"Gunsmoke" Long, Long Trail (TV Episode 1961) Poster

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Sarah was denied critical need-to-know information about Fort Wallace
kfo949414 November 2012
A head strong beautiful Boston women, Sarah Drew, makes her way to Dodge with the expectations of meeting her lover at Fort Wallace many miles from Dodge. However, the lover forgot to tell her that there is no way to get to Fort Wallace since it is so far in the back country of the prairie. (something that would have been helpful info)

She tricks her way into making Marshal Dillon escort her to the rugged Fort Wallace. Along the way they will run into just about every disaster known to mankind. From fire, dead children, Indians, fever, starvation, mistrusting hillbillies and death- the two meet with everything the writer can throw.

There is a lot to absorb in this episode since not much time can be spent on one mayhem till another arises. But with the ending a restful calm falls over the show. Maybe not the ending we wanted but one that makes for a good watch.
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You won't believe this one.
lrrap14 April 2013
I can only second the other rave reviews here; this episode accomplishes SO MUCH in its mere 50-minute running time that it defies any attempt to describe it. Nothing is forced or rushed; the entire emotional journey of the show--from Sara Drew's first entrance to the final, emotionally restrained and eloquent scene, is perfectly paced and shaped.

This is an astounding feat, considering the production-line schedule for weekly TV production in the early '60s---when a full season actually consisted of 36 or more episodes. The script is flawlessly constructed, the direction and performances are consistently first-rate. And, considering the show's weekly (low) budget, the depiction of a prairie fire is very convincing.

Everything rings true, right down to the subtly wrought late-night talk between Matt and his wise old friend Gody. Near the end of the show, when I saw Alan Baxter shuffling around in a weird wig and beard, I momentarily feared that the spell of the drama might be broken; quite the opposite---it actually adds that extra bit of off-beat intensity that propels the show to its powerful conclusion.

FIRST-RATE episode; I am glad to have discovered it.


PS-- Though uncredited, I am sure that the main musical material that dominates the soundtrack is the work of composer Jerome Moross (also a little Fred Steiner when they arrive at Gody's cabin).
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Stupendously GOOD!
george-84121 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I can't believe nobody's been motivated enough to review this excellent episode of Gunsmoke. I'm not really going to "spoil" it (in terms of giving much away), although I did check off "contains spoiler" to be safe. But this episode has so much going for it, it feels more like a feature film than an "ordinary" episode of a 60s TV western. In fact, once you've seen it, contrast how it ends with how it begins and it truly is hard to believe all this development took in place in an hour.

Barbara Lord plays Sarah Drew, a beautiful young woman who journeys all the way from Boston to Dodge City, with the eventual intention to continue to a military fort some 150 miles further in the prairie to marry her Army Lieutenant husband. Lord, who evidently is Patrick Warburton's mother, is gorgeous but she also is a fine actress as well. She tries to talk Chester into escorting her to the fort, but he loses interest entirely when he discovers she's "spoken fer." She finally gets Matt to perform the escort duty, once she discovers he's already travelling to Hays City, which is closer to the fort than Dodge.

From here on, I'm not giving anything away since the plot develops in several total unanticipated paths. You could never guess what's going to happen here, that's how well-written and original is this script. The irony is the episode starts out seemingly as one of the "silly" Gunmokes, what which Chester trying to trick Doc into removing his tiny splinter "fee-free" and the bride-to-be trying to learn to shoot by firing her tiny pistol at some bottle targets while dressed in her Boston boudoir finery. But the storyline gets rapidly serious---and I mean VERY serious. Example: when Matt and Sarah stumble on a homestead that has been burned down by Indians, she picks up a cloth doll in the ruins and makes the ominous deduction. But it gets worse when Matt tells her to go fill the canteens at the well! OK, that's all the spoilin' I'm going to do! Give yourself a treat and find this episode on Tivo, your cable DVR, Netflix or the DVD boxed set, pour yourself a glass of your favorite refreshment and set aside an uninterrupted hour to appreciate this fine example of television drama at its best. You'll thank me afterwards!
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one of the best episodes
psmaoj14 March 2013
I agree with the other reviewers that this is a great episode. Barbara Lord is just excellent and enchanting in this episode. Why she was used so little? Perhaps she stopped acting because of her family. The story is also very good and exciting. Her transformation from a self-conscious and proud woman towards more natural and warm is heart-warming. She is a great contrast to reticent Matt in their long and arduous trip. The episode also shows how some of look for only selfish interests and some are eager to help though it may have great costs to them. Its author was Kathleen Hite. This must be one of the top episodes of Gunsmoke. I have seen all until thesecond of seventh episode.
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A long long trail to the fort
ncscowboy30 May 2016
Sarah Drew is determined to join her fiancé at a remote fort 150 miles from Dodge. Marshal Dillon tells her the trail is very difficult for a man to traverse let alone a woman. She tries to get Matt to assist her in reaching the fort, but he declines. On his way to Hays on marshal business, he is met on the trail by her and she persuades him help her reach the fort. The rest of this episode is primarily about Matt and Sarah on the trail and is pure dynamite. Barbara Lord (in real life, the mother of Patrick 'Puddy' Warburton of the "Seinfeld" series) is terrific as the beautiful young woman who won't take 'no' for an answer. Lord retired from acting to raise a brood of four (Patrick being the oldest) and this was her last performance for 17 years. Kathleen Hite wrote numerous teleplays for "Gunsmoke" and this one could arguably be considered her best script. Although this episode was shot in black and white, it is as good or better than most of the later stories filmed in color. (Most of the usual regulars don't have much to do here)
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Long, Long Trail
sconnor1010 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I don't remember seeing this one before, but it was one of the best ones in terms of bringing out the caring emotional side of Matt. I think the on- screen connection between Barbara Lord and James Arness helped make this happen. It was a good story, and you knew it was gonna end bad for "Sarah". I don't believe any woman who played opposite Matt in the series ever said she loved him..it was touching. Possibly Michael Learned (Walton's mother) did when she helped Matt back from amnesia. I think these two episodes were the closest Matt ever came to getting hitched. I sometimes wonder if the writers of Gunsmoke intentionally kept Matt from getting close to Kitty because there was no on-screen chemistry. I didn't feel it. Amanda Blake said on a Mike Douglas interview after the series ended that she never did get to know Matt..which seems strange, but could explain the lack of chemistry between the two.
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Long Long Trail
Kaydee DeMonde25 September 2014
I normally start writing a review and expound in detail my opinions, known facts, and final analysis so to speak. But after watching this episode i don't think i can write as much as i'm normally used to. This episode by far goes down as one of the BEST Gunsmoke episodes i have had the opportunity to watch. It appeared slightly predictable in the beginning but surprisingly saddening at the end. Barbar Lord was passionately moving from beginning to the end. This episode was scripted to express the reality of the old west and all that life can bring. I'm man enough to say that it brought a tear to my eye in viewing the tragic finale to this episode and all i wished for was some raw emotion from Matt upon losing his trail companion, but i quickly realized that the character of Marshall Matt Dillon is prone to be numb to love and loss. This episode in my opinion follows in a long line of well scripted, well acted, perfectly realistic & well toned to make this 60's television show well worthy of 10 stars and 100% certified Classic TV..I wrote more than i thought i would..again
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