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Museum Pieces

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Skylar
219 “Executioner” – Another fast gunslinger provokes people into drawing to justify killing them. Since they draw first, there’s nothing Matt can do. Not even when the gunslinger kills someone Matt likes.

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But the dead man’s brother has a plan.

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This was enjoyable to watch, even if this particular gunslinger motif is getting a bit worn here.
 

Museum Pieces

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220 “Gone Straight” – This is probably the most elegant, sophisticated episode of Gunsmoke I’ve yet seen during this run. Political maneuvering forces Matt to pursue and ex-gunslinger that rode with Billy the Kid a couple years back. It made me think of Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan. More than once in that series ("That's Two Of Us Sorry" and "To Our Best Friend" for example) John Drake was a puppet of larger forces that compelled him to pursue and capture men who arguably were no longer a danger to society but a help. I like to believe it’s the main reason Drake resigned and ended up being Number Six.

Drake had no leeway. Dillon does.

220.JPG


For a cerebral experience, I recommend this one.
 

Museum Pieces

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221 “Bloody Hands” Matt goes after four vicious bank robbers and mows three of them down in self-defense. The fourth he captures. The captured robber calls Matt a butcher for killing men “like hogs.” (mild spoilers ahead)

The body count of all the men Matt has killed is starting to weigh on him.

221a.JPG


He can't sleep without thinking about guns and killing.

221b.JPG


In a letter dated July 23, 1874, he resigns.

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I knew within a couple of minutes of watching this that it was going to be great, another one for my “best of” list.

I wasn’t wrong. Chester’s speech at the end to Matt was particularly moving.
 

Museum Pieces

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223 “Sweet and Sour” – A femme fatale comes to Dodge. Matt doesn’t listen to Kitty and the results aren’t good. A watchable episode.

223a.JPG


My favorite scenes are when Chester is cleaning his shoe and Doc is reading the newspaper.

223b.JPG


Then Dillon pours the last cup of coffee. When Chester finds the pot empty, Dillon gives him the cup that Dillon really wanted. The small human moments carry me along even when the main plot is a little thin for me.

223c.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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226 “Last Fling”

I wonder if Melanie eventually becomes Chester’s girl. I think this is the second time I’ve seen her in an episode.

226a.JPG


When I was young I remember asking my dad why my grandmother stayed with my grandfather, who was so unyielding and cruel to her. My dad said, “When they started going together, there were covered wagons going up and down the street. Back then, once you got married, you were on your own. There was really nowhere for a woman to go, no other option but to stay.”

226b.JPG


I thought of my grandmother while I watched this episode. That’s all I’ll say except this episode rang true to me.
 
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Museum Pieces

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228 “The Photographer” – A camera comes to Dodge--and all that comes with it.

228a.JPG


Sebastian Cabot is excellent here as an unscrupulous photographer who will do anything for a photo. This was an enjoyable episode. It had everything: laughs, ethical dilemmas, even spiritual bankruptcy.

228b.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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229 “Wrong Man” This is a tense episode about someone who shoots an outlaw to collect the reward but ends up shooting the wrong man. It also touches on the often-visited theme of a battered woman in a marriage with no place to go. If I have any criticism of this fine episode it’s that things wrap up a bit too neatly for my taste; still, this one’s worth watching.

229.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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230 “Big Girl Lost” A well-to-do man from Philly comes to Dodge looking for a girl. Dillon actually lies to keep him away from her. But the man figures it out and hires a professional gunslinger to kill Matt if he doesn’t expose where the girl is. Entertaining enough but forgettable.

230.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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231 “What The Whiskey Drummer Heard” – A whiskey drummer comes to Dodge and tells Dillon he overheard a plot to kill Dillon.

This episode has no logic to it. Matt assumes if Chester tells everyone he’s dead, then the killer will show his hand. But there have been several episodes where hired killers go gunning for Matt and if they’d been successful they’d simply have left town and collected their money.

At the end of the episode a character says, “I don’t understand it.” That makes two of us on this one.

IMO the music cue that starts at 5:58 is poorly spotted. It speaks to a wistful, quiet emotion even as Dillon is looking behind him to see if he is going to get shot in the back. I will rarely question music cues but this scene would have been ten times more effective without any music at all, much less a cue that IMO doesn't fit.

231.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

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232 “Cheap Labor” - Melanie makes another appearance as a romantic interest for Chester. He tells her that she is as pretty as can be but says, "You don’t realize just how little it takes to get yourself killed around here.”

232a.JPG


He’s referring to an overprotective brother who threatens to kill any man who helps his sister, who he's using as nothing more than someone to do "cheap labor" for him.

232b.JPG


I enjoyed this one.

232c.JPG
 

Flashgear

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Good stuff, Skylar!

Robert F. Simon and Andrew Duggan, two reliable old stalwarts of vintage TV!

As to Chester...poor guy, by this relatively early point, he's already had plenty of heartbreak, with a hell of a lot more to come! When it came to women, Chester needed to develop the same coping mechanisms that Marshall Dillon had, however hard to identify and isolate as they were in his sometimes inscrutable self.

I have the whole series on DVD as originally released by CBS/P since 2007 in the half-season volumes and complete season sets. I also previously purchased the 2005 50th Anniversary and Director's Collection sets that they put out as a market test, and the first three 'reunion' Matt Dillon telefilms from 1987-91 (I'll pick up the last two soon, thankfully released on DVD by Kino-Lorber). Here's my Gunsmoke collection...
SAM_0741.JPG


Over the years, there were several long-lasting interludes between DVD releases which left us wondering if Gunsmoke was permanently stalled...up to 3 years between releases in a few periods, with the 2008 Wall Street Collapse and the Epic Recession that resulted nearly dealing a death blow to these kind of vintage TV releases by CBS Home Entertainment...almost needless to say, no one was more surprised than I was when CBS suddenly accelerated the series to DVD fullfillment in 2018-2019...and then to release a monumental (and affordably priced, considering the value!) complete series box-set! Incredible!

I took these captures from some later season DVD sets...
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Museum Pieces

Second Unit
Joined
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Messages
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Skylar
Good stuff, Skylar!

Robert F. Simon and Andrew Duggan, two reliable old stalwarts of vintage TV!

As to Chester...poor guy, by this relatively early point, he's already had plenty of heartbreak, with a hell of a lot more to come! When it came to women, Chester needed to develop the same coping mechanisms that Marshall Dillon had, however hard to identify and isolate as they were in his sometimes inscrutable self.

I have the whole series on DVD as originally released by CBS/P since 2007 in the half-season volumes and complete season sets. I also previously purchased the 2005 50th Anniversary and Director's Collection sets that they put out as a market test, and the first three 'reunion' Matt Dillon telefilms from 1987-91 (I'll pick up the last two soon, thankfully released on DVD by Kino-Lorber). Here's my Gunsmoke collection...
View attachment 124693

Over the years, there were several long-lasting interludes between DVD releases which left us wondering if Gunsmoke was permanently stalled...up to 3 years between releases in a few periods, with the 2008 Wall Street Collapse and the Epic Recession that resulted nearly dealing a death blow to these kind of vintage TV releases by CBS Home Entertainment...almost needless to say, no one was more surprised than I was when CBS suddenly accelerated the series to DVD fullfillment in 2018-2019...and then to release a monumental (and affordably priced, considering the value!) complete series box-set! Incredible!

I took these captures from some later season DVD sets...
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Thanks for the splash of color against all my monochrome posts. I really enjoyed looking at them.

233 “Moon” A crooked dealer forced to deal straight at gunpoint arranges to rob the man who cleaned him out. It was entertaining enough but never really had me emotionally involved. I never bought the relationship between the guest stars, and for me the episode hinged on it.

233.JPG
 

Museum Pieces

Second Unit
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Skylar
234 “Who Lives By The Sword” – A bully gunfighter gets two beloved young men in Dodge to draw on him just so he can shoot them down and claim self-defense. Dillon takes the man’s gun and beats the hell out of him. This was an interesting episode, examining what nerve is and what can happen when we lose it. I thought it had a terrific ending.

234.JPG


Dillon tells the washed up gunfighter that he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. The gunfighter agrees, admitting it will likely happen to him. Then he tells Dillon, “I don’t see any reason it won’t happen to you, either.”

Nice episode.
 
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Jeff Flugel

Premium
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Jan 7, 1999
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Osaka, Japan
Real Name
Jeff Flugel
I have the whole series on DVD as originally released by CBS/P since 2007 in the half-season volumes and complete season sets. I also previously purchased the 2005 50th Anniversary and Director's Collection sets that they put out as a market test, and the first three 'reunion' Matt Dillon telefilms from 1987-91 (I'll pick up the last two soon, thankfully released on DVD by Kino-Lorber). Here's my Gunsmoke collection...
View attachment 124693
Awesome Gunsmoke collection you've accumulated there, Randall! A lot of time, money and patience put into that volume-by-volume set...hopefully paid off by lots of quality western viewing gained over the years.


Just watched the above episode (S18's "The Sodbusters") yesterday. Nice riff on the familiar western story of the fast gun settling down on a ranch to protect a widow and her young'uns. Morgan Woodward's violent cattleman bad guy character is given welcome shadings, particularly in a long scene where he talks to Dillon about carving a life out of the hostile valley 40 years before the story takes place. Woodward really chews into the poetic dialogue (by Ron Bishop) here. Such a good actor.
 

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