Following the death of her father Billy in a confrontation with a customer, Lily Baskin inherits the family faro business and later establishes it in Miss Kitty's Long Branch Saloon. Lily soon faces the unwanted attentions of two admirers: Champ Larkin, a former boxing star, and Johnny Cole, the customer who killed her father. Written by
Billy Blaskin's crooked faro game was far from unique in the Old West. While faro was hugely popular, cheating by dealers was so rampant that the definite handbook "Hoyle's Rules of Games" warned that there wasn't a single honest game in the country. This reputation contributed to faro's decline in the early 20th century and its near extinction by the century's end. See more »
At the start of the episode it is stated that Billy and Lily Baskin are living and working in Joseph City, AZ. The sheriff, when telling Johnny Cole to leave town even states that "Joseph City doesn't like gunfighters".
Joseph City, AZ changed its name from St. Joseph in the 1920s - much later than the setting of the series. See more »
I'm not sure I understand the other review here that cites a lack of "motivation" in this episode. While not particularly complicated, the characters seem totally consistent and believable to me.
What I find compelling is the intensity of the interaction between the two main characters, obviously the result of director Harris' expert guidance. This is a very intimate drama, told mainly through close-up shots, and the performances ring entirely true to me. This is quite an accomplishment, since the rather straightforward script could have easily become trite and unconvincing under a less steady directorial hand.
The always entertaining actor George Matthews (Ralph Kramden's "Bensonhurst Bomber") creates something of a "love triangle" in the plot, as if poor Johnny Cole didn't already have his hands full with Lily, well-played by Judi Meredith. The actress was obviously capable of delivering the dramatic goods (her best-known performance is probably as Princess Elaine in the 1962 fantasy "Jack the Giant Killer", in which she fails to convince). I was very impressed with her handling of the touchy title role in "The Dealer"---relentlessly determined and openly hostile, who finds it much easier to pull a gun than to drop her defensive stance and allow her sensitive side to come through.
I wish the big picnic/confrontation scene (again, a difficult emotional scene well played by the two main characters) hadn't been filmed on an indoor set, but that's what comes with the weekly grind of TV production on a limited budget.
The final scenes have an almost ghostly, isolated feel to them---Dodge City at night seems deathly silent and totally deserted except for Matt, Kitty, and the two would-be lovers. Actually, I appreciated seeing Matt assume the role of the Old West's first "Advice to the Lovelorn" authority; it's another potentially risky aspect of this script that could have descended into silliness without a strong director. But, once again, it is played with dignity and sincerity, in an understated way that brings the drama to a touching (and welcome) happy ending. How can you argue with that?
Very nicely done, and a show I will return to in the future.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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