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Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Adventure, Western  |  26 September 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 265 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 1 critic

Will Mannon, "product of the Devil's loins," is released from a frontier prison and promptly goes in search of the people who put him there some 12 years ago -- Matt Dillon and Kitty Russell.



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Title: Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (TV Movie 1987)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Flagg
Lt. Dexter
Digger McCloud (as W. Morgan Sheppard)
Bright Water
Little Doe
Frank Totino ...
Logan (as Frank M. Totino)
Robert Koons ...
Warden Amos Brown
Walter Kaasa ...
Judge Collins
Georgie Collins ...
Mrs. Collins


Will Mannon, "product of the Devil's loins," is released from a frontier prison and promptly goes in search of the people who put him there some 12 years ago -- Matt Dillon and Kitty Russell.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In a Lawless Land Ruled by the Gun, He's the Law.


Adventure | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 September 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Auf Leben und Tod  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The revolver used at the beginning by the vengeance-seeking escaped convict is a Merwin Hulbert 1st Model, an advanced design for its day and a relatively popular revolver, being fourth best-selling after Smith & Wesson, Colt, and Remington, in that order. Its scarcity today is a result of a factory fire, a devastating bankruptcy, and the First World War driving the company out of existence for most of the 20th century. See more »


[first lines]
[to two young Indian boys]
Logan: Git!
[to Dillon, who is carrying a bale of furs]
Logan: Them papooses - I'd keep 'em out if I was you. If it ain't nailed down, they'll steal it.
Matt Dillon: They live here.
Logan: Well, I guess a squaw is better than no woman a'tall, huh?
Matt Dillon: You were given 15 years in territorial prison, Logan. What are you doin' out?
Logan: Lookin' for you. Been a long look, Dillon, but I promised myself I'd pay you back. Here I am.
Matt Dillon: Mister, you aren't the first gunny come lookin' for me. There's two more ...
See more »


Followed by Gunsmoke: To the Last Man (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Not true to the original
7 September 2005 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

While it's a joy to see Matt and Kitty back together, this movie sorely lacked any hint of the Gunsmoke magic. In a nutshell, Matt Dillon is now a mountain man, Kitty has left Dodge and Newly O'Brian the former gunsmith and deputy is now marshal.

Will Mannon, the evil gunslinger who appeared in a self-titled episode of Gunsmoke, is released from prison to kill Matt and the judge who put Mannon in prison. Another prisoner, Jake Flagg, who is an old friend of Matt's, breaks out of prison by using the warden as hostage. Flagg needs to warn Matt about Mannon. The gunslinger shoots the warden and Flagg is now wanted by a young, overzealous deputy and some bounty hunters. Several of the unscrupulous bounty hunters actually stab Dillon who is found and taken back to Dodge where he awakens to find Miss Kitty. Matt tries to help protect Flagg meanwhile Mannon returns to Dodge where he torments Miss Kitty as he did in the original episode. Back then he had raped Kitty and beat her, something Matt did not know.

Okay, inconsistencies. First, but this is my opinion, Matt would not have become a Mountain Man. It's just not him(maybe they got him confused with his Zeb Macahan character from How the West Was Won). Second, Kitty explains why she left Dodge. It's a flashback from the episode "The Badge" where Matt is shot and Kitty just can't handle seeing him hurt anymore. Any fan of the show would know that this episode(don't know when it aired but certainly not in the last year of the show) ends with Matt meeting Kitty and sort of convincing her to come back, which she does. The movie made it sound like she never came back. Amanda Blake left the show in 1974. There are reports she claims she was sick and tired of the character and the commute(she was living in AZ at the time). Others question that producer John Mantley fired her for money reasons. They allegedly did not get along at all. Third, in the episode Mannon, he is apparently shot dead from how the episode ends but I guess it could have been interpreted as him possibly surviving.

Those are disappointments show-wise. Other ones that made fans cringe are James Arnesses' hair and make-up, absolutely scary. Kitty looked her age and did not look bad at all. Amanda Blake had contracted AIDS and she later died from the disease 2 years after this film. Ken Curtis did not return, he reportedly wanted more money than Blake. Finally, Matt and Kitty never kiss at the end, they never even get together. She see's him through a window and sheds a tear as he goes back to his lonely life. Reportedly, the original script had Matt walk into the hotel where Kitty was(and you could use your imagination). There were too many Flashbacks which took away from developing the plot to this movie. They actually show one Flashback twice.

John Mantley produced the movie and I was surprised someone with such a grasp on GS let this be the end product.

Also, the cover art for the movie on this website only show's James Arness. There is another version which has a small picture of Kitty on it.

Otherwise, it's fun to see M&K back together.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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