Gunsmoke: Season 2, Vol. 1
DVD | Box Set
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Marshall Matt Dillon is responsible for keeping the law and respectability in Dodge City in this western action-drama. Gunsmoke captured the courage, character and spirit of the Western Frontier.
In its second season, Gunsmoke blazed its way into the top ten, where it would stay for the next six years (four of them ranked No. 1), and James Arness earned an Emmy nomination for his towering portrayal of U. S. Marshal Matt Dillon. Dillon broke the mold of the TV lawman. As he notes in one episode, "They tell me that back East, there are a lot of book writers and newspaper people who picture a frontier lawman as someone pretty near perfection, who always guns his man down, never makes a mistake, he's at the top of the heap on every play." The "mule-headed" Dillon is not that man. "My job is to keep the peace, and I'll do it my own way," he proclaims. In the episode "No Indians," he ambushes a band of white men who slaughter a family and frame the Pawnee Indians for the crime. "What kind of man would ambush a bunch of men like that?" a wounded survivor protests. "My kind, mister," Dillon replies. In the episode "Cow Doctor," he knocks out a man who knifes Doc. "Let me know when he comes to and I'll knock him out again," Dillon states. And in "The Mistake," he arrests the wrong man for murder.
These half-hour black and white episodes (the show expanded to an hour format in its seventh season) deliver traditional Western action, but at the heart of Gunsmoke are its character-based human dramas. An excellent example is "Gone Straight," featuring Carl Betz (The Donna Reed Show) as a man who answers the description of a wanted outlaw, but who is now an upstanding citizen trying to help another man (Tige Andrews of The Mod Squad) reform. Some episodes play out in unexpected ways that defy convention. We can pretty much guess the fate of an old friend who insists on helping Matt in "The Round-Up," but we can't predict at whose hand.
Gunsmoke was directed by sure Western hands, including Andrew McLaglan, Ted Post, and Christian Nyby. Several episodes were written by Sam Peckinpah, including "The Round-Up" and "Legal Revenge," featuring a young Cloris Leachman as a woman who appears to have it in for her wounded husband. Several episodes address social issues such as racism ("Sins of the Fathers" featuring Angie Dickinson as the daughter of a marauding Indian chief) and gun culture (the powerful "don't take your guns to town" episode, "Young Man with a Gun"). Along with Matt Dillon, the rest of Gunsmoke's characters became archetypes: "Mr. Dillon's" drawling, bum-legged deputy, Chester (Dennis Weaver), ornery Doc (Milburn Stone), and saloon gal, Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake), who, by the way, looks quite fetching in a riding outfit. An interesting bonus are the show's sponsor shots for LM cigarettes. "See you next week," Arness puffs. "In the meantime, light up." --Donald Liebenson
- 20 episodes from the 1956-57 season on 3 discs
- Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions
- Sponsor spots
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Definitely a great addition for the video library of anyone who likes the Western genre, or who likes solid character and good role models in the primary characters, and a strengthening of the ideas of justice, fair play, the rule of law, and even compassion and wisdom throughout.
This is the second season, when the show was establishing itself as the best TV western.
This is still the half hour, black & white, small screen TV show of the 50s.
These are excellent stories, fast paced and well acted. Watch the faces, many of them become famous.
Starting with season two, the seasons are released in two parts and this is the reason for a number of the lower star reviews.
There is no decrease in quality.
Make sure you watch the commercials, included as a special feature.
--- Ratings based on my opinion of episode; 4 **** Rating System ---
1. COW DOCTOR ***1/2
2. BRUSH AT ELKADER ***1/2
3. CUSTER ***
4. THE ROUND-UP ****
5. YOUNG MAN WITH A GUN ***
6. INDIAN WHITE ***
7. HOW TO CURE A FRIEND ***
8. LEGAL REVENGE ****
9. THE MISTAKE ***
10. GREATER LOVE ***
11. NO INDIANS ***1/2
12. SPRING TERM ***
13. POOR PEARL ***
14. CHOLERA ***1/2
15. PUCKET'S NEW YEAR ***
16. THE COVER-UP ***
17. SINS OF THE FATHER ***1/2
18. KICK ME ***1/2
19. EXECUTIONER ***
20. GONE STRAIGHT ***
THIS REVIEW IS DEDICATED TO ANYONE, LIVING OR DEAD, INVOLVED IN THE MAKING OF "GUNSMOKE".
Dennis Weaver steals every scene he's in as the good natured but clueless Chester Goode. He's like the western Barney Fife. He idolizes his boss and wants to do a good job, but has no idea how to do it. He's so good-natured, nobody has the heart to tell him to consider a different profession.
Milburn Stone plays the testy but dedicated Doc Adams, and Amanda Blake appears as Miss Kitty Russell, always ready to pour a drink and lend a sympathetic ear at the Long Branch Saloon. By the start of Gunsmoke's second season it is becoming increasingly obvious that Marshall Dillon and Miss Kitty are developing a special relationship.
Several famous and soon-to-be-famous faces pop up in Gunmsmoke: The Second Season, Volume 1. Among the most familiar are Tommy Kirk, Andrew Duggan, Denver Pyle, Claude Akins, Richard Deacon, Carl Betz, Stuart Whitman, Mike Connors (though he was known as "Touch Connors" then), Marian Seldes, Cloris Leachman, and Angie Dickinson as a very unrealistic Indian.
Sam Peckinpah, who would later write and direct such classics as The Wild Bunch and The Getaway, wrote a couple of the episodes on the Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Volume 1 set, including: "The Round Up" and "Poor Pearl."
Some fans will be disappointed that Paramount has chosen to release season two of Gunsmoke in two installments. Volume 1 has the first 20 of the 39 episodes originally shown during Gunsmoke's second season. No release date has been announced for Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Volume 2. However, fans of Gunsmoke will definitely want to pick this set up.
The video quality of Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Volume 1 is surprisingly good for a 50-year-old show. The black and white picture is very clean and crisp. The audio is presented in Dolby digital 2.0. The sound quality is fairly good. There are occasional hisses in the soundtrack, but none more than is to be expected on a television show this old. As usual, the special features in these old shows from Paramount are fairly non-existent. Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Volume 1 does offer a few sponsor commercials featuring James Arness and Amanda Blake plugging L&M cigarettes. In another, Arness plugs Remington electric shavers.
Most recent customer reviews
Season 2 Episode 7 on this first disc is from (and in actuality IS) Season 4 Episode 11.Read more