This episode contains some of the most beautiful poetry and moving philosophy I have ever heard in a TV episode of any kind, written by Ron Bishop. Bishop wrote a number of episodes for Gunsmoke and other similar shows. The character of Sorils, gunfighter, crude and stubborn man, describes a "Divine Experience" up in the mountains. The philosophy of Gunsmoke and Ron Bishop comes through continuously, even given the "owning" philosophy of men towards women in those days. This episode has moved me like no other. I wish I could meet the writer, Ron Bishop, and thank him for imparting such a beautiful piece of wisdom and life to us all in a simple hour-long TV show. This episode is like reading a prayer book, over and over again, in five small lines. This episode shows that all men, and women, have something they hold dear in their hearts. Something. Some days. Even if it is just five small days.
Story line: Clint Sorils (Gene Evans), a gunfighter, has been shot over a stray bullet through his hat, is lying in bed with little hope of recovery. Some of the townspeople don't want him in town and send an emissary, Mr. Brewer, to tell Matt Dillon that they don't want him in town. Here is some of the dialogue (paraphrased in part):
Brewer: "Clint Sorils is a gunfighter."
Dillon: "That's probably what he will be remembered for. A lot of people probably forget that it was him and men like him that opened up this country, hunting, trapping."
But Sorils took a gun and killed a man.
In self-defense, yes...
Why jeopardize the health of a town for a crude mountain of filth like that?
Mr. Brewer, he has the legal right to be here. ...
Very simple Mr. Brewer. Just tell them he stays. In the first place, he can't be moved. We don't even know if he's going to live. In the second place, on the outside he may be a mountain of filth, inside he's a man."
Later, in the company of Miss Kitty, Sorils begins to recall his beloved squaw Amy and the finer times in his life, as a religious experience. He begins to recite a story of "five days of silence" in the mountains, with "no need" to talk, and sheep whose feet are "like prayer books" and the great happiness he felt at the time.
"Five days. I recall five days when no one talked. No need. Mountains pushing God higher. Elk. Moose low to the willow. Mountain sheep climbing and looking back, as if they had prayer books on their feet. (Hesh maomi) Don't lie. Don't quit. (wheezes) Amy. Amy. (I know you?) You couldn't die. But the hardest piece of day mo. Not you Amy. Oh Amy.
Remember our first Spring? And that meadow we has? Furs all around and that meadow. And the snows just gone now. And us lying there and all the time close swallows and even a sky fox. A girl don't need no more than that, does she? And there was a time I shot the supper grouse. The hen had chicks. I didn't know. Chicks. I always liked young-uns. Always... liked 'em. We never had no young-uns Amy. Why? A woman always will have them.
Amy. Oh Amy. You're the best squaw a man ever owned."