Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
4 user

To Ride a Yeller Horse 

The schemes of a mother trying to control the lives of her son and daughter lead to tragic results.


Vincent McEveety


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Episode cast overview:
Milburn Stone ... Doc
Amanda Blake ... Kitty (credit only)
Ken Curtis ... Festus
Buck Taylor ... Newly
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Louise Latham ... Mrs. Shepherd
Kathleen Cody ... Anna May
Tom Leopold Tom Leopold ... Chester (as Thomas Leopold)
John Reilly ... Orlo
Parker Stevenson ... Steven
Simon Scott Simon Scott ... Mr. Rogers
Herb Vigran ... Judge Brooker
Elizabeth Harrower ... Mrs. O'Roarke


Joan Shepherd and her daughter, Anna May, plan to go to a local dance so Anna May can meet a wealthy young man, such as Steven Rogers, son of a wealthy rancher. An arranged marriage would be acceptable to Mr. Rogers, but Anna May detests Steven. She has eyes for Newly O'Brien. A poor neighboring farmer, Orlo Baker, would like to court Anna May, but Joan finds the thought laughable. Chester Shepherd, Joan's son, is interested in a young woman, whom Joan characterizes as a trollop. Joan recalls a young man from her own youth who rode a fine yellow horse, which epitomizes her goal for her children. The tensions threaten to tear the family apart. Written by richardann

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Release Date:

18 March 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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User Reviews

A disturbing episode with a valuable moral lesson
30 June 2018 | by kenstallings-65346See all my reviews

This episode doesn't end well.

In fact, from the start to the finish, it is a disturbing episode, dealing with a widow mother's psychosis. She married her husband in a void of unhappiness lamenting a dream unfulfilled. Obsessed about her own supposed missed opportunity, she dominates her two children's lives until she chases her son away, and then ultimately tries the same overbearing, and often unprincipled manipulations, of her younger daughter.

The ultimate moral lesson presented is that if a mother destroys the dreams of her children, for whatever reason, the pain never subsides, and the parent is often left alone and distraught.

It was a painful lesson to watch in fictional drama, but the message was delivered in a starkly honest method. There was no happy ending in this episode. The ending was bitter.

While her daughter isn't driven completely away, the mother's ongoing efforts to manipulate the daughter's life continues unabated, despite the painful moral lessons that should have been learned from the previous destructive actions.

We are left in the final scene presenting a son filled with angst, torn between wanting to support his mother, but also knowing he needs to keep proper distance so that he can pursue his own dreams, as well as his knowledge that he must help prevent his mother from harming his sister's life in the same way his mother harmed his own.

This is another Gunsmoke episode unafraid to tell a stark story, presenting in realistic tones the negative outcomes of manipulation, especially manipulation of those you love the most.

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