Gunsmoke's Hidalgo Episode: Thomas Gomez & Linda Marsh Guest Star
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Gunsmoke's Hidalgo Episode: Thomas Gomez & Linda Marsh Guest Star

Gunsmoke's Hidalgo premiered on Monday night, January 10, 1972. James Arness as Matt Dillon finds himself in Mexico, where he is left for dead in the desert by the outlaw Mando. Thomas Gomez, Linda Marsh, Fabian Gregory, David Renard, Edward Colmans, Stella Garcia, Julio Medina and Alfonso Arau also appear in the cast.

CBS-TV's Gunsmoke (1955-75) spanned three consecutive decades on the small screen. The 1972 episode "Hidalgo" features Thomas Gomez as Agustin, an old Mexican who nurses a wounded Matt Dillon back to health.

Gunsmoke's Hidalgo: Cast & Credits

Colley Cibber wrote the teleplay for "Hidalgo," with Paul Stanley directing. Regulars, guest stars and supporting players are:

  • Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness)
  • Agustin (Thomas Gomez)
  • Lucero (Linda Marsh)
  • Lucho (Fabian Gregory)
  • Gorio (David Renard)
  • Cuero (Edward Colmans)
  • Chona (Stella Garcia)
  • Fermin (Julio Medina)
  • Mando (Alfonso Arau)
  • Bartender (Ben Frommer)

Thomas Gomez (1905-1971) - thomasgomezactor.com 

Hidalgo: Episode Synopsis

Matt Dillon is in Mexico tracking a bandido and his gang. Shots are exchanged at an arroyo, with a wounded Matt falling from his horse and tumbling down to the desert floor. A young Mexican boy named Lucho later stumbles on Matt, taking him back to his grandfather's house. Lacking medical supplies, the old man – Agustin – tells his grandson, "In the morning, he will be better or he will be dead."

Lucho's older sister, Lucero, is the girlfriend of the outlaw Mando, whom Matt is pursuing. Mando is holed up in the Mexican town of Merced which is controlled by the all-powerful patron Hidalgo. A recuperating Matt later heads into Merced, determined to bring Mando back to justice in the United States.

Hidalgo: Air Date & Competition

"Hidalgo" aired over CBS on Monday night, January 10, 1972, in the 8-9 PM (ET) time slot. Network competition was Nanny and the Professor starring Richard Long and Juliet Mills and local programming (ABC) and the riotous Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (NBC).

Hidalgo: Analysis & Review

Gunsmoke occasionally headed south of the border, making Mexico the favored locale. Generally, the premise didn't change much, with Marshal Dillon usually pursuing some outlaw into Mexican territory. And that's the simple theme in "Hidalgo," a somewhat boring segment which features a wounded Matt as the proverbial stranger in a strange land.

So-called "Mexican" episodes never really work that well in TV westerns, mainly because they mercilessly hammer the racial stereotypes to an often painful death. There's the usual "special" Latin music – guitar of course – constantly playing in the background, with the characters talking in that ridiculous, slow-moving Spanish-accented English which can only be witnessed on episodic television. The Mexicans are almost always depicted as mentally challenged, dirt poor, pathologically religious peasants, surrounded by crosses and Virgin Mary statues with the word "gringo" never far from their lips.

The distinguished actor Thomas Gomez (1905-1971) in his final role ever plays Agustin, the Mexican grandfather who risks life and limb to treat the badly wounded Matt Dillon. Reluctant at first, the sympathetic Agustin removes the offending bullets and later sends his little grandson Lucho into town to fetch quinine, alcohol, bandages and the painkiller laudlum.  

Matt Dillon of course, who was probably shot over 100 times (or so it seems) during Gunsmoke's 20-year-run on the tube, pulls through once again. The big U.S. marshal, like many TV western stars, apparently possesses some kind of self-sealing body – you know, like a self-sealing fuel tank? – as he avoids rapid blood loss, infection, gangrene, sepsis and other nasty complications and eventually limps into town to confront the bad guy.

In Merced, Matt faces the outlaw Mando outside some hole-in-the-wall cantina as the townspeople look on in wonderment. Mando's two buddies have stepped aside, leaving only Matt and the bandido. Mando draws his gun first but Matt proves faster, dropping the outlaw in the dusty street. The episode concludes with Matt giving young Lucho his marshal's badge and riding off into the brilliant Mexican sun.

"Hidalgo" comes from Gunsmoke's 17th season and is episode #556 of 635 in the series. "Hidalgo" was preceded in Gunsmoke history by "No Tomorrow" (1/3/72) starring Sam Groom. 

Top Image

  • Gunsmoke's trademark Dodge City logo - CBS-TV

Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved. 

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