Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
2 user

The Angry Land 

After Matt finds a young girl on the prairie whose parents have been killed, he takes her to her only relative, an aunt that has troubles of her own and wants no part of her niece's life.


Bernard McEveety


Jim Byrnes (teleplay by), Herman Groves (story by)


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Episode cast overview:
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Carol Vogel Carol Vogel ... Rachel
Eileen McDonough Eileen McDonough ... Bessie
Bruce M. Fischer ... The Man
Dayton Lummis Dayton Lummis ... Mr. Holmby
Phil Chambers ... Farmer


In the next-to-last episode where Matt Dillon is the lead ("Hard Labor" aired three weeks later), Matt comes upon the site where thieves ambushed a wagon train and killed everyone on board except for one little girl. The girl is able to point Matt to the home of an aunt who lives nearby, but the aunt -- who fell out with her family long ago -- refuses to take her in. Matt persuades the aunt to at least put them up for a few days, but her "husband" (actually one of the robber-killers) has different ideas and tries to kill Matt when he becomes suspicious. Written by Peter Harris

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Release Date:

3 February 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?


Last screen appearance of Dayton Lummis (1903-1988). See more »

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User Reviews

An excellent episode for so late in the series.
3 July 2013 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

Sometimes I am stunned that this was the last season of 'Gunsmoke'. There are some very good episodes in this 20th season and this episode is near the top. In fact this episode is like watching two shows in one. None of this trying to stretch the scene out to fill the hour time slot, there is too much going in this tale that centers around a child and an woman that thinks they have lost everything.

The episode begins when Marshal Dillon finds a young girl, Bessie, on the prairie and the rest of her parents killed by bandits. Bessie tells Matt that they were in route to the only known relative an aunt named Rachel Durham.

When they finally find Rachel, her husband and baby had died and a abusive man had taken up residence in the house. When Matt has to kill the man, Rachel is finally free and feels like she has hurt too much and wants to leave Kansas. She does not want a girl hanging around because she is tired of loving then losing. She wants Matt to take her niece away as she plans on moving on with her life.

An excellently written script. Even though there was not much of what we call 'western-action' in this episode the story was so entertaining that none was needed. But what really brought this show to life was the fine acting by Carol Vogel (Rachel), the young Eileen McDonough (Bessie) and including James Arness. The three of them made this episode magical. Excellent watch!

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