Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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A Hat 

A badly wounded mountain man kills the son of a powerful rancher in self defense and flees to Dodge, where Dillon provides protection for him against the father and his gang.


Robert Totten


Ron Bishop (as Ronald Bishop)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Milburn Stone ... Doc Adams
Amanda Blake ... Kitty Russell
Ken Curtis ... Festus Haggen
Chill Wills ... Red Conniston
Tom Simcox ... Jed Conniston / Ben Conniston
Robert Sorrells Robert Sorrells ... Louieville
Glenn Strange ... Sam Noonan
Ted Jordan Ted Jordan ... Nathan Burke
Hank Patterson ... Hank
Scott Hale Scott Hale ... Clem
Gene O'Donnell Gene O'Donnell ... Waiter
Bill Erwin ... Townsman
Ed McCready Ed McCready ... Villager
Lee de Broux ... Cowpuncher (as Lee DeBroux)


Clint Sorils, a notorious gunman, is minding his own business when a stray bullet ruins his hat. In trying to obtain payment, Clint runs afoul of Red Conniston, a powerful rancher. The ensuing clash leaves men dead and gravely wounded, all because of a hat. Written by richardann

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Release Date:

16 October 1967 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS Television Network See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Red Conniston is shown shooting in the saloon, he shoots his six-gun seven times. See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful words, lovely poetry
1 November 2009 | by ctodd1000See all my reviews

"Gunsmoke" A Hat (1967)

This episode contains some of the most beautiful poetry and moving philosophy I have ever heard in a TV episode of any kind, written by Ron Bishop. Bishop wrote a number of episodes for Gunsmoke and other similar shows. The character of Sorils, gunfighter, crude and stubborn man, describes a "Divine Experience" up in the mountains. The philosophy of Gunsmoke and Ron Bishop comes through continuously, even given the "owning" philosophy of men towards women in those days. This episode has moved me like no other. I wish I could meet the writer, Ron Bishop, and thank him for imparting such a beautiful piece of wisdom and life to us all in a simple hour-long TV show. This episode is like reading a prayer book, over and over again, in five small lines. This episode shows that all men, and women, have something they hold dear in their hearts. Something. Some days. Even if it is just five small days.

Story line: Clint Sorils (Gene Evans), a gunfighter, has been shot over a stray bullet through his hat, is lying in bed with little hope of recovery. Some of the townspeople don't want him in town and send an emissary, Mr. Brewer, to tell Matt Dillon that they don't want him in town. Here is some of the dialogue (paraphrased in part):

Brewer: "Clint Sorils is a gunfighter."

Dillon: "That's probably what he will be remembered for. A lot of people probably forget that it was him and men like him that opened up this country, hunting, trapping."

But Sorils took a gun and killed a man.

In self-defense, yes...

Why jeopardize the health of a town for a crude mountain of filth like that?

Mr. Brewer, he has the legal right to be here. ...

Very simple Mr. Brewer. Just tell them he stays. In the first place, he can't be moved. We don't even know if he's going to live. In the second place, on the outside he may be a mountain of filth, inside he's a man."

Later, in the company of Miss Kitty, Sorils begins to recall his beloved squaw Amy and the finer times in his life, as a religious experience. He begins to recite a story of "five days of silence" in the mountains, with "no need" to talk, and sheep whose feet are "like prayer books" and the great happiness he felt at the time.

"Five days. I recall five days when no one talked. No need. Mountains pushing God higher. Elk. Moose low to the willow. Mountain sheep climbing and looking back, as if they had prayer books on their feet. (Hesh maomi) Don't lie. Don't quit. (wheezes) Amy. Amy. (I know you?) You couldn't die. But the hardest piece of day mo. Not you Amy. Oh Amy.

Remember our first Spring? And that meadow we has? Furs all around and that meadow. And the snows just gone now. And us lying there and all the time close swallows and even a sky fox. A girl don't need no more than that, does she? And there was a time I shot the supper grouse. The hen had chicks. I didn't know. Chicks. I always liked young-uns. Always... liked 'em. We never had no young-uns Amy. Why? A woman always will have them.

Amy. Oh Amy. You're the best squaw a man ever owned."

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