Fatally injured in a saloon fight that he started, town drunk Cotter asks Matt to find his daughter Clarey and to deliver her to his sister. Matt soon locates Clarey, a teenage tomboy living alone on a remote farm. Cheerful and clever, but also wild and unlettered, Clarey will need some grooming before she's ready for her aunt.Written by
Marriette Hartley delivers a fantastic performance, upstaging every regular cast member in what must rank as the most delightful Gunsmoke episode ever. This is both heart warming and funny. The constant interplay between Hartley and James Arness is mesmerizing, as each cast member is allowed to just have fun on camera, and that jolliness shines through the entire episode.
The plot, such as it is, becomes unimportant as this is a human play of an innocent platonic relationship, and is as close as one will ever get to seeing James Arness play out as a father of a teenage daughter, one who by the way isn't interested in playing the role of daughter, as she is puppy lover!
Hartley was actually 23 years old when this episode was made, and yet she plays the role of innocent teen so well that one forgets how old she really was. It took an outstanding actress to pull this role off, and Hartley delivered!
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