The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
34 user 7 critic

Mr. Denton on Doomsday 

The town drunk in the old-west faces his past when Fate lends a hand.


Allen Reisner


Rod Serling




Episode complete credited cast:
Rod Serling ... Narrator (voice)
Dan Duryea ... Al Denton
Martin Landau ... Dan Hotaling
Jeanne Cooper ... Liz
Malcolm Atterbury ... Henry J. Fate
Ken Lynch ... Charlie
Arthur Batanides ... Leader
Bill Erwin ... Man
Robert Burton ... Doctor
Doug McClure ... Pete Grant


In the Far West, the drunkard Al Denton is bullied by the gunman Dan Hotaling to get some booze. The mysterious Henry J. Fate observes the humiliation and Al Denton finds a revolver on the street. When Dan sees Al Denton with a revolver on his hand, he challenges the drunk for a gunfighter. Fate observes again and makes a movement with his hand that will change the life of Al Denton. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

16 October 1959 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Martin Landau (Dan Hotaling) later played William Cooper-Janes in The Twilight Zone: The Beacon/One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty (1985). See more »


At the beginning of the episode, the bully breaks a bottle and throws in on the ground in front of the saloon, where much of it spills before Mr. Denton picks it up to drink the rest. At the very end of the episode, supposedly late the next night, the final camera shot from above as Fate rides out of town, you can still see the dark, wet dirt from the spilled drink in front of the saloon. See more »


Dan Hotaling: [notices Denton holding a gun] Wait a minute, Denton. Hey, Gunner! Hey! Where did you get that artillery?
Al Denton: I found it... I found it right over there in the street.
Dan Hotaling: Is that a fact? Heh! Bet it's a long time since you used one of those, isn't it, rummy?
Al Denton: Yeah, a long time.
Dan Hotaling: Well, maybe you could use it now. Yeah. Maybe you could even outdraw me.
Al Denton: No, I wouldn't know how to use it anymore.
Dan Hotaling: Well, let's see you try. Come on. You and me will draw.
Liz: All right. All right. Dan, cut it out. It's not funny ...
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Referenced in Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) See more »


Stenka Razin
Russian folk tune
played throughout
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User Reviews

Superb Story of Redemption, With One of the Series' Best Lead Performances
27 May 2015 | by chrstphrtullySee all my reviews

Drunken ex-gunfighter Al Denton, after being harassed by local thugs, is approached by a mysterious peddler, who gives him a potion that allows 10 seconds of deadly shooting accuracy.

While the Twilight Zone is best remembered for twist endings, it's best episodes almost always featured richly developed characters and/or sharply delivered plots that set enormously high stakes for those characters. "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" delivers on both in spades. Dan Duryea made his career as a villain throughout the 40s and 50s -- a character with a charming smile and a deadly sneer to match the personality. In this episode, he creates a character wallowing in alcoholic desperation arising from the loss of what he perceives is his greatest gift (his abilities as a gunman), ready to grab at anything that will revive this gift; the real twist in this episode is what his character learns from reviving that gift, a moral lesson delivered by Serling without unnecessary syrup (something many later Serling-written episode would be all too full of).

The performance that Duryea creates hits all of these notes brilliantly, and he is richly supported by the entire cast -- Jeanne Cooper and Ken Lynch as the sympathetic saloon owner and bartender, Malcolm Atterbury as the inscrutable peddler, and Martin Landau as a sadistic thug who terrorizes the Duryea character. Further, Allen Reisner's direction keeps the look as a standard Western, giving the audience a familiar surrounding in which to allow the story to unfold.

This episode is not the one most think of when they think of classic Twilight Zone episodes, but it should be.

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