Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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The Tarnished Badge 

Matt has to stop his friend, the sheriff of a nearby town, who has become so dominant, brutal and power hungry he commits murder and thinks he can get away with it.


Michael O'Herlihy


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Milburn Stone ... Doc (credit only)
Ken Curtis ... Festus (credit only)
Buck Taylor ... Newly (credit only)
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Victor French ... Sheriff Bo Harker
Pamela McMyler ... Jenny Blair
Nick Nolte ... Barney Austin
Garry Walberg ... Toby
Jimmy Lydon ... Charlie Boggs (as James Lydon)
Eddie Firestone ... Hotel Clerk
Ross Elliott ... Conway
Ruth McDevitt ... Gramma Boggs
Sam Edwards ... Travis
William Katt ... Lonnie Weeks
Hank Worden ... Claude


Matt captures a small-time fugitive and returns him to the town where he escaped. There, Matt meets the sheriff, an old acquaintance of his who used to play draw-and-shoot games with him. But the town seems profoundly uneasy even at a casual glance. Matt stays around to inquire, and learns that the sheriff has become a power-mad tyrant, viciously abusing even the slightest lawbreakers (including an old lady and a young boy, just for openers) and gunning down any serious challengers. Matt convinces the town council to depose the sheriff, but when Matt leaves the sheriff comes back, worse than ever (he stares down his own deputy and kills him). Matt is frantically summoned back and starts a cat-and-mouse game with the sheriff in a High Noon showdown that everyone is convinced Matt will lose. Written by Peter Harris

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Release Date:

11 November 1974 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS Television Network See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the last time in Victor French's entire career where he played the villain. He did one more "Gunsmoke" as an actor ("The Sharecroppers," the last episode to be telecast) and five as a director while simultaneously beginning a 15-year partnership with Michael Landon. See more »

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User Reviews

Well used plot and a young Nick Nolte
25 June 2018 | by martinxperry-14868See all my reviews

There were so many western TV shows and there were some stories that were repeated across the spectrum. Shows like Cheyene, Wanted Dead or Alive, Have Gun Will Travel, The Big Valley, The story line would make it's rounds. This one included the versatile Victor French, and a very young Nick Nolte, Frenche's deputy, who becomes Sheriff. This time the story line takes a most nasty turn. Marshall Dillion comes in and makes some changes for the good of the town and it's brow beaten residents. Unfortunately Matt has to return to the town in an all too short span of time. Victor French and the new Nick Nolte put in strong showings..

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