Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
5 user

The Foundling 

When the parents of a daughter who was raped refuse to accept the girl's baby, Marshal Dillon must find a home for the child.


Bernard McEveety


Jim Byrnes


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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
Kay Lenz ... Lettie Graham
Bonnie Bartlett ... Maylee Baines
Donald Moffat ... Joseph Graham
Dran Hamilton ... Agnes Graham
Don Collier ... Eli Baines
Jerry Hardin ... Bob Ranger
Ted Jordan Ted Jordan ... Burke
Woody Chambliss Woody Chambliss ... Lathrop
Robert Brubaker ... Bartender


Marshal Dillon is forced to kill a man he knew personally, a farmer named Eli Baines, who had too much to drink. Shaken by the experience, Dillon heads out of Dodge City for a few days. On the trail he discovers a rape victim, named Lettie, and her newborn baby girl. When Lettie is well enough to travel, Dillon heads to her parents' farm, where her parents finally relent to take in the daughter they had sent away. Dillon is left with the task of finding a home for the baby girl. Back in Dodge City, Marshal Dillon entrusts the baby girl to Kitty Russell while he tries to find a home for the baby. At last he finds that Eli Baines' widow, Maylee, is eager to raise the baby. But by that time Kitty has grown so fond of the girl that she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep and raise her. Written by Christopher D. <>

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Release Date:

11 February 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
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Maylee goes into Kitty's room to see the baby, she is wearing gloves. When she reaches into crib to touch the baby, her hand is bare. When she stands up, she is wearing gloves again. See more »


Festus: [Festus making goo-goo sounds to baby only to turn around and see Doc] Why don't you let a fella know you're around? You come slipping up like a blamed old coyote through a fog.
Doc: What are you doing to that baby?
Festus: Well, I'm making her laugh!
Doc: Making her laugh? With an ugly face full of whiskers like that? You'll scare her to death!
See more »

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User Reviews

Arduous Watch
27 February 2019 | by alfredpr-69611See all my reviews

This episode could easily have been on that catalog of misery called 'Little House on the Prairie'. This has got to be one of the most contrived entries in Gunsmoke's history; like the writers just wrote something to pad the season to meet the quota.

The mood is disingenuous and the weary actors seem to mail it in, in this poorly done outing. There are clumsy, trite attempts to pull at the heart strings, it just comes off as overdone and formulaic, because we've seen it a thousand times before.

What makes least sense is Kitty's instantaneous exuberance to be burdened with a newborn. One of the very worst episodes, nothing works. The only redeeming thing is a look at a gracile young Kay Lenz in one of her early roles as the baby's biological mother.

This episode might be stellar to the above reviewers but the Foundling just doesn't resonate the same with me.

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