Gunsmoke: Season 1, Episode 31

How to Die for Nothing (23 Jun. 1956)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Western
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 21 users  
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Trail herder Howard Bulow swears to shoot Marshal Dillon in the back after he kills his drunken brother in self-defense.



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Title: How to Die for Nothing (23 Jun 1956)

How to Die for Nothing (23 Jun 1956) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Episode cast overview:
Mort Mills ...
Howard Bulow
Maurice Manson ...
Lawrence Dobkin ...
James Nolan ...
Herbert Lytton ...


Two drunk trail herders, one of whom draws on Matt. Matt is forced to defend himself, and kills the man. The dead man's brother (Mort Mills), another crew member, swears vengeance and now Matt must deal with the threat. Written by Jim Hall

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Western





Release Date:

23 June 1956 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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[first lines]
Marshal Matt Dillon: [narrating] Men die for a lot of reasons. I've even heard of worthy ones, like a man who's willing to face it for the good that might come after. But he's a far different breed than most of this Boot Hill trash. These men die for fools' reasons - a spilt drink, a wrong card, an imagined insult. But the worst is a man who dies for nothing... for no reason at all.
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User Reviews

We see a different side to the town of Dodge
16 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is the first time in the series that we see Marshal Dillon get spooked by threats from a cowpoke that vows on killing him. It all begins when two men from a cattle drive ride into Dodge ready to party by shooting up the place. Matt has to take the gun away from one of the cowboys and then has to shoot the other named Ned Bulow after he tried to kill the Marshal. With Ned dead the other cowboy says that Matt's life is in danger because Ned's brother, Howard Bulow, will be in town to kill him not face to face but shoot him in the back.

Matt actually seems nervous as he starts questioning people in the shadows of buildings. When Howard introduces himself, he tells Matt that he is going to shoot him. Matt places Howard in jail.

The leader of the cattle drive comes into town and demands Howard release or his other men will come in and destroy the town. Matt, fearing for the town, releases a man that is bent on killing him.

This episode, even though more real than most, showed some weaknesses of Dodge that are not regularly seen. From Marshal Dillon's giving in to threats to citizens of Dodge conversing against the Marshal, this episode was different from so many. The episode was not as interesting as some previous plots but a nice watch nevertheless.

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