Rumors are that the Pawnee are about to attack Dodge. Citizens led by shop-owner Jonas (the great Dabbs Greer) are beginning to panic. Matt is skeptical-- why would the Pawnees announce their intention and lose an attack advantage. He soon discovers that old friend of the Pawnee, a frontiersman named Tewksbury is behind the rumor. But why?-- and how will Matt deal with panicked townspeople looking to him for leadership?
Potentially strong story is diluted by Robert Ellenstein's theatrical over-acting as Tewksbury-- the make-up job doesn't help either. Then too, Ted Post's direction adds nothing-- for example, why the big close-up of the medicine bag which gives away its significance before the dramatic effect can be appropriately felt. At certain points, it's also clear how Arness improved as an actor from these still early episodes. There's a distance here between the actor and his lines that later disappeared as Arness slipped effectively into the lawman role. One positive note, the crowd scenes are well staffed, unusual for a modestly budgeted series like this one.
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