Procaryotic DNA polymerases contain an associated 3'----5' exonuclease activity which provides a proofreading function and contributes substantially to replication fidelity. DNA polymerases of the eucaryotic herpes-type viruses contain similar associated exonuclease activities. We have investigated the fidelity of polymerases purified from wild type herpes simplex virus, as well as from mutator and antimutator strains. On synthetic templates, the herpes enzymes show greater relative exonuclease activities, and greater ability to excise a terminal mismatched base, than procaryotic DNA polymerases which proofread. On a phi X174 natural DNA template, the herpes enzymes are more accurate than purified eucaryotic DNA polymerases; the error rate is similar to E. coli polymerase I. However, conditions which abnegate proofreading by E. coli polymerase I have little effect on the herpes enzymes. We conclude that either these viral polymerases are accurate in the absence of proofreading, or the conditions examined have little effect on proofreading by the herpes DNA polymerases.