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"Gunsmoke" The Sharecroppers (1975)

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

This episode was a chore to watch

Author: kfo9494 from United States
16 April 2013

For the last show of the entire series this show was bizarre, not only in the story department but the way the characters acted on screen. In fact we were more than halfway through the episode and I did not understand where the story was going or which plot the program was taking. It was like someone put the action and dialog together after each scene with all the odd circumstance that is rarely seen in a 'Gunsmoke' episode.

The show was so quirky it's going to hard to describe the action. It centers around a family called the Pugh's. The father of the family Dibble- is as lazy as they come. He is suppose to be working the land as a sharecropper for the man that owns the house named Linger Hogue. The rest of the family involves a son called Abel that goes around playing ballads on his guitar, and also two daughter Lailee and Ava Marie with the latter having a crush on the owner of the house son named Toby Hogue.

When Abel goes into Dodge to buy a mule, a swindler sells him Festus's mule. Festus accidentally shoots Abel in the leg and volunteers to take Abel home. When he gets to the Pugh's place, the father, Dibble, talks Festus into helping plow the ground. Of course Festus is the only one working. In the mean time, Ava Marie Pugh is mad at her sweetheart Toby and tries to make him jealous by being sweet on Festus.

There is nothing in this episode that makes good sense. From the weird boy playing guitar to the suppose relationship between aging Festus and the twenty year old Ava Marie- it was just unorthodox. I never really could get past the fact the a Deputy Marshal willfully spend many days plowing a field for a man that never helped out. For the last show of the series, this was weak.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A light-hearted send-off, jesting at our entanglements and petty conflicts

Author: rob12357 from United States
9 January 2014

This 635th and final episode of a great American classic deserves much more than the trashing the other reviewers have given it. They are absolutely right that it lacks fancy plot and character development and fights to the death. This last episode presumes that the viewer doesn't need any further lessons in morality that the previous 634 episodes bludgeoned them with. It's a fresh and light-hearted tribute to the chaotic, petty entanglements that our world was built upon. In the end, everything works out for the best and the chaos continues presumably forever. This final tongue-in-cheek peek through the keyhole into the convoluted nature of our existence is very refreshing. For those of us who can see the forest in spite of the trees, it tells a truly meaningful story... with all of life's drama and problems and entangled obligations, it is still worth living.

...And the lesson in life never ends... Don't judge this quaintly tangled tale too harshly, it was meant as an uplifting send-off and not something to be critically acclaimed or bashed.

Happy trails to all who made this series the icon that it was.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:


Author: Robert W. Anderson ( from United States
31 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Don't get me wrong this wasn't a bad episode. But it's a very strange way to end a show that ran twenty years. In this episode Festus has ninety percent of the screen time. We only see James Arness a couple times an only in very short scenes. Buck Henry makes a short appearance as well but none of the other regulars is shown. One would expect such an important piece of television history to have gone out with a little more fanfare. M*A*S*H went out with a two hour special with flash backs. Followed by a number of retrospectives on that show. In this episode Festus (Ken Curtis) wounds a man who has been defrauded out of his money by a con man. Festus helps the man get home and gets caught up in the problems this family is having farming the property it's supposed to be sharecropping. A pretty good episode, but kind of a let down for those of us who expected more from the last episode of this great TV series.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Never intended to be a finale

Author: jswedenburg from United States
25 March 2016

The last episode of the 20th season was never meant to be the concluding episode. In fact, James Arness said "We didn't do a final, wrap-up show. We finished the 20th year, we all expected to go on for another season" the network "never told anybody they were thinking of canceling" According to the Wall Street Journal "Many of the cast and crew members of the show found out about the cancellation from trade publications." It is sad for television history that Festus was the only primary character featured when three original characters of the show had no significant screen time. Most episodes were written to be self-contained to allow for syndication. On the other hand, the lack of resolve in the ending allowed for the later successful TV movies based on the series and original cast.

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