Stories of the journeys of a wagon train as it leaves post-Civil War Missouri on its way to California through the plains, deserts and Rocky Mountains. The first treks were led by gruff, ... See full summary »
Bret and Bart Maverick (and in later seasons, their English cousin, Beau) are well dressed gamblers who migrate from town to town always looking for a good game. Poker (5 card draw) is ... See full summary »
Marshal Earp keeps the law, first in Kansas and later in Arizona, using his over-sized pistols and a variety of sidekicks. Most of the saga is based loosely on fact, with historical badguys... See full summary »
The Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming Territory of the 1890s is owned in sequence by Judge Garth, the Grainger brothers, and Col. MacKenzie. It is the setting for a variety of stories, many more ... See full summary »
Marshal Matt Dillon is in charge of Dodge City, a town in the wild west where people often have no respect for the law. He deals on a daily basis with the problems associated with frontier life: cattle rustling, gunfights, brawls, standover tactics, and land fraud. Such situations call for sound judgement and brave actions: of which Marshal Dillon has plenty. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
According to a TV Guide article published in the August 23, 1975 issue (just before the show left the air), 26 actors screen-tested for the role of Matt Dillon. William Conrad (voice of radio's Matt Dillon) was one, but didn't look the part. Raymond Burr sounded great, but according to producer-director Charles Marquis Warren: "he was too big; when he stood up his chair stood up with him" (Burr later lost considerable weight to play Perry Mason)). John Pickard almost made it, but did poorly in a love scene with Kitty (he later guest-starred a few times in various roles). Warren and producer Norman MacDonnell stoutly denied that they even considered major film star John Wayne - but they went with James Arness, who looked and sounded a LOT like Wayne. When Arness was reluctant to take the role, Wayne persuaded him and even agreed to introduce the first episode. See more »
Matt is called a US Marshal. Kansas became a state in 1861, more than a decade before the series is set. There was only one US district court in Kansas and one marshal assigned to it, plus a number of deputy marshal. All deputies would be based in Hays, the capital, not towns like Dodge. And deputies would enforce federal laws and court orders, and capture federal fugitives. They would not have state or local jurisdiction (like breaking up fights in the Long Branch). At the time of the series Dodge had a town marshal, and a county sheriff with jurisdiction outside the town limits. See more »
Matt Dillon was a hero in the truest since of the word.
Having Tivo (a system that records programs automatically) has re-introduced Gunsmoke to me. I was a young boy when it began in the 1950's. I loved the early shows. The 1962 shows are being aired on TV Land right now and I have about a dozen recorded for future viewing. I wanted to make an observation about James Arness's character, Matt Dillon. He was my hero growing up and watching the show. After seeing the shows again, 40 years later, I know why. Matt was justice. He meted out retribution to those who were evil. Here he was, standing 6 feet seven inches with a voice like God.
Watching Matt save the day in episode after episode made me realize how great it would to have a Matt around today: someone who would stand up to the bully, step in a wield his gun at the villains taking advantage of anyone in sight. I guess we all had heroes, but who could ever match James Arness. He was fair, gentle, understanding, but had the strength and skill to ward off any foe.
I miss Matt Dillon. We won't see his like again. Even Clint Eastwood, with his Dirty Harry justice, did not have the depth of Matt with his combination of gunplay and compassion.
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