Gunsmoke's Lynott TV Episode: Richard Kiley & Peggy McCay Guest Star
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Gunsmoke's Lynott TV Episode: Richard Kiley & Peggy McCay Guest Star

Gunsmoke's Lynott premiered over CBS-TV on Monday night, November 1, 1971. Richard Kiley has the title role, playing an ex-lawman who becomes interim marshal of Dodge City. Regulars James Arness, Amanda Blake, Ken Curtis, Buck Taylor and Pat Hingle are also joined in the cast by Peggy McCay, Jonathan Lippe, William Bramley, Gregg Palmer and Anthony Caruso.

Gunsmoke (1955-75) ran on CBS for 20 seasons. The 1971 episode "Lynott" guest stars Richard Kiley as T.H. Lynott, an old lawman friend of Matt Dillon who is asked to become interim marshal of Dodge City while Matt recuperates from his wounds.

Gunsmoke's Lynott: Cast & Credits

Ron Bishop penned the teleplay for "Lynott," with Gunnar Hellstrom directing the action. Regulars, guest stars and supporting players are: 

  • Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness)
  • Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake)
  • Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis)
  • Newly O'Brian (Buck Taylor)
  • Dr. John Chapman (Pat Hingle)
  • T.H. "Tom" Lynott (Richard Kiley)
  • Pene Lynott (Peggy McCay)
  • Wallace (Jonathan Lippe)
  • Anderson (William Bramley)
  • Nicols (Gregg Palmer)
  • Will Talley (Anthony Caruso)
  • Rolling (Ken Lynch)
  • Mrs. Mauda Weaver (Claudia Bryar)
  • Barkeep (Eddie Quillan)
  • Ed O'Connor (Tom Brown)
  • Sam Noonan (Glenn Strange)
  • Shaw (John Quade)
  • Nathan Burke (Ted Jordan)
  • Heavy #1 (Al Wyatt Sr.)
  • Heavy #2 (Bobby Clark)
  • Townsman (Bill Erwin)
  • Bull (Victor Izay)
  • Long Branch Worker (Bert Madrid)

Richard Kiley (1922-1999) -

Lynott: Episode Synopsis

Matt is ambushed outside of Dodge City by three men, with the big U.S. marshal barely hold his own. Wounded in the shoulder and arm, Matt can't hold out much longer. Hearing the gunfire is Tom Lynott, an ex-lawman who is traveling with his wife Pene. Lynott brandishes a rifle and comes to Matt's aid, shooting one outlaw and getting the other two to surrender. It turns out Lynott is an old friend of Matt's dating back to their early years as peace officers.

Dr. Chapman says Matt is lucky, but will be laid up for at least a month. Matt asks his friend Lynott to take over for him as Dodge marshal for at least two weeks. Matt wants an experienced lawman at the helm, as a big Wells Fargo shipment is scheduled to arrive in a few days. A reluctant Lynott takes the job, but his two deputies, Festus and Newly, quickly discover that Lynott's ways are not those of Matt Dillon's.

The rough, hard-drinking Lynott, who marshaled in such hellholes as Push Out and Two Tops, attracts the seedy element like garbage to flies. Riding into Dodge City are Lynott's old friends, one of whom is Will Talley, who proposes that Lynott join his boys as they loot and plunder the town.

Lynott: Air Date & Network Competition 

"Lynott" first saw daylight on Monday night, November 1, 1971, in the 8-9 PM (ET) time slot. Network competition that evening was the sitcom Nanny and the Professor and local programming (ABC) and the wild Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (NBC).

Lynott: Analysis & Review

Gunsmoke was big on character development, featuring a number of memorable creations during its fabulous 20 years on the tube. Richard Kiley (1922-1999) scores one of the best in "Lynott," appearing in the title role as T.H. "Tom" Lynott, an ex-lawman who had cut his spurs with Matt Dillon way back in the day.

Kiley's Lynott is a complex man, demonstrating his mettle early when he forces his way into a gunfight and saves Marshal Dillon's bacon. Lynott, who is fond of using the word "pilgrim" a la John Wayne, may be an ex-marshal, but he's not beyond bending the law to suit his needs. When a drunken acquaintance named Shaw cuts up another patron at the Bull's Head, Lynott brushes it off, sending the assailant on his way rather than locking him up, as Festus urges.

Reading that Lynott is the new interim marshal, Rolling and two of his men come to Dodge. They are soon joined by Will Talley, setting up shop at the Bull's Head where they entertain themselves by shooting glasses out of an old man's hands. After talking to his concerned wife and a recuperating Matt, Lynott realizes that he has to do his job and confront Talley and his gang. After kicking the hell out of a young punk named Wallace and flatly turning down the gang's offer to join them in the looting of Dodge, Lynott issues Talley an ultimatum, "Give you an hour, Will. Be out of town, or I'll come killin'."

Talley and his boys later assemble in the street, with Lynott showing up with Winchester at the ready. He's sorely outnumbered but not for long, as an ailing Matt shows up with Dr. Chapman's new shotgun – unloaded as we later discover. When the brash, seedy Wallace goes for his gun ("I ain't waitin'!") against the "law dog," Lynott shoots him dead. Talley now knows that Lynott means business, with he and his men clearing out of Dodge. The segment ends with Matt bidding farewell to the Wichita-bound Lynott and his wife – plus one more mention of a colorful character named "Old Ferguson." 

Jonathan Lippe, Anthony Caruso, Ken Lynch, John Quade, et al., make for some of the most dirty, grungy, flea-bitten heavies in the history of Gunsmoke, downing prodigious amounts of whiskey as they proceed to tear up the Bull's Head. Caruso's Will Talley, in particular, looks like something the cat dragged in and then rejected, riding into Dodge City wearing an old hat and torn, dusty rags barely passing as clothes. 

"Lynott" features one scene in which Rolling and his fellow varmints drink whiskey from a barrel containing a dead rat. In another scene, Lynott relates a story about a friend of his being buried by Indians up to his neck – with maybe a horse beneath him. Sound familiar? It should as Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson (1972) encounters a fellow mountain man named Del Gue (Stefan Gierasch) who is in the same predicament. Gue also jokes that maybe a horse is resting beneath him in the sand. 

"Lynott" hails from Gunsmoke's 17th season and is episode #547 of 635 in the series. "Lynott" is available for free viewing on YouTube and other Internet venues. 

Top Image

  • Gunsmoke's Dodge City logo - CBS-TV

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

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Comments (1)

Another good one, my son likes the old westerns and I read your articles to him and it's like story telling...voted