Gunsmoke: Season 16, Episode 21

Cleavus (15 Feb. 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Western
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 16 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)

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


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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Drama | Western




Release Date:

15 February 1971 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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A series of strange events spoiled an otherwise nice story
18 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Down trodden Cleavus Lukens, an old childhood friend of Festus, happens into a mine scavenging for food. He comes up on some apples that belong to the old miner occupying the shaft. The older man welcomes Cleavus into the mine but Cleavus believes that the older man is putting him down due his rough looking appearance. When Cleavus pushes the miner, the man hits his head on the rocky wall and dies. Cleavus then finds a large amount of gold in the pocket of the miner and sees veins of gold color rocks along the wall of the mine.

Cleavus goes into Dodge buys new clothes and becomes determined to marry Kitty. When Kitty turns down his proposal he thinks that he is not good enough for the people in Dodge. He leaves threatening that he will show them that he is just as good as anyone in Dodge.

Everything is going well until this point. All of the sudden the show sinks into a series of bizarre events that is difficult for even the novice viewer to understand. First a man comes into Dodge and advises that he cannot find his miner friend and without knowing his whereabouts tells Festus he had gold in his pocket. Second, Cleavus, for some unknown reason, had taken the miner's dead body and placed it in a neighboring barn. Third, Ms Kitty agrees to go with Cleavus in the middle of the night to a mine shaft. All these and the fact that the gold veins in the beginning of the episode happens to be 'fool's gold'- it is just to wacky for viewers to believe.

When Cleavus goes psycho inside the mine, Festus goes in to get him. This will bring an end to an episode that finished just as wildly as it started. The show had potential but a series of unbelievable events foiled an otherwise nice story.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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