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"A Man a Day" presents Marshal Dillon with a vicious gang led by Nick Cooner (Val Dufour), who offer Matt money to make himself scarce while they rob the Dodge City bank, otherwise they will murder one person each day until he knuckles under, threatening Doc, Chester, and Kitty as well. The next two days reveal the threat to be genuine, forcing Matt to set a trap for the deadly outlaws. Many familiar faces abound, including Fay Spain, Tom Fadden, and Arthur Peterson (The 'Major' on SOAP). As gang member Elias Grice, Leonard Nimoy gets at least one standout sequence with Dennis Weaver, smiling as he yearns for the opportunity to kill Chester. Still three years before his starring turn as Spock on STAR TREK, Nimoy was coming off an even better showcase in an episode of RAWHIDE, "Incident Before Black Pass."
For whatever reason this episode did not perk the old generator of
interest to a degree that other shows from the season 7 have sparked.
But it did have an ending that will be remembered long after the
A gang of thieves has moved into the Dodge area with the purpose of robbing the bank in town. They are willing to pay Marshal Dillon $1000 if he just gets out-of-town for a few days until the job is done. As we all know Matt refuses to leave so the thieves now place a demand for him to leave or a person from Dodge will die each day.
Sure enough for the next two days someone around town is killed forcing Matt to rethink his approach to the situation. Matt knows that someone in town must be giving the outlaws information since they know that Matt is still around town.
Thinking he knows who the fifth member of the outlaw team may be- he sets a trap to catch the crooks. But will the trap be good enough to catch the outlaws or will other members of Dodge have to die.
The story was not really that bad but some of the acting was suspicious. There were two guest women in this episode that seemed almost frighten to say their lines. One of the ladies in the show had a hair-do more worthy of 1960 than 1860. When I notice these things it has to be very obvious to others.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the rare Meston duds.
When a new character shows up who has no obvious raison d'etre, you know they're there for a plot-related reason. In this case, it's an attractive woman who's taken a low-paying job at the billiards parlor. It comes as no surprise that she's the contact for the guys planning to rob the bank.
Their plan -- actually hers! -- is to bribe Matt Dillon into leaving town for a day so they can rob the bank. If he can't be bribed, he'll be coerced, by the death of "a man a day", starting with unimportant people, and working up to Doc, Kitty, and Chester.
In my review of "The Invisible Boy", I pointed out that heroes invariably acquiesce to the villain's demands, simply to save people's lives. "The Invisible Boy" was the /only/ exception to this I had ever seen. Well, "A Man a Day" is another. Matt simply waits to see what happens (why doesn't he agree, then warn the bank, etc, etc, etc?), and two people die before he's able to stop the gang.
"Gunsmoke" was originally conceived as "Philip Marlowe out West", and "A Man a Day" looks an awful lot like something out of film noir. (Note the atmospheric photography during the bank robbery; it would never have worked in color.) This wasn't unusual for Meston -- he captured this "noir detective" quality better than any other "Gunsmoke" writer, and his scripts are often brutal and nasty, with unpredictable endings. But this episode seems mostly contrived concept, with little dramatic payoff. When Matt lies to the woman to screw up the gang's plans, the ending is inevitable and obvious.
Definitely well-below par for "Gunsmoke".
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