The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966)
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The Gunslinger 

While anesthetized in Jerry's dentist's chair for a tooth extraction, Rob dreams he's a sheriff in the Old West and has a showdown with Big Bad Brady.


Jerry Paris




Episode cast overview:
Dick Van Dyke ... Rob Petrie
Rose Marie ... Sally Rogers
Morey Amsterdam ... Buddy Sorrell
Larry Mathews ... Ritchie Petrie
Mary Tyler Moore ... Laura Petrie
Richard Deacon ... Mel Cooley
Jerry Paris ... Jerry Helper
Ann Morgan Guilbert ... Millie Helper
Allan Melvin ... Gun Drummer
Carl Reiner ... Alan Brady


To extract Rob's impacted wisdom tooth, Jerry places him under a general anesthetic, a procedure which concerns Rob only because he needs to get back to work to write a western sketch for the show, due that day. While under the effects of the anesthetic, Rob not only dreams about the sketch but also subconsciously places himself, his family and his friends in that western dream setting: Gunless Sheriff Rob wants to rid the west of all bad guys, with Big Bad Brady, a former associate of his when Rob was a gunslinger, at the top of that list. Rob hears from Killer Cooley that Big Bad is coming to town to watch a show, vowing to kill anyone associated with it if he doesn't like it, but if the show doesn't go on, he'll just kill Rob instead. If Rob can't convince the reluctant cowboys of the town to perform, he must decide whether to face Big Bad Brady or go on the run. As Sheriff Rob resolves to make a stand, wife Laura thinks she has the answer to save him. Written by Huggo / edited by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family



Did You Know?


The two cowboys standing in front of the jail, briefly shown in a close-up as they react to Rob retrieving his boot from the stirrup, are played by Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. Persky and Denoff were the "unlikely saviors" of producer Carl Reiner, who was getting burned out after writing nearly all of the episodes for the first two seasons and also having to produce the show. The pair submitted a spec script to Reiner, "That's My Boy??" which became the premiere episode for the third season. They took on a larger and larger role as writers thereafter, and even took over as the show's producers for several weeks during the final season while Reiner was in Northern California filming "The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!" See more »


Although it had been established just a few episodes earlier (in "Love thy Other Neighbor") that Jerry Helper ran his dentistry practice out of his house, in this episode he has a dentist's office in a high-rise downtown. See more »


Ritchie Petrie: Daddy! You're wearin' a dress!
Rob Petrie: It ain't what a man wears, boy. It's what's in his heart.
Ritchie Petrie: Is there a sissy in your heart, Daddy?
See more »


Spoofs High Noon (1952) See more »


I Don't Care
Music by Harry O. Sutton with lyrics by Jean Lenox
Performed by Mary Tyler Moore
See more »

User Reviews

One of the great episodes...
1 November 2012 | by biggmSee all my reviews

...especially if you're a fan of TV Westerns from the fifties and sixties.

In this episode, Rob, under the influence of dental anesthesia, dreams he's the sheriff of an old west town.

The plot recycles the stock "high noon showdown" scenario, and each member of the cast plays a wild west archetype in a way that mirrors their character personality in the regular series.

Gunfighters, saloon floozies, heroes, cowards, code-of-the-west ethics, and the quintessential "bullet ballet" are given a good going-over thanks to sharp, clever writing, and some brilliant comic performances from the show regulars (and a fun bit from Allan Melvin, as a gun merchant).

There's no shortage of movie length Western spoofs, but few manage as many laughs in two hours as "The Gunslinger" achieves in twenty five minutes.

Now reach for your remote control, partner...and give this episode a good look-see.

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Release Date:

25 May 1966 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Calvada Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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