Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
2 user

The Schoolmarm 

After being raped, Dodge City school teacher Sarah Merkle struggles with the implications of being an unwed mother.


Bernard McEveety


Dick Nelson


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Episode cast overview:
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Amanda Blake ... Kitty
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly (credit only)
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Charlotte Stewart ... Sarah Merkle
Lin McCarthy ... Carl Pruitt
Scott Walker ... Stokes
Todd Lookinland ... Lester
Howard Culver ... Howie
Laura Nichols Laura Nichols ... Eliza
Janet Nichols Janet Nichols ... Mary Beth
Kevin McEveety Kevin McEveety ... Thomas (as Kevin C. McEveety)


Dodge City school teacher Sarah Merkle is dedicated to improving the lives of her students. Unknown to Sarah, widower Carl Pruitt has fallen in love with the caring, hard working school teacher. On a school lunch one day Carl saves Sarah from an attack by a traveling salesman named Stokes. When Doc Adams examines Sarah after the incident, she learns to her horror that she is pregnant. Wondering why Sarah is so shaken after visiting Doc Adams, Carl recalls certain comments by Stokes after the attack. He figures it all adds up to Stokes getting Sarah pregnant. Late one night Carl confronts Stokes about the matter. During the confrontation an accident occurs resulting in Stokes' death. Marshal Dillon locks up Carl, who refuses to say why the accident occurred for fear of divulging Sarah's secret. The only person who can clear the matter up now is Sarah - and she's mortified of the possibility of her rape and pregnancy becoming public. Written by Christopher D. <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

25 February 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Schoolmarm 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?


Charlotte Stewart, who portrayed school teacher Sarah Merkle, later had a recurring role on Little House on the Prairie also as the school teacher, Eva Beadle. Even the classroom used in this episode appears identical to the one used by Miss Beadle in LHOTP. See more »

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User Reviews

A school-teacher has a secret she wants hidden
6 February 2013 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

If you get past the first ten minutes of the show you will be treated to a very nice story that is a joy to watch.

After a very slow start, the story centers around a schoolmarm (School Ma'am, as I was taught), Sarah Merkle, that finds out that she is pregnant. She had been raped by a local cad named Stokes and now feels like she will have to leave town before rumors start about her life.

There is this man named Carl Pruitt that has a son in her school. Carl is sweet on Ms Sarah and finds out that something is wrong and Stokes is at the center of the trouble. He puts two and two together and realizes that Sarah is with Stokes's child.

Carl goes to talk with Stokes about marrying Sarah. When Stokes just laughs at him, Carl forces him down the steps. They fall and Stokes dies. Now Carl will not reveal to Matt why he was fighting with Stokes. And it will be up to Sarah Merkle to reveal the secret she wants hidden.

But don't feel bad too bad for Sarah. things work out for her by the end of the show that makes the viewer feel satisfied when the credits roll. Even with the slow start, this program will make you feel better for watching.

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