Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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Festus Haggen and Newly O'Brien meet an old friend of Festus, Jesse Dillard, an African-American cattle drive cook. Their confab is interrupted by U. S. Marshal Halstead, who has a warrant ... See full summary »


Bernard McEveety


Jim Byrnes


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Amanda Blake ... Kitty
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly
Brock Peters ... Jesse Dillard
Don Stroud ... Pete Murphy
Regis Cordic ... Marshal Halstead
Robert Pine ... Link
Leonard Stone ... Abel Glass
Jim Davis ... Dave Carpenter
Ted Gehring ... Sheriff Bradley
Norman Bartold ... Sheriff
Larry Finley ... Barkeep
Lloyd Nelson ... Dr. Miller


Festus Haggen and Newly O'Brien meet an old friend of Festus, Jesse Dillard, an African-American cattle drive cook. Their confab is interrupted by U. S. Marshal Halstead, who has a warrant for Jesse's arrest, charging him with jail break. Jesse goes along peaceably, explaining that he killed his employer for shorting his wages and for a racially motivated flogging. Instead of the normal sentence of six to twelve months, Jesse had been given ten years at hard labor because of his race. Pete Murphy and a few drovers try to rescue Jesse, accidentally shooting the marshal. Dave Carpenter, the owner of the herd and Jesse's boss, rides in with the rest of the drovers to save Jesse from the marshal, who soon dies. Festus is conflicted between his sense of duty and his loyalty to Jesse. Written by richardann

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Release Date:

19 February 1973 (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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Did You Know?


Marshal Matt Dillon: [in bed at the start of the show, after listening to target practice outside and Festus snoring inside] I'm caught between a shootout and a sawmill!
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User Reviews

An interesting story made uninteresting by writers.
16 August 2012 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

Jesse is a escaped convict has been hired by Dave Carpenter to cook on cattle drives with the checkered past. Jesse is a black person that the writers make out to be a peaceful meek person that was unjustly taken advantage of during his trial and conviction. It so happens that Festus, an old friend of Jesse, and Newly happen up on Jesse without knowledge of his escape.

Not long the meeting is interrupted by US Marshal Halstead that has papers for the arrest of Jesse for the escape. Jesse goes without a problem but Mr Carpenter is outraged to the point of getting Jesse back and sending him to Mexico in order to avoid the charges.

During an altercation, Marshal Halstead gets shot and ends up dead. Now Festus is torn between his friendship with Jesse and his duty as a deputy US marshal.

The conflict with Festus is an interesting plot with his loyalty to Jesse and his loyalty to justice. The story did get long as we are subjected to at least 20 minutes of a stand-off between lawmen and the cattlemen with little if any action. Thus making the Festus conflict less interesting than could have been.

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