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Good casting makes this show enjoyable
kfo949419 June 2012
Season 16 Episode 1 - starts out with a bang as we get a classic western type gunfight as a renegade Indian refuses to be taken into custody by any officer of the law. In fact the first few minutes of the show a Marshall, and good friend of Matt, is gun downed while attempting to capture the Indian named Chato.

Far from Dodge City, Matt comforts the widow and vows to take Chato into custody and make sure that he is charge with the death of the Marshall. But this will be more than difficult as Chato will have the home field advantage and physical agility to be where someone least expects.

Chato only weakness will be his wife Mora. When she is wounded by tribesman, Chato calls a truce to the fighting so that a surgeon can attempt to save her life. But even if her life is saved, it is apparent that Chato will be difficult for Matt to arrest.

The episode has terrific casting. Ricardo Montalban is a great choice as the renegade Chato. Plus Miriam Colon, cast as his wife, makes the viewer have feeling for the Indian way of life. Even James Arness seems refreshed in the first episode of the season. The acting makes the show enjoyable for all. Good watch.
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the Indians lost only once...
grizzledgeezer24 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Another reviewer titled his review "The Indians lose again". Actually, the Indians "lost" only once -- at the moment Europeans entered North America, the indigenous people were doomed.

This wasn't the result of cultural differences alone. It was largely due to economics, particularly with respect to the Plains Indians. They lived more or less "in harmony" with nature, whereas Europeans exploited nature by raising crops and livestock. It was simple physics -- the Euros could produce far more food calories for a given effort, allowing them to outbreed the Indians and/or feed the hordes of whites who entered North America.

It's probably impossible to tell any kind of intelligent story about white/aboriginal relations on a TV show or even a movie. You get either the Old School -- "Kill them murderin' red savages!" -- or the New School -- "Please forgive us whites for trying to exterminate you" (of which "Dances with Wolves" is probably the best example).

America's aboriginal people need not apologize for trying to kill the invading Europeans, any more than Butterfly McQueen ought to have been embarrassed that Prissy was a lazy little liar. The oppressed aren't obliged to support the system that oppresses them.

"Chato" semi-sidesteps this problem by making the stinkin' half-breed redskin something of a psycho (not unlike Blue Duck) who kills for the sake of killing, rather than systematically fighting the whites. It's thus possible for Matt to kill him without him (or the audience) feeling undue guilt.

Though Chato overly resembles Khan, Ricardo Montalban does a good job convincing us of his sincerity (we should, after all, be on /his/ side), at the expense of a crazier and less-sympathetic world-view. When his woman shot, he has to make a temporary truce with Dillon to get medical help, which necessarily softens his character.

This is a surprisingly good episode, especially as it is fundamentally doomed from the start. As were Chato and his people.
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the Indians lose again
filmfanaticNorCal20 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Even the good Indian, Chato, who loves his woman and fights for his people has to die and so does his woman. Chato is obviously a hindrance to the white settlers and has to be eliminated. Dillon in the end, upholds "the law". In the process, he gets Chato's woman killed and Chato.

Dillon, played by James Arness, the worst actor to ever put on cowboy hat, has two expressions; disappointment (when he misses a shot), and a reluctant grin. At least John Wayne, another bad actor, had swagger. Arness had nothing but a big frame. But that said, watch the episode if you get a chance. Ricardo Montalban does a great job as Chato, as does his girl friend played by Colon.
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