DRIVER: Want me to wait for your baggage from the depot?

 

MATT: No, thanks.This is all we have.

 

CARRIAGE DRIVER: (eyes the single trunk and carpetbag) Suit yourself.(He looks up warily at the upper balcony of the hotel.) Donít say I didnít warn you.

 

HE DRIVES AWAY, THE HORSEíS HOOVES CLOPPING ON THE BRICK STREET.KITTY FROWNS AFTER HIM AS MATT HAULS THE TRUNK UP ONTO THE WALKWAY AND PLACES HIS CARPETBAG ON TOP.

 

MATT: You ready?

 

KITTY: If the ghosts are.

 

MATT STARTS TO LAUGH UNTIL HE SEES KITTYíS SERIOUS EXPRESSION; THEN HE STOPS ABRUPTLY.

 

MATT: Oh, now, Kitty, surely you donít believe that.

 

KITTY: Remember, Iím from here.There are lots of places in New Orleans that are haunted.

 

MATT: What?

 

KITTY: Sure.Letís see.Over on Royal, thereís the Saint Louis Hotel.Some people claim to wake up in the middle of the night with the sheets tucked tightly around them.Down on St. Charles, the Ashley House has a phantom pianist and the sound of footsteps.

 

MATT: Kitty Ė

 

KITTY:Just down the street here thereís the old Confederate Hospital.They say maids have seen soldiers and surgeons wandering around.There are even reports of blood stains that appear and disappear on the bedding.(She raises an eyebrow.) And the LaLaurie House is really spooky.They were Creole socialites before the war.Supposedly high society, but when they had a fire one time, the men that came to fight it found mutilated slaves in the attic.You can still hear their cries at night.

 

MATT: (mouth dropping in astonishment) Kathleen Russell Dillon, are you telling me that you think there are really such things as ghosts?

 

KITTY: (shrugging) Whatís to say there arenít?

 

MATT: Common sense, for one, something I thought you had all these years.

 

KITTY: (her brows coming together) What do you mean by that?

 

MATT: Iím just saying, Kitty, that youíve always been level-headed and logical about things Ė well, most things Ė and I find it hard to believe that you would even consider it possible that ghosts Ė

 

KITTY: (smirking) Whereís your sense of romance? Adventure?

 

MATT: (relieved that she seems to have been teasing him) Iíve had enough adventure, believe me.(He lowers his voice.) As for romance, letís get checked in, and Iíll show you romance.

 

KITTY: (her look sultry) Letís go, Romeo.

 

MATT PRESSES HIS LIPS TOGETHER IN A BOYISH SMIRK. EAGERLY, HE LUGS THE BAGGAGE INTO THE LOBBY OF THE HOTEL.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: INSIDE OF THE CHARTRES HOUSE HOTEL.ITS OPULENT DECORATIONS ARE A BIT WORN, ALTHOUGH NOT RAGGED YET.THEY APPROACH THE FRONT DESK WHERE A SLIGHT, BALDING MAN WAITS, HIS EYES DARTING NERVOUSLY TO THEM.

 

CLERK: (directing his question toward Matt) May I help you?

 

KITTY: Iím Kathleen Dillon.I believe you are expecting my husband and me?

 

CLERK: (Eyes widening, he looks back and forth between Matt and Kitty.After a beat, he answers.) Oh!Oh, yes, yes, Mrs. Dillon.We are, we are.(He looks at Matt again, glancing at his badge, which is only half visible beneath his gray coat.)I didnít realize that you were a law official, uh, Sheriff Ė Dillon?

 

MATT: Marshal.

 

CLERK: Marshal. Uh, let me welcome you to the Chartres House Hotel.

 

HE TURNS AND SNAPS HIS FINGERS. AFTER A MOMENT, AN ELDERLY MAN ENTERS, HIS GAIT HALTING.

 

CLERK: Albert, please take these peopleís bags.

 

MATT: (smoothly blocking the trunk with his body when he sees the manís advanced age) No, thatís all right.I can get them.

 

CLERK: But Ė

 

MATT: Really.Iíd rather do it myself, anyway.

 

THE CLERK SHRUGS AND DISMISSES ALBERT, WHO SHUFFLES OUT.

 

CLERK: (apologetically) I assure you that Albert could handle your baggage, Marshal.

 

MATT GIVES HIM A SKEPTICAL LOOK.

 

CLERK: As I said, welcome to the Chartres House Hotel. I am Henri Gavereaux, the own Ė well, the former owner.

 

KITTY: Former owner?

 

GAVEREAUX: Yes.Until two months ago, this was my hotel.

 

KITTY: What happened?

 

GAVEREAUX: (turning to face her squarely) I lost it in a poker game.(He pauses, then continues.) To your father.

 

KITTY AND MATT EXCHANGE SURPRISED GLANCES.GAVEREAUX CONSIDERS THEM WITH A RUEFUL SMILE.

 

GAVEREAUX: You see, Mrs. Dillon, this is your hotel now.At least if you can claim it as your fatherís will requires.

 

MATT: Wait a minute.What do you mean Ďclaim ití?

 

VOICE (O.S.): He means win it.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: A STOCKY MAN EMERGES FROM A SIDE DOOR, CIGAR IN ONE HAND, THE OTHER HAND SHOVED INTO THE POCKET OF HIS WAISTCOAT.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: HE NODS COURTEOUSLY AT KITTY AND SPEAKS TO MATT.

 

MAN: Marshal, is it?

 

MATT: Matt Dillon.

 

MAN: Jud Britton. A pleasure.

 

KITTY: You know something about this, Mister Britton?

 

BRITTON: I do, maíam.

 

MATT: What do you mean by ďwin itĒ?

 

BRITTON: I mean win this fine establishment through victory at the noble contest of gaming.

 

KITTY: (astonished) I have to gamble for this place?

 

BRITTON: Am I interpreting our dear friend Wayneís final request correctly, Mister Gavereaux?

 

GAVEREAUX: (reluctantly) Yes.Thatís what he intended.There are several named in the will, all pitted against each other for this grand prize.(He gestures around him.)

 

MATT: You say there are several named? How many?

 

VOICE (O.S.): Five of us, altogether, I believe.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ANOTHER MAN EMERGES FROM A CURTAINED HALLWAY.HE IS THIN AND MODERATELY TALL, HIS LONG FACE A BIT SALLOW, BUT NOT ALARMINGLY SO.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: HE BOWS TO KITTY AND NODS TOWARD THE OTHER GENTLEMEN.

 

KITTY: (A bit overwhelmed now.) And you are?

 

MAN: (takes her hand and lingers over it) Frank Ellis, at your service, Madame.

 

MATT PRESSES HIS LIPS TOGETHER, A SURE SIGN OF IRRITATION.

 

KITTY: Youíre in this, too?

 

ELLIS: (straightens and releases her hand) Indeed.I had not imagined that my association with your father would have brought me such an opportunity.Of course, I regret the circumstances.

 

MATT: So you two are involved Ė and Kitty.Who else?

 

GAVEREAUX: I find myself included, Marshal.I suppose Mister Russell had some mercy at the end to allow me to attempt to win it back.

 

KITTY: (to Ellis) You said five.With you two, Mister Gavereaux, and me, that makes only four.

 

VOICE (O.S.) And baby makes five, as they say.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: A YOUNG WOMAN, ABOUT THIRTY, SLIGHT AND ATTRACTIVE, STEPS INTO THE ROOM FROM A SIDE DOOR.IMMEDIATELY, SHE EYES MATT, HER GAZE RUNNING FROM HIS BOOTS TO HIS HEAD.

 

WOMAN: Oh, my.You are awfully tall, arenít you? (Her voice carries a heavily effected Southern accent, one that doesnít seem quite genuine.) Are all the cowboys out West this Ė big?

 

CLOSE SHOT ON MATT, WHO CLEARS HIS THROAT AND FIDDLES WITH THE HAT IN HIS HANDS.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY GLARES AT HER POINTEDLY.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: THE YOUNG WOMAN BREAKS HER ATTENTION FROM MATT AND SMILES AT KITTY, EXTENDING HER HAND. KITTY SMILES BACK TIGHTLY, NOT TAKING THE OFFERED HAND.

 

WOMAN: (pulling her hand back) You must be Kitty.Iíve heard so much about you.

 

KITTY: (one brow arched) You have?From whom?

 

WOMAN: Why, from your father, of course.

 

MATT AND KITTY EXCHANGE GLANCES ONCE MORE.

 

KITTY: My father?

 

WOMAN: Silly me.Let me introduce myself.Iím Lydia Russell.

 

KITTY: Russell?

 

WOMAN: (smiling in calculation) Iím your step-mother.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTYíS MOUTH DROPS IN SHOCK.MATT PRESSES HIS LIPS TOGETHER IN A GRIMACE THAT TELLS US HEíS NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THE IMMINENT EXPLOSION AS WE

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXXX

 

FADE IN

 

ACT TWO

 

MEDIUM SHOT (DAY): THE INSIDE OF A HOTEL ROOM, ITS LONG WINDOWS STILL LETTING IN THE LIGHT TO INDICATE NOT MUCH TIME HAS PASSED SINCE THE LAST SCENE.KITTY IS PACING FURIOUSLY.MATT IS LEANING AGAINST THE DOOR, WATCHING HER, HIS ARMS FOLDED ACROSS HIS CHEST.

 

KITTY: I canít believe it.I just canít believe it!Of all the Ė how dare he Ė how can he just marry Ė and she is so Ė stepmother!The nerve!(She pauses to look at Matt.) Well, donít you have anything to say?

 

MATT OPENS HIS MOUTH TO TALK, BUT KITTY JUST CONTINUES ON BEFORE HE CAN SAY ANYTHING.HE CLOSES HIS MOUTH AND WATCHES HER AGAIN.

 

KITTY: And what kind of father makes his daughter gamble for her inheritance?

 

MATT: (softly) He wasnít much of a father, Kitty, you have to admit that.

 

KITTY: Oh, I know that!Boy, do I know that.

 

MATT: Donít do it.

 

KITTY:What?

 

MATT: Forget the hotel.You donít need it. Letís just go back to Dodge and let the others fight over it.

 

KITTY: I canít let that Ė that Ė con artist get hold of it.

 

MATT: Which one?

 

KITTY: (sarcastically) My step-mother.

 

MATT: (laughing) That is pretty ridiculous.Sheís gotta be fifteen years younger than y Ė (He stops abruptly at the glare she gives him.)

 

KITTY: Well, Iím not going anywhere.Iím entering that game, and Iím gonna win this damn hotel, and Lydia can just sashay on back to Atlanta, or Savannah, or whatever city she pretends to be from.

 

MATT: (straightening, his expression serious) Kitty, I think you should forget it.Something just doesnít add up here, and I donít want you to get involved in something over your head.

 

KITTY: (incredulous) A poker game?Matt, since when was a poker game over my head?

 

MATT: (carefully) Itís been a while. Have you even dealt a hand since we married?

 

KITTY: (with confidence) Some things you never lose.

 

MATT: (skeptically) Kitty Ė

 

KITTY: I know how you feel, Matt.And youíre probably right.But I canít just let her walk away with Ė well, how do we even know sheís who she says she is?

 

MATT: I can find out.

 

KITTY: Why donít you do that? In the meantime Ė

 

A LOW MOAN COMES FROM JUST OUTSIDE THEIR DOOR, AS IF SOMEONE IS IN PAIN.MATT STRIDES TO THE DOOR AND OPENS IT, BUT NO ONE IS THERE.HE LOOKS DOWN THE HALL BEFORE CLOSING THE DOOR AND GOING BACK INTO THE ROOM.

 

KITTY: What was it?

 

BEFORE HE CAN ANSWER, THERE IS A KNOCK AT THE DOOR. ONCE AGAIN, MATT OPENS IT.THIS TIME, A YOUNG MAN OF ABOUT SIXTEEN IS STANDING IN THE HALL, A STACK OF SHEETS CRADLED IN HIS ARMS.HIS HAIR IS DARK AND FLOPS OVER HIS FOREHEAD.HIS SMILE IS WARM, LIGHTING UP HIS GREEN EYES. HE STRETCHES OUT HIS ARMS TO DELIVER HIS LOAD.

 

MATT: (taking the sheets) Thank you. (He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a coin, which he hands to the young man.)

 

THE YOUNG MAN NODS POLITELY AND TURNS TO WALK DOWN THE HALL.AS HE LEAVES, MATT STRAIGHTENS AND FROWNS, COCKING HIS HEAD.

 

KITTY: What is it?

 

MATT: Nothing.I just thought I felt Ė it was nothing.(He walks back into the room and closes the door.)Some boy just delivering the linens.(He lays them on the bed and turns back to Kitty.) If youíre determined to do this, let me at least check into who these people are.They could all be con-men.

 

KITTY: (smiling slyly) Then theyíve chosen the wrong mark.

 

MATT: (He reaches out and pulls her against him.) Youíre mighty confident, Miss Kitty.

 

KITTY: Always, Marshal.

 

MATT: (Bending to nuzzle at her neck.) Always?

 

KITTY: (Arching her neck so he can have better access.)Always.Want me to show you?

 

MATT: (letting his lips travel to her chest) Umm hmm.

 

CLOSE SHOT: CAMERA PANS LOWER TO SHOW JUST THEIR FEET.WE SEE HER DRESS DROP TO THE FLOOR AND HEAR ANOTHER MOAN, BUT THIS ONE IS CLEARLY FROM MATT.

 

 

XXXXX

 

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT (DAY): A PARLOR WITHIN THE CHARTRES HOUSE. THE DECORATIONS ARE HEAVY AND OPULENT, IN KEEPING WITH THE VICTORIAN STYLE OF THE ERA.A ROUND TABLE RESTS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM, WHICH IS NOT LARGE, BUT NOT TOO SMALL.AROUND THE TABLE WE SEE THREE OF THE VARIOUS PLAYERS IN THE GAME ALREADY SEATED: GAVEREAUX, ELLIS, AND BRITTON.TWO CHAIRS REMAIN EMPTY.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: A DOOR TO THE RIGHT OF THE TABLE OPENS AND LYDIA WALKS IN, FOLLOWED CLOSELY BY A NEW ARRIVAL, A SLENDER MAN WITH A THIN MUSTACHE AND WAVY BLACK HAIR.HE APPEARS TO BE JUST A FEW YEARS YOUNGER THAN MATT.HE IS DRESSED IN A FINE BROCADE VEST AND CAMEL-COLORED BREECHES.

 

AFTER THEY ENTER, MATT AND KITTY WALK INTO THE ROOM.LYDIA TURNS, HER EYES DIRECTED TOWARD THEM.

 

LYDIA: Good morning to you.How was your night?

 

KITTY: (slipping a hand into the crook of Mattís arm possessively and raising an eyebrow) It was wonderful, thank you.

 

LYDIA: (narrows her eyes suspiciously) Well, thatís good to hear.(But she doesnít sound pleased.) I was afraid you had been disturbed.

 

KITTY: Disturbed?By what?

 

LYDIA: Of course, you know this hotel is haunted, right?

 

MATT: Weíve heard some ridicu Ė

 

KITTY: (interrupting) Yes.What of it?

 

LYDIA: (her smiling falling a bit in irritation) I was afraid the moaning of the spirits might keep you up.

 

KITTY: (smoothly) Oh, that wasnít spirits moaning, that was just Ė uh, I guess we were too Ė occupied with other things to notice.

 

MATT FLUSHES A BIT AND CLEARS HIS THROAT.

 

MATT: Is everyone here for the game? (aside to Kitty) Letís get this over with.

 

THE DOOR OPENS AGAIN AND ANOTHER MAN ENTERS.HE IS ABOUT FIFTY, HIS THINNING HAIR GRAY AND SHORT.HE NODS TO ALL OF THEM.

 

MAN: Good morning, Gentlemen Ė and Ladies.

 

ELLIS: Who are you?

 

MAN: My name is Marcus Wilhaven.

 

GAVEREAUX: Ah, Mister Wilhaven.The man who arranged all this.

 

WILHAVEN: Actually, Mister Russell arranged it.Iím just carrying it out.

 

ELLIS: Meaning?

 

WILHAVEN: Meaning Iím the lawyer who sent you the telegrams.Iím here to lay out the terms of your contest, and to determine the victor. (He glances around the room, his eyes resting on each of the others.) Mister Gavereaux.Mister Britton.Mister Ellis.(Smiling, he bends slightly toward Kitty.) And you must be Mrs. Dillon.

 

KITTY: Nice to meet you.

 

WILHAVEN: (straightening and looking up at Matt) And you are obviously Marshal Dillon.Itís an unexpected pleasure.I hope we shall not have need of your professional expertise.

 

MATT: I donít see why you should, Mister Wilhaven. (But his tone indicates he wouldnít be surprised if they did.)

 

WILHAVEN: (His smile tightens as he turns to Lydia.) And Mrs. Russell, of course.

 

LYDIA: Mister Wilhaven.Oh, Iíd like to introduce someone to you.(She motions to the gentleman who walked in with her. He nods to them.)This is Mister Ambrose Colemire.He will be my proxy for this little Ė event.

 

BRITTON: Wait a minute, now, Miss.

 

LYDIA: Mrs.

 

BRITTON: Thereís nothing that says you can have someone play for you.

 

LYDIA: Thereís nothing that says I canít.You are free to do the same, Mister Britton.

 

BRITTON: I donít know about this.(He looks at the others.) What about the rest of you?

 

ELLIS: Makes the game more interesting, perhaps.I donít care.

 

GAVEREAUX: I donít know.Are you sure there is nothing that says she canít?

 

WILHAVEN: (shaking his head) The provision in the will was that the named party or a representative for the named party must participate in order to be eligible to win the prize.Therefore, Mrs. Russell may, indeed, select this gentleman as her proxy.

 

COLEMIRE: (sweeping a bow) Gentlemen.(He turns to Kitty and smiles widely.) And beautiful lady.I am honored to join you.

 

CLOSE SHOT: MATT IS WATCHING HIM CAUTIOUSLY, A TOUCH OF SUSPICION IN HIS BLUE EYES.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: THE PLAYERS RELUCTANTLY SIT AT THE TABLE, BRITTON ON ONE SIDE OF KITTY, ELLIS ON THE OTHER.GAVEREAUX AND COLEMIRE SIT ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE.

 

GAVEREAUX: Whoís going to deal first?

 

WILHAVEN: Mister Russellís will states that Miss Russell Ė excuse me, Mrs. Dillon, should take the first deal.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: THE MEN SHOOT KNOWING GLANCES AT EACH OTHER.THEY SEEM TO REGARD HER AS A PATSY IN THIS AND ARE LOOKING FOR A QUICK ELIMINATION. KITTY SHRUGS AND REACHES FOR THE CARDS, BREAKING THE SEAL AND SLIDING THEM FROM THEIR PACKET.

 

CLOSE SHOT: KITTYíS HANDS. SHE HANDLES THE CARDS DEFTLY, SHUFFLING SEVERAL TIMES WITH QUICK, EFFICIENT MOVEMENTS, THEN CUTTING THEM AND SHUFFLING AGAIN.

 

CUT TO ALTERNATING CLOSE SHOTS ON EACH OF THE OTHER PLAYERS: THEIR EYES WIDEN AS THEY WATCH HER. WE SEE THE SURPRISE AND ENCROACHING WORRY ON THEIR FACES.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: KITTY FINISHES THE SHUFFLING AND SMILES UP AT THEM, THE CARDS POISED IN HER LEFT HAND.

 

KITTY:Well, Gentlemen, whatíll it be? Five-card draw? Five-card stud? Omaha? Name your game.

 

THE FOUR MEN STARE AT HER.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: MATT IS LEANING AGAINST THE DOOR FRAME, AN AMUSED SMILE CURVING HIS LIPS.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: COLEMIRE LEANS BACK IN HIS CHAIR AND SMILES, AS WELL.

 

COLEMIRE: Well, this has just become much more interesting. I say the lady calls it.Gentlemen?

 

THE OTHER MEN NOD HESITANTLY.

 

KITTY: All right.Five-card draw.Nothing wild. No limit. Everyone starts with five-thousand dollars in chips.

 

CAMERA PANS AROUND THE ROOM.THREE OF THE MEN, STILL A LITTLE STUNNED, NOD IN ACCEPTANCE.COLEMIRE RAISES A BROW IN ADMIRATION.

 

KITTY: Ante up.

 

XXXXX

 

CLOSE INTERIOR SHOT: AN IMPRESSIVE PILE OF POKER CHIPS. THE CAMERA PANS BACK TO REVEAL THAT THEY ARE STACKED IN FRONT OF KITTY.A BROAD PAN SHOWS THE OTHER PLAYERS WITH FEWER CHIPS.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: THE PLAYERS SIT AROUND THE TABLE, CONSTERNATION ON THEIR FACES. THEY HAD NOT EXPECTED TO BE LOSING TO A WOMAN POKER PLAYER.THE ONLY ONE WHO SEEMS TO TAKE IT IN STRIDE IS COLEMIRE, BUT HIS STACK OF CHIPS IS NOT AS DEPLETED AS THE OTHERS.

 

BRITTON: (leaning back and yawning) I think thatís enough for one day. Itís time for supper.

 

ELLIS: You just donít want to go out on the first day, Britton.

 

BRITTON: (bristling) I am not in danger of going out, Mister Ellis. Thereís just a limit to oneís endurance.We can begin again in the morning.

 

GAVEREAUX: I agree.Weíll all get a fresh start.

 

COLEMIRE: (looking at Kitty, heat in his eyes) I will abide by what our Lady wishes, Gentlemen.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: LYDIA IS SITTING IN A CHAIR BEHIND THEM.SHE NARROWS HER EYES AT COLEMIREíS WARM ATTITUDE TOWARD KITTY.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTY SMILES EASILY.

 

KITTY: (shrugging) Thatís fine with me. Whoís going to keep the chips for tomorrow?

 

WILHAVEN: (stands from where he has been perched, observing the action) I take that responsibility, Mrs. Dillon.Be assured youíre winnings are safe with me.

 

KITTY: I have no doubt. (She stands and instantly the other men stand, as well.)Well, Gentlemen, itís been delightful.

 

AS SHE STANDS, THE DOORS THAT LEAD FROM THE ROOM ONTO THE STREET FLY OPEN WITH A CRASH, STARTLING ALL OF THEM.FOR A MOMENT, THEY ALL JUST STARE AT IT, BUT GAVEREAUX GIVES A FORCED LAUGH AND HURRIES OVER TO CLOSE THEM.

 

GAVEREAUX: Itís just the latch.Hasnít been the same since that last storm that came through.Sorry it scared you.

 

LYDIA: Mister Gavereaux, was that perhaps one of your spirits weíve heard about?

 

GAVEREAUX: (in a scoffing tone) Spirits? Ridiculous, Madam.No, just a wrenched latch.I will fetch someone to fix it tomorrow.

 

AS THEY RELAX, KITTY WALKS TOWARD THE DOOR. THE CAMERA FOLLOWS HER FROM THE ROOM, THEN PANS AROUND TO REST ON THE BEMUSED EXPRESSIONS OF THE OTHERS.

 

CLOSE SHOT: COLEMIREíS EXPRESSION SHOWS GREAT INTEREST IN KITTY.

 

CLOSE SHOT: LYDIA GRITS HER TEETH, HER EYES NARROWING.

 

XXXXX

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT (NIGHT): MATTíS AND KITTYíS HOTEL ROOM. SHE IS IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGING HER CLOTHES WHEN WE HEAR THE KEY RATTLE IN THE DOOR.

 

KITTY: (reaching for her robe) Matt?

 

MATT: (entering) Hey.

 

KITTY: (leaving the robe on the bed) What have you been up to all day?

 

MATT: Checking on a few things.

 

KITTY: On a few people, you mean? (She steps up to him and slides her arm around his waist.)

 

MATT: (He leans down and kisses her gently.) Maybe. How much did you take them for?

 

KITTY: Weíre still playing. A couple of those fellows are pretty good.That Colemire, especially.Thereís something about him Ė

 

MATT: (He leans back, but keeps his arms around her.) Mississippi riverboat gambler.Used to deal on the Natchez. He was wanted for cheating a while back, but the warrantís expired, now.

 

KITTY: Youíve been productive. I thought he had some smooth moves.

 

MATT: (frowning) And not just at cards.

 

KITTY: (smiling) Jealous, Cowboy?

 

MATT: Nah.

 

KITTY: (fingering the buttons on his shirt) I like it when youíre jealous.

 

MATT: You do?

 

KITTY: (beginning to unbutton the shirt) Yep.

 

MATT: Then Iím jealous.

 

CLOSE SHOT: KITTY SLIDES HER HANDS DOWN HIS SHIRT, OPENING IT COMPLETELY, AND PRESSES KISSES AGAINST THE BROAD CHEST THAT SHE HAS BARED.MATT PULLS HER HARDER AGAINST HIM, KISSING HER PASSIONATELY.KITTYíS ARMS GO AROUND HIS NECK, AND HE WRAPS HIS OWN ARMS AROUND HER TO LIFT HER FEET FROM THE GROUND AND WALK HER TOWARD THE BED, NEVER BREAKING THE ON-GOING KISS.AS THE BACKS OF HER LEGS TOUCH THE EDGE OF THE BED, SHE SLIDES DOWN HIS BODY AND SITS ON THE BED BEFORE HIM, HER HANDS REACHING OUT TO BEGIN UNBUCKLING HIS BELT.

 

CUT TO EXTREME CLOSE SHOT: KITTY LOOKS UP AT MATT, HER EYES SULTRY AND CHALLENGING.

 

EXTREME CLOSE SHOT: MATT RETURNS THE LOOK, HIS EYES BLAZING.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: MATT BENDS AND BRACES HIS HANDS ON THE BED, LEANING OVER KITTY SO THAT HE CAN KISS HER AGAIN.JUST AS SHE LIES BACK AND HE FOLLOWS HER DOWN, WE HEAR A HORRENDOUS SCREAM FROM OUTSIDE THE DOOR.

 

MATT JERKS BACK FROM KITTY, SPINNING AROUND TOWARD THE DOOR.KITTY SITS, EYES WIDE.SHE GRABS HER ROBE AND PULLS IT ON.WE HEAR FOORSTEPS RUNNING DOWN THE HALL.WITHOUT BOTHERING TO STRAIGHTEN HIS CLOTHES, MATT STRIDES TO THE DOOR, OPENS IT, AND STEPS OUT INTO THE HALLWAY.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: THE DIMLY LIT HALLWAY OF THE HOTEL.GAVEREAUX IS STANDING THERE, BREATHING HEAVILY AS IF HE HAS JUST RUN UP THE STAIRS. ELLIS STANDS NEXT TO HIM.FROM DOWN THE HALL, COLEMIRE AND LYDIA RUSH IN.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: LYDIA EYES MATT, SEEING HIS OPEN SHIRT AND UNBUCKLED BELT. WE SEE HER RUN HER TONGUE OVER HER LIPS HUNGRILY.

 

CLOSE SHOT: MATT SUDDENLY REALIZES WHAT SHEíS LOOKING AT.HE FLUSHES AND HASTILY REACHES FOR HIS BELT BUCKLE.KITTY EMERGES FROM THE ROOM, HER ROBE FIRMLY IN PLACE.COLEMIRE LOOKS AT HER WITH UNCONCEALED INTEREST. KITTY SHOOTS HIM A FROWN.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: ANOTHER SCREAM PIERCES THE AIR.

 

ELLIS: That came from Brittonís room.(He points two doors down.)

 

MATT LEADS THE WAY, RUNNING TO THE DOOR.HE GRABS THE HANDLE AND TWISTS, BUT THE DOOR IS LOCKED.

 

MATT: (turning to Gavereaux) Give me the key!

 

GAVEREAUX: Itís downstairs.Iíll have to Ė

 

WITHOUT WAITING, MATT KICKS HARD AGAINST THE DOOR, WHICH FLIES OPEN AND SLAMS BACK AGAINST THE INSIDE WALL.HE RUNS INTO THE ROOM, FOLLOWED BY THE REST OF THE GROUP.

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: THE INSIDE OF BRITTONíS ROOM. IT IS EMPTY, BUT THE OUTSIDE WINDOW STANDS OPEN TO THE BALCONY, THE DRAPES BLOWING INWARD.

 

CLOSE EXTERIOR SHOT: MATT STEPS ONTO THE BALCONY, GRIMACING AS HE SEES THE TWISTED RAILING THAT IS ALMOST COMPLETELY GONE.CAREFULLY, HE LEANS FORWARD, LOOKING DOWN.

 

CLOSE EXTERIOR SHOT: BRITTONíS BROKEN BODY LIES ON THE STREET BELOW, HIS NECK AT AN ODD ANGLE, HIS LEGS BENT GROTESQUELY, REMNANTS OF THE BROKEN RAILING AROUND HIM.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: LYDIA AND THE OTHERS JOIN MATT AND LOOK DOWN.LYDIA SCREAMS AND FAINTS, JUST IN TIME FOR MATT TO TURN AND CATCH HER.

 

CLOSE SHOT: KITTYíS GAZE MEETS MATTíS.THE STAKES HAVE SUDDENLY GONE UP.

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXXX

 

FADE IN

 

ACT THREE

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT: THE PARLOR OF THE HOTEL. LYDIA SITS, LOOKING SHAKEN AND PALE, ON A SETTEE.COLEMIRE STANDS NEXT TO HER.BY ALL APPEARANCES, HE IS CALM AND UNAFFECTED BY THE TRAGEDY.GAVEREAUX AND ELLIS SIT AT THE TABLE, THEIR EXPRESSIONS TROUBLED.MATT STANDS BY THE DOOR, KITTY CLOSE AT HIS SIDE.A NEW ORLEANS POLICE OFFICER IS NEXT TO THEM. WILHAVEN STANDS NEAR GAVEREAUX AND ELLIS.

 

POLICEMAN: And no one was with him when it happened? No one actually saw it?

 

ELLIS: (a bit agitated) We told you that, already.We were in our rooms.We heard the scream.We all came out into the hall, heard another scream from Brittonís room.The Marshal here broke down the door Ė

 

GAVEREAUX: (muttering ruefully) An expensive door.

 

ELLIS: But Britton had already gone over.(shakes his head) Poor fellow.

 

POLICEMAN: The Marshal and I have checked, and thereís no sign of a struggle on the balcony.No one outside heard or saw anything until he hit the street. It looks as if the railing just Ė gave way.

 

GAVEREAUX: Thatís impossible.Thatís imported iron.Top quality.

 

MATT: Maybe it didnít just Ė give way.

 

THE POLICEMAN LOOKS AT HIM CURIOUSLY.

 

ELLIS: What are you saying?

 

MATT: Maybe someone helped it along.

 

GAVEREAUX: (aghast) Sabotage?

 

COLEMIRE: (stepping forward) The door was locked, as Mister Ellis indicated, but why would Mister Britton scream twice?

 

MATT: We all heard screams, but are we sure it was Mister Britton screaming?

 

ELLIS: (looking at Matt as if he has just considered that point) What are you saying, Marshal?

 

MATT: Iím saying that we donít have enough evidence yet to make a determination.And Iím saying that until we do I think this game should be postponed.

 

GAVEREAUX: No! We canít do that.

 

MATT: Why not?

 

WILHAVEN: If the game is not played, the provisions of the will require the hotel to revert to the immediate next of kin.(nods toward Lydia, then Kitty) Problem is, Mister Russell didnít indicate which immediate next of kin Ė his wife or his daughter.

 

KITTY: What does that mean?

 

WILHAVEN: It will probably be tied up in legal issues for years to come and neither of you ladies would see any revenue from it.

 

GAVEREAUX: (a bit desperately) I have to have the chance to win it back.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: THEY TURN AS ONE TO LOOK AT HIM.HE STEPS CLOSE TO WILHAVEN.

 

GAVEREAUX: My entire fortune is tied up in the hotel.When Russell took it from me, I had nothing.

 

COLEMIRE: (brow arched ironically) You were willing to gamble it in the first place.

 

GAVEREAUX: Out of desperation.I was in so much debt Ė (He stops, as if he realizes heís revealed too much.)

 

ELLIS: So much debt that you might try to find a way to reduce your competition?

 

GAVEREAUX: (bristling) What are you implying, sir?

 

MATT: (steps in between them) Hold on, now. You were out in the hall with the rest of us when we heard the scream. No one is accusing you of anything.

 

COLEMIRE: Does anyone know why Britton was in this game?

 

MEDIUM SHOT.NO ONE ANSWERS.

 

COLEMIRE: Maybe he had the same reason Gavereaux here has.Maybe he needed to win the hotel to pay off a debt.We all could see he would have been eliminated probably in the first hand in the morning.Maybe he couldnít take that and saw this as his only means of escape from financial ruin.

 

ELLIS: (jumping on the possibility) Maybe.That makes sense.

 

GAVEREAUX: I suppose.

 

WILHAVEN: What do you want to do about this, Marshal?

 

MATT: (looks at the policeman) Itís your territory, Sergeant.

 

POLICEMAN: (nodding with a slight smile of professional gratitude) Iím afraid at this time, unless thereís other evidence Ė

 

COLEMIRE: Unless thereís other evidence, we have to assume this was an accident. I suggest we all get to bed.Itís been a rather ghastly evening.Perhaps things will look better in the morning.

 

KITTY: Not for Mister Britton.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: THEY CONSIDER EACH OTHER UNTIL, ONE BY ONE, THEY LEAVE THE PARLOR TO RETURN TO THEIR ROOMS. COLEMIRE HELPS LYDIA TO HER FEET.AS THEY PASS MATT, SHE LOOKS UP AT HIM.

 

LYDIA: I canít thank you enough, Marshal, for your help when I was Ė overcome.Being in your strong arms was so Ė comforting.

 

KITTY ROLLS HER EYES.MATT CLEARS HIS THROAT.

 

MATT: Glad I could be of assistance, Mrs. Russell.

 

LYDIA: Not as glad as I am.

 

KITTY PUTS HER HAND ON MATTíS ARM.

 

KITTY: I think we had better get to bed ourselves. (looks pointedly at Lydia) I hope you wonít need any more assistance tonight.

 

LYDIA: You never know.

 

COLEMIRE NODS GALLANTLY TO KITTY AS HE ESCORTS LYDIA FROM THE ROOM.THE POLICEMAN STOPS FOR A MOMENT IN FRONT OF MATT.

 

POLICEMAN: Marshal Dillon, surely you know that Ė well, your reputation is Ė I, uh, Iíd welcome any suggestions you might want to give.

 

MATT: (smiles) Iím sure you know your job, Sergeant.Just let me know if I can help.

 

POLICEMAN: (nods, pleased) Iíll say good night to you, then.(inclines his head toward Kitty) Mrs. Dillon.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: MATT AND KITTY ARE STANDING OUTSIDE THEIR ROOM.HE LEANS OVER AND UNLOCKS THE DOOR, USHERING HER IN.WHEN THE DOOR IS CLOSED, SHE TURNS BACK TO HIM.

 

KITTY: (studying him for a moment) You donít think it was an accident.

 

MATT: I canít prove it wasnít.Not yet, at least.

 

KITTY: You think the rest of us are in danger?

 

MATT: I donít know, Kitty.But I donít like the possibility.

 

KITTY: Maybe we can finish this soon. Iíve almost got these fellows cleaned out.Ellis will go out tomorrow.And poor Gavereaux, too.I feel sorry for him.

 

MATT: He brought it on himself.

 

KITTY: Maybe.That just leaves Colemire.

 

MATT: You can take him?

 

KITTY: Well, heís sharp, but heís too cocky.

 

MATT: (smirks) Speaking of Ė

 

KITTY: (glancing down his body) Oh, yes.Speaking of Ė

 

THEY STEP TOWARD EACH OTHER, BUT A KNOCK AT THE DOOR INTERRUPTS.MATT PRESSED HIS LIPS TOGETHER IN FRUSTRATION BEFORE GOING TO THE DOOR AND OPENING IT CAREFULLY.OUTSIDE STANDS THE SAME BELLBOY FROM THE PREVIOUS NIGHT.HE HAS NEW LINENS RESTING IN HIS ARMS ONCE MORE.

 

MATT: (glances over his shoulder at the bed, then turns back, shrugging) Well, I guess it wouldnít hurt to change the sheets. (He digs into his pants pocket and pulls out a coin, handing it to the boy as he takes the linens.)Thanks.

 

THE BOY LEAVES, AND FOR JUST A MOMENT, MATT HUNCHES HIS SHOULDERS, FROWNING. THEN, HE CLOSES THE DOOR AND WALKS BACK INTO THE ROOM.KITTY HAS DISCARDED HER ROBE, GREETING HIM IN JUST A SILKEN GOWN.MATT PLACES THE SHEETS ON A CHAIR.KITTY GLANCES AT THEM.

 

KITTY: More sheets?

 

MATT: (sliding his arms around her) Same kid from yesterday.I think he just wants a tip.

 

KITTY: (placing her hands on his cheeks and looking up in surprise) Youíre cold.In this heat?

 

MATT: The hallway was sort of cool.(grins) Maybe we should push the bed out there.

 

KITTY: Not a chance, Cowboy.This is gonna be a private party tonight.

 

MATT: Yeah?

 

KITTY: (reaching for his belt again) Oh, yeah.

 

CAMERA PANS TO THE DOOR.CLOSE SHOT: THE BOTTOM OF THE DOOR.LIGHT FROM THE HALLWAY SHINES BENEATH IT.A SHADOW PASSES BY, BLOCKING THE LIGHT AND LINGERING. AFTER A MOMENT, WE SEE SOMETHING SLITHER UNDER THE DOOR AND INTO THE ROOM. A SNAKE WINDS IT WAY OVER THE RUG AND TOWARD THE BED, HISSING SOFTLY AS IT GOES.

 

FROM THE BED, WE HEAR THE RUSTLING OF COVERS AND CLOTHES, AND WE HEAR KITTY GASPING. THE CAMERA FOLLOWS THE SNAKE AS IT MAKES ITS WAY CLOSER.

 

KITTY: (O.S.) I missed you, Cowboy.

 

MATT: (O.S.) I was only gone a few hours.

 

KITTY: (O.S.) A few too many.

 

MATT: (O.S.) Iíll try to make it up to you.

 

KITTY: (O.S.) Oh, you already are.

 

THE SNAKE HAS MADE IT ALMOST TO THE BED. THE HISSING IS LOUDER. THE CAMERA IS STILL FOLLOWING IT AS WE HEAR MATTíS AND KITTYíS VOICES OFF SCREEN.

 

KITTY: (O.S.) You okay, Matt?

 

MATT: (O.S.) (voice distracted) Oh yeah.

 

KITTY: (O.S.) Your backís not hurting?

 

MATT: (O.S.) What? Iím fine, Kitty.Letís get back to Ė

 

KITTY: (O.S.) Whyíd you gasp, then?

 

MATT: (O.S.) (with a frustrated sigh) What do you mean?

 

KITTY: (O.S.) I thought I heard Ė

 

WE HEAR A SCREAM AS KITTY SEES THE SNAKE.QUICK CAMERA SHOTS THAT DONíT LINGER ON ANY ONE SCENE SHOW HER SCRAMBLING UP IN THE BED AND CLUTCHING THE COVERS TO HER. MATT ROLLS OFF THE OTHER SIDE.WE BARELY GET A GLIMPSE ENOUGH TO TELL THAT HE HAS FEW IF ANY CLOTHES ON.

 

CLOSE SHOT: THE SNAKEíS BODY FLIPS AS THE GUNSHOT SOUNDS.

 

 

XXXXX

 

 

MEDIUM SHOT: MATTíS AND KITTYíS ROOM. ALBERT IS LIFTING THE DEAD SNAKE GINGERLY.GAVEREAUX, COLEMIRE, WILHAVEN, AND ELLIS, EACH CLOTHED IN A ROBE, STAND JUST INSIDE THE DOOR, WHICH IS OPENED TO THE HALLWAY.LYDIA STANDS NEXT TO COLEMIRE, STILL WEARING HER CLOTHES.MATT NOW HAS ON HIS PANTS AND LONG JOHN SHIRT.LYDIA IS LOOKING AT HIM WITH BLATANT APPRECIATION.HE IGNORES HER.KITTY HAS DONNED A ROBE, AS WELL, AND STANDS NEXT TO MATT, LOOKING MORE SHAKEN THAN WE USUALLY SEE HER.

 

GAVEREAUX: I just donít understand how a snake could have gotten in here.

 

ELLIS: Itís strange, I admit, but itís certainly possible.This is low ground. Snakes are probably all around.

 

COLEMIRE: And climb up the stairs to the second floor?

 

ELLIS SHRUGS.

 

GAVEREAUX: I am so pleased that you and Mrs. Dillon are all right, Marshal.

 

MATT: Where were all of you when this happened?

 

LYDIA: Why, I was having a little nightcap with Ė with Mister Colemire, here.

 

MATT: Then why are you dressed and he isnít?

 

LYDIA: (lowering her eyes) Why, Marshal, a gentleman doesnít ask such questions.

 

MATT PRESSES HIS LIPS TOGETHER IN SUSPICION.

 

GAVEREAUX: Surely you donít think this was Ė was planned.

 

MATT: Mister Gavereaux, I donít know exactly what to think, but I do know that two very strange things have happened here, and I donít like them.

 

COLEMIRE: Well, Marshal, tomorrow is All Saintsí Eve.Strange things are supposed to happen.

 

MATT GLARES AT HIM UNTIL COLEMIRE BLINKS AND STEPS BACK.

 

MATT: I want everyone to go to their rooms and lock their doors. Anyone who is out before morning is a suspect.

 

COLEMIRE: A suspect!For what, pray tell?

 

MATT: Murder and attempted murder.

 

WILHAVEN: Oh, Marshal, surely youíre not serious. Just because Ė

 

MATT: (with emphasis) Anyone, Mister Wilhaven.

 

HIS ANGER IS APPARENT.EVERYONE IN THE ROOM, EXCEPT FOR KITTY, REGARDS HIM UNEASILY FOR A MOMENT BEFORE THEY FILE OUT.WHEN THEY ARE GONE, MATT LOCKS THE DOOR BEHIND THEM AND TURNS TO KITTY.

 

MATT: You okay?

 

KITTY: Oh, Matt, do you really think someone tried to kill us?

 

MATT: I do.

 

KITTY: What are we going to do?

 

MATT: We canít leave now, but I donít like the idea of you being in that game with them again.

 

KITTY: Maybe if I can finish them off quickly, itíll push the murderer to show his hand.

 

MATT: No Ė

 

KITTY: You have a better idea?

 

MATT: (grits his teeth then shakes his head) No.

 

KITTY: (hesitantly) In order to do that, I might have to Ė bend the rules at bit.

 

MATT LOOKS DOWN AT HER, UNDERSTANDING WHAT SHE IS IMPLYING.AFTER A MOMENT, HE NODS RELUCTANTLY.

 

MATT: Just be careful. (He reaches out to cup her face in his hand, his thumb brushing her lips.)

 

KITTY: (She leans into his touch.) Always, Cowboy.

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXXX

 

FADE IN

 

ACT FOUR

 

MEDIUM INTERIOR SHOT (DAY): THE PARLOR OF THE CHARTRES HOUSE. THE PLAYERS ARE GATHERED ONCE MORE, MINUS BRITTON.COLEMIRE IS DEALING. LYDIA SITS ON THE SETTEE, DIRECTLY UNDER A CEREMONIAL SWORD HUNG ON THE WALL.MATT STANDS AGAINST THE DOORFRAME, WILHAVEN NEXT TO HIM.IT APPEARS AS IF THE GAME HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR A WHILE.ELLIS HAS ONLY A FEW CHIPS LEFT.HE FINGERS THEM NERVOUSLY.GAVEREAUX, SURPRISINGLY, HAS ADDED TO HIS PILE, ALTHOUGH HE STILL HAS MANY FEWER THAN KITTY.

 

FROM THE NEXT ROOM, ALBERT BRINGS A TRAY WITH A WINE BOTTLE AND SEVERAL GLASSES, WHICH HE PLACES ON A SMALL TABLE BEHIND THE PLAYERS.HE THEN PLACES GLASSES IN FRONT OF EACH PLAYER AND POURS THE WINE IN THEM.

 

CLOSE SHOT: COLEMIRE MOVES HIS GLASS TO THE SIDE, THEN DEALS THE CARDS SMOOTHLY, MAYBE TOO SMOOTHLY AS WE SEE HIM SLIDE A CARD FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE DECK.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: KITTYíS EYES MOVE FROM WATCHING THE DECK TO WATCHING HIS FACE THEN BACK. SHE HAS SEEN HIM CHEAT.

 

CLOSE SHOT: SITTING WITH HER BODY LEANED SLIGHTLY FORWARD, LYDIA FIDDLES WITH HER HANDKERCHIEF, HER EYES DARTING AROUND THE ROOM.SHE DOESNíT EVEN LINGER ON MATT VERY LONG.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: ELLIS TOSSES IN SOME CHIPS TO MATCH THE BET BY COLEMIRE.GAVEREAUX FOLDS. KITTY REGARDS COLEMIRE WITH INTEREST.

 

KITTY: (tossing in a stack of chips) Call.

 

COLEMIRE: (He releases a sly smile as he lays down his cards.) Three Aces.

 

ELLIS THROWS HIS CARDS ON THE TABLE IN FRUSTRATION: TWO KINGS, TWO SIXES, AND A DEUCE.

 

STILL SMILING, COLEMIRE REACHES FOR THE CHIPS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE.KITTY LAYS A HAND OVER HIS.

 

KITTY: Arenít you forgetting something, Mister Colemire?

 

COLEMIRE: (startled at first, but recovering smoothly) Oh, of course.I apologize, Mrs. Dillon. Go ahead and show your hand. Iíll just collect a few seconds later.

 

KITTY: (smiling dangerously and holding his gaze) Donít count on it.

 

CLOSE SHOT: HER HANDS. SHE LAYS DOWN FIVE CARDS, THREE JACKS AND TWO NINES.A FULL HOUSE.

 

COLEMIRE STARES, HIS EXPRESSION ASTONISHED.

 

KITTY: You seem surprised, Mister Colemire.

 

COLEMIRE: How can you Ė but your cards werenít Ė

 

KITTY: (one eyebrow arched) My cards werenít Ė what?

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: MATT HAS STRAIGHTENED FROM LEANING AGAINST THE DOORFRAME AND NOW WATCHES COLEMIRE CLOSELY.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: COLEMIRE STANDS, HIS SUAVE COUNTENANCE SHAKEN.

 

COLEMIRE: You didnít have that third Jack before.

 

KITTY: What are you saying?

 

COLEMIRE: (angrily) Iím saying that you werenít dealt that hand.

 

KITTY: How do you know what hand I was dealt? (She pauses.) Unless you made sure of the cards I got Ė and the cards you got.

 

MATT HAS STEPPED FORWARD, NOW, TO STAND ONLY A FEW FEET AWAY FROM COLEMIRE.

 

MATT: Sheís got a point, Colemire. How could you know, unless you were cheating?

 

COLEMIRE: I was cheating? That wife of yours is the one who somehow created three Jacks out of two.(He glares at Kitty.) Whereíd you learn your trade, Honey? In the back room of a whorehouse Ė

 

THE WHOP OF MATTíS BACKHAND THROWS COLEMIRE BACKWARDS.HE TUMBLES OVER A CHAIR, UP-ENDING IT, AND LANDS HARD AGAINST THE WALL, THEN SLIDES TO THE FLOOR. THE GAMBLER LIES STUNNED AS THE MARSHAL STANDS OVER HIM, SLIGHTLY BENT, HIS BLUE EYES BLAZING.

 

AT THAT MOMENT A HORRENDOUS CRASH AND SCREAM JERK EVERYONEíS HEADS AROUND.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: LYDIA HAS FALLEN TO THE FLOOR, HER ARM UP TO PROTECT HER. ON THE SETTEE WHERE SHE HAD BEEN SITTING, WE SEE THE HEAVY COAT OF ARMS.IT HAS FALLEN FROM THE WALL.

 

MATT STRIDES OVER TO LYDIA AND KNEELS DOWN.

 

MATT: Are you all right?

 

LYDIA: (her voice distressed) Oh, Marshal! That Ė that fell Ė it could have Ė

 

THE OTHERS HAVE RUSHED OVER TO HER TO SEE WHAT HAS HAPPENED.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: COLEMIRE PUSHES UNSTEADILY TO HIS FEET, BLINKING, AND REACHES INTO HIS COAT POCKET.

 

CUT TO MEDIUM SHOT: MATT AND GAVEREAUX HELP LYDIA STAND.SHE IS SHAKEN AND DISTRAUGHT.KITTY WATCHES HER SUSPICIOUSLY AS SHE CLINGS TO MATT.

 

CLOSE SHOT: KITTYíS WINE GLASS. A SHAKING HAND HOVERS OVER IT, A SMALL VIAL HELD BETWEEN THE THUMB AND FOREFINGER. THE VIAL TIPS, DELIVERING A SMALL PORTION OF CLEAR LIQUID INTO THE DARK WINE.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: STILL SUPPORTED BY MATT AND GAVEREAUX, LYDIA PLACES A HAND TO HER FOREHEAD.

 

LYDIA: I just Ė I could have been killed. How could something just fall like that?

 

GAVEREAUX: Iím terribly sorry, Mrs. Russell.It must have just Ė given way.(He stops, realizing what he has said and how similar it is to Brittonís accident.)

 

MATT: (prying Lydia off him to look at the wall) The wireís broken. (He reaches up toward the ceiling, indicating a frayed wire that still hangs from the picture molding.)

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ELLIS, SHAKEN HIMSELF, STEPS BACK TO THE TABLE, NOT REALLY LOOKING AT WHERE HE IS STANDING.HE REACHES FOR THE NEAREST WINE GLASS, WHICH IS KITTYíS, AND TAKES A GENEROUS GULP.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: WITH JUST A LITTLE EFFORT, MATT LIFTS THE HEAVY COAT OF ARMS OUT OF THE WAY SO LYDIA CAN SIT AGAIN.SHE FANS HERSELF DRAMATICALLY AS COLEMIRE AND GAVEREAUX STAND BESIDE HER. WILHAVEN STEPS NEXT TO MATT.

 

WILHAVEN: Marshal, this is most unusual.

 

MATT: (irritated and sarcastic) Really?

 

WILHAVEN: Perhaps we should consider your suggestion to postpone Ė

 

HE IS INTERRUPTED BY A STRANGLED SOUND AND A SMALL CRASH OF GLASS.

 

CLOSE SHOT: THE FLOOR. A SHATTERED WINE GLASS.

 

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT: ELLIS IS CLUTCHING AT HIS THROAT, HIS EYES BULGING, HIS TONGUE HANGING OUT.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: MATT RUSHES TO HIM, BUT GETS THERE JUST IN TIME FOR ELLIS TO COLLAPSE INTO HIS ARMS.THE OTHERS STARE, HORRIFIED, AS THE MARSHAL LOWERS ELLIS TO THE FLOOR AND CHECKS HIM.AFTER A MOMENT, MATT RISES STIFFLY.

 

MATT: Heís dead.

 

KITTY: Dead!

 

COLEMIRE STANDS AT THE TABLE, HOLDING HIS JAW TENDERLY.

 

COLEMIRE: How tragic.Was it a heart attack?

 

MATT STEPS FORWARD, HIS BOOT CRUNCHING ON A PIECE OF THE BROKEN GLASS.HE LOOKS DOWN, THEN BENDS TO PICK UP THE STEM.

 

MATT: No, Mister Colemire.I donít think it was a heart attack.(He stands and faces the gambler.) I donít think you do, either.

 

COLEMIRE: (suddenly not as smooth as before) Why Ė why not?

 

LYDIA: (recovering amazingly quickly) Oh, it must be the ghosts.This house is full of them.Itís terrifying!

 

MATT: (not bothering to look at her, but keeping his intense gaze on Colemire) What about it, Mister?

 

COLEMIRE: Iím sure I donít understand, Marshal.

 

MATT: No? You donít understand how a railing collapses on a man, or how a snake gets into a hotel room, or how a glass of wine is poisoned. (He is still glaring at Colemire, his face darkening with anger.)

 

KITTY: (She looks at the table and pales.) That was my glass.

 

MATT TURNS BACK TO HER, REALIZATION OF WHAT SHE HAD SAID HITTING HIM.HE GRASPS HER ARMS.

 

MATT: Are you all right?

 

SHE STARTS TO NOD, BUT THEN SHE LOOKS PAST HIM, HER EYES WIDENING.

 

KITTY: Matt!

 

THE MARSHAL SWIRLS, DRAWING HIS GUN AND FIRING IN ONE LIGHTNING MOTION. COLEMIRE FALLS BACK AGAINST THE WALL, THE DERRINGER IN HIS HAND FIRING WIDE BEFORE HE COLLAPSES, UNMOVING, ON THE FLOOR.FOR A MOMENT, NO ONE MOVES.THEN WE HEAR A MOAN.

 

CLOSE SHOT: LYDIA IS LYING BY THE SETTEE, BLOOD SOAKING THROUGH HER DRESS OVER HER HEART.KITTY KNEELS NEXT TO HER AS MATT PLACES HIS HAND BENEATH HER HEAD TO RAISE HER SLIGHTLY.

 

MATT: (to Gavereaux) Get a doctor!

 

GAVEREAUX RUSHES FROM THE ROOM.

 

LYDIA: No Ė too Ė late Ė

 

KITTY: You just lie still.Weíll get help.

 

MATT: Lydia Ė was it Colemire? Did he kill Britton?

 

LYDIA: (choking a bit on her own blood) Yes Ė Ambrose Ė made me Ė said weíd sell the Ė hotel Ė split the profit Ė ghosts Ė snakes Ė railing Ė all his idea Ė Iím Ė sorry Ė

 

HER EYES ROLL BACK AND SHE COLLAPSES IN MATTíS ARMS. HE PRESSES HIS LIPS TOGETHER AND LOOKS AT KITTY, WHO SHAKES HER HEAD SADLY.

 

PULL BACK TO LONG SHOT OF THE ROOM. COLEMIRE, ELLIS, AND LYDIA LIE DEAD.MATT, KITTY, AND WILHAVEN LOOK ON.

 

 

XXXXX

 

 

MEDIUM SHOT: THE LAST BODY IS TAKEN AWAY ON A STRETCHER AS MATT, KITTY, THE POLICEMAN, GAVEREAUX AND WILHAVEN WATCH.

 

GAVEREAUX: How terribly tragic.How tragic.

 

POLICEMAN: (He extends his hand.) Well, Marshal, Iím sorry your visit to the Delta hasnít been particularly pleasant.

 

MATT: (taking the hand to shake) I appreciate it, Officer.

 

POLICEMAN: I heard from the authorities in St. Louis, by the way.You were sure right about Colemire. A gambler and a con-man. Looks like your Lydia Russell met up with him down here.Sheís no angel, herself.Known as Lyddie McShan back in Charleston.Guess their plan didnít turn out how they figured it would.

 

MATT: Guess not.

 

POLICEMAN: Well, itís been an honor. If youíre ever back this way, I hope itíll just be for pleasure.

 

MATT: (glancing quickly at Kitty) Oh, it will.

 

THE POLICEMAN TIPS HIS HAT TO KITTY AND LEAVES.WILHAVEN CLEARS HIS THROAT UNEASILY.

 

WILHAVEN: I donít suppose this is a very appropriate time to bring this up, but we still have this hotel issue to resolve.

 

KITTY: Are you serious?

 

WILHAVEN: You and Mister Gavereaux are the only two participants left.

 

GAVEREAUX: (laughing humorlessly) Is that really necessary, Mister Wilhaven?Mrs. Dillon is two hands away from breaking me.

 

WILHAVEN: You concede, then?

 

BEFORE GAVEREAUX CAN OPEN HIS MOUTH, KITTY INTERVENES.

 

KITTY: Oh, but thatís not what the rules say.Someone has to win, am I correct?

 

GAVEREAUX: (frowning) Really, Madame, I hardly think it courteous to humiliate me.You have won.

 

KITTY: But I havenít won, yet.I tell you what, since I believe both of us want this to be over with, why donít we Ė modify the wager.

 

WILHAVEN: What do you mean?

 

KITTY: A cut of the cards. High card wins.

 

GAVEREAUX: (startled) What? Why would you do such a thing?

 

CLOSE SHOT: MATT WATCHES HER, HIS MOUTH CURVED INTO A SLIGHT SMILE.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: KITTY AND GAVEREAUX.

 

KITTY: I suppose I am my fatherís child, Mister Gavereaux. The gameís the thing.

 

WILHAVEN: Are you sure you want to Ė

 

KITTY: Iím sure.

 

GAVEREAUX: (He has nothing to lose.) Well, certainly Iíll agree.

 

KITTY: (takes the deck from the table and shuffles it quickly, then places it at the center.)Your cut.

 

GAVEREAUX TAKES A BREATH, LETS HIS HAND HOVER OVER THE CARDS FOR A MOMENT, THEN LIFTS ABOUT A THIRD OF THE CARDS, TURNING HIS HAND TO REVEAL THE CARD.

 

CLOSE SHOT: FOUR OF DIAMONDS.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: HE SIGHS AND SHAKES HIS HEAD AS HE REPLACES THE CARDS.KITTY PURSES HER LIPS, REACHES FOR THE DECK AND LIFTS ABOUT HALF OF THE CARDS, HESITATING FOR A MOMENT BEFORE SHE TURNS THEM OVER.

 

CLOSE SHOT: THE DEUCE OF SPADES.

 

CLOSE SHOT: GAVEREAUXíS MOUTH DROPS AND HIS EYES WIDEN AS HE REALIZES HE HAS WON.

 

GAVEREAUX: Oh my!Oh, Mrs. Dillon, I canít believe Ė but Ė are you sure?

 

KITTY: (shrugging) You drew the high card, Mister Gavereaux.That was the bet.Winner takes all.

 

CLOSE SHOT: MATT. HE WATCHES HER CLOSELY, HIS EYES TWINKLING IN FAMILIAR AFFECTION.

 

GAVEREAUX: Itís mine again? Itís really mine?

 

KITTY: Itís all yours.

 

WILHAVEN: (frowning) Well, I certainly donít understand it, Mrs. Dillon, but if youíre sure Ė

 

KITTY: Iím sure.What would I do with a hotel, anyway?

 

SHE TURNS TOWARD MATT, AND THEIR GAZES MEET, THE CHEMISTRY CLEAR BETWEEN THEM AS WE

 

FADE OUT

 

XXXXX

 

FADE IN

 

 

EPILOGUE

 

MEDIUM SHOT: KITTY AND MATT ARE WALKING INTO THE LOBBY OF THE HOTEL. THEY ARE DRESSED FOR TRAVEL, THEIR BAGS WAITING BY THE DOOR. HER HAND IS RESTING IN THE CROOK OF HIS LEFT ARM.

 

KITTY: Oh, I canít wait to see the children. (A hint of sadness creeps over her face.)

 

MATT: (He sees the expression and speaks quickly.) Iíll bet the Ronigers canít wait to see us Ė especially after theyíve had to deal with our ďotherĒ son.

 

KITTY FROWNS A QUESTION.

 

MATT: Festus.

 

KITTY: (laughing) Iíll bet!

 

MATT: Iím sorry you didnít get your hotel, Kitty.

 

KITTY: Like I said, what would I do with a hotel?

 

MATT: (smirking) Especially a haunted one.

 

KITTY: Donít start that again.How can you explain the spooky things that happened?

 

MATT: You mean besides the fact that Colemire sawed through the railing to weaken it before Britton leaned on it? Or that he and Lydia planned for the coat of arms to fall to distract us so he could put poison in your glass?Or that Lydia hid in the hall and moaned outside our door? Or that the snake Ė

 

KITTY: Oh, youíre just no fun at all.

 

MATT: (leaning in and whispering) Thatís not what you told me last night Ė

 

KITTY: (blushing and swatting his arm) Hush!

 

SHE STRAIGHTENS AND AS THEY APPROACH THE FRONT DESK WHERE GAVEREAUX IS STANDING, BEAMING AT THEM.

 

GAVEREAUX: Marshal, Mrs. Dillon, I just Ė I just cannot thank you enough for everything. I never thought Ė well, if you ever come back to New Orleans, Iíll expect you to stay at the Chartres House, my treat.

 

MATT: Thank you, Mister Gavereaux.

 

GAVEREAUX: (His expression falling.) Iím afraid, though, this recent - unpleasantness will hinder our popularity.Along with those ridiculous tales of ghosts Ė

 

KITTY: Iíve been thinking about that.Maybe youíre going about it all wrong.

 

GAVEREAUX: What do you mean?

 

KITTY: Maybe instead of trying to convince people there arenít ghosts, maybe you should convince them there are.

 

GAVERAUX: What?

 

KITTY: Maybe there are folks out there that want to see ghosts. You could be the most popular attraction in New Orleans.

 

GAVEREAUX: Iíve never thought of it that way Ė it just might work!Thank you, Mrs. Dillon.

 

KITTY: There are still those of us around who like romance and adventure. (She shoots a teasing glance at Matt.)Iíll wait for you outside, Cowboy.Just want to check out that little hat shop around the corner.

 

MATT: Kitty, the carriage will be here any minute Ė

 

KITTY: (over her shoulder) I wonít be long.

 

GAVEREAUX: (admiringly) Thatís some lady you have there, Marshal.

 

MATT: (still looking after Kitty) Yep.

 

AFTER A MOMENT, HE CLEARS HIS THROAT AND TURNS BACK TO GAVEREAUX.

 

MATT: Oh, I almost forgot; would you give this to your bellboy?(holds out a silver coin) Heís been very uh, persistent about keeping us in clean sheets. Showed up every night with linens.

 

GAVEREAUX: (a puzzled look on his face) Albert?

 

MATT: No, the younger one.

 

GAVEREAUX: Marshal, I donít Ė I donít know who youíre talking about.

 

MATT: What do you mean?

 

GAVEREAUX: (his expression pained) Albertís our only Ė well, I havenít had another bellboy since my Ė my son worked with me.

 

MATT: Your Ė son?

 

GAVEREAUX: (sighing heavily) Philippe. But heís Ė gone, now.

 

MATT: Gone?

 

GAVEREAUX: Two years ago, when he was sixteen, we were visiting my wifeís sister in Nashville.They had a cold snap, froze over some of the small ponds nearby. He went skating with his friends, but the ice wasnít thick enough, and Ė and he broke through.(He pales.) Froze to death before we could get him out.

 

MATT: (unusually pale himself) Froze to death?

 

GAVEREAUX: I was broken-hearted.His mother has never gotten over it. She stays mostly to herself now.Imagines things.On the rare occasion she comes out of her room, she says she sees him in the halls. (He laughs humorlessly.) I donít know what to do for her.

 

MATT: In the Ė halls?

 

GAVEREAUX: Yeah. Imagine. (eyes misty with remembrance) He was such a handsome boy.Lean, with dark hair and eyes the color of the sea.

 

CLOSE SHOT: MATT STARES AT GAVEREAUX FOR A LONG MOMENT.FINALLY, HE COCKS HIS HEAD, SWALLOWS, STARTS TO SAY SOMETHING, THEN THINKS BETTER OF IT.

 

MEDIUM SHOT: MATT AND GAVEREAUX.THE HOTEL OWNER SHAKES HIS HEAD RUEFULLY.

 

GAVEREAUX: Iím sorry, Marshal. I didnít mean to get maudlin. (He straightens and forces a smile.)Please remember you and Mrs. Dillon are welcome at the Chartres House any time.

 

MATT NODS VAGUELY, STILL STARING.KITTY RETURNS, SMILING BROADLY, A HAT BOX IN HER HAND.

 

KITTY: See? That didnít take long Ė

 

SHE STOPS ABRUPTLY WHEN SHE SEES THE EXPRESSION ON HER HUSBANDíS FACE.LIFTING HER BROW, SHE GIVES A LIGHT LAUGH.

 

KITTY: Matt? My goodness!You look like youíve seen a ghost!

 

CLOSE SHOT ON MATT: HE SLOWLY LOOKS DOWN AT HER, OPENS HIS MOUTH TO SPEAK, THEN STOPS AND PRESSES HIS LIPS TOGETHER IN BEMUSEMENT AS WE

 

DISSOLVE TO CREDITS

 

FADE TO BLACK: END OF EPISODE

 

 

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