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This episode begins with a man named Harry Cagle asking for more time
to pay off his gambling debt. When he is told that he only has a month
he begins thinking about how he can get together the scratch. Since he
is part owner of a freight company, the only way that he believes he
can get the money is have his partner, Carl Anderson, killed and then
he will be in full control of the business and can get to the cash. So
Harry hires a gunman, Dave Reeves, to do his dirty work for him.
Well it just so happens that the victim, Carl, is dating Anne Madison (get this twist) she is the former wife of the gunman, Dave Reeves. And to make matters even more bizarre, the gunman has a son by Anne that he has never met. Wow- what a story!
The story will continue as all of the sudden Dave wants to be a part of the his young son's life. This puts him at odds with the man he was hired to kill plus his former wife. But there just happens to be one person in all of Dodge City that knows about Anne and Dave's past relationship, that will be Marshal Matt Dillon.
This is a situation, maybe not the same odd circumstances, that has been played out many times in most western shows. The killer learns he has a child but knows that he wants more out of his child than running from the law. So it was a rather routine script. But it will be the performance of Pernell Roberts that separates this show from the rest. He does a wonderful job of playing the rough gunfighter that wants to be back in his child's life. When the credits roll this is far from routine. Good watch.
Watching this episode just kept forcing me to focus on the character of gunfighter Reeves (Pernell Roberts) Although this was a decent episode worth watching being that Gunsmoke was famous for blending western drama with domestic issues which isn't a bad thing because i loved 90% of all Gunsmoke episodes from season 1 to season 20. I'm also a fan of Bonanza and my favorite Cartwright was the eldest boy Adam Cartwright played by Pernell Roberts. I like the character of Adam for his leadership, knowledge, independence and courage. And although i not alive when Pernell left Bonanza i did some research as to why he left the show from his self- dignity as an actor and a man having to call his father "Pa" being a man over 30 years old to being forced to wear his hair piece under his cowboy hat Blah Blah Blah! In my opinion they were stupid reasons to want to drop out of one of the most successful TV shows on the air at that time to doing guest spots on other westerns . And watching this episode was no upgrade for an actor who hated a show about a father and his three sons. It took Pernell 14 years to bring his name back to prominence with "Trapper John M.D" I didn't watch it because i never watched Bonanza at that time so i didn't know who Pernell Roberts was and i just didn't like the show for my age. I read that a lot of people in Hollywood at the time thought Pernell was crazy to leave such a successful TV western and to think he left for a higher or equal level of success elsewhere he was just regulated to being a guest star on other westerns TV shows so in my opinion he did nothing to throw in the face of Bonanza producer David Dortort that he's too good of an actor to play a grown man living with his father Ben Cartwright on The Ponderosa. He was just still a television actor becoming a television character actor popping up every now and then on other popular shows not having his own show for 14 years and not being quite successful in the theater (which he wanted to return to so he said) After leaving Bonanza although he didn't have to succumb to calling anyone "Pa" again and he didn't take off his hair piece till the mid 70's when he started to get gray haired. I will still admire Pernell Roberts as a wonderful actor on Bonanza and a good human being but i will always remain disappointed on how he turned his back on automatic success with Bonanza and having too much pride and personal dignity to just go to work, say your lines, and get your check and you never know, the producers may have eventually allow Adam Cartwright to address Ben Cartwright as "Father" and allow him to take off the hair piece at least by the tenth season. Instead there was no upgrade for Adam Cartwright leaving The Ponderosa. RIP Pernell...
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