l Matt Dillon (James Arness) is about as seasoned as a lawman in the rugged west can be, as he has taken on countless crooks, gunslingers, rustlers, and con artists, but he still stands. This would be impressive anywhere, but in a place like Dodge City, which attracts criminals looking for trouble or build a reputation, Dillon’s record is nothing short of miraculous. Of course, he has some help from his reliable friends Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) and Festus (Ken Curtis), as well as some other more law minded locals that pitch in. But just when he thinks he has seen it all, Dodge City presents him with one new threat after another.
Entertainment Value: This thirteenth season of Gunsmoke continues on, with the final ten episodes presented in this collection. As in the previous episodes of the season, these stories represent a nice blend of traditional western themes, Gunsmoke’s formula, and a talented cast of regulars and guest stars, all of which combine to offer some interesting, consistent television. Although Gunsmoke tends to follow a familiar pattern in most episodes by this point, the writers are often able to throw in some fresh twists and if not, the cast is usually capable of elevating a well worn narrative. This release is a two disc set, with the last ten episodes of Gunsmoke’s Thirteenth Season, with the episodes listed below.
1. The Victim– Dillon finds himself scrambling to hold off calls for blood when a simple minded man is involved in a murder. He tries to uncover the full truth, but the crowd is determined to get immediate justice.
2. Dead Man’s Law– When Dillon’s horse returns to Dodge City, with no rider and signs of blood on the saddle, a desperate search for the Marshal begins.
3. Nowhere to Run– A rescue effort is mounted when a man falls into a well, but complications arise that could lead to a tragic end. Especially when it becomes clear that not everyone wants to see the man pulled out.
4. Blood Money– A young, hot headed gunfighter finds himself the target of an unexpected rival, in his own father. His dad seeks to save his life by ending his gun slinging days with a non lethal bullet to the hand.
5. Hill Girl– A simple, overly sheltered woman is given a chance at a more normal, independent life, but her cruel half brothers intend to force her to return home, Marshal or no Marshal.
6. The Gunrunners– A large cache of weapons are stolen, then sold to some local Indians, which leads to a tense situation when revenge becomes a central element to this dangerous deal.
7. The Jackals– A visit to an old friend’s retirement finds Marshal Dillon a witness to a savage assassination. But he plans to avenge his friend and take down the outlaws, even if takes him deep into Mexico.
8. The First People– A change in leadership within the Indian population leads to tensions boiling over, as those who oppose the new leader try to sabotage both his and Marshal Dillon’s positions.
9. Mr. Sam’l– As Dodge City suffers a brutal drought, the locals seem to have no options outside of a shady outsider and a “water witch” based on old superstitions. Few are happy with the situation, but the need for water is desperate.
10. A Noose for Dobie Price– A notorious outlaw manages to escape just before his execution, which leads to Dillon and some unexpected allies going on a manhunt to make sure he faces justice.