Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
3 user

Trail of Bloodshed 

When his uncle kills his father in cold blood, Buck Henry vows to avenge his death, no matter what the cost.


Bernard McEveety


Paul Savage (teleplay by), Earl W. Wallace (story by)


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Episode cast overview:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Amanda Blake ... Kitty (credit only)
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly (credit only)
Kurt Russell ... Buck Henry
Tom Simcox ... Rance Woolfe
Harry Carey Jr. ... Amos Brody
Janit Baldwin ... Joanie
Larry Pennell ... John Woolfe
Craig Stevens ... The Gambler
Woody Chambliss Woody Chambliss ... Lathrop
Nina Roman Nina Roman ... Rita
Read Morgan ... Bartender
Gloria Dixon Gloria Dixon ... Lady Card Dealer


Festus pursues the cold-hearted Rance Woolfe after a brutal robbery in Dodge City. Rance heads to his brother's farm. Not wanting his notoriously lawless brother around, his brother agrees to let him stay just long enough to refresh himself. Rance has other ideas. Turning on his brother, he murders him for his money. When his brother's son, Buck Henry, discovers his uncle has murdered his father, Buck vows to kill Rance. Having tracked Rance to his brother's farm, Festus orders Buck to sit out the chase. Determined to avenge his father's death, Buck heads on without Festus. When Festus realizes what has happened, he gives chase, hoping to reach Buck before Rance has a chance to kill him. Written by Christopher D. <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis









Release Date:

4 March 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trail of Bloodshed See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS Television Network See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Better than expected episode.
4 October 2013 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

This episode was much better than expected when we have a criminal-minded man, Rance Woolfe, comes calling on his brother, John Woolfe, to seek some help as he is again on the run from the law. But this meeting will not be a happy family reunion as Rance kills his brother and then ransacks the house looking for any type of money. That is just about the time John's son (Rance's nephew), Buck Henry Woolfe, comes walking in the door as he sees his father dead and Rance taking all the money. Rance actually fires at Buck which only tends to scrap the forehead before Rance goes riding off.

Festus, which has been tracking Rance on a related charge, finds Buck where he learns the entire story. When Festus wants Buck to let him handle the situation, Buck knocks Festus over the head and takes off after his uncle to seek revenge for the killing of his father. The shooting is not over with yet.

Other than the unnecessary use of Buck's girlfriend riding along with Festus, the script was first class. An interesting tale that was entertaining to the very end. Most viewers will remember this episode for having young Kirk Russell as the lead character but the best performance was given by Craig Stevens as he portrayed an aging gambler with a dry intellect of communication.

Another Matt-lite show as James Arness makes his peek-a-boo cameo as he shows up right at the end to say three words. Arness says "Festus" and then "What happened?"- Must be nice.

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