Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
7 user

The Busters 

A cowboy is unaware that Doc has given him less than a week to live after being kicked in the head by a horse and his partner tries to give him whatever he wants.


Vincent McEveety


Jim Byrnes


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Episode cast overview:
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Gary Busey ... Harve Daley
John Beck ... Mitch Hansen
Lynn Benisch ... Zoe (as Lynn Benesch)
Gregg Palmer ... Simeon Reed
Randy Boone ... Hub Miller
Fran Ryan ... Hannah


Harve tries to ride a wild horse until it settles down but instead it throws him and kicks him in the head. He seems to be okay and he and his partner go to Dodge to seek help in getting paid for the attempt. But Harve starts having dizzy spells, and the partner takes him to Doc Adams for evaluation. Doc tells the partner that he has a "subdural hemotoma," - uncontrollable bleeding into the brain and will die soon. The partner keeps this a secret and invites Harve to go celebrate them finally getting their wages, after which they will get on a train to Montana. Complications arise when both men fall for a saloon girl, and Harve also has a surprise return meeting with the horse that kicked him. Written by Peter Harris

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Release Date:

10 March 1975 (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?


Gary Busey suffered the same fate in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot less then a year before this episode was broadcast. Hard to imagine this was a coincidence. Both are poignant stories that starred Busey. Gary Busey was in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot but, it was Jeff Bridges' character who received the brain injury in this movie. See more »

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User Reviews

A great send-off for a great series
13 December 2007 | by wgrangerSee all my reviews

The two men were actually free-lance broncobusters, and this is how Sheriff Matt Dillon got involved: the ranch owner had refused to pay the men, but the sheriff made him pay because the owner's own ranch hands admitted that the two men did the work. I know this is a minor point but Gary Busey's character was actually suffering from an epidural hematoma, not a subdural one. This is what allowed him to have the "lucid interval" and have that final "good time" before his death. I still think this was one of the greatest episodes and was an appropriate send-off for the series - Gary's character and the show both went out with a bang. Overall, the later Gunsmoke episodes seemed to show more humanity than the "shoot 'em up" episodes in the early years and I still am sorry it went off the air.

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