|Index||3 reviews in total|
I've never been a big fan of Will Geer. Though he had an excellent
reputation, his performance in "The Waltons" did nothing to justify it.
The character had (to me) a nasty/filthy edge that suggested he enjoyed
torturing cats -- or worse.
He redeems himself here. We see a talented actor fleshing out an interesting character in ways that go far beyond merely reading the lines. Dub Taylor (Buck Taylor's dad) gives a comparably good performance as Geer's nemesis.
The combination of a good script and excellent acting results in a decidedly "strange" episode of the sort that became less common as "Gunsmoke" aged. It's absolutely a "don't miss" episode.
The only thing wrong is Parker's terrible Mickey Mouse score. Its alternating between comic and serious badly distracts/detracts from the story -- one of those rare cases where music actually hurts a film.
Slocum has an obviously off-kilter personality with a comic edge. Do we have to have it constantly shoved down our throats? I would have written a basically serious score, letting the humor fall where it may.
Will Geer plays a backwoods man named Ben Solcum an old friend of Matt
Dillon. Seems that Matt saved Solcum's life a while back- and Solcum
comes into town to talk with his old friend.
While at the Long Branch, Solcum accusing a man of cheating at cards. The man pulls a gun on unarmed Solcum and Matt has to shoot the man. The man turns out to be one of the Riker boys. The Riker family is a group of men lead by a Bible carrying father figure called Noah.
Solcum wants to accompany Matt in taking the body out to the Riker's farm but Matt makes Solcum agree to stay out of the situation. But while Matt is telling Noah about having to shoot his son, Solcum is in the hill near the farm. The boys want to take revenge on Matt but Noah quiets their temper.
When the Riker family makes their way to Dodge to confront Matt, Solcum meets them and has to shoot Noah and one of his sons. They are not killed and are able to tell Matt who did the shooting.
While Matt is looking for Solcum to stand trial for the shooting, the other Riker boys find the two and one is able to shoot Matt. Solcum has his chance to flee or return Matt to Dodge and stand trial for assault.
Will Geer did an great job playing the woodsman Solcum but there was little else to examine. The entire Riker family was not only strange but in ways- disturbing. But overall, while not the best episode it proved to be a nice watch just for Will Geer's performance.
(The late) Actor Will Geer did a brilliant job in playing the role of Ben Slocumb. Ben Slocumb played a lonely bounty hunter who was in search for the Riker Family hot on the trail. Slocumb's personality was a bit wry and dotty to some extent. Even then, he owed Marshal Matt Dillon a favor by seeking the family responsible for the vengeance killing of another friend earlier in his life. Even though he paid back Marshall Dillon for his role in arresting the Riker Boys for the killings in earlier times in Dodge City, he would be tried for attempted first-degree murder towards the end of the show. The dialog and scenery had glimpses of excitement in the show. Unfortunately, the emotional impact of the show was a bit too dull in "Slocumb." Even then, a 9 rating for this program would be a highly recommended episode to see on reruns ... especially when this episode was aired during the 1968-1969 Television Season. Enjoy!!
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