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.



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Episode cast overview:
Jerry Helper
Millie Helper
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






Release Date:

25 May 1966 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scene where Rob gets off his horse and then discovers he's left his boot in the stirrup was the only time that a sequence of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (which normally was shot in front of a live in-studio audience) was filmed in an exterior location. The scene was filmed on the same lot used by the series "Gunsmoke". See more »


Laura Petrie: Oh, Rob!
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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
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User Reviews

One of the great episodes...
1 November 2012 | by See 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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