Head writer Meston again shows concern for women on the frontier. The Nadler's are barely holding on to their farm, mainly because the Mrs. (Barton) does all the work while hubby (Avery) seems only interested in himself. When neighbor woman (Browne) succumbs to spotted fever, Mrs. Nadler adopts her orphaned baby. However, Nadler's no-good husband looks to hold onto the failing farm by rustling neighbor's cattle. Now Matt has to act.
Good episode, where Arness gets to show more of his softer side than usual. The plain-faced Barton is effective too as the struggling wife, as is Albertson as the commanding Ma Smalley. However, I'm rather surprised that Smalley's colorful character didn't become more of a series regular. As played by Albertson, she seems a natural. Anyway, the entry's pretty good for showing how tenuous farming life on the prairie could be. It's also a story whose ending could have gone in either an up or down direction.
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