Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
3 user

I Have Promises to Keep 

An aging pastor is determined to erect a church for the Indians on the reservation but is met with bigotry from the citizens of a nearby town.


Vincent McEveety


William Putman (teleplay by), Earl W. Wallace (teleplay by) | 1 more credit »


Airs Tue. May. 28, 11:50 AM on TVLAND


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Episode cast overview:
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly (credit only)
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
David Wayne ... Reverend Byrne
Tom Lacy Tom Lacy ... Reverend Atkins
Ken Swofford ... Dunbar
Fran Ryan ... Hannah
Ted Jordan Ted Jordan ... Burke
Ken Renard ... Tonkowa
Trini Tellez Trini Tellez ... Meala
John Wheeler John Wheeler ... Waiter
Ed McCready Ed McCready ... Freight Agent


Festus, out on patrol meets an aging traveling preacher who wants to build a church for Indians on their small reserve. The whites in the nearby town are furious and torch the building (Festus fires two shots from a revolver at the escaping arsonists). The preacher vows to try again and again - despite a heart condition that is about to kill him. Written by Peter Harris

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

3 March 1975 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS Television Network See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The day this episode aired, Broadcasting Magazine came out with a list of series likely to be canceled - with "Gunsmoke" heading the list even though its highest-rated episode of the year had aired the previous week. The reason? Poor demographics - too many rural and overage viewers, with the younger urban viewers going over to "The Rookies" (which would last only one more season after being moved out of the time slot). See more »

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User Reviews

All deserve salvation
28 July 2018 | by kenstallings-65346See all my reviews

The mandate for a minister is to go out among the people and provide them a path to salvation, often to those who need it most. Whether it means ministering to convicts in prison, or to those in halfway homes, ultimately the calling of a saintly person puts them in direct contact with those whom society finds irredeemable.

This is a powerful episode that portrays a minister seeking to bring Christian salvation to Comanche living on a federal reservation in Kansas. The Comanche are most known for their activities in New Mexico and Texas, but significant numbers lived in southwestern Kansas.

This episode bravely illustrates the social prejudices and animosities prevalent not only during the time period in question, but also the time that Gunsmoke aired. So desperate were the people living in the nearby Kansas town to thwart the minister's efforts, that they many times violated the tenets of their faith by their actions.

The way the episode unfolds shows both excellent writing and acting.

Ken Curtis had more than a few Gunsmoke episodes where he got the lion's share of the acting, and the veteran never disappointed. This was another fine turn by Curtis, and a tour de force by David Wayne, as the resolute minister who's sense of duty carried him through to the end.

The main message is that people all share a common sense of humanity, including the ability to be, in various degrees, charitable, honorable, as well as dishonest and even evil. People are best seen as individuals, and not according to social stereotypes or group prejudices.

As the Gunsmoke series neared its twenty year end, it was nice to see quality episodes such as this one bring it to a close.

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