Gunsmoke: Season 1, Episode 31

How to Die for Nothing (23 Jun. 1956)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 26 users  
Reviews: 2 user

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)

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Episode cast overview:
Mort Mills ...
Howard Bulow
Maurice Manson ...
Lawrence Dobkin ...
James Nolan ...
Bill White Jr. ...
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

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Release Date:

23 June 1956 (USA)  »

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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

Matt Gets Rattled
3 September 2007 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

About half way through this half-hour I suspected it was a Sam Peckinpah script, which it is. There's a nice unexpected turn of events when Dillon and the trail crew face-off at the marshal's office, and one that makes good realistic sense. Dillon also gets rattled by Bulow's threat to kill him any way he can. Ordinarily, the show didn't explore psychological themes, but Dillon's definitely rattled and will break the rules as a result (a Peckinpah trademark). Anyway, the plot concerns two roistering trail herders, one of whom draws on Matt. His brother (Mort Mills), another crew member, swears vengeance and now Matt must deal with the threat. There's some good cross-currents between Dodge's business interests and the marshal's need to protect himself. One negative note-- the shoot-out has cat-and-mouse potential which director Ted Post unfortunately does not really develop.

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