Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
2 user

Dead Man's Law 

Matt's horse shows up riderless in Dodge City, and there is blood on the saddle. While Festus and Newly search for Matt, ruthless vigilantes take over.


John Rich


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Milburn Stone ... Doc Adams
Amanda Blake ... Kitty Russell
Ken Curtis ... Festus Haggen
John Dehner ... Sam Wall
Gunnar Hellström ... Eriksson (as Gunnar Hellstrom)
Buck Taylor ... Newly O'Brien
Eddie Little Sky ... The Indian
Craig Curtis ... Sonny
Ralph Manza ... Marco
Gregg Palmer ... Fry
Robert Brubaker ... Head Wrangler
Steve Raines ... Trail Boss
Baynes Barron ... Newt
Alex Sharp Alex Sharp ... Rustler


Matt's horse shows up riderless in Dodge City, and there is blood on the saddle. While Festus and Newly search for Matt, ruthless vigilantes take over.

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Release Date:

8 January 1968 (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?


Dr. Galen 'Doc' Adams: For twelve years you've had law and order in Dodge City because one man enforced the law. Now that he's not here, you're willing to give the town away to the first incompetent that comes along with a shot gun and is anxious to use it.
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User Reviews

a great anti-capitalist episode
18 August 2015 | by grizzledgeezerSee all my reviews

One of the most-common themes of Western films and TV shows -- both kiddie and adult -- is defending one's property and way of life against the "evil agro-capitalists" -- the people who drive off the "little fellers" so they can control the land and its potential wealth.

The other reviewer doesn't get the point. This episode isn't about cattle rustling. It's about an attempt by business interests (in this case, the Cattlemen's Copper-ative (as Festus mangles it)) to gain control of the grazing lands outside Dodge.

These lands are owned by the government, and herders can generally use them at no cost, while passing through. Matt, as US Marshall Field, is in charge of administering this resource. With him dead, and the town riled up about rustlers and the breakdown in law 'n order, John Dehner and his buddy Gunnar Hellstrom, can gain control of the land, and profit by charging for grazing that used to be free. (After gouging one herder, who threatens to go through Abilene next year, Hellstrom says he doesn't care. This is typical of American business, worrying about today's profits without regard for long-term viability.)

This is a fine episode. Not only does it make its political and economic points plainly (giving Milburn Stone a great chance to lecture the town folk on their responsibilities), but there's a dozen corpses at the end, a high count even for "Gunsmoke". Whether you prefer social commentary or violent shoot-outs, there's a lot to like in this episode.

Strongly recommended.

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