Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
8.8/10
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Prairie Wolfer 

Festus returns to Dodge from wolfing and is hired by the Cattleman's Association to hunt down the wolves killing everyone's cattle. What he finds is that what's been doing the preying may ... See full summary »

Director:

Andrew V. McLaglen

Writer:

John Dunkel
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Dennis Weaver ... Chester
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Amanda Blake ... Kitty
Burt Reynolds ... Quint
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Noah Beery Jr. ... Nate Guthrie
Don Dubbins ... Rolly Wendt
Holly McIntire ... Sarah Guthrie
Fred Coby Fred Coby ... Charlie
Glenn Strange ... Sam
James Drake James Drake ... Dude
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Storyline

Festus returns to Dodge from wolfing and is hired by the Cattleman's Association to hunt down the wolves killing everyone's cattle. What he finds is that what's been doing the preying may wind him up in prison if he doesn't get Matt's help. Written by DrDOS

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Genres:

Western

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 January 1964 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This is the only episode that Festus appears in where he does not have a beard. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Festus joins the gang for good.
13 October 2006 | by caricaturesSee all my reviews

Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis) is a prairie wolfer, a profession he swears off in the end of the tale. He comes to town and gets involved with a cattle rustling scheme when he signs on with the cattleman's association to hunt down the wolves that have evidently been killing their cattle.

Noah Beery Jr guests as a cattleman who has an eccentric daughter with a naive romantic interest in Festus.

For several seasons Dennis Weaver (Chester Goode) had been unhappy with his role in Gunsmoke. Burt Reynolds (Quint Asper) was added to the cast in the 8th season to carry some of Weaver's increasingly diminishing load as Matt Dillon's sidekick. That same season, character actor Ken Curtis began his role as Festus, appearing in several popular episodes. In this season nine entry, we witness the crossroads of the program, Chester and Festus appear together as if a torch was being passed. The episode ends with Matt saying, "Festus, you'll be coming back won't ya?" and Festus responding, "Well, I reckon I will one of these days, fact is, you can pretnear count on it Marshall."

The Chester character was a bit of a phenomenon back in the 50s and Weaver decided he was meant for starring roles. Festus was his replacement. The merits of each character/actor can be debated forever, both were great. But Festus has to rank as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, replacement characters ever. This was no Dick Sargent, Festus was totally different than Chester. The character of Festus Haggen evolved into one of television's greatests.

This is a seminal episode in the Gunsmoke series. Here you have Matt, Kitty, Doc, Chester, Festus, Sam AND QUINT! All together in one show.

If you are a Gunsmoke Fanatic... THIS IS THE STUFF.


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