Death Train is one of many episodes of Gunsmoke from the later years of the series, and this is one of the best. Fear and epidemics are always scary thing and Ken Trevey did a fine job bringing those aspects to this episode. Very exciting scenes are the ones where the town folks find out the secret in the quarantined train. When Purlie Loftus gets fed up and takes Mrs. Townsend hostage is another great scene. When Matt Dillon tries holding down the mob and is beaten up and tossed around is one of a few times when the Dodge City citizens turn on him. At the end the town folks burn the train but Doc and the Townsends get out. Matt Dillon says the Preacher and Purlie Loftus and two others die and it was not from the plague shows you something about what fear can do to you. If you are a Doc fan this is a great episode for you because he is the star of the episode and is in control.
This is a classic example to Gunsmoke. Not only is the story itself rivoting to watch from a purely dramatic point of view but it also is a study in human nature on many fronts. First we see the strained marriage of wealthy couple and the loyalty of the wife towards her butler. Then we see the dedication of Doc to help people in need (even if the man - Morgan Woodward - doesn't want his help). We see how fear and the unknown can cause "sane rational" people to panic and lose control (by beating Matt and trying to burn people alive in the train). We also see the fear of a man who fears the panic of the townspeople. Just a well written and well acted Gunsmoke.
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