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This two part episode takes place in Oregon wilderness which is a nice
background but really beyond-the-pale of reality. For a US Marshal in
Dodge City to be tracking bank robbers all the way to Oregon would
require at least a twenty day horse ride. But with a lot of 'for TV
sake' items we take it with a grain of salt. But even with that odd
incident, the story was interesting and entertaining and perhaps one of
the best in the entire series.
What all starts this episode off is that Marshal Dillon has tracked a group of bank robbers to the Oregon. Matt has gotten the money back but the leader of the group, Charlie Utter (Slim Pickens), is now in pursuit of the Marshal. Matt has to jump from a tall ledge into a river to prevent capture and ends up on a raft occupied by two young children, with a Huckleberry Finn complex, that are runaways.
The rest of the episode will consist of Charlie Utter chasing Marshal Dillon down the river and Marshal Dillon getting into little situation along the river edge. From helping the two young runaways to rescuing a gambler, Pierre (Jack Elam) and his woman assistant Paullette (Miriam Colon) from a group of angry miners, Marshal Dillon will have his raft full as the five of the float down a rough river. And Marshal will need all their help to avoid the Utter gang.
The very best thing about this episode is the guest actors. Slim Pickens is excellent with his wild actions and funny quotes as he plays the villain chasing Matt down the river. Miriam Colon's character was at first unlikeable but through the script she became someone that was respected. Jack Elam even played a part that made him so famous that everyone will like. Plus with James Arness having less participation in most of the shows, it was nice to see him take charge and be in full force in both parts of the program. Even the children could not have been a better cast.
I am not fond of two part episodes but I will say this was a pleasure to watch. With the terrific acting and great story the fact it was set in Oregon should make no difference. GREAT SHOW!
I've seen close to every Gunsmoke made from 55' to 75', both at the
time they were released and through reruns. Yes I'm an old sucker.
This particular episode contains 3 out of 4 of the all time great character actors of all time. Namely, Jack Elam, Slim Pickens and Miriam Colon. Had Anthony Zerbre been there I could have died and went to wherever I'm headed.
This tongue-in-cheek, two part production had so much to offer; comedy, drama, excellent acting and more.......comedy.
Jack Elam as a Frenchie?......Too much! Slim Pickens as one evil character?.....Not a chance
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