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Gunsmoke Season 16 DVD Review


Season 16 of “Gunsmoke” offers up more old west stories. 

Matt Dillon, Kitty, Festus, Doc and Newly return for a 24 (color) episode sixteenth season. In this season, fans can expect plots about the lawman murdering Chato, a disturbed ex-con seeking revenge for his father, a bounty hunter and an escaped prisoner, a female Doctor, brothers commiting murder, Native Americans wanting justice for poison whiskey, a dying outlaw, a teen who kills an infamous gunslinger, a lone survivor from an alleged massacre, a father doing awful deeds against witnesses against his son, a fugitive named McCabe, a Mexican bandit and his Priest brother, an Army Sergeant trying to clear his name, an outlaw’s daughter, a retired whaler seeking a wife, Festus forgetting what happened to him in the desert, Festus getting in trouble with money, a pardoned criminal looking to reunite with the woman he loves, a Marshal trying to track down a gang, an unlucky friend of Festus named Cleavus, a criminal gets back in trouble, and Sally Fergus helping an outlaw back to health.

For anyone who has watched “Gunsmoke” before, season 16 doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The show still tells character centric tales in the old west (mostly in or around Dodge City) as well as plotlines involving the core cast of characters. While the show does tackle some weighty subjects such as justice, law, and revenge, a lot of the stories within the season are derivative and more or less recycled by this point in the series. That’s not to say the season doesn’t have any highlights because it does. “Sam McTavish, M.D.,” which revolves around the titular female character (played by Vera Miles) acting as a temporary Dr. in Dodge City, is a poignant episode about feminism and sexism while the 2 parter “Snow Train” is a cinematic and picturesque story about Sioux Indians stopping a train to find the men responsible for selling them poison whiskey. Additionally, it’s always fun to see what guest stars pop up. In the case of this season, there’s some great ones like Ricardo Montalban, Harry Morgan, Clint Howard and Yaphet Kotto!

As a side note, I have to say I found myself rather baffled by the 2 parter “Pike” which closes out the season. Not only was this a needless 2 parter from a storytelling perspective, but I’m puzzled by the fact that the crotchety oddball character Dirty Sally was given her own series. Granted, it was short-lived, but it’s such a strange choice for a spin-off.


Presentation: 4:3. How does it look? The remastered picture delivers a clean picture (although there are some flaws here and there). 

Audio Track: Dolby Digital Mono. How does it sound? An all-around nice quality Mono track.

Extras include previews on all episodes, a photo gallery and the usual conversation between authors and fans Ben and Beckey about the season.

May 5, 2020 - Posted by | DVD review | , , ,

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