Gunsmoke: Season 20, Episode 10

In Performance of Duty (18 Nov. 1974)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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An elderly circuit judge comes to Dodge to take care of its court docket, only to run into a group of old enemies -- outlaws who rob and kill people in their paths. No one has ever lived to... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Judge Kendall
Agnes Benton
Frank Benton
Michael MacRae ...
Alf (as Michael Mac Rae)
Ted Jordan ...
Robert Brubaker ...
Theodore Lehmann ...
Jury Foreman (as Ted Lehman)


An elderly circuit judge comes to Dodge to take care of its court docket, only to run into a group of old enemies -- outlaws who rob and kill people in their paths. No one has ever lived to give eyewitness testimony against the family. The judge soon learns that he himself is near death from a heart condition. When the gang goes free after still another set of murders, the judge contrives an ironclad way to get the entire group hanged. Written by Peter Harris

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






Release Date:

18 November 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

An aging Judge makes sure justice is done.
17 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Even with some questionable tactics in this episode, the story was strong enough to produce another highly delightful show that was entertaining to viewers. And after watching, it raises the question of why the show did not continue for at least another season due to the excellent writing and acting.

In this episode a rebellious father and sons team, The Kaysingers, ride into Dodge and hear about a man that has just sold his cattle and is showing off his money. That evening they go and steal the money killing the man and severely injuring the wife. With aging Judge John Kendall in town it looks to be a open and shut case but when no witnesses come forward Judge Kendall release all but one of the boys, Cory, that was also charged with theft of a horse.

Later the father comes up to the Judge and tells him that his boy better go free or the Judge will pay the price. But during the trial for the horse theft, Judge Kendal sentences Cory to death. Now the Kaysingers are bound to take their revenge out on the Judge and also the town of Dodge.

A well written story till about this part when for some reason the Judge does something that, even to the novice viewer, just seems bizarre even for this fictional event. So we as viewers have to take some of the actions in stride in order to enjoy the closure of the program. The action never really took away from the show, in fact, it may have added some element that brings the story to a nice close- but it just did not set well. Anyway this story was interesting and the acting well done. Even with the questionable tactic the show still entertained.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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