IMDb > "Gunsmoke" The Twisted Heritage (1969)

"Gunsmoke" The Twisted Heritage (1969)

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Paul Savage (teleplay) and
Arthur Rowe (teleplay) ...
View company contact information for The Twisted Heritage on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
6 January 1969 (Season 14, Episode 15)
On her way back to Dodge after a short trip, Kitty shares a stagecoach ride with Blaine Copperton, a... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Kitty meets the //real// Barkleys See more (3 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order)

James Arness ... Matt Dillon

Milburn Stone ... Doc (credit only)

Amanda Blake ... Kitty

Ken Curtis ... Festus

John Ericson ... Blaine Copperton

Virginia Gregg ... Jessie Copperton
David McLean ... Webb
Nora Marlowe ... Ma Dagget
Lisa Gerritsen ... Tracey Copperton
Conlan Carter ... Logan Dagget
Charles Kuenstle ... Elan Dagget
Richard O'Brien ... Simpson
Joshua Bryant ... Young
Steve Raines ... Driver #1
James Nusser ... Louie Pheeters
Robert Luster ... Cookie
Robert Karnes ... Driver #2
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Jeffers ... Copperton Hand (uncredited)
Bert Madrid ... Copperton Hand (uncredited)
Chick Sheridan ... Copperton Hand (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Bernard McEveety 
Writing credits
Paul Savage (teleplay) and
Arthur Rowe (teleplay)

Robert Heverly (story) and
Jack Turley (story)

Norman MacDonnell  based on the radio series created by (uncredited)
John Meston  based on the radio series created by (uncredited)
Charles Marquis Warren  dev. for television by (uncredited)

Produced by
Joseph Dackow .... producer
John Mantley .... executive producer
Original Music by
Leon Klatzkin 
Cinematography by
Monroe P. Askins 
Film Editing by
Donald W. Ernst 
Casting by
Pam Polifroni 
Art Direction by
Joseph R. Jennings 
Set Decoration by
Herman N. Schoenbrun 
Makeup Department
Glen Alden .... makeup artist
Newton Jones .... makeup artist
Gertrude Wheeler .... hair stylist
Production Management
Robert M. Beche .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert Shue .... assistant director (as Robert R. Shue)
Art Department
Clem Widrig .... property master
Sound Department
Jack A. Finlay .... sound effects editor
Vernon W. Kramer .... sound mixer
Jesse Wayne .... stunt double: Charles Kuenstle
Whitey Hughes .... stunts (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Alexander Velcoff .... costumer
Music Department
Gene Feldman .... music editor
Leon Klatzkin .... conductor
Rex Koury .... composer: theme music (uncredited)
Other crew
Jim Byrnes .... assistant story consultant
Ron Honthaner .... assistant to producer
Paul Savage .... story consultant
George Walsh .... announcer
Erika Wernher .... script supervisor
Series Cast
These people are regular cast members. Were they in this episode?

Tom Brown ... Ed O'Connor

Hank Patterson ... Hank Miller

Roy Roberts ... Harry Bodkin
Charles Seel ... Barney Danches

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

60 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Kitty meets the //real// Barkleys, 15 September 2015
Author: grizzledgeezer from United States

If you have time, please read my vicious, wholly unwarranted attack on the most-wonderful TV series ever -- past, present, and future -- "Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman". Its title is "Science fiction in reverse".

As a liberal, I deeply resent the way "historical" TV series attempt to whitewash the past. In "Bonanza" and "The Big Valley" (two of the most-idiotic examples), the Cartwrights and Barkleys are portrayed as good, really good, even sickeningly good, people. Sure, they might occasionally turn a sharp business deal, but they treat their employees * decently and pay them fair wages. They are quick to defend minorities (including r******s, c****s, k***s, and n*****s), never hesitating to help the downtrodden -- why, each family employs a person from one of these groups!

"Never is heard a discouraging word" about these praiseworthy families who settled the West and made it the golden land it became. Oh, there's the occasional "bad person", but the Cartwrights and Barkleys quickly send him/her to jail -- or an early grave.

What's conveniently overlooked is that the Cartwrights and Barkleys //were// the bad people. If anyone raped and pillaged the countryside and/or oppressed the downtrodden, it was the wealthy. How do you think they got their wealth? Mailing in boxtops? **

"Twisted Heritage" //appears// to be a conscious attempt to give "The Big Valley" the cow-pie in the face it so richly deserves. Jessie Copperton (note her implicitly male first name) rules the family with an iron hand, unintentionally "emasculating" her son Blaine and alienating his daughter Tracey.

The Daggets are one of the thorns in the Coppertons' metaphorical side. After having found they could extract a pitiful living from the tailings of an abandoned mine (enough for an occasional jug of corn squeezin's ***), the Coppertons want it back. When Blaine is shot by one of the Daggets, Jessie burns them out and cripples one of the sons. They, in turn, kidnap Kitty and Tracey. They won't free the hostages until Blaine shows up, so he can be crippled the same way.

There is no attempt at reconciliation (as would likely occur in other series). It ends with the Daggets getting the worst of it, simply because they have no meaningful legal recourse for their problems. When they stand up to defend themselves, they're cut down by the law. It's indeed strange to see Matt shooting the victims. But.. "They brought it on themselves." Of course. Being poor is the worst crime of all.

This is all done in proper "Gunsmoke" style. Character relationships are shown mostly by subtle interaction and facial expression, rather than by expository dialog. (This episode is an excellent example of how this is done.) There's plenty of violence, and some issues remain unresolved. There's no cute epilog (which "Gunsmoke" generally avoided).

Nevertheless, "Twisted Heritage" skirts dangerously close to campy parody. Ma Dagget wears a Maude Frickert wig (they might just as well have cast Jonathan Winters), and her boys are stereotypical hillbilly hicks. (Nolan Dagget even wears wire-rimmed glasses!) One suspects the director was trying to underline the satire. Levy-Gardner-Laven could not have been pleased.

"Twisted Heritage" gets high marks for its generally successful attempt at satirizing bad Westerns. It's very much worth watching.

* We hardly ever see them. If the families' offspring deign to perform manual labor, it's mostly off-camera.

** That's a Rocky & Bullwinkle joke.

*** This is not a nutritional vegan beverage. The container is resealable and recyclable, however.wever.

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