Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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The Boys 

The market for snake oil is on the decline, so a peddler and his sons expand their con game with murder.


Harry Harris


John Meston


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Amanda Blake ... Kitty
Malcolm Atterbury ... Professor Eliot
George Kennedy ... Hug
Harry Dean Stanton ... Nate (as Dean Stanton)
Harry Swoger Harry Swoger ... Hank Green
Gage Clarke ... Mr. Botkin
Michael Parks ... Park
Arthur Malet ... Farnum
Dabbs Greer ... Mr. Jonas
James Nusser James Nusser ... Louie Pheeters
William Newell William Newell ... Conductor
Joe Devlin ... Drummer
Hank Patterson ... Hank


"Professor" Eliot cows his three grown sons into submission while he peddles his patent medicine. Unlike most con men, however, these men also are killers. When, disguised as Indians, they attack a stagecoach, they arouse passions in the white settlers that may lead to yet more bloodshed. Written by Morganalee

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Release Date:

26 May 1962 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »


One of the train passengers was eating a banana. This is very unlikely as bananas were not commercially available in the U.S. until the 1890s. Even then they were primarily available near port cities due to the difficulties shipping them before they rotted. See more »


The Old Gray Mare
Traditional Folk song
Background music
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User Reviews

Entertaining from beginning to end
20 November 2012 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

This episode is star studded with the likes of George Kennedy, Dean Stanton and Michael Parks as each plays a brother of a roaming medicine salesman played by Malcolm Atterbury. Throw in Arthur Malet and you have a cast full of excellent entertainers.

Professor Eliot has three boys Hug, Nate and Park. By day they try selling some snake oil medicine and by night rob anything they can. The three boys first victim is the stagecoach leaving Dodge. On the stage is the driver and two passengers Mr Farner and his daughter Molly.

The boys, dressed like Indians, kill the driver and the young Molly but Farner survives the attack. Before the boys leave, Farner sees a scar on one of the Indian's hands before passing out. Later he sees the same scar on Hug Eliot at the Long Branch before again being knock on the head by the boys.

The townsfolk are so upset by the Indian attack that they pay the boys money to bring in three dead Indians. But it is not long before the train is robbed and a large case of gold stolen.

With Professor Eliot hiding the gold, suspicion is in the air. One of the boys believes the others are plotting against him while another is ready to give up the life of crime. Add the fact that the Professor is the only person that knows the location of the gold and it makes for a bad combination. Trouble is lurking.

A nice story with fine acting. A good western tale that was entertaining from beginning to end.

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