Season 10 Episode 8

Hung High

Aired Unknown Nov 14, 1964 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • A clever frame-up threatens to ruin Matt.

    Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant) guest stars as a drunk and disorderly cavalry sergeant in the Dodge jail who receives a rude awakening from Matt, anxious to get the creep out of his jail and out of Dodge. He does not go gracefully, vowing revenge. Then a retired lawman, a mentor to Matt, arrives in Dodge for a friendly visit. Outlaw Tony Serpa is in the Long Branch while Matt is entertaining his old friend, and tells another man of his desire to kill a lawman, any lawman. The other man dismisses it as drunken rambling, but later that night Serpa carries out his threat by killing Matt's friend. Matt arrests the killer and later sets off to take him to Hays for hanging, but along the way Serpa's gang arrives at camp. The leader, played by Robert Culp (Trackdown, I Spy) also hates lawmen, but decides that merely killing one is too meager. Instead he devises a clever plot. Using trickery, he hangs Serpa, punishment for getting caught, and frames Matt for Serpa's killing. Knocked unconscious, Matt awakens and finds a cavalry unit led by the sergeant whom Matt had earlier arrested. Assuming Matt hanged Serpa himself, they arrest Matt. Matt escapes and arrives in a town that is not too friendly, but he finds an ally in George, the town drunk. Later on, the gang that framed Matt arrives at the bar. George rounds up a few friends and has them come to the bar to run interference as Matt confronts the gang, and the cavalry unit. The revenge-thirsty sergeant reluctantly releases Matt after Matt proves his innocence. Elisha Cooke, Jr. is lovable as George, and Asner is excellent as the boorish sergeant, as is Culp as the cold, calculating gang leader. George Lindsay, Michael Conrad, and Harold J. Stone also appear. Viewers who dislike Asner and his poltical activism may enjoy seeing Matt manhandle him in the opening scene.

    This episode is included in Volume 2 of The 50th Anniversary DVD Collection, with commentary provided by Asner.