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Featured TV on DVD Review: Gunsmoke: Season Seven, Volume One

December 8th, 2012

Gunsmoke: Season Seven, Volume One - Buy from Amazon

For a long time, Gunsmoke was the longest running narrative show in American TV history (as opposed to news shows or sports shows). It has been a while since I reviewed the show, but in four years, only a few seasons have come out. It's going to take forever to get this series finished. Is it worth the wait for fans? Will those who are too young to have seen the show growing up get into it?

The Show

The series begins with Perce. In the episode, Matt Dillon (James Arness) meets up with a stranger, Perce, while traveling and they agree to share a camp. It's dangerous to be alone in the wild west. To emphasize that point, an outlaw looking for revenge against Matt rides up. Turns out he recognizes Perce as a fellow outlaw, but instead of joining the bad guys, Perce defends Matt and saves his life. However, later when a stagecoach is robbed, he's blamed. Harry Dean Stanton has a guest shot in Old Yellow Boots. An outlaw, Frank Cassidy, kills a prospector looking for gold, but finds none. Later he rides up to Beulah Parker's ranch. When he learns she's single and owns the ranch, he decides to try and marry her. (Harry Dean Stanton plays her brother who gets in the way.) Kitty (Amanda Blake) is the focus of the next episode, Miss Kitty. She rides off during the night to meet a young boy at a stagecoach station, but she doesn't tell Matt or anyone else who he is, which starts rumors as to who the boy really is. It's nice to have an episode focusing on her, but it isn't a great episode.

All That is about a man whose loses everything, his wife, his cattle, his ranch, everything. He plans quite an elaborate bit of revenge. Chester (Dennis Weaver), Matt's deputy, meets a young lady, Miss Daisy, and the two get engaged accidentally. (He asked her to marry him when she was asleep, but she remembers.) He tries to run a ranch, but he's a worse rancher than he is a deputy and he has trouble making his fiancee happy.

Milly focuses on a young lady, the titular Milly, who is trying to get away from an abusive alcoholic father by finding a man to marry her. When that keeps failing, she plans revenge on the men who spurned her. Doc (Milburn Stone) gets an episode of his own with Apprentice Doc. In that episode, he is kidnapped by bandits who are planning a bank robbery and they need the Doc to patch up a fellow bandit. However, Doc tries to convince one of the bandits to give up the life of crime and become a doctor.

In Nina's Revenge, a husband tries to get his wife, Nina, into a scandal, so that he can blackmail her rich father. However, Nina falls in love with the man paid to become her lover. A group of bank robbers, including Leonard Nimoy, threatens to kill a Man A Day, unless Matt Dillon leaves town so they can rob a bank.

The best episode of the fifth disc is Cody's Code, but it's only average. Cody is an older rancher who is finally settling down to get married. He helps out a younger man by hiring him as a ranch hand, but that act of kindness backfires.

The Extras

There are some preview trailers for a few episodes, while there are some archival ads on disc five.

The Verdict

The hit to miss ratio for Season Seven, Volume One of Gunsmoke was weaker than I remembered. It's still a good show, but I think it is a little too old-fashioned perhaps for my taste.

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Filed under: Video Review, Leonard Nimoy, Harry Dean Stanton