Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
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The Pack Rat 

As Matt escorts a wounded prisoner to Ft. Union, his camp is invaded by a thieving young boy, whom Matt takes into custody. In Dodge City the journey to Ft. Union is joined by two women, ... See full summary »


Philip Leacock


Arthur Browne Jr. (teleplay by), Jim Byrnes (teleplay by) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Amanda Blake ... Kitty
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly
William Watson ... Sam Danton
Manuel Padilla Jr. ... Sancho
Heidi Vaughn ... Martha Mason
Loretta Swit ... Belle Clark
Glenn Strange ... Sam Noonan
Woody Chambliss Woody Chambliss ... Woody Lathrop
Robert Brubaker ... Jake Hawkins
Robert Rothwell ... Shotgun
Tom Sutton Tom Sutton ... Shockley
Bill Catching Bill Catching ... Trapp


As Matt escorts a wounded prisoner to Ft. Union, his camp is invaded by a thieving young boy, whom Matt takes into custody. In Dodge City the journey to Ft. Union is joined by two women, one pregnant traveling to see her husband, the other secretly the wife of the prisoner. A trio of outlaws waits on the trail to kill Matt and rescue the prisoner. Written by richardann

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

12 January 1970 (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
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Festus Haggen: [after getting bit in the arm by Sancho] Golly Bill, I just hope that he don't chop down on them like he done on me.
Matt Dillon: Still hurt you?
Festus Haggen: Oh you just don't know, Matthew.
Matt Dillon: You think a beer might help it?
Festus Haggen: Well, a beer could help. Two just might cure it.
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User Reviews

children... ick...
8 August 2013 | by grizzledgeezerSee all my reviews

"The Pack Rat" seems to have been cobbled together from two scripts that came up short. As a form of artistic casserole, it is not particularly palatable.

There's a show business dictum that you should never work with children or animals. One reason for avoiding children is that they can lead to the commission of one of the worst dramatic crimes -- gross sentimentality.

Here, the late Manuel Padilla Jr plays an abused child ("Sancho") who knows little else but to steal. Of course we know how this is going to work out, don't we? It's actually worse -- not only is he (apparently) reformed, but he's adopted by Norteamericanos -- which I no more believe than I believe Godzilla has minty-fresh breath.

Outside of filling the hour, his presence serves no purpose other than to reveal that the woman (Loretta Swit) who's escorting her friend (who's recently experienced parturition) to the fort where her husband is stationed, is actually the wife of the /prisoner/ Matt is escorting to the fort.

Well, actually... Sancho warns Festus, but it's too late -- but everything turns out all right, anyway. To help the li'l scudder develop a proper sense of self-esteem, Festus lies, telling Sancho he really saved the day, didn't he? (Nope.)

This is an episode with no redeeming value, intellectual or entertainment-wise. You may safely pass.

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