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?


A repeat showing of "The Busters" on September 1, 1975 was the last broadcast of "Gunsmoke" on the CBS Television Network. The series' run on CBS thus lasted just 8 days short of 20 years. See more »

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User Reviews

Outstanding episode
28 July 2018 | by kenstallings-65346See all my reviews

Many consider this episode the finest of the twentieth and final season of the series. It is hard to argue against it being so.

The plot is plenty straightforward, but the acting is what takes this episode to the heights. Gary Busey turned in a special performance, and enjoyed strong support from John Beck and Lynn Benesch, the three of whom carried this episode with minimal acting by the normal ensemble cast.

It would take a truly cold-hearted person to watch this episode and not get a bit misty eyed. Ultimately, the value of one's life is measured by the quality and dedication of one's pursuits, regardless of how much time one lives.

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