Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Gunsmoke
Show: The Guitar
Date: Dec 26 1953

SOUND:

Hoofbeats fading from 0-to-full up (Gunshot- just 1)

MUSIC:

Dramatic bit, into...

[Not Too Forceful]

NARRATION:

Around Dodge City and in the territory out west, there's just one way to handle the killers and the spoilers... And that's with a U.S. Marshal, and the smell of...Gunsmoke!

MUSIC:

Gunsmoke theme, into? and behind?

[Not Too Forceful]

NARRATION:

Gunsmoke!... the story of the violence that moved west with young America. And the story of a man who moved with it...

MATT DILLON:

I'm that man...Matt Dillon, United States Marshal. The first man they look for, and the last they wanta meet. It's a chancy job, and it makes a man watchful. And a little lonely...

MUSIC:

bridge into...

SOUND:

Beer hall, clinking of glasses, noisy laughter?

CHESTER:

(very country, likable, slightly high pitched) You shore are slow with that beer, Doc. Here I am, ready for anotheur'n.

DOC:

(likable, but cynical, full of character) Awww, yes, well you had enough last night, Chester. Matt told me you were still asleep at nine o'clock this morning!

CHESTER:

Yea...an' it was mighty nice o' him, not to wake me up. Hey, Doc, are you shore he said he'd be back this afternoon?

DOC:

Well, that's what he told me." (Pause) Oh, oh! Now, what in the world is that fellow?

CHESTER:

Who?

DOC:

Eh? just came in the door. See him? With Tyler and Short, there?

CHESTER:

Oh..him? Eh, well, that's Weed Pendle. He rode in on a mule couple days ago.

DOC:

Well, which has the bigger ears...him?or his mule?

CHESTER:

(laughs) He is funny lookin', all right, and he acts pretty peculiar, too.

SHORT:

(high, H. Bartell voice, southern accent, ignorant loud-mouth) That's a scrawny mule, Pendle. I seen ya on him this mornin'.

TYLER:

(ditto, except lower pitched voice than Tyler) Yea, Pendle, here...he's kinda scrawny, hisself. Short. Maybe some bear'll fatten him up a little.

PENDLE:

(dull-witted, J. Nusser type semi-high, nasal voice) I'd like some beer, all right, but I got no money.

TYLER:

Well, why don' you just sell that gittar of yours?

PENDLE:

Sell my gittar? No, I'd never do that!

SHORT:

Pendle, you must have a nickel, at least!

PENDLE:

The last money I had got stoled.

TYLER:

Now, who'd dare steal money off a tiger like you, Pendle?

PENDLE:

I was asleep. I started to wake up, but they kicked me in the head.

TYLER:

Now, Pendle...you call that thing^a head? Looks to me like your neck just growed out, and haired over. (laughter)

PENDLE:

I ain't very handsome.

TYLER:

You sure ain't. (laughter) (louder now) Hey, bartender, three beers!

SHORT:

You buyin', Tyier?

TYLER:

Oh, I'm proud to buy...fine old soldier, like Weed Pendle.

PENDLE:

How'd you know I was a soldier?

TYLER:

Well now, I didn't.

SHORT:

Where was you a soldier, Pendle?

PENDLE:

Third Illinois Calvary.

TYLER:

Illinois! You were with the Yankees.

PENDLE:

I never done much. We had hard luck and never got to see no real Confederates...just a bunch of ragged-tail bushwackers in South Missouri. They was led by an old chicken thief name o' Cline.

TYLER:

Yea, so they was. Tell me somethin' else, Pendle. Did you ever get to kill any o' Cline's men?

PENDLE:

A few. Before I got shot myself. They caught some of 'em after, and hung 'em. But I never did see a hangin'.

TYLER:

You never did see one?

PENDLE:

Nowheres. I never did.

TYLER:

That so? Well, Pendle, you'know, you're in luck. Seein' as how we were all kinda in the war togetherr so to speak. I'm gonna show you a hangin'. You're about ready, ain't you. Short?

SHORT:

Yea, my rope's on my saddle. I'11 get it and meet ya out back. (footsteps walk away)

PENDLE:

There gonna be a hangin'? A real hangin'?

TYLER:

Why, shore there is. And you're lucky, Pendle, you run into us, just in time.

CHESTER:

(approaching) Here now! What you talkin* about, Tyier? And who you gonna hang?

TYLER:

It's kinda a surprise, Chester. You can watch, though.

CHESTER:

Now you know it's agin the law to hang people around here!

TYLER:

I heard Marshal Dillon ride outta town this morning. Time he gets back, it'll be all over. Don't you try to buck me and Short, Chester. You die if you do. (pause) Now, come on, Pendle, come on. We don't wanta miss it!

PENDLE:

Sure! (footsteps walk away)

CHESTER:

Now what do you suppose they're up to, Doc?

DOC:

(thoughtfully) I don't know, Chester. But I'd sure like to find out.

CHESTER:

Yea...I reckon we'd better. I sure do wish Mister Dillon was here. (footsteps walk away)

SOUND:

(amid the tavern babble & footsteps, a door opens, footfalls in gravel)

DOC:

Uh..there they are.

CHESTER:

Why, they're putin' a rope around Pendle's neck!

TYLER:

'Course, you're not gonna get to see all of the hangin', Pendle. Just the start of it.

PENDLE:

What ya hangin' me fer? I ain't done nothin'!

SHORT:

You was in the Third Illinois Calvary.

PENDLE:

Well, sure I was..

SHORT:

We was fightin' under that old chicken thief' Cline?in South Missouri. It's a pleasure to hang a Yankee like you.

PENDLE:

But I only done what they told me to. I didn't kill nobody on purpose.

CHESTER:

Now, you just wait a minute, you two! You've gone far enough!

SHORT:

Shoot him, Tyler!

DOC:

You go shootin' anybody, and you'll be the ones to end up on a rope!

SHORT:

Doc ain't armed. He never is. Go on, Tyler.

CHESTER:

All right! You try it. But you're sure gonna have to kill me before you hang him?

TYLER:

I'll kill you...

MATT D1LLON:

(low, authoritive, semi-gutteral W. Conrad voice) You'll have to kill me, too, Tyler.

SOUND:

footsteps approach on gravel

CHESTER:

Mister Dillon!

TYLER:

Where'd he come from?

DILLON:

Take your rope off that man's neck, and you do it quick!

SHORT:

Sure, Marshal... sure?

PENDLE:

I...told you you shouldn't hang me.

TYLER:

We was just funnin' him. Marshal. We wasn't gonna hang him!

DILLON:

What's this all about, Short?

SHORT:

He's a Yankee, Marshal. Killed a lot of us in Missouri during the war. We was gonna scare him, and then run him off.

DILLON:

You forget about that. You forget about the war, too. It's over. Next time I catch you up to anything like this, you'll go to jail.

SHORT:

Go to jail? Over a dumb Yankee who don't know nothin' but a skinny mule and a gittar?!

DILLON:

Get outta here, Short! You too, Tyler!

TYLER:

Well, this Yankee better get out here, too. Clean outta Dodge!

DILLON:

Shut up! (pause) And get movin'!

TYLER:

(pause) See you later, Pendle!.

MUSIC:

Bridge. Segue into...

PENDLE:

I sure do thank you for lettin' me sleep in your jail last night, Marshal.

DILLON:

Where you been sleepin' before, Pendle?

PENDLE:

With my mule. I always do.

Dillon Yea. I hear you're broke. Waddya do for a livin'?

PENDLE:

I never did nothin' much. Marshal...Just ride around on my mule.

DILLON:

What about your guitar? Don't you ever 'play'..and take up a collection, or somethin'?

PENDLE:

No, Marshal, I wouldn't do that.

DILLON:

Well, why not? Can't you play good enough?

PENDLE:

I don't know. Marshal. I never played it for nobody to hear, 'ceptin' me.

DILLON:

Yea. Uh, Chester...take him over to the Longbranch, will ya? Maybe Sam can give him a job of some kind.

PENDLE:

It wouldn't be steady, would it?

DILLON:

Well, I don't know..but... why shouldn't it be?

PENDLE:

'cause I'll be leavin' in a day or two.

DILLON:

Oh? Where ya headed?

PENDLE:

Nowheres.

DILLON:

Nowheres?

PENDLE:

Just ride around on my mule. I always do.

DILLON:

Where you from, anyway, Pendle?

PENDLE:

I was born in San Benito.

DILLON:

Oh, on the Rio Grande, huh?

PENDLE:

Yes, but I left. Took my gittar with me. Never did go back.

DILLON:

Well, if you're from Texas, how come you fought in the Union Army?

PENDLE:

I don't know. One army's just like another, I guess.

DILLON:

(amused) Yea, maybe you're right at that.

PENDLE:

I only done what they told me. Marshal.

DILLON:

Sure. Uh, take him over to Sam's, will ya?

CHESTER:

All right, sir.

PENDLE:

I left my gittar out back. I'll go get it.

SOUND:

footsteps walk away on hardwood floor

CHESTER:

(small laugh) He shore is a peculiar little fella. Mister Dillon.

DILLON:

Yea...(sighs) and pretty helpless, too.

CHESTER:

Do you think Short and Tyler'll bother him anymore?

DILLON:

Well, knowin' them, I believe they'd a-hung him yesterday if they could. You tell Sam to let me know if they even start talkin' to him again.

CHESTER:

Yes sir, I will. (pause) They're about the meanest pair o' men I ever knew.

DILLON:

Yea, they are. They'll think o' somethin'.

CHESTER:

Well, Pendle said he's leavin' in a day or two.

DILLON:

Yea, I just hope it's soon enough.

MUSIC:

Bridge, into...

NARRATION BY DILLON:

Sam gave Weed Pendke a job, sweepin' up the saloon, and let him live in a tiny shack out back. He Tried to get him to plau his guitar but Pendle wouldn't do it. We all began to think that he probably didn't even know how. It was kinda hard to believe that anybody as simple as he was, could learn to do anything. I looked up Short and Tyler and I warned them again to leave him alone. They did? until one mornin' a couple of days later. Chester and I had just come out of Delmonico's and were walkin' up front street...

SOUND:

Outdoors, horses & buggy, etc. Footsteps walking on gravel.

CHESTER:

Looka-yonder, Mister Dillon, across the plaza, there.

DILLON:

Yea, I see 'em. Let's go over.

CHESTER:

Pendle and his mule...

DILLON:

Yea...Tyler and Short, too. I told 'em to keep away from him.

CHESTER:

Say, what they laughin' at?

DILLON:

Yea, they're laughin', and he isn't.

CHESTER:

What do you suppose they done to him?

DILLON:

Look at his mule, Chester. That's what they done.

CHESTER:

Oh, oh my goodness! Why, he's lost an ear!

SOUND:

Tyier & Short are laughing

SHORT:

(off mike) Well, I guess there's just no pleasin' some men, Tyler...

PENDLE:

You shouldn't a-done that to my mule.

DILLON:

Did you men do this?

TYLER:

Now, Marshal...we ain't done nothin' to Pendle.

DILLON:

Did they do this, Pendle?

PENDLE:

I tried to stop 'em, but Tyler held me. An' they gave me the ear. Marshal. It's right here, see?

DILLON:

All right, turn around both of you.

SHORT:

What?!

DILLON:

(shouting) Turn around, I said!

SOUND:

scuffling boots in gravel

DILLON:

Now take their guns, Chester.

CHESTER:

Yes, sir.

SHORT:

You can't do nothin' to us. Marshal. We didn't hurt Pendle none.

DILLON:

(strongly) I don't like what you did to his mule.

CHESTER:

I got 'em.

DILLON:

All right, you can turn around now. (boots scrape on gravel) I oughta cut an ear off each one of you, but I can't do that, so I'll do the next best thing.

SOUND:

fight, grunts, scuffle, blows.

DILLON:

Leave 'em there, Chester. (pause) Pendle, I'm sorry about your mule.

PENDLE:

He ain't much of a mule anymore.

DILLON:

Well, you go take care of him huh? Maybe these two will leave you alone now.

PENDLE:

Poor mule!

MUSIC:

Bridge, into...

SOUND:

noisy barroom

KITTY:

You know what Weed Pendle told me yesterday, Matt?

DILLON:

Well, it coulda been most anything/ knowin' him. Kitty.

KITTY:

No...this kinda made sense. I asked him if he was ever lonely, and he said 'no, I never stayed anywhere long enough to get to know anyone that well! (laughter in background)

DILLON:

Maybe he's not strange, after all.

KITTY:

Aw, now what are they up to?

DILLON:

Who?

KITTY:

Tyler and Short. They just came in with Pendle. Look, Matt, He's got his guitar with him.

DILLON:

Yea.

SHORT:

(off mike aways) Hey! Listen, Everbody! Now, wait a minute! The little Yankee is gonna play his guitar for us. At least he's gonna try. Ain't ya. Yank?

PENDLE:

Don't shoot my mule.

TYLER:

We ain't gonna shoot your mule...not if you play good enough.

SHORT:

Go on! Get started!...if you know how..(laughter)

PENDLE:

All right. I'll play it.

KITTY:

They're gonna kill his mule. Matt. You gotta stop this.

DILLON:

No, wait a minute. Kitty. Just sit quiet and listen.

SOUND:

Smooth guitar solo begins as laughter and talk dies down. [GUITAR SOLO OF OLD-TIME BALLAD, with occasional sounds of yes! & say! from crowd in background]?then applause and exclamations at the end.

KITTY:

Aww, Matt!...that was beautiful!

DILLON:

Yea, he kinda surprised ev'rybody.

KITTY:

Tyler and Short don't look too happy about it.

PENDLE:

The crowd's with Pendle.

KITTY:

Those bullies are leavin'

DILLON:

Yea, they'd better.

MUSIC:

Bridge..segue into?

SOUND:

Footsteps on gravel

TYLER:

Hello, Yankee.

PENDLE:

What?

TYLER:

You been playin' that gittar a long time in that saloon, ain't you, Pendle?

PENDLE:

They wanted me to. They liked it.

TYLER:

Me and Short been waitin' to tell you how we liked it, too.

SHORT:

Yea, lemme see that gittar, Pendle.

PENDLE:

No! You hurt my mule.

SHORT:

Give it to me! (noises)

TYLER:

I got a gun in your belly, Pendle. Don't you move.

PENDLE:

I want my git-tar.

SHORT:

You kin have it. I just sorta wanta 'tune' it for you first.

SOUND:

wood smashing - moans, grunts

SHORT:

You know, that's another thing that's wrong with this gittar. It's a little bit too big for a man like you. But I can fix that, too."

SOUND:

wood smashing

SHORT:

(laughing) There ya are, Yankee soldier.

TYLER:

All right. That oughta learn him. Let's go now. Short. (laughing)

MUSIC:

Bridge into...

SOUND:

footsteps on hardwood floor

DILLON:

Are they both dead. Doc?

DOC:

Ah, yes. Real dead. For several hours, at least.

CHESTER:

Why, they musta been asleep when it happened. Doc.

DILLON:

It looks like Short there, struggled a little. I guess Tyier got his first and it woke Short up for a minute.

DOC:

He wasn't awake for very long. Matt.

DILLON:

'Just long enough to see who was cuttin' his throat probably.

DOC:

Well, he can't talk now. (footsteps) Well, I'm all through here. Waddya gonna do?

DILLON:

We'll let the hotel worry about 'em. I guess it's Weed Pendle I want now.

CHESTER:

And him such a mild little fella, too.

DILLON:

Any man can take just so much, Chester.

DOC:

I sure hate to see poor Pendle hang, for killing these two buzzards, Matt.

DILLON:

Chester...wait for me at the jail. I'll bring him over there as soon as I find him.

MUSIC:

bridge, into (footsteps on hardwood floor - at tavern, but no crowd)

DILLON:

Sam....

SAM:

(bartender with rough, medium-pitched voice) What'11 it be. Marshal?

DILLON:

Where's Weed Pendle?

SAM:

I just sent him out back for a bucket o' sawdust. Waddya want him for?

DILLON:

Short and Tyler got their throats cut early this morning.

SAM:

That's good.

DILLON:

I guess their smashing his guitar was too much for Pendle.

SOUND:

door opening

SAM:

That so? (pause) There he .is now. (louder) Pendle..come over here.

PENDLE:

Yes, sir.

SOUND:

footsteps on hardwood floor

PENDLE:

Mornin', Marshal.

DILLON:

Mornin', Pendle.

SAM:

Pendle...where was ya last night?

PENDLE:

I don't know. Here, I guess.

DILLON:

Ya don't know?

SAM:

Wait a minute. Marshal, (pause) Where was ya, after they wrecked your guitar, Pendle?

PENDLE:

Well, I sat in the alley awhile, then I come back in here.

SAM:

That's right. And he was so broke up about his guitar, I didn't want to leave him alone, so I put him on the floor of my room. (pause) Ain't that right, Pendle? Go on..tell him, now.

PENDLE:

Sure! That's right.

DILLON:

Are you tryin' to alibi for him, Sam?

SAM:

Why, no. Marshal. What do I care about him?

PENDLE:

There's some people care about me.

DILLON:

Who?

SAM:

Aw, he's just talkin'. Marshal.

DILLON:

Who cares about ya, Pendle? Tell me.

PENDLE:

Those men!

DILLON:

What men?

SAM:

He means some o' the boys who were here, when he came back with his busted guitar. Marshal. Just told him how sorry they was. That's all.

DILLON:

Uh, huh. (pause) They liked his music, didn't they?

PENDLE:

They liked to hear me play.

DILLON:

Who was in here then, Sam?

SAM:

Well, now. Marshal... you know how it is... I'm busy pourin' drinks, and I don't pay no mind to who's here and who ain't, (pause) I couldn't rightly say a' all.

DILLON:

Okay, Sam. I guess I can't beat the truth out of you.

SAM:

Marshal, who cares about Tyler and Short? Dodge is better off without 'em

DILLON:

There's a law against murder. And it's the same for ev'rybody! (pause) Well...I'11 be back later.

MUSIC:

segue into...

CHESTER:

Whatcha gonna do now. Mister Dillon?

DILLON:

Well, I've done all I can, Chester. The whole town's just plain quit talkin'. Nobody knows anything.

CHESTER:

I reckon they're all protectin' Pendle.

DILLON:

They are. (pause) But he didn't do it.

SOUND:

chair squeeks, steps on hardwood floor

CHESTER:

Well, who did?

DILLON:

Well, if I could prove who did it, Chester, I'd have him in jail. You know that...(pause) Humph...Chester... come over here a minute.

SOUND:

chair squeeks, footsteps on hardwood floor

CHESTER:

Why, I declare! Looks to me like he's leavin' town.

DILLON:

Yea, I told him he could go.

CHESTER:

He looks funnier than ever, on that poor old one-eared mule.

DILLON:

Yea? (sighs) Dodge treated Pendle pretty rough.

CHESTER:

It sure did. Poor little fella. Looks kinda empty-like without his guitar, don't he?

DILLON:

Well, maybe he'll find another one somewhere (music under..) Anyway, they sure liked to hear him play in this town. Sam, I figure... and a couple of the other boys. (long pause) Yea, they liked it just fine,

MUSIC:

up and out to end.

[Not too forceful]

CLOSING MUSIC & NARRATION:

Gunsmoke! This story, The Guitar was especially written for Gunsmoke by John Meston, and adapted for radio by Norman McDonald. The voices of all characters in the cast were created by Gary Williams and Charley Peltier. Goodnight.