Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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Nitro: Part 1 

A gang hires a jobless man to extract nitroglycerin from dynamite, so they can much more effectively blow open safes.





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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Ewing ...
Thad Greenwood
James Nusser ...
Robert Rothwell ...
Joe Keller
Byron Feiffer Farnum
Gene O'Donnell ...
Express Manager
Pete Kellett ...
Carl Pitti ...
John Breen ...
George McClaney
Anne Gilchrist


Two smooth thugs and their trigger-happy partner (the actor is given significantly lower billing than Tom Reese and Eddie Firestone, who play the sharpies) extract nitroglycerin from dynamite by boiling it until the nitro floats "like an oil" on the water's surface and skimming it off. It's fully as dangerous as it sounds, so they have hired men to do it for huge sums of money which they get from burglarizing banks and blowing up their safes. The first one goes up in an gigantic explosion which shatters windows miles away, so they turn to a young ex-cowboy with no prospects except his saloon-girl girlfriend. The young man reluctantly agrees, hoping to make a fresh start by investing in petroleum development (Buck Taylor's dad Dub plays the developer). But when a cougar spooks the thugs' horse and causes horse and buggy to be strewn all over the landscape, the thugs must regroup. They have accidentally knocked over the bank where the Kansas Petoleum Development Company's money was ... Written by Peter Harris

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Release Date:

8 April 1967 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


These two episodes are also listed as "Tiger by the Tail" parts I and II. See more »

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User Reviews

A good story that moved at a snail's pace
15 March 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The story was actually interesting. A man down-on-his-luck with no prospects of getting out of his hole in life, finds a good paying job, yet dangerous, and now seems like he has his life back on path.

The problem with this part one of this show is that it moves at a snail's pace. Everything in part one was so stretched out that I can only assumed they needed to make the story longer to get the full two hours show filmed. It was so slow that interest soon fades and you can only hope for relief in the second part of the program.

The story involved George McClaney that was the down-on-his-luck person that seemed to be better off not having been born. When he is approached by three men giving him a job of boiling dynamite and then skimming off the top layer of nitroglycerin. Then he had to pour the volatile liquid into a small glass container.

George is paid very well for his work and has a lot of greenbacks in his wallet. He goes to Dodge and meets his girlfriend named Ann. He tells her that he is investing in an oil development company with the money he now has obtained. He then tells the three men that he is quitting- but it will not be easy when they threaten Ann.

It was something that could have taken twenty minutes, yet the production staff made it last the full hour. Not much is accomplished in part one so here is hoping part two is better.

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