Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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Cotter's Girl 

A father's dying request is that Matt go to retrieve his daughter. Expecting to find a little girl, Matt finds a near-grown woman, but one who's wild and desperately in need of civilizing.





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Episode cast overview:
... Matt Dillon
... Chester
... Doc
... Kitty
... Clarey
... Cotter
John Clarke ... Mackle
... Proprietress
Sarah Selby ... Ma Smalley


Fatally injured in a saloon fight that he started, town drunk Cotter asks Matt to find his daughter Clarey and to deliver her to his sister. Matt soon locates Clarey, a teenage tomboy living alone on a remote farm. Cheerful and clever, but also wild and unlettered, Clarey will need some grooming before she's ready for her aunt. Written by Mister-UHF

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Release Date:

19 January 1963 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Old Gray Mare
Traditional Folk song
Saloon music
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User Reviews

A sweet tale of a girl coming of age in Dodge.
2 December 2012 | by See all my reviews

Here is a nice tale of a young girl with no social skills or school learning having to be taught how to act and be like a woman. And in doing so turns Clarey, played wonderfully by Mariette Hartley, from a wild child into a woman that can turn heads east and west of the Mississippi.

The show begins as a man named Cotter picks a fight with a man named Mackle inside a bar. In fact Cotter baits him into hitting him and tells the Marshal that the fight was his own doing. He gives the Marshal a letter that contained a note and money. He asked Matt to find his daughter, Clarey, and give her the money so that she can go live with her aunt in Harrisburg. With one last drink from the bottle Cotter dies.

Since no one knew that Cotter had a daughter, Matt follows the instruction and finds the girl. Expecting to find a ten year old, instead he finds a young woman about 18 living by herself in the outback. She kills her own food, swims every morning in the creek and sleeps in trees. Marshal has to find a way to get her some social skills before taking the trip to her aunt's house.

In Dodge everyone helps out. Kitty gets her dresses, Doc makes sure she is well and Chester teaches her how to read and act in public. And if Clarey can hold onto what she has been taught- she has the makings of being one of the most beautiful women around.

In this episode the writer has taken a change from the 'shoot-um-up' shows we have seen all season. This is a sweet tale of a young girl blossoming into woman with all the excitement due such an occasion. Nothing in here is new or unexpected but with Hartley playing the lead- it comes across well on the screen.

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