Gunsmoke Television Episodes: The Sandy Henry List
Ten favorite Gunsmoke episodes of Sandy in PA - plus a top turkey:
Snow Train—Matt, Doc and Festus are returning from a jury
trial on the snow train, which is deliberately derailed by the Sioux.
The Indians claim that two men aboard the train sold poison whiskey
on the reservation that resulted in blindness and death of several
of their braves. Matt promises that he will find the guilty men and
punish them, but Red Willow issues an ultimatum—turn them over
by morning or the train will be attacked. This episode had everything
going for it— a great story, surprise ending, terrific guest
cast and an amazing (and award-winning) musical score by composer John
Hostage—For the reasons ... mentioned [by GunsmokeNet.com's
review], particularly William Smith’s Jude Bonner. With a bonus
for the romantics among us—this
is about the most warm-and-fuzzy you will ever see Matt Dillon. His
unspoken love for Kitty and his vulnerability shine through in Paul
Edwards’ taut script. (Click HERE for
more info on this episode.)
Cotter’s Girl—Kathleen Hite’s wonderful story
of Clarey Cotter is a stellar episode with a sweet story and a great
guest turn by Mariette Hartley. Matt sets out to find orphaned Clarey,
a free-spirited, independent young woman who sleeps in a tree and loves
to slosh around in the mud, to give her an inheritance. Matt and his
friends are charmed by Clarey, and they work together to help “civilize” her
so that she can go to live with her aunt in Pennsylvania. But it’s
young Clarey who is the real teacher here. She becomes completely enamored
with “Dillon” and does her best to show him how to "feel
and be" instead of think. Their touching goodnight scene in front
of the Dodge House lets both Arness and Hartley shine.
The Noose—For all the reasons
[GunsmokeNet.com] mentioned [on its top ten list], plus another amazing
score by composer Parker.
The Jailer—‘nuff said.
Wacky Etta Stone [played by Bette Davis, click HERE] is just too much
fun to watch.
Sam McTavish, M.D.—A great
episode for Doc fans, this episode gave the crotchety codger a peer
in Dr. Sam, a
feisty woman physician
who is hired to temporarily fill in for a vacationing Doc Adams. He
breaks their agreement, however, swearing that his patients will never
accept a female doctor. Dr. Sam, played by Vera Miles, quickly wins
them over though, including Doc, who asks her to be his wife. Note:
The ending is a definite tear-jerker.
Pike—For the reasons ... mentioned [in the GunsmokeNet.com
top ten list], along with Worthless the lop-eared, bonneted mule
and the fun chemistry between Jeanette
Nolan and Dack Rambo. Who knew?
Mannon—A terrific script by the master, Ron Bishop, gave
fans a sadistic “gentleman villain” played by Steve Forrest.
Mannon takes what he wants, but he meets his match in Kitty, “the
only one in town he hasn’t shrunk down to size.” He rapes
her and leaves her on the floor of the Long Branch, all the while waiting
for his showdown with Matt. Mannon was such an entertaining bad guy
that he was resurrected for the first reunion movie, Return
to Dodge [click HERE].
The Gallows—Probably the darkest of all John Meston’s
Gunsmoke stories, this one sticks with ya. Pruit Dover, a cowboy accused
of murder, ends up saving Matt’s life. The marshal hopes to return
the favor and testifies on Dover’s behalf. But his efforts are
to no avail—Pruit gets the hanging judge. Another opp for Arness
Cale—Another fresh, original [Gunsmoke writer, Kathleen] Hite
(click HERE) character, young Cale is rescued by Matt after he’s
shot out on the prairie. He’s
an independent whipper snapper of high moral fiber, but Cale is stubborn
as hell. At the episode’s end, the parallels between Cale and
a young Dillon are noted. A great character, he returned a few months
later in The Search, which, sadly, was pretty boring.
favorite…4 little words…Phoebe
Strunk. It stunk. (For the record, I think I am the only Gunsmoke
Henry, author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue. http://www.sandyhenry.com/