Gunsmoke: Season 7, Episode 27

Wagon Girls (7 Apr. 1962)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Western
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 42 users  
Reviews: 3 user

A group of women are going by wagon train to Colorado, lured by the promise of marrying rich miners, but Matt learns that the leader's actual plan for the women is quite different.



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Title: Wagon Girls (07 Apr 1962)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Constance Ford ...
Florida Jenkins
Polly Mims (as Ellen McRae)
Joan Marshall ...
Kelly Bowman
Capt. Grant
Ben Wright ...
Sgt. Pickens
Rayford Barnes ...
Joseph V. Perry ...
Harve (as Joseph Perry)
William Wellman Jr. ...
Pvt. King


A group of women are going by wagon train to Colorado, lured by the promise of marrying rich miners, but Matt learns that the leader's actual plan for the women is quite different.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

7 April 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Occasionally a bit silly, but thoroughly enjoyable
18 May 2014 | by (Whiting, Indiana) – See all my reviews

Before watching this episode, I was ready to write it off as a dud; no way should Matt Dillon be mixed up with a wagon train of young ladies. WRONG! I was very pleasantly surprised--and delighted.

Again, we have a Season 7 episode that feels "epic" in its scope; the 50 minutes of running time seems impossibly brief for all of the action packed into this one.

The episode begins with a typical pair of dirt-bag cowboys who terrorize Miss Kitty...but it turns out that they are only a dramatic device to set the real plot into motion. Once Matt gets out into the open (and this episode features some truly impressive location scenery), the real plot kicks in. We witness one charming encounter after another, starting with a fresh-faced, young Ellyn Burstyn, as every female is smitten with the no-nonsense, moral and stoic Marshall Dillon.

What follows is somewhat reminiscent of William Wellman's great epic "Westward the Woman" (1951), as Matt 1.) takes charge of the wagon train, 2.) beats the snot out of the unscrupulous wagon master (Arch Johnson), 3.) befriends the local (potentially hostile) Indians, thus avoiding tribal mayhem 4.) lectures the girls' guardian (Constance Ford), who secretly knows that the girls' dream of marrying wealthy prospectors in Denver is a lie, 5.) heroically saves Ms. Ford in her runaway wagon, 6.) successfully delivers the wagon train to the safety of Fort Wallace and 7.) devises a clever way of saving the girls from their inevitable dance-hall destiny once they reach Denver.

All in a day's work for the big guy.

Sure, there are plenty of improbable situations and conflicts in this one, but there's lots of subtle humor and engaging interplay between characters to smooth it over (I love the way the Cavalry soldiers get tripped up when introducing themselves to the girls; "corporal", or "private"...sergeant"?) The resolution of the girl's dilemma is more than a little contrived, tying together the loose ends of the story in a perhaps-too-convenient way.

But, as an added bonus, "Wagon Girls" features a full, symphonic score by the great Fred Steiner; there are two scenes which are essentially "fillers", in which we are treated to lengthy shots of the wagon train rolling across the terrain; the upside is Steiner's jaunty, rollicking orchestral promenade that accompanies these sequences, which function as pleasant interludes between the action scenes (--almost forgot-- the first appearance of the Indians is quite a shocker!)

Considering that many of Season 7's later episodes were high-quality shows, "Wagon Girls" could easily have turned out to be trivial and insignificant by comparison. But its charm and unpredictability make it a very enjoyable, engaging viewing experience.

Oh, yes---remember those two scum-bag cowboys from the beginning of the episode--- the ones that started the whole thing?


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