Gunsmoke: Season 16, Episode 21

Cleavus (15 Feb. 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Western
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 19 users  
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Frequent director Robert Totten steps in front of the camera for the title role (some sources say he directed himself, but Vincent McEveety gets the credit). Cleavus, an old friend of ... See full summary »

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Title: Cleavus (15 Feb 1971)

Cleavus (15 Feb 1971) on IMDb 5.7/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
...
Doc
...
...
...
Robert Totten ...
Cleavus Lukens
Arthur Hunnicutt ...
Uriah Spessard
William Challee ...
Baylock
Robert Cornthwaite ...
Clerk
Glenn Strange ...
Robert Williams ...
Woody (as Robert B. Williams)
Hank Wise ...
Waiter
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Storyline

Frequent director Robert Totten steps in front of the camera for the title role (some sources say he directed himself, but Vincent McEveety gets the credit). Cleavus, an old friend of Festus, has been dogged by poverty and hard luck all his life. He stumbles into a gold mine looking for help -- only to accidentally kill the miner. While driving the miner's corpse to a farm for burial, Cleavus finds $200 worth of gold dust -- a big chunk of money for 1873 -- in his clothing. This gives Cleavus an idea. In Dodge, he learns that the miner's claim hadn't been registered yet and falsely claims title to it himself. With his new money, he buys fancy store clothes and affects himself as a dandy. He even begins paying court to Kitty Russell. Festus finds out part of the truth about Cleavua and Kitty finds out the rest -- the mine actually held only the limited amount of gold and a lot of iron pyrite -- "fool's gold." Cleavus's luck goes downhill from there. Written by Peter Harris

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15 February 1971 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Cleavus is Creepy!
17 December 2012 | by (Valencia, Spain) – See all my reviews

Gunsmoke director Robert Totten plays the role of Cleavus, a childhood friend of Festus. Cleavus has some major issues. He hates being poor, and he hates anyone that calls him son. So when the kind old man in the mine offers him food because he is poor, and then calls him son, Cleavus smashes his head into the cave wall and kills him.

The story is pretty creepy at that point. I saw this as a kid, and Cleavus scared the crappus out of me. He looked like so many of those drug-crazed hippies that were often on TV, and reminded me of any of the Charles Manson Family members or their supporters.

Unfortunately, after this dark and terrifying beginning, the story gets sappy, and follows one of the standard formulas. Now that Cleavus has the old man's gold dust, he goes to town, gets a new suit, and starts acting like a fool, and courting Miss Kitty. How many times had this story been done?

If Cleavus had become some kind of Old West serial killer, bushwhacker, highwayman, etc., and Marshall Dillon had gone out to track him down, the story would have been more interesting.


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