Gunsmoke: Season 20, Episode 1

Matt Dillon Must Die (9 Sep. 1974)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.6/10 from 47 users  
Reviews: 3 user

Since the mob killing of his wife years ago, old man Wakefield has gone on murderous rampages with his sons. Now the Wakefields are trying to run down and kill Matt in the freezing mountains.



0Check in
« Previous Episode | 612 of 635 Episodes | Next Episode »


Episode cast overview:
Doc (credit only)
Festus Haggen (credit only)
Newly O'Brien (credit only)
Abraham Wakefield
Jacob Wakefield
Esau Wakefield (as Bill Lucking)
Henry Olek ...
Isaac Wakefield
Douglas Dirkson ...
Abel Wakefield
Frederick Herrick ...
Laban Wakefield
Elaine Fulkerson ...
Annabel Wakefield


Matt is trapped at a mountain cabin occupied by murderous Abraham Wakefield and his sons. The embittered Wakefield detests lawmen because of his wife's killing years earlier, and he decides that it would be sporting for him, his sons, and their vicious dog to hunt the Marshal like an animal in the bitter cold. Written by Sam Spear

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

character name in title | See All (1) »







Release Date:

9 September 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In a "Gunsmoke" fiction book published in 2005, James Arness wrote about the show in the introduction and said that Ben Bates, his stunt double, collapsed after running through the snow for multiple takes and was hospitalized for two days. Arness did not specifically identify this episode, but it's the only one that would fit the description. See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.10 (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Morgan Woodward is brilliant in this entertaining episode
8 February 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 20 years of 'Gunsmoke' episodes, Morgan Woodward makes his 19th appearance in the series. Mr Woodward does what he does best as he plays a aging man that feels like he is being mistreated. This is a role that he plays to perfection. An aging widower, Abraham Wakefield, who's wife was killed by renegade lawmen now he hates all people that carry a badge. He has five sons with four of them just as dangerous as their father and one much more mild mannered. But all have high respect for their father.

Marshal Dillon has tracked one of the son that has robbed a bank to their cabin in the mountains. Matt has to kill Wakefield's son and then is captured by the family. After Abraham goes through dialog of letting the viewers try to understand his position we find out that they will treat Matt like a game.

Just like hunting animals, they let Matt loose in the cold mountains and the family will track Matt down and kill him. But as you can already guess things do not go the way Abraham wanted. Abraham may lose everything he loves if he cannot let his hatred about his wife's death rest.

James Arness was at his best in this episode as he was performing from being to end of this show. Morgan Woodward is also brilliant as the aging family man that is nearly eaten alive by his wife's death. When the end comes it will be powerful and also heartbreaking. This episode was as entertaining as any in the series.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Black & White Louies? soffee83
Hard Labor questions tinkerbell_jonna
The Longbranch Saloon letterl
It is Such a Sin to do This to Gunsmoke! dpc1212
what would i or you have been in the Old West? marylizautos
Marshal Dillon too rough on Chester? newdickmorris
Discuss Matt Dillon Must Die (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: