A charming cowboy apparently is guilty only of breaking hearts until he gets to Dodge, where he finds two women who may make a killer of him.

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Cast

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Doc
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Avis Fisher
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Kyle Kelly
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Ab Fisher
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Terry Lee
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Luke Ryan
Allan Hunt ...
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Storyline

Ken Curtis, who will return later in the season as Festus, appears here as Kyle Kelly, a love-'em-and-leave-'em cowboy. As the episode opens, he leaves brokenhearted a girl who had expected a marriage proposal from him. He arrives in Dodge and soon takes up with the bored wife of a homesteader. Though there's no sign that Kelly has killed before, he and the wife make plans to get rid of her husband. Meanwhile, Kelly walks into the Long Branch and improbably encounters the girl he most recently left behind, now in Dodge and employed as a saloon gal. He gets into a fight over her and is humiliated. Next day he rides out to get his revenge on the man who bettered him; then he and the homesteader's wife hatch a plan to pin the killing on her husband. Written by Morganalee

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Western

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5 October 1963 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Ken Curtis plays Kyle Kelly in this episode. He also played Festus (Matt Dillon's deputy) in later episodes. See more »

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Ken Curtis struts his stuff
8 August 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Lover Boy" gives Ken Curtis a chance to show what a good actor he is. Shorn of facial hair, he plays a charming and heartless rogue who loves 'em and leaves 'em. (In real life, he would have seduced the women, but this is only vaguely suggested by his first conquest being sufficiently humiliated that she becomes a saloon girl.) Curtis shows how good he is at creating characters almost entirely by facial expression.

Consider John Anderson, Royal Dano, and Morgan Woodward, veterans of many TV Westerns. With few exceptions, each is instantly recognizable. Not Ken Curtis. You'd have to think a while before recognizing Curtis as both Kyle Kelly and the original Festus. (The latter Festus is even more distantly removed.)

Curtis started out as a conventionally handsome man, with vapid good looks. (It's easy to see why John Ford's daughter was so hot for him.) He got better looking as he matured and his features grew more angular. In an unintentional bit of humor, one of his conquests complains that her husband is "nearly 50". * So was Curtis -- he was 48 when this episode was shot! ** He was nearly 60 when the series ended.

Though Festus and Chester were "similar" characters, Festus had the athleticism Chester lacked. *** In fight scenes, Curtis is quick and nimble -- you wouldn't want to get on his bad side. And in an early Festus episode, when he and Slim Pickens are about to be strung up in a stable, Curtis leaps up off his horse and wraps his legs around the beam.

An above-average episode -- strongly recommended.

* 50 was considered "old" in the 19th century -- retirement age, essentially.

** In "Lover Boy", he looks closer to 60 (or even older). Strange as it might seem, the Festus whiskers shave a good decade off his apparent age.

*** Dennis Weaver supposedly suggested Chester have a stiff leg, as he didn't find it plausible that an able-bodied young man would take a poorly paid job as the marshal's assistant.


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