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Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987)

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 around twelve years ago, Marshal Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty Russell.

Director:

Vincent McEveety

Writer:

Jim Byrnes
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Arness ... Matt Dillon
Amanda Blake ... Kitty
Buck Taylor ... Newly
Fran Ryan ... Hannah
Earl Holliman ... Jake Flagg
Ken Olandt ... Lt. Dexter
William Morgan Sheppard ... Digger McCloud (as W. Morgan Sheppard)
Patrice Martinez ... Bright Water
Tantoo Cardinal ... Little Doe
Steve Forrest ... Will Mannon
Mickey Jones ... Oakum
Frank Totino Frank Totino ... Logan (as Frank M. Totino)
Robert Koons Robert Koons ... Warden Amos Brown
Walter Kaasa Walter Kaasa ... Judge Collins
Georgie Collins Georgie Collins ... Mrs. Collins
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Storyline

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 around twelve years ago, Marshal Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty Russell.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Adventure | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Auf Leben und Tod See more »

Filming Locations:

Calgary, Alberta, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The revolver used at the beginning by the vengeance-seeking escaped convict Will Mannon 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 twentieth century. See more »

Goofs

The revolver used in the escape of the convict does not have a firing pin attached to the hammer. The floating firing pins were not used until the 20th century. See more »

Quotes

[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 ...
[...]
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Connections

Followed by Gunsmoke: The Long Ride (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It looks like Gunsmoke -- but it ain't Gunsmoke.
11 September 2015 | by grizzledgeezerSee all my reviews

Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the premiere of "Gunsmoke", so I watched "Return to Dodge". Is this TV movie as bad as some people say it is? No. It's worse.

The story can be briefly summarized as "A lot of people are out to kill Matt, and a few to help him." That's it.

"Kill Matt" was not an uncommon story line, and several excellent episodes were built around it ("The Jailer", "Matt Dillon Must Die"). These episodes worked, because they had dramatic elements that took the story beyond whether Matt would live or die. This is important, students, because... "We know Matt isn't going to die!"

"Return to Dodge" has all the dramatic punch of a thrice-used tea-bag. In addition to the requisite clips from series episodes, most of the story has people running around and shooting at each other, and little else.

It only gets involving in the last five minutes, when Matt has his final confrontation with Will Mannon, in which Kitty plays an important role. (Kitty never took **** from anybody, while remaining "feminine".) It's the only satisfying part of the story, and you have to wait one hour and 55 minutes for it to arrive.

Attention must be paid to the horrible makeup and costuming. Kitty often looks as if she just crept out of the crypt. And it seems some unattractive animal attached itself to Matt's head and died there. * (He wears his hat through most of the second half, likely after seeing a rough cut of the first half.)

I don't understand reviewers' objections to Matt being a trapper. He's fundamentally a loner, unable to commit himself to close relationships -- especially with women.

Ken Curtis didn't appear in "Return to Dodge", supposedly because he was offered less than Amanda Blake. This is probably true, but I wouldn't be surprised if he'd read the script (little more than a rehash of "Mannon") and decided to avoid contact with this turkey.

Given that the production team (including a writer and director who'd worked many years on the series) presumably had more than a decade to work on this story, its abject failure is startling.

* Mountain men, plainsmen, etc, often wore their hair long. Matt's "do" bears zero resemblance to how such long hair actually looked (qv, Custer and Hickok).


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