Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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Captain Sligo 

In one of the series' loopiest episodes, Boston whaling captain Aaron Sligo suddenly forsakes the sea entirely. He moves to Kansas, buys a ranch and ceremoniously sets up a plaque on the ... See full summary »


William Conrad


William Kelley


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Amanda Blake ... Kitty
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly
Richard Basehart ... Captain Aron Sligo
Salome Jens ... Joesphine Burney
Royal Dano ... Watney
Stacy Harris ... Leonard
Robert Totten Robert Totten ... Blacksmith
Bobby Eilbacher Bobby Eilbacher ... Tim Burney
Geri Reischl ... Anne Burney
Larry Finley ... Bartender
Matt Emery Matt Emery ... Trail Boss
Brian Foley Brian Foley ... Cowboy


In one of the series' loopiest episodes, Boston whaling captain Aaron Sligo suddenly forsakes the sea entirely. He moves to Kansas, buys a ranch and ceremoniously sets up a plaque on the 100th meridian of longitude, which he says is as far from the sea as possible in the United States (true, but he could have moved farther north). He then becomes a cattle buyer, ordering a shipment of cows from Texas, while courting the widow next door. The widow resists his courtship until he proves that he can grow corn, knowing the soil on Sligo's lot is notoriously unfertile. But Sligo hasn't lost all of his seafaring identity or his skills. He still dresses in full uniform, builds his house in the shape of a ship, and brings his first mate along to serve as ranch foreman. When a rival cattleman pulls a dirty trick on Sligo which prevents him from bringing his cows to market (by spreading a rumor of brucellosis among the herd) and when the rancher's hands beat the first mate to a pulp, Sligo uses ... Written by Peter Harris

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Release Date:

4 January 1971 (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?


William Conrad, who directed this episode, played Marshal Dillon on CBS Radio from 1952- 1961. See more »


Captain Aron Sligo: A few drops is good for humility - it prevents the arrogance of complete abstinence.
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User Reviews

Richard Basehart shines as a dry docked Whaling Captain
23 September 2018 | by teach9734See all my reviews

This episode was a rareity. The whole episode was turned over to it's guest star and the regular cast only briefly appeared, mostly at the beginning and end. This was all Richard Basehart's show. He turned in a wonderful and fun performance as a salty old Captain from a Whaling ship, Captain Aaron Sligo who decides to retire in the center of North America which just happens to be near Dodge City in the state of Kansas. His first mate and closest friend Mr. Watley, has arrived before him and has everything set up including a lookouts mast attached to the house. Mr. Watley is played by Royal Dano, who also appeared in the 1956 feature film "Moby Dick" as Elijah who foretold the ill fate of the Piquad, the ship that Richard Basehart as Ishmael was about to sign up and sail not knowing he would be the sole survivor of its ill fated voyage.

Captain Sligo shows up with a bison pulling his wagon when he spots his new neighbor, the widow Burney with her two youngsters and the beginnings of a rocky courtship for the two. The widow invites the Captain for dinner. He regaled the youngsters and the widow Burney with some of his rollicking sea tales. He then proceeds to let her know that he is set on marrying her and she challenges him that if he can grow corn on the rocky piece of land he purchased, that when the corn is shoe top high, that she will marry him. Salome Jens played the role of the widow Burney. The banter between Basehart and Jens is fun to be sure.

This episode got rave reviews and the critics especially applauded Richard Basehart's performance. This was far different from his stolid role as Admiral Harriman Nelson during the four year run of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode of Gunsmoke. The performance of Richard Basehart and the supporting cast made this a truly entertaining hour. This episode originally aired in January 1971 just a few days after New Years Day. I try to catch this episode on a couple of the nostalgia cable TV channels when ever it's on.

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