Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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Cowtown Hustler 

A broke young man seeks his fortune with an old drifter, a formerly legendary champion billiards player.


Gunnar Hellström


Jim Byrnes


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Episode cast overview:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Amanda Blake ... Kitty
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly
Jack Albertson ... Moses Darby / Joshua Finch
Jonathan Goldsmith ... Dave Rope (as Jonathan Goldsmith Lippe)
Nellie Bellflower ... Sally
Dabbs Greer ... Joe Bean
Henry Beckman ... Thaddius McKay
John Davis Chandler ... Willie Tomsen
Richard O'Brien Richard O'Brien ... Adam Kearney
Lew Brown Lew Brown ... Beeton
Robert Swan ... Cox
Chuck Hicks ... Turner


Dave Rope is a down on his luck young man looking to marry his sweetheart Sally and move to St. Louis. He spots his chance when an old drifter, named Joshua Pinch, passes through and hustles several cowboys in a pool game. He learns that the drifter's real name is Moses Darby, a former world champion billiards player. Rope proposes a partnership with the old hustler. Darby accepts, and along with Sally, they head for Dodge City to seek their fortune. Before long Darby goes up against the local cattle baron, Adam Kearney. Angry at his loss, Kearney brings in Willie Tomsen, the best billiards player west of the Mississippi, to face Darby. For Darby, it is a chance to relive his glory days and redeem himself. But upon learning that Rope has put himself deeply in debt with a large bet on Tomsen, Darby must make an agonizing choice. To play for his own honor, or to throw the game for Rope's sake. Written by Christopher D. <>

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Did You Know?


After 42 episodes this was the 43rd and last appearance of Dabbs Greer on Gunsmoke and only the second time he played a character other than Mr. Jonas. See more »


In this episode they play 8-ball pool. 8-ball, as we know it today, wasn't invented until well after 1900 and not in the 1870s where Gunsmoke is set. See more »

User Reviews

An aging pool player wants that winning feeling one more time
4 February 2013 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

This really is not that bad of an episode. I have never been a fan of Jack Albertson but in this episode he was perfectly cast as lovable pool playing giant.

It begins when a young man named Dave, who is in love with a woman named Sally, watches an older gentleman named Joshua Finch con some cowboys out of a monthly pay while playing pool. Dave sees the older man as a partner where they can go from town-to-town playing pool and winning money.

While in Dodge- Finch, who real name is Mose Darby a well known pool player, beats a rich cattle owner out of hundreds of dollars, the rancher hires him a professional pool player to beat Finch. Since this game is the talk of all Kansas a traveling gambling wagon, with his rough sidekicks, comes into Dodge to take bets on the pool game. Dave sees dollar signs as he bets all the money on the other pool player with Finch throwing the game. However Finch feels young again and wants to keep the feeling of winning. He tells Dave that he is not throwing the game. If Finch wins, the roughs will surly come after Dave since he did not have the money that was used for the bet.

This was not an action packed show but one that was pleasant to watch. The story was good and the acting professional. And the ending may seem happy but it will not be a good feeling as the credit roll.

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Release Date:

11 March 1974 (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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