Gunsmoke: Season 16, Episode 16

Captain Sligo (4 Jan. 1971)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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In one of the series' loopiest episodes, Boston whaling captain Aaron Sligo suddenly forsakes the sea entirely. He moves to Kansas, buys a ranch and ceremoniously sets up a plaque on the ... See full summary »



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Title: Captain Sligo (04 Jan 1971)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Captain Aron Sligo
Joesphine Burney
Stacy Harris ...
Robert Totten ...
Bobby Eilbacher ...
Tim Burney
Anne Burney
Larry Finley ...
Matt Emery ...
Trail Boss
Brian Foley ...


In one of the series' loopiest episodes, Boston whaling captain Aaron Sligo suddenly forsakes the sea entirely. He moves to Kansas, buys a ranch and ceremoniously sets up a plaque on the 100th meridian of longitude, which he says is as far from the sea as possible in the United States (true, but he could have moved farther north). He then becomes a cattle buyer, ordering a shipment of cows from Texas, while courting the widow next door. The widow resists his courtship until he proves that he can grow corn, knowing the soil on Sligo's lot is notoriously unfertile. But Sligo hasn't lost all of his seafaring identity or his skills. He still dresses in full uniform, builds his house in the shape of a ship, and brings his first mate along to serve as ranch foreman. When a rival cattleman pulls a dirty trick on Sligo which prevents him from bringing his cows to market (by spreading a rumor of brucellosis among the herd) and when the rancher's hands beat the first mate to a pulp, Sligo uses ... Written by Peter Harris

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Release Date:

4 January 1971 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


William Conrad, who directed this episode, played Marshal Dillon on CBS Radio from 1952- 1961. See more »


Leonard: [Stopping an old drunken sailor walking down the street.] Hold it there, sailor. Now, me and Mr. Tanner got to thinking that you might be missing your whaling days. So, first, Tanner's gonna whale ya, then I'm gonna whale ya.
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From hopeful beginnings this episode took a plunge south
11 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Captain Sligo is an old whale ship captain that is retiring and wants to move as far from the ocean as possible. He chooses the 100th meridian of Longitude which happens to be near Dodge. One of his former first mates, Watney, has gone ahead and built a house complete with a crows nest on what is considered the Longitude spot. There is a problem, a house sits right next to the Captain's place that is occupied by a widow Josephine Burney with her two children.

Here is when the program makes a left turn from interest into a dull prolonged depth into a relationship between Captain and Josephine. The two by themselves may have been a good story but the two together on the screen have no chemistry. When the Captain was telling a story to the children at the kitchen table, Josephine says "What a lovely story, Wasn't that a lovely story children?". Both children turn their heads at the same time and smiled nodding their heads- I like to have thrown-up. They looked uncomfortable together which was obvious to all the viewers. The story lost any form of entertainment even when it tried to return to a cattle deal where Captain made a poor investment.

From then on nothing could save this show. From the children whining about wanting their mother to marry, to watching corn grow- this episode was the 'Enola Gay' it delivered a bomb

Of all the episodes I have seen and commented on, this is by far my least favorite in the entire collection.

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