Season 10 Episode 21

Song for Dying

Aired Unknown Feb 13, 1965 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
19 votes
  • Didn't like ending

    I didn't like the ending where the singer died from shooting. Matt Dillon should have shot

    the Lukens father before the singer was shot.
  • This episode exhibits the classic characteristics which made the show so successful during its twenty year run.

    I find as I get further into the seasons that some of the spark and snap which made it such a successful series wanes. This episode, however, is not among those.

    This episode features some unusual and innovative camera angles while making ample use of lighting effects and shadow play to heighten the story line's tension at just the right moment. I enjoyed watching these almost as much as I did the dialog.
    The story starts, as they often do, with a stranger whose story is unknown coming into town and mingling with the main characters. The interplay between the newcomer and the main cast reveals a wealth of information about their personalities, histories, and traits. Amanda Blake's use of her eyes and hand gestures in this episode is especially worth noting as it adds a new depth to the dialog.

    The story moves along quickly enough, though it's choppy in places as we rapidly switch between characters and scenes in order to get the full scope of the story. The crown jewel of this episode, however, is the wonderful music woven into the scenes. The series has always had some excellent folk music running through the background but in this case the voice of Theodore Bikel adds a richness and texture to produce a truly melancholy picture of the frontier city on the prairie. It makes me wish that there had been a soundtrack for this one, as I had never heard many of the variations on the folk songs which were sung.

    My only complaint is with the slight out-of-character actions taken to make the story work. I don't see Doc keeping many secrets from Matt and I can't see either Kitty or Matt running someone out of town simply because they might pose a danger to one or the other.
  • A guitar player/singer arrives in Dodge. He refuses to answer any personal questions, and the first night in town, he barely escapes a bullet. He's running from his past mistakes, but will he be able outrun one of the worst before it's too late?

    A stranger/musician, who tells his tale of woe through his music, takes up residence in the Long Branch under the watchful eye of Miss Kitty. Unbeknownst to Matt Dillon, he is not a stranger to Doc Adams. Secretkeeping from Matt seems a little uncharacteristic of Doc, especially when a man's life may be on the line. Interaction among the characters is well done and helps deepen their relationships.
    The music and singing is quite good. The filming of some of the scenes is a little unusual for Gunsmoke, but attention grabbing. It adds a feeling of fate to the destiny of the stranger.