It seems clear (to me, anyway) that "Gunsmoke"'s producers knew the difference between great and so-so scripts, and paid close attention to casting the former.
"Noose of Gold" is a case in point. Vincent Gardenia was a truly great actor. Charles Shepherd is close to being a one-dimensional role, but Gardenia makes him a believably vicious little SOB, not a stock villain. It's not immediately obvious he can't be trusted, and Gardenia takes his time showing us what sort of person Shepherd really is.
And let's not forget the wonderful Steve Ihnat as the nominal "bad guy".
This is a typical "tragic" "Gunsmoke" episode, down to the clichéd final scene with people gathered around a corpse. If it weren't for Ihnat and Gardenia, I'd probably rate this episode a 7.
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