Seriously injured Matt faces a moral dilemma when Blue Horse saves his life and prevents the escape of a prisoner. The Marshal knows that Blue Horse is being sought by the Cavalry as a ...
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Seriously injured Matt faces a moral dilemma when Blue Horse saves his life and prevents the escape of a prisoner. The Marshal knows that Blue Horse is being sought by the Cavalry as a fugitive from a reservation, and he is well aware that he is duty-bound to assist their search in any way possible. Written by
The prologue has Matt Dillon wandering through boot hill cemetery, as the prologue often does, with him talking about hate is what really kills a man and makes him useless.
Then we cut to Matt and Chester bringing murderer Hob Cannon (Gene Nelson) back to Dodge City for trial, riding across the prairie. all the way Hob is taunting Matt and Chester, telling them that they will die of thirst before they get to Dodge. Along the way they meet up with the cavalry, looking for the Indian brave Blue Horse who has left the reservation.
Afterwards, Matt breaks his leg. Chester has to leave Matt alone with Cannon while he goes to Dodge for help. Hob continues to taunt Dillon, and then finally Matt can't keep his eyes open and drops off to sleep. Hob jumps Matt and takes his gun. Now nothing has been said about the circumstances of the murder, but you get a feel for how mean Hob is as he could, at this point, just take off. But no. He has to empty Matt's canteen so that he will die of thirst even though this does nothing to improve Cannon's chances of escaping.
Before he can leave, Blue Horse shows up with his family. They hold Cannon for Matt, properly splint his leg, and tell him to get some sleep. It turns out Matt saved Blue Horse from being lynched once, and Blue Horse is returning the favor. As for his escape? Blue Horse just wants to go north to where he was originally from to hunt as his tribe traditionally did.
Blue Horse leaves once Chester and Doc return, and along the way Matt's group meets up with the cavalry, still in hot pursuit of Blue Horse. Now all along the way Hob Cannon has been taunting Dillon about how he must tell the law about where Blue Horse is headed or else lose his job. If he doesn't say something, he will. Cannon doesn't dislike Indians anymore than the rest of the human race. Again, he's just mean. Blue Horse's capture wouldn't make him free, but it would torment Dillon, and that seems to be what Cannon is all about - meanness.
What will Matt, Chester, and Doc do? Watch and find out.
Given the prologue I think the episode was just pointing out that Hob Cannon was a ruined human being, even if he had technically never killed anybody. He was good for nothing because he just hated without rhyme nor reason. Blue Horse, feared by society at the time, probably more so than Cannon, actually was a compassionate person who just wanted to live like his ancestors did, risking capture to help a friend.
This was a good episode of Gunsmoke, squeezing a lot of plot into a 30 minute episode.
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