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For the post-Dennis Weaver era, this is one of the better episodes. The guest cast is stellar, although it hurts to see Leo Gordon reduced to such a paltry role. He appeared in Gunsmoke either the first or second season, when he was at his menacing best. Even as late as 1966, when he starred in "Night of the Grizzlies" with Clint Walker, he was still a very dangerous dude. In the five years between that film and this episode, Gordon seems to have aged 25 years, and he still had another 28 years (in real life) to go. It was evidently a sad decline. That said, the guest cast is excellent, and you wonder why Sam Groome wasn't a bigger star. Ken Curtis gets to show what a fine actor he really was, because he is given a serious, pivotal role. For the ten years he was on the show, his talents were wasted, as too much emphasis was put on his being little more than comic relief (which quickly turned into a major annoyance). As she grew older, Amanda Blake became a much better actress, and the better episodes in the last few years featured Miss Kitty, in my opinion. And any time Glenn Strange/Sam was given lines, the episode improved exponentially. The storyline in this episode meets all of my criteria for the regulars, and it creates some plot twists, some surprises, and some character development, too. Highly enjoyable. The very last scene, when they are all in the Long Branch and in the same frame is poignant. Matt, Doc, Festus, Miss Kitty, Sam -- they are all gone now, but what great memories.
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