The Cannon family runs the High Chaparral Ranch in the Arizona Territory in 1870s. Big John wants to establish his cattle empire despite Indian hostility. He's aided by brother Buck and son... 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>
The gunfight between Matt Dillon and an unknown gunman that opened every episode was shot on the same main street as that used in High Noon (1952). During one filming of this gunfight, as a joke on everyone else, James Arness let the gunman win. With the anti-violence movement of the early 1970s, the opening gunfight was dropped, replaced by Matt riding his horse. See more »
Most of the social, racial and political attitudes expressed by the characters during the series reflect the 1950s thru 1970s airing of the series rather than its 1870s/1880s setting. See more »
[the teaser of the very first episode, "Matt Gets It."]
Good evening. My name's Wayne. Some of you may have seen me before. I hope so. I've been kicking around Hollywood a long time. I've made a lot of pictures out here. All kinds. Some of them have been westerns and that's what I'm here to tell you about tonight. A western. A new television show called "Gunsmoke". When I first heard about the show "Gunsmoke", I knew there was only one man to play in it. James Arness. He's a young fellow, and ...
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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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