Gunsmoke (1955–1975)

Cooter (19 May 1956)

TV Episode   |  TV-PG   |    |  Western

Cooter (1956) Poster

After Matt exposes gambler Ben Sissle as a cheat, Sissle attempts to exact revenge by giving brain-damaged Cooter Smith a gun and telling the marshal that Cooter plans to challenge him to a gunfight.



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14 May 2013 | kfo9494
| Strother Martin is excellent as the brain injured Cooter.
Here is a sad tale from the old western that is just as vivid today in our society. A mentally retarded man is used to the point of committing an act of violence when the man has the capacity of a four year old. Nobody wins in this story.

Cooter, played wonderfully by Strother Martin, is the mentally challenged man that is wanting to be look-at like any other person in Dodge. He meets this card shark named Ben Sissell that uses Cotter to fetch him drinks and food and pays him a small amount so that Cooter thinks he has a job. The trouble with Sissell is that he cheats at cards so he has a gunslinger ride from town to town with him. And when someone challenges Sissell his gunslinger, named Nate, usually shoots the person. And it just so happened that this scenario happened at the Long Branch.

Matt is suspicious about the two and tells Nate to get out of town. When Sissell tells him to kill the Marshal, Nate decides that he is not paid enough and splits town. So now Sissell has another plan to get the Marshal killed. He gives a gun to Cooter and tells him to kill Matt Dillon. With Cooter's mental situation it will be hard for Matt to make Cooter believe that he is being used by the slick talking card shark.

Strother Martin does an excellent job playing the brain injured Cooter. He plays the part to perfection making the viewer believe he is actual mentally challenged. There was a little flaw with the story when Marshal Dillon did not also run Sissell out of town when he tells Nate to kill Matt - but the story still held its own. The ending is not a pleasant one but one that many families still go through even today. Good watch.


Release Date:

19 May 1956



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