Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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I Have Promises to Keep 

An aging pastor is determined to erect a church for the Indians on the reservation but is met with bigotry from the citizens of a nearby town.



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Episode cast overview:
Reverend Byrne
Tom Lacy ...
Reverend Atkins
Ted Jordan ...
Trini Tellez ...
John Wheeler ...
Ed McCready ...
Freight Agent


Festus, out on patrol meets an aging traveling preacher who wants to build a church for Indians on their small reserve. The whites in the nearby town are furious and torches the building (Festus fires two shots from a revolver at the escaping arsonists). The preacher vows to try again and again - despite a heart condition that is about to kill him. Written by Peter Harris

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Release Date:

3 March 1975 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The day this episode aired, Broadcasting Magazine came out with a list of series likely to be canceled - with "Gunsmoke" heading the list even though its highest-rated episode of the year had aired the previous week. The reason? Poor demographics - too many rural and overage viewers, with the younger urban viewers going over to "The Rookies" (which would last only one more season after being moved out of the time slot). See more »

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User Reviews

A pastor wants to build a Indian church which the townsfolk does not want.
12 April 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Festus has just delivered a criminal to a sheriff in a nearby town when he meets an older priest, Rev Byrne, that has a unpopular idea of building a church on the Indian Reservation. With all the Indian problems that the town has had in the past the pastor's decision is meet with disdain in the town. They refuse to sell Byrne the lumber to build the church until Festus intervenes.

Feeling sorry for the pastor, Festus helps him carry the lumber out to the reservation. Even with a heart problem Rev Byrne is determined, with Festus's help, to build the church at any cost.

Even when the frame of the church is burned to the ground, the pastor will not be deterred. Even with the obvious non-Christian bigotry toward the Indians, Byrne is hoping that there is someway that he can connect the church to the Indians even if it cost him his life.

Even with the heartwarming story and the faith based plot, the interest waned during times building up to the finale. Ken Curtis does his best keeping this story together as he becomes a middle man for both sides talking with both townsfolk and Indians. With such a good ending to the episode, it is hard to believe that this was to be the series last year.

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