Gunsmoke's Kimbro TV Episode: John Anderson & Michael Strong Guest Star
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Gunsmoke's Kimbro TV Episode: John Anderson & Michael Strong Guest Star

Gunsmoke's Kimbro debuted on Monday night, February 12, 1973. Character actor John Anderson plays Adam Kimbro, a down-and-out ex-lawman who once served as mentor to a young Matt Dillon. Regulars James Arness and Amanda Blake are also joined in the cast by Michael Strong, William Devane, Tom Falk, Rick Weaver, Doreen Lang and Lisa Eilbacher.

CBS-TV's Gunsmoke had amazing longevity, running on television from 1955 to 1975. The 1973 episode "Kimbro" guest stars John Anderson in the title role, a once legendary lawman whose glory years are behind him. 

Gunsmoke's Kimbro: Cast & Credits

Jim Byrnes penned the teleplay for "Kimbro," with Gunnar Hellstrom directing. Regulars, guest stars and supporting players are:

  • Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness)
  • Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake)
  • Doc Adams (Milburn Stone)
  • Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis)
  • Newly O'Brian (Buck Taylor)
  • Adam Kimbro (John Anderson)
  • Peak Stratton (Michael Strong)
  • Moss Stratton (William Devane)
  • Billy Stratton (Tom Falk)
  • Turkey Stratton (Rick Weaver)
  • Mary Bentley (Doreen Lang)
  • Nathan Burke (Ted Jordan)
  • Melody (Lisa Eilbacher)
  • John (Wendell Baker)
  • Passerby (Bert Madrid)

John Anderson (1922-1992) as he appeared in an episode of The Rifleman - ABC-TV

Kimbro: Episode Synopsis

Adams Express manager Nathan Burke awakens one morning to find an old, disheveled man sleeping amongst the barrels outside his store. The man refuses Burke's offer of money to buy himself a beer, but does ask if any work can be found in Dodge City. Burke sends him to the livery, where he garners a job cleaning out the stables.

Matt Dillon rides into town and stables his horse at the livery. He recognizes the new worker as Adam Kimbro, a once-famous lawman who showed Matt the ropes when the latter was still wet behind the ears. Kimbro, however, has fallen on hard times, hitting the bottle hard and later sleeping off a drunk at Matt's jail. 

Although Kimbro tells Matt that he has a sheriff's job waiting for him, Matt suspects otherwise and offers his old mentor a part-time deputy's job transporting gold from a mining camp. Kimbro signs on, with he and Matt journeying to the camp where they are immediately greeted with the sight of a gold thief hanging dead from a tree. 

Matt and Kimbro depart the camp with gold in hand, attracting the attention of a band of cutthroat brothers who plan to waylay the two "badges" out on the trail.

Kimbro: Air Date & Network Competition

Kimbro was originally telecast over CBS on Monday night, February 12, 1973, in the 8-9 (ET) time slot. Network competition that evening was The Rookies on ABC and the irreverent "sock-it-to-me" Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (NBC). 

Kimbro: Analysis & Review

"Kimbro" represents one of Gunsmoke's better character study segments. The always interesting John Anderson (1922-1992) plays Adam Kimbro, an aging lawman who winds up in Dodge City where he meets his onetime pupil Matt Dillon. Kimbro is a shadow of the man he once was, now in his sixties with white hair, a scruffy beard and a thirst for liquor.

John Anderson excels in the role, playing the once proud lawman who has now been reduced to cleaning out stables in order to earn money for his next meal. Sensing that Kimbro can still be an effective peace officer, Matt offers him the opportunity to pin on a deputy U.S. marshal's badge and accompany him to a rough mining camp where they will transport gold back to Dodge City.

One of the best scenes takes place along the way where Matt and Kimbro stop in a town where the latter once served as sheriff. Here he meets his old flame Mary, who is now married with two attractive teenagers in tow. A depressed Kimbro later tells Matt that Mary could have been his wife and those two teenagers his children.

In Kimbro Matt sees himself – still unmarried with currently less than $500 in the bank. It gives him pause, as he could very well end up like his former mentor in about ten years when he hangs up his badge. 

There's the usual gunplay in "Kimbro," with Matt and Adam fending off a band of thieving brothers who try to relieve them of the gold on the trail. Perhaps befitting a legendary lawman, Kimbro meets his end in a blaze of glory, fearlessly standing up during a firefight and moving forward with his rifle spitting bullets. Mortally wounded, Kimbro is comforted by Matt, bidding farewell to his former student.

"Kimbro" hails from Gunsmoke's 18th season and is episode #584 of 635 in the series. "Kimbro" can be found on YouTube and other Internet venues. 

Top Image

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

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

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