Gunsmoke: Season 12, Episode 3

The Jailer (1 Oct. 1966)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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Ratings: 9.2/10 from 192 users  
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Etta Stone is a very bitter, older, woman who has Kitty and Matt captured, and thrown into a homemade jail, and now she plans on hanging Matt for the execution of her husband 6 years before.



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Episode cast overview:
Roger Ewing ...
Etta Stone (as Miss Bette Davis)
Lou Stone
Robert Sorrells ...
Mike Stone
Jack Stone
Ben Stone
Sara Stone


In an episode that made TV Guide's list of "Top 50 Dramatic Episodes of All Time" (and quite high on the list at that), Etta Stone is the matriarch of a crime family, whose husband was hanged and three sons imprisoned six years earlier at Matt's instigation. Now the sons have gotten out of jail and their first order of business is to kidnap Kitty, forcing Matt to come alone to rescue her. He gets a dire welcome when he sees a do-it-yourself working gallows right in the Stone front yard, and he is quickly seized and locked in the barn (Kitty is locked in the house). Etta Stone, with the help of the three imprisoned sons, tells Matt that he will be hanged from the gallows "on the morning of the second day." The only honest people around are the youngest son and the wife of another son, who have developed a romance of their own. One of the other sons can be bought, but he comes to a bad end -- Etta catches him helping Kitty try to escape and blows her own son away with the rifle she ... Written by Peter Harris

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Release Date:

1 October 1966 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Matt Dillon: [waiting to be killed by the family] Kitty, I'm sorry you got mixed up in this. You should have gotten out of here, by yourself, when you had the chance.
Kitty: And leave you here! Not on your life! Or is that a bad joke?
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User Reviews

There's a new witch in town and her name is Betty Davis
27 February 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Miss Betty Davis performance in this episode is by far one of the better acting jobs in the entire series of the show. Even if you are young and never heard of Betty Davis, when you see this episode you will talk about the woman that was the head of the family in that Gunsmoke show.

Betty Davis plays Etta Stone the matriarch of a family with four sons. Some six years ago her husband had been sent to the gallows and she blames Marshal Dillon for his death. So for six years she has been planning how to get back at the Marshal.

She must first lure him out to the farm so they kidnap Kitty. When Marshal is told of her whereabouts he goes to the farm house and is placed in a storage building just like a jail cell. Now Matt is going to go through exactly what Etta's husband went through as they will hang Matt in two days. And Kitty will play the part of Etta has she watches Matt final days before the hanging.

Again Betty is excellent as the woman with so much built in hatred that she even kills one of her sons when the mood hits. She even tops Amanda Blake when she witch slaps her a few times for talking with her son. But Amanda Blake has a trump card that she will use near the end of the show that brings everything back to harmony. An already good show made excellent by Betty Davis.

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